The Pleasure Principal: Part 2


In Praise of Simple (Food) Pleasures

Have you ever noticed that when you eat a sweet, crisp, juicy apple, you might think to yourself, “Wow, that was really delicious!” but you rarely think “Me want more apples! Me want more apples right NOW!”

Have you ever noticed that when you eat a cookie, maybe not even a particularly good cookie, you think to yourself, “I like cookies. Me want more cookies RIGHT NOW!”

I’ll toss you another one: Have you ever found yourself picking at a plate of cold French fries that didn’t even really taste all that good anymore, once they went cold? But they were French fries, you know, so you couldn’t help yourself.

OK, last one: If you were eating a salad, and after you ate about half of it, you realized that a bunch of the lettuce was, well, limp and past its prime, would you keep eating it. I think not.

Yesterday, I pointed out that many foods can bring us pleasure. Some are healthy, and some are not. Why is it that the unhealthy ones so often make us want more, more, MORE?

It’s the fat/salt/sugar trifecta that’s to blame, my dear readers. That combo does a one-two punch on us, and we can’t help ourselves (unless we have the motivation to shove the plate away because our logical “I should NOT be eating this” mind overrides our “gimme more” mind). These hyperpleasurable foods affect the opioid centers of our brain in a powerful way, much like a drug.

So, really, for someone to argue that if someone really luuuuuvvvves their greasy fast food burgers and that they shouldn’t have to give them up if it really brings them pleasure is a little like saying that a drug user shouldn’t give up drugs because it brings them so much pleasure. (Please note that I in no way mean to trivialize the agonies of drug addiction.)

Honestly, the healthier I eat, the less tolerance I have for greasy, salty, overly sweet, artificial foods. They just don’t sound good. But oddly, when I’m around them, they still try to pull me in. Darn them. I do find that their siren song fades the less I expose myself to them, thank goodness. Tonight, I turned down a frozen chocolate covered banana (from a box) in favor of a fresh banana, sliced, with a little natural peanut butter on it. So much tastier, I can’t even tell you how much!

I think we would all do ourselves a great service, in terms of nutrition and the ability to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, if we assessed our intake is of fatty, salty, sugar-added foods and made a real plan to cut them out of our lives. Because sometime more  is just way too much.