The Pleasure Trap

Whenever we do something that strays from what may be considered “normal” we go against an instinctive survival strategy: the desire to avoid conflict. This instinct causes us to be naturally sensitive to the opinions of peers and has helped maintain social stability. Not surprisingly, this can be a roadblock when eating whole, plant-based foods in a processed, animal-based environment.

Lisle and Goldhamer stress the importance of planning for situations such as these, when our natural instinct to conform can over-ride our health goals. There are few resources out there that approach this important element of making lifestyle changes. This book addresses topics such as why we have this conforming instinct, how to handle these situations and how did we end up eating tons of processed and animal based foods in the first place.

The book is based on the Pleasure Trap which is a result of the way we are naturally wired and, according to the authors, has led to many of our current health issues. As humans we are motivated by 3 basic components: seeking pleasure, conserving energy and avoiding pain. Overtime, our food and lifestyle habits have evolved in accordance with these motivators. Our bodies feel pleasure when eating a rich, high calorie meal since we didn’t always live in a world of abundance. We are naturally drawn to the energy that is conserved when pulling through a drive-thru rather than cooking a meal at home.

Lisle and Goldhamer offer compelling insights into the psychological side of health and well-being. They assert than even though our bodies are not designed for the food environment that we currently live in, our health is largely in our own hands.

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