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Pleasure + Addiction

ever​y. try. counts.

Every try counts. I never quite grasped this until I began my weight loss adventure and woke up to my notorious nachos addiction. Luckily, I discovered that good old-fashioned "selective abstinence" is a successful method for gaining food freedom. One of the difficulties in changing our food habits is a food trigger. If I'm addicted to nachos (and I am), it's the fat and salt that I'm actually craving. Any salty or fatty food could wake up my Food Monster, which forages for anything even resembling my version of heroin. I had to learn how to keep my salt and fat intake very low, and I generally avoid Latin-inspired restaurants, too. So far so good.


As clear as sunbeams in a forest. / One Spoonful at a Time / It's all heroin... No, really. / "Vitamin P" for Pleasure / Three Truths to Trust / Meet the Best of Effective + Unconventional Wisdom / What Foods Are Addicting? / Food Addiction + Willpower / What is Dopamine Fasting?

As clear as sunbeams in a forest.

Food Addiction is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), while Yale University has developed a Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS). Whenever I do research on food addiction, I'm stunned by the reluctance of mainstream science to say, out loud, that food is addictive. It reminds me of workplaces pre-1990, when the words "abuse" and "harassment" were shunned. Oops on us.

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be 

alcohol, morphine, or idealism.”

- Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss Psychoanalyst (died 1961)

Even if all we talked about was the addictive, opiate compound in cheese called casomorphins, food can be addictive. Full stop. As a mostly recovered food addict - who has shown all the classic signs such as uncontrolled eating, food obsession, constant cravings, withdrawals, lying about what I ate, and even over-spending on food - I know that food can be addictive. Like, literally. So, is food addiction real? Cookhouse Hero responds with an unequivocal YES, it is. Check out three resources on this ravenous reality.


One Spoonful at a Time

(go through this, not around)

Unfortunately, we humans tend to go around problems, instead of taking the incremental steps to work our ways through them. Quick fixes via popular diets might work for a few months, but these methods generally fade away.

When we adopt a WPF lifestyle, eating foods NOW that we'll eat for the rest of our life is the most important food choice we can make. Let's also be kinder to ourselves for not being perfect. Every day and meal and bite offer us a golden opportunity to re-commit. Don't forget: every. try. counts.

It's all heroin... No, really.

(addiction is addiction)

Brain research exploded in the early 1990's. It has been unraveling our grey matter which regulates thoughts, emotions, actions, and addictions ever since. Neuroscientists discovered that dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin are triggered by several influences... from porn and dogmatic ideologies to social media portals and food (salt-sugar-fat). Our reptilian brain doesn't care what we're craving. Although there are various degrees of severity, addiction is addiction.

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"Vitamin P" for Pleasure

If we don't find pleasure in something (like eating broccoli), the chances of us avoiding it are high. Forks Over Knives sites "focus on pleasure" as one of their top five aspects to include when adopting a WPF diet and lifestyle. In addition, Cookhouse Hero recommends going ALL IN for three to four months with whole plants, and then notice how much your tastebuds re-awaken. This time allows us to finally savor the actual sweetness of a fresh peach. It's beyond bliss.

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Three Truths to Trust

(please don't do this alone)

  • CRAVINGS: Craving overly fatty, sugary, and salty foods is NOT 100% our fault. Humans are hard wired to eat calorie-dense foods due to ancestral memory (aka our reptilian brain), when our species experienced long periods of what we call "food scarcity" today. Also, some scientists in the food/bev industry create "crave-ability" and "bliss points" in foods specifically designed to make us addicted (this is real). Icing on the cake? Food-porn marketing campaigns everywhere are powerful. By the way, cravings don't always go away, but they can often fade away. This battle is possible to overcome.

  • EFFORT: Letting go of a lifetime of cravings and then cooking with whole plant foods almost daily can be deeply challenging at first, especially for food addicts. Contrary to book titles selling how "ten-ways-in-two-weeks-easy" changing our habits are, for many of us, it's just plain difficult. Please don't give up. No, really... never ever give up. No matter what. Remember: every. try. counts. Full stop.

  • TIME: Eating whole plant foods in abundance gets easier with time and practice. And having a plant-powered community is key for support. Give your body and brain a chance to actually taste food's real flavors. Physiologically, this takes about three to four months. Ready to feel lighter, healthier, and more energetic, focused, and ALIVE every day? You are not alone. Need support? LMK.

Meet Effective + Unconventional Wisdom
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