Friday, October 21, 2011

Pavlov's Dog--Temptation

Strip away modernity/civilization and let's go back in time. Let's even forget our hunter/gatherer ancestors, but go back to when we learned how to cultivate the land. Most of our food was in the form of grains, leaves and some fruits. In fact, if it wasn't for grains, civilization would never have developed. The foods we ate back then were unprocessed. Foods tied to the land. Just as we look to animals in the wild today, one sees no obesity, for eating the foods that nature provides allows these creatures to thrive.

Biologically, all creatures are designed to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. Fast forward to today. Come lunch time, we drive to our local fast food restaurant. It's not even necessary to get out of our car. In a year our two, we won't even have to talk into a speaker when ordering food, just past our phone over a sensor and it will read what we want for lunch (conserving energy).

As humans, food comes to us in three macro nutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. In premodern times that meant most of our nutrients were from carbohydrates, grains. Today our diets are high in processed foods, meats and dairy.

Enter in Pavlov's dog. Whenever Pavlov would feed his dog, he would ring a bell. Eventually he could ring the bell, and even though no food was available, the dog would salivate. Pavlov's dog is used to describe someone who merely reacts to a situation without critical thinking.

So as we're driving around town during lunch, we have many Pavlov's dogs barking at us. All the neon signs, the smells of smoke exiting the grills make us start to salivate. And our critical thinking does not kick in. Plus, since we're biologically designed to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy, it's near impossible to avoid all these temptations.

Especially when we look around and see how overweight and sick our fellow neighbor is. It's normal to take pills, to constantly tell ourselves how we need to lose weight.

Imagine though if you could apply critical thinking. That instead of eating these foods that make you sick and overweight, you ate only foods that create health. That the idea of how much food you eat gets banished from your mind. You're naturally healthy because you eat what nature and your body intended.

True health is really possible. But not if you're stuck in the pleasure trap. If you want to read a great book that describes more of what I'm saying, please read a most wonderful book called "The Pleasure Trap" by Dr Lisle and Dr Goldhammer.

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