Pleasure versus Happiness

The nucleus accumbens is the pleasure center of the brain and responds similarly to sugar and calorie-rich foods as it does to addictive drugs like morphine.

While eating certain foods can be momentarily pleasurable, pleasure isn’t the same as happiness. Dr. Deepak Chopra postulates here  that getting more pleasure won’t make you happy.

You may get a momentary pleasure from a chocolate cupcake, but it won’t make you happy. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy a cupcake every now and then, but don’t expect that consuming it will change anything other than your caloric intake (and with regular consumption over time, the genes that regulate dopamine receptors in the nucleus accumbens, making it even harder to drop the sugar habit).

Dr. Chopra also stipulates that “Relying on another person’s love to make you happy means that they also have the power to take your happiness away.”  Similarly, relying on food isn’t going to bring happiness or even make you feel better aside from the distraction the food poses until it gets down your gullet. As soon as you’re done eating the food, the pleasure is gone, your blood sugar spikes and plummets, leaving you nutritionally unfulfilled and wanting more.

If you recollect the times you relied on food for happiness and think about how long the pleasure lasted, you’ll likely admit that consuming comfort foods or junk foods doesn’t result in happiness.  In that case, why can’t we skip the extra fat and calories, nourish our bodies with the whole foods they need, and focus on uncovering our inner state of happiness, which isn’t dependent on other people or things.

Per Chopra, lifestyle adaptations are necessary to achieve the inner state of happiness – one that no one can take away from you. One of the necessary lifestyle adaptations is favoring a natural, organic diet whenever possible and avoiding adulterated food.

So food can help us be happy, just not in the way most people think.  A whole food plant based diet will help you remove another barrier to happiness.  It’s there waiting for you. . . take the first bite.


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