Vitamin P. Pleasure.
We need it. Without it our lives just aren’t complete. And neither is our metabolic potential.
Pleasure, a Study
Let me share a scientific example with you. Scientists conducted a study around the relationship of iron absorption and pleasure. Their test subjects included a group of women from Sweden and another group of women from Thailand. Each group was given a typical Thai meal.
The study showed that the Thai women absorbed more iron from the exact same meal than the Swedes did. Why? Because they actually enjoyed the meal. On the other hand, when both groups were served a typical Swedish meal containing the same amount of iron, the Thai women absorbed significantly less iron than their Swedish counterparts! Incredible, isn’t it!?
Vitamin P helps optimize your nutrition! Eating food that we don’t find pleasurable can trigger the sympathetic nervous response which decreases absorption and assimilation of nutrients.
The Nutrition of Pleasure
If you deny yourself enjoyment in eating through restrictive and pleasureless eating, your body will respond accordingly by triggering the release of a chemical called Neuropeptide Y. This chemical tells us to seek food (or more food!) when we lack satisfaction. This is why restrictive diets usually backfire. Restrictive diets can cause us to crave a “forbidden” food or they may even cause us to over consume it because we don’t know when we’ll be “allowed” to have it again.
Most people think that pleasure is completely separate from the nutritional process and serves no metabolic function.
Another way we may not be tapping into the pleasure of food and eating is when we eat fast and/or distracted. Without awareness and deriving pleasure from our nourishment, we may “over-eat.” Our brain will seek more food until it feels mentally satisfied. We must be awake at the plate and be aware of the taste, texture, aroma of food and the pleasure of eating. This is called the Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR) or the brain/digestive system connection.
Notice, is your eating experience pleasurable?
Remember, there is a place for all foods on your plate. Yes, of course we want to prioritize healthy, good quality food most of the time. But good nutrition is more than what you eat. It also includes how, when and why you eat.
And speaking of why you eat, notice if eating and your eating choices are based purely on pleasure. In this case, we must look deeper and explore what kind of emotional need, such as pleasure, we’re trying to fulfill through food. The solution is to find other ways to fulfill this need other than through food or drink.
Ask yourself, are you prioritizing your own pleasure?
Deriving pleasure from eating isn’t the only way to ensure your metabolic engine is revved. We can place a lot of expectations on our food to bring us pleasure. For many of us, food is our main source of daily pleasure. This is why we must pause and take a moment to think about what brings us pleasure (other than food).
So, let’s do a little exercise, shall we?
Create a list of everything - person, place, activity etc. - that brings you pleasure, past or present. Notice how often you are experiencing these pleasures on a day-to-day basis. Is there anything on this list that you haven’t done recently? I challenge you to take action by making it a priority to add one of these pleasures back into your life this week. It matters.
Allow yourself to experience pleasure from food and life. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
To your happiness and health,