The Myth of Moderation


Happy Healthy 2017 Readers! One of my favorite wellness books is the Pleasure Trap by Dr. Doug Lisle. It has inspired previous blog posts. I was reading it for the second time (as I have recently bought copies to give to new clients.) This book is a must read for everyone. Yes, it promotes a plant based lifestyle (of course) but it really offers so much more by way of explaining why we crave modern foods and have become addicted to them and how they are making us sick and shortening the length and quality of our lives.

The chapter on the concept of moderation is particularly thought-provoking. He states that when trying to break bad habits in an effort to become healthier, thinking that indulging moderately in the same behaviors that led to our unwanted conditions is not productive. Many unhealthy foods, due to their processed nature are very addictive and he likens them to highly addictive drugs. Surely some one getting over a drug, alcohol or smoking addiction would not use just a little cocaine, have just one drink or smoke only one cigarette. They know that consistent abstinence is their best chance at beating the addiction.  Moderation is a healthy approach with some things in life but when we are dealing with foods that have been artificially enhanced for the purpose of making them irresistible, trying to achieve moderation (whatever that means) is simply not going to work.   See my post The Dietary Pleasure Trap: Defend yourself against the temptations of modern life. to learn more about this.

When I decided to write this entry I was worried about offending people I know well, by stating that the widely held belief that ‘everything in moderation is fine’ is not a great approach to making significant health improvements. I thought, how does one get to the point where you want to know the truth and you are willing to change your perspective? I came up with this five-step process to making permanent beneficial change. The resulting acronym is C.L.E.A.N.

CURIOSITY– You must have a desire to seek more information and want to know the facts. This is why I typically point others in the direction of educational books, articles and documentaries. Listening to my personal opinion is not convincing enough and even if it gets you thinking, finding the information on your own is so much more powerful.

LEARN– The next step is to learn. There are several wonderful books, articles, videos and films that present solid information in very interesting ways.  Do not depend on mainstream media to tell you the truth.  There are profit motives at play and I have found much of that information to be flawed. Ask questions and find the answers.

EXPLORE– Next you must experiment with this new found information and experience the benefits for yourself. After years of experimenting I have a developed a regiment that works for my lifestyle and has made me energetic, satisfied with my appearance, happy and inspired to help others.

ASSESS– After a few weeks, assess and analyze the outcomes and continue to tweak your approach and seek more information. This is critical in staying informed and hence motivated to stay on track.  In the beginning of any transition, the more reinforcement you have, the better the chance you have of sticking with it until it becomes a part of your everyday life.  Just about anyone who knows me, knows I drink a fruit and vegetable smoothie almost everyday.

NO TURNING BACK– Once you have made enough progress to see un-deniable benefits you should have developed new life long habits and the threat of relapsing is gone.

I am by no means perfect even though I have made several significant and permanent changes to my lifestyle. One huge benefit I have is that I am aware of the pleasure trap and how it works and I have accepted the philosophy that when speaking about long term and short term health, consistency is a much better plan than the ambiguous concept of being moderately unhealthy.

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