The Pleasure Trap

· Blog

We've known for some time that certain foods trigger a dopamine response in the brain. Dopamine is the "feel-good" chemical that produces the feeling of pleasure when we eat certain foods, have sex, go shopping (for some), and the list goes on.

This feedback loop to feel good when we eat certain foods was very useful when we were evolving. It ensured that we ate the foods that gave us the energy and nutrients we needed. Where it started being a problem was when we started processing and refining the whole foods we evolved eating into concentrated forms of sugar, fat and salt. This overstimulates the brain and is the source of cravings and poor food habits.

We talk more about it here:

So, what we've found is that we can begin to break the connection to refined and processed foods, despite their dopamine hit, when we go 100% WFPB for several weeks. With that, our sensitivity to dopamine comes down and we find great satisfaction from the whole foods. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

The recipe this week is a great salad from our good friend Maryna Smuts in South Africa. It includes brown rice and dried cranberries along with salad greens and yellow peppers, topped with a creamy balsamic dressing. It is really delicious. Give it a try.

To Your Amazing Health,

Connie and Bill

Cranberry Rice Salad (Serves 2)


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ½ cup oat groats
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (buy the ones sweetened with apple juice, not sugar)
  • 3 cups purified water

Salad ingredients:

  • Salad greens of your choice, chopped into small pieces
  • 350 g bag frozen peas
  • 1 large yellow pepper, cut into small pieces

Add the rice, oat groats, cranberries and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Instant Pot method: Add the grain, cranberries and water to an Instant Pot and pressure cook for 22 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

When the grain and cranberries are cooked, fill individual salad bowls with your leafy greens or salad lettuces. You can even use cooked greens if you like.

Add ½ bag of frozen peas to each salad, followed by and the yellow peppers.

Finally, add a few big spoons of the rice and cranberry mix. It’s a nice contrast to have this salad while the rice is still warm, but it’s delicious with it at room temperature or even chilled from the fridge, as well.


Dress with oil free Creamy Balsamic Dressing (recipe below)

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 - 15 ounce can of Cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • ¾ cup purified water
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves or 2 to 3 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb no salt seasoning

Add all ingredients to high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Keep in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.