WFPB & Food Addiction

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The term food addiction is showing up more and more in research and the media these days. But something about that term food addiction has always seemed off somehow. Probably because, in my mind, addiction is related to using drugs that messes up someone's life completely.

Maybe the choice of the word food addiction isn't the best, but the brain chemistry behind the poor food habits prevalent in our society today, that people are calling addiction, are strikingly similar to the brain chemistry of drug addicts.

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70% of people in North America are considered overweight or obese. And I doubt that they planned it to be that way. So, what is driving this epidemic of excess weight?

When scientists look at what happens in the brain when someone eats high calorie rich foods, foods with lots of fat, oil, sugar and salt, (a.k.a. junk food) the same pleasure centers of the brain light up as with heroin and cocaine. That's kind of scary.

If the high fat, high sugar, salty foods that are so available and so cheap are stimulating the same pleasure centers as drugs, maybe there is something to this association with addiction. I think we've all experienced how hard it is to override that desire for pleasure, especially when we're stressed or feeling down.

And I think we all know how these foods can provide a pick-me-up. But unfortunately that short-term lift can have negative, long-term consequences.

Along these lines, what I experienced the other night was surprising to see. We've been WFPB for over 3 decades. And SOS-free (no added salt, oil or sugar in our meals) for 3 years. So there are no junk foods with a well disguised "bliss point" to stimulate the pleasure centers in our house.

Well, after dinner I decided to heat up a Black Bean Brownie with some Nice Cream on it that I had made. These are both made with only High Nutrient Dense (HND) whole foods, so in my mind, they are only health promoting. No guilt there, right? 😎

But when I was done, I realized that I didn't eat it because I was still hungry after dinner. I ate because I wanted the hit of pleasure it would give. I was eating it to set off an experience in my brain, not to nourish my body.

Wow, I saw how the pleasure trap can even come into play with WFPB foods.

So, the bottom line that came out of this was again, to listen to the wisdom of the body rather than the thinking of the mind.

When we listen to our inner intelligence, or wisdom, we avoid so much unnecessary suffering.

The recipe this week is a Spring Veggie Pasta with a pickled radish garnish. Surprisingly fresh and delicious.

To your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill

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Spring Veggie Pasta (Serves 3-4) *Adapted from Forks Over Knives

Cheese Sauce

  • 3 cups red potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup unsweetened unflavored plant milk
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Cook potatoes and garlic in a small amount of water until tender. Let cool and drain any excess water.

Add potatoes with garlic to a blender with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Radish Pickle

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon date paste
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

Add vinegar and date paste to a small pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in radishes and garlic. Cover pan and set aside.


  • 12 oz. bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
  • 1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas or shelled English peas
  • 1 small red onion, cut into wedges
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh tarragon or dried tarragon for garnish

Cook pasta per directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add Cheese Sauce and toss to coat. Add pasta cooking water a little at a time if needed to make creamy.

Add asparagus, peas and onion to a steamer basket with water below basket. Bring to boil and steam covered until just tender (approximately 5 minutes).

Add asparagus mixture and pepper to pasta and toss to combine.

Serve, topping the dish with radishes, use a slotted spoon to drain off the liquid, and tarragon.