The Pleasure Trap

The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness

by Douglas J. Lisle, Ph.D and Alan Goldhamer, D.C.

Every once in a while, a landmark book on health comes along that's so original and innovative it makes you reconsider your fundamental beliefs about the subject. After reading it, you find yourself questioning behaviors that all of your life you had taken for granted were good for you, until now. The Pleasure Trap: Mastering The Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness by Douglas Lisle Ph.D. and Alan Goldhamer D.C. is such a book.

"Investing a few hours in The Pleasure Trap can be your defense against the temptations of modern life. Regardless of where you have looked for better health and how much trouble you are in now, you can begin to put it behind you by reading The Pleasure Trap...and put yourself on a path to enjoy the life you deserve." — John McDougall, M.D, The McDougall Program

A wake-up call to even the most health-conscious Americans, it boldly challenges conventional wisdom about sickness and unhappiness in today's contemporary culture, and offers groundbreaking solutions for achieving change. Authors Douglas Lisle, Ph.D. and Alan Goldhamer D.C., two of the nation's most courageous and outspoken experts, provide a fascinating new perspective on how modern life can turn so many smart, savvy people into the unwitting saboteurs of their own well-being.

"Lisle and Goldhamer make a major contribution to our understanding of why we do things not in our long-term best interest. We all must reckon with this important idea if we are seriously interested in choosing a healthier diet and lifestyle. It is a MUST read for anyone interested in making healthier choices." — T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry Cornell University

Inspired by original research, comprehensive clinical studies, and their successes with thousands of patients, the authors construct a new paradigm for the psychology of health, offering fresh hope for anyone stuck in a self-destructive rut. Integrating principles of evolutionary biology with trailblazing, pro-active strategies for wellness, they argue that people who are chronically overweight, miserable, or junk food junkies aren't that way because they're lazy, undisciplined, or stuck with bad genes. They reveal that they're victims of a primal dilemma that harkens back to our prehistoric past called the Pleasure Trap.

"I love this book; it is brilliant. The Pleasure Trap is a powerful, mind-altering health manifesto. Rather than recommend my patients read this book, I insist they do." — Joel Fuhrman, M.D.,
Author of Eat To Live

Dr. Douglas Lisle, who has spent the last two decades researching and studying this evolutionary syndrome, explains that all of us inherit innate incentives from our ancient ancestors that he terms The Motivational Triad: the pursuit of pleasure, the avoidance of pain, and the conservation of energy. Unfortunately, in present day America's convenience-centric, excess-oriented culture, where fast food, recreational drugs, and sedentary shopping have become the norm, these basic instincts that once successfully insured the survival and reproduction of man many millennia ago, no longer serve us well. In fact, it's our unknowing enslavement to this internal, biological force embedded in the collective memory of our species that is undermining our health and happiness today.

"The Pleasure Trap is a bold, fresh look at the collisions between our culture and our health that take so many victims, despite modern medicine's best efforts to limit the damage of illness and injury. I recommend this book to anyone seeking a clearly written and innovative guide to the very best of health. It will change your life." — Neal D. Bernard, M.D. President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

The authors point out that all of us, because of the Motivational Triad, are wired for self-sabotage until we get a firm handle on how these primitive drives specifically betray us in our daily lives, and then learn how to transcend their grip. For example, instead of eating whole, natural foods that admittedly require more effort to buy and prepare, most of us, explain Doctors Lisle and Goldhamer, conserve our energy by "pursuing the pleasures" of the easily accessible "insta-fare" that promises loads of sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates. Contrary to popular belief, over-eating has nothing to do with a lack of will power or low self-esteem, insist the authors. The typical American diet, so replete with processed foods, actually fools the senses, leaving people vulnerable to over-consumption.

"This is a must-read for scholars of nutrition, physicians, students, health care personnel, and anyone who is caught in or wants to avoid the pleasure trap." — Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., Department of General Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Doctors Lisle and Goldhamer also examine many other unhealthy habits, such as drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, and gambling, explaining that these too are the result of being caught in the Pleasure Trap, and that when people stop blaming themselves and others for their frustrating circumstances, and instead focus on reclaiming their power, that's when their lives will change.

"I found The Pleasure Trap the most compelling and interesting book I have ever read. This information should be required reading for the medical establishment before it's too late. Sharing this book with your friends and family is unconditional love." — Howard F. Lyman LL.D, author of Mad Cowboy

In The Pleasure Trap, Drs. Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer provide detailed advice on how to recognize the patterns of this trap in your own life and overcome its negative influence. They explain:

  • The unexpected twist in the relationship between happiness and pleasure and why so many lives are ruined because of it.
  • Why we're poorly equipped psychologically to understand that it's the excesses in our diets, not the deficiencies that are killing us, and how to overcome this mental blind spot.
  • Why taking supplements and vitamins can be counterproductive to good health.
  • How the secret to maintaining optimum weight doesn't lie in how much you eat, but in what you eat.
  • The sumptuous, health-promoting diet that nature intended and modern society has forgotten, and how to bring its life-enriching benefits into your own home.
  • How to maintain your strength and integrity in the face of social pressure opposing healthy living.
  • Why animal products are such tempting Pleasure Trap foods, and how to overcome those overwhelming cravings.

In addition, the authors address with candor and acumen some of the most frequently debated issues in health. Some of those topics include:

  • How our awe of modern medicine's legitimate advances can lure us into a false sense of security about our health and make us lose sight of the fact that our personal health is predominantly determined by our own dietary and lifestyle choices.
  • How modern medicine can be a Pleasure Trap because it lessens our pain but fails to help the body heal itself, leaving us less healthy as a result.
  • The benefits of medically supervised water-only fasting, featuring results of the author's original research, which shows the largest effects published to date in the treatment of high blood pressure.
  • Current environmental concerns and how eating a health-promoting, whole, natural foods diet is one of the best gifts we can give our planet.

The Pleasure Trap also features The Point System, a comprehensive personal quiz developed by the authors that gives readers a barometer for measuring their own diet and lifestyle choices. "The Pleasure Trap focuses on telling people what they actually need to know instead of what they want to hear," states Dr. Lisle. "Our objective is to create an awareness of the real price of modern living that no one ever talks about and empower readers with the tools they need to redirect their health, and in turn, rediscover the happiness and well-being that is their birthright."

"The Pleasure Trap is truly a landmark book! Never before has anyone put together such an eloquent, thoroughly referenced, comprehensive, and authentically holistic explanation about what allows health and happiness to occur. Using simple language and rich anecdotes, Drs. Lisle and Goldhamer have done a spectacular job of guiding the reader through a very complex smorgasbord of scientific information. In their profound work, they have distilled the knowledge of numerous scientific disciplines into an integrated 'science of health.' It should be recommended reading for every health professional and every individual seeking optimum well-being. The theory is empowering, and I know it works because I have successfully used many of these principles in my health promotion medical practice over the past twenty years." Ronald G. Cridland, MD, CCFP Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine

"This is an important book, one that for the first time connects all the dots between the essential core of ancient natural healing and solid 21st century science. Natural diet and lifestyle (including periodic water-only fasting) are here explicated in terms of the latest human neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and solid clinical studies. To the reader's great benefit, you tell the truth about drugless healing that is most specifically not what Big Pharmaceuticals wants you to hear and not what Big Foods wants you to hear, that taking commercial foods and drugs out of your regimen is often way better than adding more foods and drugs. You include an intelligent and sympathetic review of what's good about medicine without skirting the truth that our 'health care system' is enabling a world of pleasure-trapped addicts. Your strategies for lifestyle change are well presented and likely to be most effective for those prepared to make the effort. Your perspective is broad, evolutionary, and historical. Bravo!" — Scott Anderson, M.D. General Practice, Rohnert Park, CA.