Broccoli rabe versus sweets

September 13, 2012 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Fitness, Nature

I’ll describe an effect across many spheres of human life, including, probably, yours. I’ll describe it in the realm of food, but it applies all over.

Most people, when they don’t think much about it, like sweets and comfort food — not always that healthy. If you gave them, say, some broccoli rabe, even cooked to perfection — say just lightly fried in olive oil with a touch of lemon juice and salt — they wouldn’t like it. They’d say it didn’t have flavor or tasted bad or boring. They might complain they couldn’t eat it fast, like a candy bar. Or it didn’t crunch, like chips.

If you wean them off the intense, simple, short-term, pleasure of sugar, fat, salt, and the chemical concoctions of junk food, they’ll start sensing the subtlety they missed before in less processed foods, enjoying the complexity, more enduring flavors, sometimes bitter, sour, or other non-pleasurable sensations, that contribute to a greater overall reward, not just quick pleasurable flavor followed by the pleasure of swallowing the food.

Learning to appreciate other subtleties and complexities takes time, but leads to overall greater reward, at least in my experience.

To how many areas of life does this principle apply? Besides food, I’d say literature, movies, art, relationships, fitness, ways to relax, … a lot, I’d say.

I like simple pleasures as much as anyone. I consider broccoli rabe one of them. But in how many areas do we let the un-subtle un-complex pleasures dull our senses?

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