All The Reasons You Could Need To Spice Up Your Life (Hint: They’re All Gainz Related)
This is the majority of my hot sauce collection at present, save for what I have in the fridge.
I’ve covered the topic in passing in the past, but I still don’t believe that my appreciation for, and subsequent belief that you should share that love for, pungent foods. I realize that most of you think pungent is a worst reserved for stuff that stinks, but according to the dictionary and science, pungent refers to anything you would traditionally think of as “spicy.” That includes chili peppers, ginger, horseradish, mustard seeds, wasabi, black pepper, Indian long pepper, szechwan pepper, and a variety of other delicious stuff, and in addition to making your food delicious, pungent foods have a crazy array of health benefits ranging from improving the effectiveness of other chemicals you ingest to increased metabolism to the wholesale Vlad the Impaler-style slaughter of cancer, and they serve to separate the wusses from everyone else, because if you can’t handle spiciness, you probably can’t handle anything cool. The same type of people who think Eddie Murphy Raw is “too vulgar” and vastly prefer the comedic stylings of Jeff Dunham and other sundry clean comedians, people who prefer Michael Bolton to Cannibal Corpse, the people who willingly buy a beige Toyota Camry… those are the people who prefer their food bland and avoid pungent foods. In short, wusses and generally terrible, fat asses with low IQs and low testosterone (Begue).
Pretty spot on in my house.
I suppose their one claim to preeminence is that their assholes aren’t constantly being seared shut when they poop. Balderdash, say I! The asshole-scorching goodness that comes with a pungent meal lets you know that your b-hole won’t be too hairy if someone decides to toss your salad and that any unhealthy bacteria is going to be murdered all to death. So in an effort to spread the toilet-searing pungency love, we’re gonna cover all the ways you can get the job done, and exactly why it would behoove you to do so.
And by the way:
“‘Although you feel like it’s burning [when you eat spicy foods], it’s actually a trick of the mind,’ he says, adding that spicy foods do not cause any physical harm to a well-functioning digestive system. [Emphasis mine]
The chef explains that fiery food tastes hot because chemical molecules, such as capsaicin, excite pain receptors on your tongue that are linked to the sensation of temperature, not because it’s burning off your tastebuds. ‘It’s more of a sensation of heat than something physical. Interestingly, spearmint actually hits on the same receptor, creating a sense of cold.’
Chef Phillips says spicy food lovers aren’t born with an affinity for hot sauce. Rather, it’s acquired over time, as capsaicin and other spicy food molecules deplete a neurotransmitter called substance P, which is responsible for sending pain signals to the brain” (Sweet).
So there’s no need to worry that you’re going to jack yourself up by kicking up the pungency level of your food a few notches- i.e. don’t be a wuss about this and just do it.
Burns So Good In So Many Ways
I will do my best to be as comprehensive as possible here, but I am certain there is no way I will manage to hit all of the ways you can light your taste buds up like you were napalming a village of people in some far-away jungle who are sitting around listening to music that sounds like whales raping each other while completely unaware of the existence of the United States. Yeah, your ass is gonna burn in ways you didn’t think were possible outside enhanced interrogation techniques or an anal probe by aliens, because as it turns out there is a hell of a lot more pungent stuff out there than just Sriracha and black pepper. Let’s take a look at what’s out there.
The Mustard Family
Love ’em or hate ’em, there are a lot of members of this family of plants that will blow your sinuses open like you filled a Netti Pot with Greek Fire. This family contains a wide range of plants, but the ones with which we are concerned contains allyl isothiocyanate (AITC). Found in your favorite nasal-scorching condiments like wasabi, horseradish, brown and black mustard (but not white/yellow mustard, which contains sinalbin rather than AITC), and radish. This stuff, unlike the capsaicin in chilies or the active ingredients in peppercorns, hits you in the sinuses rather than the mouth. We’ve all been there- a mouthful of wasabi or Chinese yellow mustard has your eyes tearing up like you just got whacked in the nose with a bit of rebar in a street fight, and any sinus congestion you may have had instantly dissipates. The health benefits of mustard oil go way beyond making Flonase look like dirty bathwater though. Check it out:
- it makes Advil it’s punk bitch, because its anti-inflammatory properties are insane (Wagner)
- the precursor to AITC, sinigrin, is also found in all of these veggies and may be an extremely potent nootropic (though the only evidence I could find of this is that it makes you much less retarded when whacked off your face on ketamine) (Yadav)
- clears up colds and the flu in a goddamned hurry, and might even cure your athlete’s foot- this stuff will slaughter anything in your body that’s not supposed to be there (including listeria, E. coli, and staph) due to it’s insanely strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties (Chacon)
- makes you less of a fatass, because it drastically improves insulin sensitivity (Ahn)
Black Pepper (which also includes white and green)
We’ve all used it. We all know what it tastes like. What you might not have known is that all of the colors of peppercorns are all the same basic thing- the black peppercorn is a green (ripe) peppercorn that’s been dried, while the green peppercorn that is canned or otherwise preserved to retain its color, and the white peppercorn is just the seed of the pepper plant with the black bit removed. They all have slightly different flavors, but the thing that makes them awesome remains the same- piperine.
Piperine doesn’t do much on its own, but it is a badass companion to other stuff you might ingest. Its main claim to fame is its ability to drastically increase the bioavailability of just about everything, and increase the length of time compounds remain active in your system (Han, Shoba). Yeah, bro- that means adding it to your food all day long makes almost everything you take that day hit harder, from your fat burner to your test booster to your joint supplement (this stuff increases the effectiveness of curcumin by 2000%). It also increases digestion, has antimicrobial properties, and improves mental function, so grab that pepper shaker and make it rain (Organic Facts).
Ginger (and Grains of Paradise)
If you’re like me and thought ginger was just reserved for crappy cookies and soda, you and I would both be wildly incorrect. Outside of those two things, I only really respected the spiciness of ginger after trying some ginger ale in South Carolina that will peel your goddamned wig back- Blenheim Ginger Ale. I took one swig of that and thought I’d been poisoned. Seriously, Everclear goes down like water compared to Blenheim. If fire and gonorrhea screwed and had a baby in the form of a soda, that soda would be what you drank to chase Blenheim in the hopes it would wash away the pain. That pain was caused by the volatile oils gingerol and paradol found in ginger. Gingerol is badass, because not only can you use it in BDSM to fire up someone’s holes, it:
- jacks up inflammation so hard that it can drastically reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (Funk). The sore elbows you get from heavy benching can be a thing of the past if you chow down on ginger on the regular. Seriously- gingerol was shown in clinical trials to be as effective as ibuprofin in reducing menstrual cramps, and actually improves digestive health rather than burning a hole in your guts (Ozgoli).
- keeps you from being a diabetes-ridden fatass with cellulite on your face and sadness in your heart- it lowers bodyfat, blood sugar, free fatty acids, LDL cholesterol, and all of the other horrible nonsense that comes with being a disgusting pile of blubber (Naami)
- raises testosterone levels and increases testicular size. Yep- you will likely get more swole and rock a better hardon by including a hell of a lot of ginger in your diet (Kamtchouing).
Paradol, which is the active ingredient in Grains of Paradise and is also found in ginger, is aromatic ketone that brings the ruckus as well. Because I’m sure you guys are unaware of Grains of Paradise’s existence (I recently discovered it because my girlfriend has it in a pepper shaker and wondered what in the hell I’d seasoned my ribs with), it’s often confused with black pepper and to me tastes like a milder black pepper. Frankly, it is worth adding to everything in addition to black pepper, because it:
- increases total body energy expenditure dramatically… meaning it will make you fat less fat just by adding it to your food (Sugita)
- may raise testosterone levels in humans (because it sure as hell seems to in rats) (Akpanabiatu)
- balances blood sugar so well it’s used as a cure (not a treatment for it, a goddamned cure) for diabetes in Africa (Ezuruike)
Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until an episode of one of my two favorite podcasts (Milk Street Radio) encouraged me to get out there and investigate the great wide world of peppers out there. Long pepper is actually spicier than black pepper and was the preferred pepper of Europe until the fourteenth century. After that, it was replaced by chilies coming from the New World because it has a similar flavor and pungency to chilies. The stuff that brings the heat in the long pepper is piperlonguime (PPL), and it’s a goddamned beast. It:
- improves brain health like crazy (Prasad)
- is the Robin to other stuff’s Batman. Like piperine, it enhances the bioavailablity of various pharmaceuticals and supplements (Patel)
- fights inflammation like a firefighter fighting a last stand in a forest fire (Prasad)
- makes you forget there is even such a thing as prostate cancer, because it effectively kills it at the start (Golovine)
- jacks up your fat metabolism to keep you lean and mean (Prasad)
They are the bane of the existence of every lame person on the planet, and they are the thing that unites interesting and useful people- the chili pepper. Long the primary seasoning component in the Americas, these amazing flavor bombs have become a staple food in every corner of the world. Chili peppers are amazing because of the stuff that makes them burn going in and coming back out- capsaicin. Capsaicin’s chief benefit is that it separates you from the people who ought to be rounded up and sent to work camps where they’re only allowed to wear grey and listen to John Mayer while they work themselves into dessicated husks (but they’d die happy knowing they’re safe from ever having to eat delicious food or have an interesting conversation or good sex). Adding capsaicin the form of hot sauce or peppers does wonders for your body, as it:
- increases your metabolism to counterbalance a caloric deficit. in other words, when your metabolism would otherwise slow to a stop because you’re eating like a 1980s era bodybuilder and training yourself half to death, capsaicin ramps your metabolism back up to ensure your fat holocaust continues unabated (Janssens).
- may increase aerobic performance (Oh)
- and is a kickass cure-all remedy for just about any goddamned ailment you might have- screw Eddy Murphy’s dad’s remedy of using “the Tussin” for everything. When in doubt, add hot sauce, because capsaicin improves mood, reduces pain, reduces inflammation, reduces itching, and has cancer-fighting properties (Carollo).
There are a ton of other peppers and pungent plants out there worth incorporating in your food, because they’re all seriously good for you. Here’s an incomplete list for you to investigate at your leisure, but you’ll find all of them have have some mixture of anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, fat destroying, and generally health improving benefits:
- Grains of Selim (tastes a lot like grains of paradise)
- Tasmanian Pepper (which is sweet and then hot, then leaves numbness like Sichuan Pepper)
- Cubeb Pepper (like a cross between allspice and black pepper)
- West African Pepper (tastes like cubeb)
- Szechwan Pepper (hot as hell, smells like literal heaven, and makes your mouth numb)
- Pink Peppercorn (mild and black pepper-like, though related to the cashew)
- Brazilian Peppercorn (pepper-like, and like the pink peppercorn can cause allergic reactions)
According to Reddit, this entire article is a hate crime. And I refuse to google “xd”- I just despise every person who uses it and live in the knowledge that whatever it means, it’s the sole purview of people whom I loathe.
So the takeaway is that if you’re not making your food as pungent as possible, you’re a stupid ass and a wuss, and you have no one to blame for your fatness, athlete’s foot, low T, and stupidity but yourself. Only bland people like bland food. Don’t be bland, and for all that’s unholy don’t be fat.
Pungency is Power.
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