Open the door, Nate! What are you doing in there?
November 2, 2015 9:46 PM   Subscribe

Nate is a 16 yr. old with calm demeanor and tolerance for ingesting peppers with very high Scoville scale. He started his Youtube review channel "snacksandsuch" 5 years ago with a spoon of Blair's Pure Death (Scoville Heat Units 35,000).
The videos are all similar in style: Here he is eating a Yellow 7 Pod cultivar (1M+SR). Here is his Chocolate Bhut Jolokia test, etc. He gets to taste the Naga Viper, the Trinidad moruga scorpion, Carolina Reaper, and many others.

Most Youtube Chiliheads are exhibitionist screamers, not this kid.
posted by growabrain (75 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
I should have named the post: "It comes with a skull keychain".
posted by growabrain at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


What amazes me about people who can do this is that it requires an internal fortitude that goes beyond the immediate eating part. From what I understand, these peppers can cause a lot of distress from "beginning to end," so it seems like there's some sort of overall body tolerance that isn't limited to the taste buds. It makes me wonder if it isn't a tolerance just to peppers, but to pain in general.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


So much nope.
posted by blob at 10:01 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


About a year ago, one of my friends was visiting NY and some of us accompanied him to the city's "hottest curry." It was, indeed, the hottest thing any of us had tasted, and a few tastes from the rest of us aside, he finished the whole thing. Then he had a lot of problems getting home, and for the next few days.

Point being, I think SpacemanStix is onto something.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:03 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I ate some home grown Carolina reapers last year, along with my friends, over a period of about 4-6 days. The first night we tried them, he actually passed out (someone actually has video!). Someone told me that it was going to hurt when I peed, and I laughed, and said "No way!" Way. My pee burnt to varying degrees for the next 6 months. Keep in mind, I had maybe over this time 1-2 peppers, cut up into tiny bits, so not an extraordinary amount. Such sweet, sweet pain.

Eating that entire Reaper? Nope. Sick.
posted by sfts2 at 10:09 PM on November 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was actually kind of worried during that second video. Can you somehow die of this? I felt like he was in danger somehow, though I can't articulate why and that's probably totally irrational. Though the reaction is stronger in the Carolina Reaper video, it's somehow more distressing when he looks like a kid (is that really the same guy?)

I'm surprised he doesn't wear gloves while handling some of these. I would think they could do some damage even through the skin and if he's the tiniest bit not-thorough in washing his hands afterwards and touches his eyes he will regret it forever.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:19 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


My pee burnt to varying degrees for the next 6 months.

What??? Is that even possible? Are you sure it didn't coincide with some other medical problem?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:19 PM on November 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think he's safe eating them the way he is without gloves because he's not doing anything other than eating them whole, he's not touching any of the seeds or inner membranes.

Puberty and a haircut really did transform him. I was wondering if he enjoys eating any of them but he mentioned that he liked the bubblegum 7 pod. I wonder what hot sauce he keeps on the table?
posted by Neronomius at 10:31 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The future is so weird.
posted by StopMakingSense at 10:43 PM on November 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


You gotta love the product names!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:50 PM on November 2, 2015


I find this pretty disturbing—a person wilfully inflicting pain and discomfort on himself.
posted by stargell at 10:56 PM on November 2, 2015


I always heard the "7-Pod" pepper referred to as the "7-pot" - as in, one pepper is enough to heat 7 pots of stew. Or, 1 Nate.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:04 PM on November 2, 2015


Also, endorphins, maaan. This kid knows how to get high!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:04 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I find this pretty disturbing—a person wilfully inflicting pain and discomfort on himself.

Boy do I have some things to show you...

Anyway I like pretty hot stuff - not quite this end of the scale - but at some point in my life it started to fuck with my digestive tract. So there's kind of a cost-benefit analysis involved. I don't think many people enjoy the aftereffects.
posted by atoxyl at 11:17 PM on November 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


carolina reaper video: "I'm.. uncomfortable right now." (panting and gasping)
posted by isthmus at 11:19 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


This kid is terrific.
posted by JHarris at 11:26 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Watching the Carolina Reaper video was one thing.

Looking at the related videos in the sidebar is... man... there's a terrifying chili pepper arms race happening right now.
posted by Reyturner at 11:34 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've seen a few articles about spicy foods (in particular spicy eating competitions, i.e. the culture of one-upmanship in eating spicy foods) hospitalising people. Here's a couple of news reports: Burger puts two Argus reporters in hospital and worlds hottest chilli contest leaves two in hospital.
posted by jzed at 11:52 PM on November 2, 2015


Is this masochism, plain and simple?

Well, after viewing an exhibition in which a woman puts several of these peppers onto her eyes, I would say self-infliction of pain is the thing that is going on with these stupid hot pepper consumption contests (and they are all contests of one sort or another, in my mind).
posted by el io at 12:24 AM on November 3, 2015


I'm genuinely unsure if I'm watching someone who is really into peppers or an individual capable of throttling their response to pain with a self-harm problem functioning by YouTube monetization.

I think the fact that he's so calm is probably an indicator of the first. He's analytical, waits until he finishes eating to describe the experience. This is studious. The people who are into pain are always screamers.
posted by kafziel at 12:28 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ah, come on, y'all, this kid isn't self-harming any more than another kid who's into parkour or smoking pot. Different people get fun in different ways. I can only eat little tiny slices of these peppers, but if I could eat a whole one, you can bet I'd put it on YouTube.
posted by thetortoise at 12:31 AM on November 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know, with chilies like these (and especially the bhut jolokia), there's a huge difference in hotness based on where they are grown. Much like the particulars of Vidalia onions make them Vidalia onions, I remember a jolokia grower stating that if they are not from the right place and grown the right way, they can be as mild as a bell pepper.
posted by Samizdata at 12:41 AM on November 3, 2015


I find this pretty disturbing—a person wilfully inflicting pain and discomfort on himself.

Why? It's his body, surely if he's interested in what he can do with it, it isn't philosophically different to eat the hottest pepper in the world than it is to run a marathon. The latter is just a socially approved method of inflicting pain and discomfort (and damage and risk) on yourself.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:42 AM on November 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


My tastebuds love chile peppers but the rest of me does not. The times I've has ghost pepper I've had a few minutes of enjoyment and them 8 hours of pain as it passes its way through my system. I stick with habaneros these days.
posted by Joe Chip at 1:25 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


What amazes me about people who can do this is that it requires an internal fortitude that goes beyond the immediate eating part. From what I understand, these peppers can cause a lot of distress from "beginning to end," so it seems like there's some sort of overall body tolerance that isn't limited to the taste buds. It makes me wonder if it isn't a tolerance just to peppers, but to pain in general.

Whenever people find that I grow various types of chillis and have a thing for Sichuan/Thai/etc food they generally make similar "Pacific Ring of Fire" comments, but I've honestly never experienced that. Maybe my digestive system does a good job of breaking everything down. For me when the initial pain wears off I definitely get a bit of a runner's high. It does make me sweat intensely though so hot food isn't really a first date kind of activity.
posted by kersplunk at 1:59 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I was younger and still living in southern New Mexico, there was a migrant worker bar that a friend of mine bartended at, and I would go there regularly and have their green chile stew. It was HOT. VERY VERY HOT. Like, sweat running down the back of my head hot. Rolling up a tortilla and smearing butter on the end and biting it off before every bite of stew hot. (Oily things carry away the heat of chile.) Don't stop eating until it's all gone because it's when you stop that the heat really builds hot.

That's not really all that hot by these standards.

But the thing is, back then, I had ZERO digestion problems related to eating things like this. I ate them all the time -- green chile, especially hot green chile, is sort of a lifestyle in southern NM.

And sometime in my 30s, my intentional fauna changed. Or something changed. And now green chile, while delicious going in, is difficult during the large intestine part of digestion and is not easy to, um... get rid of at the far end. It's been an annoying change in my body that I wish I knew how to undo, because I REALLY LOVE EATING GREEN CHILE IT IS SO YUMMY OMG but now when I do, it's a meal that comes with a contract.

I don't know if it's just age or if indeed my intestinal fauna has changed its balance or if I'm dying of some arcane disease or what, but yeah, these things can change and do vary from person to person a lot.
posted by hippybear at 2:07 AM on November 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I remember once having a red chile dish that was so hot the silver spoons (a conceit the restaurant loved to play up) were tarnishing as I ate.
posted by Samizdata at 2:22 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I was younger I never made it any higher than 'ordinary' curry strength in Indian restaurants... Madrases were just too hot for me, never mind Vindaloos (and don't get me started on joke/dare curries like Tindaloos / Phals). However later on I discovered Jalfrezi which are hot but the heat is concentrated into the meat, which are easier for me to handle than the standard very liquidy madras / vindaloo where the heat is spread through the whole thing and just blasts through the mouth.

Some years back I visited an Indian restaurant when I was in Japan and, perhaps because I'm English and they assumed I'd be like some sort of curry monster, they gave me this insanely hot curry. I knew I might be in trouble when the mildest pickle on the pickle tray that came with the pre-startet popadoms was as hot as the hottest that you would normally get in the UK. The curry itself basically tasted of pain. Had the sweating and the eye watering and the adrenaline rush straight away. But somehow I managed to get through it (thanks mum for teaching me no to waste food and for that weird Englishman aboard thing - stiff upper lip and not letting the side down, old chap). It was an experience but not something I'd want to do on a regular basis. I can't remember any really bad after effects but then I did eat something like three ice-creams in a row straight afterwards.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:31 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


but at some point in my life it started to fuck with my digestive tract.

And sometime in my 30s...

I hear you so bad. I'm 34 now and I used to be a chilli fiend, could eat anything hot, no worries later. Now, admittedly, I was diagnosed with (unrelated) colitis in the intervening years, but these days, whilst my mouth is willing, my large intestine is so, so not.

Interestingly, the problem seems to be worth with the Habanero family, somewhat irrespective of heat. I can still dig a hot jalapeno to a greater degree. A habanero with a similar level of heat will lay me right up. Such a shame, I can handle a bit of spice, tabasco etc no problems, but anything truly hot is a real no no for me. Like, day off work bad.
posted by smoke at 2:32 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


PS a Bhut Jolokia will never be as mild as a bell pepper, lol. It's true that growing conditions will affect heat (tl;dr, hot and dry, smaller yields deliver hotter chillis), but nowhere near that degree of difference.
posted by smoke at 2:33 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember once having a red chile dish that was so hot the silver spoons (a conceit the restaurant loved to play up) were tarnishing as I ate.

That's certainly related to some other ingredient of what you ate. Capsaicin, the active ingredient, is only hot to us because it's a specific key that happens to fit into a specific lock - i.e. a certain receptor that's only present in mammals. It's not actually corrosive. Other animals such as birds don't have the receptor and can eat whatever chillis they want. It's a cunning plan by the plant to get birds and not mammals to disperse the seeds.
posted by kersplunk at 2:46 AM on November 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Peppers, schmeppers. The real test of a champion is eating a full pound of Sugar Free Gummi Bears.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 AM on November 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


I would think it's inevitable that the psychology of hot chilli eating is closely connected to the physiology, as described by kersplunk. It is the safest form of extreme pain that it is possible to experience. That knowledge changes the experience even as you are doing it. Melzack and Casey's foundational work in modern pain theory emphasises the importance of cognitive-evaluative factors in structuring the subjective experience of pain. When you eat chillies like this, you know the relevant nociceptors are activated, but you also know you're not on fire and not going to die. That doesn't make it easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it does make it something that might conceivably have enough reward (internal runner's high and external approbation/money) to make it a reasonable choice for a range of people and reasons.
posted by howfar at 3:04 AM on November 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think the championship goes to anyone who can eat more than 5.
posted by hippybear at 3:04 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, you can watch Nate grow up!

He's very calm even when he says "it's getting ... worse".

(I kept expecting someone to rush in and spray him with a fire extinguisher like they do those burning stuntmen.)
posted by chavenet at 3:18 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


He's totally boss and everything but can he eat half a dozen sugared donuts without licking his lips?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:33 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have watched people turn red, weep, exude copious fluids from nose, eyes and mouth and even vomit from eating entry-level peppers. This guy's forbearance is awe-inspiring and together with his almost beatific demeanor he strikes me as very interesting indeed. His economy of language is wonderful too: "my hands are vibrating." "I'm not looking forward to this but it must be done." "It's hot."

I bet Nate would be awesome to travel with--he seems like someone who could roll with any weirdness without complaint, would be willing to try anything, and who understands the value of silence.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:15 AM on November 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


Fascinating. So, it's not that he can't feel the heat and pain, it's just that his receptors and/or his brain don't register the heat as being as agonizing as we mere mortals do. He's very obviously experiencing everything we would if we were to eat a whole Yellow-7, but his system, for whatever reason, simply doesn't feel it as badly.

He still seems to get the watery eyes and the fire-in-the-gut stomach but his brain simply doesn't respond like it's any big deal.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:00 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like things that are much more mildly hot than the crazy macho hot that has gotten more popular over the past few years. Once in a while a dish will produce those horrible after effects, but more often not -- I do wonder if it is the type of pepper, or other ingredients perhaps, that produces such different effects. Peppers in the mouth is an interesting and mostly pleasant sensation, but that same heat on the anus is not at all pleasant.

If the crazy hot stuff had been around when I was a teenager, I am sure that my friends and I would have dared each other to eat them -- it seems like something that would fit seamlessly into the risk taking and other poor decisions of that time in our lives, without any of the real risks of things like drunk driving and climbing abandoned buildings.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:27 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I made a curry with a Butch Scorpion once. The recipe called for 6-12 chillies, so I thought I might be OK with one Scorpion. The resulting curry was the strength of chilli sauce, each tablespoon of it had enough heat for a curry.
There is a natural limit to the amount of capsaicin I can ingest as I get hiccups when the food is too hot. I like to skirt this limit and generally like my curries to be hot enough to trigger hiccups if eaten too fast, you just have to remember to take it easy and have the rice or paratha at hand.
posted by asok at 5:27 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched his first one and then looked at his most recent and the change in him was really weird. I then tried to find the point that it was obvious he was going/had gone through puberty. Looks like he had a break between 2 and 4 years ago and that's when it happened.

I find that change as interesting as the pepper eating.
posted by trif at 5:59 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


He would fit right in with these folks.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:35 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Peppers, schmeppers. The real test of a champion is eating a full pound of Sugar Free Gummi Bears.

Don't do it!!!
posted by spinturtle at 6:53 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


It still seems to me that the fact that you can just buy a container of purified capsaicin renders the whole quest-for-hotness kind of pointless.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I start to sweat profusely just from eating the "medium" wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, I might actually die of dehydration eating any of these.

Although I do enjoy a variety of (milder) hot sauces, people are doing cool things with habaneros and fruity flavors to tone down the heat like ginger, mango or peach.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:59 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the Hot Pepper Gaming review videos. (Link goes to my favorite.)
posted by xedrik at 7:18 AM on November 3, 2015


Well and then the pepper and bear spray industries are probably upping the genetic ante on pepper strength, as a cost saving measure. A quirky kid, though, Zen and the Art of Hot Sauce Evaluation.
posted by Oyéah at 7:42 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This kid is nuts. I like spicy food, sometimes very spicy, but would I eat a whole super-hot pepper? No, I would not. And yes, like others here, my abilities have waned with age. Which is sort of sad, because I still really, really like very spicy foods but, as my grandmother would say, they don't like me. Won't stop me from ordering "as hot as you can make it" drunken noodles sometimes, though.

Also, babyozzy is acquiring language at a blistering pace these days, and last night whined "hot, hot, hot" when confronted with some (slightly spicy) tacos. I thought it was interesting, because she was experiencing the feeling of spiciness as actual heat, since I'm pretty sure she hasn't encountered the concept of hot-spicy yet.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:46 AM on November 3, 2015


And sometime in my 30s, my intentional fauna changed. Or something changed. And now green chile, while delicious going in, is difficult during the large intestine part of digestion

Why did no one warn me? I moved here just in time to fall in love with green chile, then become an internal wimp. Now I should limit myself to one dish with green chile a day, or I'll regret it. Why have you forsaken me, my organs and fauna?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:08 AM on November 3, 2015


I think some people just have a natural resistance/tolerance for very hot peppers, especially when young. When I was a kid, we'd go out to dinner at a local chinese place, and my mom would regularly steal the red whole peppers that everyone else had segregated out of their portions and eat them straight.
posted by tavella at 8:24 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so jealous. This is amazing.

I thought I was a hotshot because I find most spicy foods palatable, until my partner made ghost (pepper) chili for Halloween. "This isn't spicy," I crowed after several bites, "this is friendly." And then I bit into a chili piece the size of my thumb.

I have never consumed more milk in one sitting than I have on that day.
posted by Ashen at 8:35 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hey guys ... I have some medium Newman's own salsa in the fridge right now. It's nowhere near as hot as I expected. I can totally handle it.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


The intestinal part is definitely the worst for me. I've actually had to take a sick day because I ate some food that was really hot. I loved it going down, but man the next day. I'm not sure if there's a way to mitigate that, I certainly hope so, but even if not I'm still not planning on eating spicy things, just maybe less often.
posted by Carillon at 9:03 AM on November 3, 2015


There's a guy I used to work with who loves spicy peppers. Kind of exhibitionist thing, and probably also a self-challenging, distracting coping mechanism kind of thing. And anyway there was this kid who worked at the same store who was somewhere in the dumb-as-hell range basically, and he joined in, ate some stupidly hot pepper in the breakroom went to the bathroom without washing his hands first, and had to go home early.
posted by bracems at 9:21 AM on November 3, 2015


I know I'm supposed to be clutching my pearls and making comments about his herculean capsaicin tolerance / insanity, but I'm watching these videos and all I can think about is how adorable he is. Even as a teenager, my instinctual urge is to pat him on the head, give him a cookie, and maybe serve him some hot cocoa. As others have commented upthread, there's something really striking about his demeanour in contrast with the subject matter.
posted by LMGM at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


For people who have intestinal problems after eating hot peppers, you might eating dried fruit with it -- not in the same dish, but same meal. One of my favorite fast meals is ngapi kyaw over rice, and it's about one third chili peppers. Not really crazy hot to me, but if you don't eat it with plenty of vegetables your stomach won't love you. And I've discovered that if I'm in a real hurry or too lazy to chop up vegetables, a side of dried fruit will also buffer nicely. I usually go with dried apricot, but others would probably work.
posted by tavella at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember a jolokia grower stating that if they are not from the right place and grown the right way, they can be as mild as a bell pepper.

But generally they are snap-your-nipples-off raging hot. I had one during an office chili cookoff - twenty dollars were laid out and I dutifully accepted the challenge. One whole bhut jolokia chewed and swallowed - the heat was immediate, great and terrible. A sensation of being under a broiler, one that was itself underneath my skin. All the fluids in my head immediately wanted to flee my face - nose running, eyes streaming tears, sweat beading up *deep* in my ears. The pain came in dizzying waves, like I was bobbing on a surf of liquid fire beneath a cruel and merciless peppersun. My own breath burned my eyes. Interestingly the blistering heat didn't seem acutely focused in my mouth - it had radiated out through my entire upper body very quickly. I realized that there were, for some deranged reason, no paper towels nearby - I had to powerwalk to the bathroom to rinse my face, wandering through the rest of the office looking like Skeleton Jelly to passers-by with no time to explain the physiological issues I was currently embroiled in. Then minute two rolled around and it all got worse.

Surprisingly, after about 15-20 minutes, it all receded dramatically and faded to naught but a memory of my poor choices. Some chilies can wreck your biz for hours on end, this was immediate highs and then gone like the capsaicin equivalent of DMT. And the way out was mercifully free of ring-sting as well - all in all a fairly fun pepper! ...Provided you can rinse and towel your face thoroughly without walking through a crowd.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:42 AM on November 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am not positive about this or anything, but I've always had the impression that heat tolerance applies to the entire digestive tract. So if you're acclimated to and inclined to eat spicy foods regularly, it's no more uncomfortable coming out than it is going in.

I mean, I regularly eat things maybe on the "Mexican hot" scale, and top out at Thai hot, which can be uncomfortable, and I never have issues after the fact with things that weren't around the top range of tolerance when I was eating them.

I'm sure that's not a hard and fast rule because nothing is, but I'm guessing that, generally, people's tolerance is end to end.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:12 AM on November 3, 2015


Data point: I have eaten bhut jolokia, scorpions, and reapers (though only cut up into small pieces). My tolerance for this sort of thing has developed steadily over the past few years. It's possible it has to do with decreased sensitivity inside my mouth or something like that, but I would hardly say I have a high threshold for pain.
posted by Songdog at 11:28 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting note upon research. The Carolina Reaper was cultivated by Ed Curry at the Puckerbutt Pepper Company
posted by shenkerism at 12:02 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I (like hippybear and smoke) used to be able to eat just about anything. I friend and I make these hot wings that ended up putting someone in the hospital when they (against his advice) ate one. We ate dozens of the things. Just a bit of a rush going down and no problems at all after that. However that was when I was 30... ten years later I can still eat most of it... though not as hot as I used to, but...

Let's just say that anything hot I eat is going to make it's exit known. It's kinda gotten ridiculous, to the point that just about anything even remotely spicy registers on the way out. So I'm pretty sure that something can definitely change in how your system processes these things.
posted by cirhosis at 12:07 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm sure that's not a hard and fast rule because nothing is, but I'm guessing that, generally, people's tolerance is end to end.


Not at all true in my case but I'll not I used to have few side effects from eating hot stuff until fairly suddenly I did - like, I remember the week it happened. So in my case it seems to be a developed sensitivity.
posted by atoxyl at 12:42 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apparently there is a capsaicin blocker. Am I crazy for wanting to see if this can be used to cheat in a chili-eating contest?
posted by atoxyl at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2015


And of course there are also super capsaicins.
posted by atoxyl at 12:48 PM on November 3, 2015


I'm 34 now and I used to be a chilli fiend, could eat anything hot, no worries later. Now, admittedly, I was diagnosed with (unrelated) colitis in the intervening years, but these days, whilst my mouth is willing, my large intestine is so, so not.

Unrelated? I wonder.

We all know how constipating exogenous opioids are, and I think endorphins probably are as well, and very hot chilis seem to provoke a lot of endorphins; and, as plinth pointed out here a while back, naloxone, an opioid receptor blocker, is associated with remission of IBS in some cases -- possibly because blocking opioid receptors causes the large intestine to empty more rapidly.

To carry this line of thought one step further, we could guess that after a fairly long period of comfortable tolerance of hot peppers, IBS sets in because of the reduced motility effects of the endorphins provoked by chili consumption, and at that point the physiological response is to down regulate endorphins associated wirh the large intestine -- but perhaps more generally -- which then causes eating chilis to be a painful experience.
posted by jamjam at 12:51 PM on November 3, 2015


atoxyl: "Apparently there is a capsaicin blocker. Am I crazy for wanting to see if this can be used to cheat in a chili-eating contest?"

Bugs Meany just sucked on ice cubes to dull his taste buds until Encyclopedia Brown busted him out for that.
posted by chavenet at 12:56 PM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


jamjam, that's delightful speculation, but would require a truly heroic (and super regular, pun intended) consumption of chilli. Even at my height, I wasn't working my way through five bird's eyes every day. Whilst colitis is inflammatory in nature (aha! Chillis!), its cause is most likely autoimmune related. In my case, triggered by a bout of food poisoning from a dodgy viet pork roll, and my generally hyperactive immune system.
posted by smoke at 1:07 PM on November 3, 2015


triggered by a bout of food poisoning from a dodgy viet pork roll, and my generally hyperactive immune system.

Yes absolutely; presumably one way the hypothesized chili-induced reduced motility might make one vulnerable to IBS is by allowing pathogenic organisms to establish themselves more easily, and once established, they may provoke an autoimmune response by "molecular mimicry" (which would limit the ferocity of the immune system's attack on them), and could conceivably even manufacture opioids themselves.
posted by jamjam at 1:28 PM on November 3, 2015


Up until a few years ago, I would have been game to try a Carolina Reaper.

I spent decades eating the hottest things on offer. In the Midwest, I would ask for eight "peppers" when the hottest dish on offer was four "peppers." I asked for Thai hot in every Thai restaurant I tried, and always came out on top.

Then I went to a place that would actually make Thai hot for you. I'm so glad I found my upper limit before I had the chance to do something really stupid.
posted by bricoleur at 4:32 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if there's a way to mitigate that, I certainly hope so, but even if not I'm still not planning on eating spicy things, just maybe less often.

I've been told (by a Trinidadian chef I know that cooks with scotch bonnets by the handful) that eating yogurt right after something super spicy helps with the next-day-disaster aspect, but I'm yet to try it myself.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:54 PM on November 3, 2015


It's the casein that helps. I had a milk protein allergy for many years and the lack of a cooldown option probably helped me develop my spice tolerance.
posted by thetortoise at 8:04 PM on November 3, 2015


Even at my height, I wasn't working my way through five bird's eyes every day.

The first time I encountered bird's eye peppers, my thought was how cute they were and I tossed a small handful into the dish I was cooking. That was a bad, bad mistake and I never made it again.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:15 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I ate a piece of a ghost once the size of a pea.

I could see through time.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:02 PM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Heh. That reminds me of one of my favorite recipe instructions ever: "If cooking for non-Thai, add 4 birdseye peppers. If cooking for Thai, add 40."
posted by tavella at 11:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


My friend has a name for the heat that from spicy food when it comes out the other end: STINGRING
posted by daHIFI at 2:07 PM on November 4, 2015


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