Last week I was prescribed something that treats ulcers. I refuse to believe I have an ulcer but since I had a flaming cauldron in the pit of my stomach for the past few days, I’m going to say there is some irritation down there.
I suffered the same medical quandary in February. That’s when I began to wonder if my friendly family doctor might be on to something. During that first visit to find a way to quench the gastronomic flames, he suggested I stop eating spicy food.
“He did not just say that,” I thought to myself. That, in itself, is a death sentence. I live and breathe spicy food. If I had to eliminate everything I ate that was spicy, I’d starve to death. On a regular basis I cook with curry and tomato sauce and I consume raw ginger, onions, and an assortment of chili peppers. Yet, chili and ginger can reduce inflammation and treat gastric infections. I am confused.
In a recent column, my research found that spicy foods didn’t necessarily “cause” inflammation to the stomach lining. Yet, it is common knowledge that some things such as cayenne and chili peppers contain an ingredient known as capsaicin, which is certainly an irritant. Again, I am confused.
I read that Type A people that love to take risks and are super adventurous are more likely to include high heat additions to their food. Studies show capsaicin might inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. I don’t have one of those, but it’s good information to know...
So how do you take into account citizens, who live in cultures where spicy food is the norm, aren’t affected? I read that Mexican parents give their children packets of sugar mixed with red chili powder, which they eat straight up, in order to build their spice tolerance. That may sound like a great way to build a tolerance for spicy food, but I have to wonder if these kids ended up with diabetes. Besides, that doesn’t explain how people like me who weren’t raised on piquant dishes have a later life desire for the stuff.
I guess I’ll take my chalky pill twice a day like the doctor ordered and hope to return to normal. In the meantime, I’ll just fix myself a dry martini with a knobby little Carolina Reaper (hottest pepper in the world cultivated by Rock Hill’s “Smokin” Ed Currie) poised on the rim of the glass and ponder my future while consuming buffalo chicken dip and blazing salsa: Oh - that’s right - alcohol too, is a problem for the digestive system. I really am going to starve to death.
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