Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Habanero!


So, I'll admit it. I like to post about things people don't already know about. I mean, I could write about apples and bananas on here, but I'd say damn near everyone in the universe already knows that apples and bananas have health benefits, and I doubt there's anything I can write about either one of those that will make people be like, "oh, yeah, I SHOULD go eat an apple!" And so when I started thinking about if I should post about habaneros, I felt the twinge of, "dude, they already know, move on to sweet potatoes already". And then I bought some, for some soup (believe it or don't), and a friend asked me what they were, and I realized that maybe some people weren't already on the habanero train, and I should write about these little dudes, and help spice up everyone's lives.

I got into spicy foods when I was 19 or so, and vegan. I had said something to a friend about how it seemed bad that all of the vegans I knew put so much salt on everything, because everything was so bland. None of us were great cooks or anything, so most vegan meals where starchy and unexciting, and the fact that we were poor made it so that most of those meals also weren't made from the best or freshest ingredients. All of us had grown up eating lots of amazing Mexican food, so we knew to put hot sauce in our beans and rice burritos, but it wasn't until this conversation with him that I realized that hot sauce, and spicy foods, could go a long way in both keeping healthy with a less than nutritious diet, as well as take some of the pressure off of salt to keep everything tasting good. And the biggest selling point for me, was the magic of the endorphins. From there on out, I was putting chili sauce in my stir fry, and peppers in my pasta, and sauteeing peppers, and adding them to soups. It's been an amazing love affair.

And years later, I met a guy who put habaneros in maple syrup for breakfast. What a nut job! Right guys? Actually, he totally was on to something. But before I jump into the "how do I eat this?" part, how about I run down the "why do I eat this it really burns a lot seriously man what the hell" part first.

i.) Let's get HIGH! So, one of the things that really made me think I was onto something with spicy foods, was that feeling of happiness that I'd have afterward. Before I knew any better, I thought it was just the satisfaction of a good meal, and I'm sure that was a part of it. But really, it was that I had totally just tricked my body into releasing endorphins, which made me feel wonderful. The way it works is that your body associates capsaicin (the spicy part of peppers) with pain. This is because cells in your body react to capsaicin the same way they do to fire. No joke. So, your body thinks it's on fire, literally, and floods your system with endorphins, so that you can feel some pain relief from the seeming fire. Since, of course, there is no fire, you just get to kick back and enjoy the endorphin wave going over you.

ii.) HEART ATTACK! Years ago, I heard from an EMT friend that the first thing to do if someone was having a heart attack was to get them to eat some habaneros. Well, he may have said the first thing was 911, the second thing was habaneros, but still. Habanero or Cayenne tea have histories of halting heart attacks or strokes due to blood clots, and there's claims you can even place capsaicin under the tongue, assuming you have some pure capsaicin sitting aroung. The science seems to support it as well, capsaicin cleans out the clogs in your vessels by reducing platelet aggregation, increasing cardiac performance, lowering blood pressure, flushing harmful toxins from your blood, increases circulation, lowering triglycerides as well as improving the ratio of good to bad cholesterol. So good heart health all around.

iii.) Vitamins! Antioxidents! Yes, vitamins got third on this list, maybe just because feeling good and not having a heart attack are potentially more important to me. Higher in vitamin C than citrus (as much as 300% more!), these guys are also jam packed with A, E, B9, and potassium.

iv.) Clean out your sinuses! If you've ever eaten spicy food, you probably could have figured out this one on your own, these guys are great for opening up clogged sinuses. Great for being stuffed up with a cold, not so great for being on a date.

v.) Diabetes! There's two studies, that are probably related, but there hasn't been that next study to connect them. One says that capsaicin helps the insulin producing cells in your body create insulin again and even makes new insulin producing cells, and one says that the amount of insulin needed to lower blood sugar after a meal is less if that meal contains capsaicin. Either way you look at it, pepper's are good.

vi.) Pain relief! One could deduce that the release of more endorphins is why peppers are good for pain relief, and that might be the lot of it, but there is more research into the effects of capsaicin and how it's possible pain blocking skills can be used to help in the future. Plus, studies have shown that capsaicin can be used topically for joint pain!

vii.) Digestion! Habaneros help to get things out. If you know what I mean. Good for life, again, not great for a date. From increasing gastric secretions to loosening clogged bowels, peppers help everything work a little better.

viii.) Kill food bacteria! Researchers did a test against the 30 most common food bacterias, and chilies killed 75% of them. I wouldn't feel super safe without a study that says it kills 100% of them, but it's a nice bonus, and good to keep in mind if you're traveling or eating out of a garbage can or something. 75% less to worry about!

ix.) CANCER! So, I almost didn't include it. You guys are already preventing cancer with everything else you're eating, right? But this is different. Dudes. Capsaicin fights PROSTATE CANCER! Alright! That's wicked rad, right? Research has shown that in cell studies, prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin are 80% smaller! 80% less cancer! Yay! Also, there's early research in Japan and China that show that it might have anti-lukemic principles. I mean, I'm already fighting my junk cancer, I might as well also fight my bone cancer, plus there's a study that shows it could fight against lung cancer. BUT, not so fast, because there's a small chance that large quantities of chilis COULD be related to stomach cancer.Three beats one, I'm sticking with peppers.

WHAT TO DO WITH HABANEROS:
There's a lot of options here. Salsa's a great one, either make your own, or buy some fresh salsa, and the sky's the limit. I'm sure that people have just as many ways to make salsa as there are stars in the sky, and so I refuse to get into such a debate. People get really serious about salsas! Maybe I'll try to convince Alicia/Double J to come up with a recipe worth publishing, but I'll clue you in now and just say that mine has to do with a food processor, onions, and other fresh veggies. Not too exotic, but I love it.

Soups, obviously, are a highly recommended use. I generally just get one whole habanero, cut it into small pieces, and chuck it into a soup like that. If you're making enough soup for two people, one lil habanero will probably be enough for both of you to have some wonderfully spicy times, it doesn't take a lot to power a soup. I also really like the idea of using habaneros with mac-n-cheese, not only because you can dull the burn with the dairy, but because I think spicy mac is delicious.

One thing I've always wanted to do, and let me know if you've tried it, is make chile relleno with habaneros. I think it would be amazing. And I plan on trying it whenever I get around to it, probably within the next month. A friend recommended I try asadero cheese with it, I'll let you know how it goes.

And then there's the crazy people. I've had it. It's intense. Not honestly sure how I feel about it. But there's a serious fan base out there. And I support you. Habanero and maple syrup. I'm sure that if you've had the two, you could imagine the taste together. I honestly have mixed feelings, but if you like spicy and sweet, I say you give it a try. I found a company that makes it, I've only had the homemade version, but if you've had this or something like it, feel free to let me know: http://www.moosewoodhollow.com/sweet_heat.html

Like all good things, people have found a way to put it in a pill and charge you extra for it. So if you want the benefits, and don't want the heat, check out your supplement section.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS STUFF:

People with Acid Reflux should avoid capsaicin. It has a tendency to make things worse. Also, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome should avoid capsaicin. Otherwise, as best as I can tell, you should go for it. As always, check with doctors, etc.

REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT COOKING WITH THIS STUFF:

It's recommended that you use gloves if you cook with habaneros, especially if they're fresh and you're dicing the hell out of them. The reason is that the oil's get on your skin, which COULD make you have skin irritation, if you have sensitive skin. Potentially worse than that, the oils are a HUGE pain in the ass to get all the way off, which means you can later rub your eyes, and now you're burning and it hurts. Which is what happened to me last night. It was a bummer. So, even after a good 2-3 minute "I really don't wanna burn myself later" hand washing, I still missed a spot, and there we go. Spent another couple of minutes making sure I got under each and every nail and hiding space, and it was fine, but heed my warning: gloves, or REALLY, REALLY good hand washing. Just a good fyi. Cause what's the use of not getting sick if yer damn eye hurts?

11 comments:

  1. one time i cut open 30 jalapenos without gloves (I DIDNT KNOW) and i had to soak my hands in milk for 17 years. also, i rubbed my eyes. the eyes i have now are both glass.

    and in other news.

    i support this blog.

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  2. I don't understand it when people say that "vegan" or "vegetarian" food is so bland, or can never cook it. I'm a vegetarian Indian and there are so many recipes and things you can do to make vegetarian food so tasty. It's a matter of broadening your horizons. I don't know, maybe because I grew up as a vegetarian that I don't understand this.

    In any case, great blog and keep up the good work.

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  3. dude, forget about rubbing your eyes, god forbid you rub your junk. BURNING GENITALZ, AUUUUGH!

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  4. I was about to decide not to be crass and point out that your eyes are so not the worst thing to touch with habanero hands, but bread & honey beat me to it. So yeah. What she said.

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  5. Jihee: I love you.

    Luna et Soleil: I spend 18 years as a poorly trained in the domestic arts, dumbass, who ate lots of fast food, and never cooked anything without a microwave or a toaster oven. I went vegan at 18, and didn't know anything else about vegan cooking than I did about regular cooking, hell, I didn't even know what things were and weren't vegan. I stuck with a lot of basics like rice and pasta, potatoes and simple salads. I was also hindered by a severe poverty, but the lack of knowledge was the big thing.
    Twelve years later and I mostly cook vegan, and cook vegetarian 99.9% of the time. And I feel like I'm pretty damn good at it. I cook for my parents and for friends that "hate" vegan food, and they enjoy it, so I feel awesome. Don't hate Zach from the past for being ignorant.

    Alicia and Amanda: I don't go around grabbing my junk in the kitchen. I'm much more likely to rub my eyes. Also, this is a family show, dammit. Ha.

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  6. let's get high! please.

    random person here. do you have any opinions about oil pulling/swishing? or about oils in general..

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  7. dude! i didn't grab my junk in the kitchen! those oils stay under your fucking fingernails! MIDNIGHT SURPRISE, AUUUUGH!

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  8. DUDE!!! you like totally forgot about some super rad stuff bra that the peppers can do bra! im just going to spew them all out not really in best order.... They cure canker sores in fact I had some the other day from shaving with a old dirty razor cuz I ran out of blades lol my lip broke out in gross white heads and infection I cut open a jalapeno rubbed it all over my upper lip and around my mouth it cleared rite up works for canker sores to im sure it also works for a infected cut never tried it but just a guess...also it gets rid of acne just by eating it but what you can do is get a little jalapeno juice on your finger and dab each zit and yeah eat habaneros of course I use jalapeno's for some things like topical stuff for obvious reasons. also they reverse hair loss I know this from experience I eat a lot of peppers sometimes when I go on a 3 or 4 month pepper binge my hair gets so thick healthy and grows fast!! from the nutrients' and better circulation...also they are amazing for weight lifting they well give you strength and endurance also they speed up the healing proses not only that when your whole body hurts the next couple days it gets rid of that as well! another thing you forgot to mention this one is very important should of been way up top imo...immune system these baby's boost immune system like crazy!! I have not been sick for 8 years!! and in todays society people obsess over aging ...these peppers reverse aging like crazy as well they give you a better complexion full of antioxidants and the capsaicin it's self actually gets rid of wrinkles and I cant think of the other chemicals name but another one in the pepper gets rid of wrinkles as well...also it is a anti-inflammatory this equals less wrinkles as well mix all that with better circulation and there you have it...takes YEARS off your age trust me im 32 I look like im 17! its also healthy for gums and teeth. They are also a powerful aphrodisiac those are huge in todays society: Immune system , aging , weight lifting, Acne ,hair loss , and even erectile dysfunction lol sorry not funny...those are like the top sellers rite there as far as supplements and medications and fads and the habanero replaces all of it!

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  9. I could think of much more Im leaving a lot out I had about 10 other things I was going to put down....and this is odd never read this anywhere but I can tell you it defiantly has a big effect on eye sight!! HUGE effect I can see more far, more close up, and in better detail, more clear ,and everything is even much more colorful on top of that! and you all ready said this the "HIGH" which yes im obsessed with! even if I have to curl up in a ball holding back my puke and sweating like crazy for 20 minutes because I ate 10 habaneros it is well worth it!! haha to each their own I suppose haha...and the mac and cheese thing I LOVE THAT! one of my favorites to , also I really like cayenne pepper in it that can be even better sometimes good to mix it up...imo the best peppers are Jalapeno , the yellow Tobasco peppers not tobasco sauce completely different peppers strange tobasco doesn't even have tobasco in it haha makes no sense?? habaneros and cayenne im all about heat but also flavor those 4 or all very flavorful and very different good combo to always have around green chili and Serrano's are also uneek in flavor...oh another neat thing about peppers is I used them to quit smoking they stomp nicotine cravings quiting lowers you metabolism big time whelp peppers speed it up big time replace tobacco with pepper you well be golden also the increased circulation and healing properties helped me heal much better and faster then previous times I have quit was easier to quit as well...not to mention the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effect is great for lungs! and the endorphins defiantly well replace the nicotine high they are about identical also whats interesting is the pepper plant is directly related to tobacco they are in the same family this could have something to do with helping quit? I think this deserves more research!

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  10. and for all those people that love a good natural highkind of off subject but nicotine is EXTREAMLY good for you as well makes sense they are related nicotine is actually ten times better then the pepper kind of funny prevents and cures over 20 types of cancer it actually raises I.Q and and increases life span a lot! but unfortunately the "smoke" kills you and the additives chemicals and tar defiantly kill; you so yep screw smoking all the way...lucky for us you can get nicotine other ways! Eggplant , tomatoes, Sunflower seeds, there is other ways as well. Egg plant is also loaded in serotonin which believe it or not is very closely related to nicotine hehe except nicotine converts into over 1400 neurotransmitters your brain can not produce meaning you can use over 1400 parts of your brain a non smoker cant hence the massive increase in I.Q and life span ...I added this in because the pepper plant is closely related to tobacco plant just a interesting fact and neat how nicotine is similar to capsaicin..so I imagine salsa is very good because the nicotine in tomato's plus the peppers that's one hell of a medicine rite imagine putting your salsa on your eggplant habanero salso eggplant parmesan just imagine the rush!! the high from that would be incredible!! lol after your done finish it off by eating parsley and a lemon eat as much of the peel as you can! im really in to natural highs haha figured I would include some more seeing how im sure a lot of people reading are also lol..but everything I just listed gets you high hehe lemon and the pill ...pain killer , and anti inflammatory ...same for parsley. Make sure you eat the peel! to kick it up another notch sip some ginger tea lightly boil chopped ginger root and lemon peels with a lid on it maybe while you eat all this when your done with everything drop some chamomile tea in there take it off the burner let it steep for a while or better yet us tension tamer with picture of the dragon on it :) then sip this....all this combined you might actually hallucinate for a good 2 hours! and be giggling non stop for 2 weeks or so...well have fun with that big extra part I added sorry about that haha but you get the idea ...figured I would give people more ideas head them in a healthy direction hehe ill continue a little further lol

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  11. I disagree with the part about how people with acid reflux should not eat habaneros....I have extreme acid reflux and I eat Habaneros regularly. They can save your life from a heart attack....and cure cancer. Sure, they do give you heartburn or make it worse...but wouldn't you rather have heartburn for a few minutes, than die from a heart attack or cancer? I know I would. So I think it's dangerous to tell people to avoid these peppers. EVERYONE should eat them, unless of course they are allergic. In that case, I'd recommend Garlic, but Garlic smells bad and some people are allergic to that too. That's sad

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