I grew up eating tons of spicy food, and have continued to do so. However, since I dropped wheat and other refined foods, eating spicy things has caused problems. Specifically, I get intestinal cramps whenever the stuff is on the way out (12-16 hours after eating it). I'd read that taking probiotics before eating spicy food helps, but it hasn't really done anything for me.
I know this is a "If it hurts, stop doing it son" situation (and I have reduced how much I eat), but I wanted to know if anyone has experienced anything similar and found a way to eat spicy food without these unfortunate side-effects.
asked byajbl (80)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on August 31, 2012
at 07:04 PM
I've had similar problems, but handled it differently. First, I let my gut completely heal (which took about 2 years), then, I adjusted to the fact that things like hot peppers are, essentially, poison -- they produce a reaction in the body that can cause serious inflammation -- serious enough that, for some people, it mimics what may be perceived as a "burn" -- in fact, in sensitive individuals, capsaicin on the skin can even cause blistering. I know that some people will argue that it -isn't- a burn... but it looks and feels enough like one that that seems to be pretty safe "common language" to use to describe the reaction.
In addition, peppers are nightshades, and contain salicilates -- two other substances that, for a large number of the population, can either exacerbate existing inflammation or actually cause additional inflammatory response on top of the capsaicin response.
Now I love spicy food, and grew up with a lot of it, so I'm not going to give it up, but there are a few things I did that helped minimize the impact:
I don't eat spicy food every single day. In fact, I try to keep my spicy food to no more than 2 days a week, with 2 days in between for my gut to deal with the damage (Mucosal tissue heals really fast if you're gentle with it.)
I use tried and true tools, with centuries or millenia of history, to calm the fire: Sour cream, avocado, full-fat greek yogurt, and cheese (yes, hiss boo --but if I'm eating peppers, dairy helps to calm the fire in the intestines)
I take higher-than-usual doses of pro-biotics the day of and the day after a hot-pepper-filled feast, to help restore the healthy bacteria killed by exposure to the hot-pepper-chemical soup.
I follow days of spicy food with days of food that is particularly gentle to my insides -- bone broth, boiled or poached eggs, etc.
For me, this has minimized the amount of time I spend in pain, and enabled me to restore at least a moderate tolerance for spicy foods, at least with the understanding that anyone's going to have some trouble when they're intentionally eating the gut's equivalent of battery acid. grins
on August 31, 2012
at 06:36 PM
Same thing happened to me. I cannot use any more spices, even the ones that are NOT SPICY. I cannot have ANYTHING - only boiled onions and garlic - those two are my spices for now.
It is SO WEIRD - I think if somebody would tell me that a year ago I would never believed them. But it is real and it is happening to me.
But there is good news - for some reason unknown to me I can tolerate cabbage juice again. Not sure why. I have been drinking it and I am fine - no bad side effects. What in the world is going on with me - I don't know.
on August 31, 2012
at 06:25 PM
I had that happen when I ate a ghost pepper. It was "fun" going down, didn't hurt on the way out, but OUCH - ~10 hours after I ate it, something was definitely hurting.
My guess is this: capsaicin is known to effect gut permeability. While under the strong influence of gluten, your gut was always inflamed, and a little bit of capsaicin didn't make things worse. Now that your gut has healed somewhat, you are feeling the effects of capsaicin more readily.
I love me some spicy food, too. :-) Maybe stick with the less potent stuff for a while.