A Hot Sauce Guide Takes A Stand Against Bland!
HOT SAUCE 101
Heat & Health
How Hot Is Hot?
The Big Chill
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Fire It Up With Hot Sauce!
A high cholesterol score got me into hot sauce, but it was the taste that kept me coming back.
It all started in one of those little, sterile cubicles at the doctor's office. I had some blood work done and the results weren't encouraging. My doc lowered the boom. I had to get my cholesterol numbers down.
I did some research and learned that my natural diet of McSuper-sized meals, which included corn dogs, pasta alfredo, double cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza wasn't what the doctor ordered (see Pillsbury Doughboy Turns 40).
So I probed a little deeper and discovered that many fiery foods, in particular, salsas, which rely on fresh vegetables and, sometimes even fruit, were good for what ailed me. They not only tasted great, but spiced up "healthy" food that my palate found boring. Yes, a plain piece of fish is sort of like the oceanic equivalent of tofu (see Steve, Don't Eat It!), but add a splash of salsa and it becomes something great to eat. Hot sauces themselves are naturally low in fat, calories and cholesterol so eating them rather than your favorite, high caloric, artery-clogging junk food will help you come out ahead ... every time!
There's also another theory why we crave spicy foods, like jerk sauce from Jamaica. Generally, hot foods and the chile peppers they contain are so packed with heat, they actually cause pain. Why should that be attractive? Actually, it's not, except for maybe a few tough guys out there. What draws us to hot sauce, is that, when the body senses pain, it responds by emitting endorphins, the body's natural pain reliever. Or, maybe we're all like Pavlov's dogs. Our body remembers the pain of the pepper, so it starts generating endorphins even before that first bit of capsaicin -- the chemical responsible for the bite in chiles -- torches your taste buds.
No, I haven't entirely given up on my old dietary habits, but I have gotten my cholesterol numbers closer in line to what my doctor likes and at the same time I've discovered a whole new world of "extreme foods" which make for good eating (see Heat, Drink & Be Merry). Best of all, you can quickly whip up a salsa or, if you don't have time for that, it's even quicker just to screw off the cap of your favorite fiery sauce. Enjoy!
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