(“Remedy” has been stuck in my head all morning. The Black Crowes are one of my most underrated bands ever. “Remedy” is such a damn good song. Love that  southern honky tonk/bluesy twang in their music.)

The nutritional science community needs to make up its mind. At this juncture, I can’t help but laugh at anyone who speaks in absolutes. It doesn’t matter which community that does this — Paleo, vegans, keto/carbers, low fat’ters, Ray Peat worshipers — there’s not a single agreed upon consensus. This became even more clear than ever to me when I read somebody post on a forum I occasionally visit that “avocados are hepatotoxic and negative to your health! They have too many PUFAs! Avocados will destroy thyroid activity!”

That was the first time I’d ever heard a negative thing said about avocados asides from picky eaters claiming they dislike them.

There’s nothing wrong about giving credence to that claim. You don’t have to eat avocados. Luckily there’s so many different types of food out there to get the same vitamins and minerals from. It also doesn’t hurt to do your own research to figure out your very own conclusion about avocados instead of bashing the researcher/the studious one making the claim.

My take? For us men, avocados are one of best pro-testosterone foods out there. They are full of monounsaturated fats and loaded with over 20 different vitamins/minerals. Let’s not forget they contain a compound called oleuropein, which halts aromatase (enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen) activity. Avocado detractors say that the PUFA (polyunsaturated fats) content is the reason to avoid it, and they’d be right about PUFAs having adverse effects, buuuut avocados contain a big chunk of vitamin E, which negates PUFAs’ effects on the body. There’s more studies out there that backs that up, but I’m too lazy to go out and look for them.

That’s not the purpose of this post, however. There’s something else that’s been demonized to hell and back.

Sugar.

Low-carb this, low-carb that. That’s all you hear about when it comes to someone cutting weight and hoping that it’s body fat.

I used to be in the anti-sugar camp. Back in January and February 2011, I went full blown keto (almost) for just about two months. I wasn’t a fan. I missed carbs. My energy levels were rather stable but I felt no creativity or drive (then again, it could have been the time period also — winter). I eventually realized that my feelings about sugar being unhealthy were backed by popular opinion and the nutritional science hivemind.

Anyway, people like to claim that sugar is why America is a nation full of fatasses, but that’s actually wrong. I saw a study, called the “Australian Paradox” that states otherwise. From 1980-2003, sugar rates dropped 23% but obesity increased. Hhhhmmm….

Just about every bit of your body uses glucose as a source of energy and production. Lacking it will cause said organs to derive glucose from protein by way of gluconeogenesis. Eventually the body will use fatty acids and break them down the same way, forming ketones (which has some benefits but can cause metabolic stress).

Fructose is bad-mouthed, too. Probably thanks to sodas that wield high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients. But fructose isn’t unhealthy — it’s the amount of fructose that is unhealthy. The dose makes the poison. Don’t go above 40-50grams of fructose a day, I say. 60g max. Fructose is pro-thyroid and anti-SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). Less SHBG in the bloodstream = more free testosterone.

I’ve been eating a lot of raw honey the last couple months, and let me tell you, honey is one of the greatest foods you can put in your body. All you need to know is that not only is it pro-thyroid, but it contains chrysin and boron (good for your bones and blocks aromatase).

Another reason I didn’t care for staying on the keto wagon is because I love potatoes. Maybe it’s the Irish in me, or maybe it’s because I’ve ate ’em my whole life so I’m well conditioned, but I love ’em in so many different ways, they are delicious and… guess what? Pro-testosterone. Maybe that’s why I’m such a hairy son of a bitch with a deep voice; I grew up eating potatoes and eggs cooked in (real) butter and bacon grease.

99% of the time, I drink my coffee black, but my girlfriend bought us two International Delight (they were 2 for $5) creamers the other night, the Almond Joy and the southern butter pecan, and they are damn good. 35kcals per tablespoon; 6g sugar (from cane sugar). Sugar ramps up your thyroid. Another way to ramp up thyroid production is to cook with coconut oil.

Kurt Warner says... 'sup?!
Kurt Warner says… ‘sup?!

I’m not saying to go overboard with sugar or to go crazy with it. All I’m saying is that it’s not the hellspawn everybody says it is. Hell, maybe you think it is! You are well within your right to believe so. But I just don’t believe it’s the devil everyone wants to make it out to be. There’s a yin to the yang.

By the way, sugar can help mitigate the effects of coffee’s cortisol raising properties.

Spicy foods have their benefits, too. They kill inflammation, help control/regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure. Some people can’t handle them (stomach cramps, spice intolerance, etc.), but yogurt/bananas before and/or after can help one deal with the side effects.

I, for one, love spicy foods and always have. The burn and the flavor! The burn is part of the experience! It’s addictive.

assscorcher
I call the above impromptu concoction of mine, the “Sparky’s Ass Scorcher” burger. Seasoned with Weber’s garlic habanero, this burger sits on top of a Sriracha mayo and @davesgourmetinc’s ghost pepper blend. On top lies a slice of cheddar cheese and a second helping of Dave’s ghost pepper sauce, followed by a bed of onion slices, part of a large jalapeño pepper (I may have snacked before putting this beauty together), a whole habanero pepper and a piece of lettuce. I feel the onions complement the sauce and gives the burger a delicious mix of varied heat.

I appreciate damn good flavors in my food. Even though I love jalapenos, I love the fruity flavor of habaneros even more. So delicious. Give my little recipe above a shot, why don’tcha! Add some bacon in the process.

I ordered some hot sauces from Heat Hot Sauce. Lucky Dog’s Extra Hot Fire-Roasted Pepper Sauce (with Trinidad scorpion peppers) and Pex Peppers’ “Killer Swarm” (an insanely hot all natural sauce made with fresh Moruga Scorpion peppers, wild flower honey and lime juice.)

luckydogkillerswarm
I decided to try out Pex Peppers’ Killer Swarm first.

killer-swarm-and-beef
I browned up some ground beef with a whole onion, four itty bitty habanero peppers, two gloves of garlic and some salt and pepper. I gave it a couple dashes of Killer Swarm. Damn good stuff! I ate it with some Sriracha mayo on a few hoagie buns. I couldn’t feel my lips for 40 minutes, but the flavor was so spectacular. If you are a chilihead or otherwise love spicy food, give Killer Swarm a shot… AND that simple recipe of mine. I used 73%/27% ground beef because it’s always on sale (5 lbs. of beef for $10 at a local grocery store) and drained the excess fat/grease after browning it. Not only is the ‘recipe’ in the above picture quick, simple and easy, it’s also damn good for you and your immune system.

But health be damned! I’m going to end this post talking about some whiskey!

I’ve always had a connection to the state of Tennessee; I grew up right next to it and I was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. East Tennessee rocks, and so does Gatlinburg. Aaaand so does mango habanero whiskey…

mango-habanero-whiskey

This is the smoothest alcohol I’ve ever consumed. The burn you get from this whiskey is not a typical alcohol burn — it’s a pepper burn, and it’s incredible. At first, you taste the sweetness from the mango, but when you swallow you feel and taste the burn of the habanero. Ole Smoky has a plethora of awesome bottled beverages, but the mango habanero is by far my favorite. If you ever find yourself in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, holler at the only LA Rams fan around.

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4 thoughts on “Sugar, Spice and… Everything Nice?

  1. I think if one lives long enough they’ll see articles trashing every type of food and beverage and praising each as well. I don’t really know what to eat or drink as far as it being good for me long-term but I am smart enough to pass on things that affect me short-term. Love me some spicy food but that doesn’t always end well. That being said I’ll take a Sparky’s Ass Scorcher to go…and when I get the chance later today I’ll hoist a toast to the LA Rams’ Ole Smoky Moonshiner!

    1. Gonna be interesting. I wasn’t alive when they wore those colors originally, but if it brings them luck on the field, I’m all for it. I’d rather they go with the blue and yellow, though, which are my favorite.

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