November 1, 2021
Around five years ago, I tried chilli for the first time. I had just moved out into my own place and was doing my own shopping. No one in my family ate chilli, so it wasn’t something we ever had in the house, but I love trying new things, so when I saw it while shopping, I wanted to give it ago. It was definitely a hit! I had worked up a sweat, but I really enjoyed the experience, so it became a regular item on the shopping list. Because, what’s life without a bit of spice?
A couple months later, I discovered that chilli had some medical benefits too.
For the previous six years, I’d been dealing with constipation due to my inability to walk or do much in the way of exercise. I had tried many laxatives with little or no success. However, after discovering chilli, I was going more regularly and needed a lot less intervention to get my bowels moving. Even though I like hot chilli, I’ve found that mild chilli can also do the job. Nowadays, when I feel constipated, I eat a chilli and or have some chilli sauce, and within a day, it’s all guns blazing.
A quick disclaimer, research shows that chilli doesn’t work for everyone, and in some cases, it can worsen constipation. In my personal experience, it definitely helps to speed up my metabolism and get things moving. Although it’s no substitute for a trip to your GP, I would think about giving chilli a go, even if it’s a mild one.
After some time, I thought I became really good at eating hot chilli, so when I found out about a chilling eating contest in February 2018, I was keen to compete but had just missed out on a spot. I couldn’t make the 2019 contest as I was in Sydney, but last year I was able to sign up to compete in the Melbourne Chilli Eating Championship.
I trained every day for 2 weeks prior. Trying different chillies and different chilli sauces. I was also eating the fiery chicken wings from Bo Bo’s Diner in Frankston (their food is fantastic, I recommend!).
When the day came, I felt like I was ready and would be a strong contender. We got to the B.EAST restaurant in Brunswick, where the contest was held. I was in the second heat, which was cool because we got to watch the first heat. Then I was up.
Annoyingly, I was eliminated in the first round of the heat. I struggled to chew the jalapeno, not because of the heat but the size. I was unable to digest it all in time. This is something my support worker and I didn’t consider. Even so, I felt humiliated, so I had to get out of there as fast as I could.
On the way out, I bought two Carolina Reapers. They hold the record for the hottest chilli in the world. I ate one straight away. I wanted to see how I would have handled it if I had made it that far in the contest. I remember being pissed off because it wasn’t hot at first, but it started to burn my throat a minute later. I felt like I was choking even though I knew I wasn’t. Eventually, I threw up. I’d never experienced anything like that before, so I’m confident in saying I wouldn’t have won. Since then, I’ve eaten Carolina Reaper, and now that I know what I’m in for, I can handle it fine. Steve Batancs, who won that year’s competition, ate fifteen Carolina Reapers, among other chillies.
Although I felt humiliated about being eliminated, my attitude towards life is to never feel defeated. So if I was going to do it again, I would train with big chillies and practice my chewing.
I find it funny when people say, “Watch out, this is hot”, because they assume I can’t handle it. But, as always, I love proving them wrong.