Some people run marathons to challenge their bodies and minds. Others enjoy solving crossword puzzles, while some prefer sweating their hearts out in hot yoga or beneath the sweltering sun while tending to their vegetable and herb gardens.

We all have our choice ways of €œreaching our edge,” as my yoga instructors put it. Whether it’s growing the biggest and baddest crop, scaling a mountain, building up to a crazy, you-shouldn’t-bend-that-way pose or eating a ridiculously hot pepper, one thing eventually becomes clear: the body can handle more than you may think. It’€™s the mind that tries to get in the way.

This adage is especially true when testing your limits (and taste buds) within the hot pepper eating world. Though it’€™s certainly not for the faint of heart, eating spicy vegetables has health benefits not derived from other foods.

While it doesn’t directly promote weight loss, spicy foods help you maintain your figure by boosting metabolism. And all peppers — hot or not — contain vitamins high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, B, C and K. They’re a popular natural remedy to help fight sinus infections, alleviate pain, regulate blood pressure and circulation. There is even evidence that hot peppers can kill cancer cells.

All hot peppers contain capsaicin€” the “€œhot”€ chemicals that create the fire-like feeling in your mouth — which signals the brain to release endorphins that heighten our good, “€œfuzzy”€ feelings…fancy way to tackle depression! Aside from the many health perks that peppers offer (the Internet has way more information on this subject), they’re kind of just…well, fun. Albeit intense, hot pepper eating is a way to train the mind to handle more than it thinks possible. 

On that note, the daring (some may say silly or stupid) folks at EZ-CLONE Enterprises, Inc., have dabbled in the spicier side of pepper eating and, after much pain and suffering, have these words of wisdom to share for those considering popping a hottie.

DO: Absolutely have something of substance in your belly before swallowing one. After hearing horror stories of people literally hitting the floor after eating a Ghost Pepper, this here writer ate yogurt before trying one. It still hurt, but it probably would have hurt a whole lot more on an empty stomach.

  • Start off slow, then gradually work your taste buds up to the real heat, says Research and Development Manager Scott Thompson-Montague, aka “Cpt. Save a Plant.” As with any physical challenge, you don’t want to go beyond your actual limitations the first time. Instead, build the tolerance to move onto hotter stuff eventually.
  • If you need to drink something, make it a liquid rich in oils and fats. Office Manager Jack Jimenez is a fan of chugging a cup o’€™ Joe, €œI like to have coffee with cream and sugar handy because that is my personal recipe for success. Drink a little before, eat the pepper and chase with a little more coffee €” I have been successful so far!€
  • If you’re not a spicy food fanatic, Jack recommends eating the pepper from the seed side first “because the bulk of them stay in the skin and don’t actually hit your pallet.
  • Are you accustomed to hot foods? If so, chew the pepper to enjoy its flavor and savor the burn.
  • Chew gum afterward to help take the burn off the tongue.
  • Dance the pain away. When things get a little too hot to handle shake the pain away.

DON’€™T: Don’™t be scared, says Scott. The only thing between you and this experience is you. So just like jumping out of a plane, take the pepper plunge, knowing you’ll land on your feet (though some people land on their bottoms after skydiving).

  • Don’€™t lick your lips after eating a pepper, maybe for a few hours depending on the heat.
  • As well, don’t rub your eyes or any other sensitive body parts with your hands after touching those bad boys. Learning this the hard way is never fun.
  • And lastly, as with everything in life, don’€™t forget to have fun!

Want to see the the experience? Click on the links to see our employees experience the ride of hot pepper eating in years past.

Ghost Pepper