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I’ve never been a fan of dieting because it always changes my personality. When I diet it’s all I can think about, so it’s all I can talk about and no one wants to be "that girl" — the type who brags about what she didn’t eat that day.
Regardless, I needed to clean up my act, which brought me to the idea of “clean eating.” This was the practice of eating whole, unprocessed foods only. They say it’s more of a lifestyle than a diet, which was equally appealing and intimidating. I already had a lifestyle and it was eating everything and telling no one.
Having gone through a hot yoga phase and a juicing phase, I knew I could try on any healthy habit on for a week or so. So I decided to try clean eating for seven days. It seemed more do-able than most diets, mostly because I could consume coffee and cheese in moderation.
Everything that I thought was healthy was processed — my salad dressing, my green tea, my milk, and yes, even my almond milk. The ingredients to this seemingly wholesome dairy alternative are littered with offensive c-words, from calcium carbonate, to something called carrageenan.
I took to making my own nut milks, which was surprisingly easy. You soak the almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds overnight, blend them, strain them, and viola! I had homemade milk, plus an excuse to tell haters to take it up with deez nuts. Clearly losing my mind, I disposed of all dairy and processed dairy alternatives.
I wasn’t an emotional eater, I was a social eater and not being able to eat everything was isolating and crazy-making. Interacting with others made me overwhelmed with jealousy about what they were allowed to eat. I didn’t want to quit, but I didn’t want to lose friends either, so the only solution was to ground myself.
My main source of social stimulation was my live-in boyfriend, Jay*, who did his best to avoid the whole foods hell I had turned our home into. When he was there, I tried to be pleasant.
Not wanting to make our communication about food, I made it about sex instead. It wasn’t that clean eating lead to dirty thinking, or that dieting made me horny at all. It was the fact that sex was my only vice left. Not deploying it would likely put everyone in danger.
Nights were mostly about getting laid and getting my natural meals prepped for the following day. It may not have been the liveliest way to spend the week, but it wasn’t the lamest either. When I was cutting jalapeño peppers for a marinade, I had no idea how unfortunately exciting things were about to get.
After washing my hands, Jay and I were about to get busy. I did not realize how hard it is to get capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot peppers) off my hands until we were in the act. By that time it had migrated elsewhere and our lovemaking heated up in the most literal terms.
I didn’t panic as much as I should’ve at first, as I’ve scalded my hands this way before. Having been with the same person for years, I wasn’t worried that the burning could be anything but a raging case of chili pepper pussy.
Honestly, at first it didn’t feel terrible. At best, it was what I imagined natural warming-lube would be like. It’s hard to find new things to try when you’ve been with the same person for so long. For a few minutes this seemed like something fun and adventurous we both accidentally discovered together. As embarrassing as it is to admit, we kind of liked it.
Soon the pleasure took a violent turn to pain and I retreated to the shower. It hurt in a way that was so specific and severe — to paint a picture, it was like having my period with hot sauce (sorry, readers).
I screamed over the agony and laughed at the absurdity of being the only person to blame. This combination likely amounted to the creepiest shower audio ever (sorry, neighbors). It was the only time I’ve sexually traumatized myself, all while attempting to lead a healthier lifestyle.
A concerned yet confused Jay stood outside the shower wondering how this could backfire. No longer in the heat of the moment but in the cold shower part, it was clear that one painfully obvious thing could and did go very, very wrong. I should’ve stopped at the first sign of spicy genitals, but we were playing with fire and my insides got burned.
When soap and water failed to do the trick, we both remembered one home remedy for jalapeño burns… and it was milk. You know, that stuff I threw out on my recent processed food purge.
“Get the homemade almond milk!” I screamed. Jay grabbed the mason jar of this hipster concoction and handed it to me, first stirring it with his dick as a personal precaution. It worked as a remedy, but was probably the most Brooklyn form of douching to ever go down.
I still dabble in clean eating, but the main takeaway from this experience had little to do with dieting. In the end, the real cautionary tale was way grosser than quinoa and kale. Still, it’s an important lesson that other people might not want to learn the hard (or hot) way. So no matter how long you’ve been with a person, you can never be too careful when introducing jalapeños into the bedroom.
We learned our lesson and now practice safe sex — which includes wearing rubber gloves to chop hot peppers as foreplay.