Too much of a good thing
January 17, 2008 11:12 PM   Subscribe

I've made an unfortunate nutritional mistake; am I in for a world of hurt, and is there anything I can do about it?

Web surfing and bowls of sashimi don't mix; I wasn't paying attention, and I didn't realize I'd dropped the entire glob of wasabi into my mouth (covered by a lettuce leaf) until I'd already begun chewing and swallowing. A few minutes after somehow managing to successfully avoid throwing up from the intense pain, I realized I now had that glob of wasabi traversing through my system (and I don't feel so good.)

Does anyone out there have some practical advice to minimize the "pain of re-entry" and avoid having an upset stomach/sleepless night all evening, or am I pretty much stuck with it?
posted by davejay to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I eat a lot of sushi, and I really, really like wasabi and other spicy foods. While red chili oil, especially the kind with chili flakes suspended in it, does indeed hurt going and coming as it were, I've never had any pain passing wasabi, even when I've engaged in painful wasabi-threshhold contents. It's possible that it breaks down in your stomach.
posted by luriete at 11:19 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

That's the most reassuring thing I could hope to hear. Asked and answered. Thank you.
posted by davejay at 11:21 PM on January 17, 2008

it would not have been as reassuring were it not for the mention of the painful wasabi-threshhold contests. So thank you, but forgive me if I refuse to have dinner with you.
posted by davejay at 11:21 PM on January 17, 2008

It's possible that it breaks down in your stomach.

I think it actually breaks down in your mouth. Hold a glob of it under your tongue for thirty seconds or so, and it won't hurt when you swallow it.
posted by narge at 11:30 PM on January 17, 2008

Maybe watch where you go tomorrow as it may... well you know what I'm getting at.
posted by pwally at 12:07 AM on January 18, 2008

I ate a giant chunk of wasabi on a dare once, I felt super sick to my stomach immediately after but once that feeling past I didn't notice any ill effects
posted by puppy kuddles at 12:35 AM on January 18, 2008

You may also want to dilute some apple cider vinegar with water (about 5% vinegar to 95% water, but YMMV) and drink it to assist the digestive process...for that matter, try drinking more water than you usually do, which may help to flush out (as it were) the wasabi, and minimize the effects it may have on your digestive tract. I've been eating wasabi for years (and other, spicier stuff) and vinegar really does help.
posted by motown missile at 12:36 AM on January 18, 2008

Wasabi is a mysterious thing and very different from red chili peppers. It affects the mouth in a totally different way, it's more like horseradish than capsaicin. Japanese people tend to have a very low tolerance of chili pepper spiced food, for that reason. Don't worry, you're in the clear I think.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 12:36 AM on January 18, 2008

Thanks to all. I've still got an upset stomach, so I'm going the vinegar route now.
posted by davejay at 12:42 AM on January 18, 2008

fan_of_all_things_small: Most "wasabi" *is* horseradish. I've always been curious what the real deal tastes like.
posted by strangecargo at 1:37 AM on January 18, 2008

Tums. Lots of tums. If nothing else, they won't hurt, but I find they settle "general stomach twinge" very nicely.
posted by anaelith at 4:05 AM on January 18, 2008

derail- strangecargo: it's a very subtle flavor. You can get pure powder from Penzey's. (They also have a fantastic explanation of the difference between wasabi and REAL wasabi.)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:32 AM on January 18, 2008

Further derail: I had hon-wasabi (real wasabi) at a small soba restaurant near Aso-san and it's about as subtle as being maced. They brought us a fresh root (looked about like this) which we had to grate ourselves. Now, I love Japanese food, but I'm generally not very keen on faux wasabi. True wasabi took things to a whole other level. Just smelling it made my eyes water. It's got way more punch than fake wasabi, so if you ever get a chance to try it, proceed with caution.
posted by Nelsormensch at 5:37 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Tums. Lots of tums. If nothing else, they won't hurt, but I find they settle "general stomach twinge" very nicely.

Your stomach needs a pH of 1-3 for the digestive processes to work. Antacids seem like a bad idea in this case.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:02 AM on January 18, 2008

Ginger is a terrific aid to digestion and tummy upset (clinical term). Luckily for you, there is usually a pile of ginger on your sushi plate.
posted by chairface at 11:48 AM on January 18, 2008

Milk helps counter the zing in spicy stuff- hence its appearance alongside Mexican (sour cream) and Indian (raita) foods. Maybe eat some yogurt?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:39 PM on January 18, 2008

Follow-up: the vinegar calmed my stomach, I went right to sleep, and shall we politely say the wasabi never came back to haunt me. Huzzah!
posted by davejay at 10:04 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

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