Nutmeg. Exotic spice, bogus plague cure, and a gateway to hellish hallucinations and paranoid ideation. Though most are familiar Nutmeg for providing a delightful garnish to a cup of hot chocolate, some particularly jaded stoners know high doses of Nutmeg can cause psychoactive effects ranging from mild euphoria to terrifying, disassociative hallucinations.
Nutmeg was first introduced to the West during the spice craze of the late Middle ages. Since trade with the far East in those days involved long sea journeys or overland caravans, exotic spices were extremely rare and expensive in European courts, and it became a symbol of wealth and status to load up a guest’s meal with spices, particularly Nutmeg, which was prized for the flavor it imparted to savory meats and it’s rumored(though completely non-existent) ability to ward off the plague. Nutmeg was so valuable that the first colony established by England was a small Island in the Indian Sea that the British promised to protect from the Dutch in exchange for some of that sweet, spicy brown powder.
Even at the time the ability of Nutmeg to produce a high was well known among Hindu mystics, who would snort it up through their nose along with other plant-based intoxicants such as Betel Leaf. However, it wasn’t until the wild, heady days of the 1960’s that Nutmeg intoxication became a recognized phenomenon in the US.
Nutmeg contains Myristicin, which is chemically similar to Mescalin, the psychoactive ingredient in Peyote. But it’s similar in the same way that taking a sleeping pill to fight insomnia is similar to having a friend bash you in the head with a baseball bat. The intent is the same, but one method leaves you in a peaceful slumber and the other has you waking up in an MRI machine.
Whereas Mescaline can trigger some powerful, and in many cases frightening, hallucinations, Nutmeg bears only a passing relation to Mescaline. If Mescaline is your friend with white-guy dreads who can get you a sheet of LSD for the Phish Concert, Myristicin is his foreign cousin pressuring you to give him $60 for some drug cooked up in a lab in Malaysia. He just picked it up down at the docks. It doesn’t have a name in English yet.
A few grams of Peyote might have you driving out into the desert to commune with the spirit of the fox, only to wake up the next morning with your pants on your head wrapped up like a turban and a jar full of scorpions you somehow collected. Taking a bunch of Nutmeg will have you spending the next few days trying to figure out why that piles of clothes in your bedroom keeps turning into a dragon.
That’s right, days. A Nutmeg high can last anywhere from 24 to 100 hours though the intense hallucinations might only last 5-14 hours, which is still way longer than you want to spend dealing with the conviction that your face is melting.
Nutmeg is usually taken in powdered form though some people try to smoke it, which is said to be less effective. The dosage varies depending on a variety of factors, such as how fresh the Nutmeg is (generally the fresher the more potent). It takes a significant amount to get high, anywhere from a tablespoon to an entire container of powder, or 3-4 whole fresh nuts. If you’ve ever seen a youtube video of the “Cinnamon Challenge” you can see why choking down four tablespoons of Nutmeg might prove challenging.
Most accounts of the side effects include pounding headaches, red eyes, serious dehydration, memory loss, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. Remember, these effects can last for days, along with the mind-shredding hallucinations I mentioned earlier. Quite a few accounts from people who have tried it have focused on the fact that they were convinced while they were high that these effects were going to last forever. Here’s one such account for your consideration:
“I ate four nuts at 4:30pm. For the first four hours I just got a little sweaty and felt weird, but nothing abnormal, suddenly, at 8:45pm or so, I started seeing things in an unreal way, I felt like being extremely stoned. A lot of ideas and thoughts moved through my mind. At 9:30pm I looked in the mirror and I notices my eyes were extremely red, nothing like they had been before, my mouth was very dry and I felt really crazy, my head and parts of the body moved without me wanting to, I felt sudden chills out of nowhere and had odd closed-eyed light visuals. Around 12:30 y felt terribly confused and very, very, very stoned. My stomach hurt and I had terrible nausea, I wanted it all to end but I couldn’t the effects were controlling me, I couldn’t do anything, so, I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t… discomforting thoughts and convulsions didn’t let me sleep… I saw my thoughts pass by and I couldn’t catch them. I managed to sleep around 2:00am. The next morning I woke up at 9:00am and effects were still very intense, I wanted to die, I felt terrible, Everything was awful and my eyes were still very red. That same day, around 7:00pm I felt suicidal, effects didn’t go away and I thought to myself they were never going to go away, but I managed to sleep and the day after I woke up feeling better. I felt that I hadn’t done what I did the day before, It was a weird confusing sensation.”
All of this is exacerbated by the fact that the amount of Nutmeg you would need to take to get high is very close to the amount needed to contract Nutmeg Toxicity, side effects of which are convulsions, nausea, and burning pain in the abdomen. The only recorded incident of someone dying from Nutmeg was an 8-year-old boy who had ingested just 14 grams.
So if all of that still has you curious about Nutmeg, it probably won’t kill you but could easily send you to the hospital, where most Doctors agree that people they treat for Nutmeg intoxication generally don’t try it again.
Food for thought.
How to get the ball rolling on eating healthier
You may want to start eating healthier, but getting the ball rolling can be an uphill endeavor.
Make a List
When you get hungry, the last thing you feel like doing is running down a mental list of available healthy foods to eat. That’s why you probably end up grabbing whatever is closest to you and chowing down, vowing to start eating healthy tomorrow.
Instead, sit down and make a list of foods that you determine to be healthiest for you and your goals. Don’t just write a shopping list. Make a list of actual meals that you can prepare and eat. Include what day you’re going to have them, and what time. The more prepared you are when hunger strikes, the more likely you will be to have something ready without having to think too hard about it.
Buy a Cookbook
Flipping through a cookbook with enticing photographs of healthy food will get you inspired to start eating healthy. Buy a cookbook or two that has nothing but healthy food recipes. Make sure it has a photo for every recipe, so you can visualize yourself dining on the healthy options. Put bookmarks on pages that really make you want to get up and start cooking. These are the dishes that will offer you the best motivation to start your new healthy eating plan. Alternatively, you can create your own cookbook by searching around the internet for healthy recipes and saving them to your phone or computer.
Buy Some New Clothes
Wearing the same clothes every day when you already feel unattractive can keep you in a negative rut that’s hard to get out of. Put on your favorite pair of jeans, jacket, whatever, and go shopping for some new clothes. Buy a few that fit you now, and something special that you can work toward fitting into after you’ve achieved your weight goal. The change will help you to see yourself as someone new and fresh who is capable of switching eating habits for the better.
Stop Looking in the Mirror
If your appearance really gets you down, stop obsessing over your flaws in the mirror. Seriously, you don’t need a visual examination over every wrinkle or bulge. Just stop looking in the mirror, get dressed, and be on your merry way. Wait at least a month before you give yourself a once over again. This time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, instead of walking away thinking how bad you look.
Buy a Cool Scale
If you’re trying to lose weight (or even gain weight), having a cool scale will make the process easier to measure progress. Get yourself a digital scale that measures ounces as well as pounds. They even have scales that speak your weight, if that’s what you need to keep motivated to eat healthier. Just don’t weigh yourself every day, because daily fluctuations in weight are normal, and have little to do with your eating habits. If you gain a couple ounces after eating healthy all day, you could lose motivation to continue to eat healthy. Every three days or so is sufficient to track your progress and measure your results.
Choose Restaurants With Healthy Food
If cooking isn’t your thing, choose some local restaurants that serve healthy foods with wholesome ingredients. Keep a list of these restaurants at hand so that when you come home late from work and don’t feel like cooking, you’ll have a backup plan that doesn’t involve Domino’s Pizza.
Invest in Partitioned Storage Containers
If you’re short on time like most of us, you need some quick options for meals every now and then. Invest in some portioned storage containers so you can make your own version of TV dinners. Instead of pudding and mashed potatoes, fill them with things like brown rice, steamed broccoli, and turkey breast. Prepare them ahead of time and stack in your refrigerator or freezer. Just pop one in the microwave when all you can think about is flopping on the couch in front of the television.
The key to getting the ball rolling to start eating healthier is to be prepared. When you stock up on the tools that will help you reach your goals, get ready for instances when there’s no time to cook, and be kind to yourself by not obsessing over your image, you stand a pretty good chance of improving your eating habits for good.
WATCH: Tips for Getting Your Significant-Other to Eat Healthier
Woman begs city council to bring back McRib
The McRib Shortage of ’15. It was the single greatest tragedy this country has ever endured. But one woman, one brave voice, said, “No. This will not do.” #mcrib #sheslovinit
Well over a year ago a tragic event occurred: In the fall of 2015, the executives of McDonald’s made a grave decision, the consequences of which are still felt to this day. They decided that when the McRib was released that year it would… it would allow the regional managers to decide whether or not they would offer the McRib. As a result, a staggering 45 percent of McDonald’s locations elected not to offer the McRib. It was the single greatest tragedy this country has ever endured. But one woman, one brave voice, said, “No. This will not do.”
First off, shout out to Reader James from Lake Elsinore, CA for alerting us to the tale of hardship and heroism. You see, when Xanthe Pajarillo, a “McRib activist,” realized that none of the ten McDonald’s locations in her hometown of Santa Clarita would be offering the McRib, she did what any reasonable red-blooded American citizen would do. She brought the issue before the city council.
Now it is no secret that the McRib Shortage of ’15 nearly brought the nation to a standstill. In fact, if it weren’t for the release of a special McRib locator app, experts speculate that America would have ceased to exist as it does today. But amidst all of the rolling blackouts, the deaths, and the riots, we overlooked all of the smaller, personal tragedies that took place because of the cruel decision made by nearly half of McDonald’s regional managers.
In her impassioned plea to the Santa Clarita city council, Pajarillo explained just why the McRib meant so much to her and her family, and why the city council had to act in order to bring it back.
“The removal of the McRib from the menu has affected my family, because every Thanksgiving, my family would, like, order a 50-piece chicken McNugget and like, 10 McRibs. It was like, a tradition in our family, and now it’s like—well, like my family’s holiday spirit is kind of messed up and broken.”
Recently Pajarillo heroic speech before the city council has gone viral, gaining attention at the national stage across social media. Since that dramatic event, Pajarillo has continued to fight for the return of the McRib, even going so far as to release a song dubbed “The McRib Blues.” In it, she lays bare her soul and the souls of those like her to whom the McRib is more than just a barbecue pork sandwich, but is instead, a way of life.
There are those out there, deplorables who hardly deserve mention, that call her bravery nothing more than a stunt. Performance art holding up a mirror to America’s consumerism and obsession. However, others stand by the truth. Pajarillo is a hero, fighting for both a sandwich, but also for something more. Something ephemeral. That little piece of Americana that brings us all together. The McRib.
Fight on, brave warrior, fight on.
♪ Cause we have right to eat what we like, McRib is worth the fight ♪
Still can’t get enough of the McRib? Learn how a McRib is made, courtesy of BuzzFeed.
Do your genes dictate which junk foods you prefer?
Despite our best intentions to stay healthy, we all have one or two junk foods that we could never imagine giving up (mine are french fries and triple chocolate chip cookies).
Despite our best intentions to stay healthy, we all have one or two junk foods that we could never imagine giving up (mine are french fries and triple chocolate chip cookies). Figuring out how the body regulates preferences for these foods would make it easier for us to maintain our weight and health, but scientists have never really been certain how this works.
Now a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK have discovered a gene that might be responsible for whether you prefer high fat or high sugar foods, and it could lead to better treatment for metabolic disorders like obesity.
In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the Cambridge team showed that pathways in the brain involving the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) play a critical role in food choice. They also found that gene mutations which disrupt these pathways result in the subject overwhelmingly preferring fat over sweet foods.
Participants in the study included 14 people with MC4R mutations, who were given a series of identical meals with varying levels of fat and sugar. Although they couldn’t tell the differences in sugar or fat content, the MC4R subjects ate significantly more of the high-fat foods than control groups, while consuming less of the high-sugar meals.
“Our work shows that even if you tightly control the appearance and taste of food, our brains can detect the nutrient content,” says Professor Sadaf Farooqi from the Wellcome Trust–Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, who led the research team.
“Most of the time we eat foods that are both high in fat and high in sugar. By carefully testing these nutrients separately in this study, and by testing a relatively rare group of people with the defective MC4R gene, we were able to show that specific brain pathways can modulate food preference.”
The results are exciting because this is the first study to show a definitive link between genetics and preference for certain types of junk foods. While obesity is generally a mix of inherited and environmental causes, identifying and treating the genetic component could make it much easier for overweight people to lose weight and improve their health.
Farooqi and her team also believe the research supports a commonly held theory that humans and animals evolved a preference for high fat food to help us survive in times of food scarcity.
“When there is not much food around, we need energy that can be stored and accessed when needed,” she says. “Fat delivers twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates or protein and can be readily stored in our bodies. As such, having a pathway that tells you to eat more fat at the expense of sugar, which we can only store to a limited extent in the body, would be a very useful way of defending against starvation.”
Q: Which types of junk foods do you prefer — cookies and candy or pizza and hot dogs? Let us know in the comments below.
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