I Ate Nothing But McSpicy For A Week. For Science.
Ever since the McLaoSai exploded onto McDonald’s menus, Singapore has been split into two polarised groups: those who love it, and those refuse to touch the damn thing with a laundry pole for fear of its powerful laxative effects.
I am proudly a member of the former clan. During NS, it was my burger of choice when my unit ordered food into camp. If I’m working late, I invariably go for a Double McSpicy and stress eat in front of some terrible Netflix show before feeling guilty and ordering a salad for lunch the next day.
I love it so much I miss the burger when I go on holiday.
During a recent trip to Sri Lanka, I was enjoying a freshly brewed coffee and a fruit platter on the hotel balcony when I heard my stomach’s characteristic rumble.
In the past, it used to cry for Katong laksa and prata. In 2017, it cries for the McSpicy despite having already ingested a lavish supper of pan-seared sea bass and saffron rice.
What can I say? The body wants what it wants.
Hence, upon my return, I impulsively proposed to my editors that I should spend one week eating nothing but McSpicy while documenting its effects on my body. To justify this frankly (in retrospect) retarded proposal, I quoted Morgan Spurlock and used the word ‘immersive journalism’ like a pretentious twat; as if I was some modern-day Marie Curie advancing the cause of human knowledge.
And so I found myself committed to a week of nothing but McLaoSai meals.
It was already too late to back out and email, “Just kidding’.
Upsize? Yes please.
My friend, the chickenshit, declined to eat one with me and ordered a double cheeseburger instead. He refused to even take a bite of the fillet that I waved in front of his face for a good 5 minutes. This made our lunchtime conversation rather tense:
Me: “Dude, why don’t you just eat it with me?”
Z: “Ehhhh … because I don’t like McSpicy?”
Me: “But you like all sorts of spicy things like Indonesian food, curry and you put sambal on everything.”
Z: “I like those foods because the spiciness got flavour. McSpicy is just damn spicy for the sake of being spicy.”
To me, that’s whole point. The McSpicy’s charm lies in its ability to create substantial amounts of heat without altering its basic flavour profile—fried chicken. Unlike other brands of spicy chicken burgers, the hotness is never compromised by weird flavours like the acidic hints of a jalapeno or the overpowering pungency of a szechuan peppercorn.
When you bite into a McSpicy, it’s forever and always chicken plus fire.
Although my friend refused to see reason, lunch was pretty good. I enjoyed the tender chunks of thigh covered in the McSpicy’s signature orange mucus and I liked picking up the scraps of lettuce and mayo that had fallen off the sandwich.
I even enjoyed the second McSpicy that I ate at City Hall not six hours later.
For an agonizing 48 hours, I curled up in bed sweating with the aircon at full blast while waves of pain gripped my stomach. When I finally managed to expel the source of my agony, I remember banging my head against the toilet roll dispenser to distract from the alien parasite emerging from my other end.
My parents told the school that I had ‘Gastroenteritis’.
Given this past experience, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up on Day Two to find that I had not shat the bed.
In fact, the explosive diarrhoea that all my friends wagered on did not materialise. Instead, I spent an unpleasant morning struggling to expel the contents of yesterday’s misadventures, one painful McNugget at a time.
This experience was made all the more unpleasant because the McSpicy is famous for burning on its way out. By the time I emerged from the bathroom, my arse felt as if I’d been wiping with Tiger Balm.
However, my appetite soon recovered. By 11.30 am, I was happily eating McSpicy #3 at the McDonalds in Ang Mo Kio Park, washed down with my favourite drink—an Iced Latte. For dinner, I would have the exact same combo. Despite feeling quite hungry, I decided to stay on the side of caution and avoid Double McLaoSais for the time being.
Just imagine going to hospital and explaining your situation to the A&E nurses. I think I would die of embarrassment before they can pump my stomach.
After growling good morning to my parents, I also noticed that my breath smelled absolutely terrible. I’m not sure how to describe this odour but the first thing that came to mind was a overused deep fryer that needed cleaning. Every time I burped, it was a greasy fart in my nostrils until I drank enough coffee to wash it away.
Unfortunately, that coffee had to come from McDonald’s.
By now, what was once a pleasure had become a chore and I was sick to death of chicken and fries. I would love to have some of the delicious duck soup that my mom made for dinner but promises had been made so I could only watch as my family enjoyed their home-cooked goodness.
Afterwards, I ordered McDelivery and watched Rick and Morty whilst joylessly pushing fries into my face. Sad.
Bless my heart. The needle showed a net gain of 3 kilograms.
Three. Fucking. Kilograms.
How the fuck is that even possible? I only ate two meals a day to his three and American portions are supposed to be way larger. Either I have some terrible genes for weight gain or the McSpicy is somehow 1.5 times more dangerous than your average McDonald’s burger.
In addition to burning constipation, getting fat and sore throat, the diet was beginning to mess with me in a number of unexpected ways.
Firstly, I began to sweat like a waterfall at the slightest physical exertion. My house is only 5 minutes from the nearest Macs but there would be dark circles of sweat around my armpits by the time I arrived.
This is gross but still manageable thanks to my new air-conditioner. However, there was no fix for side effect #2—lethargy. No matter how much coffee I drank, I felt sleepy and couldn’t summon the will for anything except YouTube videos. So that’s how I spent the afternoon, watching meme compilations until it was time to drag myself out for dinner. I met a friend at Junction 8 and tried not to zone out after finishing a Double McSpicy With Cheese.
I am also ashamed to say that I upsized the meal, but only because I needed a large coke to wash down that extra patty and my own feelings of self-loathing.
And that’s exactly how my stomach felt after last night’s bold but regrettable choice of a Double. As the burger journeyed through my digestive system, I found myself worrying if the McSpicy can somehow produce ionising radiation, because that’s what the heat and discomfort brings to mind. (Not a scientist. Didn’t check Wiki)
Radioactive or not, I had an appointment to keep with my family doctor and ate my usual before setting off for town.
Sadly, I chose to smoke a cigarette before boarding the train.
It seems that my ‘quit smoking’ thing has been producing a constipation that cancels out the McLaoSai’s power. All the way to town, my stomach churned and made strangled pleas to stop. At Dhoby Ghaut, I had to clench my cheeks to endure that painfully long connection to Plaza Singapura before I could breathe easy in the safety of a toilet.
I really wanted to know if my ‘quit smoking’ theory was right but I also wanted my doctor to respect me, so I stuck to the tamer questions. Dr. Y was polite and patient, but I don’t think he was amused by my experiment. Here’s what I learned:
- It’s hard to say why some people suffer diarrhoea while others are okay. However, diarrhoea is not always bad because it is the body’s natural protection against unwelcome substances.
- Short term health effects should be limited to weight gain
- The burger is a calorie bomb with no nutritional value
- My excessive sweating is probably caused by the chicken. When protein breaks down into urea, some of it is removed by sweating.
I also asked Dr. Y how often should we include the McSpicy as part of a healthy, balanced diet. His answer was “once a month should be okay”. So going by his recommendation, I have eaten about a year’s worth of McSpicy for this assignment.
When I returned, there was a ‘gentle reminder’ on my laptop asking me not to leave my stuff unattended, or it would be forcibly removed.
In general, I felt like absolute garbage. In addition to all the aforementioned ailments, I had developed a cold that may or may not have been related to this nutrient-free McBinge. My insides felt as if they’d been microwaved and the heat they radiated made me feel uncomfortably hot and cold at the same time. Even though my legs were shivering, I desperately wanted cold water to put out the burning in my belly. But that was not an option because it would probably fail to extinguish the fire while making my diarrhoea even worse.
By now, I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. If the body was a temple, then what I had done was the equivalent of taking a dump on the altar. For the first time in my life, I saw the merits of the juice cleanse. I also began to fantasise about cutting up green apples and steaming brown rice once this whole things was over.
Only the finish line gives me strength. When I started this elaborate exercise in masochism, I was genuinely curious. Now, I just wanted the torture to end.
At last, no more salty grease sticks impersonating real potatoes! No more using the spicy oils as my mouthwash every morning!
Most importantly, the burning can stop, and the world will be beautiful again once I get my hands on some yoghurt or tomato soup or literally anything that is not fried or chicken. How nice, how lovely life can be, now that I am free to taste the crispy dough of prata or the refreshing clarity of a fish soup. All those textures and flavours that I’ve almost forgotten after a week of eating salty laxatives!
In fact, I was so glad to eat something non-McSpicy that everything looked good. When my Mom reheated some day-old greens with rice for dinner, I happily wolfed down the whole plate in 5 minutes flat as if Gordon Ramsay had served me a organic vegetable risotto cooked in angel tears.
Don’t do it because there will be constipation, diarrhoea, laryngitis, and a whole buffet of unpleasant ailments as your body protests the idiotic decision. Don’t do it because god knows how long it will take to lose the 4.5 kg that I’ve gained.
Even though you probably won’t die (no promises), don’t start because there are better ways to torture yourself. I’m not sure what I was trying to prove but I’m pretty sure it’s not worth proving.
Lastly, don’t do it because you will ruin McSpicy and fried chicken for yourself, forever. It’s been almost 5 days since I ended the binge but I still can’t bring myself to eat Nasi Lemak or Biryani. Whenever the red outline of a Mcdelivery rider passes me at a traffic light, I have to look away or else my stomach grows queasy.
Perhaps one day I’ll enjoy the McSpicy again. But for now, I can’t even look at the damn thing without feeling a lurch down below.
My digestive system forgives, but it clearly does not forget.