Last Sunday evening I was washing some dishes after dinner as usual. As there was nobody else in the kitchen or lounge, I silently “let one out” while finishing up with the last plate. It felt peculiarly warm but I never gave it another thought and proceeded to take a seat at the dining table and read a random page on the paper. Then I noticed this horrible stench. I looked around disgusted. Was it me…? Feeling uneasy, I rushed to the toilet to check.
To my dismay, I discovered in the toilet that some orange-coloured liquid had come out of me from …um…down under. You know where all your food eventually comes out from. I’m going to try to be as less visual as possible here so as to not affect your appetite….let’s just say I had to throw that pair of panties away and use sanitary napkins for the next few days! I was sure it was oil and that I did not soil myself instead because it smears like oil on tissue paper and it floats on water as little blobs. And the stench oh my gosh! It reminded me of that horrible white fish oil syrup that my mother forced me to take everyday when I was a kid – Scott’s Cod Liver Oil Emulsion. Only 10 times stronger and nastier!! Eughh…..!
Anyhow, it was that stench that gave me my first clue on why this was happening – fish. Rewind to the day before, I had purchased a large piece of fresh fish steak on special in the supermarket. It was an inch thick Oilfish steak the size of my face (another clue, OIL-fish). Knowing that Terry doesn’t like fish, I asked the fish seller to cut the steak into half lengthwise so that I could eat half for dinner that day and kept the other half in the freezer for later. I microwaved half the steak covered until cooked, drained and drizzled it with some garlic oil and soy sauce. It was delicious – silky, buttery and flavourful. I walloped the whole thing by myself happily.
Then this unfortunate encounter with orange oil the next day. There was no nausea, vomiting, fever or stomachache. Only very mild bowel movement and gas. And of course the stinky orange oil. I was actually thinking if the Oilfish had somehow hindered my body from absorbing fat thus discharging it as orange oil through my digestive system. Somewhat like the drug Xenical. Or was it draining excessive oil from my body? Maybe I should eat Oilfish more often to lose weight. Yes, I am vain like that. However it still didn’t seem right.
I considered going to the doctor’s but decided to do a little research on Google first. So I typed in the search bar – “orange oil discharge from butt” (don’t laugh!). Lots of forums popped up discussing about this same problem. Some answers suggest that it may be consumption of too much oily food, some say it’s liver damage! Another even claimed that his doctor wouldn’t believe it was oil until he collected a sample to show as proof! I was getting concerned but yet couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to my condition. Very puzzling.
Then I found Bob Lonsberry’s online column about his own unfortunate encounter with the same mysterious orange oil in year 2007. He wrote a hilarious and very visual piece detailing his experience, which was very very similar to mine. And so, being puzzled about his condition and unable to find an answer, he shared his experience on his own radio show hoping someone would enlighten him. I know, talking about this on radio was so bizarre, you’ve GOT TO read his article it’s so funny. Anyway, a caller told him the most likely cause – Escolar fish.
More googling revealed that Escolar is of similar species with Oilfish.
Bob continued to explain that Escolar is very high in a type of wax content that cannot be processed by the human digestive system. Therefore, it is discharged as really smelly orange coloured oil. It is also why Escolar is so buttery and flavourful; because it’s very high in fat content. Apparently it is banned in Japan and Australia while the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of America) advised against consuming this fish more than 6 ounces at a time. Otherwise, it won’t agree with your body. Read: orange oil will be discharged from the butt! To think I walloped about 350grams at one go, that’s about 12 ounces! Ironically, most doctors are not aware of this therefore are unable to diagnose the real problem.
Escolar and Oilfish steaks look very similar to cod as you can see in the picture. It is sometimes marketed as seabass, butterfish or white tuna. So be very careful when you see these fish on sale, it might actually be Escolar or Oilfish. I thought I should share this information as consumption of too much Escolar or Oilfish is detrimental to health. Now I am wondering what I should do with the other half of my Oilfish steak sitting in the freezer. 😦