The Nightshade Family of Foods and Why We Avoid Them

Over six years ago we began our real food journey and soon after that we realized that Tony’s diet had to change even further.

Tony has had muscle and connective tissue pain and fatigue for as long as he can remember — he thought it was “normal”.  Through some internet research (thank you Google) we discovered that some people with muscle/connective tissue disorders like arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are helped by going on a nightshade-free diet.  If you want more information, HERE is a great article.

While gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, etc are becoming more and more common to most people, many people still have no idea what it means to be nightshade-free.

Nightshade is the name of a plant family.  This plant family contains contains these common foods: tomatoes, all peppers (bell peppers and spicy peppers but not black pepper), eggplant, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), okra, goji berries, ground cherries, gooseberries and tobacco (smoking/chewing and second hand smoke).

Many good real foods are a part of the nightshade family, so even a real food diet poses some challenges, especially in the spices and condiments categories:

  • Green olives are often stuffed with pimentos, pimentos are in the nightshade family.
  • Paprika and chili powder are made from peppers and are in many spice blends, lie Mexican and Italian spice mixes and curry powder.  Paprika is also often hidden in ranch seasoning.
  • Any prepackaged food with the word “spices” in the ingredient list probably contains nightshades…even a basic salad dressing or mayonnaise or mustard contains paprika.
  • Second-hand smoke can cause major problems for those sensitive to nightshades…even for a few minutes.
  • Also, those living with someone who is sensitive to nightshades will need to be careful about cross contamination in the kitchen…using  separate cutting board for nightshade foods and possible washing nightshade contaminated items separately.  We have decided to just be completely nightshade free at home because it is easier!

Eating in restaurants, as guests in other people’s homes and at potlucks becomes a problem for those sensitive to nightshade foods because many foods will “appear” safe but care contaminated due to the spices used in the preparation or the other foods in the restaurant.

Thankfully, we do not have to worry about a severe anaphylactic-type  reaction due to accidental exposure…just a few days of muscle bone and joint pain and fatigue…remember to be thankful in the little things!


3 thoughts on “The Nightshade Family of Foods and Why We Avoid Them

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s