How to tell if you are allergic or sensitive to nightshade vegetables? Nightshades are staple foods we often eat every day, such as potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes.

Nightshade vegetables may be secretly making you sick

Okay, Death may be a bit extreme here, but you would be surprised how many people have a sensitivity to common nightshade vegetables. You’ve heard of the Deadly Nightshade. Hikers and foragers learn to avoid the tasty looking, yet poisonous, berries on this wild growing plant. But we avidly cultivate and daily eat the relatives of this deadly plant: tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and aubergines.

Should you avoid nightshades?

Even if you’ve eaten these foods daily for your entire life without any obvious issues, you can suddenly become sensitive to them. People who suffer from Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and leaky gut are more likely than the average person to also develop a sensitivity to nightshades.

The symptoms of nightshade vegetable sensitivity include intestinal issues (bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhea), joint pain, headaches and even depressive mood swings. Since so many other causes are linked to these symptoms, it’s really hard to tell if you are having a reaction to nightshade vegetables.

Have a yam

There are many other vegetables and fruits to enjoy, but it can be difficult because nightshades have become such a staple in our diets. If you eat out or cook with common recipes, you’ll find they are ubiquitous.

I love potatoes, but I rarely eat them anymore. However, yams and sweet potatoes are not part of the nightshade family, so today I enjoyed a gorgeous purple sweet potato for lunch, simply baked at 400º F for 30 minutes (this was a smallish sweet potato) and covered with plain, whole milk organic Greek yogurt from a local dairy.

There are so many wonderful ways to eat yams, and I feel pity for people in the US whose only association with this satisfying and nutritious tuber is the dreadful Thanksgiving concoction covered in marshmallows and brown sugar.

When I saw purple sweet potato at the market I knew it would be lunch. I picked a small one, perfect for a meal. If you are obsessed with squaring every meal, then I suppose you could add a salad. But a single small yam or sweet potato with some Greek yogurt, butter, coconut oil or miso sesame dressing is very filling and nutritious all on its own. The dedication to eating more than one needs in order to “get your greens” or “make sure you have protein” should be examined. Unless you are digging ditches or running marathons, you won’t actually be hungry after eating a yam.

Read the Ethical Foods Guide to buying organic, local vegetables here.

Learn more

Caroline’s No Nightshade Kitchen: Arthritis Diet – Living without tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant!

Living With Wellness: Gluten, Casein and Nightshade-Free Cooking (Volume 1)

Elimination Diet: How to Identify a Food Allergy, Intolerance, or Sensitivity through the Elimination Diet Process


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