- 1 cup (150g) flaxseeds (aka; linseed)
- 2 tbsp (40ml) ground flaxseed (linseed) meal or almond meal (use only linseed meal for low allergy)
- 3/4 cup (190ml) water
- 2-3 tsp (10-15ml) Himalayan salt, tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tsp (15 ml) maple syrup (or honey)
- pinch of onion powder (about 1/6 tsp)
- pinch of garlic powder
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (avoid for low allergy)
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (avoid for low allergy)
- Himalayan salt for sprinkling
- Mix the flaxseeds and flaxseed (or almond) meal in a bowl.
- Combine the water, salt or tamari, sweetener, and any of the optional ingredients, except the salt for sprinkling, in a container and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Pour the water mix over the flaxseed mix and stir thoroughly.
- Leave to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mix becomes thickened, but not too stiff.
- Spread mix thinly over one dehydrator tray and score lightly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with salt
- Dry for 12-36 hours at 40-45°C, flipping crackers once after 5-6 hours (optional).
- Break crackers along score lines and store in an air-tight container.
- Preheat oven to 170 – 190 C.
- Prepare a large baking tray by lining with baking paper or use a silicon mat
- Follow steps from 1 – 6
- Scoop the mixture out on to your lined baking tray or silicone mat.
- Cover the mix with baking paper, use a rolling pin to roll the mix to an even thickness. Try to roll the mixture to no more than 5mm thick. This takes some patience as you need to push the dough back together if it breaks up.
- Using a sharp knife, deeply score/cut your dough along desired cracker shapes. This allows you to break the end result into nice tidy pieces.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes (check to make sure they are not burning). The thicker the mix is the longer it will take to bake. You can turn them over after 15 minutes to cook the yunderlayer if you like.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, then break into crackers.
- Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Do you struggle with food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease or leaky gut syndrome? There is a real possibility that certain vegetables may be exacerbating your symptoms.
So what are Nightshade Vegetables?
Nightshade vegetables are members of the Solanaceae family and are completely healthy for most people, but for some they may cause immune reactions similar to wheat or dairy. They include;
- Potatoes (NOT sweet potatoes)
- Capsicum (including peppers such as; chilli and cayenne)
- Goji berries
- Eggplant (aubergine)
- Pimentos (in olives)
- Nicotine in tobacco
- Withania aka Ashwaganda (herb)
Symptoms of Nightshade sensitivity;
Not everyone has a problem with nightshades, but for those with leaky gut, auto-immune conditions, IBS and other gut-related issues, there may be signs of intolerance such as;
- joint pain, particulalry bad for those with Osteo or Rheumatoid arthritis
- digestive issues; nausea, bloating, flatulence, constipation, anaemia and poor food absorption
- itching or reddening of the skin,
- emotional reactions; depression, anxiety
What to do if you suspect an issue?
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease (especially rheumatoid arthritis or anything else that causes joint pain and inflammation), totally eliminating nightshade vegetables for one month, would be a good idea.
If you only suspect a slight sensitivity, it might be enough just to reduce the nightshade content of their diet, or reducing the levels of the worst offending chemicals by;
- Peeling potatoes (as the alkaloids are mostly found in the skin)
- Avoiding green and raw tomatoes and green and/or sprouting potatoes (unripe and raw nightshades are higher in alkaloids)
Why do they cause problems in some people?
Most of the evidence is anecdotal and although there’s no accepted proof, there are a number of theories, including;
- Vitamin D form in Nightshades;
The very potent form of vitamin D3 found in nightshades may prevent proper calcium metabolism, causing calcium to be deposited in soft tissues and not in our bones. Excess calcium in soft tissues causes a stiffening and tightening of soft tissues and joints. It can also form bone spurs.
- Alkaloids and Lectins
Alkaloids include; solanine (found in potatoes, especially green ones), nicotine (in varying amounts depending on the vegetable) and capsaicin (the chemical that gives chilli’s their heat).
These alkaloids work in the plant as a natural pesticide against bugs and mould that would otherwise attack the plant.
Although these compounds are toxic to pests, they’re are mostly tolerated by humans, particularly those with a healthy gut. Compromised gut health, especially in those suffering from an auto-immune condition, may start to notice a problem with them. Some of those alkaloids will stimulate an over-reaction of the immune system, definitely something to be avoided in those suffering from auto-immunity!
Another risk of these alkaloids, is that they may be damaging and irritating the cells lining the intestinal tract. This may exacerbate leaky gut which again triggers an autoimmune reaction as unprocessed proteins and toxins are able to leak through the lining of the gut wall into our bloodstream and therefore causes our bodies to attack them.
Lectins may also be part of the problem. Although all foods contain lectins; a lot of lectins are completely harmless, but there are others that irritate the gut. The lectins in nightshades may also be gut irritants in those that are sensitive which may set off the same leaky gut reaction as alkaloids.
- Toxic or Beneficial?
Remeber, problems from these compounds will only arise in people who are sensitive to nightshades.
Those who have no issues with them, really shouldn’t stop eating them as there are considerable health benefits. For example, capsaicin in capsicums and chilli’s trigger a beneficial anti-inflammatory reaction in those that can tolerate it.
Like anything, what may be harmful in one person, may actually be beneficial in another!
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 tbsp ghee, melted
- 1/2 tbsp parsley and crushed garlic (optional)
- Place the almond flour, arrowroot or tapioca flour, baking soda and pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Add the coconut milk, water and apple cider vinegar.
- Mix to combine.
- Heat a small frying pan over medium heat.
- Brush with 1/4 of the melted ghee.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of batter and swirl around slightly.
- Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden and crisp.
- Repeat with the remaining mixture.
- Brush with remaining melted ghee, sprinkle with chopped parsley and garlic and serve.
- Splash of coconut oil, rice bran oil or butter
- 1 small brown onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tin of crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup semi-dried tomatoes (or a tablesoon of tomato paste)
- 400g can of Borlotti beans (or your favourite beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp dried cumin (optional)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (optional, but really nice!)
- 1 tsp dried thyme (optional, but really nice!)
- ½ tsp dried cayenne pepper (optional)
- Sea salt & cracked black pepper
- Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes to release their sweetness.
- Add beans, herbs and spices and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- Rice bran oil or butter for cooking
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 large or 3 button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups diced cooked vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, zucchini, etc) OR 2 cups of cooked frozen vegetables, drained
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup grated cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Heat a dash of oil in an oven suitable frying pan (24cm diameter). Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook over a medium heat until it starts to soften.
- Add vegetables and toss to mix. Reduce heat and allow vegetables to warm through.
- Whisk together eggs and milk. Season well with salt and black pepper. Pour over the sausages and vegetables.
- Scatter over grated cheese if using.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until eggs are set and topping golden.