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!
- 6 litres of cold, filtered water or enough to cover the chicken (I recommend using a very large pot so you get lots of broth).
- 2- 3 FRESH organic chicken carcasses and skin-less chicken meat (1kg of chicken in total). (skinless chicken is necessary to reduce histamines)
- 2 onions, quartered (if salicylate intolerant, use leeks and spring onions)
- 1-2 carrot, quartered (if salicylate intolerant, use swede)
- 3 sticks of celery
- Several sprigs of fresh thyme (omit if salicylate intolerant)
- A bunch of parsley
- A generous pinch of celtic, rock, Himalayan or sea salt
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (omit if salicylate intolerant)
- Place the meat, water and vinegar in a large saucepan, cover with a lid and let stand for 30 minutes. This will give time to the vinegar to start drawing minerals from the bones into the water.
- Bring to the boil.
- Over the next half hour, a foam-like scum will rise to the surface. Skim it several times.
- When no more foam is surfacing, add the vegetables, thyme and and salt and reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook for 2-4 hours.
- Ten minutes before the end add the parsley. This will increase the mineral content of the broth.
- After cooking, remove carcasses and veggies with slotted spoon and strain into a container.
- The broth can then be stored in pint-sized glass containers in the fridge. Chill well before freezing.
- 2 eggs
- 2 small-medium (120g each) over-ripe bananas
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, butter or ghee
- To serve – berries with a drizzle of maple syrup, raspberry chia jam, berry compote or chopped Medjool dates, walnuts and maple syrup
- Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl
- Add bananas and mash into the eggs
- Add cinnamon, vanilla, chia seeds and oats and stir to combine well
- Set aside for 5 minutes while you prepare the toppings etc
- Heat a medium frypan over medium heat
- Add the oil, butter or ghee and melt
- Cover the bottom of the pan with melted oil/butter
- Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop mix into the pan, allowing a little space between pancakes so you can turn them easily (I only cooked 3 at a time)
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip over and cook a further 2 minutes on the other side or until cooked through
- Transfer to a tray lined with kitchen towel and repeat with remaining mix
- To serve, top with yoghurt and jam, berry compote or chopped dates, walnuts and maple syrup
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon) or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- Fresh dill (omit for regular mayo)
- 1 cup olive oil or for those with sensitivities use rice-bran oil
- Salt to taste
- Place egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in the bottom of container or jar that just fits the head of your stick blender. It is important that the egg/lemon juice mixture reaches the blades for this to work. If the mixture does not reach the blades, double the recipe before attempting.
- Add garlic and dill if using. Pour oil on top and allow to settle for 15 seconds. Place head of stick blender at the bottom of the container or jar and turn it on high speed. Do not pulse or move the head. As mayonnaise forms, slowly lift the head of the stick blender until all the oil has emulsified. Season mayonnaise to taste with salt. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- 3 large or 4 small beetroots, peeled and boiled until tender
- 2 bananas
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao or carob powder
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp. raw cacao nibs or 75% dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts (optional)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (optional)
- 60ml melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp beetroot juice (made from cooked beetroot)
- A handful of fresh rose petals (pesticide free) to garnish
- Blend the beetroot in a food processor into a paste.
- Squeeze the paste through a sieve and collect 2 tbsp of your beetroot juice to set aside for the icing (you may have to add 1 tbsp water to this). Keep the paste in a bowl.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth.
- Stir in the cacao nibs, dark chocolate bits, or nuts if desired
- Pour into a well-greased pan about 20cm x 20cm
- Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes.
To make the icing:
- Mix the melted coconut oil and beetroot juice together.
- Roughly drizzle half of it onto the brownies.
- Sprinkle with rose petals.
- Drizzle over the rest of the icing.
- 1 cup very ripe avocado flesh;
- 1 banana;
- 1 egg;
- ½ cup raw cacao powder;
- 2 tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Raw cacao nibs or dark chocolate chunks, (if cacao is unavailable) to taste;
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- Preheat your oven to 180 C
- Combine the banana, avocado, and honey in a bowl.
- Mix everything until smooth using a hand mixer or a food processor.
- Add in the egg, baking soda, and cacao powder, and continue mixing until everything is well blended.
- Stir in the raw cacao nibs or dark chocolate chunks, if using.
- Drop spoonfuls of biscuit mix on a baking tray lined with baking paper. The dough will be very soft.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are warm and firm.
- ½ cup almond butter, pepita butter or peanut butter (or any nut butter would be scrumptious!)
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2½ medium, or 3 small bananas
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until it starts to look like a pudding!!
Add slices of your favourite fruits on top for added yumminess!!
Image courtesy of galzpaka at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- 1 onion, diced into pieces or sliced into slices
- 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
- Raw, unfiltered honey, or a combination of raw honey and Manuka honey, (enough to cover the onions and garlic)
- In a jar or pot (if heating, see below), place your onions and crushed garlic cloves.
- Pour in the honey until the onions and garlic are covered.
- Either leave to steep for a few hours (or overnight) or
- Place the pot over a very low heat (don’t heat too much or you will lose all the healing properties of the honey)
- Cook for 30-60 minutes. When the onions and garlic soften, and the honey becomes more liquefied, you know that your syrup is ready.
You can either leave the onion and garlic pieces in the syrup or simply strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer. Store it in a jar in your fridge and use it freely.