NIGHTSHADES

What are nightshades and how does it affect autoimmune diseases and flare-ups? Are these trigger foods for flares and what does the research show? These are a few of the questions I had when I first heard I should avoid nightshades.  I really enjoy eating and don’t want to eliminate anything unless it is imperative.  Therefore, how does this affect me? First what are nightshades?  They are vegetables and technically fruits as well since tomatoes are in the mix that are also called the potato family. These vegetables are of course potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and others.  What is in these foods that could cause flare-ups? Alkaloids are found in these foods that some believe could cause flare-ups.

The information and research on this topic is still arguable and the idea is that some believe there is a correlation where as others believe there is no correlation at all.  Some researchers say if you have an autoimmune disease take them out of your diet for 30 days and see how you feel.  Put them back into your diet for a week or so and again evaluate how you feel.  Elimination diets in my mind don’t seem to do harm so taking these foods out doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me to see how they affect me and my MCTD.  However, who doesn’t love a fresh ripe tomato this time of year? Also, I have a drawer full of the most delicious sweet yellow peppers that came direct from the organic farm near our home.  There is still a little dirt on them and I still ate one on my way home in the car.  You can bite into them just like apples and the flavors that hit your tongue are so delicious and sweet and especially satisfying. 

If I never had to eat another eggplant in my life I would be more than grateful but my husband really enjoys them so I eat them when I have too.  It wouldn’t really be fair of me to say I can’t eat eggplant for my MCTD as I’m munching on my tomatoes and peppers.  When winter is here and these foods are no longer available to me other than the ones found in the grocery store and I have no idea where they have arrived from, at that time I can walk away and see if there is any change in removing these foods from my diet.  Am I picking and choosing my time and place and eliminating foods? Sure, I am especially since buying local, fresh, organic foods just make summer and fall so much fun.  Winter is a good time to try a true elimination diet since foods will be hard to come by just because of the weather.

We still have the farmers market even in the winter but the selection is very limited and I will turn to other types of foods for those months. What I haven’t decided is if I should or want to cut out nightshades and eggs all in the same month.  My favorite podcast says cut it all and do it right away so you can get a real understanding of how you feel.  My thought is the less I do the easier I can tell when things change.  Just by removing grains and legumes I have seen a huge change and now that I’m about 90% dairy free I’m trying to see what affect that has.  This move is coming from my husband and I must admit that makes it much easier to pass up on my cheese. 

Our shopping trip this week didn’t have any dairy what so ever and the best thing was the bag of produce we got at the farm stand was much heavier than the bag of groceries we bought at the store.  My husband said every bag of produce should weight more than our weekly shopping and that should be goal.  I love when he sets goals for us.  This has turned into an us journey now not my journey and here we go together.

I don’t usually write about meals and recipes although I”m not sure why I don’t considering I spend so much time thinking about it, planning it, making it and enjoying eating it.  In any case I’m going to share a wonderful meal my husband made me today. It was the most incredible BLAT salad.  Bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato salad.  The saltiness of the bacon with the cream of the avocado just made all the flavors do a little dance on my tongue. We sat together talking about these salads we were enjoying and discussing how food has changed our dinner discussions recently because we spend so much time talking about food instead of other things like work or stress and even money. Food is bringing us together in a new way.

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