Put on your shades to nightshades.

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Ever hear of nightshades? I am not talking about wearing sunglasses at night. I am talking about vegetables that grow in the dark. In the Macrobiotic world, these veggies are on the shit list.
So here’s the deal. Nightshade plants do things a little different. They are nocturnal. They store up energy during the day but don’t actually grow until it’s dark. Common foods in the nightshade family include potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplants, paprika and ground cayenne pepper. A lot of your favorites, huh?

I admit I was a proud Pittsburgher when I saw Heinz ketchup all the way in Mexico. Fries and ketchup are consumed a ton all over the world. Yep, that’s a lot of nightshades.

Why should you care about this? Well, if you suffer from inflammation, joint pain and cracking, avoiding nightshades may lessen your pain, whether or not the nightshades are the true source of the pain. Are you sensitive to weather changes? This can be an indication of nightshade sensitivity. Muscle pain and tightness, morning stiffness, poor healing, arthritis, insomnia and gall bladder problems – some say nightshades are the culprit. Nightshades can also cause heart burn or GERD—a lot of people already know they react this way when they eat peppers or tomatoes. I know when I eat pizza late at night I pay for it! Last night, we went to the Olive Garden and I feasted on some tomato sauce all over cheese raviolis. Yep, my ankles are killing me. Probably not doing my run today.

Turns out that nightshades contain a substance called alkaloids which can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in animals and humans, and may also be able to compromise joint function. The good news is that cooking lowers the alkaloid content.
Hey, I’m Italian. I eat my share of tomatoes. I love eggplant parmesan. I love a crisp green pepper in my salad. Anything in moderation my friends. However, if you suffer from arthritis, joint pain, or inflammation, maybe cut back on the nightshades and see what happens.

This recipe is a nightshade nightmare but so damn good.
Eggplant Curry with Tomatoes and Basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve over brown rice.
Don’t think you can cook? You totally can. This is an easy one my dear.
I look at nightshades like I look at the sun. A little every once in awhile is fine. I just can’t overdo it. Neither can Madilyn.

What’s your deal with nightshades? Love them or hate them?

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    1. Isn’t it interesting Amy? I really noticed it the other day. I ate tomato sauce and the next day my ankles were killing me. Crazy.

  1. After a huge bowl of tomato basil mozzarella salad yesterday, I find today it actually hurts to put my feet on the floor. Considering I love summer tomatoes, a couple Advil might be my trade-off 😉 but sure worth thinking about. You wonder why some days are “achier” than others, I guess time to look at what I ate the day before.

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