My sister always hated eggplant. She said it makes her tongue buzz. I thought that was weird. We did not eat much eggplant growing up, so it was inconsequential. Or so we thought...
Two years ago my sister complained that sun dried tomatoes gave her tongue the same buzzing sensation. I decided to research. I discovered eggplant and tomatoes are related! So are peppers and potatoes. They are all in the Solanaceae family--Nightshades. I found that some people can be sensitive to these vegetables, and jokingly recommended that my sister give them up. She did not give them up immediately, but she did start paying attention to how eating them affected her.
It wasn't until last summer that anyone made the connection between nightshades and my health. My sister complained about potato chips making her mouth feel like it was torn up. I recalled getting the same feeling from something I ate, but could not remember what. Within a week I found out what it was: chili.
Then my mom read an article that said eating nightshades can exacerbate symptoms for those with autoimmune diseases. Sometimes eating nightshades can even cause the symptoms. What really got her attention was that nightshade sensitivity is hereditary.
I did not like being told I needed to stop eating nightshades. I snacked regularly on peppers and tomatoes. I loved pizza, spaghetti, and barbecue. But I decided to try it and see if it would improve my health.
It did. My health improved so much that even six months pregnant I had more energy than I had had in ten years.
I discovered that nightshades were everywhere. Sure, I knew to avoid French fries and ketchup, but I discovered they hide in unexpected food. I started reading every food label.
It was worth the diet change to feel better. After a while, I experimented with adding nightshades back into my diet and immediately had fatigue and joint pain that lasted at least a day. I may gaze longingly at tomatoes and peppers now, but I'm not going to eat them! the sacrifice is worth it to have my health.
Want to read more about my experience with Nightshades?
So Much Better
Nightshades Where You Don't Expect
Cooking Without Nightshades