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Monday, August 14, 2017

Cooking Without Nightshades

Sometimes I start craving food that I know I should not eat. Pizza, spaghetti, barbecue, mashed potatoes... It is not a craving I can ignore until it goes away, so I've found nightshade-free substitutes. It's a good thing I enjoy cooking.



Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have been a life-saver. I've tried white sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes as well as the usual orange ones. My favorite for mashed potatoes is the purple. The texture is the most similar to regular mashed potatoes. Be warned if you try this: it is very, very purple.

Peppers

I don't have a handy substitute for peppers. Depending on the recipe, I substitute onion, zucchini, or carrot. For spices, black or white pepper provide some heat without giving me debilitating joint pain. Paprika is usually there for color, so it can be left out completely. I got familiar with my spices, and started getting creative with them. I don't miss the nightshade spices all that much anymore.

Tomatoes

The most interesting thing I've learned to replace is tomatoes. It seems I always have to use a combination of ingredients: pumpkin purée, beets, carrots, even cranberry sauce. At times I read a recipe thinking that there's no way it will taste good, but somehow it does.

Replacement recipes taste a little different from the originals, but they satisfy my cravings. I now keep nightshade-free ketchup on hand, I found a "marinara sauce" I like. I also keep a Pinterest board of recipes for reference. It is a challenge to cook without nightshades, but I have ways to eat what I like without being sick.

And Eggplant?

Who craves eggplant? Ummm...not me.

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Want to read more about my experience with Nightshades?

So Much Better
Nightshades: How I Found Out
Nightshades Where You Don't Expect

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Nightshades Where You Don't Expect

Nightshade vegetables hide everywhere

It has been a year since I eliminated nightshades from my diet. The first few months I read the labels on all my food. I became frustrated finding nightshades added to otherwise safe-to-eat foods. Paprika was in mayonnaise "for color," potato starch added as an anti-caking agent in shredded cheese, tomato powder was on ranch flavored corn chips. When I came across sweet potato fries coated in potato starch I cried.

I learned that "spices" and "natural flavors" are both suspect. According to the FDA either of those could contain nightshades...or not. Ambiguity is not my friend when it comes to food labels.

In Restaurants

And that handy list of allergies and sensitivities that restaurants are required to have? Nightshades are too obscure of a sensitivity to be on it. Worse, not all restaurants give information on exact ingredients. Eating at those restaurants becomes a guessing game with my health at risk if I lose. (I'll give kudos to Smashburger for having the best online menu I've found for weird allergies and sensitivities.)

A few things I've learned: Chicken, grilled or fried, has nightshade seasonings. Hamburgers are usually ok. I just order them without tomato and ketchup. And make sure it's not a potato bun. I'm aware that there's usually some paprika in the mayonnaise and mustard--and the cheese if I order a cheeseburger.

See why I got frustrated?

I came to the conclusion that, unless I cook everything from scratch, I'm going to be eating some nightshades. My body seems to handle the little bit I get from eating out ok. The important thing is that I am able to make informed decisions about my food, and I am happy with the balance I have found.

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Want to read more about my experience with Nightshades?

So Much Better
Nightshades: How I Found Out
Cooking Without Nightshades

***
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