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.
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.
Want to read more about my experience with Nightshades?
So Much Better
Nightshades: How I Found Out
Cooking Without Nightshades