I may have made an interesting discovery about myself.  I think I may be sensitive to nightshades.

Recently I started gaining weight again – not much, just a couple pounds – but it didn’t make sense.  I was in the process of losing weight and my diet seemed to be unchanged calorie-wise, yet the scale started climbing.  I attributed this to the addition of prebiotics, but now I’m not so sure.  It occurred to me that might have something to do with food intolerance. I remembered from back in my floundering-about days hearing this concept in Lyn Genet’s book, The Plan – that one can lose weight easily as long as you aren’t eating things you are sensitive to (the trick being to identify which things those are). I moved on pretty quickly from The Plan at the time because I couldn’t subsist on bird seed and I found her recipes to be annoyingly vague.  However, the idea that prevention of weight loss – or weight gain – could be related to unidentified food intolerance stayed with me.

I started thinking about this again last week after eating a bunch of roasted bell peppers…and then having my shoulders ache for the next couple of hours.  And then doing it again and having my shoulders ache again.  Peppers are in the nightshade family.  I hadn’t given nightshades much thought over the years – I didn’t have much pain (in the joints or otherwise) so I figured they were probably safe for me.  I do remember Jack Kruse saying once that if your HDL cholesterol isn’t over 50 (or was it 60?), “you have no business eating nightshades.”  Hm….my HDL tends to run low.

A week or so ago I decided to limit my diet to only that which I know is absolutely safe for me – foods that have never inhibited weight loss for me – and then add in questionable foods one at a time to distinguish the troublemakers.  Meat, coconut oil, eggs, and a couple of different vegetables (spinach, mushrooms) were on the list to start.  Pretty limited, but I knew it was temporary.  The first addition was macadamia nuts.  That went fine and I saw a loss on the scale the next day.  The next addition was tomatoes (yesterday).  That did not go fine.  My face started getting itchy and breaking out last night, and today the scale is UP a pound.  This, in addition to the shoulder pain following pepper consumption, makes me think maybe I actually do have trouble with nightshades.

So tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are now off the menu.  I’m interested to see if this makes a difference.

I’ve been reading about Kim’s success with a Zero Carb diet, including significant weight loss and loss of body fat, but also improvements in digestion, mental clarity, reduced fatigue, and on and on.  I think maybe the magic of the zero carb diet lies not in what one IS eating but rather in what they’re NOT eating.  Maybe losing excess body fat is really just a matter of getting certain substances out of the diet so the gut can heal up and big picture healing can begin.

Which brings me to another point – the depression I experienced after eating fibers again – Would this have been a problem if my intestine wasn’t permeable?  I mean, the depression was likely caused by endotoxin – byproducts produced by pathgenic bacteria in the small intestine, which managed to get into the blood stream via gut leakiness.  And how come that’s not healing up?   Dr. Allison Siebecker says the gut can heal in a couple months once the insult is removed.  How come mine hasn’t been healing up?

The cursed nightshade.

Bye bye tomatoes…I’ll miss you.  Eggplant, not so much.  Potatoes…I’ve loved you but we’ve been apart for too long anyway.  I almost forgot about you.

Oh crap, I need to get rid of my vast collection of hot sauces.  Darn it.

7 thoughts on “Nightshades

  1. One of those things people avoid on autoimmune paleo I think. Bellpeper showed up high on my allergy test. Drat. Eggplant, tomatoes, bellpepper are my favorite veggies. I have them in limited amounts. I think the magic of zero carb is in reducing fermentable foods for the bacteria. I didnt see any “magic” myself personally. No weight gain or loss. No increase in energy levels. Trashed my hormones pretty good. Cant get back to “normal” no matter what I do.

  2. Yes! I completely agree! That’s why the autoimmune Paleo protocol is my default recommendation.

    Did you order your kettlebells yet?

  3. Yes Christopher, but I need to learn everything the hard way. I can’t seem to just listen to good advice without first getting myself into a deep hole and climbing out again. It was really helpful seeing your daily diet on facebook the other day! Something to shoot for.

    Hm…kettlebells…I have one of them!

  4. Didnt mean small amounts everyday. Havent had eggplants this week or last. Had bellpepper one time last week. And so forth.

  5. I have tried over and over to reintroduce nightshades back into my diet. Each time, all the symptoms reappear again. It seems to have a cumulative effect — the more I consume them closer together, the more the effects build. With potatoes, it tends to be more achy muscles or joints. With tomatoes and peppers, it tends more towards itchiness and skin rashes. That’s just for me — I’m sure it’s different for different people. Either way, it’s all inflammation, and all bad. It’s interesting to note that if I want to cheat a little (despite knowing I’ll pay for it later), I actually do better with heavily processed nightshades (like crappy processed tomato sauce on a paleo pizza) than with fresh organic tomatoes/peppers from the farmer’s market. I bet the fresh high-quality forms have more of the problematic toxins.

    It was very difficult for me at first. I love tomatoes. I love salsa and lots of spicy foods. I think I need to buy some Nomato sauce (or make some at home). I haven’t tried it, but I hear it has a taste and texture very similar to real tomato stuff, but without the nightshade ingredients.

    Also be sure to watch for small hidden sources of nightshades. Many products contain paprika, which is also a nightshade. Ashwagandha and possibly some other herbal/natural meds contain nightshades.

  6. Yeah, salsa’s going to be a tough one. I love spicy food. I can’t believe my spicy food days might be over. Thanks for your comment – good information, and I had never heard of Nomato sauce.

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