Nightshades … can produce your worst Nightmare!

Some of your favorite foods may be ruining your life.  Especially if you have a genetic predisposition toward Arthritis (rheumatoid, psoriatic, osteo-, allergic), Lupus, Fibromylagia, Celiac sprue, Multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s,  or any other autoimmune disease or disorder.

To eat or not to eat, that is the question which has become critical to ask for so many of us.

Especially where it concerns diet –> the “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” approach simply does not work.
There will always be different diets which are optimal for some, but not for others.
Similarly, there will never be an ideal weight loss diet that will function as the silver bullet which permanently strips away those excess pounds. It just doesn’t work that way, folks.

In fact, whether it is weight reduction or high energy or vibrant health that one seeks, each individual is constantly challenged to construct their own daily dietary regimen which best fits their body type. Each of us possesses our own unique biochemistry, physiology, genetic blueprint and hardwired predispositions. Likewise, these infinitely unique genotypes and phenotypes, as well as different blood types will produce many and diverse physical expressions known as the human body. In fact, the multitude of combinations and permutations will produce body types which can be labelled according to several different time-tested schools of body T Y P I N G.  

Let’s see — we have the Ayurvedic Body Type, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Body Constitutions, Metabolic Type, Blood Type, among many other systems out there in the world. It behooves us – no matter how old, how healthy, how ‘educated’ we are – to get a grip on our own physical body. Doing so will save us from many a doctor’s visit and fee.

This discussion, by the way, is as serious a health coaching session as you’ll ever receive. You may have already heard about the high esteem with which we hold food in the context of healing. Therefore, wouldn’t it follow that the body and its various types assume a form that reflects the foods we eat and beverages we drink? Not only is food our best medicine, when properly chosen it helps us avoid the use of all processed medicines, both pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

Now for a real life illustration:

Regular nightshade ingestion can bring untold misery to you and your family.

Many people who have eaten the All American diet for decades have pushed themselves into the state of chronic acidosis, leaky gut syndrome or celiac sprue disease. With these conditions and others like intestinal dysbiosis, irritable bowel syndrome and systemic candidiasis, the gastrointestinal tract becomes degraded. As this degradation continues unabated, the many digestive processes become compromised and sometimes severely impaired. When this happens certain foods which require strong HCL production and the proper mix of digestive enzymes don’t receive the “dose” to ensure their proper breakdown, absorption, assimilation and uptake.

In this way the whole process of proper metabolism can be short-circuited translating to health problems anywhere and everywhere. Enter a diet heavy in NIGHTSHADES. Quite aptly named, this food group can wreck and ruin your life faster than any other, especially if you have developed an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity to them. On the other hand you might only develop an incapacity to properly digest some of the injurious components which are indigenous to these plants.

All nightshades belong to the FAMILY known as Solonaceae. The primary nightshade foods eaten by many are as follows:
1) Tomatoes – every shape and size
2) Potatoes – every kind except sweet potato and yams
3) Peppers – every kind except black and white pepper as these belong to Piperaceae, not Solanaceae; (therefore red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeno, habanero, chili, cayenne, pimento are all nightshades)
4) Eggplant
5) Paprika
6) Indian herb known as ashwagandha
7) Perennial herbs such as angel and devil’s trumpet, petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine
8) Tobacco (Certainly don’t chew it, and do your very best to avoid passive smoke.)
9) Goji berries (aka wolfberries, boxthorn, lycium fruit, matrimony vine fruit)

It’s interesting to note that three of the most poisonous plants in the entire plant kingdom come from this family Solanaceae – belladonna, mandrake and jimson weed. So poisonous, as a matter of fact, that it is believed that these were the chosen poisonous plants utilized by the warring tribes and armies of yesteryear when attempting to assassinate the opposing general, king or heroic warrior.

Do you remember those little red berries that momma often told us not to eat as a child? A good number of these belong to this same family, Solanaceae (e.g. goji berries).

So, what’s up with this nightshade issue. There are many stories out there on both sides.

Perhaps The Health Coach ought to weigh in on this matter. The first dietary recommendation that we make to anyone suffering from a chronic condition, especially if there is pain, inflammation and swelling associated with it, is to immediately cease and desist from nightshade consumption. At the very least we strongly recommend a little experiment: To avoid all nightshades for at least 30 days. See what happens. Watch the pain, the inflammation, the allergies, the aches and pains and, particularly, the flareups of rheumatoid, osteo or allergic arthritis. We look closely at the energy level and unexplained fatigue and brain fog. Also, the severity of the heartburn, hiatal hernia and acid reflux symptoms. There are many other conditions like bursitis, osteochondritis(dessicans), joint malformations and dislocations to track closely with both the ingestion and/or avoidance of nightshades.

So, what’s the real deal here. Nightshades contain very powerful glycoalkaloids which profoundly affect both nerve and muscles tissue. Solanine, in particular, is found in many of the nightshade vegetables and berries.

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), such as the Potato (Solanum tuberosum) and the Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine has fungicidal and pesticidal properties, and it is one of the plant’s natural defenses. Solanine was first isolated in 1820 from the berries of the European black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), after which it was named.
Solanine poisoning is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness. In more severe cases, hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils, hypothermia and death have been reported.

(Per Wikipedia)

Dr Norman Childers, a Professor Emeritus and horticulturalist from the University of Florida, believes that these same glycoalkaloids function as the plant’s naturally-produced insecticides thus protecting it from marauding invaders. Here’s where it gets real interesting.

Because of our long-term and widespread exposure to an extraordinary amount of pesticides* over decades, our bodies have a markedly diminished capacity to process them appropriately, especially due to overloading the detoxification pathways in the liver, the body’s main detox organ. Think about the exposure that you have had throughout your life to insecticide-laden food. Now throw into this mix a daily consumption of potatoes, tomatoes, and/or peppers. Some have suggested that these three vegetables have remained in the top five vegetables eaten by Americans for the past three to five decades. Therefore, you can imagine how much over-consumption of this particular food group has occurred over generations. Not good … not good at all!

*Pesticides in this context include insecticides, mosquitocides, fungicides, and herbicides.

There are very specific reasons why nightshades are sickening so many people throughout Western civilization. The wanton use of highly toxic and dangerous pesticides has overwhelmed the typical body through over-exposure. Therefore, when certain individuals eat nightshades on a regular basis, these foods can cause the same type of reaction which would be caused in an insect, although to a much lesser degree, of course. Furthermore, when there are many other risk factors operative in the case of life-threatening disease or illness the last three nightshade-filled meals just may function as the final trigger of the onset of a heart attack, stroke or lupus flare.

Caveat from The Health Coach:

How do we reconcile the great benefits of say lycopene, which the tomato is brimming with and which biomedical research has proven to “down-regulate the inflammatory response”, with the previous discussion about tomatoes and inflammation. This is where common sense must prevail; it’s also where those who would justify their preferred diet – no matter what – get themselves and their families into BIG trouble.

If someone were to give you a glass of insecticide to drink, would you drink it because it was cut with lycopene? Because the isolate lycopene has beneficial properties, does that make tomatoes good to eat for everyone? Certainly not, so be careful NOT to buy into all the scientific sophistry at work in the world of MSM medical ‘experts’ and health commentators who would have you believe that tomatoes are a ‘superfood’ for everyone, all the time, everywhere on earth.

And, remember our caveat to all health coaches everywhere:
“You can take away anything, but DON’T try to take….”

Shouldn’t we really be questioning why so little research has been funded and performed to more fully understand what millions have found out in the test tube of their own bodies regarding the ravages of regular nightshade ingestion. What’s really going on here!?!?!?
What follows is one example of the ‘scientifically-sacred’, authoritative, peer-reviewed, biomedical research which the health ‘authorities’ present in order to encourage us to eat tomatoes in spite of all the anecdotal evidence out there compelling many to avoid them.
Tomato lycopene and inflammatory cascade: basic interactions and clinical implications.

After the official publication of this kind of study from a highly regarded research or academic institution is seeded throughout the Mainstream Media, we often see a barrage of press releases and articles by the chosen gatekeepers who sing the praises of the particular finding. Again, the point is that many of us may need to completely disregard a particular benefit if the cost/benefit ratio of eating a certain food has been inordinately increased because of another serious health issue.

So, the next time they pass the salsa, tell them The Health Coach has a completely different take on this matter. And, particularly try to remember the pain cycle that you once experienced while indulging in your favorite nightshade-laced meals on a regular basis.
We have recommended complete avoidance of nightshades to many of our clients over the years. For an individual who has been unduly sensitized to nightshade toxicity or has become the unaware victim of nightshade poisoning, this single dietary prohibition can work wonders.

Anecdotal evidence which can’t be ignored:

What if we were to do a cursory ‘demographic’ analysis focused on three traditionally nightshade-eating national populations. The Italians (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and paprika) the Irish (potatoes, potatoes and potatoes) and the Mexicans (tomatoes, chili peppers—jalapeno, habanero and cayenne, and more peppers).

On the emotional front both the Irish hot temper and Italian hot temper are known “throughout the land”. Nightshades have an extraordinary quality to cause inflammation, heat, swelling, pain. These physical symptoms can always bleed through to the emotional body … and boy do they. If you’re having any kind of relationship problems, especially marital, try banning nightshades form the kitchen for a month. You might be amazed!
As for the Irish, and their legendary highly sensitive physical profile, perhaps this multi-generational heredity is due to the multi-generational consumption of potatoes. Perhaps the Great Potato Famine was much more blessing than curse since it forced many to emigrate to other countries which did not have such a potato-dependent diet. As a matter of history, 2 million Irishmen left their homeland for Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Of course, the Mexican siesta is legendary throughout the land of North American workaholism, but why is it a national past time? Theirs is a diet full of tomatoes and hot peppers of every sort and kind. Nightshades are well known to cause drowsiness, fatigue, brain fog, sleepiness, laziness, etc. among many of our clients over 20+ years of observation. For some it is their form of CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

A story has been told about the Mexican farmer who lay dying in his field under the hot sun. With no one around to help him he watches the buzzards circling around his soon-to-be corpse. However, he knows that the vultures will not touch him when they get close because of all the hot chili peppers he has eaten (3X/day) for decades. The birds simply do not like their food so hot and spicy; probably don’t like the solanine either. By doing so he has also kept his body free of many parasites and other “body bugs” which are neutralized by the steady onslaught of the active ingredients found in the Solanaceae family.

Then, there is the Japanese response to Nightshades via the Macrobiotic Diet. Have you ever asked yourself why this very purposeful healing diet forbids the ingestion of nightshades? There must be a very good reason why this ‘Macrobiotic Commandment’ is so well known and followed strictly by millions of adherents. Remember, Macrobiotics is a healing, detox-oriented diet so you now understand why those who are ill might benefit from a completely nightshade-free diet even if for a 30, 60 or 90 day period.

Again, taking this particular dietary measure may or may not be right for you. Remember, it’s all a function of your B O D Y T Y P E, the integrity of your GI tract, bioterrain as well as your genetic predispositions. And, especially, your own body’s innate capacity to adequately process the powerful glycoalkaloids found throughout the Solanaceae Family.

With every good wish,
The Health Coach

[1] A little known but highly relevant factoid is that within the field of animal husbandry is that every farmer knows never to allow his livestock onto pasture with not so much as a single nightshade plant. Why?
Because he knows that sooner or later those animals will become sick, lame, paralyzed, incapacitated, feeble, or dead the longer they are allowed to feed on the leaves or berries of nightshade plants.

Recommendations from The Health Coach:
I. Dr. Norman Childers is the grand-daddy of the Nightshade Awareness Movement. His book is entitled:
Arthritis- Childers’ Diet That Stops It– “with scientific research and case histories it brings to light the link between the nightshades, aging, and ill health.”

II. Dr. Sherry Rogers MD has written many books which include her very moving personal experience with nightshade toxicity. The books worth checking out are as follows:
1) Tired or Toxic
2) The E. I. Syndrome
3) Wellness Against All Odds
4) Depression Cured At Last
5) Detoxify or Die
Any one of these books will expound on the basic issues at work for a layperson.

III. Here’s a personal testimony written by one of you, actually one of our clients who has great body consciousness. His life was literally falling apart – physically – and he decided to take our advice (re: complete nightshade avoidance for 30 days) at the end of our first session. He will likely never touch them again so dramatic was his turnaround. And has avoided them like the plague after his ‘last meal’ full of ‘shades nearly sent him to the ER.
Nightshades or Nightmare? by John Roth
(Here’s a link to Medline via GMI which may provide the scientific explanation to Mr. Roth’s predicament)

IV. For the many Baby Boomers among us, and especially those from the older ‘Beatniks’ generation living your retirement years free from arthritic pains and enjoying a nice quality of life just might be assisted by reading:
The Hidden Cause of Many Inflammatory Disorders

We are not saying that no one should ever eat nightshades. We are saying that if your body has been unduly sensitized to these particular chemical components found in the Solanaceae Family, you would be well served to avoid them as much as possible.
Doing so has provided a simple fix for many, especially for those with auto-immmune issues, and the many dreaded diseases (Alphabet Soup Diseases) which fall into that category.

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