Nightshade Free, Pain Free is an interesting book on the power of changing your diet to eliminate pain. The focus is on the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, peppers (not black pepper), and tobacco.
When I purchased the book, I thought it was a cookbook eliminating nightshade, but it is actually a well-researched book on the foods that, for some people, contribute to pain. Actually, many years ago, I read about research from Rutgers Univ. that some people have a kind of allergic reaction to these foods that can lead to arthritis; thus, much of the information was familiar.
However, Fowler dives deeply into the history of these foods, especially the potato, and makes a convincing argument for avoiding these foods. On page 114 he lists the possible long term effects of making nightshades a regular part of your diet.
Birth Defects & Miscarriages
Congenital spina bifida
Endocrine System Dysfunctions
Polio (remittent fever)
Fowler says these are possible long-term effects. Since Michael himself discovered that eating nightshades triggered his health problems, his passion to pass on this information is apparent.Â Because he is not a scientist, you may want to investigate some of the sources in his reference section.
The easiest way to see if these four foods (plus tobacco; but smoking is bad anyway) affect you is to eliminate all of them for four or five days. Then on the 5th or 6th day eat meals with these four foods to see if the pain you have been experiencing comes back strongly. If so, you may be one of the people who has a reaction to these foods and may want to cut back on how often you eat them, or eat nightshades only once every four days to help your body remove the toxins they trigger in your body.
In his research, Fowler shows how some of these foods were consider poisonous earlier in food history. their flowers resemble those of poisonous non-edible plants, so there is some value in checking out his book if you suffer from chronic pain or some of the symptoms of the ailments listed above.
There is no financial risk in trying an elimination diet and there is no medical cost. It is a test you can do on yourself for any food that might be triggering a negative reaction in your body.Â As for planning meals without tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and peppers, there is a challenge, especially since potatoes & tomatoes are popular items in almost every cuisine. I know you can cook carrots & beets and puree them for a tomato free pasta sauce & you can substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes in many recipes. Eggplant is tougher to replace, but of the four foods, it is probably the least used in everyday meals. I think peppers are the most difficult, since they are packed with nutrients, add flavor to any dish, and in the case of red & yellowÂ peppers, add color to a dish.
Michael Fowler’s book is a good resource for learning about the “risks” of nightshades for some people. If you think you have symptoms that cause pain, you can try the nightshade-free diet without any cost to you. Don’t you think your health is worth it?
(When Googling for this photo, some of the topics were called: Deadly Nightshade!)