Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Deadly Nightshades (or: How Not to Kill Me)

I just added a new page to the blog here.  Since some of you get my posts via facebook updates and rss, you might miss it, so I wanted to put up a regular post about it too.

I'm going through the anger phase of grief over this worsening health condition and have therefore been all fired up lately about it. It's frustrating because some people think I'm picky and it's all in my head.  Restaurants think I'm a giant hassle and a huge liability. Many people think that as long as there is one dish I can eat, it's fine (I once watched my entire family have a lovely Easter dinner while I had ham.  Just ham. Oh, and a roll.) People minimize it like it's not a "real" or "serious" medical condition, but it is.  This is life-threatening.  And it sucks.  Anyway. . . here is just about everything you ever wanted to know about nightshade allergies.


I have a serious allergy to all nightshades. We eat alot of nightshades in the US, so this is a big problem for me.  

Many people have a nightshade allergy or intolerance and don't know it.  More common than a true allergy (which causes breathing issues like mine does) is intolerance to nightshades. This condition can cause and/or aggravate a host of medical problems such as digestive problems, depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis and more. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, it's a great idea to spend a month or so nightshade free and see if it helps.

I am not just a picky eater.  This is a severe and well documented medical problem I have been dealing with for years.  When I'm lucky, it only causes digestive issues or severe migraines.  Usually it causes my tongue and throat to swell, compromising my breathing.  This is a life threatening condition not to be taken lightly.

The following items are EVIL. Food not on this list is OK.
  1. Tomatoes, tomatillos, gooseberries (huckleberries)
  2. Eggplant
  3. White potatoes (sweet potatoes are the root from an entirely different plant.  They are ok.)
  4. Peppers (the veggie) of any kind including: bell and hot peppers, chili powder, cayenne and paprika 

  • Paprika is in all sorts of stuff. Most things that just list "spices" include paprika.
  • Potato starch is also in alot of things- watch out for that and "modified food starch." 
  • Black and white pepper comes from peppercorns, not peppers- they are OK 
  • Watch out for "vegetable broth" or "vegetables."  In the US, this usually includes potatoes or peppers.
  • Read the ingredients list on any prepared, canned or processed food that you use. Don't assume it's ok.  I can't eat hot dogs (paprika), certain frozen desserts (potato starch), many deli meats (potato starch), shredded cheese (potato starch), canned soups ("spices" and/or "vegetable broth") and more.
  • Flowers: Petunias are a nightshade
  • Drug allergy too: bella donna and mandrake
  • Tobacco is a nightshade.  If you smoke, it will kill me even faster than it will kill you. You should quit and save both of our lives.
More information on nightshades and nightshade allergies and intolerance:

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