What Is Nightshade Intolerance
From the time I first found out I was pregnant with our fourth child, I prayed “please just let him be easy going and a good sleeper“. We can pray that when we have had three other bad sleepers, right? Well, that little speedy-bee has in-fact been quite easy going, with a bit of added spunk in his step. I guess you need that when you are the fourth child?
He has however, won the Olympic Gold medal for his lack of sleep. A terrible sleeper from the start-often times only sleeping 1.5-2 hour stretches and typically followed by 1-2 hour wake period, or an occasional all-nighter thrown in for an extra good time. After going through so many bottles of “Gripe Water”, I started thinking I should be able to write the stuff off on my taxes (I’m of coarse kidding) but, I did eventually started making my own. He was a gassy mess but usually only at night. I attributed this to an enlarged adenoid that had to be removed, and caused him to sleep with his mouth open. Well, when the adenoid came out and the problem remained, I was officially at a loss.
With every passing day my frustrations grew and my patience dwindled. I repeatedly told myself – “God is trying to tell you something in these extra 12 hours a day that you are up and the house is quite.” Just listen. My prayers switched from “please let him sleep“, to “give me wisdom“, “give me strength to make it through the day ahead“, “guide me” and “show me“. People would say “I don’t know how you do it” and I’m telling you I didn’t know either. I will never know how I survived so long with so little sleep, but what I do know is the message was clear. Speedy-bee has a number of food sensitivities including a nightshade intolerance. Here is your opportunity to learn all about it;
The “belladonna plant” and “deadly nightshades”….
You may or may not be familiar with the historically colorful “belladonna plant” or something called “deadly nightshades” -“belladonna” meaning “beautiful lady” in Italian. In ancient history, the juice from the berries would be used as eye-drops in women causing them to dilate creating a desirable “striking appearance”. This practice was extremely unsafe due to the belladonna’s poisonous capabilities.
Peppers (sweet, hot chili peppers, banana peppers)
Although all of these foods do in-fact look very different, they are all part of the same extended solanceae family. Nightshades are not harmful to everyone, but they are of growing concern to those individuals with a preexisting autoimmune disease such as Celiac Disease and to those individuals with a family history of other autoimmune related diseases.
Many solanceae “family” members contain potent alkaloid compounds, some of which are/can be highly toxic if consumed in large enough quantities. Let’s just say Mother Nature has done her job well in order to protect these plants from harmful insects and other harmful organisms. The alkaloids poison the insects by destroying their cell membranes much like a natural pesticide. [Pretty gross, huh?] Unfortunately, these same compounds have a similar effect on the human body. They have been found to increase inflammation and aid in the permeability of some human membranes, including the small intestine [this is also known as leaky gut syndrome]. To your average individual harboring a minimal amount of inflammation, no family history of autoimmune disease, and who has an over-all healthy digestive system, nightshade consumption is likely not to be of great concern. However, there is still much to be debated and researched on the long term effects of ingesting these little buggers verses their overall human health benefits.**
**My personal opinion is, first talk to you doctor about any concerns you might have with consuming foods from the nightshade family. As many of these do in-fact provide our bodies with a number of beneficial vitamins and pack a good antioxidant punch. However, I would also note that consumption of these in moderation is probably your best bet. Although the nightshade foods we consume as a general public do have a significant lower toxic alkaloid level than other plants within the same family, you should take note that the nightshade family has well over 200 plant species in it and a vast majority are inedible.