So what started as a 2 week dairy free challenge turned into a full on elimination diet when my husband had a severe reaction a TINY bit of egg. We realized that perhaps there were things we ate every day and thought we had no reaction to that could be causing issues in our lives. We decided to go all out and determine what those things were and, boy, have we been surprised!
We meant to introduce nightshades last Sunday but inadvertently introduced them on Friday, because I forgot my yummy homemade refried beans had a little bit of jalapeno and jalapeno juice in them. Over the weekend, collectively as a family, we were EXHAUSTED, irritable, emotional, and achy. It wasn’t until Sunday that I put together that we have big issues with nightshades.
Sunday was a dear friends going away lunch party and there was free, delicious Turkish food involved. The Turks love their nightshades which is why we thought this would be a good day to introduce them, so on Sunday we loaded up on tomatoes in many yummy forms and likely some salca (a red pepper paste, sort of like our tomato paste) in the kebab’s and coating the chicken. Boy did we pay for it.
We later found out that my son got a headache right away. The rest of us had no digestive upset so I just thought we were all fine. By the time dinner came I was so nauseous all I could eat was the rice and left my chicken and broccoli untouched. During a family movie my son started moaning and raced to the bathroom to throw up. He got one of his awful violent migraines. After he purged his stomach a few times, he thankfully fell asleep fast. The next day I awoke with a migraine as well. This may sound terrible but the whole reason we were going dairy free was to help my monthly migraines and I am hopeful that we are uncovering the triggers. I was SO tired the next day as well and my daughter got a painful red rash around her mouth and my husband had digestive troubles.
After two days I felt like a new woman, I awoke feeling light and had energy and was no longer cranky. Then I had the brilliant idea to embrace our no nightshade lifestyle and made a fun nightshade free pasta sauce. It smelled and looked amazing and tasted pretty good too. While eating the dinner I started to get really tired and really irritable and my daughters rash on her mouth started to flare. I excused myself and went upstairs to be by myself for a bit, no small feat for a homeschooling mama married to a military man. While I was thinking and praying it struck me that I had used some of my stored up chicken broth from the freezer.
Before this whole no nightshade thing we ate hot wings once a week as it was a family favorite. With the bones we made chicken broth. So there WERE nightshades in out nightshade free tomato sauce to my disappointment. We all reacted again, that night I got nauseous again and the next day I was exhausted again. I have to say I have very mixed emotions about this. I am incredibly thankful to have uncovered something that causes such extreme reactions in us but I have NO desire to be on any kind of restrictive diet ever again and to be a burden to those around me and feel like we can never eat anywhere but home. I am hopeful that we can heal our digestive systems though and not have to be so careful.
Here’s a list of some of our crazy nightshade reactions over a 4 day period:
Achy joints (knees and elbows)
Allergies; runny, itchy nose, swollen feeling
Weird feeling on lips and in mouth, like after swimming in really salty water
Red rash around mouth
Slight itchy feeling around elbows and on face
Possibly insomnia (could be caused by stress)
Irritability (like the Hulk right before he becomes the Hulk)
Really stinky gas
So while I will miss rosti’s with ketchup, hot wings, etc. considering the list above, we are happy to donate any leftover nightshades in our fridge and pantry. After having such extreme reactions, and NOT expecting to, I started doing some research into nightshades and was amazed at the information I found. Basically nightshades are heavily linked to arthritis and migraines and headaches are common side effect as well. I am going to share some really interesting links below. If you can only read one link, please read the first one.
Have you ever tried removing nightshades, how did it affect you?