Nightshades Food List

tomato/potato are obvious. But what else should I avoid? The best list I’ve found is at the World’s Healthiest Foods. I find the name ironic, but it is helping me get healthier.

The most famous food members of the nightshade family include potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), many species of sweet and hot peppers (all species of Capsicum, including Capsicum annum), and eggplant (Solanum melongena). Less well know, but equally genuine nightshade foods include ground cherries (all species of Physalis), tomatillos (Physallis ixocapra), garden huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum), tamarillos (Cyphomandra betacea), pepinos (Solanum muricatum), and naranjillas (Solanum quitoense). Pimentos (also called pimientos) belong to the nightshade family, and usually come from the pepper plant Capsicum annum. Pimento cheese and pimento-stuffed olives are therefore examples of foods that should be classified as containing nightshade components. Although the sweet potato, whose scientific name is Ipomoea batatas, belongs to the same plant order as the nightshades (Polemoniales), it does not belong to the Solanaceae family found in this order, but to a different plant family called Convolvulaceae.

Nightshade spices

The seasoning paprika is also derived from Capsicum annum, the common red pepper, and the seasoning cayenne comes from another nightshade, Capsicum frutenscens. Tabasco sauce, which contains large amounts of Capsicum annum, should also be considered as a nightshade food. It may be helpful to note here that black pepper, which belongs to the Piperaceae family, is not a member of the nightshade foods.

Other relevant posts:
Discussion of solanine in nightshades and how it isn’t really an allergy. But it acts like one. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And an allergy by any other name hurts.
A collection of internet comments on nightshades that were relevant to me or my family.
Night Shade Allergies, my post with the most comments, I think.

Night Shade Allergies

My mother is in the hospital with nightshade allergies, life threatening ones. She wanted to know what kind of reactions nightshades give people. And her doctor wouldn’t take my personal experiences, so I sent her some off the net.

What are my personal experiences? Trouble walking. Joint and muscle pain. Muscle weakness. Back aches. Back spasms. Severe head aches. Sore extremities. Pain. Lots of pain. Stomach upset. Rash. Skin splitting open when exposed to allergen. (Such as when cutting a tomato.)

If I avoid nightshades, I am much better off. But it is very hard to do.

Nightshade-family vegetables:
Eggplant, peppers (bell peppers, cayenne, chili peppers, paprika), potatoes, and tomatoes.
Not actually an allergic reaction. Solanine, a slightly toxic substance found in nightshades, doesn’t harm most people. It isn’t detoxified properly by some people; this is a genetic difference. Those folks get joint pain that may be diagnosed as arthritis, and muscular pain from nightshades. They may need to stay off of these foods for a few weeks or months to clear the solanine from their system.
Tobacco is in the nightshade family too, so it causes pain in the same way.

from Body Technician

Constipation or diarrhea, depression, tiredness, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, PMS — these and other low-grade, chronic reactions may be the result of one or more common food allergies or sensitivities. Allergies can affect almost any part of the body and you can develop an allergy to virtually any food. The most common food allergies are triggered by wheat, the nightshade family (cayenne, eggplant, tobacco, peppers, paprika, tomatoes and potatoes), peanuts, coffee, oranges, sugar, chocolate, eggs, soy, corn and milk (and milk products such as cheese).

from Fred a Care

My personal journey with pain began two decades ago, when my lower back started bothering me. At times, I could barely walk, and I vividly remember two occasions when muscle spasms “threw my back out” and I was unable to get out of bed to go the bathroom. (Anyone who has ever had muscle spasms shudders at the memory.) Coincidentally, the day after my last attack, I received the results of an allergy panel from my doctor, showing I am extremely allergic to garlic, and sensitive to almonds and chicken. I had been chugging down prodigious amounts of garlic prior to the attack, thinking that garlic was the quintessential health food. I immediately eliminated those foods from my diet, and my back was fine. Amazing!

Nutritionally trained physicians have tested several diet therapies, with varying degrees of success. Many people find relief by eliminating foods in the nightshade family, including eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. The Dr. Dong diet eliminates all additives, preservatives, fruits, red meats, herbs, alcohol and dairy products.

Food allergies or sensitivities can trigger painful flare-ups in 20 – 60% of people with arthritis, according to a study published in Arthritis Today. (Dunkin, 1999).

from Inflammation News

Allergies to certain foods appear linked to rheumatoid arthritis, particularly those in the nightshade family of plants: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. Experiment by removing these foods, one at a time, from your diet. If your arthritis worsens and then improves after five or six days, you may indeed be allergic. See a doctor for a more complete allergy screening.

from Web Terrace

There are reports that belladonna [a nightshade] may cause decreased perspiration, vomiting, decreased flow of breast milk, headache, excitement, agitation, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, abdominal distention, reduced saliva, muscle tremor, rigidity, leg cramps, blurred vision, sensitivity to sunlight, slurred or meaningless speech, increased action of reflexes, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, skin rash, dry skin, hives, rapid breathing, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, respiratory arrest, convulsions and coma.


Solanine is a substance found in nightshade plants, including tomatoes, white potatoes, all peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant. In theory, if not destroyed in the intestine, solanine could be toxic. A horticulturist, Dr. Normal Childers, hypothesized that some people with osteoarthritis may not be able to destroy solanine in the gut, leading to solanine absorption resulting in osteoarthritis. Eliminating solanine from the diet has been reported to bring relief to some arthritis sufferers in preliminary research.2 3 An uncontrolled survey of people avoiding nightshade plants revealed that 28% claimed to have a “marked positive response” and another 44% a “positive response.” Researchers have never put this diet to a strict clinical test; however, the treatment continues to be used by some doctors in people who have osteoarthritis. As with the Warmbrand diet, proponents claim exclusion of solanine requires up to six months before potential effects can be seen. Totally eliminating tomatoes and peppers requires complex dietary changes for most people. In addition, even proponents of the diet acknowledge that many arthritis sufferers are not helped by using this approach. Therefore, long-term trial avoidance of solanine-containing foods may only be appropriate for people with severe cases of osteoarthritis who have not responded to other natural treatments.

Most of the studies linking allergies to joint disease have focused on rheumatoid arthritis, although mention of what was called rheumatism (some of which may have been osteoarthritis) in older reports suggests a possible link between food reactions and exacerbations of osteoarthritis symptoms.4 If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, people with osteoarthritis might choose to discuss food allergy identification and elimination with a nutritionally oriented physician.

Titan Support

Other blog posts on this topic:
Night Shade Allergy Dangers
Night Shade Intolerance
Night Shade Food List
Night Shades, Solanine
Internet Comments on Night Shades
I recall why I started avoiding night shades.
Not mine, but referenced in one. Applied kinesiology can help you identify your food allergies.
Night Shades and history, a lighthearted comment.
Night Shades are High Phenol
Eating Allergies = Pain
Restaurant Foods that Aren’t Night Shades
Food Allergies, trying to figure them out and trying to live with them–outside of the hospital.

Please feel free to leave a comment describing your experiences with night shades. Sometimes it is good to know it isn’t just me.

My Story of Faith

I was born into a home where both my parents knew Jesus. My mother had looked for Him all her life and found Him when she attended my father’s church. She rejoiced and followed through. My father grew up knowing Jesus, going through a couple different kinds of churches. But both my parents knew Jesus.

My brother was born with a tiny opening to his stomach. He was going to die. The doctors sent him home to do it, to avoid a higher death rate at the hospital. Someone came from our local congregation and cared for my brother. He lived six weeks, had surgery, and has lived forty-two more years. We prayed about it. It was a miracle I’ve known of most of my life. I was fourteen months old when he was born.

When I was six, I remember being on my bed and asking God to take me to heaven if I died. I knew about God. I knew about Jesus. I knew and I wanted to do what I was supposed to; I wanted to be baptized. But my parents thought I was too young. So they said no. I prayed and cried and hoped God would forgive me for not doing what I was told by Him to do. And I found peace. He would accept me, if a short life were my lot.

When I was nine I was baptized. I did it at camp, to avoid 800 people watching. I did it the first night, because I was excited. And so I had no friends, no family, there with me at my baptism. No one I even knew well enough that they would hold my towel. I went into the water with, “Just As I Am.” And I came out wet and happy.

From nine on I wanted to do what God wanted. I often chose the “hard things” to do thinking because I was willing that those are what God wanted for me. I chose to teach rather than research because I could touch more people’s lives. I chose secondary education because middle school is so hard to teach. (Impossible for me. This is a calling.) I chose to go into missions because “someone needed to and I could” and not because God called me to it.

When I was twenty-two I left God, the first time ever and the last time as well. God’s children were treating me poorly and though I had seen my family turn from God for the same reason and thought them foolish, the lies hurt. I had already spent almost two years as a missionary apprentice struggling with life’s pressures. Then to come home to that. And Satan stepped in with some handsome temptations. And I walked away from God.

Thankfully I figured out that was stupid fairly quickly and in less than a year I was back. I wanted encouragement and I drove six hours or more every weekend to go to my favorite church. God used that commitment to bless me and to bless others. I don’t regret the driving or the time.

When I was twenty-six God answered an old prayer and brought me my husband. He taught me that forgiveness is real. An awesome lesson for which I am still grateful.

God gave us two boys who strengthened and deepened our dependence on God. We’ve learned what it means to hear and say “Father” from another perspective. Both were risky births and we spent lots of early time praying and being answered.

In our years of being itinerate residents, we moved outside our denomination and enriched, not only our lives but our understanding of faith. God didn’t grow, but my knowledge of who He is and how He is did. He blessed me with experiences I had never expected and answered questions I didn’t know I had.

God has not changed. God is eternal. But my part of the relationship has deepened. My understanding of Him has grown. And I am more grateful for the love He has given and more accepting of His grace. I do not have to be perfect, because He is perfect. And He gives me faith.

Homeschooling: How to Start

This article indicates that many Katrina/Rita families are homeschooling because they don’t have any other choice. The paper calls it “make-shift.” You know, that’s what public school often is, make-shift. Homeschooling is not. Homeschooling is the people who care the most doing the most to make sure you get an education.

I never thought I could homeschool. But now I have an 11th grader whom I’ve homeschooled every year but one and an eighth grader whom I’ve homeschooled every year. It can work.

How do you begin? By deciding to do it.

Then what? Look online for help.

Home School Legal Defense Association can tell you what the laws are in your state. They can also sell you legal insurance. (I don’t think that’s what they call it.) You pay a membership fee and if you are taken to court over homeschooling, and some people are, then HSDLA provides the legal help you need. They are also available if social workers come to your house and want in. ALWAYS call HSDLA first. Don’t let a social worker in your house. You don’t know how they’ll interpret what they see and how they interpret it will become the text for their reaction.

There are also some state organizations. I am only a member of HSLDA, because it’s the one I know and it’s the oldest. They were helping folks homeschool before I knew what that was. But you can check into the state organizations.

If you’re in a city, there’s probably a homeschooling group, as well. In Austin I wasn’t allowed to be in the one I wanted to join because I wouldn’t lie and say I agreed with their version of Christianity. Non-believers had signed it, though, not believing. My husband said later he would have signed it and his signing it would have been sufficient to get us in. There are several homeschooling groups in Houston. There’s even one right here in our neighborhood that is outstanding. So look around. Get on the net. Ask people.

There are online places to buy curriculum. I’ve learned, after years of doing this, that we’re picky about some things, so I go to a curriculum store and get our books. You can buy books at teacher supply stores. And there might be a used book sale or a curriculum fair in your area, if not your town. Again, check the web.

When your kids are making you lose your patience, just remember that you are the most caring teacher in the smallest teacher:student ratio they will ever have. You can do it.

You can homeschool is a cheerleading essay, with some facts on the side.

Answers, can you homeschool? Legally and even if you don’t have a teaching degree.

How do I start? This tells you about two guides. I actually used Duff’s when I first started. It made me feel like I knew something when I started looking at curriculum. But I never used it again after that first year. I didn’t need it. I knew what kinds of curriculum my kids would respond well to and which they would hate. offers an email and some general philosophy guides and other things. It’s another place to look.

About Homeschooling also has a long list of articles, tips, and discussions. It can help you know that you know what you’re doing, that you’ve made a good decision or series of decisions.

There are others. You can find help online and around town all over the USA.

And most homeschool bloggers would enjoy sharing their expertise. It’s part of why they are blogging.

Using Your Education

Yesterday someone said that it was, “Too darn bad you’re not using that PhD.”

I replied something to the effect of I was, part time, and I would full time when the boys went off to college.

But what I should have said was, “I am. I’m using it in the best way possible for the best thing possible. I am educating my sons.”

God, help me to see it that way and to say it that way.

Homeschooling: pros and cons

Originally written May 2003.

After 7 years, I'm considered an old hand at homeschooling. I have two sons, one who would be in 6th grade in public school and one who would be in fourth. My oldest is working at 6-8 grade levels and my youngest is working at 4-6 grade levels.

My husband feels they are getting the best education possible because I have a BSEd and a PhD and I care about them more than any other teacher would. I also have ten years of teaching experience, aside from homeschooling.

I think that they are getting a good education because they are learning to study on their own, they can go at their own pace, and they are not held back or pushed forward by politics or social considerations. This has been a great blessing for my youngest who would have been in “special ed” classes because he did not learn to read when he was 5 or 6 or 7. But he was never laughed at or labeled and he has not only learned to read but his reading level is several grades above his age level now.

Recently, however, I have kind of “hit the wall” with the whining and complaining. I thought for a while it was just my kids, but I subbed the other day for a class of kids their ages and every single one of the boys in the class was just as whiny and complainy. The fact that it is a function of their age should have made it easier to deal with, but it has not. I am tired of it.

A simple, but wimpy, answer would be to put them in school somewhere else besides at home. They would be a little bored (or maybe even a lot bored) by the work which they've already done and would have to sit through again. But they would meet a lot more people with whom they could talk and argue and their teachers would be dealing with them all day and not me. Of course, if they were in trouble at school that would still involve me and, unfortunately, when you aren't there it is sometimes hard to tell what is true about a situation.

Pros for homeschooling:

teacher loves them

can advance at their own pace

can take more time when they need it to learn a concept

have to master a topic, not just move beyond it

learn manners and etiquette in a family environment

Cons for homeschooling:

have the same teacher every year

teacher needs a break

are with each other all day most days

Many people are concerned about the social aspects of homeschooling, but usually those who are concerned are non-homeschoolers. Homeschoolers know there are a myriad of social situations the kids are involved in without letting the peer group become the major influence.

I can't find the study, but I read it back when my kids were babies. This study says that parents are the main influence on their children's lives until the kids are 8. At that age, the main influence switches to their peer group. I don't know about you, but I would rather my children continued to be influenced more by me and other adults in their lives than by a bunch of 9, 10, 11 year olds, etc.

My kids do soccer with the YMCA. They do an extracurricular morning once a week with other homeschoolers, studying science, art, geography, readers' theater, poetry, etc. They do a Bible study once a week with other homeschoolers at the local Baptist church. Since we're not Baptist, believe me that this allows them to get used to people disagreeing with their beliefs. Plus we have class at church on Sundays with other kids their own ages. And, finally, every day that it isn't raining, they are outside playing with the other neighborhood kids, homeschooled and public school students as well. My extrovert son is also in a chess club.

I wish there were an easy way to take a break from homeschooling. But I don't know one. So, I guess I will keep it up and hope that the whininess ends soon.

Two Comments on Homeschooling: And my response

The negative comments:

“I think that it takes a great person to homeschool their kids, althouh some problems is that the kids dont get to socilize the way most kids do and i think that that is a very important thing but most homeschooled kids are very talented and smart. Overall I think that the decision should me made by the child that you are going to homeschool, because it would be very hard for a child to miss important events in their life as a child by being homeschooled and i think that that choice should be made by the child itself.”

“I have to say that you are doing a totally wrong thing to homeschool your kids, Your kids will become totally unsocial and will not be able to cope with anyone, what are you going to do about that, miss. knowitall, come on, you are permanetley damaging your frikin kids, you are being a very bad bad bad mother to your children. You are so ssefish trying to manage this on your own so you can see your kids more, i mean come on i would get so so so frikin tiredof seeing you that much, you are so so so selfish i think that you should reconsider what you are taking from your childs lives. Please stp being a bitch.”

To commenter number one:

I doubt that most children know much about what their options are when they are young. If they've only met homeschooled children, than why would they consider public school? If all their friends are going to public school, why are they going to choose homeschooling? I went out once with a guy who sold marijuana to elementary kids so that they could make their own decisions about illegal drugs. I never went out with him again. Some decisions are too important to leave to a child. Should I let my child decide if they will run out in the street? Should I let them decide if they will eat healthy food? Should I let them decide if they are going to wear clean clothes, get their teeth cleaned, wear their glasses? It is part of my job as a parent to make decisions for my child. I want to make the best decisions I can.

What important events will a child miss by being homeschooled? I did not go to prom. (The drug seller asked me to. I said no.) My school did not have homecoming at the time. 20+ years later it does, but not then. They'll miss their 20th reunion. But they'll see their classmates at every family get together.

To commenter number two:

You are rude. However, I will assume there is a modicum of thought behind your diatribe and respond despite the abusive language.

People often mention the socialization of children as a major lack in homeschooling. However, it is very seldom mentioned by anyone who knows homeschoolers well. Homeschoolers participate in sports, have clubs, go to the Y, have organizations, go to church. They are socialized often and by diverse groups of people. Often more diverse than can be found in a public school in their area. But a better question might be–what kind of socialization is best for children? Public schools were started to keep children off the streets so their parents could work. Not exactly a high bar. And the socialization the school provides is one of socialization of peers. Peers who do drugs, drink, can't speak without profanity, find schoolwork a useless exercise, despise authority. Do I want my children socialized by those people? Or do I want my children socialized among people of all ages who have had diverse life experiences and have come to define their lives by positives?

I am not saying there are not hardworking, responsible, kind children in public schools. (After all I went there once and I must be, or think I am, a paragon of virtue.) I am saying that they are not the only children. There are others who think it is great fun to pick on someone because they are different, who hit and kick and place the blame elsewhere. I've seen the adults in the public school world dodge responsibility as well. In eighth grade a girl slugged me across the face. I was sent to the principal's office. “We're afraid to send her and someone has to go.”

Yes, my sons will have to learn to deal with the “real world.” But for right now, the “real world” can bedoing soccer at the Y, taking tutoring classes, going to church, and hanging out at home. It's their real world.

And who is better able to deal with the world of bullies and liars and creeps, someone who has a solid foundation and is sure of their parents' concern for their wellbeing or a child who goes to school to be picked on by students and ignored by teachers?