Monday, June 21

Ouch! Farewell to the nightshade family.

   I'm in the "I'll try anything" stage of my healing crisis. For about a year I've been auditioning a parade of healers, therapists, doctors and mystics in attempts to relieve my mysterious thumb pain. Today, my girlfriend Cheri, the reflexology goddess, suggested I stop eating Nightshades. NIGHTSHADES? But I looooove my tomatoes, peppers and potatoes! 

    After a little online research, it became clear that these yummy fruits & tubers may be exacerbating my suffering. So I'm going on a month long fast. Please don't tempt me with your ketchup dipped potato wedges this summer. And if you are prone to arthritis, I offer you the interesting and illuminating article that motivated me to take this drastic dietary fast.

     The name "nightshades" sounds mysterious and even a bit spooky and ominous. Data gathered from noted scientists, horticulturists, medical researchers, and macrobiotic sources provides a look at the facts and fables about these popular plants, their characteristics, history, effects, and their enduring appeal to the world's appetite.

What Are Nightshades?

Tomatoes, white potatoes, red and green bell peppers, the "hot" peppers such as chili and paprika, as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants herbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds. According to nutritional researcher, author, and Cornell University instructor, Norman F. Childers in his The Nightshades and Health, the origin of the word "nightshade" is not clear. He explains that old English writings described these plants as Nightshades because of their "evil and loving" nature of the night.
Used in shamanism, witchcraft, and even poisonous murder, nightshades have a history of both mystical danger and scientific caution. Some nightshade plants are ingredients in potent narcotic medicine and sleeping pills. It is reported that nightshades contain high levels of alkaloids which cause the bones to excrete calcium, other minerals, and trace elements from the body. Many enlightened doctors and nutritionists recommend that those suffering from arthritis symptoms eliminate nightshades. In this article, the focus will be on two of the most favorite "vegetables" in America.

Why Eliminate Tomatoes and Potatoes?

According to macrobiotic theory, tomatoes and potatoes create a natural balance to meat, dairy, fats, and the excess salt found in the Standard American Diet. The chemical and energetic qualities of potatoes and tomatoes produce extreme, expansive effects which can expand and weaken the bones, joints, teeth, gums, and all body organs, especially for those who are sensitive and allergic to them.

In a study published in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventive medicine, of the 5000 arthritis sufferers who eliminated Nightshade, seventy percent reported relief from aches, pains, and disfigurement.

Why Do We Crave Nightshades So Much?

There is a reason why people crave nightshades. Potatoes and tomatoes are very high in potassium and help counter the high sodium of animal foods. Nightshades may aid in the digestion of fatty, dense proteins. Consider America's favorite meals: meat and potatoes, and pizza with cheese and tomatoes. We crave these combinations of foods because our bodies unconsciously strive to achieve balance.

Extreme foods have extreme effects. In macrobiotic terminology, potatoes and tomatoes are extremely yin and expansive. Animal protein is heavy, salty, and yang. Therefore, potatoes help balance the salt and protein of meat. Tomatoes, which are astringent and acidic, assist in the digestion and discharge of dairy products and help counterbalance the greasy query of the fatty, over salted cheese

Consider some of America's favorite meals: cheeseburger, french fried potatoes, soda, and ice cream, or steak, baked potato, coffee, and cheesecake. Each of these meals contains a high protein animal food, served with nightshades and sugar. This is a lethal combination that depletes calcium and other minerals from the bones and body. For those who are sensitive and allergic to nightshades, they can weaken the bones, joints, teeth, and all body organs. More than 50 million Americans have arthritis and more than 60% of women over age 65 have osteoporosis. Add to this statistic the epidemic quantity of Americans with back pain, knee and foot disorders, and tooth decay, which are all due, in large part, to helps prevent bone weakness. The macrobiotic diet contains whole foods that are extremely high in natural minerals and include: grains, beans, vegetables and sea vegetables, sea salt, and miso. Macrobiotic foods strengthen, maintain, and even rebuild bones. Recent theories now have begun to view arthritis as a deficiency and/or depletion of calcium in the body; a theory more in line with the macrobiotic perspective.

How Do I Know If I Am Allergic to Nightshades?
If you have pain, eliminate nightshades. Keep a daily journal and record of your bone and joint pain. Learn to prepare and eat a balanced, high mineral macrobiotic diet. In the popular book Eat Right, Live Longer, Neal Barnard, M.D., founder of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, outlines an elimination diet in which nightshades are avoided for four weeks. Dr. Sherry Rogers, M.D., tells us that the results take time. In her book Wellness Against All Odds, she states, "For many, no relief comes until the diet has been totally free of all of these (nightshades), for at least 6-12 weeks. So you can appreciate why, if someone gives them up for a couple of weeks and sees no improvement, that he could easily be convinced to abandon the diet and indulge in his favorites again, never to discover the culprit."

Nightshades play a major part in bone and joint strength. Researcher Winifred Conkling states in Natural Medicine for Arthritis, "Eliminating vegetables from the nightshade family can promote cartilage repair." Dr. Collin H. Dong developed arthritis after moving to America from China and adopting a typical western diet. The research in his book New Hope for the Arthritic concludes, "My dramatic recovery convinced me that rheumatic diseases are caused by chemical poisoning put into our food ... and by allergy to certain foods." If you are healing from disease or are in pain, especially in the bones and joints, such as wrists, hips, and knees, or back, teeth, or gums, avoid nightshades. If you wish to have the strongest body possible, then reduce, avoid, or eliminate nightshades.

Lino Stanchich, Macrobiotic Educator, Licensed Nutritionist, (FL), Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, (NC), serves on the faculty of the Kushi Institute and is a member of the Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Educators Association. Mr. Stanchich, a multi-lingual educator who has established several macrobiotic learning centers in the United States, is the author of the popular book Power Eating Program, You Are How You Eat and can be reached at 828-299-8657.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Natural Arts COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group


Patty K Mooney said...

Interesting. We interviewed Paul Chek once, who is a very high-priced trainer to people like Laird Hamilton (big surf surfer) and he made an interesting point that your diet really should go back to your roots. To explain, Laird eats mostly meat and it suits him. Eskimos eat whale blubber and fish. Irish people eat potatoes. You get the picture. You may be interested in reading Paul's book, "How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy." (No, I do not get a commission.) lol P.S. enjoyed the show on Saturday. (I am Rita's sister.)

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