I’m in the process of making dinner. I’m making an eggplant caponata from my Mozza cookbook. I’ve been eating A LOT of eggplant lately. They garden is overflowing with them – why wouldn’t I eat them in any which way I can. Grilled, sautéed, in a quesadilla, tonight with tomatoes and crusty bread. I also just heard a story on NPR about whats fresh at the farmer’s market – you guessed it: EGGPLANT! Everyone is eating it, we’re being “seasonal.” It was so interesting to hear about all the different kinds of eggplant and, did you know you can steam eggplant. It’s helpful for those folks who have nightshade sensitivities. I didn’t think much of “sensitivities” when Evan Kleinman‘s guest mentioned it; why would I? I can eat everything.
Maybe I’m setting this up for a dramatic event – it’s how I do. Regardless for some reason tonight as I was chopping up my freshly harvested eggplant from the garden I thought, “I wonder how you know if you have a nightshade sensitivity.” For those of you that don’t know nightshades refers to a bunch of different vegetables and spices, the reason they are all grouped into this category is because they contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids which have been linked to causing inflammation and aggravating chronic pain, especially in folks that have an immune disorders. The amount of these alkaloids varies between the vegetables and spices and you may be sensitive to one an not another. The list of nightshades is as follows: tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes (NOT sweet potatoes or yams, eggplant, okra, peppers (bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.), goji berries, sorrel, garden huckleberry & blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation), gooseberries, ground cherries, pepino Melon, and tobacco. It’s a long list full of amazing things.
To make a long story even longer – I started thinking….I have been really, really achy these past few weeks. BUT I have been working out a lot. Pushing myself pretty hard. Lots of intense yoga and bootcamp. I’ve been thinking these things are what have been making me tired and sore. Just now I thought about how much bootcamp I was doing last summer around this time in preparation for the wedding, I was going like 4 or 5 times a week. … I don’t remember being this sore or achy. What if I am sensitive to nightshades!? This possibility is devastating to me. I love tomatoes. I love peppers. I love potatoes. Cayenne?! Blueberries?! I could probably live with out eggplant, though I do really like it. I can do with out okra – I say orka 9 out of 10 times anyway so whats the point?
The only way to really really know if you’re sensitive to them is to cut them out entirely. Some say for a month, others 3 months (this is how long your body takes to get rid of the sh*tty alkaloids). A month to 3 months? Just as our tomatoes are starting to get ripe on the vine, you’ve got to be kidding me life. On top of sorting out everything else in my life, you make me think about this too!
I think I will pull back on eggplant. Sara will just have to get the bulk of what’s left. But I’m not sure I’m ready to disown or even attempt to check it out to see if I have nightshade sensitivities…not yet. We’ll see how my body feels in a few days.