Anti-inflammatory Diet, Nightshade family and Elimination Diet

Anti-inflammatory Diet

The goal of an Anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce inflammation in your body by avoiding foods that increase the toxic load in your body. Inflammation potentially leads to health conditions from tendonitis to heart disease.  Avoid mainly:

–       Sugar, specifically cane sugar

–       Bad quality oils, specifically vegetable seed oils, such as vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil.

Over-heating better oils that can’t handle high heat alters their molecules into a trans formation, thereby turning them into bad quality oil. Trans fats, which are common in processed foods, are the worst fats you can eat. Trans fats and bad quality fats cause inflammation in the body and specifically in the arteries – the body tries to protect itself  by coating the arteries with cholesterol.

Avoid bad quality oils in general, not just during a cleanse.

–       Grains, especially processed into flour – wheat, corn are the worst ones for our gut lining.

Grains are more of a filler food to help us feel satiated than a nutrient dense food. That said, there are some vitamins, minerals and fiber found in grains that are beneficial, especially for older men. The starchiness of root vegetables has a different effect than that of grains. Eat roots instead!

–       Beans are very starchy and act very much like grains in the body. Both grains and beans contain lectins (see below).

–       Junk and fake food, additives, preservatives, artificial coloring, dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, stabilizers…

–       Nightshades, in some cases – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, tobacco, ashwaganda, goji berries.


Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, tobacco, ashwaganda, goji berries –are in the Solanaceae family and contain an alkaloid called solanine. A famous non-edible nightshade is Belladonna, aka Deadly Nightshade, which contains very high amounts of solanine. The edible nightshades obviously contain much less solanine, but some people experience joint pain or arthritis attributed to a build-up of this toxic alkaloid.

Nightshades also contain a protein called lectin, which is found in grains and legumes as well. Lectins are toxic but generally only harmful when eaten in excess, though they can build up over time to symptom-causing levels. Lectins in nightshades, grains and legumes can have a negative effect on the gut lining and hence the immune system. Autoimmune diseases – diabetes, arthritis – gut flora imbalances, ulcers, allergies, sinus and throat issues are among the issues that an over-abundance of lectins may contribute to.

Cooking lectin-containing vegetables helps reduce lectins, as does peeling potatoes, since the peel contains a high proportion of the lectins. Avoid green potatoes and tomatoes in particular, since they also contain many more lectins.

Nightshades are a family of foods that people are sometimes reactive to. In the case of nightshades, it is not so much of an allergy, but more of a toxic overload. Once you cleanse yourself of the toxic build up, joint pain is often relieved. You can eat nightshades again, but know that they may not be the healthiest of vegetables for you, so try not to over-do them.

I highly recommend that if you want to take a month off of eating nightshades, do so during the winter or early spring before your garden, or CSA, is overflowing with irresistible tomatoes and peppers.

For more info check out this article about the nightshade family or here for a complete list of nightshade foods.

Here is a short and interesting article from medical journal about lectins

Elimination Diet

The goal of an elimination diet to find out if you are allergic or sensitive to any foods and those foods may be causing symptoms. For example, dairy, gluten and eggs are a few foods that people are commonly allergic or sensitive to. The Clean Program utilizes the elimination diet.

The goal while cleansing is to reduce obstacles to improving your health – inflammation and toxins – and for your symptoms to reduce or go away. I have noticed that if I am having tendonitis (from cooking and lifting heavy cast iron pans, usually), about 10 days into a cleanse it goes away. Take note of your symptoms (digestive, allergies, congestion, pain…) and see what happens.

By taking potential troublesome foods out for 3 weeks or more, then putting them back in your diet one by one you can see if your symptoms are triggered. When you put the food back in your diet, you will want to eat a good amount of that food (maybe 3 times a day) in order to get a clear picture. Then wait at least several days, if not a week, before adding a second food back into your diet.

Nightshades are a family of foods that people are sometimes reactive to. In the case of nightshades, it is not so much of an allergy, but more of a toxic overload. Once you cleanse yourself of the toxic build up, symptoms such as joint pain is often relieved. Eat nightshades moderately in the future.

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