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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions


  1. I have to limit my nightshades, too. My body’s reaction to tomatoes (especially when paired with sugar and gluten–like pizza) is to give me patches eczema/psoriasis. Quite a nuisance, but obviously, my it’s my body’s way of telling me something, so I’m going to listen. But, boy do I miss bell peppers in my chinese food!

    • I discovered the link between psoriasis and nightshades, myself, about 10 years ago. Today, eating A SERVING of potatoes or a few slices of tomato no longer cause an immediate and acute reaction, as long as I do that VERY infrequently. Since I cut out nightshades (oh, how I miss them!), a great many painful symptoms have improved. Supplementation with magnesium citrate and MSM (sulfur supplement) are two of only 5 supplements I take to combat a very, very long list of symptoms. Most of them have disappeared; the psoriasis still lingers in teensy patches and I expect that to be gone soon. Yay!

      • I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 8 yrs old. I am now 54, and know that psoriasis can easily be eliminated by not only sunlight directly on the skin (no doubt you already know that), but by removing all foods that yeast likes to feed on. A few cheap antifungal supplements also help (olive leaf extract, caprylic acid, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, etc).

        • I have never found olive leaf extract to be useful as its isolated and if the material is not made from fresh plant material using 100 percent vodka tincture its rendered useless. Oregano oil is not useful and goes rancid within days? Grapefruit extract was probably rancid and I know nothing of grapefruit to be help psoriasis. Yeast isn’t the reason for fungus. You cleanse your diet to much thinking your body is dirty and needs cleansing. Your body is to clean and needs nourishment. Golden seal is the single worst thing you you could have done. To cleanse yourself. Your liver wants nourishment and every minute of the hour a drop of blood noir shoes your very own liver to regenerate making it new again. Burdock root tincture in 100 percent vodka from fresh organic raw material. Tinctures should use the whole of the plant. Sometimes the poisons are in the root depending which herb used to treat. Poisons work fast but have consequence by ruining your gut flora. Look for nutrient dense herbs to drink. Linden infusion for inflammation which is what most diseases stem from inflammation. Linden has quercertin sterols and many minerals to get rid of inflammation. Stinging nettle to rebuild the adrenals. Red clover blossoms to create healthy hormones. Comfrey leaf infusion to repair skin lungs and ligaments and brain. Oat straw to rebuild your nervous system and lymphatic system. Night shades probably are okay but if they are a trigger response for inflammation then they are. Eat a variety cooked organic diet. But please never cleanse. Your body will dislike your rationale on cleansing and be very pissed you call it dirty. Your body says irrational to starve me juice me or cleanse me. It wants nourishing foods and liquids. Get to know your body and herbs and possibly your ancestors Thank you.

  2. Similar to Stephanie, I think nightshades worsen my acne, but I know for sure that they worsen my asthma symptoms, I think because they increase the inflammation in my lungs.

  3. Hi, I have found that nightshades cause me mouth ulcers. Just like psoriasis, ulcers are also candida related. Pineapple causes problems for me as well. So you are right, listen to your body and avoid foods that cause pain. 🙂

  4. Ashwaganda is a nightshade? I did not know that and have been taking Ashwaganda capsules along with Dr Wilson’s Adrenal Rebuilder. I was told the Ashwaganda would help with absorption… I have arthritis in my knees…. what to do??….

  5. My husband drinks dehydrated cayenne pepper (from our garden) in water every morning to help with high blood pressure and circulation. My great grandfather swears by the stuff- he has been an active square dancer well into his late-eighties!
    However, my husband has joint pain in his hands (he is a carpenter by trade), and it really flares up in the summer with humidity and weather changes. He was tested for arthritis and it came back negative (he is 32 years old) … However, I wonder if the cayenne causes inflammation? What are your thoughts on this? Conversely, we also both drink ACV every day, which is supposed to help joint pain. …
    I love your blog and am always encouraged by your zeal for natural living! 🙂

    • Personally, I would skip the cayenne with the hand pain. But I’m a huge fan of the ACV drink! I take ACV in water twice a day. You can also do a bromelain enzyme supplement (like 3 capsules 3x per day) in between meals to help with the joint pain.

      • My husband was prescribed cayenne tea as an anti-inflammatory. If you search the web for “cayenne extract and inflammation” and read the benefits of cayenne you will clearly see that it is an anti-inflammatory.

  6. I went night-shade free for my first 8 months on a GAPS diet. A few weeks ago I made a big pot of tomato sauce with 32 oz. tomatoes and LOTS of other vegetables and simmered it for a few hours. The day after my first meal, I woke up with my eyes so dry I could hardly open them until I put lots of drops in. The rest of my skin was feeling increasingly dry, too. Over the next few days as I worked through my leftovers, I had moments of my tendonitis/neuroma/arthritis-filled foot seize up and I couldn’t walk, which hadn’t happened to me in a long time. My arthritic shoulders also felt puffier and stiffer. I’ve worked through the leftovers and won’t be trying that again for several months. Unfortunately, removing nightshades completely from my diet never improved my base-line pain, it just seems that it’s decreased my incidences of acute pain. I did recently start eating sausages with nightshade spices in them, a few weeks after the tomato incident, and that’s not producing any symptoms… so I guess that’s good…

  7. I’m another one who learned nightshades were something my body doesn’t like. (I have rheumatoid arthritis and it kicks up my inflammation something fierce.) I love Lauren’s blog and agree with almost everything she says, but I disagree with the food sensitivity pulse test. We all want quick answers, but when it comes to food intolerance, I think eliminating the food for a month and reintroducing it is the only way to know for sure. Pulse tests, muscle tests and blood tests (igg & alcat) are all prone to false positives and negatives.

    • I really want to echo this sentiment as well. Lauren I really love your blog and also agree on most things but I have found that muscle testing (when done by 3 different practitioners over the years, including one NAET practitioner, all of whom used different methodologies), has proven to be extremely unreliable for me. I’ve had some really inaccurate results, such as having practitioners tell me that I tolerate different forms of dairy, different supplements and quantities of these supplements, and even beef (which I have a blood test proven food sensitivity to) when I find that I simply do not based on my biological responses. I just consistently find that definitively using muscle testing as a diagnostic tool, especially in a precise manner (ie to determine how many of one supplement I should be taking) has NOT been reliable. I am disappointed because I too really believed in the value of this modality but it has just proven itself imprecise and inaccurate on too many occasions over the past 4 years Ive used it. I am a huge fan of integrative and holistic medicine obviously, but have just found that this type of testing is really unreliable and have had so many reactions to foods that were deemed as fine from this line of testing. I’ve found that for me, the best method and the most reliable is strict elimination and then testing reaction to the food over a number of days to determine tolerance over time (for delayed responses). Just wanted to put this out there for anyone who may have similar experiences and be confused by the different thoughts on muscle testing/kinesiology or similar modalities.

  8. I have major nightshade problems, too. I have Celiac, but I’ve had residual symptoms that have been helped somewhat by a GAPS-ish diet.

    I thought I was good with super-cooked tomato sauce til my infant daughter started crying constantly after I ate it for a couple days… lo and behold, she was MUCH happier after I stopped it! Tried it again after a few months, same deal.

    So fast forward to a couple months ago (she’s almost 2 now), I tried some homemade GAPS-friendly ketchup with my burger. Thought everything was great. Had some more the next day. Started to notice muscle and joint pain, especially on days that I worked out. Eventually felt like an 80-year-old woman with arthritis, I could barely move. Stopped with the nightshades, and it improved again within two days.

    I’ve had this happen a couple other times, too. You would think I would learn…

    Maybe someday! I’d LOOOOVE some “pizza” 🙂

  9. I went on an elimination diet this summer to help with my eczema and when I added tomatoes back in, I had a horrible reaction. My almost clear arms flared bright red! I never tried any other nightshades after that. It has been difficult trying to navigate that. I found a nightshade-free marinara sauce recipe and learned to love sweet potatoes. But when I go to restaurants, buy certain meats, or try to find clean eating recipes, there are tomatoes and pepper-derived spices everywhere! I have to make everything from scratch and modify a lot of recipes to really feel confident I am not accidentally eating them.

  10. Long before I knew this information, my husband asked me to stop cooking with nightshades because they set off his GERD and he’d wake up all night with terrible heartburn. I was initially annoyed because nightshades are cheap and tasty, and it made meal planning harder. Then I learned about the potential detriments of nightshades, was convinced that we should do without, and made further efforts to cut them out of my own diet. Now I may eat some occasionally, but I am surprised at how much they affect my digestion. My stomach gets all sour and I don’t feel normal again until, well, it is all eliminated. They bother my breastfed baby girl, too. I have really come to love sweet potatoes, though. I season our Mexican food with garlic, onion, cilantro, and cumin; our Italian food with garlic, homemade Alfredo sauces, pesto sauces, and fresh herbs.

  11. I’m with you on eliminating, as much as possible, the nightshades. It’s a tough one because I LOVE tomatoes. Some dishes just are not the same without them, so stick with a small portion for yourself. Regarding leaky gut, I have totally cured it with a clean diet AND taking a product my nutritionist put me on, called SEAGEST. It does not taste all that great but within about six weeks, your gut is good to go. I am honing my skills at making fermented veggies like sauerkraut and kimchi, and today am baking my first sourdough bread (organic) from scratch. I’m almost 70 yrs old so, you see, you’re never too old to learn something new….:)

  12. Just came across your blog via pinterest. Good stuff! Wanted to mention about the nightshades that as an adult I have moderate to severe eczema on my hands. Whenever I cut tomatoes my hands burn, badly. I’ve always thought it was just the acid in the tomatoes, but, I wonder if it does the same thing to my insides as the reaction my skin has with it. My hubs has scaly psoriasis and went through one of those muscle testings and surprised the Homeo/Naturopath when he did have any sensitivities. But I wonder if this is something we could eliminate from our diet. We already do juicing/kombucha/clean eating/etc. etc. Would be awesome if it ended up being that easy.

  13. I grew up on a potato farm and have always been able to eat jalapeno peppers raw straight from the garden and always ate tomatoes. SO, for my entire life I have been having problems and thought that what I was feeling was normal. Imagine my surprise when I discovered what it is like to be pain free!

    Tomatoes – my ears are so sensitive the next day after eating them. Just crunching on cereal felt like rockets taking off. My ears hurt so bad… like mental break down bad. Plus ringing in the ears for days.

    Potatoes – after eating a handful of fries I had an instant headache that lingered for days.

    Peppers – my joints ache like I have a bad case of the body flu. They were very stiff and painful making it very hard to move. This also gave me migraines for days. Stiff neck for weeks.

    Paprika – migraines.

    My husband actually has to rinse out his mouth after he eats any nightshade because it will affect me.
    Eating out is impossible. I pack my meals whenever I leave my house because cross-contamination is extremely high. (Subway – they touch the tomatoes and then the other veggies with the same glove – just the juice has severe consequences for me.)

    THAT is all just off the top of my head. They are not worth it for me!

    I love using parsnips instead of potatoes. I LOVE them!!!

    Good luck to everyone that has allergies to these and any other food out there. I feel for you!

  14. A number of years ago I realized that potatoes and eggplant exhausted me and I would even fall asleep after eating them but I didn’t pay attention to other issues. More recently I also had seemingly random reactions to my ‘healthy’ mostly vegetarian diet. Last year I started a food journal to figure out my ongoing sensitivities.

    I was disappointed to note that tomato based foods and peppers caused numerous symptoms including joint pain and swelling, body aches, and respiratory distress including inflammation and redness of my nasal tissues and burning tightness in my lungs!

    I’m starting to realize that my favorite foods: Thai and Korean will be off limits, however I am very grateful to be learning how to control these reactions!

    I appreciate this detailed list and posted conversation!

  15. I’m confused. Other sources say that tomatoes fight inflammation and help protect against platelet “stickiness”. If you are not familiar with this research, go to and search for tomatoes – video includes references to a lot of current research. Usually very reliable site..

    I’d be interested in comments from anyone as to how there can be such conflicting research and experience.


  16. Great article. I have fibromyalgia (newly diagnosed) and am trying ANYTHING to feel better. I’ve heard of nightshade being in supplements and wondered—what would I need to look for on the labels so that I know it’s nightshade that I’m consuming? I take Vit D, B12, Magnesium, Calcium and a multivite. Thanks!

  17. If I ingest a speck of potato I break out with one little bump on my face that will last a month. If I eat more than a spoonful of eggplant I get depressed. If I eat more than a small amount of peppers I become a crazy person: hysterical, raging, crying. I did not realize how badly the nightshades were effecting me until I went on a Macrobiotic diet, which is nightshade free. Easy to see the effect as I went off the diet. An Ayurvedic doctor in India gave me natural meds which allowed me to eat nightshades. However, after a while it dawned on me that if my body didn’t want nightshades, why was I tricking it into eating them. Now I just avoid them. I doubt that I am unique in my reaction to nightshades, but unless someone eliminates them, how would they know ?

  18. I have had bad IBS for a while. I noticed tomatoes or sauce seem to make my and my daughters problems worse. I mentioned it to my doctor and she said to avoid nightshades. I couldn’t figure out why no matter how hard I try I still have IBS. I’m going to eliminate potatoes as I’m convinced that’s the remaining culprit.

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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