Struggling with Lyme disease

A personal blog about nightshades, grains, dairy, Lyme Disease… oh my!
Also see my listing of Nightshades

Category Archives: Sticky Notes

My listing of Nightshades and foods that contain Solanine


(above:  Cladogram showing the relationship between the three genera of the Solanaceae family)

Here’s the list that I’ve been gathering of foods that are nightshades or contain Solanine.  I keep the list in an app on my phone so that I have it with me at the grocery store.  Let me know if I’m wrong about any of these.  When you’re first starting the diet, looking at this huge list may be a bit overwhelming.  Especially if you’re suffering from fatigue.  It’s better to start small and work your way up than to not try at all, so start with the “Main Offenders” and work your way up:

Main Offenders:
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
Sweet and Hot Peppers

Alphabetized List:
Ascorbyl Palmitate (it’s potatoes)
Baking Powder?  (according to this website it says “All baking powder [...] seems to contain potato, though it is not listed on the label.” This is not accurate.  There are some with corn starch instead of potato or the generic “starch” on the label. Sarah says to try Clabber Girl brand as it contains corn starch as opposed to potato starch – thanks, Sarah!)
Banana Peppers
Chili Peppers
Goji Berries
Hot Peppers (hmm, a generic catch-all, I think)
Jalapeno Peppers
Modified Food Starch (watch out for starch if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from)
Palmitate Vitamin A (I found this in margarine and milk, it can be from potatoes)
Paprika (seems to be in all sorts of things: mayo, hotdogs, mustard, sausage)
Pickles (I’ve found that most pickles contain peppers :-( )
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
Shellac Wax (comes from Lac beetle that feeds on Wolfberry plants, found on shiny fruit and veggies, commonly not listed in ingredients)
Starch (if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from, check with the manufacturer)
Sweet Peppers (black pepper is okay)
Thai Peppers
Wax Peppers
Yeast (according to this website “Most yeast contains potato, both baking yeast and beer yeast. Red Star yeast does not contain potato.”)

Herbs / Plants:
Banewort (another name for nightshade)
Belladonna / Atropa Belladonna (used in Homeopathy, found in Viagra)
Bittersweet (Atropine Belladonna)
Devil’s Cherries (another name for nightshade)
Devil’s Herb (another name for nightshade)
Divale (another name for nightshade)
Dwale (another name for nightshade)
Dwayberry (another name for nightshade)
Great Morel (another name for nightshade)
Jimson Weed
Nightshade / Deadly Nightshade
Petunias (yes, the flower)

These aren’t Nightshades, but they contain Solanine:
Artichokes (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Blueberries (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)

Unsure of these:
Kava Kava – I saw this in a nightshades list somewhere else, but I’m thinking it’s just in the pepper family and not actually a nightshade.  If someone could let me know to clear that up, that would be great!
Cherries, ground (this is “ground cherries” as in cherries that grow close to the ground – not chopped cherries.  It was mentioned in a forum somewhere)
Huckleberries (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Okra (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Vitamin A Palmitate (I read on a website somewhere that it’s potatoes, but recently have been told it could just be from Palm.  I’ve found in margerine, milk, ham, heavy cream, whipped cream, cheese)

Questionable(check with manufacturer to see where derived from)
Dextrose (can be potatoes, check your salt and baking powder ingredients!)
Lactic acid (generally made from fermented corn or potatoes)
Magnesium Stearate
Maltodextrin / Mdltrin  (can be derived from potato or corn)

Chemicals / Drugs / Medicines:
Aspirin – can contain nightshades?
Hyoscine (another name for scopolamine)
Scopolamine (common in motion sickness meds)
Viagra (contains belladonna)

NOT Nightshades:
Black Pepper
White Pepper
Green Peppercorns (not bell pepper)
Sichuan Pepper
Long Pepper

Also toxic:
Brazilian Pepper
Cauliflower (contains nicotine, I mention this because I want to avoid nicotine)

The “Joey Tribbiani” food syndrome (addiction, insanity)


If you’ve ever watched the TV series called “Friends” you’ll recall a character named “Joey Tribbiani”.  I think of my food issues just like his are portrayed.  He’ll eat just about anything and God forbid you get anywhere near his plate.  He does NOT share his food, ever.  He would even carry a fork in his coat pocket just in case he ran across some food he could eat.

My food issues were just like that:

  • Never full.  I could eat 4 orders of 6 potstickers from Noodles & Company and still be hungry for more afterwards.
  • When I get a food in my mind, I can’t let it go until I go buy and eat it.  I HAVE to have it.  There’s no stopping me.
  • What I see on my plate doesn’t look like enough food.  I need it completely full or else I might starve.
  • Don’t ever take my food, I don’t share. 
  • Don’t leave your food where I can see it.  That bag of Ho-Hos?  You leave it where I can see it and I’ll eat it.  I don’t care if it’s yours, and that it’s wrong to take it from you, but if I see it I WILL eat it.  So, put it out of sight.  (I tell my step-kids this all the time)

Now that I’m a little into the diet, my appetite has gone waaay down.  I can’t believe that a few shrimp and a little rice makes me full.  I never understood my ex-husband’s view of food…  to him, the only reason he ate is because he would die if he didn’t.  I used to hide candy bars under the couch and eat them while he was at work.  I wonder if I left any there when I left?  I suppose there’s some humor in that, if you look at it the right way.

I kind of understand that now, though.  Even my significant other said that he couldn’t believe how much food I could pile on my plate.  I had much larger portions than him and I used to cook huge amounts of food in big pots.

Do you think you have a food addition?  Then you probably do.  I think of this like a nicotine/smoking addition.  Ever try to take away someone’s cigarettes?  Just try it and see what happens then you’ll see what it’s like.

I’m happy to say that this has pretty much disappeared for me.  I do have days where I would love to eat some spaghetti sauce or some takeout food.  But, I’ve been good so far in avoiding it.  yay for me!

TIP: Start your own food and activity journal


Okay, so here’s my first tip:  start your own food and activity journal.  Here’s what I use:

I bought a thick chubby spiral notebook, a pencil, and some of those stick-on flag things.  These flags are great in that I can write on them with my pencil and erase and re-use them for something else.  Gotta love my beige desktop underneath.  Everything here at the office seems to be beige.  sigh.

The little chubby notebook is great because it’s small, but thick, and fits right in my purse so that I have access to it at work and at home.  It’s also small enough to sit on my desk at work and not get in the way.

So far, I’ve made the flags say:  symptoms, avoid these, tips, recipes.  Then the rest of the pages are for my journal entries.  I keep track of the date, as well as the time, that I make the entries so that I know how long it took after eating something for the syptoms to appear. 

You don’t have to do anything that complex.  Even just writing down what you’re eating, and how you’re feeling, along with the date is a really great start.  For many many years I read about people saying to keep a food journal, but I never did.  Not sure why.  Probably just seemed like more work than I had energy for.

Here’s are some example entries:

10:00am cooked and ate 1 egg with salt sprinkled on top.  Hard boiled. Leftover from last night.
11:00am  still tired and my lower back is sore.  Have a headache at temples.
12:00pm  ate rice cake (brown rice, sea salt) with cashew butter (cashews, sunflower oil).  Had leftover chicken breast (cooked in olive oil with salt and black pepper)
2:00pm  feeling cold and can’t stay awake at my desk.

You’ll get the hang of it as you go.  Tracking those symptoms and exactly what you’re eating is really important.

My symptoms before starting the diet


Before starting to eliminate nightshades from my diet, I thought I should write down all of my symptoms and see what gets better in the end (if anything).  I’ve tried eliminating other foods over the years and some things just never got better.  So, we’ll see where we end up.

  • I never, or rarely, feel full after a meal.  Even if I eat a ton of food.  I call this the “Joey Tribbiani Food Syndrome”. I’ll post about that separately later.
  • I crave foods and feel like I have a food addiction.
  • Upset stomach, especially in the mornings.
  • Occasional diarreah
  • Get dizzy / lightheaded and actually disoriented at times.  Feels like I’m going to faint, but don’t.
  • Extreme fatigue to the point of not even getting out of bed to go to work. (I go through vacation & sick days quickly)
  • Extreme fatigue in my extremeties, especially my arms.  They feel like they weigh 100 pounds each on some days.  Lifting them over my head is the worst.
  • Bladder infections (more on this in my “Misdiagnoses” post later.
  • I catch colds and get sick easily.
  • Regular ear infections as a child
  • Swelling in the knees – mostly my left knee
  • Hands occasionally feel puffy and sore, especially where my thumbs meet my wrist
  • Lower back pain
  • Withdrawing from society.  People stress me out big time. Find myself trying to be alone in a quiet room with dim lights.  My “cave”.
  • Stopped playing games like board games and card games because I can’t concentrate and remember the rules.
  • Living in an almost constant state of brain fog
  • Lost a lot of memories.  Sometimes can’t remember what I did over the weekend if someone asks me on Monday.
  • Reduced night vision
  • Light hurts my eyes.
  • Wheezy lungs when I lie on my left side or lie on my back with my head turned to the left.
  • Get up at least once to use the bathroom in the middle of the night
  • I crave salt – lots of it (turns out the salt contains dextrose. sigh.)
  • Bad headaches (back of head/base of skull, sometimes temples) from withdrawal when I slip up and eat nightshades and then try to cut them out again.  Headache will disappear when I eat nightshades again, but will come back when I try to eliminate them again.
  • Ended up with hyperthyroidism and had my thyroid radiated.  According to Michael Lebowitz, D.C.: “Alpha-solanine is stored in most organs (with a special affinity for the thyroid gland) as well as most soft tissue including skeletal muscle.

I’m starting at a weight of 181.6 and I’m only 5’2″ tall.  ugh.

7-29-2011  NEW Symptoms since the initial comments above:

  • My fingers hurt from the first knuckle to the tips of my fingers, predominantly my left hand.
  • Muscle spasms in my face, left side. If you draw a triangle from the center of my nose, down to my upper lip, then over to my left cheek, then back to my nose again.  Those three spots at the points of the triangle would cramp up every so often.
  • Would have large muscle cramps every so often.  They are strange in that they ever-so-slowly would pull tighter and tighter and then slowly release.  One muscle would do so, then after that another one, and then another one after that.  Like a slow dance of musical muscles.  Muscles affected:  stomach, quadraceps, hamstring, calves, biceps, triceps.
  • Joint pain:  left hip, left ankle, left toes.  Sometimes right hip,  right knee, right foot, right shoulder, left shoulder.
  • Periods where I’m so overly sensitive to all of the activity around me that I need to go to a quiet dark place where there is no movement or sound.
  • Going through “don’t touch me!” phases where significant other touching me, even for back rub, hurts. Clothing and shoes hurt to wear.  And forget wearing a bra. Worst invention ever made!
  • Small circular rash inside elbow joints, seems to fade in and out.
  • The IC (Interstitial Cystitis) is pretty much constant now. Sex?  What’s that?  ouch
  • Periods of extreme motion sickness.
  • Periodic night sweats.
  • Speaking of periods… heavier, well, periods  :-)    Along with sporadic spotting
  • Eye jitters where it’s difficult to focus on a single spot without my eye slightly moving away and then back again.
  • Tremors in head and hands.