(okay - disclaimer here... I wanted to write a story on nightshades and then I had this photo... but zucchini is not a nightshade... in my mind were eggplants that my neighbor brought over and I thought to myself, "oh, what will I do with these, we don't really eat them.." hence the idea for the nightshade story... AND it went un-noticed until an anonymous comment put me back in line! so thank you!! I am sorry, it's still a good story it's just that zucchini is NOT a nightshade!)
I think that we all know that nightshades are not the best food for the human body, they are inflammatory agents and this is never good for our organs. Especially if you have signs of arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. But what should you do right now when these vegetables are in so much abundance. We don't even plant them in our garden yet, somehow, we had one LARGE zucchini when we came back from our vacation, it was hidden among our squash.
Why are nightshades the easiest thing to cook? The easiest dinner of all... fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and pasta -- Who doesn't like the sound of that!? I don't like to cut this out of our diet totally, because its so yummy, so we do have it 2-3 times a month. But in general, I don't rush for nightshades when I am in a restaurant, I rather move in the direction of a simple vegetable pasta cooked with oil and garlic (or something like that...??). If you do eat nightshades try to balance them out with more Yang food. This chart always helps me to balance out a meal, you want a healthy balance of Yin and Yang. You can see how the Macrobiotic diet is focused on the middle range.
Coffee, spices, chocolate, caffeinated or stimulant teas
Tropical fruits and juices
Fats and Oils
Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)
Fresh and soft dairy products (milk, fresh goat cheese)
Temperate fruits (apples, pears, berries, stone fruits, etc)Poultry
Leafy green vegetables
Beans, tofu, tempeh
END OF MIDDLE RANGE
Salty and aged cheeses
Red meat, and eggs
For kids, I know nightshades are a staple, almost like peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, and then the pasta with tomato. Just be aware that this is not a healthy option for kids, even though it seems to be vegetables and with your eyes at least it looks good.... it's not. Just keep your focus of foods for your kids on this middle range and you are giving them a great benefit!
Now, back to my nightshade problem, what did I do with my zucchini!? I cut it into julienne, long thin strips, then sauteed with a bunch of garlic, salt and pepper and served with spaghetti pasta -- delicious!
I had a request in a comment for a book on more information on nightshades.
I would suggest:
Nightshade Free Pain Free by Michael Fowler
also specifically on nightshades (but I have not read this one):
The Fascinating World of Nightshades by Charles Bixler Heiser