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Nightshade Vegetables 101

“Nightshade what? I thought most plants grew during the day with some help from the sun?” And they do! But some vegetables are grouped into the category of “nightshade vegetables” because of their preference to grow in the shade and flower at night. This family of vegetables is called the Solanaceae family and includes eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Nightshade vegetables contain an alkaloid called solanine. An alkaloid is a group of chemicals produced by plants that contain nitrogen.  Nitrogen containing vegetables consumed in small quantities is healthy, however, some individuals cannot process and digest them without suffering some side effects. Their negative reaction includes indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn, nausea, constipation, joint pain, hives, rashes, itchy eyes and mucus. For some, these reactions can be more severe than others, but for the average person, you might notice that you have a combination of stomach cramping, pains, a change in your digestion and elimination and a feeling of general unwellness.

Over the years, there have been numerous studies performed on the nightshade vegetables and their link to inflammation. Each of the vegetables offer a different nutriative offering; peppers are rich in Vitamin C and help to absorb iron and support the immune system, tomatoes and eggplant are rich in phytonutrients such as lycopene and anthocyanins which help to protect the skin from sun damage, improve heart health and lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Last but not least, potatoes contain potassium, an electrolyte that helps with nerve function, muscular contraction and helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. These foods offer an abundance of nutrients, but just like humans, not everyone is going to like or be able to digest all of them.But have no fear, there are nightshade alternatives available!

If you think you are sensitive to nightshade vegetables, one of the easiest ways to test it is by simply reducing the amount that you are consuming. Instead of eating white potatoes, sub in cauliflower or sweet potatoes. Eggplant can be swapped with mushrooms, bell peppers or celery, radishes and zucchini, while tomatoes can be switched with beet and carrots. The option for nightshade vegetable alternatives is endless. It might be a pain to cook at first, but over time you will find yourself experimenting with new recipes, dishes and, you guessed it, sauces!

If you’re looking for a nightshade friendly sauce, look no further than La Dee Da Sauce’s Butternut Squash Beet Sauce! This sauce has been brilliantly designed for those who cannot digest tomatoes, eggplant, peppers or potatoes and instead uses the heartiness of butternut squash, beets and carrots! Whether you’re spreading it on a pizza, mixing it into pasta, serving it as a dip or eating it straight from the jar, this sauce is quickly going to become your go-to when you are craving the nightshade vegetables. Beets are a healthy source of fibre, potassium, iron, Vitamin C and B-vitamins, all of which help to support your circulatory system, lower blood pressure and increase recovery time from exercise. Its co-star ingredient, butternut squash is rich in antioxidants including Vitamin A, C and E. These vitamins help to support vision, reduce inflammation, slow cellular damage (aka slow down the aging process!) and lower overall levels of inflammation. We can almost guarantee you that your body will begin to crave this sauce instead of the classic tomato sauce overtime!

If you’re in the mood for a dish that is a little heartier and reminds you of your trip to Italy (or an Italian restaurant at least!) The La Dee Da Keto Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce will quickly become your best friend in the kitchen! This sauce is packed with hearty cauliflower, nutritional yeast and garlic. Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse that packs a punch of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. Not only does cauliflower support our immune system, it also helps to strengthen and calcify our bones, serves as an important electrolyte for maintaining healthy fluid levels and improves recovery time between our workouts. Nutritional yeast, which you may or may not have heard of, is a plentiful plant based source of vitamins and minerals! Nutritional yeast is known for its energy boosting superpowers due to Vitamin B12 found within it. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps to keep our body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and prevent anemia, which can make people feel weak and tired. It is also known for its powerful ability to support the immune system, promote hair and nail growth and for supporting a healthy pregnancy due to its high concentration of folic acid. If this isn’t a superfood, we don’t know what is!

And finally, when you crave something creamy, rich and warming, turn to La Dee Da’s Savourity Mushroom Basil Sauce! This sauce is nicknamed the “open and pour sauce” because you can pair it with just about anything! Whether you’re serving it over pasta, chicken, fried tofu or mixing it into your quinoa, this sauce is a “must stock sauce” in your kitchen! Made from mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes and garlic, this sauce is both immune boosting and Vitamin D supporting thanks to the savoury mushrooms! Mushrooms are a fantastic source of plant-based Vitamin D that helps to maintain calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, aid in the absorption of calcium and the fortification of bone and plays an important role in regulating mood and keeping depression at bay. In other words, this sauce should be nicknamed, “your happy sauce!”

There you have it! A nightshade free list of alternative vegetables for those who love to cook from scratch and ready-to-crack open nightshade free sauces for those who prefer to keep cooking simple, easy and stick to the important stuff, eating! No nightshades? No problem! Pass me my La Dee Da Sauces please!