“It Just May Be The Tomatoes!” – with Dr Raskin; plus: FREE SVA Skincare Workshop in Fairfield This Weekend! – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter May 25, 2023 – #20, Vol 12

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It May Just Be the Tomatoes!

~ with Dr Lisa Raskin (D.C.)

They are delicious, right? So sweet and juicy. But guess what: if you are having joint pain or gut issues that won’t improve no matter how fancy or expensive your probiotic or herb, you may be experiencing a type of poisoning that comes from eating nightshades. What are nightshades? It’s a large “family” of vegetables, amongst which we find tomatoes, white potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine), bell peppers and eggplant.

The main culprit in nightshades is a chemical called Solanine. Solanine is actually a neurotoxin. And nightshades contain at least 6 OTHER neurotoxins, including atropine and nicotine. A few spoonfuls of eggplant contain the same amount of nicotine that one would absorb if sitting in a room with a light smoker for three hours!

According to Vaidya Mishra’s Shaka Vansya Ayurveda (SVA) tradition -the lineage of Ayurveda in which I practice- the nightshade family of ‘foods’ detrimentally affect both the vibrational and physical channels of the body. Meaning that they damage our tissues and prevent us from building regenerating good tissue.

After doing quite a bit of research I have to say that I have never seen a food wreak as much havoc on the body as these vegetables do.

There are two types of nightshade poisoning, acute and chronic. Acute poisoning occurs after ingesting green or sprouted white potatoes and tomatoes because they have so much more solanine. The symptoms can be cramps, diarrhea, dizziness and sleepiness, but can also be even more intense, including migraine headaches, intestinal disturbance, and ‘food poisoning’ like symptoms, which many people don’t connect with nightshade foods such as tomatoes.

The chronic, slow onset symptoms can be anything from ongoing IBS, joint pain; birth defects (including spina bifida); depression; endocrine suppression – especially thyroid suppression; arthritis in all of its forms; increased intestinal permeability; migraines; osteoporosis; arteriosclerosis; and interference in the absorption of calcium (up to 80%), iron, and vitamin D.

Solanine blocks the activity of an enzyme in nerve cells called acetyl cholinesterase, and therefore blocks nerve transmission. Without this enzyme, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine builds up in synapses, the junction between nerves, blocking the flow of acetylcholine. This is why solanine is called a neurotoxin.

Solanine can also cause joint damage, pain and inflammation, causing excessive LOSS of calcium from the bones and excessive DEPOSITS of calcium into soft tissue. In other words, solanine removes calcium from the bones and deposits it wherever it feels like, leading to side effects including heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

If you are doing everything positive about bone mass (the right nutrients, herbs, exercise, lifestyle, etc.), and keep eating nightshades, the solanine in the nightshades sabotage EVERYTHING that you are doing, and you will not gain bone mass. The nightshades just cancel out all the positive effects of everything that you are doing.

And then there is solanine’s effect on the gut. It causes the lining of the stomach and intestines to break down, because it is known as a cell disruptor. Many people who have been diagnosed with intestinal disorders such as celiac disease and Crohn’s have become symptom free just by avoiding nightshades.

There have been absolutely zero studies done to determine safe levels of nightshade plants. None. People eat them and are not IMMEDIATELY sick, so it is assumed that they are safe.

When I started doing research on nightshades, I was surprised to find out that there seemed to be only one scientist studying the role of nightshades in health. Since the 1970’s, Dr. Norman Childers of Rutgers University has accumulated data on over 50,000 subjects who have been on the no-nightshades diet and have recovered completely or shown great improvement, some leaving canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.

Dr. Childers says “The nightshade plants… are ruinous to livestock. If a cow were to graze in a field of nightshades, in a short time they wouldn’t be able to walk anymore. Farmers have known this for over 100 years and today those plants are…. destroyed before they can cause any harm to the animals”.

Solanine slowly builds up in our tissues over time and the body is very slow to break it down, taking 1 to 2 1/2 months to get rid of the solanine from just one baked potato. It is not water soluble and is not destroyed by cooking. It usually builds up in the smooth muscles and organs such as the intestines, heart, lungs, and endocrine system, mostly in the thyroid.

Harmful effects from eating nightshades may take years and years to appear. It might be the 10,000th baked potato that takes a person over the edge and makes them symptomatic.

But FINALLY, here’s the good news. With total avoidance it usually only takes 4-5 months to excrete all of the solanine held in the body, and symptom relief can be much faster.

What is so amazing and heartening to me is that when you study Ayurveda in Vaidya’s tradition that’s thousands of years old, you learn the foundational knowledge that show you how/why these vegetables were there and are now poisonous.

If you are suffering from any gut or joint issue, I recommend avoiding nightshades for 2-3 weeks to see if your symptoms lighten up some. Some people have a stronger tolerance than others to these chemicals, but all are affected. And… if you can avoid them completely your body will thank you!

Dr Lisa Raskin


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Spring Detox 2023 – Check!

It was unanimous: our final session was the best, despite feeling a little melancholy since it was our last. We all grew accustomed to our weekly meetings and sharings, and we will miss them. It was the best because many participants noted profound change and transformation in their lives and their bodies, even though almost all felt that they needed to spend more time delving into Vaidya’s knowledge and mastering the SVA routine further! The detox protocols are so rich in detail and extensive. It is a process that takes time; however, even a little bit gives great results.

We know we will meet again in Autumn, and on many other occasions, to share and exchange more ayurvedic knowledge and experiences. Until then: may we grow in always more bliss and balance – namaste!

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