Q. “I am allergic to foods in the nightshade family and find it difficult to find meals that do not have these foods in them. Can you recommend a cookbook or anything that could help?”Stacey
A. Dietitian Jennifer Peters responds:
The substance that causes an allergic response is known as an allergen. Allergens contain protein, and the body thinks that this protein is attacking it and so produces an IgE-mediated response as a counterattack. This IgE-mediated response is what causes the symptoms often associated with allergies such as sneezing, wheezing, coughing, hives, swelling, vomiting and diarrhoea.
It is worth ensuring that you are definitely allergic by asking your doctor for a blood test if you haven’t already, as it is often not easy or healthy to cut foods out of your diet if it’s not absolutely necessary.
The nightshade family includes tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes, as well as tobacco. So you will need to replace the carbohydrate foods in your diet by substituting rice, pasta, breads or kumara for potatoes. Make sure you avoid the tomatoes and peppers by making green salads and add sweet corn and carrots for colour.
There are hundreds of recipes available in this website, a lot of which do not include these foods – go to the Recipes section. There is also a book called The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook written by Cybele Pascal, which has a good range of recipes for people with allergies.”