Episode 37: Nightshades, Arthritis + Inflammation

Recipe: Ratatouille over Polenta

Have you heard of Nightshades? Or even been advised to avoid them?

Nightshades are a group of plants that grow at night ๐ŸŒ™ and primarily in the summer. Their leaves are inedible, but their fruits, we love!

This family includes eggplants ๐Ÿ†, peppers ๐ŸŒถ,  okra, tomatoes ๐Ÿ… and even potatoes ๐Ÿฅ”!  

So, should we avoid them?

These plants contain an alkaloid called Solanine which acts as the plant’s defense system ๐Ÿฅ‹ 

Because it’s the defense system of the plant, it has a level of toxicity… Mother Nature at work!

But don’t worry, with proper cooking techniques and a healthy body, most of the alkaloid will be excreted! 

However, if you suffer from joint pain, arthritis or inflammation, the body can’t clear as well so the alkaloid may settle in the joints causing more pain.

๐Ÿ‘‰Here’s where we go deeper…. if removing these vegetables for 1-2 wks relieves pain + inflammation, this is showing that your body’s not able to process the alkaloid. This means you have some work to do on your gut health and clearing toxic congestion from the liver.

๐Ÿ’ŠTaking medications to relieve joint pain + inflammation is only masking symptoms and will lead to further damage and disease of the body. Get to the root cause of the pain by diving into this episode and the Simply Seasonal philosophy!

Join Cara + Megan in Episode 37 of Simply Seasonal:

  • Why removing nightshades can bring relief to joint pain 
  • How to get to the root cause of arthritis + inflammation 
  • Why we love nightshades + their health benefits!
  • Our favorite way to cook nightshades

Balance, heal, thrive,
Cara + Megan

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Have questions after the episode?

Ratatouille over Polenta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Simple Tip: “Always cook with Seasonal foods to balance, heal, and thrive!” xoxo Cara + Megan
*Sweating eggplant prevents them from getting soggy and allows them to brown. To sweat your eggplant, sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over your diced eggplant and lay them out on a sheet tray covered with paper towels. Let them sit for 15-20mins and you will them visibly “sweat” as water is drawn out. Pat them dry, then they are ready to use.


  • 2 tbl, olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled, medium diced, sweated*
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 sm or 1 lg zucchini, medium diced
  • 1 yellow squash, medium diced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red wine
  • 12 kalamata olives, minced
  • 29oz can crushed, fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Tbl each parsley + basil, chopped
  • sea salt + pepper
  • Polenta
  • 6 cup water
  • 4 tbs, butter (save 2 tbs to finish)
  • 2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp, sea salt


  1. Ratatouille: Place a large cast-iron pot over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the onions and eggplant and let them sautรฉ for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Then add the bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and a pinch of salt. Let them sautรฉ for about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and let them cook down for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Deglaze the pot with red wine and let the wine reduce for about 30 seconds. Gently mix in the olives and tomatoes. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let the ratatouille simmer for about 30-40 minutes. When finished, season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and basil.
  4. Polenta: In a separate medium size pot, bring the water up to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and add 2 tbs butter. Then quickly whisk in the cornmeal with a whisk so no clumps develop.
  5. Switching to a wooden spoon, stir polenta occasionally as it thickens. Once the cornmeal is finished cooking (no longer al dente), season with salt and finish with the last 2 tbs of butter.
  6. Serve warm at the bottom of a large plate or bowl and top with ratatouille. Yum!

If you enjoyed this recipe we would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and be sure to share with family and friends.


Megan + Cara

Balance, heal, thrive,
Cara + Megan

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