THE FUEL. In the dark


Between Tracy Anderson’s Baby Food Diet and the Lemon Detox diet, (responsible for whittling down Beyonce’s infamous curves) crazy celebrity diets are nothing new. But when one of the world’s most beautiful – not to mention healthiest and seemingly all-round perfect – couples, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady recently revealed – via personal chef Allen Campbell – that their banned food lists includes what we would normally consider as our healthy staples, Sand & Smoke needed to learn more…

With a diet consisting of around eighty percent vegetables, like their looks the couple set some fairly high benchmarks but what is most interesting is their avoidance of Nightshades. You’ll be forgiven for not knowing what Nightshades are, although the term has been around for some time it has never really received much attention until the famous couple brought it into the spotlight. So to find out if Nightshades are the missing link to bring us to a more supermodel-like state, or if this is just another celebrity bandwagon worth avoiding we spoke to contributor and Talise Nutrition Executive Chef Gabriele Kurz.


Also known as ‘Solanacea’, nightshades include tomatoes, bell peppers and other paprika family members, potatoes, eggplants, beans and chilies – All very familiar foods and all foods that have been considered healthy for centuries. “The recommendation to avoid eating nightshades is not new. Nightshades have already been excluded from recommended food list already in the past century for their inflammation causing characteristics.” Kurz told Sand & Smoke.

“Nightshades can be problematic for many people due to their lectin, saponin and capsaicin content that can lead to inflammation within body for some people. They tend to be especially problematic for those with autoimmune disease who are requested to eat extremely mindfully and avoid foods that irritate the gut and cause digestive imbalance. However, for a normal healthy person with all bodily functions intact there is no evidence to suggest that nightshades should be avoided. In fact, they provide valuable nutrients and enrich healthy cuisine.”

Much of the evidence against nightshades tends to be anecdotal, or precautionary at best, while the benefits of these vegetables is well proven. Tomatoes and peppers for example are well known for their levels of antioxidants and a high beta-carotene content that helps to promote glowing and wrinkle free skin – just like Gisele might we add.


It seems these veggie staples might be getting an unfair wrap. While Nightshades have been linked to inflammatory responses in certain conditions, the jury is out on whether a tomato ban is the secret to Gisele’s physique or simply a cautious step from a mindful chef.

What we know is that not everything works for everybody, and as Kurz suggests “it may be a good idea to get tested to see you can safely digest certain foods, including Nightshades.“

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