What Not to Eat on the 4th—5 Foods Causing Your Back Pain

By Savanna Stone
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Did you ever think that ketchup on your hamburger, potatoes in your salad, or hot sauce on your wings could be causing your back pain? I know. Those probably aren’t foods that you really want to get rid of, especially on a day when you should be free to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, because you’re an American. But you could also use your liberty to choose not to eat foods that are causing you back pain. Because you should be free to do whatever you want. And you can’t do whatever you want if your back is stopping you from moving—literally. 

My dad used to be like you. But he chose to be free of pain by eating a diet that helped ease his pain and freed him to do whatever activity he wanted to on the 4th. His diet is one that many have tried, such as Tom Brady (the NFL star quarterback who led the New England Patriots to 6 Super Bowl victories). If you try this diet, you might just be able to enjoy your 4th and lie out under those big bright flowers that appear in the sky on this night of the year with a pain-free back, just like Tom Brady and my dad.

How the diet helped my dad.

Around the time my dad was 40, right when I was born, his arthritis got so bad that he had to stay home from work and rest in bed. He could barely move because of his inflammatory pain, which had spread to every part of his body. My dad suspected that what he was eating had to do with his pain, so he fasted—for a long time. He noticed that as he fasted, he felt better, more relaxed, and could finally stand without pain. After months of research, he found the No-Nightshade Diet. After following the diet, he got exponentially better to the point where when I was 4 years old, he coached my soccer teams, he swam with me, he biked with me, and today he’s more agile than he was when I was born. 

Foods you shouldn’t eat.

Nightshades:

  • Tomatoes
  • White potatoes
  • All peppers (except white and black)
  • Paprika
  • Eggplant

Here’s how the diet works.

 It’s called the No-Nightshade diet. This diet might work wonders for you, especially if your back pain is arthritis or inflammation related. But because everyone is unique, there might be other foods that are causing your inflammation (I’ll talk about those later in the article). 

Nightshades are in a family of plants called solanaceae. There are some plants in that family that are toxic and poisonous, such as the belladonna plant⁠ (the deadly nightshade). A lot of the plants in the nightshade family are ones that many people consume on a regular basis. These include tomatoes, white potatoes, all peppers (except white and black), paprika, and eggplant. Nightshades contain an alkaloid called solanine. If solanine is consumed in high concentrations, it can be harmful and toxic, and it is especially potent in the leafy stalks of the potato plant. This is why green potatoes cause solanine poisoning. The more you know, the longer you live. 

Before committing to any dramatic changes in your diet, talk to your doctor. Robin Barrie Kaiden (RD, CDN, registered dietitian in New York) says that you should try out a diet for 2 weeks before you commit to it to see if it benefits you.

Why some foods cause inflammation.

Eating inflammatory-causing foods causes your muscles to contract and never relax. If that happens for a long time, these stiff muscles can result in back spasms and irritation. Things like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can also increase the cortisol levels in your body, which make your connective tissue inflamed. Inflamed connective tissue just sounds painful. To avoid this, you should also eat a variety of foods. Eating just salads all day, skipping meals, or overeating also stiffens your muscles. 

Eliminating these foods might be hard at first, but it’ll all be worth it in the end when you realize that no sacrifice is too great to have a comfortable back.