I have Italian heritage so was raised on wonderful tomato-based pasta sauces that my nonna used to make. Unfortunately, I also grew up with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was fortunate to discover, in my 20’s, that nightshades were a big contributing factor to the aches and pains that I suffered. In giving up nightshades I found that I could also give up my anti-inflammatory medication.

What are nightshades you ask? Tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, and capsicum all belong to the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Why nightshades contribute to the aches and pains of arthritis is not clear as not everyone is sensitive to these foods. However, they are particularly high in amines and salicylates which can contribute to inflammation.

If you’ve tried everything else with little success there is no harm in giving up nightshades for a few months and seeing if you feel better. You can also try reading my article on 7 great tips for a pain-free arthritis this winter.  Giving up nightshades, however, posed a big question for me – what was I going to put on my pasta? Luckily I discovered this wonderful sauce in Aveline Kushi’s Complete guide to macrobiotic cooking for health harmony and peace. Not only is this sauce free of potentially inflammatory foods but it is filled with foods that are specifically anti-inflammatory. This is a delicious sauce to enjoy, even if nightshades are not an issue for you.


  • 1 small beet, including greens so get a lush one
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 chopped onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp herbamare salt or sea salt
  • 1/2 L spring water
  • pinch each of dried oregano and basil


  1. Saute the onions and garlic in a little coconut oil until they are soft and translucent
  2. Chop the beet greens, dice the beets and add to the pot
  3. Slice the carrots and celery and add to the pot
  4. Add water, salt and herbs and pressure cook together for 20 min or boil for 45 min
  5. Puree the vegetables to make the sauce
  6. Enjoy over any style of pasta including spiralized zucchini


If you feel you would like help with managing arthritic pain then book an appointment today as acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help.

Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Qigong and Wholefood counselling). Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Chinese Medicine located in Katoomba, NSW and has spent 6 years lecturing at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.

The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Remember that you are responsible for your own health and safety at all times.