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inflammation-causing ingredients

  • These deviled eggs are naturally colored and a healthy, sweet n' spicy twist on traditional deviled eggs. With a super-smooth, creamy filling of chopped bread-n-butter pickles and Greek yogurt, these deviled eggs are perfect for your next party, potluck or Easter celebration!

    Dr. G's Perspective
    It's interesting, and also perplexing to me, that many recipes include paprika in a very small amount simply for color and/ or garnish. Just that little sprinkle can leave those of us with underlying dormant inflammation in pain for days. I recently asked a local chef (an expat) I greatly admire why she adds a pinch of paprika or cayenne to my favorite dishes like her amazing quiche and eggs Benedict. Her reply didn't surprise me. She said simply because it was in her recipe she's used for years. She admitted it didn't add flavor in those small quantities but did add color.

    For those, like me, a recovered Fibromyalgia victim with underlying inflammation factors, it will spiral us into pain when it can be completely eliminated from recipes without compromising taste or appearance. Once you're free of nightshades and realize how reactive you are, just a pinch sets off the fire of inflammation again, even though you're pain free otherwise. Just a sprinkle is enough to induce inflammation, if you don't believe me, try it once you've been completely off nightshades for at least 90 days.

    When I'm craving one of my chef friend's special dishes, I email ahead and tell her what I want and she makes it without inflammation-causing ingredients. I mention this because often we're sabotaged without knowing it when a chef or cook believes that in small amounts it shouldn't bother those sensitive to nightshades.

    When I relocated, one of the first things on my "to do" list was to partake of several local eateries to introduce myself and gently educate them about why I, and my patients, must avoid nightshades. Every one of them was polite, interested and asked if I'd leave my nightshade card so they could post in their kitchen. This small gesture of educating them briefly has served us all well. I can eat in at least eight local restaurants with no risk of inducing inflammation. My local patients are thrilled to learn that I've already laid the groundwork for them to be able to enjoy a meal while supporting the efforts of our local chefs—a little polite health education goes along way.


    • 12 large eggs hard boiled and peeled*
    • 2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt *
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped bread and butter pickles
    • 1 small shallot peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill weed
    • 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
    • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    • 4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (more or less to taste)
    • 1 tsp. Braggs Aminos
    • 2 tsp. Achiote Powder* (reserve some for topping)
    • Optional toppings: micro greens or edible flowers
    • For "Standing Up" Deviled Eggs: Use a sharp paring knife to slice a small sliver off the bottom of the large end of egg, so it will stand upright, and then slice off the top one third.
    • For Filling: Remove the yolks from all the hard-boiled eggs and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add shallot and pickles. Process until finely chopped. Add-in the fresh dill weed and achiote powder and process again until everything is minced. Add in the yogurt, vinegar, mustard and lemon juice. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
    • Transfer the deviled egg mixture to a piping bag fitted with the star attachment (or a Ziploc with the corner snipped off for a make-shift piping bag). Pipe the mixture into the egg whites, filling each cavity generously.
    • To Serve: Garnish with greens/flowers and sprinkle with a bit of annato/achiote* for the natural red color. Serve and enjoy!
    Dr. G's Notes
    • Eggs that are older, at least seven days, are MUCH easier to peel.
    • If your filling looks thin and slightly watery, simply add a hard-boiled egg (white, yolk, or both) to the processor with the filling, and process until smooth. Keep adding egg until the filling is thickened. If you made standing deviled eggs, use the egg white scraps to thicken the filling.
    • Make sure you season the filling GENEROUSLY. Eggs like salt. I used a 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and some Pink Himalayan Salt and 4 grinds of fresh pepper (black, white, pink and red).

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    Do Ahead: Eggs can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.

    *What is Achiote (or Annatto)?
    Achiote is a reddish orange spice used in many genres of food throughout the world. While it's often employed to give a dish a red or deep mustard color, it also has a mild peppery flavor. Whether it is as whole seeds or a ground spice, achiote paste or achiote oil, you'll come across this ingredient quite often when exploring Mexican, South American or Caribbean cuisine.

    Achiote and annatto are used interchangeably. They are the most common names for a product extracted from the seeds of the evergreen Bixa orellana shrub—NOT a nightshade and can be used to replace paprika or cayenne as a condiment. After macerating in water, the pulp surrounding the seeds is made into cakes for further processing into dyes. The seeds are dried and used whole or ground as a culinary spice.

    This spice goes by many names in different parts of the world:

    • Achiote is used in Mexico and in the Aztec language of Nahuatl, as well as Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean.
    • Annato is common on some Caribbean islands and in areas of South America.
    • Roucou is used frequently in Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, and Guadalupe.
    • Achuete is primarily used in the Philippines.
    • Urucul is the name of the spice among the Tupi-Gurani Indians of the Amazon.

    Achiote is native to the tropical areas of the Americas, including the Caribbean and Mexico. The Spanish brought the small tree from the Americas to Southeast Asia in the 1600s, where it is now a common food ingredient. It's also produced in India and West Africa.

    Traditional Uses for Achiote
    Annatto was and still is, used as a culinary spice, food colorant, and commercial dye.

    It does have medicinal properties as well. Caribbean natives were adding achiote to their dishes for flavor and color long before Europeans arrived. They also used it in cosmetics, as a fabric dye, body paint, sunscreen, insect repellent, and medicine.

    Some historians theorize that the term ¡§red-skins¡¨ comes from the use of achiote as body paint because it is a natural dye that turns the skin a reddish color.

    It is also believed that the Aztecs added the seeds to a chocolate drink to enhance its color.

    Culinary Uses
    Commercially, achiote is used to add yellow color to chorizo, butter and margarine, cheese, and smoked fish. On the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, it's used to make yellow rice and sometimes added to sofrito. In the French Caribbean, it's used to make a fish or pork stew with berries and lime known as blaff.

    Achiote powder mixed with other spices and herbs can be turned into an achiote paste to marinate and give a smoky flavor to meats, fish, and poultry.

    Achiote seeds are steeped in cooking oil to make achiote oil for achiotina, infusing them with color and flavor. Sauteing in or cooking with the oil adds color to rice, paella, meat, soup, stew, fish, and some yuca dishes. In some cultures, the red color in their traditional dishes comes from saffron. Achiote is used much the same and a lot more cost-effective than saffron.

    Taste and Aroma
    When used in small amounts, primarily as a food colorant, annatto has no discernable flavor. However, when used in larger amounts to add flavor, it imparts an earthy, peppery flavor with a hint of bitterness. Achiote seeds give off a slightly floral or peppermint scent.