Did you know that the act of digestion itself causes histamine release ? No, not many people do. I get so many emails from people who are convinced they have multiple amine, food intolerance or allergy issues because they react to everything they ingest. They explore salicylate, amine, oxalate, yeast and other issues obsessively, convinced that
‘Tis the season to head to warmer climes and enjoy a little dining…but eating out is no picnic when you have histamine intolerance/histaminosis/mast cell activation/mastocytosis. And yet this has never stopped me from trying (and succeeding).
My top tip for surviving restaurants is PREPARE!
1. I have a couple of restaurants who have my allergies/preferences in the system or know me by now. That’s where I take my clients so I don’t have to get into it with them! I’ve never had anyone be rude or dismissive. Restaurants nowadays take these things very seriously because they don’t want a lawsuit on their hands. I’m also always super nice and leave a big tip so they remember me.
2. If I have no control over where I’m going, I’ll peruse the menu online and call ahead and make my order. If I can’t find anything on the menu, I’ll just explain that I have a number of allergies, that I need to come in for a business meeting, and I ask if they would be so kind as to prepare me an omelette (even if it’s not on the menu). They ALWAYS oblige.
3. ALWAYS order dressing/sauce on the side. This is where most restaurants slip up.
4. Tell them outright, you MUST have the freshest food on the menu, so ask for their help in choosing it. I’m always very tactful on this one. Restaurants never admit their food was not cooked from scratch daily and yet (having worked with a number of restaurants over the years) I know this is not the case. Very few restaurants in the world are from scratch, daily.You could copy and paste this text into a word doc, then add your foods, (don’t forget nuts!), and either laminate (my choice) or print it off and keep in your wallet. I suggest multiple copies as these will inevitably be lost along the way…
5. I have the text below printed on a two sided card to be presented upon arrival.
MY RESTAURANT CARD
WHICH FOODS ARE HIGH HISTAMINE? That depends on which list you follow. Histamine in foods varies depending on: the country grown in, whether pesticides were used, climate, transportation, ripeness when picked, how long on the supermarket shelf, bacterial contamination. In particular the level varies in flesh. The reason for which is that bacteria release histamine
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my top hot beverages… As you can see from my picture here, the detox is going great! Ok, busted, that’s not me in the picture! But as you can see from plenty others on the site – I’m not looking too shabby! My natural antihistamine beverages… Valerian
Here’s an interesting headline for you: nightshade flower as effective a mast cell stabiliser as commonly prescribed sodium cromoglycate. This definitely brought a smile to my face, given that most of us in the allergic world only have to hear the word nightshade to run a mile in the opposite direction. It also confirmed that some foods we’re told are bad for histamine related conditions, may have benefits that far outweigh the modest amount of histamine they release. Unless you’re allergic to them!
AS EFFECTIVE AS COMMONLY PRESCRIBED MAST CELL STABILISER/ANTIHISTAMINE
A lot of people ask me how I’ve got from total histamine intolerance breakdown to where I am. While I do believe my recovery is still a work in progress, I thought I’d share how a combination of militant food planning, 30 minutes of inflammation fighting yoga and daily chanting (OM!) have allowed me to reach a far better place than I have ever been.
Thanks to my years studying nutrition (unofficially) through the teachings of Drs Fuhrman, Weil, Oz and others, I was well aware my new low histamine diet had the potential to be unhealthy and counter-productive, if applied strictly, and blindly.
To acknowledge something and to implement it are two very different things. It took me a while to get my sea legs. I floundered around for some time, terrified to add new foods or even entertain the idea of being proactive in my recovery. But I knew I had to take action when I began to approach meal time with fear and hatred, focusing on the food rather than the state of my broken body and mind. I was now eating the same five foods every single day, usually in large amounts, not understanding why I wasn’t “recovering”.
UPDATE: there is a ton of misinformation flying around on the internet. I’m constantly flummoxed by how people will attribute feeling awful to chickpeas or a banana rather than the taco bell, potato chips or chocolate they also had. I have yet to see any scientific study showing high histamine content in chickpeas. On the
I suffered daily migraines for many years. At some point I finally came to the conclusion that my headaches, which made me bang my head against the wall on occasion, had something to do with my diet. I was vindicated by the person who diagnosed me with histamine intolerance in London, and now by the growing number of studies clearly spelling out the allergy/histamine migraine link.
I cannot even begin to properly thank my lucky stars for curing me of this blight. I was about six weeks into the low histamine diet when I was able to trash the 600mg ibuprofen that I had been scarfing daily by the handful for most of my adult life. Not to mention the migraine injections. Youch! You truly haven’t experienced hell till you’ve had a constant migraine for six months.
Interestingly, in Spain (and France), it’s commonly acknowledged that migraines are caused by a lack of the histamine-lowering enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). Seems that the US and UK are way behind the curve on this one.
But histamine can also cause migraine in “healthy” people:
Not only is Holy Basil tasty in just about any Thai or Vietnamese dish – turns out it’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine herb that’s as effective as Ranitidine/Zantac at treating H2 (histamine) induced ulcers, preventing mast cell degranulation and anaphylactic shock. How do’you like them apples? I like Holy Basil a lot better than them apples…but
AN INVISIBLE WAR
Dr. Oz calls inflammation an “invisible civil war raging in your body. Undetected it can cause heart attacks, stroke and cancer.” According to him, the problem begins when inflammation does not resolve following its role in healing an injury, causing your immune system to go haywire, turning your best friend into your worst enemy. This ties in to all my reading of this last year. Yes, inflammation is a serious concern when it unnecessarily stokes the immune system into over reacting to everything. Inflammation isn’t just dangerous to those of us with inflammation-induding histamine related disorders like histamine intolerance, histaminosis, mastocytosis and mast cell activation, it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in minimising their cancer, stroke and heart attack risk.
CONDITIONS LINKED TO INFLAMMATION
Ok here’s one I totally relate to. Dr. Mehmet Oz, on his show, recently explained how hidden food allergies can make you gain up to 30lbs (20kg) a YEAR. Here’s Dr. Oz on his show explaining how, when faced with an undiagnosed allergy whereby the good bacteria cannot process the food (I think maybe he’s