As I’ve begun getting a handle on the low histamine diet over the last couple of months, I wanted to share some of what I’ve been eating and let everyone know I’ll be working on posting/modifying some of the recipes I already have up so that they can be eaten by someone who has trouble processing carbohydrates as well as a low histamine diet, wherever possible. As I modify them, I’ll be doing reposts.
When you have problems processing carbohydrates and have histamine issues, it can become a real challenge to get enough calories and variety in your diet. I know I’m not alone in this, as I interact with people everyday who share both of these issues. A lot of my low FODMAP recipes aren’t appropriate for someone who needs to limit the amount of histamine in their diet. While I knew there was something still causing me regular stomach upset such as reflux, diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloating, I still thought it was all about carbohydrates, but it wasn’t. For me, it turned out to be high histamine containing foods, as I have MCAS.
If you’re finding you’re getting a lot of relief from one of these diets, but there’s still something remiss, be sure to explore other options until you get to the bottom of it. What we eat so often dictates the overall health of our digestive system, which in turn affects the brain’s ability to properly function. The gut-brain connection is very real and becoming widely accepted throughout modern medicine. You can’t necessarily cure a disease with food, but you can significantly improve your symptoms and overall quality of life by adopting the correct diet for your condition(s).
Feeling so much better is great motivation to keep going, but first you have to implement the necessary changes and try to make them as comfortable and practical as possible. My blog posts on the FODMAP diet for people with IBS, Gastroparesis and other conditions that impede carbohydrate processing by the stomach and the low histamine diet for people with severe allergies and mast cell conditions can help you get started. Of course, there are other diets and sensitivities out there as well, so be sure to research these topics thoroughly when troubleshooting dietary issues.
Just as my low FODMAP recipes contain no high FODMAP ingredients, my low histamine recipes won’t contain any high histamine ingredients, including those with mold, as I also react to mycotoxins. I knew mold in my environment was a bad thing, but I had no idea what mold in my food was doing to me or why cheese, when heated, was making me a lot sicker than cheese that is cold. It all has to do with mold. I’ll do my best to make my recipes interactive, leaving optional items and suggesting substitutions for people with one problem over the other whenever possible, but some recipes will be just for one condition or the other as they simply wouldn’t be the same dish without certain crucial elements, such as wine, soy sauce or vinegar, all of which must be strenuously avoided if you have mycotoxin allergies. So, I’m going to start adding easy to identify labels to each recipe as well as their categories that indicate which diet it is suitable for.
What I’m Eating
Right now, I pretty much eat two meals a day, as this is what my slow gastric emptying usually allows for. Generally I can get in a snack here or there or maybe even a third meal as my stomach continues to heal. It’s a good indication I’m getting things under control.
While any kind of sausage is generally frowned upon in the low histamine diet, I find that fresh, uncured, heritage raised breakfast sausage doesn’t cause me any problem, so I’ve been eating it on yeast free and dairy free biscuits just about every day with a side of tater tots and either some raw carrots and celery or fresh fruit. I can manage strawberries alright even though they’re not ideal for the histamine diet, while cantaloupe, which is not supposed to be a problem, causes all over itching and heart burn. Of course, the low FODMAP and low histamine diets are both guidelines and you have to find what works for your body. I could eat cereal or some other yeast free grain for breakfast, but I take my first meal of the day seriously. I have to have some protein in it.
If I don’t eat sausage for breakfast, I pretty much eat whatever I would eat for dinner, such as a hamburger or a couple of tacos along with a starch (potato or rice or yeast free bread) and a vegetable or fruit. My dinners have mostly been freshly cooked meats, such as hamburgers, steaks, pork chops, roasts, Bell’s Burgers, pork loin, chicken and noodles, city chicken, fried or grilled chicken, green chili enchiladas or beef tips and noodles. My meat is always grass fed and/or heritage raised, meaning that it’s free of added hormones and antibiotics and is fed the diet the animal is traditionally meant to eat. I do this not only to avoid all the chemicals in processed meats, but also because these meats are packed with nutritious vitamins, minerals and substances that are lacking in conventionally raised farm animals. As a bonus, most farmers who raise cattle in this manner do so as stewards of the land and farm responsibly.
I’m trying to work my way up to a greater variety of vegetables. I can eat asparagus all day long, so long as I don’t eat too far past the tips, where they get lighter in color and really fibrous. Green beans, carrots and zucchini go over well, as does kale, iceberg lettuce, and the occasional lima beans. While I don’t really think corn is a vegetable, I’ve been eating it, just to have more variety. I try to avoid tomatoes, but I still eat a little fresh tomato atop my hamburger or enchiladas, to try to keep things flavorful and interesting. Since I can’t have condiments (even mustard and ketchup has too much vinegar for my tummy to bear), or even pickles or mushrooms, a little tomato goes a long way. I also eat a grain or starch, such as roasted, baked or mashed white potatoes, French fries, noodles or rice.
For snacks, I usually eat plain potato chips or crackers and peanut butter; something that gives me added salt to aid my POTS and/or additional protein and heavy calories, depending on how well I’ve managed to eat that day. I also sometimes eat a low FODMAP ancient grain cereal with almond milk. Again, I reserve this as a treat, rather than as a breakfast as this wouldn’t come close to filling my dietary requirements and it takes a long time for me to get hungry in the morning. Once I eat, it’s usually 6-8 hours before I can eat again, while I generally do better in the evenings.
For the most part, I drink water. I might drink a glass of herbal iced tea or about 4 ounces of watered down powerade in a day, as well. When I make herbal tea, I sweeten it by adding 1/8 cup of sugar for a 2 quart pitcher, making it easy for me to digest, but slightly more enjoyable. Even if I didn’t have problems processing fructose, I still need to limit it because of my issues with mold and chronic candida infections.
As far as breads go, you can’t have any yeast with mycotoxin issues, so most breads, buns, pizza dough and the like is out for me. Instead I eat biscuits, tortillas, yeast-free saltines (Zesta) and have found a couple of muffin mixes I can digest alright if I only eat one muffin a day. I may begin experimenting more with making some of my own from scratch.
Stayed tuned. As I begin adding new recipes and modifying existing ones, I will be sure to share them here and on social media.