So, the other day I wrote a post on Histamine Intolerance and what it is, and what it isn’t. So to continue the discussion. What foods can you eat and what can’t you have when you have HIT? It all depends. Other than foods I’m actually allergic to, this condition has limited a lot of my diet. For one thing, a lot of the low carb eating I was on pretty much had to go out the window. I can’t eat any meat that isn’t fresh. I can’t pre-cook foods and just grab a bite. I can’t have my soy mousse anymore. I can’t have tomatoes, which were a standby for me.
There are numerous lists out there of histamine-laden foods, and some of them contradict. One of the most accurate that I’ve found though is the one put out by one of the leading experts on the subject, Dr. Janice Joneja. I highly recommend her books on food allergies and intolerances. But really, there is a core list that almost everyone agrees on that must be avoided. And then a number of others that—as I said last time—will bother some HIT patients, but not others. I seem to be at that low point where almost everything on the lists hits me hard, and I’m still learning—usually the hard way.
First, you need to know that some foods are naturally high in histamine. Others are called ‘histamine liberators’ because they stimulate the production of histamine in the body. Either way, they’re problems. Also, the minute you cook food, it starts building in histamine. So you can’t have leftovers and you shouldn’t let the food sit before eating it. Annnnd…slow cooking anything increases the histamine levels in exorbitant levels—which means I ended up giving away my slow cooker and buying a pressure cooker instead. No canned foods, no processed meats, no nightshades, no aged or fermented anything, so many many no’s.
So what can I eat? Between my food allergies, intolerances, and now the HIT, here’s my list:
Meats: chicken breast, beef (as fresh as possible, no “aged” beef), turkey breast (fresh, not processed), lamb. Game meats are more problematic. I have to severely limit the dark meat of poultry and skin. I’ve started grinding my own lamb and going to my own beef for the most part because ground meat is usually a lot higher histamine, regardless of the type, and also harder to pinpoint the age.
Vegetables: Cucumbers, squash (all kinds—winter and summer), broccolini, chard (both red and rainbow), carrots, lettuce, corn (organic only), artichokes, asparagus, beets, sweet potatoes. All of these need to be fresh—not canned. If they were flash frozen, they’re usually fine.
Fruits: Apples, pears, peaches, frozen black berries, melon, apricots, cherries.
Grains: Rice, corn (organic), tapioca, corn (organic), oats (gluten free), rice protein powder
Herbs: Parsley, oregano, sage, marjoram, bay.
Misc: Salt, water, blackberry tea, rice milk, coconut, coconut milk, coconut sugar, honey, stevia, maple syrup, safflower oil, coconut oil, palm oil.
You’ll notice…coffee is not on the list. I just found the research that yes, coffee is high histamine, and caffeine is a histamine liberator. Which means I’m cutting down. I’m down to three shots a day and may sadly have to give up my lattes because they are inflaming my body and harming me, and probably contributing to my reactions. Decaf is not an option, given the coffee beans themselves are high histamine, even without the caffeine.
I’ve had to let go of a number of foods I loved: cinnamon, tomatoes, chocolate, shellfish, fish, nuts…all of them were causing reactions. I’m still learning to manage things. I’ve had to make a number of changes as this has progressed.
For one thing, I have to cook most meat either fresh or from an almost frozen state. Every meal has to be made fresh—so I’m having to cook a lot more. I’m learning to cook in smaller amounts, because no more leftovers. If I make a big soup, I get one meal of it—and Sam would have to eat the rest. If I make a meatloaf, I get whatever I’m hungry for at dinner, and that’s it. I can’t have a number of foods that helped keep me low carb, so I’ve had to raise my carb level to some extent. I’m now having to wean myself off coffee.
I am on a few necessary supplements: L-glutamine powder, Histabloc, Vitamin C/D/B.
So, sample menus? I admit, I’m still dealing with figuring them out. I get hunger headaches without enough protein.
Rice protein smoothie: Rice protein, frozen peaches, coconut milk, honey, L-glutamine powder
Chicken stir fry: chicken breast, zucchini, Swiss chard, shredded carrots
Today, I made a really good soup for lunch. Including the recipe here:
Butternut Squash Soup
1 cup butternut squash (freshly cooked soft)
2 cups rice milk
1 granny smith apple
3 stalks celery
4 ribs Swiss chard (keep the leaves for something else)
1 lb. lamb (grind in food processor or meat grinder)
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
Heat oil in pan, begin browning lamb. Add diced chard, celery, and apple, parsley and salt. Saute till meat is cooked and veggies are soft. Stir in puree of squash, then rice milk. Heat through.
So, foods are one of the bigger issues with HIT. But that’s only one face of the syndrome. Exercise, sex, even hot showers, can all trigger issues. Which…I will continue in Part 3 next time.
11 thoughts on “Histamine Intolerance–Part 2”
Going through a battery of tests that so far have been showing that I don’t have MCAS but the doctors still don’t want to recognize that I have Histamine Intolerance. In the States it is frustrating to have to explain something to a doctor and have him look at me like I’m crazy. Funny old world… Thanks for the blog.
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Sad to hear that HIT is not recognised in the US like it is in Europe. It’s easier here for us people with HIT – my doctor recommended a test right away after I’ve broken out in hives after drinking red wine at Christmas dinner. I’ve a reather mild form, as it hasn’t gotten to the point where I can’t eat any tomatoes or drink my coffee (that sounds like a nightmare for me!). I just have to be cautious when I had a allergic reaction to anything recently – than even a little amount of histamine can be way to much. Than it’s like “hy angioedema, long time no see – oh you brought your friends: hive, panic and rash – how lovely!”
I wish you all the best with this tricky condition – may you find a good diet that helps you have a balanced daily life!
Many thanks for following up on this most important health-related issue.
We noticed Cracked Wheat Bread shall be absent from either, the Avoid, or acceptable.
We have recently been experiencing allergic reaction to some component within our diet, since our diet shall be limited, uncertain as the cause.
Walk in Light
That’s because I have to eat gluten free, so it’s not in my realm. I posted what works for my system within the confines of the lists, so it leaves out several things like *some* dairy and so forth since I can’t have dairy or gluten or ANY form of nuts or legumes. 🙂
My great-niece is allergic to 50+ foods and breaks out in hives everywhere, or goes into shock and has to be rushed to the hospital. Sorry for your continuing fight with foods.
Thank you for sharing this with everyone. If it reaches a few people who discover what is happening to them, it could be life changing. I remember when sharing medical issues was taboo, and having people educate each other is such a blessing.
On the pressure cooker did you buy a standard one or an Instant Pot? I keep thinking about the latter but trying to cut back spending right now.
I bought the Power Pressure Cooker XL Digital 8 qt. Pressure and love it.
As a substitute for coffee have you tried Dandelion root tea? I’m not saying its perfect it takes some getting used to but with a little creamer and stevia I’ve grown to love it, also theres a tea&herb company out of Oregon I love there herbal coffee blend
Can’t–allergic to a lot of plants. 🙂 The only herbal tea I can use at this point are raspberry and blackberry. I don’t care for warm drinks (always drank my latte iced) so I sometimes make them iced but what I miss is the caffeine, not the coffee. LOL