Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Low histamine for the long run / salad dressing discovery

If I'm to be completely truthful, my diet has been less than great lately. It's not only the weight gain that tells me so, but other cues like skin issues, lower energy level, and less *ahem* regularity. If you will allow me, I'll play the low histamine complainer card for just a moment... Oh, to be simply paleo!

In more specific terms, here's my assessment of the problem:
- Working too much, so other (real) life needs going unmet (such as CrossFit)
- Getting bitter about low histamine restrictions
- Getting tired of limited options

As a result of the factors above, I'm:
- Snacking instead of eating proper meals (with few well balanced low histamine + paleo options)
- Not working out enough
- Eating out more than usual (which still isn't a whole lot as compared to pre-paleo, but more than necessary due to depleted lunch stocks in the freezer)
- Letting gluten-free crap (i.e. bread, cookies) creep into diet to make up for missed traditional paleo options (a reaction to the bitterness referenced above)

So what am I going to do about it? I've been tossing around a few approaches in my brain:
  1. Go strict low histamine paleo for 30 days to reset
  2. Re-prioritize where I use my "willing to take my chances eating this high histamine food" credits (e.g. from chocolate to avocado)
  3. Revert some meals (e.g. quick dinners, weekend lunches) to regular ol' paleo (e.g. left over meat, tomatoes, bacon, whatever) with the help of a DAO supplement

For the past two days, I've been taking a combo of approaches 2 and 3. I already feel better and eczema-wise, my skin is (knock on wood) in pretty good shape. One of the "indulgences" as I revert back to some of my pre-low histamine paleo foods includes salad (which may actually seem sad). A salad without vinegar of some kind doesn't do a lot for me. That, coupled with the typical histamine-prone salad additions like less-than-fresh meat, tomatoes, avocado, vinegar, bacon, cheese, etc., had reduced my salad eating to periodic treats while eating out (and accompanied by a DAO pill).

President's Choice makes this delicious lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil. The grape tomatoes are another shouldn't have treat, but I live on the edge sometimes.

I was intrigued when I recently discovered lemon infused extra virgin olive oil. I wondered if this would give my salad enough taste and liquid, more than I'd get from choking down a green salad with only olive oil to dress it. This oil is simply evoo with lemon extract. I realize citrus is (yet another) item on the histamine hit list, but I figure a bit of lemon extract will surely have less impact on my histamine threshold than a good serving of balsamic vinegar. Well it turns out it absolutely does the trick. It's now worth having salads again. It's now worth buying greens again.

And so, having had enough symptoms of deteriorating health to alert me, I'm getting back on track. For now, I don't have a strict 30 in the plans, but you never know. Now that I know it's the histamine intolerance that's causing my eczema, it's actually harder to go really strict low histamine. Rather, I tend to maintain a small amount of rash that is a price worth paying for the most part.

For those of you in the histamine intolerance camp - how have you managed to regulate your diet in a sustainable way? Or perhaps you are more sensitive than I, where any symptoms are too many symptoms and strict is the only way to go.

24 comments:

  1. Have you gone to the Liquid Gold store on Queen Street? They sell many flavors of infused olive oil. It's all I buy.

    Yo

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  2. Thanks Yo - good suggestion. I haven't been there in quite a while.

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  3. Hi Sarah,
    I'm in the bitter camp lately, too. I think winter/SAD doesn't help my attitude. I do so much better when I don't crave potato chips all the time, or Starburst (did you know the dyes are petroleum oil derivatives? o_O). It's my alcohol I guess (I never drank). I don't seem to do well with oils at ALL. I need to clean it up. I appreciate your being out there. I could have written most of this blog entry myself (but didn't-haha). You can do it. :)
    ~Dotslady

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  4. I feel EXACTLY the same way (embarking on AIP + low-histamine after 3 months of paleo+ low-histamine, after a year of paleo. Each incarnation is making me increasingly more bitter). I'll think about that olive oil. I'm already missing my tahini salad dressing and I haven't even given up seeds yet!

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  5. I had an idea to use pure cranberry juice as a substitute for vinegar. It's tortuously sour. So I'm going to try making a dressing by mixing pure juice with salt, pepper, honey and mustard powder (is that OK?) and then drizzle in olive oil.

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  6. That sounds great Margaret! Not sure about the mustard powder, but worth a try I suppose?

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  7. Anybody try Rhubarb syrup instead of Vinegar?

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  8. Has anyone tried the recipe with pure cranberry juice as a substitute for vinegar? How did it turn out?

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  10. I was recently diagnosed and am extremely bitter at this point. I have had a passion for cooking and a cookbook collection that doesn't quit, so this was a horrible curse. I cleaned out the fridge and pantry and threw out hundreds of things this AM. Right now I do not eat at all for fear of provocation. And resources are there are contradictory and unreliable. Has anyone found a resource that works for them. I do realize everybody is different.

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    1. LindaSJ, I am about 2 months behind you and wondering if you have found equilibrium. If so, I sure would love to hear about it!
      Roberta

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  11. I am also recently diagnosed by a dietician but still waiting to be seen by the specialist to get some more answers. I too am bitter and struggling with so much contradiction. I bought a couple of recipe books, the Swiss one and an Australian one but living in the Uk some of the ingredients are hard to find. I have come to the conclusion that you have to try foods to find out what suits you - there is contradiction surrounding cranberries and I know they do not suit me at all, however I am fine with mango as long as it's not too ripe, which is also open to debate.

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  12. Has anyone tried verjus as the acidic component in salad dressing? It's the juice that comes from pressing unripened grapes. I was just reading about it and I'm intrigued. Red verjus ranges in flavor from gentle and floral to rich and earthy. White verjus can be mild to tangy. Would love to hear feedback from anyone who has tried it!

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    1. This is a brilliant idea Alyssa. They sell it on amazon and in the comments section people are raving about how good it tastes in salad dressings. Since it's unfermented, it could be a safe alternative. I'll give it a try and report back.
      To everyone on here, I too am really bummed about this illness. I hope that we can find balance within our bodies soon. Check out thehistaminechick's blog to see if her protocol works for you. She healed herself eating basically a paleo low histamine diet and explains what supplements she took to heal her leaky gut while she ate that way. It took her like 8 months or so but she can pretty much eat what she wants now. The biggest thing is she started taking powerful enzymes to help digest her food and go in and digest any undigested proteins and foods hanging around in her gut. I pray for healing for all of us. Hang in there histamine warriors!! xoxo

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    2. Hi Jessica can you post a link to the histaminechick' blog, I would love to read it.
      Thanks
      shelly

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    3. Shelly I am so late in responding to you. I'm very sorry. Here is her link. http://thehistamineintolerantchick.blogspot.com/?m=1

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  13. I also feel bitter. There are days I simply don't know what to eat. There seems to be no choices. The things I can have, I have to force in me to get some nutrition. Boring meat with no sauces or condiments makes me retch. These limitations have taken so much joy out of my life. And the DAO pill is so terribly expensive. Just feeling a bit sad with these limitations lately.

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    1. Totally get it! In case it helps to know, you are not alone.

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    2. Understanding the frustration. I recently found this out myself. The frustration, and alot of unwanted feelings that go with it. Reading alot of information for this low amine newbie. I will try the DAO pill.

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  14. The diet is very hard. For salad, though, I use a 3:1 mixture of olive oil and coconut vinegar. I find that I buy more coconut products than ever in my life combined but at least it is an alternative. My diet is AIP + low-histamine. Best of luck to all.

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  15. The diet is very hard. For salad, though, I use a 3:1 mixture of olive oil and coconut vinegar. I find that I buy more coconut products than ever in my life combined but at least it is an alternative. My diet is AIP + low-histamine. Best of luck to all.

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  16. Re coconut: same here! :-)

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  17. Restrictive diet is making me crazy too. But having some salad luck with oil or cream, plus fresh basil, cilantro or tons of avocado plus salt and pepper. Good luck to you.

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