Here's a quick excerpt from the Whole30 site on histamine intolerance:
- Histamine is a chemical which occurs naturally in certain foods.* It’s also one of the chemicals that is released in the body as part of an allergic reaction, causing the typical allergy symptoms, like ‘itching, sneezing, wheezing, and swelling. (Many over-the-counter allergy medications contain an antihistamine.) We have an enzyme which breaks down the histamines found in food, but some people have a low level of this enzyme. When these people eat too many histamine-rich foods, they may suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms such as headaches, rashes, urticaria (hives), itching, gastro-intestinal upset, asthma, or eczema. This is called histamine intolerance.
- *Certain foods are also able to stimulate the body’s own natural release of histamine. These are called “histamine liberators.”
- If you are one of the 1% of people with a histamine intolerance, your best recourse is to follow a Paleo + low-histamine diet. Our low-histamine shopping list eliminates all histamine-rich foods not allowed on the Whole30 (like cheese), and excludes additional histamine-rich “Paleo” foods. Pay special attention to the notes at the bottom of the list, as some specific types of foods (such as cured or smoked meats, canned foods like salmon or tuna, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha) should also be avoided.
For me, there were two main things I hoped to see improvement in: the constant mucous I have in my throat (yuck!) and my sleep. Despite trying numerous supplements, bed time routines, regular sleep/wake schedules, exercise, not eating close to bed time, no electronics before bed, blackout curtains, earplugs, etc I still wake up an average of 6-12 times per night no matter how tired or well rested I am. As a result, I almost never feel like I am well rested. This has been going on for as long as I can remember, and I was curious if histamines had anything to do with it (still not sure about that).
Here are some of the main differences between a regular Whole30 and a low-histamine Whole30:
- No eggs.
- No nuts/seeds/oils derived from nuts/seeds.
- No processed anything (no canned olives, no canned tuna, no prosciutto, no packaged chicken broth, no sugar free bacon, no dried fruit, etc.). I made an exception here for packaged coconut, coconut water and coconut milk. Since avocados are also out if you want to play it safe, coconut and your cooking fats are pretty much the only fats you can have unless you have access to fresh olives.
- No dried herbs or spices, only fresh.
- Food must be either cooked fresh or cooked fresh, frozen, then microwaved/cooked from frozen. Leftovers accumulate lots of histamines. Thawing accumulates histamines. For this one I did the best I could because sometimes we were traveling and I packed a salad with chicken in the cooler and things like that. There were a few times that I did eat "leftovers" but mostly I ate food straight from the freezer.
- No shellfish.
- No tomatoes.
- No citrus fruits.
- No herbal teas.
- No fermented products like kombucha.
- No vinegar.
First, I bought 20-some meal size tupperware and put a "Label Once" sticker on each of them. I thought that having all my meals in the freezer and having to microwave them from frozen would be sooo inconvenient, but actually it worked out really well for me, so I plan to do it again. The main advantage of that was that if I didn't want to eat something today, I didn't have to, because it would keep in the freezer. Also, other then when I batch cooked, the only dishes I had to wash were just tupperware.
Oh, I whittled down the grocery list even further by looking up lists of high histamine foods online. Different sites have different lists, and I wanted to do the "safest" route to hopefully see a reduction in mucous.
In order to have enough food pre-packaged for each meal, I learned how much food I actually need per meal. I need about 1/2 pound protein and about 1-2 cups veggies plus one serving fruit. These amounts helped me meal plan my grocery shopping for the week. If I work out, I usually eat an extra 1-2 cups of starchy vegetable, usually plantains or sweet potato.
I learned that pretty much any frozen fruit is tasty. Frozen blueberries are like little candies.
|Ground bison with Sweet Potato Poi|
|Cauliflower rice with garlic and shallots, Beef and Veggie Meatballs and sweet potato hash|
I always eat more veggies on Whole30s then otherwise and I used up the large quantity of random vegetables I had accumulated in my freezer over the past few months. I think it really helps that I eat veggies with breakfast. Most veggies freeze and thaw well, but there are a few that change texture like spaghetti squash and yellow squash/zucchini. Even so, they aren't terrible.
|Roasted duck with sauteed cabbage and green apple|
I learned how to cook with fresh herbs. I love dried herbs, as my roommates can vouch for due to the shelving in the kitchen that contains jars upon jars of my dried herbs. I keep them in glass mason jars with a hand written label on top. I have the overflow on shelves in the garage. So I really wasn't too familiar with the rations of fresh herbs, nor how to use them. I dove right in and guesstimated my way to success.
|Baked chips made from organic potato- have you heard, potatoes are now Whole30 approved?!|
Oh, and since I learned my meal portions and ate big breakfasts, I had very few snacks between meals (say 5 or less over the whole month).
|Sweet Chicken and Green Apple Sausage Patties with sauteed shredded zucchini|
|Breakfast hash: ground turkey, fresh herbs, cubed butterntu squash and sugar snap peas|
|Baked chicken thigs with carrot rice "risotto"- probably my favorite meal this Whole30|
Weight loss: when I started this Whole30 I weighed in at 161 pounds. Granted, this was after eating a little more junk than usual prior to the start of the Whole30. About a week prior to starting this Whole30 I weighed in around 155 pounds. After the 30 days, I was back down to 156.
|Ground Beef and Cauli-Rice Lettuce Wraps|