A few readers have asked me what a histamine intolerance is and what it’s like, so I decided to put the answers in a post.
I had a histamine intolerance once before in 2012. After six months of a very strict diet and protocol for healing my leaky gut, I thought I was healed. . .until I started suffering from the histamine intolerance again in December of this past year. I didn’t realize it was histamine again until June. Since June, I’ve been back on my strict diet and for the last 3 weeks, with the help of a naturopath, I’ve been treating both the leaky gut and histamine intolerance.
What Is a Histamine Intolerance?
I’m not a scientist or an expert on this. I just simply want to share my experience. When you get stung by a bee and the area swells, that is histamine. All of us produce chemicals to break down histamine in the foods we eat. A histamine intolerance happens when your body, for whatever reason, whether through a genetic defect or age or as a result of leaky gut, is unable to produce enough DAO (the chemical that breaks down histamine) and your body can’t handle the histamine in the food you’re eating.
What Are the Symptoms of a Histamine Intolerance?
There are many, many symptoms to a histamine intolerance. I have always primarily had two–with potatoes and chocolate, my heart races, usually somewhere between 90 and 130 beats a minute for an hour or more. It’s not pleasant.
With other high histamine foods, my throat feels like it’s swelling and that I won’t be able to breath or swallow (though I can). Sometimes my nose also gets congested. A few hours after eating, these symptoms go away. . . until the next high histamine meal.
What Do You Eat on a Histamine Elimination Diet?
For me, the diet is VERY boring. With every meal, I typically eat a small meat patty and two servings of vegetables. I eat one fruit a day.
There are many, many foods that are healthy that I can’t currently eat because they’re high in histamine. To name a few:
- almost all citrus fruits, and many more. (Here’s a comprehensive list that I use.)
In general, these are the foods I rotate through on a regular basis:
- ground pork
- ground beef
- ground bison
- ground chicken
- ground turkey
- sweet potatoes
- butternut squash
- Swiss chard
- collard greens
My list is probably more limited than most people’s because of my other food intolerances.
Because leftovers stored in the refrigerator grow in their histamine level, I have to eat either fresh food made at the time of the meal or frozen veggies and fruit. I typically cook up a pound of meat in patties, freeze the extra, and microwave them as I need them.
As you can imagine, I have lost a lot of weight eating this way. However, that is definitely not my goal. My goal is to heal from my histamine intolerance and to not experience that awful swelling throat feeling or racing heart feeling.
Although being in this place, with a histamine intolerance again is discouraging, I did heal once before and was able to eat tomatoes and many other foods that are forbidden when one has a histamine intolerance. I know with patience I can get better again.