Sunday, July 24, 2011

Skin Update - 15 Days No Almonds

A couple weeks back I learned that I'm likely sensitive to almonds. They came back as high on an allergy test my naturopath administered. I was psyched. Could it be, all this time that almonds were making my skin so bad?

Well, the saga continues. I'm heading into my third almond-free week and still no great signs of progress. In fact, below is what I woke up to yesterday morning:
"Was she beat up in an alley?" you might wonder. Puffy, red patches over my face/eyes, ever-creeping eczema on my right hand.
I seem to be in the following cycle: new theory to test (eggs, nuts, dairy, etc); seems positive at first; things take a turn; ultimately end up worse than before. I do have one last resort now in front of me. I hoped against hope it wouldn't come to this, but it has GOT TO be the problem. It's something referred to as histamine intolerance. Here's a great fact sheet about it by Vickerstaff Health Services Inc.

When you think about it, this would make sense. I've always had allergies to a certain degree, which were usually triggered by exposure to animals. Red, puffy patches on my face would happen the odd other times, I'd wake up from time to time with a puffier face, with red blotches and the like. Maybe a bit itchy here and there, but in a very temporary way. In hindsight, this reaction likely followed an evening with red wine, chocolate, or other high histamine foods. Since going paleo, I've increased my intake of meat (of course), which is often leftover = high histamine. I've also had my share of other high histamine foods like dried apricots, tomato (in its various forms), spinach, and raw egg whites.

I have mixed feelings about all this. I've been singing the praises of a paleo diet, and yet it's actually made me pretty miserable at times. Sure, my energy level has been great, I've lost weight, I'm doing well at the gym (my original motivation), but this skin business is making me crazy. Had I never turned paleo, would I not have "overflowed" my histamine bucket (if this is indeed the case)? On the other hand, maybe this has been the wake-up call I needed to improve my allergy symptoms for good. We shall see.

So my challenge now is to figure out how to eat a low-histamine diet, paleo edition. Ugh. I was pleased, though, to find blogger, That Paleo Guy, has written about this very subject. I'll keep you posted on how it goes...


  1. Oh honey. :( Sorry to see the almond embargo isn't helping. But, hey! You can eat almonds again?

    So is it a matter of breaking the cycle and then you can reintroduce the foods?

    Keep us updated.

  2. Thanks Karen! I'm hopeful after four weeks or so of strict low-histamine eating I'll be in better shape. I think you're right about breaking the cycle. Eventually I'll start tinkering with reintroducing foods back.

    Not 100% sure re almonds - but I hope so!

  3. Hey! Maybe I should try this. You are getting me excited about healing through food again. My doctor would not approve.

  4. Hi everyone, I have just joined this site. It is always good to speak with others in a similar position.

    Histamine intolerance is what I believe troubles me - trouble is an understatement. The problem is that even if a food is safe, how fresh is it!! I have found a Thai restaurant in town and their Thai Green Curry is fine for me, I think. They cook it as you watch, all fresh produce.

    Trying to find consistent information is difficult but I noticed a link for information - will follow that up.

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

  5. Wow this is actually what happened to me! My husband and I went Paleo and my eczema went crazy! I was having way too many histamine producing foods and acidic fruit as well. I now live by a low acid diet and my skin has never been better. It is virtually Paleo but I don't eat as much meat, and I do eat some brown rice and quinoa.

    I hope things have worked out for you.
    Kind regards

  6. I'm pretty sure Paleo exacerbated my hidden histamine intolerance as well. I was vegan beforehand and while I definately don't digest grains and legumes well, eating meat again and in larger quantities than when I was SAD, did cause a sudden outbreak of what looks like psoriasis and it remains persistently on my right pointer finger in varying degrees of aggravation. Ugh! What to do when eating vegan nor paleo works!! I too have a high sensitivity to almonds but they are also said to be histamine releasing as well. I feel best eating paleo digestion wise but the chronic insomnia, anxiety, racing heart beat, strange internal buzzing, body swelling, weight gain and skin issues don't seem to be worth it. I just don't know where to go from here really.

    1. I was going to respond to this comment and say wow, you sound just like me but then I realized, wait...this is me lol. I typed this as an unknown user back in June. Sorry just had to share my funny moment. Gotta appreciate funny moments when dealing with this health issue.

    2. This is hilarious, Jessica! I'm glad you shared :-)

  7. paleothoughts, can you give an update for your condition? I have been fighting the same skin rash/eczema condition off and on for a few years. I found out recently that there are people in my family with the same type of on again, off again eczema. I'm beginning to think it is an autoimmune response. Prednisone and cortisone tames it way down. Did you find a cause and/or a solution?