Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wrapping up 30 days hard core low histamine

[Note: This original post is from November 2011, early in my exploration of histamine intolerance. Looking back, there are a few foods in this food diary that probably weren't as low histamine as I thought, foods that could be a bother to others. Nonetheless, I was able to achieve relief and some good healing from this stretch. I encourage readers to catch up with my eczema situation in more recent posts. - Sarah, March 2014]

Today is day 30 of my 30 day commitment to an extreme low histamine paleo diet. Overall, there were more ups than downs. A small to medium flare up here and there, but I've learned/confirmed a few things...

1. Homemade chips fried in coconut oil don't seem to agree with the skin. I've had enough morning-after mild flare ups to admit there's likely a connection. I hope this isn't a sign of a larger coconut issue, but I think keeping the coconut oil-drenched chips to a minimum will be wise. Note: These chips taste fantastic. I have them down to a science to a point where my celiac-partially-paleo-but-still-eats-sweets husband asked where (i.e. what bag) they came from. Taste like the "real" thing but better. An infrequent, possibly baked next time, treat they shall be.

2. Boiled eggs left in the fridge - being leftover protein - is a histamine mistake. Duh. Noted.

3. Stress and sleep are important factors. Early in my quest, I had a particularly stress-filled span of 20-30 minutes at work under a deadline. I ripped at my hand/arm for the duration of this time. I suspect food was still a factor (boiled egg perhaps), but stress seemed to throw me over the bend. Note: try to chill out.

4. Although I don't usually overeat on protein, it probably makes up a larger proportion of my diet than the histamine gods would recommend. Fair game from a paleo perspective, but not recommended in terms of histamine intolerance. I don't plan on fundamentally altering my macronutrient intake, but something to be aware of. Will balance my meat out with plenty of veggies.

5. Nobody beats Mom. My mom was over for the Remembrance Day long weekend and we had a great time. As I've mentioned before, she discovered the histamine intolerance in herself before I'd even started having symptoms (post-paleo). She's a dietitian, and all 'round fun gal and I love her. The observation on the leftover boiled eggs is just one example or her valuable insight on all things good health. She's my number one health-related confidante.

Anyhow, I suggested in an earlier post I'd share my 30 day food log. For what it's worth, here it is. You'll note a few references to skin condition here and there, though I haven't recorded it in any great scientific manner. I welcome thoughts, observations.

 FOOD LOG (Oct 22 to Nov 20, 2011)

Sat Oct 22 / day 1
Breakfast: Burger, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, apple
Snack: Coconut milk w ground flax seed, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin
Lunch: Chicken breast, sweet potato, parsnips, couple small apples
Dinner: Pork chop, broccoli, turnip fries (olive oil, salt and pepper), apple

Sun Oct 23 / day 2
8:30 Coconut milk w ground flax seed, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin, two egg yolks (cooked)
11:30 burger, turnips fries, broccoli
17:30 carrots, celery
18:00 burger, parsnips, buttercup squash, apple
20:50 apple

Mon Oct 24 / day 3
8:00 Coconut milk w ground flax seed, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin, hemp protein
14:00 Lunch couple bites liver, two small apples, green salad (spring mix, red pepper, cukes, carrot)
19:30 raw carrots (while prepping dinner), burger, roasted broccoli (coconut oil, salt and pepper), apple
Skin: major flare up that lasted a good part of the day on and off (stress plus boiled eggs)

Tues Oct 25 / day 4
8:30 Hash (sweet potato, two eggs, full fat coconut milk, S&P, cooked in coconut oil - shared with Molly)
12:20 Burger, squash, parsnips, butter, S&P, two small apples
19:00 most of a boiled egg, pork chop, Brussels sprouts, carrots (w butter), sweet potato chips (homemade - sweet potato, coconut oil, salt and pepper)
18:00 two small apples

Wed Oct 26 / day 5
8:50 Burger, squash, parsnips, butter, S&P, apple
14:50 Burger, broccoli, apple
20:30-21:30 boiled egg, raw carrots, burger, spaghetti squash, salt and pepper, butter, apple

Thurs Oct 27 / day 6
8:00 two eggs, shredded sweet potato cooked in butter, salt and pepper
12:30 chicken breast, roasted parsnips, sweet potato cooked in coconut oil, salt and pepper, two apples
18:15 raw carrots and celery while prepping dinner of two burgers, asparagus roasted in coconut oil, salt and pepper
Skin: minor bouts of itching here and there, not much, one bit stress-induced I think. A bit patchy red but healing I think.

Fri Oct. 28 / day 7
Skin: did a bit of half-asleep itching last night.
8:00 Four small pieces of coconut bread (coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, salt) with butter.
Skin: Moderately itchy hand
13:00 Burger, spaghetti squash, two apples
17:30 two egg yolks, three small pieces of coconut bread, butter
19:00 burger, broccoli roasted in evoo, salt and pepper, apple
Skin: looks good tonight, like there may be progress

Sat Oct 29 / day 8
9:00 four small pieces of coconut bread French toast, scrambled eggs
12:30 burger, spaghetti squash, butter, salt and pepper, apple
16:00 raw carrots, one small piece of coconut bread with butter
17:45 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée with butter, salt and pepper
20:45 coconut butter
Skin: couple very  minor itchy spells scattered about the day

Sun Oct 30 / day 9
Skin: 1-2 spots on hand moderately itchy in the morning
8:00 most of one hard boiled egg
10:00 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée, small apple
12:45 homemade sweet potato chips
13:20 skin: minor flare up on right arm
14:30 small bowl of squash soup
18:00 burger, broccoli, carrots, evoo, salt and pepper, apple
20:20 hard boiled egg, apple
21:30 coconut flakes

Mon Oct 31 / day 10
8:00 three eggs with shredded sweet potato cooked in coconut oil, shared with Molly
10:00 skin: mild flare up, possibly stress-related
12:45 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée
17:30 raw carrots and celery
18:15 chicken breast and homemade sweet potato fries (coconut oil, salt and pepper, turmeric)
19:20 celery and coconut butter

Tue Nov 1 / day 11
Skin: some night scratching on my right arm
8:00 three eggs, coconut milk, shredded sweet potato, shared with Molly, vitamin D, omega 3 oil
12:30 burger, carrots, broccoli
17:30 celery, two burgers, spaghetti squash, butter, salt and pepper, apple
20:45 apple, coconut flakes

Wed Nov 2 / day 12
8:00 three eggs, shredded sweet potato, coconut milk, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, ground flax seeds
13:30 pork roast, broccoli, sweet potato, apple, pear
20:45 burger, carrots, broccoli, spaghetti squash, two apples

Thur Nov 3 / day 13
8:00 three eggs, shredded sweet potato, coconut milk, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, ground flax seeds
11:00 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée, apple
14:30 raw carrots
(Must've missed noting supper this day, but you're getting the idea)

Fri Nov 4 / day 14
8:45 burger, roasted parsnips, cauliflower-carrot purée
12:10 pear
13:00 steak with sautéed onions, green salad no dressing (restaurant)
13:45 apple, pear
17:45 raw carrots while preparing dinner
18:15 burger, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, evoo, butter, salt and pepper, apple
19:50 short bit of itchiness on hand
20:00 apple

Sat Nov 5 / day 15
9:30 three eggs cooked in butter, sweet potato hash browns in butter, salt and pepper, shared with Molly
12:30 two burgers, buttercup squash cubes, evoo, salt and pepper, pear
18:00 1.5 pork chops, roasted parsnips, evoo, salt and pepper
20:00 homemade sweet potato and parsnip chips, coconut oil, salt
Skin before bed: a bit of itching between knuckles

Sun Nov 6 / day 16
7:30 skin: some mild itching
8:00 a few bits of coconut bread with butter, eggs (with coconut milk, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, flaxseed, evoo), hash browns of sweet potato, parsnips and squash
9:30 skin: moderate itching
11:10 four small pieces of coconut flax bread w butter, small glass coconut beverage, apple
12:15 pork chop, cauliflower-carrot purée, butter
17:30 two burgers, roasted parsnips, cauliflower-carrot purée, half a pear
19:15 apple
Skin: a few short periods of mild to moderate itching

Mon Nov 7 / day 17
8:00 1.5 boiled eggs, three small pieces of coconut bread with butter
13:00 burger, roasted parsnips, cauliflower-carrot purée with butter, salt and pepper, apple, pear
18:30 chicken breast, sweet potato, roasted parsnips, butter, apple
20:25 two small pieces coconut flaxseed toast w butter
Skin: a few mildly itchy spells, colour not as good

Tue Nov 8 / day 18
7:30 two eggs, coconut milk, ground flaxseeds, multi vitamin powder, omega 3 oil, cooked in evoo, two small pieces of coconut bread with butter
12:30 burger, roasted carrots and broccoli, apple, pear, apple
18:45 burger, roasted parsnips, cauliflower-carrot purée
20:15 San pellegrino
Skin: pretty good, a short stint under hot water

Wed Nov 9 / day 19
8:00 two hard boiled eggs, two pieces coconut bread
12:15 salad (greens, shredded carrot, red pepper, cucumber), grilled chicken with not sure what on it (Urban Eatery), apple, two pears
17:15 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée
21:00 raw carrots, hard boiled egg, few bites of pork chop

Thurs Nov 10 / day 20
6:15 two boiled eggs, small glass coconut beverage
13:15 pork chop, cauliflower-carrot purée, apple, pear
18:15 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée
19:20 chicken breast, homemade sweet potato fries (coconut oil), apple

Fri Nov 11 / day 21
7:40 two eggs cooked in evoo, apple
9:30 boiled egg yolk (Molly had white)
12:45 burger, zucchini and sweet potato in coconut oil, raw carrots and cucumber
18:00 burger, roasted parsnips and broccoli in coconut oil, salt and pepper, pear 19:40 apple

Sat Nov 12 / day 22
9:40 boiled egg, apple, small glass coconut beverage
11:30 celery, boiled egg, coconut butter
11:45 skin itchy (hand)
14:45 apple 15:45 two eggs fried in evoo
18:00 tenderloin steak, cauliflower-carrot purée, roasted broccoli and parsnips in coconut oil, salt and pepper

Sun Nov 13 / day 23
10:00 three fried eggs and steak (w some kind of rub), melon (Smitty's)
14:00 burger, sweet potato cooked in butter, cauliflower-carrot purée, broccoli, half an apple
17:30 couple spoonfuls of coconut butter
19:45 burger, shredded in sweet potato cooked in butter, apple, pear

Mon Nov 14 / day 24
8:00 three eggs cooked in evoo, shredded sweet potato cooked in butter, coconut beverage
13:00 two burgers, roasted parsnips and broccoli, apple, pear
18:00 raw carrots, tender loin steak, roasted parsnips and broccoli in evoo, apple, pear

Tue Nov 15 / day 25
7:45 three eggs with coconut milk, multi vitamin powder, omega 3 oil, ground flaxseed, coconut beverage
12:30 tenderloin steak, roasted parsnips and broccoli, pear, apple
18:15 burger, cauliflower-carrot purée, broccoli, pear
20:30 couple spoonfuls of coconut butter

Wed Nov 16 / day 26
7:45 four eggs, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, flaxseed, coconut milk
12:30 chicken breast, shredded sweet potato, apple
17:00 burger, roasted sweet potato and zucchini, pear
20:30 apple
21:00 celery and coconut butter, apple

Thurs Nov 17 / day 27
8:00 four eggs, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, flaxseed, coconut milk
10:30 apple, pear
12:45 burger, steamed broccoli, cauliflower-carrot purée, apple
22:00 burger, roasted zucchini and sweet potato, apple

Fri Nov 18 / day 28
8:00 four eggs cooked in butter (shared with Molly), apple
11:30 chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli, two apples
15:30 celery, mashed sweet potato
17:00 pork chop, asparagus with butter, apple
20:00 homemade sweet potato and parsnip chips

Sat Nov 19 / day 29
8:30 four eggs, omega 3 oil, multi vitamin powder, flaxseed, coconut milk, shredded sweet potato cooked in butter
12:00 two burgers, shredded squash cooked with coconut milk, butter, salt and pepper, apple
Skin: been itchy here and there through the morning, I suspect the chips
17:00 cucumber slices, ground pork, shredded squash and sweet potato cooked in coconut milk, salt and pepper, two apples

Sun Nov 20 / day 30
10:00 coconut flour waffles (coconut flour, eggs, coconut milk, baking soda, ground flaxseed, bit of agave), butter, shredded sweet potato cooked in ghee
12:00 couple more waffles with butter
17:00 raw carrots and cucumber, two burgers, cauliflower-carrot purée, parsnips roasted in coconut oil, two apples
20:45 apple

Day 29 and hand is pretty good. Some redness remains around the knuckles.

Again, some redness remains.


  1. There is some studies on atopic dermatitis and autoimmunity.

    Maybe you could try the Paleo diet recommended for autoimmune diseases? (without the nightshades, etc)

    I suffer from severe full body atopic dermatitis...My current diet is a standard healthy mediterranean diet...(I live in southern europe) but I'm going to give it a try and see how it goes.


  2. Interesting. I've tried various other exclusion diets, but the low histamine has definitely been the most effective for me. Keep me posted on how it goes for you!

  3. I am so grateful to have found your blog - I am discovering I also have histamine intolerance after going paleo.

    Question : I thought pork was off limits on a histamine-free diet? I would love it if, in fact, it wasn't!

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey - it is so helpful!

  4. Karen - I'm so glad to hear from you! I haven't noticed any great reaction to pork, in fact I eat pork fairly regularly. As long as I adhere to the fresh-or-from-frozen rule, no big problems. Is it eczema you experience? Depending on where you are symptom-wise, you may be able to get away with a little more histamine. I went pretty hard core (above) for 30 days, which seemed to get me out of the proverbial hole. I'm now at what I consider a manageable level.

  5. Thanks so much for your reply! I am just starting out on the low-histamine thing so I will include pork and see what happens. I have a very very small amount of eczema - pea-sized patch on each elbow - that recently disappeared while I was on antibiotics (?? weird?), so my symptoms are not exactly the same as yours. My biggest histamine-related problems are recurring sinus infections (hence the antibiotics, which I use only as a last resort) and brain fog, anxiety, depression, fatigue, edema - these are debilitating and greatly impact my quality of life. Again, I am so grateful for the information you posted - I haven't found very many examples of how to successfully craft a low-histamine diet that also limits grains, dairy, etc. Thanks so much!

  6. Like Karen, I'm also very happy to have stumbled upon your blog!
    About half a year after going paleo, I was starting to become very itchy. At first I thought I may have become allergic to eggwhite, but now after about 30 days without eggs (and all nightshades + most spices) I'm still itchy and get red flares every now and then, becoming more profound after taking a (hot) shower. Indeed I suspected the large amounts of eaten proteins, but didn't understand how, until now.

    Thanks to your blog I'll rethink my current diet- which will allow me to go back to eggs, especially yolks-yay!

    Are you looking into probiotics at all (or perhaps the GAPS diet)? Apparently, having large amounts of dying 'bad' bacteria can cause reactions as well (see wikipedia, the Herxheimer reaction, also a line on skin lesions). Going on a low-carb diet tends to make these buggers die, but should be replaced with proper ones.
    Therefore I'm still hoping that when I fixed my gut in a few months (or years I'm afraid) the itching will stop. For now, I'm trying to become itchy-skin-zen-master.

    Anyway, thanks again,

  7. I'm so glad to hear from you Lennard! It sounds like you are pretty must where I was at one point. Probiotics is one of the areas that I've bee contemplating lately, and supplementation in general. I used to be a multivitamin taker, but after a several months paleo, I didn't feel it was a important. Probiotics, fish oil, vitamin Bs, and vitamin C are all on my "look into more closely" list. A future blog post perhaps.

    Anyhow - again, wonderful to hear from you. I wish you well in your quest!

  8. Hi, I have discovered my histamine intolerance. But, I tend to have delayed responses to wheat / sugar and a fructose allergy along with it. The redness you get in your hand / arms - I get that quickly after fruit, some bumps, a lot of itching and agitation. Often instant hives almost on my chin and a lot of itching after a high histamine food.

    Do you have any of these issues? Also, any good advice for snacks? I noticed you use coconut milk alot - but I'm finding that coconut isn't always working for me. I've been trying almond milk or just good old 1% if it's not too old.

    Would love to hear more. I overall feel much better - but have had some crazy skin flare ups and can't seem to decipher what is causing it - going back to the gym, trialing a new supplement, drinking peach juice, too much wheat again...any advice?

  9. Oh, Karen - pork is fine in moderation, as is beef and seafood. But, to their point - fresh or frozen, and the reason why pork should be modified is because so much of it is smoked or cured (aged). That is the bigger no-no.

  10. I think it's recommended that you don't take B vitamins on low histamine. I may have read that one super strict elimination diets though.

    Have you considered eating some grains again? What if that was the answer. Just some gluten free whole grains in small amounts?

    Gluten might be the devil or whatever but there is no scientific proof to show that other grains are harmful. Technically the concept that grain free is better is just a theory. Don't compromise yourself for a theory.

    I just started low histamine diet with whole grains (gluten free) after being paleo for a few years. Hoping it helps. Been having skin problems for 10 months since I came off antihistamines that I took for 7 years. Paleo got me healthy enough to get off the antihistamines. Grains may be the key to regulating my histamine and altering my gut flora for the better. Maybe i need those kinds of starches? Maybe I'll be dead in a ditch from leaky gut. Who knows.

  11. Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. I particularly enjoy the "Gluten might be the devil or whatever" bit :-) You could be on to something. Plus, it supports the idea that there's no one perfect diet that fits everyone. I'll posting soon about some adjustments of late...

  12. Its very strange that you eat coconut on low histamine diet. I have extreme histadelia/ histamine intolerance and coconut is something that causes me all kinds of symptoms and histamine increase

  13. Tara - Assuming there's a spectrum of tolerance along which we find ourselves, both in terms of the histamine, of course, but also for symptoms. I don't find small amounts of coconut to be a significant problem, so I entertain some in my diet. It's about the overall histamine load for me. I'm also willing to tolerate a small amount of eczema (in my case), so I may consume items that others would steer clear of. I suppose it's a personal choice as to what one may, or may not, be willing to consume anyway (depending on the impact). If all this makes any sense :-)

  14. Just a thought. Has anyone looked into the role of salicylates, lectins and oxalates as factors in food intolerance in addition to low histamine?

  15. isn't coconut higher in histamines than soy and avos?

  16. Funny - I've only just recently seen coconut referenced as a histamine issue. I've sensed it's something to keep in moderation, so perhaps you're right.

  17. Just read your "third week' post. Glad that the diet is working for you.

  18. Thank you for sharing this I am so glad to see that I shouldn't be having boiled eggs that have sat. I did not think about the increase in histamine for that. Are you still blogging anywhere else?