Saturday, January 26, 2013

Finally histamine intolerance talk in Paleo community

If you've been paleo for any length of time, you're probably familiar with Chris Kresser, and his site The Healthy Skeptic. Chris recently published an article about histamine intolerance in those who have switched to a clean diet. 

From time to time I reflect on why I continue to follow a paleo/primal approach to eating after it "gave me" a histamine intolerance. Here's why:

  1. I still feel better this way.
  2. I'm proud of my grocery cart.
  3. I want to maintain the same high standard of food I insist for my daughter. In other words, if I wouldn't let her have something, I probably shouldn't be eating it either.
  4. Pandora's box is open. I'm pretty sure there's only one way out of this predicament, and that's a low histamine diet. Re-introducing grains, etc. will do nothing to save me at this point.

Anyhow, the article is not lengthly, but worth the read. It's also interesting to read through the comments on a site like his, which no doubt gets a whole lot of traffic. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

How I treat coffee

I've been reflecting on coffee today. You see, up until about a year and a half ago, I was not a partaker. I eventually started drinking coffee for a few (not compelling) reasons: the social element, reduced sleep-in ops that come with parenthood (i.e. slow to warm-up in the morning), and the neat Keurig machine at my new office at the time. Coffee also seemed to have a bit of a paleo feel/acceptance, as there seemed to be a number of folks who regularly enjoyed a heavy cream/coconut milk/almond milk version.

For the last year and a half, I've been drinking coffee with whipping(!) cream about five days per week (Monday to Friday). With the odd exception when breakfasting or brunching out, I don't drink coffee on weekends. I feel this approach keeps my coffee drinking "in check" (like sugar, I try to keep some discipline over addictive foods). What's interesting about this intermittent approach is that I observe the impact of coffee fairly regularly. For example, some Saturdays I find I have a dull headache for a good part of the day, or my energy level isn't what it should be. I generally take this scenario to mean I've had too much coffee through the week (note to self: keep it at one cup a day).

Regular coffee with a  good helping of whipping cream.

On the flip side, my Monday re-introduction to caffeine often results in the jitters - especially those odd Monday mornings when I tell myself I need that second cup. On a related note, I've been on an enviable stretch of post-Christmas leave from work this week. As a result, I've only had one coffee Monday morning with a friend, and another coffee date this morning (Friday). This morning I enjoyed a real chai latte (not that syrup crap), plus a regular coffee (which was absolutely not necessary). Since the coffee, I've been buzzing like hummingbird. It's a weird feeling I'm not sure I like. On the upside, I've done quite a few chores around the house.

So, with these considerations and observations in mind, I'm formalizing my personal rules guidelines for coffee consumption:
  • Limit coffee days to no more than five days per week
  • Limit individual servings on any coffee day to one
  • Do not drink any coffee concoctions with sweetener (especially that syrup nonsense)
  • Resist the temptation to by a fancy coffee maker for home
  • Do not let these (perfectly reasonable) guidelines make you batty about coffee drinking

Anyone else out there conscious about coffee consumption? 

Note: I don't find coffee to bother me from a histamine perspective. My brother suggests it does negatively affect his eczema, despite it being "allowed" according to the International Chronic Urticaria Society.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm not one to take pills, BUT...

I want to be clear here - I was raised in a home where you more or less had to have an arm hanging off before there was a visit to the doctor, let alone taking medications of any kind. I'm not inclined to 'take stuff' aside from, say, vitamins. However, I also cannot accept a life without tomatoes, wine, chocolate, condiments, etc.

Much to my relief, there is a 'supplement' for histamine intolerance. It's essentially the diamine oxidase enzyme (DAO) sourced from pigs (porcine kidney) in capsule form. You take one or two capsules with your food and the idea is your body then has the DAO to balance out the histamine.

So does it work?
Yes, I think it helps. Of course, nothing beats a low histamine diet, which should be the first defence. But we're all human, and every now and again it's nice to indulge in beef jerky or aged cheese. I believe taking DAO with my histamine-filled holiday meals did help reduce my symptoms (eczema) from bad to something fairly manageable.

Where to get it
My first DAO experience was with Histame, but they are expensive. To my pre-Christmas delight, I found a better source in Swanson Health Products. I've only ordered from them once so far, but it was a good experience - reasonable shipping to Canada, and the package arrived within only a week or so if I recall (my Histame seemed to take forever).