On the off list…

…or is it off the on list? Whichever, my beloved cauliflower is on the no eat list again.

I’ve been gradually adding back foods and getting a bit more adventurous with my selections, but I can see, even though I’d like to think of myself as healed from histamine intolerance, I am, more accurately, maintaining low histamine levels.

I’ve said in recent posts that I think I’ve had histamine intolerance for quite some time before I ever realized. Menopause exacerbated the issue until I could no longer ignore it. So now that my levels are low and I’ve started trying to eat some of the things I miss, I have a clear understanding of what my body is doing.

For at least the last ten years, and maybe longer, I had many excuses for my itchy legs. Oh, the weather changed, the mangos are in bloom, my skin is dry. But now I understand, and it’s the cauliflower that really brought it to light.

Whether eating cauliflower ever made my legs itch before, I can’t answer. I never kept a food diary. But it makes my legs itch now for sure. When my intolerance was at its worst, the minute I swallowed a piece of cauliflower my arms lit up in the most brutal form of itch. I didn’t touch a piece after that, so it’s been months. But I am so much better now, I started eating it again. And there it was, the itchy bumps on my leg showed up.

So now I get it. My intolerance, when my levels are low, manifests as itchy legs. When my levels are high my arms react…and I get fat eyes.

Why am I rabbiting on about cauliflower and where the itch is? Why do I care if my legs itch since they’ve been itching for at least ten years? Because the message from your body is that your immune system is not functioning properly and you have inflammation. And inflammation is very bad for your entire body! I won’t go into details here, but if you research inflammation you find lists of things that go wrong with your body when you’re inflamed. I want to maintain a body that is free of inflammation and to do that I cannot have any part of my body reacting to foods or anything else that is a trigger.

I also want to eventually stop taking Quercetin, as the safety of long term use has not been established. I really don’t like to take supplements at all, but they have saved me through all of this so I don’t mind for now. (My preference is to eat whole foods the way nature made them to be eaten) But for now, I’m going to take everything for a while longer, and then during summer break experiment with cutting back and then eliminating some, or maybe all, of what I take. We’ll see. It’s a trade off. Take the supplements at the risk of some unknown side-effect, or have an immune system that’s out of control and a body full of inflammation. I’m going to go with being itch free for now.

That means cauliflower is off the on list. Or on the off list…

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Posted in Women's health
30 comments on “On the off list…
  1. Audrey says:

    Bummer. I’m afraid I’m going to have to eliminate tomatoes and mangoes… two of my all time favorite summer foods. But I know its crucial to avoid that inflammation!

  2. Mill says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. I cannot eat tomatoes or mangoes at all due to the high levels of histamine. I can however tolerate cauliflower and some other vegetables but definitely cannot eat spinach or the Queen of Grains Quinoa. I literally erupt into what looks like a chemical burn all over my body, my face, lips and ears swell and I get very panicked, as in find it difficult to breathe. Jesus, menopause is hell.

    Today I decided to try some real Irish butter, well there are no preservatives and as I react very strongly to preservatives, namely sulphur dioxide (sulphites), which send me into anaphalactic shock and as sulphites are in nearly everything, I am so limited to what I can eat, and I’m now rapidly losing weight. I was only a size 10 to begin with but had a good set of boobs, as in a 32FF; now I’m down to having a size 8 hang off my frame and my boobs are like two fried eggs in a hanky inside my bra. I’m just so sick of it all. Some women put on weight during menopause, I’m losing it rapidly. Ok I shouldn’t complain, because I don’t really get hot flushes or flashes as I think you call them and don’t get a lot of night sweats, but I do get the mood swings – next one due shortly.

    Like the rest of you lovely ladies I forensically scrutinise every morsel I buy and food has no joy for me anymore.

    I am getting married (for the second time, the first one lasted 28 years) on my 50th birthday, 8th August. We literally only decided two days ago and it’s all systems go, but it’s a small civil ceremony, intimate, with only close family and friends but already I am agonising over what I can eat, how the hotel will prepare my food, will they put any preservatives in it, will they leave the salmon standing for too long and allow histamine to develop on it. I’m vegetarian but will eat salmon due to not being able to eat Quorn and due to having a limited amount of food that I can eat; but fish is high in histamine so I literally buy mine from the fish monger and cook it straight away.

    I can’t eat dessert and I won’t be able to touch my wedding cake.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for me regarding a low histamine, gluten free, wheat free, yeast free wedding cake???

    Thanks ladies, it’s so helpful to have met you all.

    Chat soon,

    Mill xx

    • Hey did you see K.K. just posted a cake recipe on my site? Very detailed and looks really good, on the Recipes tab.

      I actually haven’t lost any weight but I’m pretty small already. 98 pounds soaking wet and 32a’s so nothing too much to lose. I’m actually surprised I haven’t lost weight, but I think the key is eating nutritionally dense. For months I was on an almost all butternut squash apple diet. Boring but filling and healthful. And I am not gluten intolerant so I can still eat bread and pasta. I don’t eat a lot of it but I can eat it a bit.

      32 FF? How did you not tip over?

      Congratulations on your wedding. Maybe by August you’ll have this under control and be able to eat more things than you can now. That’s 4 months. That’s a long time in histamine healing time!

      Have you tried omega or olive oil supplementation?

      Hey what’s Irish Butter?

  3. K.K. says:

    The off list for me is too long to list. If I made a list here, it would probably be easier to list what I can eat. 😛

    I will look through my other recipes for more on cakes that might help for your wedding, Mill, and congratulations.

    LIke you, I’m on a gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free diet. No eggs, for me either, so I cook with a good egg replacer.

    Are you okay with coconut products? In addition to an all-purpose gluten-free flour, I also bake with coconut flour. Coconuts are not on a typical low-histamine no-eat list, but everyone has their individual sensitivities, so I thought I should ask.

    What about sugar? I can tolerate it, including brown sugar, but some cannot. The same for various spices. Cinnamon is supposed to be high in histamine, for example, but I can use it in my baking, cooking to some extent.

    It may take me some time to go through my recipes, but please let me know answers to the above, and more if you want me to post any recipe options that might work for a wedding cake. 🙂

    I’m sure there is something out there, and I already have some in mind.

    • Mill says:

      Hi KK
      Thanks so much for your advice. I’m intolerant to sugar, it’s awful. I have such a sweet tooth and eat a limited diet, it’s also a boring diet and even if I introduce the slightest new morsel of food I erupt within 10 minutes. I am also intolerant to cinnamon. Not sure about cocoanut, will try it and see what happens. I tried my six year old grand daughter’s birthday cake the other day; I only had a smidgen of it to please her and within minutes nana looked like the elephant man. Much to the amusement of ex hubby! I’m now at a stage where my size 8 jeans are falling off me…

      Thanks for the congrats, we are thrilled. Second marriage for both of us and it was all arranged within two hours. It will be small and intimate with only 30 plus guests and I’m wearing 50’s Audrey Hepburn vintage swing, complete with petticoat – ah sure it would be rude not to. Besides, I adore the style and the era. I did want to rock up to the hotel on my Honda Fireblade but the dress won’t allow me, nor will my hair do as I’ll be wearing a Hepburn style up do. My eldest daughter is a hair stylist and make up artist so she won’t allow me to mess with the hair 🙂 and don my Ed Hardy Helmet. It appears I’m more of a rebel than my kids.

      Regarding cake; I’m ok with lemon, so long as it’s freshly squeezed and not out of a Jif bottle as this contains sulphites. You see additives practically send me into anaphalactic shock and I thought perhaps a lemon drizzle cake would be good. I am also highly allergic to yeast! Seriously I should just give up and graze on the grass with the cows in the fields.

      Would love a chocolate and fudge biscuit cake…I can taste it now as I write.

      Thank God I can tolerate vodka and tonic, Sure I’d go mad without my weekend tipple and it is only at the weekend I take a drink or two because my hubby to be doesn’t drink so it sort of keeps me from drinking too much so that’s a good thing but oh dear God I am so hungry. Feel like rushing out and buying a big Indian curry and to hell with the consequences but I can’t do that. Terrified of what will happen at the wedding reception, what can I eat? It must be prepared fresh, literally from the ground to my mouth. Aaagh!

      Do you take Evening Primrose Oil? My nutritionist said I should leave it for a while until my gut is clear of all toxins. Been on acidophilus for two months now and digestive enzymes plus lots of water, running to the loo to pee every few bloody minutes.

      Sorry for overly long email, so much to say and it’s great to find a sympathetic and empathetic ear.

      Mill x

      • Mill,

        I’m actually in my classroom reading this and decided to reply right away because of your question about Evening Primrose Oil. I have quite a few posts on Omega 6/ 3 imbalance and how I connected part of my histamine issue to an overload of omega 6. Evening Primrose is an omega 6. I stopped the Evening Primrose and started taking a vegetarian Omega 3 supplement to work to reduce the imbalance. I’ve been way better having done that.

        I know you have what sounds like extreme limitations, but hang in there. Reducing the inflammation in your body and sticking to the boring foods will pay off. I reacted to many of the things you talk about, but have been able to go back to a few. Cinnamon was awful. I reacted within a minute. And anything with yellow dye sent me over the edge. I didn’t have swelling but I had such an arm itch I could have torn it right off my body!

        But I’m so much better now. Talk to your nutritionist about omega 3 supplementation and please search my site for EPO and omegas to see everything I’ve written. It’s pretty extensive. The other thing I’ve written endlessly about is olive oil and how that’s really helped heal me.

        I’d love it if you’d share my site with your nutritionist so we all could get feedback from a professional. I’d be so curious what she might think.

        And I gotta tell you, with your amazing spirit, I am sure you will conquer this. There are many women on here I wish I could meet in person. You sound like a complete trip!

      • K.K. says:

        As MHC (MenopauseHistamineConnection) 😉 says, hang in there. It does get better.

        There are ebbs and flows, ups and downs, but given the chance a body will heal itself.

        Love what you are wearing for the wedding, as well as your ‘do. Had to laugh at the image of you arriving in it via your motorcycle. 🙂

        So…no sugar, no cinnamon, no yeast. Lemon okay.

        Any sweeteners at all? Stevia? Maple syrup? Agave nectar, honey? Apples? Pears?

        What about ricotta cheese, or cream cheese?

        Any ingredients I use in a recipe would be fresh, so that’s not an issue.

        If the recipe calls for eggs, I do use an egg replacer, as eggs are on my no-eat list.

        If that is true for you, too, let me know.

        You can check out the egg replacer at Ener-G dot com.

        Per the site, it is:

        Free of: gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, nut, low/no sodium

        INGREDIENTS: Potato Starch,Tapioca Flour, Leavening (Calcium Lactate, Calcium Carbonate, Cream of Tartar), Cellulose Gum, Modified Cellulose

        After the potato starch and tapioca flour, the ingredients are not ideal, and I try to find egg-free recipes, but thankfully, I do not have a reaction to the above.

        My diet is pretty dull, too, these days, but it’s worth it to avoid the attacks.

        This site is a blessing, and like MHC said, it would be fun to meet in person. 😀

      • I’m curious what’s on the list of foods you can eat Mill.

  4. K.K. says:

    Yes, a list of what you can eat, Mill, would be helpful in terms of a recipe.

    Also, while I may not find an exact recipe for you, I do have substitution lists so that you could adjust regular recipes for your needs.

    These lists would come in handy for many uses, not just for a wedding cake, and others might make use of them, as well.

    For MHC, is it okay if I post links on here for her to access?

    There might be a few for example, for the wedding cake, and I can run them by you in e-mail first.

    In general, what is your feeling about people using links in the comments section?

    Thanks. 🙂

    • Yes please go ahead and post any links you feel will help all of us. There is so much good informations out there, we all need to share.

      • K.K. says:

        Great, and thank you. 🙂

        I’m going to post a link over on the recipe section that I stumbled upon today. It’s a bit different, but I thought it might be of interest.

        It’s not exactly a cake, as it’s made entirely of fruit, but it could be an option.

      • Oh that sounds interesting!

      • Mill says:

        Hi KK
        Apologies for not responding sooner, been so busy being hungry! I have a list as long as my arm of what I cannot eat so here’s what I can actually tolerate.

        Apples, pears, melon, almonds so long as they have been soaked in water overnight, apparently it helps remove histamine, gluten in porridge is fine and I can eat bread so long as it is yeast and wheat free – I have a high intolerance to yeast and wheat. I can eat fresh ginger, leeks, carrots, baby potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, fresh salmon and fresh codfish, brown rice, buckwheat crackers – disgustingly taste free, decaf latte and water! That’s flippin well about it. I just hope to God this has eased by the 8th August, otherwise it will be a pretty dense wedding with me grazing on organically grown bloody grass in the hotel’s garden.

        I also steep organic linseeds in water overnight, drink the juice in the morning and put the seeds over my porridge and add Rice or Almond milk to it.

        So there you have it. Last night I had a vodka and tonic and was thrilled with my little boring self until halfway through watching Criminal Minds, lusting over Morgan, I felt the old familiar crawling, itchy, burning sensation and found myself covered from head to toe in a crazy rash. An antihistamine eased it and then whining an hour or two it was gone but I don’t want to take antihistamines every day. I am trying to cut down to every second day. I cannot take Quercetin due to the additives in the bottle. I do take acidophilus each day and will continue to take them to help clear my gut of these toxins, because they are toxins attacking my immune system and my body is telling me this through the inflammatory rash.

        Thanks for all the help. I do appreciate it.

        Mill xx

      • Mill,

        Funny enough, that list of foods looks much better than I had envisioned. It’s not nearly as restricted as I had thought it would be. And that’s coming from someone who lived off of butternut squash, apples, and broccoli for months.

        It’s the boredom with the same foods that is problematic. Can you use a squirt of lemon in anything to add an acid to the flavor? Or how about smoked paprika? I treasure my little tin of it! What about basil? You have to find a way to add flavor without transforming you into the elephant man as you’ve pointed out.

        Ginger is an anti-histamine, so I even take that in capsule form twice daily.

        Two things I want to point out about your list. Probiotics, although a lot of people want to take them to heal a leaky gut, are not often good for histamine intolerance, so you might be making your issue worse. Why do you think that’s your issue? Are you in or around menopause or perimenopause?

        Also, linseed, which is our flax seed, is an extremely strong phytoestrogen, and I thought in a previous post you wanted to stay away from them and that’s why you stopped taking Evening Primrose. I think that was you…you stopped eating some estrogenic thing I think.

        It is my thinking, and I’m working on a post about this, that we have to get to the cause to really heal the intolerance. Diet can only manage it. I’ve seen a recent post on the Low Histamine Chef’s site that talks about the same thing, but that nutritionist didn’t really speak too much to the histamine/hormone link, which is where all my efforts go. I think he did talk about inflammation though, which is my other huge issue to explore.

        I hope you have read what I’ve written about the omega 6 / omega 3 balance issue. And if you can tolerate olive oil, I would think about taking a couple of tablespoons a day of it. I am also working on yet another post about olive oil based on an article that Dotslady shared talking about how olive oil helps heal down in the intestines where the DAO enzyme is produced. So there are multiple reasons I think olive oil led me onto the healing path. It’s also a healthy fat and can help stem your hunger. It’s the fats that keep us satiated. (Remember, I am no doctor and this is all just friendly advice)

        Hang in there Mill! There are lots of us out there cheering you on and walking a similar path. We will all celebrate with you, from afar, at your wedding, and you’ll report that you danced and ate and had a joyous occasion without any itching. It will happen.

  5. K.K. says:

    It’s over there now. No need to log into Facebook to use the link.

  6. Audrey says:

    What is the connection between probiotics and histamine intolerance? I’ve been taking lots of probiotics lately… every since the histamine intolerance got really bad actually…..

    • The quick answer is that fermented products are bad for histamine intolerance. We usually think of vinegar and pickled products. They raise histamine levels. Probiotics are basically the same as fermented foods. The same way bacteria makes vinegar makes probiotics.

      Many people who are histamine intolerant cannot handle anything fermented but don’t really think about probiotics as being part of that equation. So if you react to vinegar, I’d think twice about taking a probiotic.

      That’s why when anyone automatically thinks they have leaky gut and starts taking a probiotic I like to mention it. For one thing, it might not be a gut problem at all. Histamine intolerance by its very nature causes a lot of bowel issues so, for example, If constipation is an issue for someone and they think it’s leaky gut, it may not be. It might just be a symptom of their histamine intolerance. And taking a probiotic might actually be making things worse.

      • Audrey says:

        Wow. That may be my problem. I’m gonna stop taking them and report back.

        Update on the algal DHA: I think I’m reacting to one of the fillers in the pill. I can’t seem to find any “cleaner” sources. This one has five ingredients! Bummed.

      • What brand are you taking? I have to look at what’s in mine. I take Ovega 3.

      • Audrey says:

        DEVA brand. It contains DHA, sunflower oil, carrageenan, Starch (what kind? who knows?), GLycerin, Silica, Sorbitol, Acobryl Palmitate, Sunflower lecithin and Rosemary

      • I just looked at my own and noticed carrageenan which I recently remember hearing was not good for you. I looked it up just now to refresh my memory and am quite horrified by what I’m reading about it. It’s a major inflammatory and is terrible for anybody with IBS.

        I don’t have IBS but inflammation is one of my main culprits and here it is in my omega 3, the thing I take to help with inflammation!

        I feel a post coming on…

      • Audrey says:

        Interesting but it wasnt me that said I had a problem with carrageenan. I don’t think I’ve ever had it before. What is it and why is it bad?

      • No I know. It was something I saw the other day that said it was bad. Doctor Weil has a great article on it. I’ll post it later.

      • Audrey says:

        I found Dr. Weil’s post about it. Here it is: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html

        It does sound like bad stuff! I will be writing the makers of this DHA product to ask them to remove it. Why would you need a thickening agent in a pill anyway.

      • It might be part of what makes up the outside of the capsule since it’s not gelatin. Just goes to show you how much extra bad stuff is hidden in our foods and health products. Scary!

  7. K.K. says:

    Hello All,

    It’s a busier week here than usual, and I’ll try to come back later as there are lots of interesting subject you all brought up to which I’d like to respond. 🙂 There are always so many, and I’m not even caught up on the whole blog yet. 😀

    For Mill: I will look into a cake that uses apple or pear puree. For example, the cake recipe I posted (Poor Man’s Cake) is one I want to try using apple puree, and I am sure there are others “out there.” Most recipes are easy to alter for various dietary needs.

    Carrageenan: Just the other day, while shopping online for supplements, I was again researching this one, and also came up with some info on how it’s not a good idea for anyone to take it.

    In terms of supplements, not only is it used inside a capsule, or as part of a capsule, it can also be a coating on a tablet, so beware.

    Scary, indeed. This is not the only such ingredient I’ve come across in supplements, foods, etc.

    I had a list on my computer somewhere…guess I need to start a new one. 😛

    Thanks for the excellent Dr. Weil link on it. I often refer to him for advice, and just did a search to get his take on probiotics.

    Probiotics: It has been many years since I took any, and only then for a specific purpose. They do not agree with me at all. At one point, long before the histamine issue, I did take a very mild powder made for children once in a while, but even that bothered me.

    Here are two links from Dr. Weil about them.



    Lecithin: I noticed something about that on here in passing. It is from soy. Soy is something I cannot eat at all. I know it is recommended for menopause, but I would caution taking it at all in any form. I don’t have links handy, but I’ll try to remember to post some later. It is also frequently used in a fermented form.

    These are just my personal experiences, and opinions, as I’m not a doctor, either. I realize everyone will have their own, and need to do their own assessments. I hope what I’ve learned will offer some help, or spark an idea.

    • K.K., wondered where you’d been!

      We can make a list of all the ingredients we should all stay away from and I can make it a sticky on the site. There are so many bad things out there. Here I think I’m being really careful about eating anti-inflammatory things and there’s something lurking in my supplement.

      This is one of the reasons I want to get off the supplements. I really believe in eating only whole foods to get nutrition, but I have to admit the supplements got me through the worst of my histamine storm. I’m waiting until after school gets out and I’m back from a little vacation and then I’m going to see how I do without the majority of the supplements.

      • Mill says:

        Hi KK,
        I do use a lot of olive oil when cooking and making salads. I can’t tolerate paprika but can tolerate basil and use it for soups and salads too. I read, and was told by my nutritionist, that Linseeds were very good for people who has a history of breast issues, as in I have calcifications and while I do stay away from oestrogen I was told Linseed was safe and didn’t contain oestrogen at all…now I’m worried! I need to do more research. I’m not taking Evening Primrose Oil because I thought it would be good for hair and nails but apparently Linseeds are good for that so that’s why I’m using organic linseeds every morning over my porridge. No point in doubling up with two things that do the same thing. I don’t take the Linseed supplements just use the organic seeds soaked overnight, drink the juice and pour seeds on my porridge. Disgusting and look like frog spawn. Mind you when this dreadful itch started I did say I would swallow Satan’s sperm if it would cure me…I didn’t think they’d actually make me do it!

        I still need to take a 10mg of OTC antihistamine every second day but that’s good as I used to take up to four per day on a bad day.

        I am right in the middle of menopause. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy last summer which landed me into car crash menopause and as I have breast issues and animal welfare concerns regarding the sourcing of HRT I refuse to take it.

        I don’t take any supplements other than the acidophilus that my nutritionist recommended and I have taken it for two months and have another month left and will finish up with it then and take no more because I feel my gut should be healed after three months of taking it.

        Mill x

      • Audrey says:

        Feeling better since stopping the algal DHA and the probiotics. I’ve been off the probiotics for a few days and my flushing and flashes have gone down at least 75% and my leg bone and muscle pain has completely gone away and I’ve been in a much better mood. Thank god you told me about the probiotics!

      • I am literally sitting here working on a post about leaky gut and probiotics. So many people think they have a problem with their gut and don’t realize that histamine intolerance is the thing that can be causing the problem, not necessarily the other way around. Some people, I’m sure, have a gut issue. But lots probably don’t. And the probiotics just make it all worse.

        I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Keep me posted. We need lots of positive things to post to encourage all the other girls who are newly dealing with this that we can heal.

        Keep healing Audrey!

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