I think the thing that perplexes people when they first stumble upon histamine intolerance is where to get started. I posted a few months ago I think I’m histamine intolerant so what do I do now? as a little primer on how to get the healing under way using a food diary.
I’ve never shown any of my own food diary because it seemed such a personal thing to share. I have all kinds of notes on it about all kinds of things. But I was thinking about it and decided to give you a little glimpse into how I started.
I know there are plenty of forms you can use and download off of the web, and I danced around even developing one myself, but I go back to the fact that they are personal and I feel they should develop organically.
You’ll notice all kinds of symbols and weird little names for things. For example, the itch on my left bicep that almost put me on the ledge of a building I refer to as my hotspot. That’s because that spot flared up the moment I swallowed something I should not be eating at that time. It was instant and it was violent.
What you also might notice is that I took aspirin for “overall itching.” This page was written before I even started to think about supplements. I can’t remember why I thought to try aspirin other than I thought that I was having a problem with inflammation and aspirin reduces inflammation so I took it. And I do remember it really helped. I’ve since read somewhere that some people use aspirin for itching. I didn’t do it often, only when I was desperate. I guess it seemed better than taking an antihistamine to me at the time. And I had it in the house.
The other thing you’ll see is notes on when I used Capzasin. I read somewhere that it could be used to eliminate itches. I used so much one night I thought I was going to give myself a third degree burn on my arm! But again, I was pretty desperate.
Just as a side note, I learned way too late that putting ice on the itch would only make it worse. Many sites said ice would work so of course I tried it. But it took me two months to realize it would make the itch last for hours. I remember going out to dinner with one of my alum scratching my arm under the table until I bled. I finally realized it when I read back though my diary the connection between the ice and the hours long itching.
Notice I put asterisks next to things that made me react and put boxes around the reaction. The little circles indicated a new day. And you can see all kinds of little notes in the margin. I apparently was waiting for a yearbook delivery too as per the UPS freight note.
It’s a jumble and what I wrote became more refined, but it was always pretty much this sloppy looking.
This is the list of foods I could eat and those I shouldn’t that I worked on as the days progressed. (click on it to see a bigger version)
You can see it’s also quite the sloppy mess but it did its job. I had a No and Yes list and the Jury is Still Out list.
The No list was definite. Anything on the No list I did not touch. The Yes list was made up of what I ate for the most part although as I went along that list changed. For some reason I though grape juice helped but later on didn’t drink it anymore because I reacted to grapes. Pretzels are under the slight reactions but they eventually moved to no. And I still eat bushels of apples and jars of capers.
If you look at the left margin, that was my scale of reactions. Apples were non-reactive and beer was the absolute most. Cinnamon was up there too.
I kept the food diary, more almost a life’s journal by the end of it, until I left on my Europe trip the end of June last year. I decided I’d free myself of it because it was such a big thing to do. I had healed to the point of not itching and I didn’t feel the need to keep at it anymore.
I have not needed to start it again, although looking back into it made me realize that recent connection I made to hot flashes and green tea.
I could not have come this far and healed so quickly without that food diary. Everything was in it. How I slept, how many hot flashes I had a night, what supplements I took, when I had a reaction, where and what was the reaction, how long did it last, and what other thing did I use on my body that I needed to remember. I spent hours over it by the end. But it saved me.
I know many of you are still struggling to figure out what your triggers are and how you discern one reaction from another and which food did what. I can only tell you that it is a lot of work and you have to be diligent. Before I ate anything I’d have a bit of whatever and wait to see what would happen. Cauliflower, cinnamon, avocado, those reacted immediately. Aged cheeses took an hour. I was still putting kelp in my smoothies, as a supplement, two months into it before I realized that it was making me react terribly. Why the hell it took me so long I do not know. But that was one of the last triggers I discovered that was keeping me itchy. How did I miss it? Beats me…
I hope these pages help you visualize what a food diary can be. It can be messy and silly with notes and symbols, but it also can be a link to your sanity, as it was mine. If you haven’t started one yet, start it today. I guarantee it will help you on your healing path.