25. Mai 2014

News From My Kitchen: Please Welcome The Histamine

It’s been a bit quiet in our kitchen lately. I haven’t shared a single recipe for months. I’m not tired of cooking and baking and there’s no dust layer slowly building up in my kitchen or anything. The reason for the hiatus has been an unexpected diet change. After months and months of constant nausea, headaches, insomnia and a range of other mysterious symptoms, I’ve been diagnosed with histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance. Well it means that I have a low level of the enzyme that usually breaks down any histamine that my body absorbs from food, resulting in histamine poisoning symptoms. Once diagnosed the cure is quite easy: avoid all histamine-rich foods. So far so good. I printed out a list of food you can and food you can’t eat. It has 20 pages and there's no pattern behind it. Learn the list by heart. Find out you can eat basically nothing that is preserved in one way or another, dried, matured, sulfured, canned, smoked. Then find out that flavor enhancers are forbidden, too. And don’t let me start on medications, spices, alcohol.

At some point it felt like there was not a thing in this world I was allowed to eat, except a few raw vegetables. I spent hours in the supermarket checking ingredients on simple things like cream and bread and juice and dismissing everything. I lived on the few things I knew where safe: non-carbonated water, baked potatoes, apples, and carrots. I was struggling to get enough calories in and even lost some weight in the beginning!

It took me a while to build up a repertoire of low-histamine foods and recipes that were easy enough to cook every day and tasted like something. To be honest: broccoli, rice cakes, potatoes, water, cucumbers, and carrots don’t taste like much when compared to pizza, salami, coffee, cake. Sometimes I stood in the kitchen looking for something to eat and everything I could see is flavorless, flavorless, flavorless.  But it gets better. I'm now in a stage where I bake everything in the oven for the roasting flavor. I discovered that I can tolerate half an espresso in the morning so the automatic coffee maker we got for Christmas is not totally useless for me.
The parents got a copy of the magic food list and they’re trying  to cook histamine friendly whenever I’m around and I do appreciate it, although I can’t stand them having extra work because of me.
With all the changes we made to our diet the boyfriend didn’t complain once. He’s more or less on a low-histamine diet too, of course and I’m grateful that he doesn’t order pizza for himself when I’m not looking.

There will be recipes on this blog again soon, but most of them will now be low on or free of gluten, eggs, alcohol, caffeine and many other ingredients. There’ll be more recipes made from scratch. I hope you won’t even notice the change. But if you do, now you know why. You have been warned.


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