I have been helping a 23 year old young lady switch to a gradually more primal way of eating over the course of the past year. I have enhanced her vitamin D to optimal levels and continued to nag her to incorporate fermented foods (starting with Kombucha and more recently Kimchi and Kraut).
She eats pretty well but goes "off the reservation" with gluten about once every three weeks. Shes not overweight at all. The issue is even when I prepare her the most Paleo foods I can find she gets a cough and a runny nose after every meal, as if she has an immune reaction to any food. I can give her plain grass fed meat or just greens and she will have this reaction. There doesn't seem to be one food that does it. What are your thoughts? Anybody dealt with this and how did you fix it?
asked byCory151 (1677)
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on December 05, 2012
at 10:45 PM
This sounds very much like histamine intolerance, which could potentially be made worse by eating leftover meat, fermented foods, seafood, and some other paleo goodies (maybe bone broth, but I'm not sure about that one). I've been reading up on this quite a bit lately, but I can't really make a coherent statement on it at the moment. It has been discussed in several paleohacks threads, so searching for it should get you some information.
My understanding so far is that some people don't produce enough of the histamine degrading enzyme diamine oxidase (likely due to damage to the intestinal lining where the enzyme should be produced). Therefore histamine builds up in their bodies and causes allergic-type reactions (among other problems).
Dr. Campbell-McBride (GAPS author) mentions that histamine is "also produced by Proteus family, E. coli family, Staphylococci and many other bacteria in the gut. In a situation where these opportunistic bacteria overgrow, due to the lack of control from the beneficial flora, they start producing too much histamine."
How to fix this is a trickier question. A low histamine diet tends to be a higher grain diet, which would possibly feed the pathogenic bacteria. However, eating a lot of left over meat and fermented foods would give the body a whopping dose of histamine before the damaged portion of the gut has healed. A bit of a vicious cycle.
I would say a good strategy might be to eat only fresh meat (avoid left over meat) and stick to a really high-quality probiotic (avoiding fermented foods) during this initial stage of dietary transition. Then hopefully, after some healing has occurred, this histamine issue won't be a problem. You can search for lists of high histamine and low histamine foods, however, I've been doing this lately and finding wildly different recommendations from list to list.
Good luck! Hopefully some histamine intolerant people will chime in here if they think it is relevant.
Edit: Here are a couple of links, one to a brief discussion of histamine intolerance by Mark Sisson and the next to the list of high-histamine foods he links in the discussion (the website of the International Chronic Urticaria Society).
on December 05, 2012
at 11:14 AM
Salycilate intolerance/ allergy! I had the same issue for a long time and couldn't work it out but after eliminating Salycilates I have been great! Olive oil and coconut oil are both unfortunately high in this food chemical, as are herbs and spices and pepper and also quite a few vegetables particularly the Mediterranean ones
on November 12, 2012
at 11:19 PM
A. I'd suggest she look into GAPS.
B. NO GLUTEN. None. Not even a little bit every three weeks.
C. NO SEED OILS.
If she is not willing to drop the gluten cheats, GAPS would not be effective and her system will continue to be irritated, if it turns out she is gluten intolerant/sensitive. I know a lot of people think it's over diagnosed, and it probably is, but there is no substitute for doing an elimination diet and I think we can all agree that gluten is definitely in the top 5 offenders. I'd also suggest eliminating eggs, dairy, nightshades and nuts for a bit while she's gluten-free for a reasonable period of time, then add them back in slowly to see if there's a change in her symptoms.
on November 13, 2012
at 02:21 AM
Habit and culture make it doubly hard to switch cold turkey from your accustomed diet to something different, especially eliminating wheat and similar glycemic and immune compromising grains. One suggestion that worked for me was to adopt another culture's diet, the ensemble proven to be whole and wholesome over thousands of years: South Asia, India. It can be complete in itself but resembles Western diet in critical ways that make it an easy change. The cooking flavorings, herbs, and spices are equally valuable in supplement form for many health problems (turmeric, cumin, nigella-esp for respiratory, cayenne, ginger, curry mixes...) plus the flours used in those dishes where wheat would be used inevitably in our cooking are ground lentil or chick pea, not wheat. Just avoid nan. Most people would find this type of meal equally or more satisfying. As Hippocrates said, let food be your medicine and vice versa.
Plus, there are all-you-can-eat Indian buffets around the world where you can get a good dose of this medicine cheap!