I have four main triggers and they're not exactly non-paleo foods

Answered on March 12, 2015
Created March 12, 2015 at 12:52 AM

After four years of paleo I have narrowed down four main triggers on my recurrent symptoms of fatigue, constipation, bloating, and brain fog:

coffee, dark chocolate, ANYTHING fermented, and alcohol.

I see that even coffee and chocolate are fermented at one point in their processing. What gives? Grains, dairy and legumes don't effect me nearly as much as these culprits. I don't know if there's a mold, yeast, or histamine thing going on.

Any thoughts or opinions that could help clarify these triggers for me? Thank you.

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5 Answers


on March 12, 2015
at 09:18 PM

Would histamines be in coffee or dark chocolate? I know that there is a period of fermentation in the processing of both of those products.



on March 12, 2015
at 08:45 PM

Anything fermented has histamine but the really high content foods are sauerkrauts and salami-type cured meats. So if you want to make sure it is histamines (if you know it is, you will have far more control on your diet) you can try those foods specifically.


on March 12, 2015
at 05:04 PM

Well, I have zero headache symptoms. It all begins in the gut and a generally gittery feeling that leads to bloating and nervous system symptoms.

It is ironic how so many paleo followers can cut out grains, dairy, legumes, but they just have to have their paleo friendly coffee and alcohol. And indulge in dark chocolate which is highly associated with paleo. Then there's the whole thing about fermented foods and probiotics curing so much. It's almost difficult to find sites and blogs that speak of those who are sensitive to these foods.

I'd say that my reactivity to grains/dairy/legumes is very secondary to these triggers I listed. And man, when I made my own sourdough bread, using sprouted spelt flour, I ended up with leaky gut so bad that I had to call out of work.


on March 12, 2015
at 03:20 PM

I think it sounds like histamine intolerance too with the fermented foods.?? Chris Kresser's website has a good podcast on histamine intolerance that you can listen to.?? Although if you are having headaches from the coffee, chocolate, and alcohol, that may be more a separate brain/CNS issue.?? Coffee and chocolate are both stimulants and alcohol has a variety of strong, stressful effects on the body from liver to brain to gut lining.?? All three of those are common headache/migraine triggers, they're just super common in our society.?? It may be helpful to you to go off caffeine entirely although it is a drug that will give you a withdrawal syndrome and cravings.?? I have found that I can take tea and chocolate which are gentler but coffee is often too much for me.??


on March 12, 2015
at 06:29 AM

I do not see how coffee, alcohol and chocolate could be considered paleo. There is no chance caveman would have access to these in today's quantities. There is evidence that alcohol and coffee http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/15841908increase intestinal permeability. If you are reacting to chocolate and fermented food it may indicate that it is the histamine release or histamine content in the foods that causes your issues.

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