Six weeks in! This adherence to consuming legumes, vegetables and protein, no sugar, no caffeine, no soy, no dairy and plenty of water feels deeply healing. I am healing my gut and strengthening a grounding in more ways than just physical health. It is providing me access to my deeper knowing and my ability to accept what is (it’s slow but it is awakening). I am strengthening so much more than just my gut. My body is not clouded by the fog of sugar and caffeine, which keeps our bodies in a literal fight or flight narrative. Perhaps it is no wonder that our culture today seems so anger and trigger-prone. I am learning to understand these parts in myself.
I am seeing the direct affects food has on my body. I have known this but the results are immediate and clear as I navigate this sixth week. I want to get my blood tested, but this learning is pointing to a histamine intolerance. I can feel in real time when I stray from the ingredients that nourish me. A histamine intolerance means there is actually too much histamine in your body and it doesn’t have the tools to break it down. Our bodies naturally produce histamine along with the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). DAO is responsible for breaking down histamine that you take in from foods. If you develop a DAO deficiency and are unable to break down histamine, you could develop an intolerance. An intolerance could present as headaches or migraines, nasal congestion or sinus issues, fatigue, hives, digestive issues, irregular menstrual cycle, nausea or vomiting.
There seems to be a correlation to the foods that contain tyramine (which I have been conscious of avoiding for years) and the foods that contain histamine. This is a great list of which foods contain histamine (it’s daunting, I know). It goes deeper and includes additives, spices, herbs, oils and sauces along with so many other things which haven’t necessarily been on my radar. It lists onions, but I’ve learned from my other lists that only raw onion is a trigger for me. All this to say that what I do see from these lists is that foods prepared naturally and with the least amount of additives seem to keep me running with a clear mind, in more ways than one.
Here are two examples I noticed this week. I made my usual homemade chicken noodle soup with a bouillon I’ve used that doesn’t contain MSG, a staple in most soups and soup bases. I woke up with a slight headache the next morning and upon a closer look, the bouillon base contained yeast extract, a no-no on the histamine list. Friday night we were at a gymnastics meet until late in the night and Shake Shack was our only option at that hour. My daughter (who appears to have somewhat similar food-related headaches) noticed a headache almost immediately after eating the hamburger and fries, and not the first time she has experienced this type of headache. I woke up with a headache the next morning, strong enough to warrant 4 Extra Strength Tylenol over the course of yesterday. There must be something affective in the additives used at Shake Shack. Boohoo.
Week by week I am learning so much and getting clearer and clearer. I told a friend at work that my taste buds are noticing the flavors of foods at a heightened level. Whole foods are tasting better and better. Meditating and journaling are continued sources of grounding. Centering is a conscious muscle that needs strengthening, especially in this fluff-weighted culture. I am choosing to nourish my body physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally with clean and nutrient-rich elements. It is a constant process. The choice to embark feels like the greatest gift.
Eating my colors!One of the hardest aspects of this journey has been knowing just WHAT to eat. I am feeling grateful for finding the foods which nourish me the best. This week I started sautéing a green pepper and adding it to my eggs and beans for breakfast, Yum! I just learned that bell peppers have more Vitamin C than oranges and they help with iron absorption.
iPhone snaps Beth Horta for Sweet Sabelle.