Addressing histamine intolerance and mast cell disorders doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Much can be accomplished simply by eating anti-inflammatory, antihistamine whole foods. You have to eat, anyway. And there are plenty of lifestyle choices that can help lower your histamine levels and promote healing. Here are some simple, lost-cost ways to get you on the right path to healing.
Buy in bulk– especially for the freezer. You can buy frozen kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, sweet potatoes… all kinds of produce… in the freezer section. Frozen vegetables are generally picked and frozen at peak ripeness, so they may even be better tasting than what you can get fresh. They can also be less expensive. Watch for sales and stock up.
Fresh herbs can be added to olive oil in an ice cube tray, then frozen, and added to a Ziploc bag in the freezer. You can even make your own dairy-free basil pesto and freeze it. Then you have an easy, antihistamine addition to soups and sautees.
Some inexpensive histamine-lowering superstars include Holy Basil/Tulsi tea, red onions, apples, ginger, and parsley.
ALWAYS GO IN WITH A PLAN
The biggest mistake I made for years was going into the supermarket without a shopping list. With no plan I’d wander the aisles aimlessly wondering if maybe this time X food would actually work for me and I wouldn’t end up eating two bites and then tossing it in the trash. If you’re trying to re-introduce foods, then buying something, having a bit and then freezing the rest (till you’re ready for it), is a good money saving strategy.
OR, SHOP ONLINE
Online shopping has been an absolute blessing. More so when I lived in London and we didn’t have to tip the grocery delivery people.
But Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has brought affordable online shopping to the US finally. I have my shopping list and just re-purchase everything I bought last time. No stress, tons of time and money saved.
CHOOSE A MOSTLY PLANT-BASED DIET
For plenty of inflammation-lowering compounds, antihistamine flavonoids like quercetin, and plenty of healing antioxidants, your best bet is a diet that is rich in certain plant foods. As long as you are buying whole plant foods and not prepared or processed foods your food budget will go a lot farther than one based on animal protein.
Make green salads a major part of your diet. Almost everyone agrees that more green leafy vegetables in the diet is a good thing. With plenty of DAO-inducing olive oil and complex foods like rice or lentils or a few nuts, you’ll be replete with anti-inflammatory foods that keep hunger at bay.
Some inexpensive, satiating, anti-inflammatory and/or low histamine foods include boiled red lentils, chickpeas, winter squash (Kabocha and spaghetti squash are lower carb), and white rice.
LEARN TO LOVE YOUR KITCHEN
Buying prepared foods, whether at a restaurant or at a deli, adds up quickly. The best thing you can do for your budget, as well as your health, is to learn to love your kitchen. To do that, make sure it’s well stocked with antihistamine herbs and spices, condiments, canned goods, frozen produce, and of course, basic cooking utensils.
Keep up with dishes and putting things away so that it is an orderly, inviting place to spend time. Some fresh herbs in pots (basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme) beautify your kitchen and provide access to taste- and antioxidant- enhancing ingredients to add to your dishes.
If you make a big batch of soup, freeze it in individual servings so that you don’t have leftovers for the fridge… which just accumulate histamine-raising bacteria over the span of a day or two. And then you have to throw it out. Label your freezer containers with contents and dates so that you know what to use first.
The same thing goes for cooking up red lentils or low histamine grains in bulk. Don’t spend long hours in the kitchen day after day; instead, pick a day or two a week to do some “batch cooking.” Then freeze in single servings, and you’ll have just the right amount with no leftovers to worry about. Who actually likes leftovers, anyway?
EMBRACE FREE, HISTAMINE-LOWERING LIFESTYLE CHANGES
While food is a major component in the pursuit of health and vitality, it’s not everything. Lifestyle choices can make or break an otherwise healthy diet. If you’re eating a perfect diet, but are under a lot of stress and exposing yourself to toxic chemicals, it’s going to be difficult to keep your histamine levels in check.
While formal classes and massage appointments are great, there are other ways to keep your histamine bucket from overflowing. Technology has given us access to so many free resources it’s mind-boggling. You can go on YouTube and find guided meditations, restorative yoga sessions, calming Classical or spa music, and even something called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). All of these things can help bring down stress levels which helps you get inflammation and histamine levels in check.
If you want to “unplug” to heal histamine, all the better. Go for a walk out in nature. Listen to the birds. Go sit on the beach and listen to the waves come in. Sit by a waterfall. Just take in some sunshine and fresh air — however you can. Take a nap. Take a break. Do something that you love — something that brings you happiness. Anything that raises those “feel good” chemicals in your body is going to help in the healing process. Do what you love and the healing with follow. Cheers.