Monday, May 5, 2014

How did my first week on a low histamine diet go?

I have now completed my first full low histamine week for the nitty gritty details of what I ate and what specifically happened see My Low Histamine Experiment page.

Going from the Standard American Diet (appropriately abbreviated SAD) to really any healthy diet is quite the feat.  Nearly everything must be made from scratch and for a low histamine diet key ingredients are removed.  The main big things that I had to remove from my diet were also often my favorite foods:

Chili Powder
Stone Fruits
Citrus (Oranges, Lemons, Limes, etc)
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Soybeans and related products (my soy sauce alternative liquid aminos!)

As the week went on, it became clear that I was reacting to wheat and sunflower seeds so those are now also out of my diet.  We will see if I have to remove anything else before I can try something like bananas, tomatoes, potatoes or grapes.

It took several days to get into the groove of eating this way and then I noticed that I had lost some weight.  I started weighing my self on Day 5 and by Day 6 had lost at least eight pounds.  As I am currently nursing my nine month old this was concerning me.  So, I made sure that every time that I ate I was completely full. Talking with other people with MCAD indicated that this was a normal side effect of this diet.  They claim that the weight loss is related to inflammation leaving the body and that could certainly be true for me.  Right now I am the weight I was before I had my first child.  It might be the case that my new normal weight is lower since I have lost a lot of muscle mass as this disease has progressed and made it very difficult to be physically active.

Honestly, it was quite surprising how the SAD had masked some issues I had been having with commonly eaten food.  I do hope that my everyday background  symptoms will continue to improve so I really can figure out what in the food I eat or the things that I use are making me sicker.   Then I will be able to switch to a much healthier high nutrient, anti-inflammatory diet.

So, did  I have any improvement in between the reactions to wheat and sunflower seeds?  I can honestly say that the first several days on the diet I felt better.  The rash on my hands which had been like this on Day One:

Had dissipated by Day Three, but came back after washing my hands at a doctor's office and eating sunflower seeds.  The rash still ended up much improved by Day Seven.

I always have this rash on my hands at some level so I was shocked that it was gone at Day Three (I wish that I had taken a picture) and didn't return until Day Five after the new reactions.  Additionally, I had some "clearer" feeling days.  I really am not sure how to describe that differently except that I wasn't as bogged down and fuzzy like I normal feel.  The wheat and sunflower seed reactions took that all away.  I really hope that clearer days are in my future.

The other biggest thing that happened this week was that my nursing nine month old who could not comfortably spend much time on his belly now chooses to rollover and sleep on his tummy.  On the days that I felt clearer, he also slept straight through the night (he hasn't done that for five months and was on prilosec for reflux pain).  The day that I had the hives, he was back to sleeping on his back and waking up.  The next night as my reaction dissipated, he went back to sleeping on his tummy but still waking up.  As I am still not over those reactions, I am hopeful that his tummy will keep feeling better and he will routinely sleep through the night.  At the moment, he is also successfully weaned off the prilosec.  If you want to know more about my thoughts on a connection between my illness and my kids reflux, check out this post.

The food diary this week also revealed that now that my favorite fruits are no longer in my diet and I am not a big fan of most vegetables, I need to be intentional on increasing the amount of fruits and veggies in my diet. I will be working on that this next week.  I am still on my normal vitamins (good ones made from fruits and veggies) so as I make this transition my basic nutritional needs should be met.

I have found a wonderful community of other people with MCAD and it is liberating to talk with others that understand what I have experienced for the last 20 plus years.  It has been incredibly frustrating to be enclosed in a normal looking package but feel incredibly, invisibly ill at the same time.  People tend to think that if they can't see that anything is wrong, nothing is wrong.  So, this often turns into a silent disease as well.

More on that later, perhaps.

P.S.  I will never freeze hard boiled eggs to eat at a later date again.  The texture is entirely wrong upon thawing.