Here’s an explanation of why I include higher histamine food in my personal diet (but not yet in my cookbooks!).
Four years had passed since a mushroom graced my palate, when, on a whim, I bravely ordered up “Field Mushrooms with Parmesan and Arugula, in a Butter Garlic Sauce” in a small country pub in the unashamedly hippie English town of Hebden Bridge.
My man feigned indifference at my order, but I imagined he was secretly excited.
Maybe I was projecting, but I’m quite sure he had only half believed my declaration of a few months ago: “I’m going to eat whatever I want, no matter what *loody list it’s on, because I’m CONVINCED I’ve healed.”
I then enlisted his help to make sure I didn’t slip into old patterns, by attributing any symptoms to food or beauty products. Easier said than done. Till I hit upon a little technique combining meditation, quietening what I believed to be an overactive amygdala, with just a pinch of neuro-linguistic programming. I’m still working on it, but will be sure to share when I can figure out how to, without anyone getting hurt. I’m actually hoping to interest a doctor in it so that it can safely be trialled.
Why did I believe this would work? This year I came across some studies on pavlovian conditioning in allergic reactions. For those unfamiliar with the original experiments, dogs were given food every time a bell rang. Eventually they began to associate the bell with food, and so began salivating, even when no food was forthcoming. The studies I found showed a similar result in allergy patients who exhibited an elevation in tryptase (one of the markers of allergic reactions and mast cell disorders) and others, even though they weren’t actually exposed to the allergen they believed they were.
To be honest though, I also knew that Dr Fuhrman believes people with histamine intolerance should still eat mushrooms, but also a whole host of other foods rich in phytonutrients, in order to heal. Though I’ve always thought the man walked on water, and I believed whole heartedly in his dietary approach, I allowed my previous experiences with inflammatory foods when my body was in complete disrepair, which just so happened to also be high histamine, to taint my present relationship with food (for more on Dr Fuhrman’s thoughts on needing to eat more foods in order to heal histamine and salicylate intolerance as well as mast cell disorders, please read this).
So, where does that leave Yasmina, about to indulge in some yeasty funghi, smothered in parmesan and butter? Well it left me hungry while they removed the buttery, cheesy mushies they placed in front of me, by mistake, as I had ordered them dairy free – I mean come on, I may be eating what I want, but what I want is still high nutrient and anti-inflammatory.
It would have been weird to try and use my re-introduction technique right there at the table. More boring than weird really, as this lunch took place in what seemed like nothing more than a stolen moment in between five hours of hard core meditation on my mindfulness meditation teacher’s course. So rather than go into a meditative state for the 20th time that day, I simply focused on the conversation, the roaring fireplace warming my stone floor cooled bottom, and dove into my gloriously garlicky, parmesan and butter free portabella mushrooms.
I may have even, after shunning the lovely crusty white loaf in the direction of the waitress, had a split second change of heart and lunged for it after all, deftly nipped the very crustiest bit, before expertly mopping up the saucy dregs from my plate. It was the perfect heart warming, soul affirming experience, more than enough to buoy my spirits for the coming two hour meditation session, after my 5:45am wake up call.
So, back to the present day.
Thanks to my initial plunge into the fun-ghi pool in Hebden Bridge, I was pretty much over my fear of them. I had even higher expectations for my own creation – seeing as I planned to incorporate the usual high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory bevy of ingredients to balance out the use of higher histamine ones.
Mushrooms: inhibit tumour growth (in animal studies) , beneficial to the liver , potentially prevent breast cancer , kill pain and are anti-inflammatory, particularly inhibiting prostaglandins (the stuff that causes brain fog!) . Though they’re ok to eat on Dr Fuhrman’s list (cooked, not raw) and those of others, they do however appear on high histamine lists (though I have yet to understand the testing methodology), so please be aware that despite these benefits, they will be harmful to some.
Antihistaminic: turmeric, arugula, spring onions, chives, coriander, garlic .
Anti-inflammatory: carrots, spring onions, olive oil, chives, arugula, turmeric, coriander, garlic, white pepper .
See the anti-cookbook for a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods.
Anti-inflammatory Mushroom Summer Rolls
Prep Time: 20-30 | Cook Time: 0 | Servings: about 10 rolls | Difficulty: Medium
4 cups chopped mushrooms
1 bag arugula
2 carrots, shaved
4 spring onions, chopped
chives for garnish
turmeric (I used two pieces about the size of my pinky. I love the stuff but this might be too much for you)
garlic (I used 2 cloves)
white pepper (lower oxalate than black)
1 pack rice paper rolls
1 cup boiled vermicelli or other thin white rice noodles (white because it’s lower oxalate)
Japanese Mirin rice wine for cooking (like for your partner or if you’re beyond the elimination phase)
1 large fillet of salmon (I used one)
In a large pan saute the garlic, spring onions and turmeric in a little olive oil, till fragrant. Add in the mushrooms, carrots and the salmon if using, seasoned with a little salt and white pepper, if you wish.
If using mirin, drizzle it on.
Toss in the cooked rice noodles and arugula and season again.
In a kettle heat up some water till almost boiled. Pour into a shallow plate and then once cool enough (but not cold!) place a rice paper in it till soaked through but not mushy. Carefully withdraw from the water and flip over. This might take a little practice…
Remove and place on a dry surface. In the middle of the roll lay down a couple of pieces of coriander and some of your noodled veggies.
Fold the upper and lower parts of the roll over, then roll horizontally to seal up.
Use two long pieces of chives to nicely tie up the rolls as in the picture.
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Take a peek at my low histamine and antihistamine cookbooks for more high nutrient recipes.
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Please don’t forget antihistamine, pain killing foods can still hurt us, so please always check with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet.
 The Anti-Cookbook, Yasmina Ykelenstam
 The Anti-Cookbook, Yasmina Ykelenstam