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  1. #1
    carlosesteban's Avatar
    carlosesteban is offline Junior Member
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    Advice on possible food allergy

    Hi guys,

    i've been battling a mild chronic sinusitis and cough for a few months now. My last allergy test (all negative) was about 8 months ago, long before i started eating full primal. Symptoms are very mild in the morning and tend to get worse as the day progresses, so I've started to think i might be allergic to stuff i eat every day, especially for breakfast, because i tend to always eat the same things.

    These things belong to my breakfast almost every day:

    Avocado (half)
    Olive oil (1 tbsp)
    Macadamia Nuts (roasted, up to 1 oz)
    90% dark chocolate (not much, about 10g)
    Organic Milk Kefir
    Red sweet pepper (half, raw)
    Tomato
    Protein varies (pastured eggs, smoked organic salmon, tuna, smoked meats)

    I know red pepper and tomatoes are nightshades, so i avoided them for about a week with no discernible results. Same with avocado. (A week is not enough time to tell, i know...)

    I read that Kefir (and other fermented foods) have histamine, which can trigger such an allergic response, so i've avoided kefir the last couple of days. It sucks because i love it and my intestinal health improved a lot when i started drinking it every day.

    And the macadamia... i never had a nuts allergy (at least not a noticeable one, allergy tests were always negative), but i ate macadamia again today after avoiding it for about 3 days, and my cough went from practically nothing to an annoying cough about 20 minutes after eating like 6 macadamia nuts. Maybe it's just a coincidence. I know i have overdone eating nuts in the past. Before going primal i ate low-carb/paleo-ish for some months, and it was easy to replace carb calories with a bunch of nuts, almost every meal. I realized it was a big mistake after i read that nuts actually have more phytic acid than grains, so i reduced the nut intake to just a handful of macadamia for breakfast (maybe it's still too much). Could i have developed a nut allergy during this time?

    The rest of my meals are way more varied. I eat completely grain/legume free, and the only dairy i eat is the kefir, some butter for cooking, and the occasional whey shake after training (3 to 4 times a week). Any further thoughts?

  2. #2
    paleo-bunny's Avatar
    paleo-bunny is offline Senior Member
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    That breakfast is very high histamine and histamine-promoting. Smoked foods and tinned fish are very high in histamine and tomato, avocado and chocolate are highly histamine promoting.

    I have histamine intolerance and have never had a single allergy test come back positive. I think you should investigate histamine intolerance/histamine dysregulation further. Histamine does not trigger an allergic response - release of histamine is the biological response to an allergen. Hence high histamine gives pseudo-allergic symptoms that are much more difficult to trace back to multiple root causes than a simple allergy. If your body is slow to break down histamine this can cause a build up too. Another factor can be hypersensitivity of histamine receptors to histamine.

    I recommend you try a low histamine diet. That's purely fresh foods, avoiding eating leftovers as much as possible, and it should be as yeast and mold free as possible. Also avoiding histamine-promoting foods such as citrus, spinach and dairy, and most fish and seafood.

    In addition to the phytic acid content, nuts are high in mold and are very inflammatory due to their high omega 6 content. Therefore best avoided.

    Histamine is also a neurotransmitter and involved in mediating circadian rhythms - which explains why severity of symptoms vary throughout the day, other things being equal. My histamine levels peak at about 3 pm and symptoms are exacerbated by air-conditioning and electronics in a sealed space as these promote release of histamine from mast cells in the immune system.

    I can get away with eating higher histamine foods such as fish or hard cheeses in the evening a few hours before I sleep as they help me sleep and the effects have worn off by the morning.

    I find quercetin (red onions) and coffee effective natural anti-histamines.

    A moderately leaky gut can be a contributing factor to histamine intolerance and causes include joint hypermobility syndrome (which I have - it compromises tight junctions between cells) and consumption of some lectins (e.g. gluten, casein in cow's dairy, deadly nightshade).

    I've found a low histamine diet has virtually cured my chronic rhinitis and recurrent sinus infections. Now I find I can increasingly tolerate high histamine foods better than I used to, in moderation.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by paleo-bunny; 06-08-2012 at 06:40 AM. Reason: typo
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

  3. #3
    carlosesteban's Avatar
    carlosesteban is offline Junior Member
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    Wow, thank you, that is great advice and it makes a lot of sense. Frequently after breakfast not only does my cough/sinuses get worse, i also get very lethargic. On weekends i don't get those issues as much, maybe because my protein/fat consists mostly of eggs and bacon.

    My problem is that i don't have much time in the morning, which is why smoked/tinned foods, nuts and other things i listed were so convenient. I also sometimes eat dry-cured salamis (which have mold added to them).

    I'll definitely try a low histamine diet. The issue is, i'm running out of ideas for breakfast. How do coconut products (cream and oil) fare when it comes to histamine promoting? And olive oil?

    Thanks again for the helpful response.

  4. #4
    paleo-bunny's Avatar
    paleo-bunny is offline Senior Member
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    Coconut oil is fine - I expect the cream is too. And olive oil I'm not so sure about due to the omega 3. It's probably fine though, as I've not seen it mentioned as a food to avoid.

    You might find this thread useful, which covers the same topic:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread51147.html

    Yes, it can be very inconvenient having to prepare so much fresh food. But I've found it's worth it. Perhaps some pre-cooked boiled eggs would be good for breakfast when you're in a hurry? Or a slice of frittata from the fridge?
    Last edited by paleo-bunny; 06-08-2012 at 09:43 AM. Reason: typo
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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    carlosesteban's Avatar
    carlosesteban is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks again!

    I started reading that thread and some of the resources on histamine on the web, but i must say i'm a bit confused though, as there are conflicted opinions on some fruits such as citrus and bananas. How about plantains? I love eating fried ripe plantains for breakfast. There are also conflicting opinions on coffee and green tea.

  6. #6
    paleo-bunny's Avatar
    paleo-bunny is offline Senior Member
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    There is a lot of conflicting advice around. I put together a consensus list of what I should avoid based on information from many sources. IMO, you should ignore the article that activia posted a link to in the thread I linked to above, because it's wrong on a lot of counts.

    Interesting - I believe that raw bananas can make my guts swell up, and raw avocados can too. When I fry bananas and add them to curries, or make banana pancakes with them, I don't notice any reaction. They taste so much better fried too.

    Citrus is extremely histamine promoting for me. Tiny amounts can induce shooting pains from the sheer volume of saliva it makes me produce. Once, before I'd identified the problem, and when I had a salivary gland infection, one gland swelled up to the size of an egg after just a couple of sips of a drink with a slice of lemon in it! Also, lime and oranges make me feel very nauseated.

    I find that coffee and green tea both help keep my sinuses clear and coffee helps keep my blood pressure up. Black tea is more histamine promoting as it is fermented.

    I advise you to experiment. High histamine is very multifactorial, hence what works for one person may not work for another.
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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