It’s official: the low histamine diet sucks. I go to bed at night deprived of my sleep inducing milky hot chocolate, and dream of Cheddar cheese and family sized bags of Starburst.
Breakfast consists of either toast and jam, or a large bowl of fresh fruit. Which, to be fair, was what I had for breakfast pre-deprivation diet. But it’s not quite the same, oh no. There is simply no comparison between doorstep slices of thick, soft, white Warburtons Toasty bread with lashings of home-made strawberry jam, and yeast-free organic cardboard with bitter blueberry conserve masquerading as jam. Or a huge bowl of bananas, melon and strawberries picked fresh from the garden, sprinkled with a liberal handful of cashew nuts (preferably laden with medicinal salt to treat my rampant dysautonomia), as against a meagre bowl of melon and mango. I seem to be eating a shed-load of mango and we’re already falling out of love.
I’m usually ravenous by about 10am. This would be where I would usually indulge in a huge mug of steaming tea and at least half a packet of biscuits. Luuuurvely biscuits, preferably laden with silky chocolate or sugary cream, or on a good day both. I never thought I’d miss the humble Jaffa Cake quite this much and I drool at the thought of dunking a McVitties half-covered digestive. There is so little pleasure in sitting with a mug of peppermint tea and a piece of dry Scottish shortbread that for an entire week I’ve skipped the process entirely. Consequently by 11.30am I’m so waffy from starvation I feel like I’m going to pass out.
As a pesco-vegetarian lunch was already an issue, especially as I’m never normally at home. Years of tuna or egg mayo sanis makes lunch my least favourite meal of the day, the only saving grace being the accompanying tube of sour cream ‘n chive Pringles and a French Fancy for dessert. However, you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I currently seem to be living off eggs: hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, poached and scrambled. My discovery is that, without tomato ketchup, the humble egg is really quite dull and, after 2 months, the mere thought of dry eggs astride a slice of cardboard yeast-free bread makes me feel more than a little bit sick. A huge baked spud, with lashings of butter, and a generous dollop of baked beans and coleslaw……….now that’s what I call a lunch.
By the time dinner arrives I’m totally over the whole eating thing. I never realised the humble tomato played such a vital role in my life and the impact its absence would have. Yes, I’ve made a jar of passable fake tomato sauce but it’s not the real thing. Not by a long chalk. I defy anyone to make a decent veggie dinner without cheese or tomatoes. Seriously, they are my new Gods. I spent an entire week Googling “how to make cheese”, convinced that the Low Histamine Diet gurus had got it wrong and not all cheese was the devil. Turns out, actually, that all cheese is the devil as, not only is it fermented, it’s also cultured with evil micro-organisms that do things I can’t quite work out to our mis-behaving mast cells. Bugger. And double bugger. Saying goodbye to Gratin dishes is like losing a dearly cherished friend, without whom you know your life is going to be poorer in indescribable ways.
All this deprivation might be tolerable if I suddenly felt fabulous, and for a brief couple of weeks last month I felt well enough to argue that living on cardboard and veg, whilst not pleasurable, was at least bearable as it was making me feel so much more human. Sadly, this didn’t last. I’ve now been on the diet for 2 months and feel absolutely crap. My sleep is still disturbed, I’m exhausted every second of the day, I still wake up feeling nauseous, and my mood has plummeted to new depths, to the point where I spent most of yesterday trying not to spontaneously sob-out-loud. I failed miserably. Not only that, the pins & needles which for years have been confined to my hands and feet are now having a field day, and have raucously spread to my legs, arms and head. Consequently I feel like I live my life plugged into the mains and subjected to continuous electrocution. And just to add insult to injury my feet are also now on fire, a new symptom I’m too tired to even be worried about.
I’m determined to stay on the diet until my Immunology appointment in June, although by then I’m truly concerned I’ll develop food aversion or anorexia (I’m already skipping meals and at times my appetite, which used to be abundant, hardly raises its tired, sickly little head). After that, it’s anyone’s guess. If this diet is supposed to be helping me it had better hurry up and start, other-wise our relationship is well and truly over.