It’s been approximately a year since I started to eat a low histamine diet. It’s second nature now and I’ve gotten into the grove of preparing all my food from scratch and choosing low histamine ingredients. Initially I felt incredibly deprived as all my favourite foods were forbidden (how I miss the humble tomato and freshly grated parmesan cheese!) but I now have a bank of tasty recipes and I’ve adjusted to the change in taste although it did take several months. So if you’ve just started to eat low histamine and are thinking you can’t face another day stick with it, it gets better I promise!
Eating out is tricky and it’s rare you ever find a totally low histamine meal. I just choose the meal with the lowest histamine ingredients available, pick the tomatoes out of salads and ask for no dressings etc. As my histamine “bucket” is no longer full to overflowing having the odd higher histamine food doesn’t usually cause me any problems. Saying all that, I’ve eaten frozen processed chips in a restaurant and had a reaction to those so now I only go to places that use all fresh ingredients. If I need to buy a sandwich when I’m out I do have to cheat and have bread containing yeast, but I have it freshly made up at a deli with low histamine ingredients (eg, yesterday I had a roasted vegetable & mozzarella panini – the veg was freshly grilled in front of my eyes and mozzarella is allowed on my version of the diet). Drinks are also problematic, so I usually end up with bottled still mineral water although I’ve had pear J2O with no problems. I react to apples because of my Birch pollen allergy, but all of you should be able to drink apple juice which is widely available.
I’ve found a new source of ready-made items with low histamine ingredients in Booths supermarkets, who often stock unusual things not seen in the larger supermarket chains. I found jars of organic rhubarb compot, caramel sauce, blackstrap molasses and various other items I’ve struggled to source – so if you have a Booths near you check it out.
On to recipes. As stated in my last food post I tried substituting carob powder for some of the flour in my Crunchy Oat Biscuits, instead of using actual carob chips. They were OK but not nearly as nice as the original with the chips in, so I’m sticking with those as they’re delicious! I also said I’d find a way of making home-made Bounty bars, but despite several tries the carob covering just doesn’t work so I’ve had to admit defeat *cries silently* 😉
I still struggle with lunches especially when I’m often not at home, so finding a new portable recipe is always great. The late Linda McCartney (wife of the Beatle Paul McCartney) produced some brilliant vegetarian cookbooks that didn’t use stupid ingredients like vine leaves and made proper hearty meals suitable for an English winter! As they are now quite old her books often don’t contain modern ingredients, which make her recipes more suitable for low histamine meals. This week I’ve made some Leek Puffs from her ‘Linda’s Summer Kitchen’ cook book and they are tasty, though best still slightly warm from the oven. See the lunch section of my Recipe page and scroll down.
I also struggle to find sauces which don’t contain either soya or vinegar, so to find a sauce recipe with allowed ingredients is a gem. This Chinese Honey Dipping Sauce is really versatile and can be used as a marinade, in stir fries, as a substitute when recipes ask for soy sauce, or added to other recipes to give them a tang! It doesn’t make a huge quantity, but it’s quite a strong sauce so you don’t need much – I use 2-3 tablespoons for a single veggie/noodle stir-fry. See the Jams & Sauces section of the Recipe page and scroll down.
I’ve been spending a few weeks perfecting a Quorn meatloaf recipe (although you could adapt this for mince if you eat meat), the original idea for which I think also came from a Linda McCartney cook book. Meatloaf can be quite dry, so in the picture below I’ve done it with buttered new potatoes and sweet potato/carrot casserole (the recipe for which is in the Main Courses section of the Recipe page, as is the new Meatloaf). The addition of tamarind paste to the meatloaf gives it a nice tangy flavour and you could also add nuts if tolerated to bump up the nutritional content.
I don’t have the energy to make my own vegetable stock for use in recipes, but thought I’d share with you how to make it if you don’t want to use commercially available stock cubes or powders. It’s easy, albeit time-consuming, and the stock can be frozen for future use. See the Miscellaneous Section of the Recipe page and scroll down.