I had the TV on in the background for company yesterday, when my ears pricked up as Paul O’Grady interviewed Ella, from the website ‘Deliciously Ella’, who apparently now has a cook book for sale. I’d come across Ella’s site before as she suffered from POTS, but had to dismiss the majority of her recipes as they weren’t low histamine friendly. Hoping things might have changed, I checked it out today and read the ‘About’ section which states the following:
“Overnight I took up a whole foods, plant-based diet and gave up all meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed and all chemicals and additives, which was a pretty drastic change. I literally never ate fruit or vegetables before, my diet instead revolved around Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Chocolate, peanut butter and jelly eaten with a spoon, pick-n-mix and lots of cereal and pasta…..”
I find this a lot – people who were eating appalling diets, then overnight swap to some radical Paleo or plant based diet then announce to the world that it’s cured them of every ill from acne to seizures, when maybe just eating like a normal human being would have achieved the same thing.
Have you noticed that all the ‘healthy diet’ blogs are written by Westerners all of whom assume we are eating a Standard American Diet (is there a Standard British Diet?!). It’s just so arrogant – the entire world doesn’t live on pizza and coke or eat Cocoa Pops for breakfast. My blog has been visited by people from 188 countries, most of whom are interested in a low histamine diet (I assume because they’re having histamine-related symptoms). I’ve had 12 visitors from the Senegal, where my parents sponsor a child. She lives on a diet of goat meat and milk, yams and flat bread – not a McDonalds or dairy farm in sight. And I’m fairly sure my visitors from Greenland, China, Nepal and Iran all eat totally differently to each other and none of their food could be classed as “convenient” or “processed” – yet they’re obviously still having histamine problems.
Just to get side-tracked for a minute, I don’t even know what a “plant based” diet is. Is wheat not a plant? Do you not put a seed in the ground, water it, fertilize it, and out pops a plant whose seeds we eat? Just like you’d do with a courgette plant or a tomato plant? Yet wheat is always excluded from plant based diets.
Anyway, I digress.
When my mast cell disease finally exploded in 2013 I was eating a diet which went something like this:
Breakfast: bowl of sliced banana, 4 strawberries, handful of grapes, ¼ canteloupe melon and a handful of cashew nuts, or a smoothie made with fresh fruit, crushed omega seeds and organic probiotic yoghurt.
Lunch: tuna and cucumber, or egg salad, on a wholemeal roll, packet of crisps, glass of organic apple or orange juice with no added sugar.
Dinner: home-made roasted vegetables with pesto, pasta and parmesan, or fresh salmon fillet with couscous and vegetable casserole. Pint glass of freshly squeezed mixed fruit and green vegetable juice.
and in between all I drank was bottled mineral water or tea (no sugar). My one vice for the day was either 3 biscuits or a few squares of chocolate – I’m unable to exercise and if I’d lived on Ben & Jerrys for the past 21 years you’d need a crane to lift me. I’ve been pesco-vegetarian for over 25 years now, and have eaten as organically as possible since I developed M.E. in 1994.
As it turns out, much of the food I was eating (hard cheese, tomatoes, orange juice, strawberries, fish) are high in histamine, which for someone with a growing mast cell problem wasn’t a good idea, but my diet per se was well balanced, clean and nutritious.
The other thing assumed by these ‘healthy diet’ people is that your home is chock full of chemicals. Make-up, toiletries, perfumes, deodorants, bleach, sprays, air freshners…..the list goes on. Only, mine isn’t. I’ve never done the cleanse, tone and moisturize thing on my face – it gets a lick of Simple unperfumed soap on the days I have to go out but other than that it doesn’t even get washed – the same goes for the rest of me. And because I barely leave the house, the only make-up I ever wear is some concealer to cover up my eye circles, a slick of mascara and some tinted lip balm on the days I need to go shopping. I absolutely can’t remember the last time I wore nail polish – there’s really not much call for bright red talons when you live amongst farmers in the middle of nowhere – and due to my false hair I don’t use hair dye, gel or hairspray. So as it turns out, the only chemicals are in my antiperspirant, which I use because I only bathe every 4 days and without it my armpits smell like a month old cheese board.
My cleaner (who comes once a fortnight) doesn’t use polish, she damp dusts, and washes my bath and sinks with Eco washing-up liquid. If I do a smelly poo I open the bathroom window rather than squirting air freshner. I admit to using bleach down the toilet every now and again, because nothing else gets rid of the smelly poop stains, use non-bio liquid to wash my clothes (but no fabric softner) and I do use dishwasher powder to clean my pots. But all in all I use the least chemicals to keep my home going as is humanly possible. In my previous house, even the paint on the walls was chemical-free.
As far as drugs go, I became allergic to alcohol in 1994 and it was downhill from then on. Until I started my daily H1 antihistamine in 2014 I hadn’t been on any drugs for 8 years and hadn’t taken hormones, eg the contraceptive pill, since 1997.
Despite my clean life, lack of drugs, sparse use of chemicals and fresh organic diet rich in fruit and veg my Ehlers-Danlos and mast cell disease still exploded and I still have M.E. I wasn’t eating a Standard American Diet or living an unhealthy lifestyle and I’m sure many of the 350,000 visitors to my blog from around the globe aren’t either. Yet we’re still sick. This would be why I’m so cynical about ‘healthy’ diets curing all ills – it’s because they don’t.