Healing and illness occur on multiple levels, the physical, emotional and spiritual. In our culture we focus on the physical as of primary importance, a distant second is the emotional, and the spiritual is typically hardly regarded as significant at all. Science views the body as a complex machine, an isolated separate material object located at a particular point in time and space, rather than as a part of a body/mind/spirit continuum with the whole of the Universe.
I get many desperate e-mails from readers who are suffering from Histamine Intolerance. Laboratory tests indicate that they are “allergic” to so many foods that eventually there is virtually nothing left for them to eat. This naturally creates enormous stress and anxiety, which only exacerbates the reactivity of their system to whatever they do eat. Dr. Natasha regards diagnostic testing for food allergies with suspicion, and suggests instead to keep a careful food diary; track the response in real life to the ingestion of certain foods. It is also my experience that there are many false negatives and positives in laboratory testing for food allergies. In addition, foods that were tolerated may become problematic, and those that were problematic may again become tolerable. Unnecessary dietary restriction is not only hazardous to your health as it limits your exposure to a variety of nutrients, but the subjective experience is very depriving and depressing.
Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies, however many are allergic to the egg white and not the egg yolk. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Egg yolks are extremely nourishing and healing to the lining of the gut.
Many people write to me who are suffering from constipation. Dr Natasha recommends the use of therapeutic enemas for symptomatic relief of constipation until the body is healed. Constipation makes people feel awful, creates toxicity in the body and must be vigorously addressed. Many people are not prepared to give themselves an enema. The remedy I recommend to my patients is a magnesium powder called Natural Calm. The appropriate dosage is very individualized. It is safe, and as most of us are magnesium deficient, it has the added benefit of functioning as a magnesium supplement. I find the unflavored variety most palatable.
Attention to ourselves in relationship to the Universe is of utmost importance in healing Histamine Intolerance. I recommend spending quiet time outside communing with the natural world and animals. Tune into the rhythm of the passage of the sun across the sky, the sunrise and sunset, the cycle of the moon and the stars. Become aware of the change of the seasons. When weather permits, walking with bare feet and connecting with the earth is very balancing to the energetic body. A minimum of 20 minutes of sunlight a day is recommended for increasing energy and elevating mood.
All of these simple measures need to be consciously implemented in our contemporary world, as we are so cut off from nature. Many of us live in cities where we cannot even see the stars. The Ancestral Health movement recommends eating and exercising in accordance with our genome, which is essentially unchanged from our Paleolithic ancestors. But what about our ancestors connection to the natural world and to Spirit? How does our modern separation from the night sky and the rhythms of the natural world impact our health and well being? My answer is profoundly. I wrote a blog post a year ago entitled Holistic Ancestral Health. It discussed how our current science-centric perspective robs the world of its inherent meaning and magic, and results in an approach to illness and healing that is not only offensive and alienating to patients, but is not even effective.
I highly recommend to all my readers a series of Kundalini Yoga DVD’s entitled Journey Through the Chakras by Maya Fiennes. Daily practice with these DVD’s will promote balance and alignment of body, mind and spirit. The first of the 7 DVD’s entitled Courage is particularly useful for those with digestive issues. I suggest daily practice with this particular DVD for 40 days, and to keep a journal of your experience, noting shifts in all aspects of your health and well being.
Histamine Intolerance is as much a spiritual and emotional condition as it is a physical ailment. Reconnection with the natural world and practice with the Courage DVD will powerfully support your total health by other means than confusing and contradictory food lists and supplements.
I’ve just found this post after desperately searching for answers for my severe histamine intolerance. Like many others l feel really overwhelmed by my ever shrinking world of food choices. I like your take on spirituality regarding this subject, it gives me hope. Have you written any other posts on health and spirituality since this post? Would love some more of your wisdom please 😁🌸😁 thanks for your share xx
So glad that you liked the post. Here is another one that you might enjoy: https://www.judytsafrirmd.com/the-heart-of-psychiatric-holistic-health/
I really appreciate your exploration of this topic, and especially, including the spiritual in healing. After going of an antidepressant (which I’d been on for 10 years), I developed a problem with histamine. I went on a low histamine diet and continued with a lot of other healing practices–qi gong, meditation, guided imagery, exercise, naturopathy, chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture. I do spiritual practice at least once a day, every day. I eat a clean diet, with as much variety as I can, within the limitations of histamine and take a few supplements.
It’s been 20 months since I went off the drugs and though things are better than they were, they are not great. My digestion is miles better and I take probiotics daily. However, I’m still very limited in what I can eat. Histamine foods give me hives, insomnia, and some nasty mood swings. They no longer seem to make my digestion worse though.
I feel I’ve taken a very holistic approach to this. Is there something I’m missing? Or is it simply that it takes a very long time to heal from AD. And though I love the spiritual practices I do and spend a lot of time in nature, I can sometimes feel quite disconnected in the human realm–even though I feel very connected to the earth.
Any thoughts you have on this would be very welcome.
You sound like you have done amazing work to heal. I think it can take a long time for some people to recover from anti-depressant treatment. Some people get benefit from NAET for food sensitivities. But it can be a long and inefficient process with no guarantees. Is the main way things are not great in terms of the food sensitivities. Or is it the disconnection in the human realm? Community is really important, and not so easy for all of us to find. You might also get some help from Shamanic healing or find it satisfying to participate in a Shamanic circle which can provide connection. Those are just some thoughts.
I appreciate your thoughts. I did Shamanic healing for awhile, including some training. It was useful for a time, then it seemed to not be what I was drawn to anymore. I’ve been involved in a number of communities over the years and find they all succumb to being dogmatic–in the words of a friend, it boils down to “rigid” and “righteous”. I find this to be the opposite of healing. While I used to consider myself a Buddhist, I now consider myself a pragmatist:I do what works. That doesn’t fit into anyone’s neat little peg hole. I’m open to whatever needs to come into my life next, which I suspect is a move from where I live..hopefully to someplace that suits me better. Perhaps it comes down to feeling I can’t stomach what I see happening around me here. I hope there’s a community somewhere where there’s at least a few people who still care about the environment and don’t want to chop every tree down.
I hear you. Dogmatism and rigidity restrict creativity and freedom of expression. I also understand your despair about the environment. Deena Metzger in California gathers a remarkable healing community around her that holds the environmental crisis as a priority. I wish you many blessings on your journey.
It was by some serendipity that I found your blog.
I have been struggling with food allergies all my life. It seemed that everything I ate made me sick. So much so that I became a “hermit”, and I found myself only really enjoying staying home. It affected my work, as you can imagine, and I became an amateur “food scientist”, trying and testing every new food fad. My wife thinks I’m nuts, but she bears with it. I suppose I have other endearing qualities.
I recently had a brutal anaphylactic reaction to some kombucha I brewed, which landed me in the hospital emergency ward. I later got acupuncture treatment for it (after seeing a recommendation on The Low Histamine Chef). While researching more on histamine and acupuncture, I found your writing.
I was struck by your thoughts on how histamine intolerance is related to overall spiritual health. I was so obsessed with the mechanical aspects of it that it didn’t cross my mind to consider a bigger picture. But, even a moments’ reflection will show that you are correct. Humanity has continually pushed itself further and further away from nature, from God (the original source, not the dogmatic idol we find in most of organized religion today). Naturally, our body will react to this decoupling from our soul. We were not born to live mechanically. And yet we wonder why we are so unhappy. Well, I do.
Anyway, before I ramble on too much, I just wanted to say thanks for your particular approach to this topic. I will be reading and following your work from now on. My younger brother is doing his Masters in Harvard. Perhaps when I go for his graduation, I can arrange for a session at your clinic.
That surely would be serendipitous.
Take care Judy, and all the best!
This is such a wonderful comment. Thank you. There is such a pull to get sucked into lists of foods and biochemical pathways and genetic mutations as a way of trying to find a solution. I spend quite a bit of time in my practice talking with people about their spiritual lives, and practices and attitudes that can make a big difference.
My question: Should I consult a Registered dietician to help me figure out a healthy plan for myself and my 9 month old baby?
Sorry if this is not eloquently written. It’s taken me days to finish this comment because of my baby’s clingy and fussy behavior!
I’m now a full time at home mom. I’m 43 years old and have a 9 month old baby. He has had reflux, “colic”, gas pain, severe eczema and itching that makes him miserable.
I have had eczema all my life, migraines and now I’ve started to develop daily hives and unbearably itchy eyes after eating anything. I’m taking Benadryl every night just to sleep but I don’t want to anymore.
Strangely also my sons saliva/drool makes hives appear on my skin where it lands. (Enzymes?)
I want to heal us both so we went on Gaps which made all symptoms intensify. We tried it for a good month with worsening symptoms so I stopped. I just discovered your website and it seems we have Histamine intolerance issues.
How does one do a Paleo/Low Histamine/migraine protocol without a dietician’s help? Is it possible? My baby with his issues takes up every ounce of my energy.
I’m desperate and overwhelmed with all the info out there. I know stress is a factors well. I have an older 13 year old Autistic spectrum daughter which is another story of it’s own.
So what do you recommend ?
Thank you so much for reading! 🙂
Wow, my heart goes out to you. It sounds so hard what you are going through. I do think you need professional help, but I fear that a conventionally trained registered dietician would not have the correct information to help you. Have you explored the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol? If you could work with someone like Sarah Ballantyne who wrote a book about it called The Paleo Approach, and who I believe consults, I think you would have a better result. I am right now at a remarkable conference and learning a lot of new information about nutrient imbalances that may make a big difference to people who are suffering with this sort of thing. Its absolutely fascinating about the effect your baby’s drool has on your skin. Thank you for taking the time to write and share and I hope that you get the help that you need very soon. It all sounds like too much!
One year ago I was reacting to everything. I tried every diet. The autoimmune protocol really helps along with a few important supplements. Now I feel so much better. Last year I thought I would die and now I feel like I did when I was a kid. Still some lingering issues but I feel so much healthier. I’d be happy to help if I can. Feel free to email me: [email protected]
What a nice offer. That is very kind of you. Thank you. Its wonderful that you are feeling so much better!
I am dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. I have eliminated gluten and dairy for about 2 months. I am also eating based on the ALCAT Lab testing for food sensitivities. Slowly I am improving. Taking vitamins and herbs to help calm the nervous system. Learning to meditate and do yoga. I have added in things to heal the gut zinc, a mix of slippery elm, marshmallow, licorice etc, probiotics, L -glutamine, digestive enzymes with every meal. Using minimal melatonin to help with sleep. Nights sweats are severe part of the month. I started a bio-identical hormone which is helping. My stomach still is upset at times. I wonder about histamine intolerance is there a clear cut test for it? Many of the foods on the histamine list are what I am eating to heal my gut or supposedly not my food sensitivities. It is all very confusing not sure how to get into this constant elimination of food. I have lost weight and on the low end for my height need to be careful with this.
There is no clear cut test. It is a clinical diagnosis. The lists are very confusing. I think you are best off to keep a careful food diary and monitor your own individualized responses and tailor your diet accordingly.
Kali Higgins says
In response to Randee’s understandable frustration and confusion. Dr. Tsafrir’s recommendations are the only way
to find what works for you, as our bodies are unique.
It may help you to know, that others with similar symptoms have found avoiding any fermented foods (no matter how much this is supposed to help gut healing ) provided relief along with staying away from foods you tested allergic to.
I found a common link between Histamine Intolerance, Allergies and Candida symptoms. Candida is a form of yeast that can wreck havoc with one’s digestion. The common link between Histamine Intolerance and Candida is avoiding fermented foods! Also some medications are high histamine or induce histamine release. Good luck in finding what works for you personally.
Kali Higgins says
Spiritual Connection is so vital a part of the healing process, especially in chronic illness. I am so pleased to find this website and that it addresses this, along with Histamine Intolerance.
As I deal with the side effects of PTSD from an early injury while witnessing a fatal accident as a toddler, I’ve learned about body memory, and I deal with body memory. Weather as well as food continues to trigger body memory. Thanks to therapies that assist healing from trauma, and a 12 step group for Chronic Pain & illness which keeps the spiritual perspective focusing on courage, strength and hope, even when set backs occur physiologically, flash backs are rare. Now there is support in dealing with how food affects us, our moods, our physical function and how spiritual focus can mediate, enhance the haling process. Gratitude for this bog!
A message for Becks. I have what is called Mastocytosis and your symptoms sound like you may have this condition as well. It is where you have too many good cells that can behave badly. You may want to look into this condition as I have found that although the condition falls under the category of rare diseases there is a lot more awareness being brought to this condition and as a result more medical research is being done. I am also wondering if Dr Safrir has any knowledge of this condition. I have found that in managing it the key is meditation and yoga.
Kali Higgins says
It is so good to read so many of you are aware of the spiritual connection. Supporting our spirits, especially when we are under much stress, and when our bodies are crying out from the stress, trying to figure it all out, can sometimes make things worse. At times like that, stepping back, letting go, letting God ( or universe, Higher Power ) can create the space we need and intuition, or synchronicity can led us, or show up providing the direction we need. I found a newer 12 step program called Chronic Pain Anonymous, for those who have chronic health issues of any kind to be most helpful. We have a meeting here in Phoenix, and there are many phone or online meetings as well.
Thank you for sharing that resource. It’s wonderful that there is structured emotional/spiritual support for people with chronic health issues, because they can be so challenging.
Kali Higgins says
I am intrigued about the comment from Sue Wang about histamine intolerance and spiritual disconnect. The one time I had a major spiritual disconnect was when MD reduced my thyroid medication by half. As my thyroid was destroyed by medication after a serious hyperthyroid episode in my 20’s, this irresponsible cut in medication for low thyroid threw me into myexedmea, set off chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, brain fog, and within weeks, I had NO connection to spirituality, God, Higher Power that was terrifying.
At the time I was being treated at PHIMA ( Phoenix Institute for Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. The medical doctor supervisor and master of Acupuncture told me acupuncture could restore the spiritual connection, and that is had a physiological basis. This was done and within an hour my connection was restored. It took much longer to recover from the damage of sudden reduction of low thyroid medication.
What a wonderful comment. Thank you of much for writing. I think that there is so much about the spiritual and energetic that is intimately connected with the body and bodily functioning, and we don’t really have the words to talk about it or really understand it. I think often when people are feeling depressed that they lose their connection to Source Energy and do not feel lovable or loving and feel so alone. It’s an intimate dance between the body,the soul, the mind and the heart.
Hello! I recently discovered I am allergic to dairy, and intolerant to gluten, yeast, and eggs. I’ve managed to cut out all of these things completely, but I am still dealing with symptoms that are/or mimic histamine intolerance. I’ve also been on my fair share of antibiotics for the last year, and that is really when things started getting worse. I’m afraid my gut flora is completely wrecked, and I’ve started taking probiotics to try to heal it somehow. I just don’t know what to do. Could it be that my body is still trying to get rid of toxins and excess histamine, and still healing? Or should I try to look into a low-histamine diet? I am just so confused, and noticed my symptoms got worse when I caught a virus the other week. I lay awake in bed all night, and the next couple of days felt shaky, almost like my adrenaline went haywire. I feel nervous, and it”s not like me. I also feel allergic to everything around me, I can feel my sinuses swelling just by walking into a hot, dry room. I tend to get really warm as well, especially in my face. The doctors cannot seem to find anything wrong with my health, except for frequent sinus infections (that I now think might be part of my dairy allergy). I itch day and night, and have developed a rash on my whole upper body. I feel depressed and helpless. If anyone has got any advice I would REALLY appreciate it! The health system here in Norway do not seem too well acquainted with illnesses related to diet…
What you are going through sounds so hard. In addition to whatever you are doing dietarily, I really recommend a mind/body/spirit piece. You need some soothing. All the itching does suggest an excess of histamine.
About 20 years ago, I had severe eczema all over my body. The dermatologist that I saw said that he had never seen anyone with eczema on their eyelids quite as bad as mine. I was put on betamethazone (steroid) cream that I used “systemically”, i.e., all over my body, even in areas with no rash. I took a double dose of benadryl at night, so that I would sleep soundly and not scratch myself in my sleep, as well as to deal with histamine. This provided some initial relief, but the rash would come back if I missed even one of the twice-daily applications of cream.
I did some research and found a book called “Eczema Relief.” Written by a medical journalist, the author stated that she was not attempting to make recommendations for treatment, only to document different individual’s stories about their experiences and what worked for them. One woman’s story resonated with me: she described her itching as feeling like she had “mosquitos” under her skin. That was exactly what my skin felt like. She had found relief by taking large doses of evening primrose oil along with vitamin B12. So I tried it–large doses for me meant 8,000 to 10,000 mg a day, which is 16 to 20 500mg capsules and 3 tablets of B12. Within a couple of days, my symptoms started to subside and within two weeks I was off the steroid cream and could sleep through the night without antihisamines. As an additional benefit, the pelvic pain that I had during the first day or two of my period went away; and while I never had such bad cramps that I couldn’t manage them with over the counter pain meds, after a few months on the evening primrose, I didn’t need them any more.
Finding out what works for you is key. Even now that I’m perimenopausal, I find that the oil is part of feeling good for me, and is now helping me manage a small uterine fibroid. Keep persevering in your own search.
I love your comment. Thank you so much for writing and sharing. I appreciate your spirit of exploration, tuning into your own experience, following your very good instincts and your emphasis on figuring out what work for YOU. It may be that someone reading your comment will find great relief in the remedy you described. All my best
I have a comment on the constipation issue. I find that as long as I eat plenty of butter in my diet (as in PLENTY), constipation is a thing of the past. If I have a rare day that that doesn’t happen, and I become constipated, I just eat more butter the next day, and problem solved. Butter, by the way, does not make you fat; it gives your body a feeling of satiety (as all sat fats do), and then appetite regulates itself. Natural Calm gives me bad dreams.
Fascinating about the bad dreams and Natural Calm. I wonder why that is. That is a blessing that butter works for you to relieve constipation. Dr. Natasha recommends the inclusion of plenty of good fats in the diet for treatment of constipation. Fats act as a lubricant. Butter is so delicious too. Much more delicious than Natural Calm.
Sue Wang says
I took a full pack of Nature Calm once, and it made my ears ring louder (I already have a hum since chemical sensitivity 11 years ago). I did sleep like a mummy, and actually couldn’t move when I woke up. Perhaps I took too much of it.
Lots of water, omega 3 oil, flax seed oil are good for the intestines. And of course, fibah.
That’s really interesting about your ears ringing louder. And very funny about sleeping like a mummy! Actually fibah is not a good remedy for constipation for everyone. For some people it actually makes them more constipated. There is a book written about this called “Fiber Menace.”
Sue Wang says
Oh. Mine. I am editing my memoir on healing from chronic illness via the mind-body connection, and am on my food allergy testing chapter! I love that you link histamine intolerance to spiritual disconnect. My experience was: The more allergic I got, the more fear, and I became even more allergic. It was a vicious cycle. The meaning of that fear is the crux, the crucible… How do we connect the within to the with-out? What are we afraid of?
Thank you for highlighting this, Judy.
This is a synchronicity! The fear that gets generated when everything that you eat makes you feel sick is a really big piece of the puzzle, and it is just as you say, it feeds upon itself. We do need to connect the within and the without, the above and below, and that happens within the heart center. That is where and heaven and earth unite. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I cannot wait to read your memoir!
Sue Wang says
More synchronicity: last night I was not so impressed by my chapter on allergy testing (where is the conflict) and was going to get rid of it. Shrink it into a few sentences and fold it in another chapter. Today I see your post, which I take as message of not doing that. It’s my job to make it interesting as a writer, and I am up for the challenge. Thank you for your support -I can’t wait to finish it so I can share the message.
It’s such an important message as so many people are suffering with this these days. You will be providing a much needed service and perspective. I so glad for the timing of my blog with your writing process.