Nutrition, Herbal Remedies, Natural Healthcare
Nutrition, Herbal Remedies, Natural Healthcare
"Wendy is dedicated, compassionate, and knowledgeable. I highly recommend her services!" S.W.
"Wendy is dedicated, compassionate, and knowledgeable. I highly recommend her services!" S.W.
Wendy Romig
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Have you ever had an allergy attack? Your eyes burn, your nose emits seemingly infinite amounts of fluid, you get rashes, and you just feel terrible. The most common allergy seasons are spring and fall but what happens when you experience these symptoms in the summer? What if you have attacks constantly throughout the year that mimic head colds and when you take measures to feel better like drinking OJ, you get worse?Earlier this year, after decades of struggling with sinus infections, chronic head colds, ear infections, eczema and overall inflammation, amid a fit of sneezing and nose blowing that resulted from me trying to take some of my own herbal medicine, I had an ah-ha moment. I tuned into my body and realized that the sneezing and sniffling felt just like a histamine response. It was this awareness which led me down the path of histamine intolerances and changed my life forever. Until this point, I had only heard of histamine intolerances maybe once or twice and hadn't come across others with this condition. Yet, as I looked at the alcohol-based tincture on my desk and recollected back to the year before when orange juice I drank to deal with a "head cold" while traveling sent me deeper into a pit of sneezing, I knew histamines were part of the story.So, what is a histamine intolerance? Here's a lovely research study on histamine intolerances if you're the research type. lay terms, there are a whole host of foods which produce histamines (citrus, avocados, many night shades, fish, fermented foods, dark chocolate, dairy, nuts, some beans, alcohol, etc) and in a healthy person, the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) is available to break down these histamines and help to quickly clear them from the body. For someone who has a histamine intolerance, their body either produces insufficient amounts of DAO or none at all. I've seen it explained like a clogged drain. If you eat small amounts of histamines, your body will slowly break them down and eliminate them, but if you overload the system, the "drain" can't empty fast enough and so histamines get backed up into the body causing symptoms like runny nose, diarrhea, headaches, asthma, hypotension and other reactions. The recommended course of action is to limit or avoid histamine containing and histamine liberating foods.As a lacto-vegetarian (vegetarian who eats some dairy but no eggs), I looked at the list of histamine foods and panicked. What am I going to eat??? But I decided I was going to attempt a histamine-free diet despite austere food restrictions. The first week, I felt great...never better. All of my symptoms disappeared, but by the second week, I was feeling the effects of malnourishment due to lack of options for protein and by week three I had thrown myself into poor health from nutrient imbalances. So much for a histamine-free, vegan diet. Not so easy. As a nutritionist, I knew how to quickly rebuild my health but I still felt perplexed on how to manage my new discovery.As the months went on and my nutrient status returned to normal, I found myself occasionally dipping into the histamine pool, cautiously enjoying some of my favorite foods and closely watching for symptoms. Avocados were quickly added to the OK list in moderation. Dark chocolate unfortunately did not make the cut as it gave me instant headaches and brain fog EVERY time. As I ate my way through the histamine food list, making mental notes of how foods affected me, I began compiling my own customized diet.Over the past year, I have had several clients come into my office with similar sensitivities. My first recommendation is always to know the high histamine and histamine liberating foods and keep a food diary with symptoms. For most, it is not necessary to completely avoid histamines, but rather to monitor symptoms and figure out what foods are definite NOs. I have certainly had far fewer symptoms of runny nose, eczema and headaches this year than ever before, and when I DO have symptoms, I'm able to draw a very clear line to foods I ate.If you suspect you have a histamine intolerance, here's a list of histamine foods that may be helpful And of course, you are always welcome to schedule a time to speak with me too. histamine hunting.WendyWendy Romig, MBA, MS, CNS, LDNOwner, Clinical Nutritionist/HerbalistSage Integrative Health CenterPhiladelphia, PA

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