What about vegan…?

What about vegan?

Vegan, what is that?

Throughout March I had a vegan special running on my German speaking blog. But first of, what is actually meant by the term “vegan”? Vegan – that is plant-based or animal friendly eating. Nowadays there are even certain labels to mark vegan foods, e.g. the vegan flower label or the V-label.

Vegan Flower Label by the English Vegan Society

V-Label vegan (Europe)

Apart from certain labels the term “vegan” is actually not protected by law. What exactly is meant by the term can vary quite a lot, there are even different “types” of veganism, if you want to call it that.

Basically Vegans not only do not eat fish or meat, but also abstain from animal byproducts like dairy products, honey, etc.

A special form of veganism is for example “raw veganism“. People following this diet eat only plant-based food that is raw and uncooked. Foods dried at low temperature also work for raw vegans.

Organic veganism aims at eaten clean, non-GMO and only organic plant-based food.

One quite extreme branch of veganism is called fruitarianism. The aim is not only to not harm animals in any way, but to also not hurt the plants. Mainly fruits are eaten and those should ideally have fallen of the plant themselves. They should not be harvested by plucking or picking as that would hurt the plant.

Most vegans choose veganism not only as a diet, but as a lifestyle. Animals therefore should not be harmed for human food production, but just as much they should not be harmed in any way. Vegans choose animal friendly closing (e.g. no fur), cosmetics (e.g. no animal testing) and more.

That animals have to die for pelt/fur or leather is actually known by many and there are practical alternatives like fake fur or imitation leather. Yet, even here we can find scandals. One rather recently was about bobble cups with supposedly fake fur bobbles, which turned out to be made from real fur. Brands like Tom Tailor were involved in this scandal. Falsely declared fur on labels is actually common, but should be harshly condemned.

I’m following a German speaking blog on WordPress writing about knitting and more. It was this blog that actually made it known to me first that shearings can be quite a bloody business. Up until then I thought, like maybe many others, that sheep are shorn, but hey, that doesn’t hurt them, right? Well, in the interest of production profits and following the motif of “time is money” sheep are often harmed when shorn.

There are brands and producers paying attention to the sheep. Best way to find out is to inform yourself before purchase. Who opposes the farming of animals in any way will see no alternative in this though. Yet, plant-based fabrics are an option then, e.g. made from linen, hemp fibre, etc. Those are completely cruelty free.

Why vegan?

There are many reasons as to why to go for a vegan lifestyle, some are:

  • physical health
  • mental or psychic health
  • animal protection
  • protection of the environment

Not just since the publication of the controversial China Study by T. Colin Campbell more and more people are reporting physical or emotional improvement when eating vegan. Yet, the China Study is not only about eating vegan. The German title “Die wissenschaftliche Begründung für eine vegane Ernährungsweise” (The scientific explanation for a vegan diet) is rather misleading, because what the study found is a link between other aspects of eating (not just meat/fish, dairy…) and the prevalence of some diseases. Therefore one should abstain from added sugar, added oils and more, the authors argue. And this has in itself not much to do with eating vegan.

What actually caught my attention far more than the China Study is the documentary Kung Fu Quest (with English subs). The documentary enables one to see how traditional Shaolin monks live still today. Some insights about vegetarian respectively vegan eating are featured as well:

Vegetables are easier to digest. Sheep and cattle are fed on grass. Yet, they have very enduring stamina. Meat gives you the power of meat. Grass gives you the power of nature. […]

When we took their [the animals’] lives, what condition were they in? Rage.

Animals undoubtedly were in an aggravated state of mind. Even organic meat is “produced” – meaning killed – in giant butcheries. No animals is petted to death. The stress hormones released by the animal when dying or awaiting death in line, watching his or her friends die, will go into the meat that we will eat. That’s what means. Rüdiger Dahlke describes this in his many books he has written (e.g. Peace Food) on vegan eating as well.

Therefore I do not wonder, that some who suffer from depression report improvement of their mental and emotional state when changing for a vegan diet.

But also some cardiovascular diseases can be prevented or the condition of the patient can be improved by eating a vegan diet.

Whether a plant-based diet will help you individually you’ll have to try. I am not here to persuade or coerce you into eating vegan. It is just when going vegan and suffering from histamine intolerance there are some things to take into account.

Is that really healthy? OR

Won’t I suffer deficiencies respectively malnutrition?

As already mentioned, there are several types of veganism. You’ll have to choose what suits you and what tastes good according to you.

It is obvious that the so-called “soy pudding vegans” are not living healthier than any “omni-eater”. What I mean to soy pudding vegans are those who just substitute meat, schnitzel and sausages with soy schnitzel and alike. These people actually eat just like they have eaten before going vegan. Nowadays there are so many vegan processed foods available – it has become an industry and quite a lucrative one – that is everything but healthy, when one pays attention to labels. Spreads, cheese substitutes and more contain everything from citric acid (not lemon juice!) to humectants and preservatives like e.g. sorbitol and more. Even agave syrup praised as healthy sugar alternative is just a myth – it’s a fructose bomb. It looks similar when it comes to other sugar alternatives like xylitol which is produced in a complicated and overindustrialised way. For dogs it is toxic in only small amounts by the way. It can cause bloating in humans. Xylitol also has a laxative effect. Mostly it is used for oral hygiene, supposedly preventing tooth decay.

Many plant-based milk alternatives have sugar (or agave syrup) added, also binders and thickeners are no exception and the name giving main ingredient – almond, oat, rice or whatever (besides water) – is actually only included in a 3 to 7 percentage rate.

If only eating fried vegetables, one also does not live healthy. Of course, eating this once in a while is totally normal; it’s the mix that counts.

Pages like The Unhealthy Vegan are fun, and offer delish recipes, but you’ll have to get the balance right and mix it up.

Generally there are some myths around when it comes to malnutrition when eating vegan. Yet, when eating a well-balanced and organic diet – except for vitamin B 12 – one will live healthier than most “regular eaters”.

  • Myth #1 – calcium

When omitting dairy you’ll suffer a deficiency in calcium, right?

Actually dairy contributes to overacidification of the body. Too much phosphorus in milk will disrupt the calcium balance. Rumor has it that milk is not such a calcium boost as the dairy industry likes us to believe.

Calcium can be found in many foods, e.g. in green veggies like broccoli, (spinach), mangold, many herbs, almonds, etc.

Also the level of vitamin D is quite important to be able to absorb calcium.

  • Myth #2 protein

Generally this is another myth. Legumes, nuts and some veggies and also grains contain protein. “Normal” vegans don’t suffer from a protein problem.

Yet, when suffering from histamine intolerance, nuts and legumes can (!) cause problems. You’ll have to try in small amounts to find out what and how much of that works for you. Seeds like pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and macadamia nuts can be good alternatives for you.

  • Myth #3 iron

This is not really a myth, because it is true plant-based iron is harder to absorb by the human body. Yet, vitamin c can increase the absorption.

Significant amounts of iron can be found in e.g. in millet, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds, lentils, peach and spinach. And also in parsley, fennel, cress and carrots.

Vitamin c e.g. can be found in parsley, broccoli, bell pepper and salad.

You do best to combine iron-rich and vitamin-c-rich foods in a meal to get the right amount.

  • No myth – Vitamin B 12

When omitting animal products completely from your diet chances are to suffer a deficiency in vitamin b 12. This can only be found in animal products. Yet, we humans are “animal products”, too, of course and we are able to produce vitamin b 12, provided that our gut flora is intact. This is often not the case and so supplementing vitamin b 12 is advised by many. Thankfully “supplementing” in this case does not have to mean “pill taking”.

Microorganisms which can be found on uncleaned fruits and veggies can provide vitamin b 12. Organis is key here – and actually, from your own garden would be best in that case.

Nori or chlorella algae are also a great source for vitamin b 12. Aagain, look for organic produce. Vegan sushi (nori) can be an option on a regular basis.

Conclusion

To go vegan when suffering from histamine intolerance requires some knowledge about nutrition to prevent deficiencies. The reduction of meat consumption, especially pork, I can generally advise though.

If you are already living vegan be sure to inform yourself and get your vitamin and mineral levels checked regularly.

For everything interested in a plant-based diet I’ll write some more in the upcoming posts about veganism for a month or so.If you follow through with it is completely up to you of course. Maybe a comprise like on the blog Just about vegan or like we do here is another option for you. I’ll write what exactly we are regularly eating here in another post.

(c) The Histamine Pirate

 

 

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How to veganise baking recipes + recipe…

How to veganise baking recipes + recipe

Today I’ll start a little vegan special that has already been running for almost a month on my German speaking blog. Today’s post is about baking in particular which I find the easiest to veganise. The tips are taking the needs when suffering from histamine intolerance into account. Yet, the recipe I’ll be giving you further down might not be suitable for everyone, because the cake contains lemons. And lemons are such an on and off thing with HIT. They are considered to be triggers respectively liberators of histamine, they contain acid, yet, also a lot vitamin c. Most people suffering from HIT can – if even – only tolerate small amounts of lemons. So if you’ll go for this recipe is an individual choice.

I recently got a cookbook on lemons as a gift. So, that’s where my fancy for lemons right now is coming from. Through the book I got to know that cucumbers can actually neutralise a little too much of lemons. To counter-balance too much lemons with sugar is according to the author a bad idea.

In the book I also found a recipe for lemon tray bake – and that made me reminisce my childhood. My grandma used to bake lemon tray bake for basically any birthday party or on other family occasions. That cake was mandatory one could say. I loved it, yet, somehow I never made one myself. Time to change that. With my little vegan special in mind, I thought it might be a great thing to veganise grandma’s lemon tray bake. And there it is.

*** NOT low in histamine ***

Remember, not everyone can tolerate lemons as mentioned above.

Lemon tray bake (vegan)

zitronenblech

preparation time:

ca. 20 minutes + ca. 20-25 minutes in the oven

difficulty:

simple

ingredients for 1 baking tin:

dough:

  • 400g spelt flour
  • 100g browntop millet flour
  • 1 sachet baking powder
  • 10g homemade vanilla sugar
  • 150g coconut sugar OR raw can sugar
  • (pinch of cardamom)
  • grated lemon zest of an untreated lemon (be sure to use organic ones)
  • 200ml oat milk OR any other plant-based milk you like/can tolerate
  • 250g coconut oil
  • 4 level tbsp. chia seeds & 12 tbsp. water
  • squirt of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

icing:

  • ca. 150 to 200g powdered raw cane sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. hot water

preparation:

  1. Prepare the egg replacement from chia seeds and water and leave it to thicken for about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the oil and stir in sugar.
  3. Add grated lemon zest, vanilla sugar, salt, (cardamom), lemon juice and finally the egg replacement and whisk until creamy.
  4. Mix the flour with baking powder and add this plus “milk” alternatingly to the mix. Stir until the dough is creamy.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Preapre a baking tin with baking paper and spread the dough evenly onto the tin.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven.
  7. For the icing, sift the powdered cane sugar and stir in lemon juice and hot water until the mass is creamy. It should be spreadable, yet, not totally liquid.
  8. Spread the icing on the still warm cake and leave it to dry. Cut into squares or other shapes (e.g. with a pizza wheel) to serve.

tip:

The cake tastes even better after one day of resting.

tips – vegan baking:

The original recipe contains more sugar (200g instead of 150g). I like to reduce here usually.

Apart from that 4 eggs are used in the original recipe. To replace one egg a level tablespoon of chia seeds & 3 tablespoons of water do the job. You mix those two and leave it to thicken. The result will be a gelly, somewhat pudding-thing, that will replace eggs in baking, because chia-mix is a great thickener, just like eggs. Some may already be familiar with this from my gluten free baking recipes.

To replace butter (also in the original recipe) in baking I usually go for 1:1 coconut oil.

The same goes for milk. Vegan, low histamine alternatives for milk are for example coconut-, oat-, rice- or almond milk. Plant-based milk alternatives can easily be made at home. For coconut milk and rice milk there are already recipes on my blog.

When buying plant-based milk be sure to get those without sweetener or sugar added, and without thickeners like guar gum.

Because chia mix is not quite as fluffy as eggs I replaced 100g of the originally 500g of flour with browntop millet flour. Browntop millet flour is lighter than spelt flour making the dough fluffier.

With these tips it is possible to veganise many baking recipes which do without whipped cream or whipped egg whites. I’ll have to post something for those as well. For now have fun veganising tray bakes, cookies, marble cake and more.

Enjoy!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Gluten free flours and binders/thickeners…

Why mix your own gluten free flour mix?

When suffering from HIT AND a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance and alike, you should definitely mix your own gluten free flour mixes. Gluten free flour mixes you can buy and gluten free processed foods often contain ingredients which are rather problematic with HIT, e.g. lupine protein, cellulose, carob gum, yeast, glucose syrup, soy bean flour or guar gum. Some of those you just don’t want to eat in general (cellulose for example), others are actually problematic when it comes to excess histamine, like yeast, xanthan gum, carob gum, guar gum and soy. Most of those are added to enhance the baking properties respectively consistency.

This is because gluten free flours derived from corn, rice, quinoa, coconut, millet, etc. need binders, because gluten is missing, so that the baker’s ware does not fall apart.

Today I’ll provide you with some tips when it comes to combining low histamine and gluten free baking. Further down there are more notes to other intolerances.

Gluten free, low histamine binders (& vegan notes)

Binders hold the dough together. Too little and the bread or cake will fall apart, too much and everything becomes sticky and slushy. When starting to go gluten free it’s best to stick exactly with the amounts of binders given in the recipe you use.

The following binders are low histamine and gluten free:

  • chia seed (flour)
  • flax seed (flour)
  • psyllium seed husk
  • flours containing starch respectively corn-, potato- and tapioca starch
  • egg
  • maple syrup or honey
  • sauce or puree, e.g. apple sauce or pumpkin puree
  • agar-agar, actually a vegan gelatine substitute

I like chia seed water mix (1 part chia seed & 3 parts water) the best when it comes to baking. You stir this mix once and then set it aside for about 10 minutes to thicken. The result is pudding-like and binds very well. You can use flax seeds the same way.

Psyllium seed husk can also be prepared with a little water beforehand or it is just added to the dough like it is. If prepared with water beforehand it binds better, though.

(Flour containing) starch makes the baking product soft. When prepared with some water flour containing starch can serve as thickener/binder as well. The rule of the thumb for gluten free flour mixes is 1 part starch : 2 parts gluten free flour, by the way.

Eggs can also be used as binders. Most gluten free baking recipes you’ll find contain lots of eggs – at least, in my experience. Yet, it is not so hard to veganise recipes successfully. Chia seed water mix will serve you well here, too as egg substitute.

If you like sweet bread, like I do, honey or maple syrup for the vegan option bind as well. This method is especially suitable for sweet pastries, cookies, muffins, cake and alike of course.

Apple sauce and lots of veggie purees can be added to muffin- or bread dough. This will produce an extra when it comes to taste, but this also binds gluten free dough. The added liquids can be reduced a little when working with apple sauce or veggie puree.

Agar-agar is derived from red algae. When buying a binding agent declared “agar-agar” be sure that it is 100 percent agar-agar. I’ve seen products containing other binding agents besides agar-agar although the product was headlined “agar-agar”. Vegans use agar-agar as gelatine substitute, but it can be used for binding as well. You’ll need really just tiny amounts (otherwise the baking product will turn out to be slushy).

HIT and other intolerances

In the following I’ll write a little more about HIT and other intolerances. Allergies are a different topic again I’ll have to address in a separate post.

Gluten intolerance/celiac disease

When suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease one cannot tolerate a kind of protein called gluten that occurs in many grains.

The following grains contain gluten and should therefore be avoided:

  • wheat
  • (oat)
  • spelt
  • rye
  • barley
  • triticale
  • green spelt
  • kamut

special case oat:

usually oat contains gluten because of hybridisation. In special shops (organic shops etc.) you’ll find gluten free oat and oat flakes that are labelled as such. I could not find gluten free oat milk though. Yet, from gluten free oats you can make gluten free oat milk yourself.

The following grains and pseudocereals are gluten free and can be used as alternatives to the ones named above. Notes about histamine in brackets. Since gluten is missing, baking properties are different from “regular” flours.

  • amaranth (not always tolerated with HIT, try in small amounts maybe)
  • buckwheat (not always tolerated with HIT)
  • corn (often tolerated, corn only fresh otherwise – not canned) 
  • rice
  • millet (teff, sorghum, milo) 
  • quinoa (not always tolerated with HIT, try in small amounts maybe)
  • chick peas, soy (legumes are often not tolerated, not high histamine, but known as triggers/liberators)
  • chia
  • chestnut
  • grape seed / flour (debates here, contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) known as antihistamine with anti-inflammatory properties and also antioxidants – use grape only, not with nuts mixed and try in small amounts)
  • potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • coconut
  • almond (not always tolerated with HIT)
  • hazelnut (not always tolerated), macadamia nut (usually tolerated), cashew (stone fruit), peanut (legume), pecan nut, walnut, pistachio (stone fruit)

To enhance baking properties one can add starch 1 part starch ” 2 parts gluten free flour.

Many HIT sufferers tolerate gluten free baking products better than those containing gluten. Spelt and (normal) oat have to be tested individually with HIT, but are usually tolerated.

All gluten free recipes can be found under the category gluten free.

Lactose intolerance

People suffering from lactose intolerance have to omit (most) dairy products or have to purchase specially produced lactose free dairy products. I’ve read many times that lactose free milk is not tolerated as well with histamine intolerance. To produce lactose free milk the enzyme lactase is added. This enzyme is derived from either mold (aspergillus) or yeast (kluyveromyces). This explains why it can be problematic with HIT. On top of that there is an discussion if dairy is good for us in general…

If you want to substitute milk with regards to histamine, here are some alternatives:

  • rice milk
  • oat milk
  • almond milk (not always tolerated with HIT – maybe try in small amounts)
  • coconut milk – especially for desserts and for baking

Soy milk is not an alternative when also suffering from HIT.

All lactose free recipes on this blog can be found under “lactose free” in the categories.

Fructose intolerance

People suffering from fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption have to pay attention to their sugar intake. The fruit sugar fructose, but also glucose, are not really well degraded. As with histamine- or any other intolerance fructose intolerance you can be born with or acquire it at some time in your life (hereditary or intestinal FI)

The category “low fructose” shows you posts concerned with fructose intolerance. As yet, there is not much in there.

The problem with fructose intolerance does not end with added (refined) sugar or cane sugar, but also concerns different kinds of foods.

Rather much fructose can be found in apple, pear, date, fig, mango, plum, grape, raisin, dried fruits.

Sweeteners like fruit sugar, fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, honey, sugar replacements (sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol), apple syrup, concentrated pear juice also contain a lot fructose.

As an alternative dextrose, stevia, rice syrup, spelt syrup and (Aztec) sweet herb can be used.

Sorbitol intolerance

When it comes to sorbitol there are some “common enemies” that are shared with fructose intolerance sufferers. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol, that people with sorbitol intolerance cannot degrade correctly. Sugar replacements (sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol) are bad here as well. Especially food labelled with “diet” should be avoided therefore. Moreover, sorbitol is used by food producers as humectant agent (E 420). It’s a substance that often can be found in chewing gum and toothpaste. It can also be found in dried fruits and canned food. Dextrose and regular sugar are known to be alternatives here.

Salicylate intolerance

There will be a separate post on that topic soon.

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Hidden gluten + recipe…

Hidden Gluten

Actually gluten free eating is not that hard, when it comes to the shopping list, because gluten is only a thing of grains. So, just omit “regular”, meaning, bread containing gluten, and pasta, and cookies, and so on.

I will provide a list of gluten free flours (with notes to histamine) in a separate post to come.

All the mentioned grain products can be made rather easily yourself – gluten free. Or you’ll buy ready pasta, etc. that is marked gluten free. Yet, the latter for “double-sufferers” with also histamine intolerance, not only gluten intolerance, is not an option usually.

Soon one will discover that it is not just that easy with gluten, because just omitting regular grain products will not do. Why is that?

Many processed foods, that actually don’t look like containing grains, contain gluten. Some veggies from the freezer have gluten added, sauces, ketchup and also cream cheese varieties (especially with herbs added), seasoning/broth powder/packet soup, baking powder, ice cream and even fries and crisps contain gluten at a time. Gluten is added as a thickener or to get a nice crust – so fries have regular (wheat) flour added. But also sausages and even cosmetics like lipstick or lip balm and toothpaste can contain gluten [be aware of terms like Triticum (wheat, e.g. Triticum aestivum, Triticum vulgare), Hordeum (barley) or Avena (oat)]. The vegan meat substitute seitan is made from gluten.

So, this is where it becomes confusing already.

Since 2005 producers have to mark gluten in products (that is where I’m living in Europe). Yet, this declaration policy does not apply to everything, especially the conversion into sugar from wheat starch and alike sugars don’t have to be declared/marked. Sometimes producers will disclose the root raw food containing gluten, others will not.

To be sure watch out for this symbol marking gluten free products.

Glutenfrei_Symbol

gluten free synbol

Yet, not every producer will acquire the license for this seal/symbol.

So, for the time being it is like with histamine intolerance, you’ll have to read the mouseprint and it gets easier the lesser processed foods you’ll buy. Do more stuff yourself.

Speaking of making stuff yourself, here is an easy recipe to make guacamole yourself (vegan,  gluten free, lactose free), since it contains lemon juice and avocado I’ll mark it as not low in histamine.

*** NOT low in histamine ***

Guacamole

preparation time:

ca. 10 minutes

difficulty:

simple

ingredients for 1 bowl:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 finely chopped clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • spices, e.g. curcuma, cumin
  • salt & pepper

IMG_5860

preparation:

Peel avocado and cut off the flesh, put in a bowl. Mash the avocado flesh with a fork or alike, add garic, spices and lemon juice and mix. Add salt & pepper to taste.

tip:

It’s sometimes a bit of luck to find the right/ripe avocado. Tip: ripe avocados are darker, almost a little brownish and soft already. If you pick off the little tip on the top, it should be green under it still, not brown yet. So it’s not too ripe either.

See here.

If you fetched an avocado that is not ripe yet, meaning, still being still to hard, then you can also cut it into slices and eat on a bread. As of yet it happened to me once that I fetched one like that.

The lemon juice is by the way not only for taste, it also keeps the guacamole from becoming brown. The same works with apple slices as well. A little lemon juice will keep them from browning too fast.

Enjoy!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

DIY vegetable broth…

Actually I don’t remember where I saw this ingenious DIY idea first. I did not invent for sure. It’s really simple and yet, or, exactly that’s why it’s so genious 😉

Today I’ll show you how to make your own vegetable broth (instant powder) without Maggi or any of those sh%^#y brands. The great thing about this “recipe”: this broth is 100 percent gluten free, yeast free, glutamate free, and so on.

It keeps for at least 10 weeks.

Just bear in mind I don’t add salt to the powder. Most broth powders you can buy contain already salt, so you’ll need to adjust when cooking/seasoning.

 

DIY vegetable broth powder

preparation time:

ca. 20 minutes work + ca. 2-3 hours in the oven

difficulty:

simple

IMG_5817

ingredients for 1 jar:

  • 1 portion soup greens (you can buy prepared mixes, most contain parts of carrot, kohlrabi, parsnip, parsley, (leeks), (knob celery), parsley root – ingredients in brackets not everyone can tolerate – try in small amounts)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper
  • parts from (savoy) cabbage

IMG_5783IMG_5782

preparation:

Prepare all the veggies: clean, peel if needed, chop everything into small pieces.

Prepare a baking tin with baking paper and spread the chopped veggies evenly across the tin. If you prepared lots of vegetables respectively if you want to have some more broth powder in stock, use several baking tins.

Let the veggies dry carefully at 75-80°C (circulating air) – not more heat, otherwise the veggies will get burned. If your oven does not have exhaust air (old model), then leave a wooden cooking spoon or alike between the door in the beginning, so that the moisture can escape.

Depending on how finely you chopped the veggies the drying process duration can vary. After 2,5 hours everything was dry here. But it can take longer.

If you don’t want the whole flat smelling of soup, leave the windows open while doing this. I liked that, but not everybody will like it 🙂

Remove the dry veggie pieces from the baking paper and fill into a clean, dry jar.

tip:

You can use that broth like bought broth powder. Just add some tablespoons of the mix to the soup or to whatever it is you need broth for. Later, you’ll have yummy veggie bits in the soup.

If you don’t want bits, but prefer real powder, you can pestle the mix in a mortar before filling into jars.

 

Enjoy!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Gluten free millet cookies…

The following recipe was part of my gluten free special on the German blog recently. It’s taken (with slight changes) from the book “Zauberhafte Weihnachtsbäckerei – glutenfrei”.

Gluten free, low histamine millet cookies with lactose free option

preparation time:

ca. 25 minutes + ca. 20-25 minutes in the oven

difficulty:

simple

IMG_5983

ingredients for 1 baking tin:

  • 40g millet OR ca. 100g cooked millet
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ca. 55g soft butter OR coconut oil (I mixed both)
  • 70g raw cane sugar OR coconut sugar
  • 100g corn starch
  • 100g browntop millet flour
  • 1/2 package gluten free baking powder
  • 25g homemade vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. gingerbread seasoning (if tolerated only, otherwise try spices you can tolerate, the original recipe uses 1 tsp. ground ginger)
  • powdered sugar (from raw cane sugar) to scatter on top

preparation:

  1. Cook millet 1:3 in water (1 part millet on 3 parts water), let it simmer 10-15 minutes, remove from stove and leave to sit for another 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and leave to cool down.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare a baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Mix the cold millet with egg yolk, butter/oil, sugar, vanilla sugar, corn starch, spices, baking powder and browntop millet flour in a large bowl.
  4. Form small balls from the dough (about a heaped teaspoon size). Set the balls on the baking tin and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes on the medium rack in the oven.
  5. After that set the cookies on a cooling rack and scatter powdered sugar on top.

Enjoy!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

 

Gluten free bread baking…

On the German-speaking blog I’ve started a little special on gluten free baking when having histamine intolerance. I’ll try to translate the tips and other recipes in time.

To start here I prepared a gluten free bread. The recipe I found similarly on the German-speaking site Pures Genießen.

I made little changes. I did not use buckwheat and neither xanthan gum as many with HIT have problems especially with the latter. Buckwheat some actually tolerate. You’ll have to find out yourself by trying in small amounts.

If you have problems with gluten as in coeliac disease or alike and cannot tolerate quinoa anyway (cross reactions are possible with quinoa although it is gluten free), feel free to use another gluten free flour that you can tolerate.

I used agar agar and chia mix as binding agents what “usually” the gluten would do.

When buying agar agar be sure to purchase pure 100 percent agar agar. I’ve seen products with other thickeners or binding agents added that many with HIT don’t do well with (read the ingredient list).

This bread tastes quite neutral, meaning quite similar to bread with gluten to which you might be used to (still). Especially for people just starting to go gluten free this one might be a good bread to start with.

Baked in a regular loaf pan with rather liquid dough this one is great for beginners. Generally you’ll need more liquids when baking gluten free. Loafs which are baked without pan tend to be too hard easily. When baking gluten free in the beginning it is best to stick to the recipe closely -as much as I usually just bake and cook by guess and gosh.

Be sure to use just the amount of agar agar as listed otherwise the bread will be “sludgy” or “sticky”.

Gluten free quinoa rice bread

preparation time:

ca. 10 minutes + ca. 50 minutes in the oven

difficulty:

simple

glutenfreibrot1 glutenfreibrot2

ingredients:

190g rice flour
150g quinoa flour
2 heaped tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. agar agar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. bread seasoning (I used caraway seeds and fennel seeds)
handful pumpkin seeds and black sesame seeds to scatter on top
480ml water
2 tbsp. chia seed flour + 6 tbsp. water

preparation:

First prepare the chia seed mix with water. Leave aside and to thicken.

Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients, then add the chia seed mix and the liquids. Mix everything well with a large eggbeater or hand mixer.

Pour the dough in an oiled loaf pan (I usually use coconut oil or hemp seed oil).

Scatter pumpkin seeds and black sesame seeds on top.

Bake for about 50 minutes at about 190°C.

Leave to cool down a little and then remove from the pan.

Enjoy!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Not only for herb witches…

Tips

What about herbs and spices?

Generally on histamine intolerance

Herbs and spices make the difference when we prepare food. Yet, after being diagnosed with histamine intolerance one should go easy on them, because histamine intolerance seldom comes alone.

Allergies and other intolerances, like for instance lactose intolerance, often come with histamine intolerance. So please check if you are affected by another ailment besides HIT, like allergies, before you try herbs and spices listed here.

After being diagnosed with HIT it is advisable to a) detox your body and b) introduce new foods to your diet again slowly. For this process food lists like this one from the Swiss interest group for HIT can be helpful. More information on dietary change can be found here.

I also recommend to start your own, personal food diary. Especially in the beginning this is helpful. For that you’ll write down what you’ve eaten and note symptoms if they occur. That way you can find out what you can tolerate. Note: sometimes reactions occur delayed (1-3 days after eating).

 

Luna studies herbs and spices, yet, sheshe actually only enjoys catnip and valerian

Generally on herbs and spices

Always try to buy organic, otherwise many herbs and spices you can buy contain pollutants. They can also cause histamine related reactions.

Use herbs and spices only if you know your allergies (or if you know you don’t have any). Also check for possible cross reactions. When in doubt try in small amounts and review it with your food diary (see above).

 

The power of herbs and spices

Herbs and spices can be soothing if you know which ones to pick. There are natural substances that help with breaking down histamine ((still) water, vitamin c and b6) or that inhibit histamine (e.g. blackberry). The right “cocktail” can work miracles or at least sooth some symptoms.

 

Soothing herbs and spices

Caraway aids with digestion and can soothe flatulences. Tip: Even if not everybody will like it, a fennel anise caraway tea can be of great help to all kinds of digestion problems. Moreover, caraway is great in soups, to rice and potatoes.

Southernwood (artemisia abrotanum) is a great spice for meat that fell into oblivion, it can also be used for sauces and salads. It has a lemon-like taste to it. Don’t use too much of it, because it is quite intense. It is appetising and stomachic. If kept in the kitchen it will keep moths and flies at bay. Just as lavender you can use it for scented sachets.

Cloves contain essential oils that help against headaches and migraines when applied externally. Besides working as pain killers the essential oils improve blood circulation. Often suitable for ingesting when suffering from HIT though.

Baikal Skullcap (scutellaria baikalensis) is supposed to help with many ailments. It is supposed to be able to heal cancer. It is listed here because it can inhibit the histamine release. A tea of Skullcap therefore can work miracles.

Toothpickweed (ammi visnaga) is an insider’s tip like Skullcap. It contains cromoglicic acid that stabilises mast cells and therefore regulates histamine release.

Garlic is a real allrounder when it comes to spices respectively herbs with many benefits and fields of application.It contains lots of vitamins (A, B, C) and several minerals, like selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Used freshly garlic is the best. It is a natural antioxidant that inhibits free radicals. Garlic is supposed to prevent bowel cancer and cardiac diseases. Moreover garlic is antibacterial and antifungal – it helps against colds and yeast infections.

Ramson (allium ursinum) is just as useful as garlic. It contains lots of vitamin c, therefore it should not be boiled. To get the benefits it is used best freshly in salad or pesto. When gathering ramson yourself be sure NOT to pick lily of the valley, autumn crocus or common arum by accident. They are toxic. Other than them only ramson has that typical garlic-ish smell to it when you rub the leaves between your fingers.

Aloe vera neither herb, nor spice it found its way into this list anyway, because this one is quite a miracle drug as well. Applied externally it soothes burns, also sunburns and small cuts. It cools the skin. WITHOUT the peel (which is toxic), aloe gel can be applied internally. It is anti-inflammatory. Careful when suffering from salicylate intolerance!

Other herbs and spices, mostly tolerated

Mint soothes the nerves. Yet, if applied too often it can cause insomnia.
Melissa soothing and applied externally against insects.
Basil can help against headaches. Place ground leaves on temples to do so. Tea helps against flatulences. A special kind of basil is tulsi (holy basil) that is a natural antihistamine.
Lavender is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. A vapour bath helps against oily skin. Soothing when used in scented sachets.
Parsley– chew it against bad breath. A great boost for your immune system. Lots of vitamin c.
Thyme helps with digestion and against cough (as tea). Can be used for inhaling when having a cold.
Rosemary stimulates circulation, also as bath additive. Don’t use before going to bed. Don’t use during pregnancy!
Rucola/rocket is great for salad.

Herbs and spices that might cause reactions

Dill, shamrock, chives take only in small amounts, curry, ginger take only in small amounts, poppy (seed), nutmeg, mustard, hot pepper (Cayenne), peperoni, horseradish and onions (are actually low in histamine, but supposed to be triggers).

Edit (02/28/2015): I’ve had listed curcuma as red before, meaning, as not suitable. Quite the contrary is true and I’ve started adding it to many foods. Curcuma stabilises mast cells and therefore can be eaten without regret, it’s helpful even.

Generally most herbs contain high amounts of salicylates. If you have problem with salicylates be careful when testing out new herbs.
For feedback please leave a comment or email me at histaminarm(at)vollbio.de

 

(c) The Histamine Pirate


Don’t throw it away, wash it…

Tips

what about products for feminine hygiene?

 

The topic sustainability is very important for me. Each one of us has some idea what sustainability means to him or her. What can you do to grant our children and children’s children a future on this planet? One might reduce his or her meat consumption or maybe stop eating meat altogether. This is one way of conscious dealing with resources and it saves animal lives. Another one might stop using plastics wherever it is possible. The reduction of garbage in general is a way towards sustainability. Yet, some things we are so used to it is hard to imagine living without those disposable articles and sometimes this use-and-throw things are also meaningful – e.g. a surgeon should not use the same gloves twice – but sometimes one finds him- or herself asking, how did our ancestors do it and are there no other options out there?

I just turned a teenager when I asked myself for instance how women did cope in the medieval times with their monthly period. Today one can buy disposable sanitary pads and tampons at any chemist’s or supermarket. All shapes and variations are available for slight or heavy flow, with or without wings, short, long, thick, thin, with or without scent etc.

From young age on we get used to those disposable products. Just as of late I realised there are other options.

IMG_7817

Maybe you remember your parents telling you about washable diapers or if you are a parent yourself you remember using those. Just as with washable diapers for babies there are washable pads for women.

They are eco friendlier and cheaper in the long run, but most important they are “healthier” for you.

Conventional feminine hygiene products often contain chemicals and pesticides critical to your health. Dangerous contents in tampons, panty liners and pads according to the latest WVE report can be those among others:
• chemicals like dioxin and furan residues as side products of the bleaching process with chlorine, those can cause cancer
• pesticide residues if the cotton used is not pure organic
• unidentified chemicals for scent that can cause allergic skin irritations or disrupt the hormonal balance
• glue chemicals like methyldibromoglutaronitrile which is a preservative that Greenpeace warned about already in 2008. It can cause inflammation and allergies

Those substances are dangerous mostly because the skin in the genital area is especially susceptible for substances which are put on or into the body for several hours. Through the blood vessels and lymph vessels the toxins circulate throughout the body and cause damage.

If you decide to use washable pads be sure to use a mild washing agent.

Washable pads are easy to make youself. Sewing designs can be found throughout the internet, e.g. here. This option is not only cheap, but also very creative and individual.

Apart from doing it yourself you can also buy washable pads. There are several producers for washable pads, e.g. Lunapads, GladRags, Sckoon oder New Moon Pads.

Lunapads for instance is not only a eco friendly brand, it also initiated an aid project for Africa. A share of every sold product goes to the project Pads4Girls which produces washable pads for women in Africa. Girls and women are supplied with these pads and therefore they can go to school or work even when having their period.

As a last point I would like to leave you with two videos that might also help with your period:

Yoga for menstruation (part 1) and (part 2) by EkhartYoga.

Do you already use washable feminine hygiene products? How do you cope with it?

What are your thoughts on washable feminine hygiene products in general?

 

Have a stress-free period!

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Mind, body & soul…

Tips

What about yoga?

 

Why yoga and

what is that actually?

Yoga, but also other therapeutic concepts of motion, breathing and meditating are known to benefit the overall well-being. That is only one reason as to why yoga became such a popular trend lately. Even in the west you’ll be able to find several yoga studios in every city. They will offer anything from children’s yoga to yoga for seniors, bikram, anusara, ashtanga yoga and many more.

But what exactly is yoga and why can it be helpful with histamine intolerance?

The concept “yoga” involves thousands of years of tradition that is rooted in India. Today’s several yoga styles have roots in several original yoga styles. Yet, mainly hatha yoga influenced modern yoga today, especially in Europa and America. But the transition from East to West did not happen without changes and some losses. Hatha yoga originally used to prepare the body for other yoga forms, e.g. for longer meditation, nowadays evolved to be the yoga in general. In the West hatha yoga is famous for being physical very demanding. Nowadays the focus often lies more on body work(out) than on spiritual development and meditation.

Traditional hatha yoga went beyond just physical work and poses (asanas). Especially breathing techniques (pranayama) and specific hand movements (mudras) were part of it. Today’s hatha yoga tends to be very quick and flowy, changing from one pose to the other. Nowadays, postures held longer for intense stretching or meditation practice are usually characteristics for other yoga styles. Traditionally these qualities were part of hatha yoga, too. The strong connection between martial arts and yoga is worth mentioning at this point as well. Yoga is one way to enhance one’ physical power and to gain enlightenment. But whoever feels like yoga might be too “calm” for them and who is looking for some more “action” can also try out traditional martial arts like chi kung or tai chi chuan. You will notice similarities to yoga in practice and movements quite quickly. And vice versa, you will find elements of traditional martial arts in yoga, too.

Although yoga rose to be a trend in the West and despite many people already practicing it, the benefits of yoga practice just recently became a matter of scientific research. One explanation for that certainly can be the language and translation problem, but it might also be due to cultural differences. Yoga and martial arts are closely tied to Asian philosophy, but also traditional Chinese medicine. Concepts and world views of Asian philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine stand in tremendous contrast to those common in Western philosophy and modern Western medicine. Terms like “the 5 elements” or “yin and yang” are not to be understood in the literally.

I will try to shine a light on the benefits of yoga from a Western point of view.

Specific breathing techniques will enhance the oxygen supply of organs. Correct breathing will also help to detox your body. Environmental toxins that we breathe in with air and that leave debris in the lungs will be expelled.

Yogic poses will stimulate and enhance circulation without putting too much stress on the heart. Muscles will be strengthened. Malalignments, both ones you’ve been born with and ones you might have acquired due to false position, can be corrected. Specific postures provide benefits for specific body areas. Postures can work like a massage of the organs. Therefore their activity will be stimulated.

Meditation cleanses the mind and will relax you. It stimulates creativity and the mind in general.

How is yoga beneficial when suffering from histamine intolerance?

Going beyond general benefits I would like to talk about specific benefits of yoga when suffering from histamine intolerance.

First of all, yoga will have positive effects no matter what form of histamine intolerance individually troubles you.

The combination of stress reducing and relaxing effects together with the stimulation of circulation will especially benefit those of you who suffer the most from problems connected to the central nervous system.

With some people the problems tend to show more in symptoms connected to the bronchi. The breathing techniques and the cleansing of the lungs that comes with it will benefit you.

Who finds oneself suffering from symptoms connected to the stomach will enjoy the “massage of the organs”. Especially twisted postures will exert mild pressure on the inner organs which helps with digestion among other things.

Improved circulation will also help to get rid of excess histamine and toxins. Itchy or flushy skin will calm down. Yet, if you suffer from severe swelling and/or migraines yoga can sometimes increase these symptoms. Please note that inverted poses (where you are upside down) where there is pressure applied on the head (e.g. headstands) might cause problems to people suffering from migraines. On the other hand, inverted poses in general might help you, e.g. handstand. Avoid inverted postures and forward folds if you are suffering from high blood pressure.

Which yoga style is suitable? 

By now there are several yoga styles you can choose from. Some of them meet individual needs and are suitable even if you suffer from certain illnesses (besides histamine intolerance). Bikram yoga which is performed in a hot room though might not be the best choice because the sweating will lead to you not only getting rid of toxins, but also liquids – and you need water. Bikram yoga is also the one yoga style that might put some strain on the heart. An overview of some different yoga styles can be found here: http://www.ekhartyoga.com/everything-yoga/yoga-styles.

Whatever yoga style you might go for, you will already notice mild positive effects after just 1 week if you practice 10 minutes per day. I personally go for a mixture of styles, preferably ashtanga and yin yoga.

Don’t worry if your postures do not look like cover pictures of a yoga magazine or like the ones experienced yogis perform with ease, especially in the beginning. The looks are not what we aim for. The important thing is to keep practicing regularly.

Practice according to your needs and abilities.

Just some postures or flows can already help with your breathing, digestion and with your general well-being.

I personally like guided practices at home. There many yoga videos and tutorials on the internet and in books.

I came to like videos by a Dutch yoga teacher (in English language).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me0VAhJ3HJA
Yoga for digestion

Especially the last pose shown here, even if it seems to be fairly easy, helps me a lot with digestive problems.

More videos by Esther Ekhart can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/yogatic?feature=watch (for free)
http://www.ekhartyoga.com/ (some for free, some for people with subscription)

Guided training with a teacher in a local yoga studio will propel your practice as the teacher can adjust to your abilities and needs and he or she can also correct your postures or support you in certain postures. At home you are on your own 😉

A little insider tip is the game console. For the Wii there is a game called Wii Fit Plus that also includes some yoga practice. This is more fun than real traditional yoga though 😉

If you have questions or feedback for me why not leave a comment below? Or email me at histaminarm(at)vollbio.de.


Enjoy and “namaste”!

 

(c) The Histamine Pirate