My morning hot cereal

Gluten free organic hot cereal for all that ails you

Sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to get a photo inserted here from google docs but here’s a link.

Making up my hot cereal for the week. A concoction I fondly call “my gruel”. I vary it by what I have on hand each week but here’s this week’s recipe:
All organic GF ingredients:
1 cup amaranth whole grain
1/3 cup corn grits
1/3 cup whole millet
1/3 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/8 cup flaxseed meal
1/8 cup chia seed
couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1 cup blueberries

Heat in 2 cups water and 2 cups Lakewood organic cranberry juice blend – or any organic juice blend)(add more as needed if cereal blend becomes too thick); it will take about 20 minutes on the stove top one you reach a very gently low boil, stirring often. Which is why I only make it once a week and freeze it in individual portions. For me it works best to thaw one portion slightly overnight in the refrigerator and heat it up in the morning (adding more water or juice if too thick). I then pack it in a “soup” thermos to eat leisurely at my desk at work for breakfast.

This recipe is high fiber (think regular!); and high vitamin, low histamine, and no chemicals, preservatives, additives, colorings, flavorings, etc. The variety of grains insures a healthy blend of proteins/amino acids. The amaranth alone is high in fiber (7 g) and protein (8 g), calcium (8 % DV), vitamin B (15% DV)), folate (10% DV), magnesium (30% DV!), iron (20 % daily value) and zinc (10%). With all the other goodies in this recipe, you may not have to eat the rest of the day to get all your vits & minerals, and healthy fats.



In my first post, titled “My Story – Allergic to food” I explained that I may have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – MCAS (or sometimes called Mast Cell Activation Disorder – MCAD);  In very simple terms, my mast cells, which release histamine, are overactive.  My triggers for this are preservatives, especially sulfites, and also foods with naturally occurring sulfites, and foods that are high in histamine.

In this post, I’d like to list the foods that are high in histamine.  I initially eliminated or at least cut back on many of these foods.  But after a month or so of settling my system to the point that I was no longer having daily allergic reactions, I started slowly adding them back in, testing each for my tolerance.

Each of our tolerances is different so you will have to test each on your own.  Sometimes it is the amount of total histamine in a meal or over a day that matters more than the histamine in a single food.  For example, at this point in my recovery, I can eat an egg, I can eat tomato, and I can eat cheese. But I’ve tried eating them together in an omelet, and had the “stuffy ear” reaction, and did not feel well overall for a couple days. As the Low Histamine Chef would say, “I overloaded my histamine bucket”. (See this website for great information all about Histamine intolerance:

Also, the link below contains a GREAT chart listing the degree of tolerance of certain foods, but again, please remember that everyone is different and experiment on your own with your own tolerances; it would be a shame to give up a high nutrient food that you like based on a chart alone:

Don’t despair about eliminating foods…an elimination diet is only TEMPORARY, and only do it if it is needed to settle your system’s allergic reactions down.  Eliminate the foods that you are reacting to for about 2 weeks to a month and then try adding them back one at a time, and taking good notes on your reactions.

High Histamine Foods: 

Fermented foods:  Any food or beverage that undergoes fermentation contains high levels of histamine, notes the International Chronic Urticaria Society. Examples include cheese–except cottage cheese and ricotta cheese–beer, wine, vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut, and fermented soy products like tempeh, miso and soy sauce.  Sour cream and yogurt may be a problem for some.

Processed foods:  processed meats, smoked meats, canned meats and canned fish. Commercially prepared ketchup and mustard.  I am able to eat “uncured” (no nitrates) bacon and ham from a local farmer.

Other natural high histamine foods:  foods naturally high in histamine include spinach, eggplant, fish,  eggs, chocolate, tomatoes, pumpkin, citrus fruits, berries, raisins, dates, apricots, cherries, peaches and prunes.   Soy beans, fava beans and other red beans, including kidney beans.

Pineapple, bananas, kiwi, avocados, potatoes, chocolate, tree nuts, and honey may be a problem for some people.  (I was able to add these back in fairly quickly without a problem.)

Avoid the spices cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder and paprika. Do not drink soda (some all natural ones with cane sugar may be ok) or black tea. Coffee may be a problem for some people (it was for me when I was at my worst, but I can drink it now).  Yeast may be a problem for some.

Other Foods to Avoid (permanently, if able):  Stay away from foods and beverages with artificial colorings/dyes, flavorings or preservatives; they contain chemicals that can trigger histamine production. Examples of preservatives include benzoates, sulfites, BHA and BHT.  Avoid foods made with bleached flour.  Avoid artificial sweeteners.

Note that in order to stop my allergic reactions, I’ve had to switch to all organic foods.  So many of the foods on this list may cause problems for some due to preservatives rather than just being high in histamine.  For example, dried fruit is highly preserved with sulfites, and may give a double whammy reaction.  At the time I got sick I was eating granola bars or “healthy” trail mixes every day.  If these type of foods are not organic, they are very high in both sulfites and histamines.  If they are organic, you need only worry about the histamines.

Avoid eating leftovers, especially meats from the refrigerator:  Eat only freshly cooked meats and poultry; do not eat leftovers from the refrigerator, as histamines build up in foods and cooking does not break it down. (I freeze leftovers right away in individual portions, freezing does stop the production of histamines.)

I am currently taking Claritin daily each morning (an H1 blocker), but have stopped taking Pepcid (an H2 blocker).  I hope to at some point be able to stop taking the Claritin as well, as I get healthier and better at managing my total histamine load.

I would love to hear your comments if you are having similar difficulties and have tips that can be shared here to help others.



Sulfites – What are they? What is the problem with them? Where do they lurk?

I may edit this post over time as I continue to research sulfites, but I wanted to get this out there as soon as possible to the folks that may need the information.  If you have any related information, I’d love to hear it.


What are sulfites?

Sulfites are inorganic salts that have antioxidant and preservative properties. Many compounds capable of producing sulfite, called sulfiting agents, have been used as food additives since antiquity to help prevent enzymatic and nonenzymatic browning; control growth of microorganisms; act as bleaching agents, antioxidants, or reducing agents; and carry out various other technical functions (Sapers, 1993; Taylor, et al., 1986). Examples of sulfiting agents include sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfate, sodium and potassium bisulfites, and metabisulfites. Specifically, sulfites are used on fruits and vegetable to prevent unpleasant browning; on shrimp and lobster to prevent melanosis, or “black spot”; in wines to discourage bacterial growth; in dough as a conditioner; and to bleach certain food starches and cherries. In addition, sulfites are used in pharmaceuticals to maintain the stability and potency of some medications (Knodel, 1997; Papazian, 1996).

What’s the problem with sulfites?

The University of Florida IFAS Extention put together an excellent article citing many sources.  The sources often contradict each other which is no fault of U of F, and I appreciate their including as much information as possible, even when the facts within were at odds.   Please see the entire article at:

“Sulfites occur naturally in some foods and beverages as a result of fermentation, such as in beer and wine. As a food additive, sulfites have been used since 1664 and have been approved for use in the United States since the 1800s (Lester, 1995). With such a history of use, sulfites have been generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, however it is suspected that a small percentage of the population is sensitive to sulfites. This sensitivity can cause a wide range of reactions ranging from mild to severe.”  (MY NOTE:  Since when is 1% considered a small number?  Especially when you are talking about the total population of humans?!)

“Sensitivity to sulfites can develop at any time during a person’s lifespan, with some initial reactions not showing up until a person has reached their forties or fifties.”

(MY NOTE: Yep, that’s me.  I was 46 when I acquired this “sensitivity”.)

“The manifestations of sulfite sensitivity include a large array of dermatological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular symptoms. Asthmatics that are steroid-dependent or have a great degree of airway hyperreactivity may be at an increased risk of having a reaction to a sulfite containing food (Lester, 1995). Varying degrees of bronchospasm, angiodema, urticaria, nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea are commonly reported (Knodel, 1997). Adverse reactions to sulfites in nonasthmatics are extremely rare.”

(MY NOTE:  Another source says that 1% of the population has some type of sulfite reactivity, but of that group only 5% have asthma.  That would mean that the nonasthmatic adverse reactions are not rare at all. This is not to downplay asthmatic responses…just to show that the sources on this topic contradict themselves, and don’t give me a good feeling at all that anyone knows the facts for sure on this issue  Is the 1% of people with sulfite reactions, across the board?  Diagnosed, or total?  Is the number growing as our current generation consumes more preservatives than ever before in history? Does Is the 1% spread out over all ages?  Are kids (and elderly or ill) affected more often and more severely than the same amount in a healthy adult? How many kids are misdiagnosed with other health and/or behavioral issues when sulfites are the cause?  (How do YOU act when you don’t feel well?)  We are allowing preservatives everywhere, from their breakfast cereal to their school lunches, to their PB&J, and home again to their homemade spaghetti dinner, even in hospitals.  The asthmatic response is a huge issue.  How many kids (or adults) do we think have asthma, when really they have a sulfite allergy/sensitivity?  They are on medications for all of their developmental lives for a condition that they were NOT born with (asthma), but one that we are inducing on them (sulfite toxicity).  There is a significant population of people that are told they have asthma, that if we took out preservatives from their diet, they would NOT have asthma anymore.  Think of the wasted doctor bills, needless medications, the number of ER scares, and worse, deaths!)  Extrapolate that to the more obscure issues of the non-asthmatic reactions.  How many people are not truly allergic to shellfish, but to sulfites.  Or any number of the other foods commonly preserved. My doctor thougth I was severely allergic to corn.  When in reality I was severely reacting to corn starch (sulfites).  How many people have hives/rashes from unknown causes, or think they have IBS, Crones, GERD, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, etc., etc., etc.)

“Although literature lists a range of figures as to what percent of the population is affected, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that one out of a hundred people is sulfite-sensitive, and of that group 5% have asthma. Another source states that 5% of asthmatics are sulfite sensitive, compared to only 1% of the nonasthmatic population (Knodel, 1997), while another source estimates that up to 500,000 (or less than .05% of the population) sulfite-sensitive individuals live in the United States (Lester, 1995).”  (MY NOTE:  Hmm, sounds like we don’t really know what’s going on with sufites.  Maybe we shouldn’t be putting in our food.  And equally as bad, in our tap water!)

“Symptoms of sulfite intolerance can occur within 5 minutes following parenteral exposure and within 15-30 minutes following oral exposure. Sensitive individuals vary in their degree of intolerance towards sulfites, with each having a specific threshold of exposure needed to elicit a reaction (Knodel, 1997). While the majority of reactions are mild, severe nonspecific signs and symptoms do occur on occasion. Although the precise mechanisms of the sensitivity responses to sulfites have not been completely elucidated, three have been implicated: inhalation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) generated in the stomach proceeding ingestion of sulfite-containing foods or beverages; deficiency in a mitochondrial enzyme; or an IgE-mediated immune response (Lester, 1995).”  Source:  (MY NOTE:  I get a flu-like reaction within about 10 minutes, and I’m down for the rest of the day and overnight.  I get nausea, clammy, fever, dizzy, heart palpitations, intestinal distress, etc. It’s a lot like when I get ‘glutened’, except to a lesser degree, and so far I have not vomited from it.  Perhaps that will come?  Along with this reaction is a lingering severe anxiety filled depression.  Now that I can identify and limit accidental sulfite reactions, the depression goes away in a day or two as the sulfites clear from my body.)

Where will we find sulfites?

When I was diagnosed as having Celiac Disease and struggling to figure out the gluten free diet, I relied heavily on gluten free processed convenience foods.  I thought they were “healthy” processed foods.  As it turns out they were not.  I ate several gluten free granola type bars each day.  Lara Bars, Kind Bars, etc.  All contained dried fruits and nuts (heavily preserved).  As well as gluten free breads and cookies, baking mixes, pastas, etc.  All with heavily preserved white flours like tapioca, corn and potato starches.  These were my new gluten free “safe foods”, which I am convinced, have ended up making me very sick due to the heavy sulfite load.

I want to share what I have learned about where sulfites are lurking.

NAMES FOR SULFITE added as a preservative – watch for on labeling

  • Sodium Sulfite (Na2SO3)
  • Sodium Bisulfite (NaHSO3)
  • Sodium Metabisulfite (Na2S2O5)
  • Sulfur Dioxide Gas (SO2)
  • Potassium Metabisultfite
  • Calcium Sulfite
  • Potassium Bisulfite
  • Calcium and Bisulfite

Foods with added sulfites: (Unless labeled as organic)


The following foods and drugs MAY contain sulfites, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Remember to check the product label.
Food Category Type of Food
Alcoholic Beverages Beer, cocktail mixes, wine, and wine coolers
Baked Goods Cookies, crackers, mixes with dried fruits or vegetables, pie crust, pizza crust, quiche crust, and flour tortillas
Beverage Bases Dried citrus fruit beverage mixes
Condiments and Relishes Horseradish, onion and pickle relishes, pickles, olives, salad dressing mixes, and wine vinegar
Confections and Frostings Brown, raw, powdered or white sugar derived from sugar beets
Modified Dairy Products Filled milk (a specially prepared skim milk in which vegetable oils, rather than animal fats, are added to increase its fat content)
Drugs Antiemetics (taken to prevent nausea), cardiovascular drugs, antibiotics, tranquilizers, intravenous muscle relaxants, analgesics (painkillers), anesthetics, steroids and nebulized bronchodilator solutions (used for treatment of asthma)
Fish and Shellfish Canned clams; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried shrimp; frozen lobster; scallops; dried cod
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Sulfite use banned (except for fresh potatoes)
Gelatins, Puddings, and Fillings Fruit fillings, flavored and unflavored gelatin, and pectin jelling agents
Grain Products and Pastas Cornstarch, modified food starch, spinach pasta, gravies, hominy, breadings, batters, noodle/rice mixes
Jams and Jellies Jams and jellies
Nuts and Nut Products Shredded coconut
Plant Protein Products Canned, bottled, or frozen fruit juices (including lemon, lime, grape, and apple); dried fruit; canned, bottled, or frozen dietetic fruit or fruit juices; maraschino cherries and glazed fruit
Processed Vegetables Vegetable juice, canned vegetables (including potatoes), pickled vegetables (including sauerkraut), dried vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, frozen potatoes, potato salad
Snack Foods Dried fruit snacks, trail mixes, filled crackers
Soups and Soup Mixes Canned seafood soups, dried soup mixes
Sweet Sauces, Toppings Corn syrup, maple syrup, fruit toppings, and high-fructose syrups such as corn syrup and pancake syrup
Tea Instant tea, liquid tea concentrates


  1. This document is FCS8787, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, F/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2005. Reviewed June 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
  2. Paul Grotheer, professor; Maurice Marshall, Ph.D., professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition; Amy Simonne, Ph.D., assistant professor, Family, Youth and Community Sciences; reviewed by Ronald H. Schmidt, Ph.D., professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, and Mary Keith, Ph.D., extension agent IV, Family and Consumer Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. Source:

Here are my personal notes in addition to the above list (FDA): 

  • Coconut – dried coconut, used for baking and in candy, is heavily preserved. I buy organic dried/shredded coconut from
  • Processed maple syrup products.
  • Most non organic flours and starches in the USA; including tapioca, potato starch and corn starch, and baking powder; and products made from these.
  • Any wet processed corn product – including corn starch, high fructose corn syrup and some corn flours.
  • Granulated and confectioner’s (powdered) sugar – beet sugar is sulfited to bleach it to that white color. Confectioner’s sugar, besides being made from bleached beet sugar, also contains corn starch. (Organic cane sugar is OK, and I use local raw honey whenever possible.)
  • Commercially caught shellfish and fish – sulfites are sprayed on to avoid “black mold” – and they do this ON THE BOAT; talk to someone at fish market or a local fisherman to find fish without preservatives. And subsequently canned fish, such as tuna, sardines, crab, etc.
  • Shrimp and lobster get an exceptionally high dose of sulfites.
  • Dairy products; even the vitamins A & D added to milk products may contain preservatives. I am able to tolerate organic dairy products.
  • Precut, dried, frozen or otherwise processed potatoes are heavily preserved to prevent browning. (unless organic) Fast food french fries are about the worst thing you can have.  Apparently the potato lobby got the preservative laws not to apply to them.  They can use more than what is legal for other foods of similar preparation.  (To keep the potatoes from turning brown.  Natural antioxidants would be too expensive, apparently.)  Look up stories of people having asthma attacks or even dying after eating fast food fries. Yet we feed them to our youngest children, even babies before they can talk.
  • Grapes – they are sprayed on the vine in the US to prevent mold.
  • Gelatin – the processing includes sulfites. Including gelcaps and filled capsules (vitamins and supplements). I’ve occasionally seen products labelled as using “sulfite free gelatine capsules”.
  • Dried fruit is heavily preserved, sometimes even the packaging is treated with preservatives for an extra dose – buy organic dried fruits only.
  • Popcorn – any popcorn at a movie theater is going to have sulfites as well as the non-organic microwave stuff – make your own.
  • Caramel coloring – this is produced by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high temperatures and pressures. What is produced is known as 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole. Those are also carcinogens.
  • Foods with citric acid; citric acid is usually made from corn (with preservatives), not citrus, since it is cheaper that way.
  • Meats containing a preservative pad. That pad under packaged meat that I always thought was for soaking up juice is a preservative packet. For many reasons, preservatives being just one, I recommend buying all meat from local farms.  Look for a farm where the animals are pastured most of the year, and fed mostly hay (for beef) even in winter. Where they are treated humanly, and are antibiotic and preservative free.  I am fortunate enough to have found such local farms in my area.  I buy beef, chicken (and eggs), turkey, pork and lamb from several local farms.  I am able to buy fish from our farmer’s market up to late fall.  Search out and support your local farmers.  When you buy in bulk, buying directly from a farm is very affordable, and sometimes averages less than what you pay per pound in the grocery store.  I purchased an upright freezer just for this purpose, and buy ½ pig and ¼ cow regularly.
  • Processed foods such as baked goods, condiments, dried and glacéed fruit (I.e., maraschino cherries), jam, and molasses, store-bought or commercial gravy, dehydrated or pre-cut or peeled potatoes, shrimp, and soup mix.
  • Beverages such as beer, wine, hard cider, fruit and vegetable juice, and tea (Papazian, 1996).

Foods that may or may not have sulfites:

  • Bread (you have to read the ingredients vigilantly!)
  • Chocolate (check for sugars, flavors, chocolate liqueur, corn or potato starch, milk products)
  • Wine, beer and most spirits (they do not have to tell you what is in beverages by law, so it is difficult to tell what liquor is derived from or what is added).
  • Frozen fish – besides being sprayed with sulfites on the boats, sometimes corn starch is put on frozen fish to keep it from drying out
  • Nuts – In the US they spray an anti fungal on processed nuts and often anti fungals are sprayed on the tree when the nuts are growing. This may have sulfites in it.
  • City water and many bottled water brands; Well water is usually fine, and Aquafina or other purified (reverse osmosis) bottled waters.  The excess chlorine in muncipal water is often bound up using some type of sulfite.  There is a regulation on the amount of residual chlorine that can be in drinking water when it comes out of your tap.  I am in the process of an inquiry to FDA whether their is a limit to the amount of residual sulfite that can be in drinking water when it comes out of your tap. 
  • Canola oil. Canola oil is actually rapeseed oil and it become rancid very quickly. They add “deodorizers” to it so you cannot smell the rancidity. Additionally canola oil goes through a process of caustic refining, degumming and bleaching. I cannot find exactly what they use for this process, but you and I both know what many things are bleached with – and even if it isn’t sulfites, it is some nasty chemicals adding to your toxic load. I currently use only organic extra virgin olive oil, even in baking. I can’t even taste it.
  • Salt – iodized salt has an anticaking agent made from corn cellulose (preserved), stick to sea salt)
  • Pepper (anything pre-ground likely has sulfites (to prevent clumping), but if you grind it fresh you should be OK – except black pepper, which produces naturally occurring sulfites in the fermentation process – white, green and red should be ok, though). You may be able to use organic black pepper, if you are not too sensitive.
  • Herbs – use organic and whole leaves instead of powdered. Sulfites are added as anti-clumping agents in many powdered herbs and you just don’t know what they are spraying on there in the non-organic variety. Perhaps keep a kitchen herb garden and use your own fresh herbs as much as possible.
  • Yogurt – yogurt itself is OK, just be sure to check for sugars or gelatin.
  • Salad dressings and condiments; I tend to make my own salad dressing with organic olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with herbs, and sea salt.
  • Non organic meats (you can get sulfites from whatever feed they give the animals. It may be injected with citric acid to keep it red and then there is something called meat glue used to hold together roasts and such.
  • Non dairy milk such as soy, rice, coconut, and almond are filled with preservatives, and additives, and they add vitamins from unknown sources. I have yet to find a fully organic brand, so I’ve been avoiding them altogether. Many people make their own nut milks, and there are recipes online.

The more obscure:

It would seem pretty straight forward to avoid anything with the word sulfite in it, but it is trickier than that. There are lots of ingredients in your food that can have hidden sulfites because they don’t really have to list ingredients of ingredients, or list sulfites if they are considered part of a “process”.

Here is a list of some of the more obscure places sulfites or other preservatives may be lurking:

Road side markets or small farm markets.  Although it is not legal to spray fresh fruits and vegetables with preservatives, I have found that that is not always the common understanding out there.  Some small farmers think that the no preservatives on fresh produce only applies to produce labelled as organic. That was enough to scare me into only purchasing organic foods, or at least to question farmers if their produce is sprayed.  Beyond the sulfite issue, pesticides can be used on fresh fruits and vegetables that are not organic.  That additional information was enough to seal the deal for me in my switch to organics.  (And beyond ingestion, what are pesticides and herbicides doing to our bees, wildlife, water, soil, etc.)

Citric acid. Watch for this in your canned goods. I buy only organic and without anything but sea salt. I.e., canned pinto beans. Most people think this is from citrus, but they make it cheaply from corn.

Lemon/lime juice concentrate – This is one of the most heavily preserved things you could have!

I have switched to all organic juices, such as Lakewood organic pomegranate juice.

Natural flavorings (yes, sulfites can be considered to be “natural”). I avoid all natural and artificial flavors, all preservatives, and all colorings/dyes. I avoid all natural and artificial flavors, all preservatives, and all colorings/dyes.





Food coloring

Tea bags and coffee filters – the cloth is bleached in sulfites to whiten (organic tea usually has non bleached bags. Or use loose leaf tea with an infuser). The same with coffee filters, use unbleached. Make sure to use organic coffee and tea anyway.

The pads that come under packaged meats – it is illegal to sulfite meat, but apparently this is a loophole

Herbal tinctures – alcohol based tinctures usually have corn alcohol that is preserved. I have been able to use organic pure vanilla extract without a problem.

Temporary ingredients – companies are allowed by law to use existing labels if they are changing an ingredient short term because the normal ingredient is not available.

I know this is a lot of information.  Again, I just wanted to get it out there ASAP.  I will smooth out the rough edges and add information as I learn it over time.  Thanks for reading and sharing!


My Safe Foods List

Food Allergies?  Do you have multiple food allergies but don’t know for sure what is bothering you? I recommend keeping a food log and doing some experiments.

Say you suspect you are having some reactions to egg.  Try eating a serving of egg all by itself, say mid-day on a weekend, without eating any other food for about an hour either side of eating the egg.  Write down your reactions after eating the egg.  Include gut symptoms, allergic reactions, hives, stuffiness, headaches, nausea, and anything you notice about your mood, such as anxiety or depression, heart palpitations.   Watch for dark circles under your eyes the following morning.

If it’s bothering you, take it off your list for now.  Remember that this is only temporary until you system settles down.

Use this same method after you system has settled, when you are adding things back in.  But try just a couple bites at a time.  Wait a day and then increase to a half serving or so, and if that agrees with you, try a full serving on another day.

Besides just eating the safe foods on my list, they were all organic (or in the case of meats, farm raised as naturally as possible, no hormones, antibiotics, grass fed or pasture raised).

I don’t know the mechanism of my allergic reactions.  But I do know that after switching to all organic foods, my allergies began to go away! 

Somehow processed foods are messing with our systems.  I meet more people every day with similar symptoms.

  • Are the chemicals damaging our mast cells, and making them degranulate too easily? (Mast cells release histamine.)
  • Are the chemicals killing off our good gut bacteria so we can no longer digest foods properly, and they get recognized as foreign?
  • Or is it the DNA of genetically modified food that our bodies are seeing as foreign?
  • Is it a combination of all the above or something entirely different?

Until we figure this out, the one diet that fits all is to go organic.  It doesn’t matter if you are gluten free, vegan, palio, or meat and potatoes, go ORGANIC!   

When I say I switched to all organic foods, I mean ALL ORGANIC foods.  No preservatives, flavorings or colorings. From my organic extra virgin olive oil and organic cane sugar to my gluten free baking soda (which is all I use for toothpaste).  I make my own bread, muffins and morning breakfast gruel.

Here is my safe foods list from when I was reacting to everything.  I eliminated everything else and ate these foods for about a month, until my system (allergic reactions) settled down.  It might be a good starting point for people who are reacting to many things.

Fruits & veggies (organic!)










lettuces and swiss chard,


Squashes and zucchini – all


Meats  –  As natural as possible.  If you can find farm raised meat, without hormones and antibiotics.   Grass fed beef, and free range chicken.  Lamb is easy to digest, again farm raised, organic, or as natural as possible.  Frozen is OK.

Watch out for that little preservative packet in meat.  (The little pad that I always thought was to soak up the excess juices, it’s a preservative pad!)





Beans/legumes (organic) – If canned, try to avoid citric acid (it’s not from citrus!), and get organic beans with only sea salt.

lima beans

pinto beans

white beans

navy beans

black-eyed peas

black beans


split peas

Rice   (organic) all, but no processed, flavoured or short cooking

Noodles (Organic and gluten free)

GF organic  rice cakes    Lundberg brown rice plain unsalted



Chia seed


Flours/meals (organic gluten free)







sorghum and black sorghum


bread homemade yeast free flatbreads or muffins made with the above organic flours and any other of your safe ingredients

oils- cold pressed organic

extra virgin olive oil

flaxseed oil

tea     (organic, and loose leaf or with unbleached tea bag)

white or green tea

nettle tea

herbal teas, that you tolerate (no flavorings)

coffee if you can tolerate (organic, and unbleached coffee filters) (I reacted to coffee at first, I tolerate fine now)

sugar organic cane sugar only

raw local honey


sea salt

Basil and holy basil


cumin seed

caraway seeds

ginger and red ginger

organic white pepper








Good luck and please let me know if this works for you.

How I settled my system


This is a summary of what I had to do to settle my system down from my multiple food allergies. In less than 7 months time I had developed 16 food allergies, with more developing each day!

Looking back, it appears that my problems were caused mainly by reactions to sulfites (or sulphites), a widely used preservative.  Preservatives are not required to be labelled on foods in the USA, unless they are over a certain amount in concentration.  This makes it impossible to know which foods contain preservatives and which do not, without a lot of work making phone calls or emailing companies.  In fact, if foods contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfites in the final product, they can legally be labelled as preservative free! I was able to work around this by buying only foods labelled as certified organic.   Organic foods do not contain preservatives.  They do not contain GMO’s either.

I also found that foods that are naturally high in histamines tend to make my allergic reactions worse.  I eliminated high histamine foods from my diet for about a month and then slowly started adding them back in one at a time.

Keeping a food journal was extremely helpful.  I kept track of all foods I ate, what brand or where I got them, my mood and my reactions each day, including the dastardly details of my gut/bowels.  Sometimes it takes a couple weeks to figure out if something is not sitting well with me.  A food journal is a lot of work, but it was a main tool in helping to figure out allergic triggers over time.  It is also helpful in recording my progress as I add foods back in.  I have been surprised by my results more than a few times.

I began taking an antihistamine every morning.  To avoid preservatives and fillers, etc., I have Claritin formulated for me at a local pharmacy.  It is just the active ingredient (the pharmacy special orders it for me) in olive oil.  I had to request that it was made up in olive oil, and without flavorings.  Even though Claritin is an over the counter medication, having it formulated at a pharmacy requires a prescription.

In addition to eliminating all additives from my diet, I try to also eliminate them from skin care products.  Chemicals are absorbed through the skin.  I find that using just organic olive oil or organic jojoba oil on my skin, rather than lotion, works well for me.  I use gluten free baking soda as toothpaste.  I am also switching to organic soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.  I am finding I like the natural products better anyway!  Organic witch hazel is a good topical remedy for those whose reactions include a skin rash.

Finally, I’m trying to add in things to my diet that naturally lower histamine and/or are anti-inflammatory.

The hardest part of this is that I cannot eat out at all.  It was hard before anyway, because I have Celiac disease and am very sensitive to any gluten; but I now need gluten free AND all organic foods.  Someday, I hope this type of restaurant will be the norm.  Even if we have to start them ourselves!

I truly believe that people like me are not sick…our food is sick!  We are reacting because our bodies are desperately trying to get our attention.  My allergist said that when he started his practice 20 years ago, his having a patient with a food allergy was rare.  His patients came in with hay fever/pollen and pet allergies.  Now he says food allergies are the new normal.  What has changed in the last 20 years?  OUR FOOD!  Eating organic food again is the only way out of this downward spiral.

My Story – Allergic to food

organic foodI want to share my story with the hope that others will also share their stories and we can all help each other maneuver through, and even heal ourselves from, our multiple ‘food allergies’.

In the spring and summer of 2014, I suddenly became allergic to many foods.  I was not feeling well in general, was losing weight, and had sporadic diarrhea. My blood-work all looked normal.  The previous fall I had went to see an allergist who conducted skin test allergy testing.  I was found to be somewhat allergic to egg (level 3).  I eliminated egg from my diet but my health continued to deteriorate.

I went back to my allergist, who ran a second skin allergy test.  Just 7  months between my first allergy skin test and my second, I was found to have 16 more food allergies!  This time corn was high (level 4); and I had quite a few level 3 allergies: tree nuts: Brazil, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, crab, salmon, trout, pork, coconut, raspberry, avocado, onion, spinach, casein, and oat grain.    

From this list my allergist also suspected a sulfite allergy.  To test his theory, he had me make one glass of lemonade from one tsp Real Lemon juice (you know the one, the green glass bottle in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store). Apparently ‘Real Lemon’ lemon juice is full of preservatives.   Drinking the ‘lemonade’ did cause gastrointestinal distress.  My allergist declared me allergic to sulfites, along with the other foods on my list, and did not think my situation was unusual.  I knew something weird was going on…17  food allergies and a sulfite allergy developed in under a year’s time!  (As a side note, if you can your own tomatoes, do NOT use “Real Lemon” brand lemon juice as the acid!)

It get’s worse!  Soon after the second skin test, I started to become allergic to just about everything, even things that were not reactive on my skin allergy test. Things like banana, bell peppers, all milk products, chamomile and coffee! From meal to meal I was afraid to eat, afraid of what I would become allergic to next. My reaction was either intestinal or in my ears and neck (stuffed up ears, like when you get a bad cold).  Though I know many people also get hives or a rash, or even anaphylaxis as a reaction.

My journey since then has been a hard one, and I’ll write about that in another post.  But for now let me skip to my situation at the present time.

By eating all organic foods (eliminating preservatives, pesticides and other chemicals), and by taking an antihistamine every morning (formulated at a pharmacy, with just the active ingredient in an olive oil base – to avoid fillers, colors, etc.), and by temporarily eliminating foods that are naturally high in histamine or sulfite, I have settled my system back down and am regaining my health.

I have found that I am not actually allergic to any of the food items on the skin test. For example, I can now eat organic corn without any problem at all. However, a small amount of corn starch (which is heavily preserved) will make me very ill.  I have determined that I may have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – MCAS (or sometimes called Mast Cell Activation Disorder – MCAD);  In very simple terms, my mast cells, which release histamine, are overactive.  My triggers for this are preservatives, especially sulfites, and also foods with naturally occurring sulfites, and foods that are high in histamine.

My situation has made me wonder if any of the many people being diagnosed with multiple food allergies are actually truly allergic to the foods themselves, or if their systems are just reacting to toxins in our foods and environment, such as sulfites?  And are our bodies reacting to a lack of nutrition from eating non-organic foods?

In my own case, I found that when I removed foods with preservatives, colorings, flavorings, hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs from my diet, replaced by high nutrient organic foods, my food allergies began to clear up.  I no longer react to the foods on my skin allergy list, such as egg, corn, nuts, casein, etc.

I still get a bad “allergic” reaction when I accidentally have sulfites (it’s like getting the flu within 10 minutes), but I can eat all of the foods that previously I was ‘allergic’ to.  Please note that sulfites can be in municipal water sources, as it is used to bind up excess chlorine.  I am fine drinking well water but had a problem with city water, and do not drink it anymore.  If you have city water and find you are sensitive to sulfites, you may have to get a purification system or use bottled water for drinking and cooking.  Even if you are not sensitive to sulfites, but have other allergy-type problems, it may be worth looking into purified water.  Like sulfites, chlorine and fluoride are not good for us either.

In summary, I believe changing to an all organic foods diet, along with drinking and cooking with clean, chemical free water are the most important things we can do for our health.  If you are having food allergy issues, or irritable bowel syndrome or other similar issues, and you implement these changes, please let us know your results.

Please share your own story.  Let’s help each other return to good health!