Rice Bran Oil

rice bran oilRice Bran Oil- the “rediscovered” cooking oil with a high smoke point.

What is rice bran oil?

Imagine a grain of whole, freshly-harvested rice, sliced in half lengthwise and magnified many times. You would see a hard outer layer covering the whole rice seed, protecting it from the environment. This is called the husk, the hull, or chaff.

Inside this hard outer layer is a second layer called the bran, or inner husk. This is where rice bran oil is found. Bran represents only about 8% of the weight of the whole rice grain, but contains about 3/4 of the total oil. The bran is itself composed of four layers, and also includes the rice germ, or embryo. You’ve heard of wheat germ right? All grains have a “germ” sandwiched between the endosperm and the bran layer.

In the middle of the rice grain is the endosperm. This is the starchy part that we call “white rice” when the outer layers have been stripped off in a processing plant.

People in many Asian countries have been producing and cooking with rice bran oil for many years. The oil can be extracted from the bran either by pressing the steam-heated bran between heavy rollers or screw presses called “oil mills”, or by using solvents to chemically separate the oil from the bran. What’s left behind is a product called “defatted rice bran”. After the oil has been extracted, it must be purified.

What’s special about rice bran oil?

“Rice bran oil, not being a seed‐derived oil, has a composition qualitatively different from common vegetable oils.” [Kaimal et al., 2002]

  • High smoke point: Rice bran oil has a high smoke point of 232 °C (450 °F), which means it is appropriate for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying.
  • Mild flavor: The oil has a mild to neutral taste, so it does not overpower the flavor of other foods.It is light, versatile and pleasant to use in  salad dressings, baking dips etc.
  • Balance: The oil has an ideal balance of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). In fact it contains 37% polyunsaturated fats and 45 % monounsaturated fats, almost a perfect 1:1 ratio.
  • Suitable for people with histamine intolerance: Rice bran oil is listed as a safe food for sufferers of HIT.
  • Health benefits: The oil is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. It contains abundant vitamin E complex, tocopherols and antioxidants known as gamma aryzanol, as well as quantities of phytosterols, polyphenols and sqnalene. It is considered to be “heart friendly” and may help to lower cholesterol.
  • Keeping qualities: Rice bran oil has a very good shelf life compared with other cooking oils.

Keep some rice bran oil in your pantry for healthier eating!


Reference: Origin of problems encountered in rice bran oil processing. Thengumpillil Narayana Balagopala Kaimal et.al. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. 9 April 2002. https://doi.org/10.1002/1438-9312(200204)104:4<203::AID-EJLT203>3.0.CO;2-X

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Cauliflower – the versatile vegetable

CauliflowerCauliflower – it’s better than you think

We decided to write about cauliflower in this post because:

  • it’s permitted on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet
  • it’s one of the vegetables that’s so easy to hate if it’s prepared wrongly
  • it’s good for you
  • lately, people have been coming up with inventive ways to make it actually delicious.
  • it’s very low in Calories, which is useful for people who want to lose weight

Wikipedia tells us that cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) originated in the Northeast Mediterranean. “Cauliflower is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called “curd” (similar appearance to cheese curd).”Purple cauliflower

There are four major groups of cauliflower:

  • Italian, which includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.
  • Northern European annuals, which include Erfurt and Snowball.
  • Northwest European biennial, which include Angers and Roscoff.
  • Asian, a tropical type used in China and India. It includes Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Fractal cauliflowerDid you know that there are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties of cauliflower used around the world? Or that cauliflower comes in colors other than creamy white? The other colors of cauliflower include:

  • Orange, whose beautiful color is provided by beta-carotene, a provitamin A compound. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.
  • Green, which is also known as “broccoflower”. This comes in the normal cloud-shaped head (curd) or in a fractal spiral curd called “Romanesco Broccoli”. Varieties of the cloud-shaped green cauliflower include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.
  • Purple, whose stunning color is given to it by anthocyanins, plant pigments that are found in other plants, including red cabbage, red plums and red grapes. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.

How to keep the Nutrients in Cauliflower

Cauliflower heads can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. According to Wikipedia, “Boiling reduces the levels of cauliflower compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes.” However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.”

Romanesco CauliflowerWonderful Ways with Cauliflower

Maybe your Mom always used to serve up cauliflower looking like a white, watery, blob on the plate, but these days there are a lot of great ways to use this versatile food, such as

  • cauliflower “rice”
  • cauliflower”steaks”
  • vegan “cauliflower cheese”
  • creamy, savory cauliflower whip
  • cauliflower salad
  • cauliflower soup
  • roasted cauliflower
  • cauliflower dip
  • mashed cauliflower
  • white sauce made out of cauliflower
  • and even cauliflower chocolate pudding!

There are loads of ideas on the internet – just type “cauliflower recipes” into your search engine. Make sure you check the other ingredients and if there’s anything histamine-unfriendly in there, either leave it out or substitute a similar, histamine-friendly ingredient.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

What’s the deal with cashews and histamine?

cashews and histamineCashews and Histamine

Cashews. They’re delicious, nutritious and versatile. But can they be eaten by people with histamine intolerance (HIT)?

Opinions are divided. One blogger, who says she is a “holistic health coach”, actively encourages people with HIT to eat cashews. On the other hand, Dr. Amy Myers, writing for Mindbodygreen, lists cashews under “Histamine-Rich Foods”, as does the website for Histamine Intolerance Awareness UK.

Histamine intolerance specialist Dr Janice Joneja says: “Unless the person is allergic to them, the following are generally safe on the histamine-restricted diet as long as they are free from any additional ingredients – Pure nuts and seeds, which includes sunflower seeds, cashew nuts and coconut and their derivatives such as coconut or cashew milk. The only seeds restricted are pumpkin seeds.”

Other histamine experts insist that coconut and all nuts and seeds should be avoided. Indeed, the world of histamine intolerance can be confusing!

Which is exactly why “Is Food Making You Sick” is all about the “STRICTLY Low Histamine Diet”. According to the old saying, “It is better to be safe than sorry”, this book lists as “safe” only the foods upon which all reputable authorities agree. Not everyone agrees that cashews can be included in a low histamine diet so we recommend that people with HIT should avoid them.

Of course, the low histamine diet is not a life-long diet. It is a diet to lower your histamine to safe levels. When you’ve been on the diet for long enough to feel better, you can gradually and slowly re-introduce small quantities of additive-free cashews (or other histamine-rich foods) into your diet, while carefully monitoring your health.

Wishing you health and happiness!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Low-histamine foods are science-based

The List of Low-histamine Foods is Scientifically Researched.

Maybe you’re on a low-carb diet. Maybe you’re on a sugar-free diet, or an anti-inflammatory diet, or a fruitarian diet, or some other popular eating regime. That is your choice, but if you are histamine intolerant, your symptoms are not likely to subside unless you choose low-histamine foods and avoid foods (and external factors such as stress and pollution) that raise your body’s histamine levels.

Some popular diets are negotiable. Take the Paleo diet, for example – there is debate about whether Stone Age humans ate grains. Paleontologists have found traces of grains on ancient stone cooking tools dating back 105,000 years.

[Science. 2009 Dec 18;326(5960):1680-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1173966. Mozambican grass seed consumption during the Middle Stone Age. Mercader J1.]

Some people say that grains can be eaten on a Paleo Diet, while others insist that grains are forbidden. In other words, the foods included in this diet can be considered “negotiable”.

The foods in a gluten-free diet, on the other hand, are non-negotiable. Either there’s gluten in the food or there isn’t. Your body  certainly knows the difference! Scientists have tested foods to reveal their gluten content.

Don’t mix your diets!

The same applies to low-histamine foods. For his book “Is Food Making You Sick?” James L Gibb did not “invent” the low-histamine food list. The foods on the list have been selected because they have been scientifically proven to be low in histamine or low in factors that cause histamine release. These foods do not necessarily conform to the pattern of other diets. However this is due to sheer necessity!

As one Amazon commenter said in reply to a reviewer who complained about the book’s food list:

“Go ahead and follow your “anti-inflammatory” diet but it’s not the same as a low histamine diet. Choose which diet you need to follow, you can’t be on both. If you’re not histamine intolerant, then don’t follow a low histamine diet. The low histamine foods in the book were not selected on the basis of the latest food fads and crazes. They were selected on the scientific basis of how they affect people’s histamine levels. This is a fixed property of foods and cannot be changed according to people’s whims. Just because you don’t like to eat a certain food does not mean it is not low in histamine.”

Of course you can select your favorite foods from within the low-histamine food list, although we do encourage you to eat as wide a range of foods as possible from within the list, to maximize nutrition. If the range of foods seems very different from whatever diet you’ve previously been following, maybe that’s the reason why your symptoms are continuing. The Strictly Low Histamine Diet does not necessarily resemble any other diet. People who are NOT histamine-intolerant can go ahead and choose some popular diet craze to follow, but many of us do not have that luxury. As soon as our histamine levels rise, we suffer.

As mentioned before in this blog, following too many diets at the same time is not a good idea. It can overly-restrict your food choices. Find out if you’re histamine-intolerant (it’s easy to do, as the book describes). If you are, then there’s an excellent chance that going low-histamine will help you return to good health.

Bon appetit!

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Sugar and a Low Histamine Diet

sugar in a low histamine dietSugary or Sugar-free?

“SUGAR IS THE NEW FAT!”

This is the latest slogan popular in the wonderful and sometimes weird (not to mention confusing) world of food fads and fashions.

Fat used to be “bad” and then it  became “good”. Carbohydrates used to be “good” until they did a 180 degree turn and became viewed as “bad”. Evil, fattening coconuts were completely out of the question for dieters until they too turned to the Good Side, gaining a halo and angel wings. Hardly anybody used to even know what gluten was until it, too, joined the ranks of the Foods of Darkness. Wine keeps switching sides, so that it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe.

Not only can food fashions be confusing, they can also be dangerous. “Orthorexia” is defined as “an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy,” and “a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods that they believe to be harmful.” {Google definitions]

The danger with following too many food-exclusion diets simultaneously, is that people can become orthorexic.

Recently a reader wrote to us saying that the recipes in “Is Food Making You Sick?” contained too much sugar for their liking.

The book is about Histamine Intolerance. It is not about a sugar free diet. It is not about a low-carb, gluten-free, low-FODMAP, lactose-free, vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian, specific carbohydrate, ketogenic, diabetic, detox, low-fat or any other kind of diet.

It is virtually impossible to cater for the entire range of popular diets, all in one book whose purpose is to focus on histamine intolerance. We have done our best, however! Many of our recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free vegetarian or vegan.

Besides, the fact is that sugar is not a food that is high in histamine, or that provokes a histamine reaction in the body, or that blocks the breakdown of histamine.

Having said that, it is important to note that Dr Alison Vickery states that histamine tolerance can be improved through the stabilization of blood sugar levels. She writes, “… unstable blood sugar can increase histamine levels, and histamine levels can progress the development of diabetes or insulin resistance.”

So, while sugar as a food in itself is not directly a problem for people with histamine intolerance, eating too much of it can cause a “spike” in your blood sugar levels. A spike is generally followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar levels as the body releases insulin to cope with your sugar intake. These zig-zagging spikes and sharp drops are what is meant by “unstable blood sugar”.

To stabilize your blood sugar levels:

  • Avoid eating large quantities of sugar and foods containing refined carbohydrates (such as sodas, candy, cakes etc.)
  • Choose foods that are low on the glycemic index.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners altogether.
  • If you want extra low-calorie sweetness, choose stevia.

Stevia sugar alternativeAlternatives to Table Sugar

People who prefer to eat less sugar can easily adapt the Strictly Low Histamine Diet to their needs. Here are some suggestions:

  • Choose, from the book, recipes that contain no sugar.
  • For recipes containing sugar, substitute rice malt syrup. Anti-sugar advocates say that the main problem with sugar is its fructose content. Rice malt syrup (also known as brown rice syrup) is fructose-free.
  • Alternatively, substitute stevia for sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the “sweet-leaf” plant, and it does not cause a spike in blood sugars when consumed.

We hope this post has been helpful!

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hemp seed

hemp seedHemp seed: a nutritious, high protein food

Hemp seed has been given the green light for inclusion in a low histamine diet by the Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI).

According to the official SIGHI list of “Histamine Potential of Foods and Additives”, hemp seed is “Compatible [with a low histamine diet]. No symptoms [have been observed] after consumption of an[sic] usual quantity.”

The book “Is Food Making You Sick?” lists hemp seed as being fine for histamine intolerance sufferers to eat when they wish to lower their histamine levels.

However, as with all foods, there may be some people who have an adverse reaction to hemp seed. This is uncommon, but if you believe you’ve reacted badly to any food, it’s wise to avoid it altogether for a week or more, then gradually re-introduce small quantities into your diet to see whether you can tolerate it. Every body is different!

In some cases it might not be the food itself that’s causing problems, but the way it has been processed. Choose to eat whole foods, which are either unprocessed or lightly processed, with as few additives as possible.

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious. They are rich in healthful fats, protein and  minerals. They also taste delicious, with a pleasant, nutty flavor.

Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seed

These seeds are a source of the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6),  alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acid, all of which benefit human health.

They are also a good source of high quality protein. In fact, they are considered to contain “complete protein”, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids needed as the body’s building blocks.

Hemp seeds also contain vitamin E and they are rich in minerals such as  sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc.

Whole hemp seeds are rich in both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber. This does not hold true, however, for “de-hulled” or “shelled” hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts), from which the fiber-rich outer casing has been removed.

Edible hemp seeds belong to the cannabis (marijuana) plant family. Marijuana and THC are far from being benign substances; habitual use of this drug can lead to permanent brain damage and psychosis. Hemp, on the other hand, is a useful plant. The seeds contain only trace amounts of THC, the compound that causes the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Strictly Low Histamine Diet: a tool, not a lifestyle

A tool, not a lifestyle

Strictly low histamine - a powerful toolIs the Strictly Low Histamine Diet ‘too limited’?
In answer to this question – no. The diet contains all the macronutrients and micronutrients needed for good health.
But of course the diet is limited to some extent! It is limited to foods that have been scientifically proven to be low in histamine, or histamine-triggering substances, or DAO-blocking biochemicals.

We didn’t invent the list, simply pulling it out of thin air – it is Mother Nature who has devised this list, not human beings. Furthermore, it is clearly stated in the book – the Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not meant to be followed in the long-term. It was never intended to be a life-long diet. It should be used as a tool to help lower your histamine to safe levels, after which other foods can be gradually reintroduced.

On the other hand, we occasionally receive messages from readers who say they think there are too many foods included on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet. They are worried about eating sugar, or carbs in general, or other foodstuffs and food groups that are permitted on the low histamine diet.

Everyone who seeks better health through diet must be applauded. Remember, however – James Gibb did not invent the list of low histamine foods; he merely catalogued it. Sugar does not trigger a histamine response, not does it contain high levels of histamine or DAO-blockers. Whether or not it is desirable to eat sugar at all is another question entirely. The purpose of “Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low Histamine Diet” is to focus on histamine.

Low-histamine ingredients such as sugar, maple syrup and pasteurized honey, are unlikely to trigger your symptoms, but if you prefer to avoid sugar while on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet, do so by all means; it’s your choice.

Just remember that the Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not intended to be followed unremittingly for the rest of your life. It is a powerful and helpful tool, to be used when needed.

Wishing you good health!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How to make vegetables taste better

Vegetable quicheVegetables: they can be delicious!

We all know we need to eat more vegetables. They are good for us, and if we are trying to lose weight, they can help. But a lot of us don’t like them. How can we change this?

Tip #1: Choose baby vegetables. The flavor of baby ones is less intense and often they are sweeter.

Tip #2: Drizzle a little ‘extra virgin’ olive oil on your veggies.

Tip #3: Blanch your vegetables to prevent over-strong flavors from developing.  Steam them for 30 to 60 seconds, then take them off the heat and plunge them into cold water.

Tip #4 Buy fresh from farmers’ markets – or grow your own

Tip #5  Disguise them in breads, quiches, even cakes.

Tip #6: Think about veggies doing you good. It becomes easier for people to tolerate foods that are good for them but whose flavour they don’t like, if they understand why the foods are good for them. For best results, this should be combined with repeated, regular exposure to those foods.  [Source: Leslie J. Stein, PhD, Science Communications, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia.]

Tip #7: Stir-frying vegetables preserves their fresh flavors and crispy textures.

Check out our book “Is Food Making You Sick?” for low-histamine vegetable recipes.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Vitamin K2

Leafy vegetablesWhat’s the buzz about Vitamin K2?

One reader recently wrote in to say,

“Thank you for all of your work and sharing it with us on your website. I think I have a histamine allergy. How can I be sure this is the cause of my health problems and not something else? Also, how can I be sure to get enough Vitamin K-2 when I can’t eat cultured foods? Thank you!”

Our replies might help others with the same questions, so here they are:

Self diagnosis

One way of finding out whether you are histamine intolerant is to take antihistamines (follow the manufacturer’s directions) and see if they decrease your symptoms. If symptoms are severe you may need to take them for a few days or even weeks before you nitice an improvement. You might also have to take an H1 and an H2 receptor antagonist simultaneously.

Read more about antihistamines on our blog, here.

Getting enough Vitamin K2

Egg yolks are rich in Vitamin K2, but more importantly, studies have shown that Vitamin K1 is metabolized into K2 within our bodies.
See the Vitamin Council’s article ‘Dr. Cannell on vitamin K2’
Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, collards and turnip greens are packed with K1, so rest assured that if you eat plenty of them you should be getting all the K2 your body needs. Note: people with histamine intolerance should avoid spinach.

Good Health to All!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

High Protein, Gluten-Free, Nutritious Teff

teffDelicious Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake

Protein is an important building block for our bodies.
People with histamine intolerance need to get the best possible nutrition while simultaneously avoiding foods rich in histamine, histamine-forming compounds and DAO-suppressing compounds. Many people with histamine intolerance prefer to avoid gluten.

Some excellent gluten-free low-histamine sources of protein include some of the ‘ancient’ cereals and pseudo-cereals that have become popular in the western world, including:

  • Teff
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Wild rice
  • Millet

The excellent website Skip The Pie gives a nutritional analysis for each of these foods and more. For example, teff, cooked, contains 15% high quality protein.

Teff

Teff is native to Ethiopia and according to Wikipedia, “Eragrostis tef has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium. It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller and cooks faster, thus using less fuel.

” Teff is gluten-free (and therefore can be consumed by celiacs) and has a high concentration of different nutrients, a very high calcium content, and significant levels of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, aluminum, iron, copper, zinc, boron and barium, and also of thiamine. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, including all 8 essential amino acids for humans, and is higher in lysine than wheat or barley.”

It also tastes good , with a mild, slightly nutty flavor, and it can be used in a multitude of recipes. A national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea is “Injera”, a sourdough-risen flatbread made from teff flour. It has a unique, slightly spongy texture, and it is generally eaten with vegetable stews. The process of making injera involves fermentation and is thus unsuitable for people with histamine intolerance; however delicious high-protein gluten-free porridges, pancakes and breads can be made with teff flour or the tiny, fine teff grains. The porridge can be flavoured with coconut, honey, fresh or frozen figs, apples or any low-histamine foods you prefer.

Experiment with unusual foods and a whole world of flavor and nutrition can open up to you!

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather