holiday party

6 Tips for Thriving at Parties, Holidays, and Special Events for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Do you feel like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance keeps you from enjoying special occasions?

I have both Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance myself. I used to feel left out at parties. I remember one party where everyone else was enjoying guacamole, shrimp cocktails, and lots of booze.

But I knew if I cheated, I would feel so sick. And it definitely wasn’t worth it to me.

I went home feeling really down about my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.

But then I decided that I didn’t need to have guac or a glass of champagne to have a good time. I figured out how to enjoy a party and still feel healthy the next day.

Are you navigating holiday events, birthday parties, or any other social occasions? You can use these tips to make sure you have fun without the histamine or mast cell hangover.

Tip #1 Bring Your Own Food when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Offer to bring a few dishes to parties and family gatherings. This way you are sure you will have something to eat.

If the host insists s/he has everything covered, you can let them know you have some significant food allergies. And tell them it would really help you to bring food you know can eat without feeling sick. I don’t get into the difference between allergies and intolerances. I just let people know I have some special food needs.

Bonus tip – grab your food early and don’t eat anything that was made the day before or has been sitting out. See #4 for more about this.

Tip #2: How to Not Feel Deprived at Special Events when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Instead of making ho-hum dishes, make something fun!

There are a lot of exciting low histamine dishes you can bring for special occasions. This way you won’t feel deprived.

Check out these low histamine recipe ideas:

All the Mast Cell 360 Low Histamine Recipes

No time to cook for the event?

Consider finding a personal chef who specializes in food allergies – they are more affordable than you might think.

You can share the Mast Cell 360 Low Histamine Foods list with the chef:

Mast Cell 360 Low Histamine Diet Foods List

Tip #3: Alcohol Solutions for when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Alcohol can be a big trigger for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. Alcohol in general lowers the histamine-degrading diamine oxidase enzyme in the gut. This is why I rarely have an alcoholic drink anymore.

Instead of alcohol, drink sparkling water (like Pellegrino or unflavored Perrier). You can add a splash of fresh lemon or lime, if you tolerate those.

Don’t want to give up alcohol entirely? Then, be sure to choose a lower histamine option. 

Related Article: Lower Histamine Wines – Can It Be True? What to Know When you Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance 

Wine and beer are both very high histamine. And whiskey, gold tequila, bourbon, and dark rums are all aged. This spells high histamine as well.

Colorings and flavorings in many alcohols are big mast cell problems. This includes all the flavored vodkas, St. Germaine, Irish Cream, and many others.

If you feel you must have a drink, you can mix sparkling water with a light splash of a lower histamine spirit. These alcohols will be your best bet:

  • Clear, unflavored, top-shelf vodka like Gray Goose or Prairie
  • Silver/Blanco top-shelf tequila like Patron Silver or 1800 Silver
  • Top shelf, unflavored Gin like Hendricks or Tanqueray
  • White, unflavored rum like Bacardi Silver or Appleton White

For a mixer, consider sparkling water, stevia, and a little 100% pomegranate or cranberry juice.

Try my Lower Histamine Elderflower Sparkling Wine Cocktail (plus Mocktail option) Recipe & also low FODMAP, low lectin, low oxalate.

Tip #4: Watch the Leftover High Histamine Trap!

Leftovers = high histamine. The longer something has sat out of the counter or in the fridge means exponentially increasing bacterial levels. These bacteria produce histamine.

Especially be careful of foods at parties. The host may have prepared foods a day or two in advance. And party food often sits out for a few hours.

Both of these cause bacteria levels to rise. And those bacteria produce a lot of histamine.

So just be mindful of this when eating food at parties. Or bring your own food that you’ve prepared to be low histamine.

Also, think about your own leftovers. Don’t put those in the fridge. Instead, freeze all your leftovers! Then defrost and eat immediately. Avoid thawing in the fridge.

Tip #5: Avoid Overeating if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Just the act of digesting creates an increase in histamine levels. Even with the lowest histamine foods. And the more you eat, the more histamine you produce.

So don’t overeat if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.

Try eating slowly and chewing thoroughly. Put your fork down between bites to slow you down.

Another trick I use before big meals (like holiday meals) is to eat a liquid meal earlier in the day – like soup or a smoothie.

Liquids are easier to digest and produce less histamine.

That way your histamine bucket is less full when you go to your event.

Tip #6: Don’t forget about stress

Special events, holidays, and birthday parties can be stressful. So watch your stress levels. It is easy to forget how much stress can worsen both Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.

And there is such a thing as “good” stress. This happens even if you have a great time. A lot of excitement can increase some mast cell activation.

Give yourself permission to leave parties early or even just step away for a break. Think about quality time over quantity time. If you are pushing past when you feel well, you aren’t really the best company anyway.

You also might want to drive separately or give yourself permission to take Uber or Lyft home. This way you aren’t pushing yourself to stay because others aren’t ready to leave.

Be sure to take care of your own health first. You’ll be better company. And you certainly don’t want to overdo it at a work party or big family gathering. This could then cause you to miss time with your closest friends and family. Good self-care is important to model for your kids too.

I highly recommend practicing some breathing exercises before and after events. This breathing practice has been shown in research to help calm Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance down:

Breathing: The Mind Body Connection in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

With these tips, you should be able to enjoy special occasions without feeling worse for it. Have a great time and remember that you deserve to take care of your health!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite tips for parties and events?

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