Are You Raising Your Histamine Levels with These Meat Handling Mistakes?
Hello, everyone! I’m always looking for new resources and tips to share with you. Like these tips on low histamine meat.
When you have Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, food storage and preparation are important for keeping histamine levels in foods low. Especially when it comes to meat.
This is because bacteria grows very quickly on meat.
Some of my clients make histamine mistakes when it comes to handling meat. And I want to share those with you, so you don’t do the same!
I’ll also share some solutions for the best ways to keep those histamine levels in meats low.
I’ve seen hundreds of clients who were suffering with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. When we first evaluated their food diaries, all were making at least one of the mistakes below.
And they all had big improvements once they started following the tips on the best ways to handle meat and fish to keep it low histamine!
So, what are the common mistakes and what can you do? Let’s get started with mistake #1.
It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not healthcare or medical advice. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. If you have any medical condition, it is critical you work under the care and guidance of a licensed medical provider.
Most Common Low Histamine Meat Handling Mistakes
These are the top 10 mistakes I see with clients. Don’t worry, I have some simple suggestions to help with each of them!
Mistake #1: Buying Conventionally Raised Meat and Farmed Fish
Conventionally raised meat and farmed fish can have high levels of antibiotics, toxins, and growth hormones. These can all raise histamine levels.
Further, the animals are raised in stressful conditions. These means they are full of stress hormones. And they are fed grains.
So, this gets passed to you when you consume these foods.
And those things can lead to inflammation in your body when you consume them. This spells bad news for mast cells.
Instead: Buy pasture raised meat and wild caught fish.
Pasture raised means the animals were raised outdoors and fed on grass, not grains (in the case of cattle).
They are also raised without growth hormones or antibiotics. This method is more humane for the animals. And there are many health benefits for you, too.
Pasture raised meats and wild caught fish have higher levels of Omega 3s. Omega 3s are good for your mast cells (and help keep histamine lower).
And pasture raised meats are also raised without chemicals that wreak havoc on your body.
But it is important to find a reputable source. Some farmers use the term “pasture raised” lightly.
Note: “Natural” and organic meats are still fed grains. Natural and organic do not mean the same as pasture raised.
The next tips tell you how to find low histamine, pasture raised meats and low histamine, wild caught fish.
Mistake #2: Buying Unfrozen Meat or Fish from the Grocery Meat Department
Histamine levels build up very fast in meat and fish, especially unfrozen meat and fish.
And they can sit unfrozen at the grocery for a week or more. And who knows how old it was before it made it to the store?
Instead: Buy meat as fresh as possible or immediately frozen after slaughter.
I get pasture raised meat from a local farmer. He freezes the meat directly after slaughter.
It is frozen when I pick it up, and it stays in my freezer until thawing time. This has worked best for me.
But not everybody can find a local farm. What can you do then? I have some tips for you on that next!
Mistake #3: Giving Up If You Don’t Have Access to a Local Farmer
Having MCAS or Histamine Intolerance means we have to work a little harder to source our food.
Don’t give up! Your health is worth getting the best protein sources you can for your body.
Instead: Purchase with Northstar Bison
If you don’t have access to a local farmer who freezes right after slaughter, you have a really good online option.
Northstar Bison has these low histamine options:
- Unaged Bison
Meats frozen right after slaughter have the lowest histamine levels. Northstar Bison tests their meat for histamine and all non aged meats came back at negligible histamine levels. So, even our most sensitive community members have tolerated their meats very well.
If you can’t buy your meat through Northstar Bison, then call the store where you purchase meat. Ask them what day the meat arrives. Let them know you have a health issue and need to buy your meat as fresh as possible.
When you arrive at the store, ask for the meat that came in that day. Remind them you called earlier because of your health issues.
Only buy the meat that came in that day. Then either freeze the raw meat or cook the meat right away and freeze the leftovers.
Just remember this isn’t quite as low histamine as buying it frozen after slaughter.
So, now you have some ideas for where to get lower histamine meat. But did you know some meat is higher histamine than others? Keep reading to find out why.
Mistake #4: Buying Beef
Almost all beef is aged. That makes it very high histamine.
It is usually best to avoid beef unless you can get it unaged and frozen immediately after slaughter. This is really rare and hard to find.
Instead: Choose pasture raised, unaged, frozen meats. I like the elk from Northstar Bison as a beef substitute.
You can also opt for any of the other low histamine meat options. Chicken is a popular favorite.
Anything that isn’t aged will be a lower histamine option than something that is aged.
But there are meat processing practices beside aging that can also raise histamine levels. Let’s take a look at another one – ground meat.
Mistake #5: Buying Ground Meats
Ground meats collect bacteria faster because of increased surface area.
I’ve tried ground pork multiple times from my tried-and-true local farmer. I hoped it would be ok since it was frozen right away.
But I reacted badly each time. So, skip the pre-ground meats. Even the frozen ones.
Instead: Grind your own meat at home using a meat grinder.
I’ve used the meat grinder attachments that came with my food processor and juicer. What if you don’t have those appliances and still really want breakfast sausage?
This meat grinder is a good option.
Now you have a few ideas to help with buying meat. But what about fish? It can be tricky. So, I have some tips for low histamine fish options you can read about next.
Mistake #6: Eating Fish
Fish and shellfish need to be gutted and flash frozen very quickly in order to be safe for mast cell and histamine issues.
Then the fish has to be frozen on the boat to keep histamine levels down.
Otherwise, fish and seafood are some of the highest histamine foods! Fish and seafood that isn’t immediately gutted and frozen can be your worst histamine enemy.
Fish is usually added back later in my low histamine diet. But what if you really love fish?
Instead: Try some of the low histamine options from Vital Choice, like King Salmon.
Vital Choice guarantees their King Salmon is gutted and flash frozen on the boat.
Their Albacore Tuna and scallops are also frozen quickly and are the lowest histamine options.
The sockeye salmon take a little longer to process. While many people are fine with it, those who are extremely histamine sensitive may need to stick with the first options above.
You might try sockeye salmon once you have had significant recovery with histamine sensitivities.
Skip the smoked fish, caviar, and jerky.
Vital Choice also offers burgers, hot dogs, sausage and bacon all made from fish. But, since they are more heavily processed, you’ll want to skip these, too.
So, now you know that flash frozen fish or meat frozen shortly after slaughter are the best low histamine options to start with.
And keeping meat frozen when you bring it home is also important. But did you know thawing can raise histamine levels, too?
These next tips can help keep histamine low when it’s time to cook! Let’s take a look.
Mistake #7: Letting Meat or Fish Sit in the Fridge After Thawing
Don’t let meat or fish sit in the fridge after it thaws!
Again, those histamine levels will build quickly.
Instead: Let your meat or fish thaw in the fridge until it is still a little frosty but almost thawed through.
Or, for smaller cuts of meat, you can run hot water over it until thawed.
For even lower histamine, an Instant Pot can cook meat that is frozen solid to done in usually 45 to 90 minutes.
Try these recipes in your Instant Pot:
- Lowest Histamine Chicken – Low Lectin, Low Oxalate, Low FODMAP, and Low Salicylate
- Low Histamine Pork Roast – Low Lectin, Low Oxalate, Low FODMAP, and Low Salicylate
Cold temperatures and quick cook times help keep histamine low! So, what about leftovers? Let’s look at those tips next.
Mistake #8: Keeping Leftovers in the Fridge
The bacteria that produce histamine start building right away on leftovers. Even in the fridge.
It is worse with meat. But even veggies will build up histamine levels, too.
Instead: Once you cook meat, freeze the leftovers right away.
When I’m done cooking, I make my plate. Then I immediately put all leftovers into glass storage containers and put them in the freezer before I eat.
Freezing leftovers immediately makes a huge difference.
Some things, like salads, obviously won’t freeze well. But freeze leftovers as much as possible.
Then thaw your leftovers as you are going to eat them. You can thaw them in the fridge until still a little frosty. Or you can run hot water over it to thaw. Then reheat.
I do sometimes choose to thaw my food in a microwave.
It is mainly the radiation from microwaves that is a problem. So, to avoid that, I leave the kitchen while the microwave is running.
Related Post: Are EMFs Contributing to your MCAS?
Cooking at home can really help lower histamine. And having frozen low histamine leftovers can be a great time saver.
But what about eating out? Let’s take a look at the meat handling mistakes to avoid there.
Mistake #9: Ordering Meat or Fish When Eating Out
Eating out can be tricky. You never know how old the meat or fish is at a restaurant.
You can ask what the freshest choices are among chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb. But even that can be tricky.
And it is definitely better to avoid fish and seafood at a restaurant unless it is prepared fresh from a tank.
Skip the fish special. Skip the sushi and sashimi.
Instead: I prefer not to risk ordering meat at a restaurant.
I check the menu ahead of time and make a list of my low histamine food options.
I usually order vegetables. Then, I bring a little container of my thawed, cooked meat in my purse (kept chilled on the way).
Once at the restaurant, I just let the waiter or waitress know I have some food sensitivities. I let them know what I can have from the menu options. If you are polite, restaurants are usually very kind about accommodating food sensitivities.
Once my meal arrives, I discreetly add the protein I brought to my plate.
All these changes can feel like a lot! So, here’s the last mistake and tip.
Mistake #10: Stressing Out About Getting Low Histamine Eating “Right”
Sometimes my clients worry so much about controlling everything with their food that they make things worse. If you’ve read my free report The 7 Root Causes of MCAS, you know stress increases mast cell problems. (If you haven’t read it, you can get it here)
Instead: Don’t let yourself stress about food.
I’m not perfect, and you won’t be either. Just do your best. And be sure to enjoy your low histamine food! 😊
Have you tried some of these low histamine meat ideas?
More Resources for Low Histamine Food
- The Best Low Histamine Meat and Seafood Options
- Meat Handling Tips: Low Histamine Preparation, Cooking and Storage
- Low Histamine Diet Plan for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
- Low Histamine Foods List for MCAS and Histamine Intolerance
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