Low Histamine Disaster Prepping for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
I get many questions about disaster prepping with concerns like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
It’s something I think about, too.
I grew up in the rural area of Mayfield, KY. We faced a lot of challenges brought on by the weather.
From tornadoes to ice storms, it seemed like there was always something going on.
One winter, a severe ice storm knocked out our electricity for a week.
With several inches of ice and snow, the country roads were impassable during that time. We were stuck.
Our water was on a well system. Without electricity for the pump, there wasn’t any water. So, we melted snow for drinking water.
Fortunately, we had a wood burning fireplace for heating and cooking. And we had enough food to get by.
I’m grateful that even through these challenges, we were always fine in the end.
But those experiences made me aware of how natural disasters can cut off access to the outside world.
Even if you don’t live in a rural area, you might still encounter natural disasters.
I’m sure you’ve seen how floods and wildfires can keep people stuck in one place for a while until help arrives.
This can be frightening to think about. What helps give me peace of mind and helps me feel empowered is a little emergency planning.
You can find a lot about disaster prepping online. But for our community, we have to consider our specific health needs.
What do you do to prepare for short-term emergencies if you have Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
Keep reading to learn more about:
- Stocking your freezer and pantry with lower histamine options
- Safer drinking water
- Herb gardens that can support your health
- General disaster planning tips
First let’s start with some general tips.
Disaster Planning with Health Conditions
You probably already know some basics of emergency planning.
Ever since I was a kid, I can remember hearing that everyone should have a flashlight and know where the extra batteries for it are.
And everyone should have a basic first aid kit.
But you may need to take a few extra precautions if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. Or really any condition that you take supplements or medications for.
Here are a few things you can do that will help in an emergency situation.
Print Out a Typed List of Your Health-related Concerns
Whether you are dealing with a natural disaster or an unexpected trip to the ER, having a printout of important health information may be helpful.
You’ll want to type up this list so it’s easy to read.
Here are some items to include on your list.
- Your name and date of birth
- Your primary care doctor’s name and phone number
- Your pharmacy’s name, location, and phone number
- Other practitioners you work with and their contact info
- Emergency contacts’ names and phone numbers
- Prescription medicines you take
- Supplements you take
- Medical conditions
- Known allergies
- Food Intolerances
- Health care routines
- When you take medicines
- Any routine appointments with a specialist
- Any special equipment you need such as a walker or eyeglasses
If you don’t have access to the internet or if your phone can’t get a charge, you’ll still have the important health info you need. (You may be able to find someone with a charged phone or landline.)
TIP: Get a small solar powered cell phone charger and keep it charged. You can keep it on a window sill that gets good sunlight each day.
You can keep this paperwork in a sealable bag to help keep the paper from getting ruined if water gets to it.
And keep this list in a spot you’ll remember easily. You might keep it with your flashlight.
You may also consider putting a copy of your health insurance card here, too.
This is all good info if you still have some way of getting to the outside world. But what if you are stuck in place?
Here’s what I do for my own peace of mind.
Stocking Up on Supplements
It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. 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.
I need supplements to manage my Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
So, I keep 3 months of supplements on hand. And I rotate my stock.
For example, I might have 4 bottles of DAO on hand at a time. One will be the bottle I open and use every day.
The other 3 are my stock.
When I finish my open bottle, I order a new bottle. I put that bottle behind the other older bottles and open the bottle that’s in front next.
This isn’t a bad idea to consider nowadays anyway.
Shipping times tend to be longer than they once were. And resourcing raw materials has been problematic, too.
As you’re building your stock, remember that you don’t have to get everything at once.
It may be more feasible for you to look at your absolute most important supplements and start there.
Then each month, you might stock up on a different one until you have everything you need. That can help you distribute the cost of building your cache.
And to help save you some money, you can get 15% off all your Fullscript supplement orders anytime when you register an account with Fullscript under Mast Cell 360 here.
Since you don’t need a prescription for most supplements, you can stock up on these fairly easily.
Some basic ones you might consider are:
- Perimine – a natural antihistamine
- Quercetin – can lower histamine and has been shown to support mast cells
- DAO – diamine oxidase, a histamine degrading enzyme, for Histamine Intolerance (Read more about diamine oxidase here.)
- HoloZyme™ – digestive enzymes to help support good digestion (My MC36015HOL coupon saves you $15 + Free Shipping)
- Vitamin C – reduces histamine by helping the body make more DAO
- Vitamin D – helps stabilize mast cells and works as an anti-inflammatory
For prescription medications, talk to your prescriber and insurance company about ordering your medications in bulk. Many prescribers are willing to write a 3 month’s supply for maintenance medications.
You’ll want to have any prescriptions you need on hand, too.
And if you are sensitive to over-the-counter medications, make sure your first aid kit has some of the items you know you can tolerate.
If you take H1 and H2 blockers, you may want to have some additional supply of these.
If you have latex sensitivity, make sure the adhesive bandages are latex-free.
Again, these are tips for short-term emergency situations.
Now that you’ve got some ideas of how to prepare in regard to your supplements and medications, take a look at ideas for storing and cooking foods.
Disaster Planning Storage Tips for Those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
In a minute, you’ll read what foods to consider stocking up on.
But how will you store that food? And how will you cook it?
Let’s start with storage.
As you know, fresh fruit and vegetables are the lowest histamine.
Check out the MC360™ Low Histamine Food List to see them all.
Storing Fresh Vegetables
Root vegetables and squashes tend to last the longest in storage.
With refrigeration, you can often get at least 2 weeks out of certain fresh produce.
Some foods like potatoes, squash, and onions don’t even need refrigeration.
If your refrigerator is running, you shouldn’t have trouble getting your intake of produce for a couple weeks.
If your power goes out, keep your produce in the fridge for as long as it stays cool.
If you have a dry basement or garage, you can move fresh food there to have it last longer if your fridge is no longer cool.
Some longer-lasting, low histamine produce:
These are some other options to consider if you can tolerate oxalates (O) and/or lectins (L).
- Carrots: O
- Potatoes: O, L
- Sweet potatoes: O
- Squash, Butternut: L
- Squash, Spaghetti: L
- Squash, Summer: L
- Squash, Winter: L
- Squash, Yellow: L
If fresh produce is not available, frozen foods are the next best low-histamine option.
Fresh produce is the lowest histamine option. But you can also freeze produce, both fruits and vegetables.
Freezing is the best way to store meat, too. Remember, getting meats that are frozen right after slaughter will be the best low-histamine meat options.
I have a deep freezer with a door alarm. This is a dedicated freezer in addition to the one attached to my refrigerator.
(The door alarm lets me know if the door isn’t fully closed. That way the temperature stays consistent, and I don’t waste my food!)
I stock up on my favorites for emergencies and to save money. When something goes on sale, I’ll get extra!
TIP: Be sure to keep your freezer at a consistent temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Related Article: Meat Handling Tips: Preparation, Cooking, and Storage
Check resources online for the best ways to prepare and freeze fruit and veggies for freezing. Many need to be blanched first.
A generator to run your refrigerator and freezer is a good investment if you are planning for natural disasters. If the power goes out, you’ll still have your low-histamine frozen foods available to you.
And whether or not you have a freezer or generator available, you’ll probably want to stock up on dry goods, too.
Again, remember that in true emergencies, you may not be able to eat the same as you usually do. Just do your best.
But if in the short term you can continue to avoid higher histamine options like canned vegetables and dried fruit, this may help reduce the number of flares you have.
There are some dried foods that should be fine, though. These are usually grains and legumes. (You’ll find pantry staples coming up in just a bit.)
The main thing to remember is that you want to keep these grains in air-tight containers.
I have some space in my home that I can dedicate to my stock.
But if you don’t have this kind of space, you may need to get creative.
Do you have any space under your bed? Can you get a big under-the-bed storage bin to keep your dry goods in?
What about your closets? Can you put in an extra shelf?
Can you use any part of your clothes closet differently?
For example, can you store anything under the hanging clothes? Or can you move anything from the shelf to the hanging bar and use the shelf for storage?
TIP: In these instances, just make sure to have something underneath any bottles that may leak to help protect your flooring or shelving if anything gets broken.
Another essential you’ll want to stock up on is water. You’ll need water to drink, to cook, and for hygiene.
Storing Safer Water in Disaster Planning
Staying hydrated helps keep all the systems in your body functioning well.
And water helps flush out toxins.
It’s extra important to keep your system flushing out toxins if you are not in peak health.
And if you have Histamine Intolerance, staying hydrated can help flush out histamine, too.
Staying hydrated may be one of the easier and more accessible ways to continue to support your health in an emergency.
Dehydration and getting ill from water-borne pathogens is a common, serious issue in natural disasters. This is because many people don’t have enough clean water on hand for emergencies.
Here are a couple tips for making sure you have potable water.
Potable Water for Disaster Planning
Normally, I don’t recommend getting your water in plastic jugs. Plastic can leach toxins into your water.
With Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, you want to reduce your toxic load as much as possible.
But in a natural disaster emergency, you may need to consider situations differently.
In day to day life, I drink water that has been purified with the AquaTru reverse osmosis system. This helps filter out impurities.
But I know I might not have this available to me in a disaster.
I keep about 20 bottles of Pelligrino on hand. It’s packaged in glass, so that’s 1 good thing about it.
And I drink it all the time anyway. That means I can rotate my stock easily.
I also keep 5 gallons of regular water on hand.
I buy this from the store. It’s sealed in plastic jugs.
I only have this on hand to use for emergencies where running water may not be available.
Again, I don’t recommend this day to day if you’re dealing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
But some kind of clean water is better than nothing if you are getting through a disaster situation.
Having water in plastic jugs isn’t ideal. But neither is a disaster.
So, I plan on just doing the best I can if I find myself in that situation.
Here’s another option you can consider for cleaner water in emergencies.
Consider Life Straws
Life Straws are a portable water filtration system for situations where purified water is not available. Many backpackers also use them. I keep them in my emergency kit.
You should always be cautious about drinking from unknown sources of water. But if you must, boiling water can help kill pathogens.
And once the water has cooled, you can use your Life Straw to help filter out more bacteria and parasites.
The Life Straw company actually says you can use it to drink directly from a wild water source (like a lake). But if you can take the extra step of boiling water, that would be better.
You can also use a stainless steel Life Straw water bottle to help filter out impurities. It may be a little easier to use than the Life Straw, depending on your situation.
Clean water is important. You want to try to stay as healthy as possible, especially with limited healthcare resources. You don’t want to end up with SIBO or SIFO from contaminated water.
You’ll read more on what exactly to consider stocking in the next section.
But first, if you’ve got all these essentials on hand, how will you be able to cook them without power?
If you can safely build a fire outside or in a fireplace, that’s one way you can cook.
Another emergency tool to have on hand is a small, gas-powered camping stove. There are many options available.
Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when using a camping stove.
If you are sensitive to fumes, ask someone else to cook.
You can also try wearing a mask. And again, good ventilation is key.
So, now you know how to store what you need. But what exactly can you stock up on?
Next, here are some lists for building up a stock of dry goods.
Pantry Staples for Low Histamine Disaster Planning
In everyday life, you may be striving to make the best choices to support your health. That’s great!
But in an emergency situation, you need to remember that you may not have these “best” choices at your disposal.
You may need to make “better” choices.
And in severe circumstances, even “better” choices may not be available.
In these situations, you’ll do the best you can. Then you’ll get back on track when you can.
In fact, that’s good to remember even day to day.
Here are some lists you can adapt to fit your own needs.
These are good pantry staples. I haven’t included every single option. These are just a few to consider.
These are all low-histamine.
If an item is negligible or low salicylate, I’ve marked that LS.
If an item is high oxalate or high lectin, I’ve marked that O, L.
Grains and Carbs
- Arrowroot flour, LS
- Cassava flour, O
- Flax meal
- Flax seeds
- Millet, O, LS
- Miracle noodles
- Oats, O, L, LS
- Quinoa, O,L
- Rice, brown or white, O, L, LS
- Sorghum, O
- Tapioca flour
- White rice flour, LS
Dried beans and lentils are all going to be in the category of oxalates or lectins.
If you have electricity, you can pressure cook them to reduce lectins.
Soaking in water will help reduce oxalates.
- Kidney beans, O, L
- Black beans, O, L
- Navy beans, O, L
- Garbanzo beans, O, L
- Lentils (brown and red), O, L, LS
- Lentils (yellow and red), medium oxalate
Nuts and Seeds
- Macadamia nuts, high oxalate over ¼ cup
- Pecans, medium oxalate up to ¼ cup, LS
- Pistachios, medium oxalate up to ¼ cup
- Sliced tiger nuts (a tuber, not a nut)
- Sunflower seeds, L, LS
- Stevia (unknown salicylate levels)
- Coconut cream
- Coconut milk
- Coconut water
- Baking soda
- Dandelion root tea, LS
- Purity Coffee
- Redmond Real Salt
- Rice Milk, L, LS
I want to tell you a little more about 3 of the ingredients listed under miscellaneous, and why I really like them for my stock:
- Dandelion root tea
- Coconut products
Having salt on hand is good for cooking. You can also use salt (or baking soda) to soak nuts and grains to help reduce oxalates.
Salt is also an electrolyte. Electrolytes are minerals that help support hydration. And they play an important role in keeping your bodies systems running smoothly.
I recommend Redmond Real Salt because it doesn’t have the same kinds of impurities that other salts have…including plastics!
I will get the 25lb bag and keep some in glass storage to use normally in daily cooking.
The rest I’ll store in air-tight glass containers as part of my stock. I rotate this to be sure my stock is as fresh as possible.
Dandelion root tea
Dandelion has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also be helpful in supporting detoxification.
Coconut cream and coconut milk are versatile in cooking. And coconut has been shown to have antibacterial properties.
It’s an easy item to stock up on. And in a real emergency, you could eat or drink these products directly. You’ll want to do your best to go slowly with this, though, if you are in a position to do so.
To build your own custom list, check out all the food lists on the blog.
Another few things to consider having on hand are:
- Camu camu powder for Vitamin C
- Protein powder
- Homemade cassava tortillas
- Gluten-free organic brown rice crackers (lectin)
- Coconut wraps (salicylate)
Here are some more details about these:
Camu camu powder is high salicylate. If tolerated, you can take it alone or add it to foods.
There isn’t one protein powder I’ve found that works across the board, though.
Most of these powders will be high in salicylates. Rice and pea protein are lectins. Hemp protein is high oxalate.
This protein powder has lower levels of salicylates and oxalates, but does have rice and pea protein:
Cassava tortillas are versatile. They freeze easily.
And once thawed, they will be good for a few days, too. I make up big batches at once and keep them on hand all the time.
Gluten-free rice crackers may be an option for you if you don’t have an issue with lectins.
And coconut wraps such as these by Nuco are a nice bread alternative. It’s shelf stable so it can be stored in your pantry.
These are made with just coconut meat, coconut oil, and coconut water. If you can tolerate coconut, these can be nice to keep on hand, too.
If you really must consider canned and boxed foods, look for brands that don’t have a lot of preservatives.
And you may not find products that will fit all your needs. For example, some canned soups will have high oxalate ingredients. Some will have lectin ingredients.
So, again, you have to assess what your needs are. What might you be able to handle in moderation if you are really in a pinch?
Keep in mind, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. These are just some basics that may help you get through a natural disaster, short term.
How Much Food Should I Stock?
The answer to this varies. Many emergency preparedness sites say to always have at least a 3-day supply of food and water on hand.
Some experts say 2 weeks – 1 month. “Preppers” often stock 1 month – 1 year. So, it really depends on your comfort level and what will bring you the most peace of mind.
You also need to consider the amount of space in your home and budget you have to dedicate to a cache.
Generally, experts say having about 2000 calories per person per day is sufficient. You can actually survive on much less.
Very loosely, if you can fill 2-3 grocery bags per person, you’ll probably be in good shape for a couple weeks.
If you want to go one step further with disaster planning, you may consider gardening food and medicinal herbs
Here are just a few starter tips.
I’m a minimal effort gardener. I don’t often have a lot of time to devote to the upkeep of a garden.
And I surely know what it’s like to have so much fatigue that physical work of any kind feels impossible.
That’s why permaculture caught my attention.
This approach to agriculture just means that you’re making a garden that can grow naturally…without much need for a human hand.
What’s even better is that I learned how to start a garden without having to plow or dig up the ground! Here’s how I did it. Click here to watch the Facebook Live or see below.
Preparing a Permaculture Garden
Here are the basic steps to get your own minimal-effort garden going.
- To prepare a garden bed, lay down large pieces of cardboard over a relatively flat area you designate for your garden. Nothing fancy. Just flatten the boxes you get deliveries in.
TIP: You can also use 3-4 layers of newspaper if that is more available for you.
- Overlap the boxes to cover any holes or gaps with visible grass or weeds poking through.
- Cover your cardboard with mulch and compost. Within 3-4 months, you’ll have a garden bed with soft, rich soil.
- Plant your seeds or starters.
- Depending on where you live, you may need to water your garden. Here’s an easy way to do it.
Use soaker hoses laid out and connected to a timer. I use the snip-n-spray system that makes watering extremely easy.
When choosing what to grow, take a look at some perennial herbs that may support you if you have Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
What to Grow
You can easily check out the low histamine foods list to see what fresh produce you want to grow.
So, I’ll just focus on sharing some herbs you can consider.
If you aren’t able to access your regular supplements, you can try these nutrient-dense, low histamine herbs to help you get through.
These are the ones I have found easiest to grow in my area. Many of these are drought resistant. And they are perennials in many areas.
The herbs in this first list are low salicylate.
They are also high in quercetin which has been shown to support mast cells. Quercetin has also been shown to be histamine-lowering.
- Egyptian walking onions
- Garlic Chives
These herbs below are not low salicylate.
These herbs have been shown in studies to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are some other beneficial herbs and what they have been used for.
- Stomach aches
- Menopausal symptoms
- Edible chrysanthemum
- May help with high blood sugar
- May help with neuroinflammation
- Baical skullcap (Chinese skullcap)
- Respiratory infections
- Has been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties
- Has also been used for mast cell support and antihistamine properties
Use my coupon code MASTCELL10 for 10% off!
- Wild arugula (Sylvetta)
- Rich in vitamins that support immune health, like Vitamin A
- Vitamin C promotes DAO production (DAO or diamine oxidase is a histamine degrading enzyme)
- Temperate tulsi/Holy basil
- An adaptogenic herb
- Tulsi contains a chemical called eugenol. Eugenol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties.
- Note: This is not a perennial but it self-seeds well. It can become invasive so you must grow it in pots or an isolated area to contain it.
Related Article: Benefits of Tulsi
One Last Thing on Disaster Prepping…
I am so blessed to have the ability to build a small stock.
I know it’s a blessing to have access to clean water and food choices.
I know it’s a blessing to have some land to grow food and herbs.
I’m grateful every single day for what I have. Every single day.
But I know everyone’s situation is different.
The most important thing to remember is that you will do the best you can with what you have available to you. That’s all any of us can ever do.
And if you are able to put even just a little bit aside at a time to give you peace of mind, I hope these tips will be helpful!
I wish you all safety and good health!
What are your best tips for low histamine disaster planning?
More Low Histamine Lifestyle Tips
- Using Gratitude to Calm Mast Cells
- Travel Tips and Tricks for Those With Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
- Immune Support Supplements and Tips for Mast Cell Activation and Histamine Intolerance
- Low Histamine Meal Plan Tips for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
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I am so happy and relieved to hear from you..I just found out several weeks ago that I have alpha gal and I can tolerate almost nothing. I have no stabalizers now so I am feeling badly almost all the time. I can tolerate no painkillers so I had skin cancer removed with nothing to help with pain. This has really worked on my stress level. I am so glad I know the Lord as my personal saviour. You are a godsent. Thank you.
I’m so sorry to hear you are facing these challenges. Thanks for reaching out and letting us know the articles have helped. Wishing you all the best!
Does Ashwagandha help with MCAS?
Thanks for your interest in Mast Cell 360! Beth has a lot of great mast cell supporting supplements which you can find in the Top 8 Mast Cell Supporting Supplements course (www.mastcell360.com/master-class). And there is a lot of good info on the blog as well. She hasn’t covered ashwagandha yet. It’s a bit more complex, but we do get a fair number of questions about it, so it may be something she will cover in the future. Keep an eye out here on the blog for all her latest posts!
This is a good article! Living in hurricane country and losing power for 3-7 days or more can cause the loss of all the food in the freezer. Have had it happen more than once. The fumes from cooking over a grill is a problem for me and I live alone. Friends can’t come over for they may be in worse shape than I am because of damage. I have to eat some foods that are dried or canned in order to be able to eat during these times. Have to use caution, but have no choice. It is definitely a challenge.
Yes, fumes can be an issue for some people so we really do recommend using this outside. But for some people this may still be too much even for short periods of time. In situations like these, you do just have to make the best choices you can. This may be different than the normal day to day routine, but yes, sometimes, you may need to make decisions to eat other types of food to get by. It’s totally understandable. Wishing you all the best!