How to Do a Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet
Several years ago, I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat. I didn’t know about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet (MCAS Diet) back then.
I just knew I was reacting to most foods. I had no clue what a low histamine or MCAS diet was.
Every time I ate, my hands and feet would swell up and get red. I’d be so itchy, I’d scratch at my hives until I bled.
I had abdominal pain that was misdiagnosed as IBS. It was actually a bad leaky gut.
And the number of foods I could eat without having reactions was minimal.
I spent a lot of time studying and experimenting to figure out what was going on.
Eventually I discovered histamine. I also learned about other types of inflammatory foods.
Did you know: Some “healthy” foods can actually make you worse if you have MCAS?
I figured out how to eat foods that were healing for me. And how to spot foods that would make my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome worse.
I got my inflammation way down by making good food choices (but also along with the right nervous system work, antihistamines, enzymes, medications, and mast cell-stabilizing supplements like quercetin.)
I was eventually able to reintroduce a lot of foods.
In fact, I’ve reversed most of my food intolerances at this point.
I can eat strawberries without itching, insomnia, GI distress, headaches, or anxiety. I can eat in restaurants. I’ve increased my oxalates. Even FODMAPs are improving.
I can eat rice and some pressure cooked winter squashes now. But I’ll likely not re-introduce these as a staple due to their inflammatory nature.
These days, I eat a wide variety of healthy and healing foods. The itchy hives, sleep issues, and leaky gut are gone. And my MCAS is under control.
Are you having reactions to foods?
Read on to learn what to eat and not to eat for the MCAS diet.
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.
What is the Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet?
The Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet (MCAS Diet) incorporates the Low Histamine Diet.
That’s because even if you don’t have Histamine Intolerance, you may still get relief from some of your MCAS symptoms by switching to a low histamine diet.
Why is that?
High histamine foods can still trigger mast cells to release high levels of other inflammatory mediators.
But if you trial a low histamine diet for 6 weeks and don’t notice any differences with adding histamine foods back in, then you may not be sensitive to histamine.
In this case, eating anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense, and avoiding sugar, wheat, and dairy may be very helpful for you.
The MCAS diet emphasizes choosing low histamine foods that are:
- Anti-inflammatory – because inflammation sparks mast cells
- Nutrient dense – fresh, healthy foods may help calm your immune system
- Free of major allergens – since most are inflammatory for many
However, those with MCAS may have specific food triggers. So be sure to test for food intolerances and food sensitivities with your practitioner.
Let’s look at each of these factors of the MCAS Diet in more detail.
Low Histamine MCAS Diet
The most important part of the MCAS Diet is that it is low histamine.
Histamine triggers the mast cells. And when mast cells are triggered, they can release more histamine. This histamine then triggers the mast cells. And on and on.
It’s a cycle you want to break.
And one way you can do this is to choose lower histamine foods.
If Histamine Intolerance is your only concern, a low histamine diet can be helpful in reducing your symptoms.
But if you also have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, you’ll want to consider these other food factors.
You can see my low histamine food list in this post.
Anti-Inflammatory MCAS Diet
An effective MCAS Diet will emphasize clean, anti-inflammatory foods. Most of these are going to be whole foods like fruits, veggies, and clean meats.
Your food choices affect how much inflammation you have in your body.
Inflammation triggers immune cells and mast cells to become more reactive. That means more MCAS symptoms.
For example, trans fats are technically low histamine, but it’s inflammatory which will still raise histamine in the body.
Our food choices also affect how much inflammation we have in our bodies.
Inflammation triggers immune cells and mast cells to become more reactive. The more inflammation, the more immune response and MCAS symptoms.
So you’ll want to focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods in your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet.
Similarly, the MCAS Diet is also nutrient dense.
Nutrient Dense MCAS Diet
The best MCAS diet is going to be full of nutrients that will help your body heal itself.
In the MC360TM Method, we emphasize feeding and nourishing your mast cells, so they don’t release extra histamine.
This is why our low histamine recipes list the top nutrients and their health benefits.
Food forms the building blocks for everything in our bodies. Certain foods are healing. Other foods are damaging.
Allergy Friendly MCAS Diet
Lastly, the MCAS Diet avoids the major food allergies (which are usually inflammatory.)
Many people who try eating low histamine still eat inflammatory foods and low nutrient foods (like many processed foods.)
This can lead to them still feeling ill.
There are different arms of the immune system that can react to food. Not all are technically allergies, but these foods still cause inflammation.
The major allergens to initially avoid are:
Some of the food groups listed above are high histamine or histamine liberating. So, you’d want to avoid those anyway.
But corn, for example, isn’t high histamine. Yet, it can still be an issue. Some diary is low histamine, too. But things like lactose and casein which are found in dairy may be causing trouble for your body.
The MCAS Diet recommends low histamine foods. And it also encourages you to eat foods that won’t trigger your body to produce histamine.
To review, the Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) diet is:
- Low histamine
- Nutrient dense
- Free of major allergens
Mast Cell Mediators
The best MCAS Diet emphasizes anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense because histamine isn’t the only mediator that can spark your mast cells.
In addition to histamine, other mediators that mast cells release as part of the immune response in your body include:
- Leukotrienes – blood vessel constriction or dilation
- Tryptase – allergic responses and immunity
- And hundreds of others
When your mast cell mediators have gone haywire, all this inflammation can lead to:
- Allergic reactions
- Abdominal pain
- Sleep problems
Now that you know more about what to eat, we’ll explore more on what to avoid on the MCAS Diet.
But first, a note on histamine food lists.
A Note on Histamine Food Lists
There are a number of high and low histamine food lists online.
Here’s the problem with most histamine food lists. They were created through studies on small groups of people and were not well controlled.
This means the researchers usually didn’t know if someone was reacting because of Histamine Intolerance or to something else.
So what happened is that many foods that aren’t actually high histamine were put on the do not eat list. And some foods that are high histamine were mislabeled on low histamine diet lists.
Also, many lists leave out the histamine liberators. These are foods that may technically be low histamine, but they spark the body to release histamine.
Some examples are walnuts, citrus or certain teas.
Before you go any further, here’s what I want you to know. Everyone is different in how foods affect them.
If you have MCAS or Histamine Intolerance, you probably have a hard enough time finding foods you can eat.
So do your best and know that you may need to make exceptions sometimes.
For example, if you are down to only 10 foods and one happens to be high histamine, it’s usually better to keep that food for now. You want to get as much variety in your diet as possible.
But generally speaking, it is important to identify the foods that are the highest histamine and replace them with lower histamine choices.
If you aren’t sure what you might be reacting to, keep a food and symptoms journal. You can use this info to see what works best for you.
Next up, take a look at histamines and the MCAS diet.
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet: What to Avoid
If you have MCAS, you’ve probably heard about histamines.
While most of the people we work with at Mast Cell 360 have histamine intolerance, not everyone with MCAS has trouble with histamine.
You can read more about that in my post: Do You Have One or Both? Histamine Intolerance vs MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)
Your body naturally makes histamine, which is an important mediator for digestion. It is also a part of the immune system and nervous system with receptors all over your body.
Proper balance of histamine levels is really important for good gut health.
But with MCAS, these histamine levels can easily get out of control. Too much histamine is inflammatory. And that inflammation causes the mast cells to release even more histamine. (You can read more about mast cells here.)
Mast cells release over 200 other inflammatory chemicals when the receptors get stuck in this loop. It’s called degranulation when the mast cells become hyperactive.
So it is really important to keep those histamine levels in check.
Many foods naturally have histamine content in them. And some foods cause the body to release histamine.
Other foods block the release of the enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO). This is one of the main enzymes that breaks down histamine.
Here are the main ways histamine comes from food:
- Naturally in some food – eggplants, strawberries, banana, pineapple, etc. (see more below)
- Histamine liberators – that cause mast cells to release histamine like citrus, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, etc.
- Histamine producing bacteria – in foods that give hospitable environment like being high in protein, high moisture content, or fermented
The most common sources of histamine producing bacteria are:
- Ground meats
- Aged meats
- Fish that wasn’t gutted or frozen soon after catch
- Leftovers in the fridge
- Dried fruit (still has some moisture)
Note: Fats don’t tend to harbor bacteria that grow histamine.
And low histamine very dry foods like uncooked rice or dried sorghum pasta are okay.
High Histamine Foods to Avoid in the MCAS Diet
Based on what we just learned about what foods are high in histamine, here are some comprehensive lists.
Aged, Cultured, Fermented Foods and Leftovers
Remember, any foods with bacteria in them can create high histamine. So anything that is out of date, spoiled, moldy, or not fresh is higher histamine.
This also means leftovers become higher histamine the longer they sit.
That rotisserie chicken at the grocery store that has been sitting all day is building high histamine levels.
Meat in the refrigerator section increases in histamines.
Fermenting, culturing, and aging increases histamines too.
Most beef and bison are especially high histamine because they get aged for at least 2 weeks before going to market.
Look out for these types of high histamine foods:
- Fermented alcoholic beverages:
- Fermented foods:
- soy sauce
- Soured foods:
- sour cream
- sour milk
- soured bread
- Vinegar foods:
- Cured meats:
- luncheon meats
- hot dogs
- Ground meat (increased surface area increases histamines)
- Beef (aging process increases histamine)
- Smoked or processed meats:
- Aged cheese including goat cheese
- Smoked fish (fish not gutted within minutes of catch)
- Dried fruit:
- Uncooked egg whites (histamine liberator)
Learn more about identifying high histamine foods in this blog post.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts High in Histamines
There are only a few fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are high in histamines or release histamines.
Do any of these foods bother you? Examples of high histamine fruits, vegetables and nuts:
- Most citrus (small amounts lemons and limes sometimes ok)
I used to always itch badly when I ate walnuts or pineapple. Spinach made me not be able to sleep. And strawberries gave me a migraine.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of other fruits, veggies, and nuts you can enjoy that won’t cause histamine-related reactions.
Avoid canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil. These are inflammatory oils.
Cold pressed sunflower oil is usually ok in small amounts.
Herbs & Spices
You want to avoid using dried spices that have been sitting in your cupboards for a long time. Fresh are best.
But some herbs, even fresh, can liberate histamine and cause mast cell reactions.
Avoid or restrict:
- Curry powder
Spiking Your Blood Sugar
On the MCAS diet, you’ll need to be careful with sweeteners, high glycemic fruits, and refined carbs.
This is because increases in blood sugar can cause inflammation. And inflammation increases mast cell reactions.
You want to be sure to avoid:
- Artificial sweeteners (like sugar alcohols)
- Corn syrup
These are all very inflammatory.
But don’t fear! I have some sweetening solutions for you below in the what to eat section.
Processed Foods and Additives
You want to avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. Period.
This may seem obvious, but many people with MCAS still eat lots of packaged foods. They think if the label says organic or gluten free then it must be healthy.
Crackers, chips, cereal, and frozen dinners can be a problem. Canned foods, boxed nut milks, cookies, prepared sauces, and protein bars are higher histamine and inflammatory too.
Packaged foods are highly processed to make them shelf stable. (Think chips from dried rice or sorghum pasta.)
This destroys the nutrients your body so desperately needs. Avoid sugar, additives, colorings, flavorings – anything artificial.
In addition to avoiding processed and packaged foods, watch out for these additives that can wreak havoc with mast cells:
- Sodium benzoate
- Potassium sorbate
- Citric acid
- Sodium triphosphate
- Potassium triphosphate
- Sodium nitrite
- Calcium chloride
- Xanthan gum
- Food colorings
- Smoke flavoring
- Yeast extract
Histamine In Your Supplements
You even need to be careful that your supplements aren’t fermented! One of the most common fermented supplements in vitamin C.
All of the supplements I recommend across this site are low histamine.
Check out my MCAS Supplements Course here.
Other Mast Cell Triggering Foods
Beyond histamines, you may need to rule out other foods that are inflammatory for you. Some of the most common ones are:
These are types of foods in addition to histamine that can affect MCAS.
These aren’t like allergies with antibodies, but you may still react to them.
Before you change your diet on your own, please make sure you’re working with a healthcare practitioner who can help you with this. Never limit foods unnecessarily, and always have a medical provider who is supervising your case.
Lectins are proteins found in certain plants. More and more research indicates that lectins activate mast cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
Low lectin diets can make a big difference in mast cell issues.
So you may need to consider whether lectins are affecting you.
Oxalates are tiny crystals that are also found in plants. People with dysbiosis, leaky gut, low B1 or B6, and certain genetic predispositions can have more trouble with oxalates than others.
Fungal species like molds and candida feed on oxalates. So people dealing with these issues can have more trouble with oxalates. You can have oxalate issues from leaky gut and Mold Toxicity as well.
I find oxalate issues in about 50% of my clients with MCAS.
You can order the Great Plains Organic Acid Test for yourself below, to see if oxalates might be an issue for you.
But know that the OAT test doesn’t always catch it oxalate issues That’s because oxalates can be stored in the tissues and not excreted in the urine.
Salicylate issues are less frequent but do occur.
Salicylates are found in many plants, especially in mint. Some people start to have trouble breaking down salicylates.
This can cause a variety of symptoms similar to MCAS.
Sulfur foods can cause trouble for some people. It mostly affects people with genetic weaknesses for sulfur metabolism or those low in B6 and/or molybdenum.
FODMAPs are a type of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods like:
- brussel sprouts
Sometimes people end up with FODMAP sensitivity when their gut flora gets out of balance. It can be tricky to track down sulfur and FODMAP sensitivities. These usually require elimination diets.
Identifying Food Triggers in MCAS
Be sure to think beyond histamines and consider whether you may have any other food sensitivities or iGe allergies.
You may want to consider giving the Low Histamine Diet at least 6 weeks to see if it helps. Always talk with your doctor about any changes to your diet.
Then do a challenge with reintroducing high histamine foods for 2-3 days and see if symptoms increase. If there is no change, then histamine may not be a problem.
Those with autoimmunity, gut, and/or heart problems, may want to try 6 weeks low histamine and low lectin.
Ask your healthcare provider about doing a challenge with reintroducing several servings of high histamine foods for 2-3 days and see if symptoms increase. If there is no change, then histamine may not be a problem.
After that, 2-3 days of reintroducing several servings of high lectin foods for 2-3 days to see if symptoms increase. If there is no change, then lectins may not be a problem.
I’ve outlined the phases in more detail in this post on Lectin Intolerance.
If there is joint pain, muscle pain (like fibromyalgia), urinary burning, interstitial cystitis, chronic UTI type symptoms with negative culture, then it may be worthwhile to explore Oxalate Intolerance.
But this needs to be done under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Oxalates are tricky to navigate.
Do NOT go cold turkey off of oxalates. (Learn more about the low oxalate diet part 2 here.) It can trigger oxalate dumping and kidney stones, which are extremely painful.
Identifying your personal food triggers can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
What Can I Eat in a Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet?
It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed when you first start the low histamine diet. At first, you may feel like there is nothing left to eat.
But, truly, there are so many nutritious and flavorful foods you can eat.
It is easy to feel deprived if you just focus on the foods you can’t have. This is a sure road to feeling angry, resentful, and depressed.
Focus on replacing food instead of removing. For example, eat arugula and lettuce, as a swap for spinach and curly kale, in salad and other dishes.
The key is to think about how much eating fresh, nutritious foods will improve your health. Focus on choosing the foods that are healing and that you enjoy.
Sometimes it is good to splurge on yourself. I don’t mean buying a chocolate cake. I mean by spending a little extra time in the kitchen making something healthy and delicious just for you.
Some of my favorite low histamine treats are:
- Scones with Blueberry or Cream Topping – Medium Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Low FODMAP Ice Cream – Low Lectin & Low Oxalate
- “Yogurt” Parfait – Low Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Carrot Cake – Low Lectin & Low to Medium Oxalate
Eat Fresh Foods on the Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet
Be sure you are eating fresh, whole, nutrient dense foods.
As produce ages, it loses nutrition. The fresher your foods are, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they have.
When you have MCAS, you need as many nutrients from healthy foods as you can get. These nutrients support a healthy immune system.
They are also necessary to make histamine degrading enzymes, like DAO and HNMT.
So they also have the added bonus of helping to lower histamine.
Be sure to buy your produce as fresh as possible.
Look for these vegetables with their tops still attached:
- Beets (Note: Very high oxalate)
TIP: Be sure to cut the tops off when you get home so they don’t suck any more nutrients out of the roots.
If you can, get produce at the farmer’s market or even grow your own for the most nutrient dense options.
The book Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson is a great resource on the highest nutrient varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Emphasize Vegetables on the MCAS Diet
Emphasize vegetables! Cover most of your plate with vegetables.
Yes, this means lots of vegetables.
Vegetables have nutrients and antioxidants you need to heal.
These are histamine lowering, low oxalate, low lectin vegetables you can emphasize:
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Cabbage, Green and Red
- Kale (flat dinosaur or lacinato kind – curly is high oxalate)
- Napa Cabbage / Chinese Cabbage
- Onions, Any
- Scallions (green onions – especially use green parts)
- Daikon Radishes
- Romaine, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce
- Dandelion Greens
- Butter Lettuce
- Mustard Greens
- Perilla (Shiso)
Eat Clean Protein on the MCAS Diet
In addition to eating lots of veggies, you’ll want to choose clean proteins. If you eat meat, look for pasture raised and organic.
Pasture-raised chicken, pork, lamb, and turkey are a few good options to consider.
For the lowest histamine levels, get meat and seafood that has been frozen right after slaughter or catch.
Cook frozen meats in a pressure cooker. (I use an Instant Pot.)
The next best option is to thaw your meat in the refrigerator (not on the counter). Thaw until it is still just a little frosty.
Finally, avoid slow cooking which allows histamine levels to go up.
Check the sell by dates and make sure you get the freshest packages.
You can learn more about low histamine meat handling best practices in this blog.
Other good options for pasture raised meats are farmers markets.
I use a local farmer as well as favorite producers:
- Northstar Bison – Get 10% off with code MASTCELL360
- White Oak Pastures – Get 10% off first purchase with code MASTCELL360
- Vital Choice
For fish, I recommend Vital Choice and Northstar Bison.
They both use sustainable fishing methods. Look for the low histamine fish that are frozen within 2 hours soon after catch. If you try their fish, start with a small amount first to make sure you don’t react.
Those with both MCAS and Histamine Intolerance may still have a hard time with fish and may need to take DAO Enzyme before meals. Many wait until phase 2 of the low histamine diet to try it.
I get my meat delivered to me frozen. Once I get it, I put it in the freezer right away to prevent histamine levels from rising.
When I’m ready to prepare it, I thaw the meat in the fridge until it is still a little frosty to keep histamine levels low.
Pasture-raised chicken, duck, or quail eggs are also a good protein source.
Some people react to eggs, though. So, you’ll need to test them for yourself.
Be sure to cook egg whites thoroughly.
Depending on your situation, you might also use protein powder.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a protein powder that checks all these boxes:
Most protein powders will be high in salicylates.
Rice and pea protein are lectins.
Hemp protein is high oxalate.
Soy is high histamine.
I’ve found one that is lower histamine with lower levels of salicylates and oxalates.
But it does have rice and pea protein. So, it won’t be well tolerated with Lectin Intolerance.
However, if you aren’t concerned about lectins, you can look into this one to see if it might be right for you.
And if you don’t have trouble with oxalates, this hemp protein is one to consider.
I know this list feels long but there’s still delicious foods you are able to eat on a MCAS diet.
Legumes can cause histamine release and are also high oxalate and high lectin.
So, you may need to be careful with these. In the MC360TM Method, we recommend avoiding them initially on the MCAS Diet.
Healthy fats are needed for overall health, too. Be sure you are getting enough good fats.
Fats are necessary for healthy brain cells and to make hormones.
Also, some vitamins are fat soluble. This means they are best absorbed when eaten with fats.
So, add healthy fats to your vegetables to absorb the most nutrition.
Healthy fat sources include:
- Grass fed ghee
- Very fresh extra-virgin olive oil
- Virgin coconut oil
- Cold-pressed flax oil
- Cold pressed avocado oil
- Unrefined palm oil
Fresh nuts can be a good source of protein and fat when eaten in moderation.
Buy nuts as fresh as possible.
To make them more digestible, soak them overnight in salt water. Then dry in a food dehydrator or oven at 250 degrees.
The best low histamine, low to medium oxalate, and low lectin choices are:
- Flax Seeds, under 1/2 cup
- Macadamias, under ¼ cup
- Pistachios, under ¼ cup
- Pecans, under ¼ cup
Keep the pecans, pistachios, and macadamias to 1/4 cup to stay low oxalate.
If you don’t have oxalate issues, you can also enjoy:
- Almonds (blanched to remove lectins in the skin)
- Pine Nuts
- Sesame Seeds
- Brazil Nuts (only 3-4/day)
- Hemp Seeds
- Hemp Protein Powder
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are lower oxalate and lower histamine, but do contain lectins.
Season with a lot of fresh herbs.
Fresh herbs are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. And they are antioxidant foods.
Cultures that use a lot of fresh herbs live longer than those that don’t use herbs. Plus, adding herbs to your meals will give them more flavor.
If you enjoy what you are eating, you’ll be more likely to stick to making healthy choices.
These are all excellent histamine lowering herbs:
Fruits should be eaten as a dessert. This is due to higher sugar content. Spikes in blood sugar affect the mast cells.
Prioritize lower sugar berries like blueberries. Tart cherries and green apples are also good choices.
A squeeze of lemon or lime are ok, if you tolerate them.
If you don’t have trouble with oxalates, blackberries are lower in sugar.
Other lower histamine, low lectin, low oxalate fruits are:
- Apples (any)
- Apricots (fresh, not dried)
- Fresh Cranberries
- Fresh Currant
- Fresh Figs
- Grapes (especially black)
- Kiwi (Golden is medium oxalate at 1/2 cup)
Large servings of fruit have higher sugar levels though. So, again, think of these as healthy, tasty desserts rather than as staples.
However, currants and cranberries are very low sugar.
Grains and Carbs
Some people do better with carbs and some worse.
Experiment to find what works best for you. I find grains increase my inflammation. I do better with lower levels of carbs. I think this is because many grains are high lectin and high oxalate.
Too low carb keeps me from sleeping, though. Finding your own optimal carb intake takes a little trial and error.
If you get cassava, be sure to buy Otto’s brand. It is the only one that isn’t fermented.
You can try these sources of low lectin, low oxalate carbs too:
- Tigernut flour (Gemini Organics is a good brand)
- Flax meal
- Hi-maize resistant starch
- Coconut and coconut flour
- Shirataki noodles
If oxalates aren’t a problem for you, then histamine-lowering sweet potatoes are a great carb choice.
Sweeteners should be kept to a minimum.
There are some good sweetener options that don’t affect blood sugar, though.
These come from plants, and our bodies don’t metabolize them like sugar. Be sure you get stevia, monk fruit, and inulin without other additives.
Often they have sugar alcohols added, which isn’t good for MCAS. So you have to check the ingredients.
You can also use coconut sugar in moderation for a treat.
Coconut sugar affects blood sugar more slowly than regular sugar.
Honey, molasses, and maple syrup do have some good nutrients. They also have a big impact on blood sugar, so use sparingly.
Leftovers grow histamine quickly. You’ll want to freeze your leftovers if they are going to be kept more than a couple hours in the fridge.
I try to make a double batch of whatever I’m cooking. Then I freeze the leftovers in single serving containers. This makes it easy to pull out to take for lunch or have for dinner after a busy day.
When I worked in an office, for lunches, I put the frozen meal in my lunchbox and put it in the fridge. By lunch time, it is usually mostly thawed. You can also thaw foods by running hot water over the container. Then reheat in a pan or toaster oven.
Sometimes in a pinch you might have to use a microwave. I just trust that my nutrient dense foods outweigh any negatives of occasional microwave use. But you should know, I leave the room when the microwave is running and go to the other side of the house.
Still not sure what to eat?
Sample Meal Ideas for the MCAS Diet
Here are some of my favorite low histamine meals ideas.
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet Breakfast:
- “Pumpkin Spice” Drink – Low FODMAP, Low Lectin & Low Oxalate
- Frozen Vanilla Coffee Cooler – Low Lectin, Low Oxalate & Low FODMAP
- Blueberry Cassava Flour Muffins – Low Lectin & Medium Oxalate, with Low Salicylate Options
- Tiger Nut Cereal – Low Lectin, Low FODMAP & Medium Oxalate
- Everything Bagel Bread – Low Lectin, Low FODMAP & Medium Oxalate
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet Lunch:
- Low Histamine Pizza – Low Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Mango Blueberry Basil Salad – Low Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Roast Chicken Salad with Rosemary Dressing – Low Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Sesame Chicken Salad with Asian Salad Dressing – Low Oxalate, Low Lectin & Low FODMAP
- Waldorf Salad – Low lectin, Medium Oxalate, and with Low Salicylate Options
- Warming Chicken Ginger Soup – Low Oxalate, Low Lectin & Low FODMAP
- Leek and Fennel Soup – Low Lectin, Low Oxalate & Low Salicylate
- Creamy Cauliflower Veggie Soup
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet Snack:
- Roasted Garlic Hummus – Low Oxalate & Low Lectin
- Pesto – Low Lectin, Medium Oxalate, with Low FODMAP options
- Flaxseed Crackers – Low Lectin & Medium Oxalate
- Cassava Herb Crackers – Low Lectin, Medium Oxalate & Low FODMAP
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet Dinner:
- Easy Chicken Tacos – Low FODMAP, Low Lectin, Low Oxalate, Low Salicylate
- Spring Roll Stir Fry – Low Salicylate, Low FODMAP, Low Lectin, Low Oxalate
- Rosemary Roasted Garlic Pork Chops – Low Oxalate, Low Lectin
- Low Histamine Bacon with Southern Greens –Low Oxalate, Low Lectin
- Roasted Cauliflower with Cherries and Pecans – Low Lectin, Lower Oxalate, Low Salicylate Option
- Instant Pot Chicken & Pork Roast – Low Oxalate, Low Lectin
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet Dessert:
- Carrot Cake – Low Lectin & Low to Medium Oxalate
- Mango Ice Cream – Low Lectin & Low Oxalate
- White Chocolate Cookie Dough – Low Lectin and Medium Oxalate
- Macadamia Nut Butter – Low FODMAP, Low Lectin & Low Oxalate
- 6 Layer Cranberry Trifle – Low Lectin & Low Oxalate
- Pecan Clusters – Low Lectin & Medium Oxalate
- Ginger Cardamom Breakfast Rolls – Low Lectin, Moderate Oxalate, & Moderate FODMAP
- Apple Pie – Low Lectin, with Medium Oxalate & Low Salicylate Options
See all my low histamine recipes here.
Can Antihistamines Replace the Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Diet?
A common misconception with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is that you can just take histamine blockers to get rid of histamine in the body.
This is a myth.
Related Article: Mast Cell Myths
There are some supplements that can help lower histamine levels, but reducing the amount of dietary histamine you ingest is going to be your best way to lower histamine.
Long Term MCAS Diet
Eating low histamine may not be forever for most people with MCAS. Your needs may shift over time as you heal. (The rare exception to this is a rare genetic disorder called Mastocytosis.)
I can now tolerate a lot more histamine and oxalates than I used to. I still have trouble with most lectins, but I’ve found I have been able to reintroduce rice and pressure-cooked winter squashes, like kabocha squash.
FODMAPs are still a work in progress for me.
I can go out to eat occasionally. But when I do, I make sure to take my DAO enzyme supplement beforehand.
Here are some more posts on how to do this MCAS Diet (aka low histamine diet):
Healing foods are a big foundation for those recovering from MCAS. In the Mast Cell 360 clinic, we always start with a conversation about foods with my clients who have MCAS.
This article gives you the steps to start to make good food choices for yourself.
But if you have MCAS, food changes are rarely enough on their own.
There are more root causes for MCAS beyond food. If you’re worried or overwhelmed about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), you may feel afraid that you’re never going to feel well again.
Don’t worry, though. Figuring out the root causes underlying your MCAS will give you a road map to healing. Subscribe below to download my free guide to discover the 7 Most Common Root Causes of Mast Cell and what to do about them.
You can get more information about these and other mast cell triggers by downloading your Free Report on the 7 Most Common Root Causes in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome here.
More Posts on MCAS
- Mast Cell Foundations: Mediators and Receptors
- What Is MCAS? Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Basics
- Do You Have One or Both? Histamine Intolerance vs MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)
- The Best Antihistamine for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
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Gibb, J. L. (2014). Is Food Making You Sick?: The Strictly Low Histamine Diet (Illustrated ed.). Leaves of Gold Press.
Kullman, Pamela. Privately Compiled Notes.
PhD, J. J. V., & Lawrence, H. (2018). Histamine Intolerance: A Comprehensive Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Berrydales Books.
Wild-Scholten, M. D. (2013). Understanding Histamine Intolerance & Mast Cell Activation. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Ykelenstam, Yasmina. Healing Histamine | Histamine Intolerance Research & Recipes. (2022). Healing Histamine. https://healinghistamine.com/