It’s high time I gave you all a big heartfelt thank you.
Writing this blog has been the single most consistently cathartic experience of my life. Sharing my experiences with you, learning from you, feeling that I’m fighting to heal not just for myself, but in order to share my findings with you, has inspired me beyond belief.
I fired up my first blog in Sept 2011, just days after my initial histamine intolerance diagnosis. I felt optimistic, that I had arrived at my answer, that everything would suddenly resolve and I would feel better. I mainly blogged desserts, based on the raw food principles I had previously tried to heal myself with (and failed – more on that here) as well as a few personal pieces of writing.
I was shocked to find that people were reading my blog. To this day I can’t believe how many have been on this journey with me since my incarnation as the biogenic amine woman.
Initially the blog was simply a way of vanquishing my demons.
Hatred I felt towards the doctors and psychiatrists who had subjected me to unnecessary operations, medical treatment and mind altering drugs that left me a vegetable, but also hatred towards myself, for the life that I had lived.
I’m not claiming that these histamine/mast cell conditions are the result of our lifestyle choices.
If only it were that easy.
It never is.
Yes, we are somewhat at the mercy of our genetics and some of us are dealt a bum hand. But even if we have been, I believe there’s room for improvement.
I’m not saying that lifestyle choices have caused others to become ill.
It’s what I say about myself.
Whether it’s true, or I’m just being too hard on myself I don’t know. What I am saying is that whether it began before conception, affected by our mothers’ dietary choices in the years before pregnancy (Dr Fuhrman/Super Immunity), or the moment we were conceived, with the genetic roulette wheel of the generations who came before us, with the chemicals and hormones our mother was exposed to while she carried us, the pollutants that assailed her as she nursed us – it doesn’t really matter.
All I emphasise is that no matter the cause, there’s always a chance diet and exercise will help.
While I still suffer from symptoms, I do not focus on them. I honestly believe that some people have an unrealistic vision of what real health is and will never be happy because it simply doesn’t exist. If you probe most healthy people hard enough you will discover they too have myriad ailments/symptoms that they simply choose not to focus on, because life is too good to sweat the small stuff. Sure, one day cancer might sneak up when they’re not paying attention, but they spent an incredible X years running around having fun and living life rather than living sickness.
The blog was my motivator. I was ill. I finally knew it for certain. And so I went about taking control of my life. Being someone who learns best by studying the written word, on paper, or screen, I immediately immersed myself in research. Having spent a decade delving into Lexis Nexis, the history of the Middle East, tracking down people who didn’t want to be found, and much, much more as an international television news journalist for CNN and the BBC (with a brief stint at FOX), I was certainly prepared.
In my mind the anonymity was necessary to shield my ego from ridicule from former colleagues and allowed me to continue being taken seriously in my day job. Having my health status (still precarious at the time) for all to see didn’t particularly make me employable. It was a surreal encounter with a seriously unhinged person in an online forum, who claimed I was not in fact me, but rather the person who diagnosed me, pretending to be a food blogger, that finally nudged me into revealing my identity (wooooo so dramatic! Lol).
I struggled with the idea. I’ve been terrified of being without insurance and yet I had let mine lapse (after an argument with BUPA about pre-existing symptoms). Though not seeking insurance for anything histamine/mast cell related, I wanted it for childbirth, cancer, that type of thing. I knew that would never happen if I disclosed any kind of previous symptoms, even if unrelated to either of those. Sadly once it dawned on me that I had a mast cell disorder I realised I was likely uninsurable.
After all, my mast cell disorder had blessed me with upwards of 50 symptoms, so there’s pretty much zero hope that an insurance company would ignore them should I be diagnosed with anything in the future (pregnancy complications, cancer, liver issues etc).
Somewhere along the journey I realised I wasn’t reaching enough people. My hyper research focused blog wasn’t doing it, and so I approached it from an angle we all love – food.
Food glorious food.
I haven’t always loved it.
I spent an incredible number of years fighting my need for it, starving my body of nutrition.
Because I feared it.
Developing a work relationship with food forced me to explore its selling points and explore its many gifts.
Photographing it meant spending hours examining it, working with natural textures to yield pleasing results.
I thank you for your reading of my work, your comments that provide valuable feedback and encouragement, your funding of this project.
See, I’m not rich.
I didn’t get into journalism for the money (lucky that, because there really isn’t any!) and the years of illness, being unable to work and paying doctors to slice me up unnecessarily and give me multiple cancer scares, totally wiped out my savings.
It was really touch and go there for a while. But thanks to my diagnosis, and my eventual adoption of a high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory diet, I’m now in the best health of my life (more on that here), despite dealing with a mast cell activation.
I went from being bed bound, completely unable to work and neatly destitute to running a small digital media consultancy in London in just over two years. Not only did this work put a roof over my head, it also allowed me to fund this histamine project for just over two years.
It might not look like it, but this blog takes up as much time as my real job (more at times), in addition to costing me quadruple to run.
Most recently, thanks to your support, cookbook sales have managed to plug little holes here and there.
Working 16 hour days has naturally impacted my personal and social life, so before it starts to affect my health, I’ve made the tough decision to scale back.
But , I will not be cutting hours devoted to this website, rather I am stepping back from the consulting that has sustained me over the last few years.
In order to do that – I need to get creative about how to generate more funds!
Having spent a long good while thinking about how to do it (and failing!), a wonderful friend whose wife is a masto buddy, helped me come up with some lovely ideas – that won’t cost my readers a cent!
I’ll tell you more about it in coming posts, but basically it involves affiliate commissions on products I’ll be adding to the site – ONLY products I use/have used and therefore endorse.
But there’s fun stuff coming up too. Believe me. We’ve been working hard on the new incarnation of the site and a bunch of cool things we think you’ll really enjoy!
I hope no one will take offense to these developments (again, they won’t cost you a penny), but please do let me know what you think.
In the meantime, coming up next week: an interview with Dr Ben Lynch of MTHFR.net on how methylation pathways affect histamine and mast cell disorders, and the most INCREDIBLE flatbread I’ve ever made! It’s not just low histamine, gluten free and grain free – it’s low oxalate and paleo too!! Don’t miss a word – sign up to my mailing list and get a 10% discount on my books.