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The Low Histamine Chef

Going from a war zone producer for CNN and BBC to an incapacitated duvet-dweller was a humbling experience.

Identity is a funny thing. There was a time I would have laughed heartily in the face of anyone who suggested I would ditch a career as an award-winning journalist to become, of all horrors, a food blogger.
However, when I began to develop a histamine intolerance and a subsequent mast cell activation, that’s exactly what happened.
You can read all about histamine intolerance here.

Healing from an immune disorder that made most enjoyable food and beauty products trigger a severe physical and emotional reaction, involved a metamorphosis on many levels.

Going from a war zone producer for CNN and BBC to an incapacitated duvet-dweller was a humbling experience. Even when I eventually launched my highly trafficked blog, The Low Histamine Chef, I was too embarrassed to share my press coverage with friends still in my previous industry.
As I tried to find my footing in the alien world of food photography, recipes and Instagram selfies, I pushed away the friends and family who so ardently supported my adventures in journalism. While it felt like my illness had robbed me of so many things, I refused to let it harm my persona.
Healing from an immune disorder that made most enjoyable food and beauty products trigger a severe physical and emotional reaction, involved a metamorphosis on many levels. I needed to let go of who I used to be and embrace the woman I was becoming. In doing so, I discovered that the bad-ass journalist still lurked inside, she simply required a more stable environment from which to change the world.

What started in 2011 as a science-based blog with minimal, disparate views, has now grown into one that provides a wealth of information on how to deal with histamine and mast cell related disorders, covering everything from diagnosis to treatment and tips for clean living, with hundreds of thousands of monthly readers.

Since then, nutrition has become an integral part of my life. My blog used scientific research on healing foods and supplements (as well as life-saving medications) to create recipes that would mark a turning point for me and many others in my situation.

Let’s face it, doctors can’t possibly know everything, and many struggle to diagnose in the fifteen-minute slots mandated by insurance companies. That’s where I come in. I am the one making sure that, after those doctor’s appointments, we are doing everything there is to be done.

As a health journalist, I am responsible for gathering information, interviewing medical specialists and scientists from Harvard, Tufts, USC, Berkley and others, and extracting the most relevant research to make accessible to my audience. Let’s face it, doctors can’t possibly know everything, and many struggle to diagnose in the fifteen-minute slots mandated by insurance companies. That’s where I come in. I am the one making sure that, after those doctor’s appointments, we are doing everything there is to be done.

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So far, I’ve published ten digital titles on naturally addressing inflammation, and my upcoming project Inflammation Uncovered will make everything I’ve worked on accessible to those who have never read a single article on the subject. This video series combines science and cooking into easy to absorb bite-sized bits.

In addition, my upcoming book The Histamine Connection will cover the diagnostic process, potentially useful diets, common histamine inflammation triggers, instructions for detoxing your beauty routine, the role of the brain in healing the body of illness, and much more. The book is a reference for patients and practitioners alike, and I hope that both will feel comfortable using it as a resource. All of the book’s contents are entirely rooted in credible research, and cannot be dismissed as pseudo scientific. Dr. Thoharides of Tufts is one of the field’s foremost experts on the topic of histamine and mast cell driven inflammation, and he has written the introduction.

First, maintain the right to hire and fire your doctor. Challenge them to meet your expectations. Second, try not to lose yourself in the process of finding out what ails you.

In the end, I have two main pieces of advice. First, maintain the right to hire and fire your doctor. Challenge them to meet your expectations. Second, try not to lose yourself in the process of finding out what ails you. It is important not to allow your investigation to define your life. I am hoping that my resources will help shorten the painful search process that so many affected individuals undergo.

Yasmina Ykelenstam

The Low Histamine Chef Yasmina Ykelenstam blogs her adventures in healing from a chronic inflammatory condition. She covers allergy free living, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine recipes, in addition to all the latest developments in nutrition.

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