When you’re in your normal routine of work, preparing your own meals & socialising at places you know, living with histamine intolerance can be manageable – although still tricky at times.
Travelling with histamine intolerance puts a whole new spin on things!
There can be so many variables, overwhelming and stressful!
- What’s the food going to be like on the plane?
- Will there be a local supermarket near where you are staying?
- Will the restaurants locally be ok to dine in without getting a flare-up?
- Will you be able to eat the food in the destination you go to?
- What happens if you have a major flare-up in a place you don’t know or don’t speak the language?
Even thinking about travelling can set off those with histamine intolerance!
There are just so many variables when it comes to travelling with histamine intolerance and it can all feel too much. Leaving many very stressed when travelling or even worse just deciding it’s all too hard and not booking a holiday at all. Sound familiar?
I wanted to share with you in this article, some of the ways in which I prepare for travelling with histamine intolerance. In the hope that this will take off some of the stress so you can enjoy the time off without worrying so much about how your body is going to react.
10 tips for travelling with Histamine intolerance
It’s all in the preparation!
1. Pack well in advance:
Plan well in advance so that way you aren’t stressed packing the night before. Stress can fill the histamine bucket and the aim is to keep it as low as possible before and during the trip.
Check the customs regulations in the country you are going to. Most countries or states will allow you to take some food for personal use. A pack of gluten-free pasta, yeast-free wraps, macadamia nuts or other packaged food can usually be taken across borders. Do check the rules as many places do not allow fresh fruit, meat and vegetables in some countries, and you will end up throwing it all out at customs!
2. Research and book your accommodation in advance:
What do you need to think about when booking accommodation with histamine intolerance?
Book Airbnb, holiday houses or services apartments over hotels if you can. That way you have a kitchen and fridge to prepare and cook meals where you know the ingredients.
Book near an organic farmers market or somewhere you can get fresh food. Trip advisor is a great place to get tips on local markets.
If you have had serious reactions in the past you may want to book in larger cities that have more medical providers or near a hospital if you can. It’s better to be prepared rather than stuck hours away from a doctor or hospital in a city or town that you are unfamiliar with.
3. Have your self-care tool kit ready:
The whole thought of travelling with histamine intolerance can stir up health anxiety, worry and fear. In the lead-up to your trip, practice self-care routines and tools to ensure that you aren’t feeling stressed by the upcoming trip.
Some things you can do to calm your system:
- breathing techniques
- Chi Gong
- MAP coaching
- brain retraining and visualisation
4. Understand the lingo:
If you’re travelling to a country that speaks a different language, ensure you understand some of the local lingo.
Example words to learn are:
- what was cooked today?
- is it fresh?
Download the Google translate app onto your phone so if you are in another country and get stuck, you can use the app. You can also use apps like babble or Duolingo to learn even more. This can help make travelling seem more fun, and less stressful!
5. For the plane
Pack some snacks for the plane so that you are prepared. Things like rice cakes and nuts are good. You can also take your own meal on the plane too, so that’s another way to avoid eating plane food.
These recipes are good options for travelling:
- Ginger carrot and apple muffin
- Butternut squash hummus
- Apple cookies – Make some for the trip. These can be made in advance, frozen and then enjoyed later on.
- a simple chicken salad
- wraps with chicken, salad and a dip – take the items in containers and assemble when ready to eat
- Other snack ideas
- protein powder – mix your favourite hemp or brown rice protein powder with water, rice, macadamia or oat milk and blueberries for a drink on the go.
4 essentials for the plane trip:
These essentials will help keep you calm and relaxed during your journey.
- Noise-cancelling headphones block out the noise from others. I don’t know about you but the whirl of the engines as well as the ongoing chatter can drive me crazy sometimes. I’d much prefer a quiet relaxing trip, hence why I always travel with my noise-cancelling headphones.
- Eye mask. Likewise, to gain some more peace and calm during the flight, I carry an eye mask. That way I can block out the light, plus it sends a clear message to the other passengers that you prefer a little quiet. It can be useful if the blinds are not great in your accommodation too!
- A hoodie or a big fluffy jumper. Travelling on planes can often be cold, so snuggling up into a big fluffy jumper can help with relaxation. Likewise, a fluffy blanket does the trick too.
- Meditate or listen to some calming music. Insight timer or calm are great meditation apps.
These can be used on a train and bus too.
7. Once you arrive:
Head straight to the supermarket. Grab some olive oil, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables. If you have also found a butcher then also grab some meat, or grab packaged uncooked meat with the longest use-by date you can find. Grab some rice noodles, or gluten-free pasta too, so that you make up some noodles in the room.
I like to make up a low-histamine pesto and the butternut squash pasta sauce from the low-histamine 4-week meal plan when I arrive. I can easily throw more veggies in with this and boil up some gluten-free pasta. The Pesto is great on salads and wraps as well.
Cook up some chicken breast or thighs, shred them, then pop them in the freezer ready for meals. To make a batch easily – drizzle the chicken with olive oil and herbs and wrap the chicken in brown paper, then bake for about 25 minutes or so at 180C.
8. Eating out – Be specific
When going to restaurants be super specific if you can and keep it really simple. Don’t assume that the waiter or chef understands what you mean so ask for what you want rather than what you don’t want. Very complicated requests often get lost.
Another suggestion is to ask for the freshest thing on the menu, what came in today or what was cooked this morning?
Or specifically ask, ‘has the chicken/meat been cooked today?’………… ‘Great i’ll have that cooked in olive oil, nothing else. Some plain boiled rice and a plate with plain broccoli, carrot and zucchini please.’
Trying to haggle to have things changed on the menu gets tricky and often arrives wrong anyway.
You can also call or email restaurants ahead to find out if they are happy to make modifications or get fresh meat in for you. Booking at a less busy time is also appreciated by the staff, so they have more time to handle a special request.
Good eating-out options are scrambled eggs, simple chicken or lamb with vegetables and french fries (well you are on holiday!).
9. Travel with your medications/supplements
Always travel with your medications and supplements, keep them in your carry-on luggage, so they can’t get lost. Having a doctor’s note to go with your medications can help with customs questions. Likewise, you can get a nutritionist’s note to go alongside your supplements too. That way if you do end up in the hospital, you have a copy to give to the doctors. They can use it as a reference or call your doctor back home.
10. Take your Low histamine food guide with you.
This cut-down 1-page version is handy for travel. You have something to refer to that can be used to translate into another language if necessary.
11. Bonus tip – have fun!
I notice that most of my clients can eat more foods without as many symptoms while on holiday. This is because we are more relaxed, and having fun, and our nervous system is in rest/digest, not fight/flight. Also being in a different environment sends different messages to our brains. Yes, where you are and what your doing can make a difference to your symptoms.
So enjoy your trip and make sure you have plenty of time to rest as well as see the sights.
Overall, it’s good planning that can put you in a better place when travelling with low histamine. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
Sick of boring low histamine meals?
Get delicious low histamine recipes in the Ultra-Low Histamine Meal Plan. Your low histamine elimination diet made easy with 4-weekly meal plans, over 55 recipes, prep guides and shopping lists for each week.