Camping is a great way to connect with nature. If you have histamine or mast cell related health issues, then camping can also provide some relief from constant environmental triggers such as electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and toxins from urban pollution.
The slower pace of camping means spending time with loved ones, relaxing, and good food.
A bit of advanced planning can go a long way to making sure your camping meals are histamine and mast cell friendly. Sticking to the Histamine Haven protocol is easier than you think!
Here’s What You Need
Cooler: you need to keep food frozen! A Coleman Coastal 70-quart Xtreme cooler will keep ice frozen for 5 days to keep histamine from forming, and it is reasonably priced.
Cook set: Stanley has a nice stainless-steel cook set that has pot lids that have built in strainers. Stainless steel may not be suitable if you have a nickel allergy.
Cast iron pan: want to cook over an open fire without raising histamine content by grilling over an open flame? An 8-inch Lodge cast iron pan is a great choice for making pancakes or cooking a skillet dinner on a camping stove or on a grill, over a fire. If you plan to do all your cooking over a fire, you can try a larger pan like the Lodge Combo Cooker, which works either as a pot with a lid, or a pot and a frying pan.
Oven mitts: you’ll want an extra-long oven mitt when working over a campfire to protect your arms. Homwe Extra Long Professional Silicone oven mitts will keep your arms covered. If you plan to only use a camping stove, Big Red House mitts get good reviews.
Camping stove: if the smoke of a campfire triggers your symptoms, a good camping stove is a must. A light weight and budget friendly stove is a Coleman Classic Cascade Stove. It has two burners and wind guards to protect flames.
Foods to Prepare
Frozen homemade soups
Frozen meats—small cuts like stew meat or small chops
Frozen baked goods (we have some ideas listed below)
Fresh root and bulb vegetables that don’t need refrigeration like sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, onions and garlic
Freeze dried foods
Healthy saturated fats like coconut oil, ghee, tallow, lard, or duck fat
Herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint; or whip up a blend of the Nettle Adrenal Tea Blend on page 238 to take with you
Eggs if you’re at Stage 3 and they are tolerated well
How to Pack Your Cooler
Having a large cooler is one of the most important things you’ll need to keep histamine content low. Load it up with all the frozen meat, soups, and baked goods you plan to take along.
An important strategy is to pack it in the order you will need items. If you are camping for 3 days, put the items for your third day in the bottom, then layer on foods for day 2, and have items for your first meals on top. Doing this will minimize how often and how long you must open the cooler, allowing items to stay frozen for longer.
You may also want a second cooler for vegetable, fruit or other items that need to stay cool but aren’t frozen.
Easy Meal Ideas
Here are some recipes from our cookbook that are great for camping. Don’t have it yet? Get it here in Canada or the US, or ask your favorite retailer to order it using the ISBN number 978-1-6657-2568-2.
A hearty soup like our Chicken Chowder (page 139). Pack frozen soup in single serving sizes into your cooler. Thaw in a pot over your camping stove to start your day right. This is the best choice for you if you are on Stage 1.
Cassava Pancakes (page 125) with fresh fruit. Pack the ingredients and make your pancakes in a cast iron pan over a campfire or on your camping stove.
If you are on Stage 3 and know you tolerate dried coconut, our Coconut Porridge (page 129) just takes minutes to make.
Another idea for Stage 3 is eggs. If you tolerate them, cook them any way you like— scrambled, fried, boiled, or make an omelette with your favorite veggies.
Lunches & Snacks
Our lunch and snack ideas are based on the idea that you might be away from your campsite, and are out exploring lakes, rivers, or hiking trails nearby. These ideas are easy to throw in a backpack. Prepare some of the baked goods before you leave home, freeze them, and store in your cooler.
Bannock (page 207)
Trail mix made with pistachios, macadamias, and freeze-dried low histamine fruit like blueberries . Freeze-drying dries fruit from frozen, so is a different process from dehydrating fruit the conventional way. The conventional way increases histamine levels. If you want to include other nuts, you can follow our instructions on how to activate and dry nuts on page 92.
Breakfast Cookies (page 126)
Chewy Carrot Bars (page 225)
Blueberry Muffins (page 212)
Apples, pears, or other low histamine fruit.
Carrot and celery sticks
Stew. If you are in Stage 1, make a simple stew in your pot with meat and root vegetables. Add salt and water and let simmer with the lid on until everything is tender. It doesn’t matter if your meat is still partially frozen—you don’t need thawed meat for making stew. Alternatively, make this in advance and pack in frozen serving sizes.
Chops. Set up your cast iron pan over the fire or stove and fry up some lamb or pork chops. Serve with a simple salad, veggie sticks, or sauté your favorite vegetables in the same pan.
Skillet Meal. Chop up your favorite meat and vegetables and cook in your cast iron pan with whatever fat you packed from the Foods To Prepare list above. You can adapt our Steak Skillet Dinner (page 170) by using other meats for Stages 1 and 2.
Meat and vegetable skewers. If you are in Stage 3 and tolerate grilled meat, try creating skewers with your favorite meat and vegetables. If meat isn’t fully thawed in your cooler, place it in a cold-water bath for a quick thaw in a pot or basin until it is fully thawed.
If you are in Stage 2 and tolerating ground meat, try our Lamb Kebabs (page 162) or our Juicy Burgers (page 163).
Ginger Cardamom Tea (page 237) is a great hot drink to make while camping, especially for cool mornings or evenings.
Need these recipes? You can order our book here or from your favorite book retailer using ISBN: 978-1-6657-2568-2.
Sticking to the Histamine Haven protocol involves more than just food. We’ve already covered some of the safe cookware options, but what you put on your body matters too.
Need Something for Pesky Bugs?
Bug bites can create a lot of itching and welting when histamine or mast cells are involved. Don’t let a fear of bug bites prevent you from camping. We’ve got you covered.
Start by choosing clothing that keeps you covered. A lightweight button up shirt with a collar offers good bug protection. Pair it up with some lightweight pants and socks that cover your ankles.
Having a good natural bug spray is a must. Look for ingredients like lemon, eucalyptus oil, thyme oil, citronella, and catnip.
If you don’t tolerate essential oils, then a hat and head net mesh is a good option to keep your face and neck covered. Having a hat with a rim also offers great sun protection.
Don’t like the idea of a net? Sunday Afternoons Unisex Adult Ultra Adventure Hat has neck protection and is breathable and lightweight. It won’t give you as much protection as a net, but will keep the back of your neck covered where you can’t see those pesky bugs.
If you do get bitten, having some Badger Itch Relief Stick along can help.
Your Camping Haven
With some planned meals, and some simple bug protection strategies, camping can be a calm retreat away from daily stressors.
If you take supplements or medications, be sure to pack those too!
We hope these tips are valuable in helping you to create a haven away from home, wherever that may be... on a lake, in a forest, along a gurgling stream, or in a secluded glen.