a low histamine recipe for vanilla blueberry muffins
There are only so many times I can modify my own recipes for clients at The JCN Clinic for multiple intolerances before it starts to get glaringly obvious that I need to create a new recipe entirely of its own. With The JCN Clinic attracting clients with long standing chronic gut health issues, we tend to see a lot of food chemical sensitives alongside ‘standard’ food intolerances. Histamine intolerance is one of the more frequent reactivities we see. Therefore, it was time to create a snack recipe like these Vanilla Blueberry Muffins that ticked the boxes of not only being gluten free and dairy free, but also low in fermentable carbohydrates and histamines for many of our clients requiring more specific food options, as they work on building and restoring their gut health.
At The JCN Clinic we put an immense amount of work, pride and energy into creating individual food plans for our clients. When it comes to multiple intolerances and reactive guts these plans can get tricky for some – but for us at JCN its what we love! Our ability to think outside the box and our in-depth knowledge of food planning and recipe creation means we can create meals and recipes for clients that provides a plentiful intake, in comparison to what our clients believe they can eat.
One of the trickiest areas to navigate however is sweet snacks. I tend to adapted my recipes here on the website for muffins, cakes and cookies for clients providing ‘sub this with that’ lists. This does the trick to a point, but I wanted a low histamine muffin recipe that didn’t need 50% of the ingredients swapped out before it was an option to even consider making it.
What is a histamine intolerance?
Reactivity to histamines is driven by a few factors, all generally correlated back to an unhealthy gut (microbiome). Generally when we eat foods high in histamine our gut bacteria along with histamine degrading enzymes help break the histamine down, just like other natural food chemicals present in the food we eat. However, when we have an imbalance of bacteria we can lack the bacteria that are favourable for assisting this process (1). We can also start to see a lack in production of the enzyme that helps degrade histamine (DAO). As a result, histamine builds up and causes reactions. Classic histamine reactions are itching, rashes, hives, flushing (rosacea), headaches and gut disturbances (2).
Histamine isn’t just found in our food mind you, it is also produced endogenously and released from cells called ‘mast cells’ and ‘basophils’. This is an important immune reaction, but again when unregulated it can be quite problematic. An unregulated production of histamine by mast cells is often caused by an unregulated immune response, commonly seen within an angry and inflamed gastrointestinal tract.
low fodmap vanilla blueberry muffin adapations
Generally when someone requires a low histamine diet they will present with multiple food reactivities. Most commonly they are also reacting to fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) alongside gluten and dairy. This means that using regular sweeteners, flours and binding agents in cooking are out and we need to find sweetness and binding capacity elsewhere.
The sweetness therefore in these muffins comes from the roasting of the pumpkin and the blueberries, combined with the natural sweetness of vanilla and cinnamon. Now, don’t think you are going to bite into a regular sweet flavoured muffin here. The sweetness is very subtle, to the point that you might feel these border on savoury. However, for those who are already limited in this space with their dietary intake, I know confidently that your taste buds will appreciate the natural sweetness of the ingredients in these Vanilla Blueberry Muffins.
Now FODMAPer’s, I hear you say, “blueberries are not low fodmap!”. Well actually in certain amounts they are fine. For instance, the Monash FODMAP app will tell you that 40g of blueberries per serve is fine. That is about 2 – 3 tbsp, so one muffin should not be an issue. However, if you are very sensitive and would like ensure a lowered FODMAP amount again, simply swap the blueberries for strawberries. Keep in mind that strawberries are not low histamine, so if histamine is not your friend then I’d stick with blueberries. See how many details there are? That’s why you need a JCN Clinic Nutritionist to sort these things out for you.
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As you can see there are a lot of factors to consider when creating a recipe that works for a super sensitive gut. It’s why people get so overwhelmed and end of just eating the same few foods day after day, ultimately leading a poorer microbiome and even poorer mental health. That is why at The JCN Clinic we strive every day to help our clients create a meal plan as full with variety and options as possible.
If you are new to this space and reading this blog post from a place of restrictive dieting due to chronic gut issues then please reach out to us! It breaks our hearts to see the places that people are stuck in when it comes to chronic reactivity. As Nutritionists who deal with this space everyday we know that there is so much that can be done to help diversify the diet. So many untapped recourses and recipes. And, if we don’t have the resource then we are likely to go and create it – just like this recipe today.
Need personalised nutrition advice catered to your needs?
If you are after personalised nutrition advice and dietary planning individualised to your health and dietary needs then contact us at The JCN Clinic with your enquiry. We are always happy to answer any questions you have!
vanilla blueberry muffins recipe
- makes 12
- preparation time
- 30 min
- cooking time
- 45 min + 30 min for pumpkin
- 300g butternut pumpkin, skin on
- 1 cup (150g) macadamia nuts
- 1.5 cups buckwheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 3 tsp cinnamon (plus optional extra for topping)
- 2 cups (170g) blueberries (plus optional extra for topping)
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
- ¼ cup cold pressed macadamia nut oil
- 1 cup water
Please note, these muffins are not traditionally sweet. If you want to add sweetness add 1/4 cup of rice malt or maple syrup and use only 3/4 cup of water. This will still be low FODMAP and also may still be tolerated by many with histamine reactivity.
Preheat your oven to 180c, fan forced. Grease a medium sized muffin tray to hold 12 muffins.
Cut pumpkin into squares and coat in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes until soft and golden.
While the pumpkin is baking, place macadamia nuts in a blender and blend till a rough nut meal.
In large mixing bowl combine macadamia nut meal with all of the dry ingredients. Fold in 1 cup of the blueberries.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, place the pumpkin with the remaining cup of blueberries, macadamia nut oil, apple cider vinegar (if using), vanilla and water in a blender and blend till smooth. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture from the blender. Stir through until just combined.
Spoon mixture into the greased muffin tray. If you like, top each muffin with extra blueberries and a dusting of cinnamon. Place muffin tray in oven for 40 -45 minutes or until golden brown on top. You should be able to insert a skewer into the centre of the muffins and have it come out clean.
Allow muffins to cool in the muffin tray for 10 – 15 minutes then remove carefully and place on a wire rack to cool. Store in an air-tight container for 2 days or in the fridge for 4 days, then freeze.
Lovely eaten warm, split in half and spread with macadamia nut butter or cashew butter.
nutritional information for vanilla blueberry muffins recipe
- Depending on your level of reactivity you may need to modify these muffins further. Many clients I see with histamine intolerance can handle macadamia nuts for instance. However, if you need to swap these nuts for an alternative nut or seed that you feel sits better with you then go for it. You could also use more flour instead of nuts, but be aware the final texture will differ.
- These Vanilla Blueberry Muffins can also be made low oxalate. Sometimes at the JCN Clinic we might also need to lower oxalate intake for a short time, often indicated in PCR/DNA Stool Results or OATs results at The JCN Clinic. This means that there are a few ingredients that might need a bit of swap out. For those who need a low oxalate version you’d do best to swap out the buckwheat for millet flour. This is your main player in the oxalate family in this recipe, but if you have concerns about other ingredients then its best to ask your JCN Clinic Nutritionist.
Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.