Chaos to Calm

Histamine Intolerance and Perimenopause: with Low Histamine Nutritionist Luanne Hopkinson

September 03, 2023 Sarah McLachlan Episode 22
Chaos to Calm
Histamine Intolerance and Perimenopause: with Low Histamine Nutritionist Luanne Hopkinson
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Picture this: You're a vibrant woman, on the cusp of perimenopause, yet plagued with a multitude of unexplained symptoms. Could there be another sneaky culprit behind those headaches, joint pains, and frequent hot flushes? Join me and acclaimed Low Histamine Nutritionist, Luanne Hopkinson, as we unravel this complex conundrum.

Luanne Hopkinson is a histamine intolerance expert, nutritionist and coach. After a personal journey through the struggles of histamine intolerance, MCAS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue,  IBS, eczema, anxiety, she learned everything she could to heal herself. Using a combination of science and a holistic perspective, she uses nutrition, functional medicine, and neuroscience to help women with histamine intolerance get back to full food freedom.

In this discussion with Sarah, Luanne brings to light the intricate puzzle of histamine intolerance and its potential impact on perimenopause. While you may struggle with histamine intolerance, others may seem untouched, so we dig deep and discuss the role of your enzymes, liver and gut function, as well as mast cell activation syndrome. And the gold standard for histamine intolerance testing? It's not as complicated as you might think - a four-week low histamine diet - available here:

But the enigma of histamine intolerance doesn't end there. We also explore the fascinating world of neuroscience and neuroplasticity techniques that could aid your recovery journey. Ever considered the impact of chronic stress, food or symptom fear, and our modern fast-paced lifestyle on your brain and nervous system?

Ever imagined retraining your nervous system and shifting your brain out of fight or flight mode? Luanne and I guide you through this, revealing the ways to regain control over your health and wellness using powerful tools like MAP, NLP, hypnotherapy and vagus nerve toning.

This episode is packed full of helpful information and tips!

Find out more about Luanne here:


  • Caught in a hormonal storm? The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? It's time to dig deeper and uncover the missing piece of the puzzle. Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.

To connect with Sarah and learn more about her services, visit her website at, follow along on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

Sarah McLachlan  00:03

Hey there. I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the chaos to calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode we'll explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm, and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on chaos to calm as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life.


Sarah McLachlan  01:00

Hello, and welcome to episode 22 of Chaos to Calm Podcast. I'm so excited today to be welcoming Luanne Hopkinson, a low histamine nutritionist to the program. We are going to be deep diving into histamine intolerance and how it might be impacting your perimenopause experience. And we're also talking about neuroplasticity, and neuroscience. So let's dive straight in!


Sarah McLachlan  01:28

Luanne, thanks for joining me today. I'm so excited to talk to you about all things gut and histamine and histamine intolerance, which is something that I think lots of women over 40 are definitely struggling with but might not understand what's going on. So before we jump into the nitty gritty of of what histamine intolerance is, can you explain a little bit about what histamine intolerance is? Why it's relevant for women over 40 and moving into perimenopause? And feel free to give us a bit of a snippet around your personal journey and health challenges and how that led you to be a histamine intolerance nutritionist. 


Luanne Hopkinson  02:15

Thanks, Sarah. I'm so happy to be here. So, yeah, histamine intolerance is a funny one. It's really complex, in its presentation of symptoms, and it can be really confusing. And sometimes people just don't know if they've got it or they think they might have it. And it mostly shows up as kind of allergic type symptoms. So things like a skin rash, constant sinus congestion, or maybe runny nose, and also things that you wouldn't think as well, like headaches, migraines, joint pain, fatigue.


Luanne Hopkinson  03:00

You can see so many different ranges of digestive issues, you get a lot of reflux and heartburn. But you can also see bloating, constipation or diarrhea can go either way. And what we would think of is kind of like the perimenopause, hot flushes. But usually with histamine intolerance, it's very much at night. It's usually overnight heat, where you wake up and feel like your pillow is boiling hot. And you can just always get this at night between say three and four or 5am. And those are all signs of histamine intolerance. 


Sarah McLachlan  03:39

Yeah, there's lots going on, isn't there? And I think the takeaway is that it can be different for everyone. So maybe two people is not going to look the same. I kind of think of it as we all have a nurturer points or those tendencies to develop things in an area. For me, it's always allergies and intolerances. That's my body's thing.


Luanne Hopkinson  03:39

We also see red flushing on the face and itching and some respiratory, you know, breathing type connection, people often have asthma as well and lots of other what we would call comorbidities or other issues alongside. So alongside histamine intolerance, I see a lot of hormonal issues that perimenopause and also thyroid issues, allergy- true IgE allergies, and stress and anxiety and depression. So a lot of people struggling with sleep, as well sleep and mood. 


Sarah McLachlan  04:41

But I just wanted to touch on as well like histamine itself. So it's not necessarily a baddie in our bodies. But something that you know is beneficial for us in some ways. So can you help us understand why some people are fine with histamine in the you know, and it's the things that it's doing, but other people might not be. 


Luanne Hopkinson  05:03

Yeah, histamine itself is a neurotransmitter. It's really important in the sleep wake cycle.


Luanne Hopkinson  05:11

It's important for drive and motivation. And it's naturally present in our food. And for, you know, 90% of the people out there, it's not a problem like most of us will have eaten these foods, our whole lives, particularly things like fermented foods, and, you know, alcohols, vinegars, and also some vegetables, and aged meats and cheeses. And we often find that, you know, we might be eating these things fine. And then at a certain point in our life, it becomes a problem. 


Luanne Hopkinson  05:47

And I see it more so in women over 40. Because when we're getting to that age, we're also having the hormones come in, as well. So it really means that there's more going on. And the basics of histamine intolerance really boils down to a lack of an enzyme in the gut, called DAO, that breaks down the histamine in our food. 


Luanne Hopkinson  06:10

So if we don't have that DAO enzyme breaking down the histamine in our food, and it gets into the rest of our body. Then we have the issue with an HNMT enzyme in our liver. So our liver does our detoxification. And that enzyme often is not functioning super great. And our liver is basically trying to process all of this histamine that's coming through, that's normally all digested up in the gut. So the actual issue of histamine intolerance isn't really an intolerance to a food, or to histamine foods in general. But it's an excess of histamine in the body, because we're not detoxifying the histamine as we normally would. And so the histamine is connecting to the histamine receptors that are on all the cells all over our body. And that's when we're seeing things like itchy, watery eyes pop up, or a rash, or sneezing or all of these other kinds of things that we've talked about. 


Luanne Hopkinson  07:12

So, yeah, histamine intolerance itself is fairly simple when you look at the basics of it, but it can be caused by many different things. Now, on the continuum, there's also something called mast cell activation syndrome. And at its far reaches, is mast cells that are overreacting to everything and spitting out histamine, as well as other inflammatory mediators. 


Luanne Hopkinson  07:42

I imagine there's like a little puffball mushroom and you tap them, and they poof out and all the little bits come out, and they flood your body. 


Sarah McLachlan  07:50



Luanne Hopkinson  07:50

And so I find people often have histamine intolerance, plus a tiny bit of mast cell activation, varying up to a huge amount of mast cell activation, and all that sort of levels in between. Usually, there's a bit of both involved. And, you know, myself, I had both.


Luanne Hopkinson  08:09

And you asked a little bit about my story. And I think it's a familiar one for a lot of people where you're okay, all the way through your use, you know, you have a fun life, you eat food, you might have had the odd issue here and there, maybe a bit of IBS, which is what I had, and I had a little bit of anxiety, but I was generally okay. But then, at 41, I had some exposure to some mold. I also found that had some heavy metals in my body. And I did, I had chronic fatigue, I had fibromyalgia, and I did some treatment for that. And it actually made me worse. 


Luanne Hopkinson  08:50

So I actually reacted to the medication I was taking for the heavy metals. And I ended up with my foods, then going, "Okay, I'm having a problem now with all of these foods." Before I was gluten free, I paleo, I was pretty healthy. I was you know, studying to be a nutritionist at the time, I was doing all these things. And then boom, I got hit with this reaction. And I find with my clients, some of them have a reaction to something but others it's just gradual. There's no specific reaction, it's more of a general thing. But either way, we can look at it in the same way and we can treat it in the same way. And for me, I ended up so bad that I was reacting to every kind of medication every kind of supplement anything I took because I had that pretty much full blown mast cell activation syndrome after that reaction. I ended up in hospital with anaphylaxis.


Sarah McLachlan  09:50



Luanne Hopkinson  09:51

I ended up down to five food.


Sarah McLachlan  09:53



Luanne Hopkinson  09:53

and I couldn't leave the house because of the pollen. And there's a lot of pollen in Melbourne. 


Sarah McLachlan  09:58

Yes and the plane trees are often a problem. And I know if you live, you're in an area, I think where they are. 


Luanne Hopkinson  10:04



Sarah McLachlan  10:04

It's funny that you mentioned mold, because I also had a mold trigger that in my early 40s, probably same age triggered a whole raft of allergies, developing intolerances, IBS. And I think that we're probably not alone in that maybe some people do it not as extreme as you will me.


Sarah McLachlan  10:25

But I haven't met a naturopath or nutritionist yet that doesn't have a great complex health story behind them. I think that's helps make us great, doesn't it? 


Luanne Hopkinson  10:33

I think it gives us so much empathy, as we know what it's like.


Sarah McLachlan  10:38

Yeah, we really know. Like, when you're down to five foods, you must have so much empathy for your clients. And hopefully, they're not at that point before they come to you. But feeling worried about eating anything, this is something that women say to me often is, "I just don't know how I'm going to react to a particular food", "I need to know where the toilets are when I go out" because I might have to rush there afterwards. 


Sarah McLachlan  11:01

And I, you know, I always think of histamine when they start talking to me about that, more so than perimenopause things. But I suppose that interconnected out there like that.


Luanne Hopkinson  11:14

They will. They are because their liver is filtering out our hormones, as well as histamine. So if our livers like this little highway, and you can only get so many cars onto it at a time and say these roadworks on your highway, because you've got certain things that are slowing things down, like stress, or maybe some mold exposure and stuff like that, you're gonna have all the cars backed up. And so your estrogen bus is sitting behind your histamine truck, and they're all waiting to go out. And then your body becomes more full of all these partially processed metabolites and what become go from natural and useful to toxic and not helpful. And we need to improve that part of our body that's processing all of that stuff. 


Sarah McLachlan  12:10

I love that analogy. That's awesome. It's really great for visual people as well, you can just think about what's happening in your body there. And they're back in circulation or circling around like the planes at the airport when they can't land, you know. 


Luanne Hopkinson  12:26

It is!


Sarah McLachlan  12:26

Dumping fuel, dumping histamine all over your body there as well. 


Luanne Hopkinson  12:31



Sarah McLachlan  12:31

So what would you suggest, Lu? Because, you know, you really are like a bridge, I suppose, between Western medicine or, you know, the usual way, I suppose that people go and natural therapies as well, or conventional and holistic medicine there. And, you know, having that holistic view is so helpful when people have multiple things going on, like you've described for yourself there. But how can someone work out if histamine intolerance is a problem for them? You did mention some symptoms and triggers before and, you know, especially for women over 40, they might often get overlooked or just say, oh, you know, flushing sweats? "Oh, it's probably perimenopause because you're number of years old."


Luanne Hopkinson  13:17

Some have some hormone therapy, you know.


Sarah McLachlan  13:19

Yeah. Or, you know, "Go on the pill", or "Have a marina" or, "Take an antidepressant". That's the, you know, the top five, the usual. So, what would you suggest for someone if they were like, well, you know, maybe they have talked to their GP and thinking, you know, I think intuitively we know whether, when there is something wrong in our bodies, or if the answer that we're given in the treatment is not working well. We can feel you know, a lot of women feel stranded or not know where to look. So what would you suggest for them? How can they work out within, you know, at home and think, "Well, maybe actually I need to look into histamine intolerance"? 


Luanne Hopkinson  14:02

So the most important thing to understand is there is no diagnostic criteria for histamine intolerance. So it's not recognized by the CDC, by the Australian Medical Boards and Associations here. GPS don't generally know what it is.


Luanne Hopkinson  14:21

Because it's not something that you can easily test for. Right? And it's really important to know that there's no single test you can do to "I've got histamine intolerance". And a lot of people do ask me, "Can I test for this?" And yeah, you can test to see if you've got high histamine in your blood. But that doesn't actually tell you what's going on or any detail. 


Luanne Hopkinson  14:43

The easiest way to see if you have histamine intolerance is to do a four week low histamine diet.


Sarah McLachlan  14:53



Luanne Hopkinson  14:54

That's the easiest way it's the gold standard test, actually. 


Sarah McLachlan  14:57

Oh, that's awesome. You have a download people can access from your website on that. 


Luanne Hopkinson  15:01



Sarah McLachlan  15:02

So I'll pop that link in the show notes everywhere. 


Luanne Hopkinson  15:05

I have a free food list and I have a four week meal plan. And you can basically do the four week meal plan if you feel better excess amounts of histamine in your body. So that's the first step. 


Sarah McLachlan  15:15



Luanne Hopkinson  15:16

Don't stay on the diet forever locally. I know people, some people do. 


Sarah McLachlan  15:20



Luanne Hopkinson  15:21

But that's how you know. Now if you have mast cell activation syndrome, and you do the low histamine diet, and you get a little bit of improvement, but not a lot. That's when I got okay, yeah, we're looking more at mast cell activation syndrome, because the mast cells will create an association with other foods. And so they'll trigger off. And they'll also be triggering off due to other toxins and bacteria and things that are happening in the gut. And stress. 


Sarah McLachlan  15:49

Yeah, such a big trigger. 


Luanne Hopkinson  15:51

And that's when there is a diagnostic criteria. But unfortunately, there are two different diagnostic criteria. And they're actually very hard to satisfy. 


Sarah McLachlan  16:00



Luanne Hopkinson  16:01

So there are a lot of people who are on that continuum, who really, if you do go to an immunologist, they'll test you for things. Something like tryptase, which is a common one that gets tested for, but our cells may not be producing tryptase, but they may still be producing histamine and other things. So you know, you can if you're in that really bad state, you can go and see an immunologist. I know in Australia, it's an eight month wait for most of them. 


Sarah McLachlan  16:28

Yeah, I tried to book into a neurologist since I moved states and I had to actually wait nine months. So luckily for me, my symptoms are mostly under control. Yeah, it can be long and painful. And I was wondering, just while you're talking, Lu, for a lot of people, they might start eliminating things or cutting stuff out to reduce their symptoms. So then by the time you could do get to an immunologist, and their testing, would it be possible that maybe the immune systems calmed a bit  or there's a little bit of relief that might alter? Any blood tests or measurement that they might do?


Luanne Hopkinson  17:01

Yeah, like, if they're going to do tests, they want you to be in a flare. And no one's really keen to do that. You actually have to be feeling bad to go and get the test. And look, I was in hospital with anaphylaxis. I had an EpiPen, not for an ideology, because the mast cells were just producing so much, you know, histamines, and I needed to have this. And I needed to take lots of medication, as well as supplementation. So, you know, as far as I'm concerned, we sometimes have to take medication, there are some times where we have to take antihistamines or micelle stabilizers. And it's great when we can wean off slowly and move over on to natural supplements, and then nothing. But you know, I still didn't have tryptase in my test. 


Sarah McLachlan  17:49



Luanne Hopkinson  17:50

And knowledge is still said, you know, you've got muscle activation syndrome, like,


Sarah McLachlan  17:55

Well, that's...


Luanne Hopkinson  17:56

still the good ones they diagnosed based on the symptom picture, and they don't rely on one single test, because one single test is never the


Sarah McLachlan  18:06

well. And, you know, it would invariably vary between different moments of the day and or even days. Yeah. 


Luanne Hopkinson  18:16

It goes up and down just the same as all of our other hormones, and histamine. Histamine naturally rises in the evening, which is why we have more symptoms in the evening, as well as the fact that we eat during the day. So we have more symptoms. 


Sarah McLachlan  18:28

Yes, the load builds up. 


Luanne Hopkinson  18:29

Yep. Because eating is inflammatory. Just eating, you know. But normally, we're not so sensitive. So it's not a problem that EDS, we just ride through it I'm walking knows how to deal with it all. But when we get in a state of this chronic inflammation, chronic issues happening underneath the hood that are causing the histamine intolerance, that's what we've got to look at. And the biggest thing we need to do when we have histamine intolerance, or mast cell activation is asked why? 


Sarah McLachlan  19:01



Luanne Hopkinson  19:02

A lot of times people just go well, that's my label. 


Sarah McLachlan  19:05



Luanne Hopkinson  19:06

Same with fibromyalgia. Same with chronic fatigue. That's


Sarah McLachlan  19:10

Like a low FODMAP diet. Yeah.


Luanne Hopkinson  19:12

All those are is a symptom. So yeah, I'm low FODMAP diet, I've got SIBO. That's a symptom. They're all symptoms of what is going on underneath. Why?


Sarah McLachlan  19:24

I think this is a great thing with naturopathy isn't it? We have the opportunity we have the time to spend with our clients. But we also have been taught to be like those detectives of natural health and find out what's underlying it. What's driving it like, yes, we know what's happening, what the end result is that you histamine is over, you know, your body can't deal with what's there. But "why?", it's such a great question. I think it's the big difference between how we work and others. So I also we talked a little bit about your journey before and we didn't get to the bit where you really sort of up leveled your healing or really recovered using neuroscience and neuroplasticity techniques? And I'm really interested to learn more about that, because I don't know much about the way or those skills that you have. But yeah, can you tell us a bit more about the those particularly you neuroplasticity and neuroscience techniques that you use to help your clients with their histamine metabolism and recovering from impasse or histamine intolerance?


Luanne Hopkinson  20:28

So I used something called self directed neuroplasticity, otherwise known as brain retraining. There's also lots of different people who teach it in different ways and forms and give it different names. But basically, it's about training our nervous system to reduce its hypersensitivity, it's high alert. Because what happens is, when we're chronically ill for a long time, and if we're chronically stressed for a long time, our brain shifts. And it shifts in such a way that instead of what we would call self regulation, which means we move from a rest and digest parasympathetic mode to a sympathetic mobilization, get going moving mode, and we go into that fight flight, and we naturally shift, our nervous system gets stuck. 


Luanne Hopkinson  21:26

It's actually stuck. But it becomes this normalized feelings. So we don't realize we're kind of as stressed or whatever, we're not even feeling stressed. But the trauma from past events get stored in the body. And it could be as simple as car accidents, or it could be as complex as an abusive family or something like that. It can be as simple as a toxic boss for 10 years, that can cause that chronic change in the brain. So what we're doing is we're actually rewiring our brain, rewiring our nervous system. And that's rewiring our immune systems, overreaction to the environment, which includes food, and bacteria, and all of those things. 


Luanne Hopkinson  22:13

So it's really interesting to know, there's so much stuff going on under the hood, that's subconscious, that we feel like we don't really have control over. But indirectly we do. And the, it wasn't until I started doing this, that I realized how much I was thinking about food, and how much I was thinking about how I couldn't eat food.


Sarah McLachlan  22:36



Luanne Hopkinson  22:37

how much I was thinking about my symptoms and, and worrying about my symptoms. And so when I'm working with clients, food, fear, and symptom fear is a huge part of what we work on. And once we're able to shift that, we can really shift our nervous system and we can really reduce reactivity. And I use multiple tools that I used to help me and that I then trained in as I went along. So you know, there's the basic brain retraining, I also trained in something called MAP coaching, which is a way of rewiring our subconscious as well. This works on a slightly higher level, because we're working more with our emotions and our thoughts and our beliefs about past or present circumstances. And we're actually neutralizing those emotions. So that when we do think of that event, it doesn't cause us any kind of pain. 


Sarah McLachlan  23:39



Luanne Hopkinson  23:39

So it's a slightly it's like the next level, the brain retraining is very much like poking at the brain with a stick. And then the next level is kind of like talking to the brain in a different way. 


Sarah McLachlan  23:53



Luanne Hopkinson  23:53

And then I also you know, use NLP, hypnotherapy, meditation, all of those kinds of tools. Vagus nerve tools as well to actually help train our vagus nerve.


Sarah McLachlan  24:09

Yes. That's my favorite singing or humming


Luanne Hopkinson  24:12

Singing, humming, gargling.


Sarah McLachlan  24:14



Luanne Hopkinson  24:15

And just, there's so many more. And because, you know, if our vagus nerve is connected to all of our organs in our body, and our brain is telling our body that it needs to run from a tiger, it'll use that vagus nerve to say, "Well, we don't need the organs right now. So let's just deprioritize all of those, and let's focus on our muscles", and then you get that coat hanger tension because people are always like, ready to run from a target even though they don't like it. 


Sarah McLachlan  24:43



Luanne Hopkinson  24:44

And the body's saying, "I don't need to detox right now". "I don't need to digest my food right now". 


Sarah McLachlan  24:49



Luanne Hopkinson  24:50

"I don't need to worry about my hormones in my immune system. Right now. I got to run from a tiger." So yeah. 


Sarah McLachlan  24:56

It's yeah, it's amazing. 


Luanne Hopkinson  24:58

It's always fascinating how the Important our brain is and how we compartmentalized different systems in our body and forgotten that our brain is connected to all of them.


Sarah McLachlan  25:09

Brains the driver, isn't it? It's yeah, and I see, like so many women, and I know this was the case for me as well, especially moms, but not just mums that are really maladapted to the stress in their life, or, or you say, you know, "out of 10 how stressed are you?" and they might are, maybe you're four or five, and their lives are hectic. But it's because like in comparison to other times and periods of their life. It's maybe not as busy or stressful, but it's still, you know, like as women in our modern 24/7 Go,go,go lifestyle. It's inherently busy and stressful. And then... 


Luanne Hopkinson  25:48

Also society is producing a level of stress and our brains and nervous systems that has never been seen before. 


Sarah McLachlan  25:57



Luanne Hopkinson  25:58

100 years ago, life was so different.


Sarah McLachlan  26:01

Even 50. I mean, it's just so fast paced, isn't it? Like, I look at my mom, and my dad. But my mom as well, like she's seen the advent of so many things like when TV came in, and then it went from black and white to color. And then we've got records were around when she was born, but you know, like, then was shifted to CDs and digital stuff. And, and, you know, how quickly have all the changes come in recent times with computers. And I was even laughing the other day, because I was saying, we were at a cake stall, and someone had handwritten the notes are like how lovely you just don't really see that anymore. Because we all have printers or label makers and things like that. And I was like, I remember that was you were the label maker, it's you with your hand.


Luanne Hopkinson  26:44

And it's impossible to have time to yourself now that people used to have because it used to be that maybe there wasn't a telephone.


Sarah McLachlan  26:53

And we just took it off the hook. You know, when you got home from school, if you didn't want to talk to someone or you had a bad day, you took it off the hook or you just said to you didn't answer it or told mom and dad that I don't want to talk to anyone tonight. 


Luanne Hopkinson  27:06

And now, society expects you to be on call, 24/7. They expect that they can get an answer to the email in 20 minutes. 


Sarah McLachlan  27:14



Luanne Hopkinson  27:15

They expect you always to be on and human beings are not meant to always be on women to be sitting on the prairie, looking at the stars. 


Sarah McLachlan  27:22



Luanne Hopkinson  27:23

Around the campfire. 


Sarah McLachlan  27:25



Luanne Hopkinson  27:25

You know, just in a calm environment. Like our current environments make us feel like we're running from a tiger all day.


Sarah McLachlan  27:33

Yeah, they do. And often talk about how cumulative that those little stressors are, like, Oh, you got a text and you think, "Oh, I didn't pay that bill", or "I didn't give that consent form to school for the child" or whatever it might be. And that all adds up and keeps you in that hyper vigilant state, constantly. And we were we were just talking before we hit record about not listening to podcasts while we're walking, and just tuning into nature and where we're at and not giving our brain that downtime and that time to daydream. And, you know, free move wherever it wants to. And I think that's really healing to our brains and our nervous systems, but also what's really lacking for us because we always have to feel productive and productive in our society is not resting, even though rest and relaxation, we've just talked about how important it is.


Luanne Hopkinson  28:29

Yeah. And it's so important because although there are multiple causes of histamine intolerance, and mast cell activation from mold, and Candida and SIBO, and gut dysbiosis, and, you know, heavy metals, and all of these kinds of things. The real core root of everything is that we are not in rest, digest and repair mode. 


Sarah McLachlan  28:59



Luanne Hopkinson  29:00

The parasympathetic mode, because if we're in that mode, our body knows what to do. And it's always trying to detox everything and clear stuff out and balance our hormones and do all that good work for us. But we as a society, and as human beings that have been entrained to do everything for everyone else before ourselves, have forgotten that like we've we've given that away and so our body has forgotten how to do it. Like it's stuck in this fight flight, it's stuck. And it just needs that time. 


Sarah McLachlan  29:36



Luanne Hopkinson  29:36

It needs us to give it a chance to shift our body knows how to heal. We just need to guide it. We need to feed it the right nice foods. And we need to give it a little bit of supplementation here and there to get rid of some of the immediate stuff. But yeah, our body knows what to do.


Sarah McLachlan  29:55

It does. And I was just thinking while you were saying that Luann because we are in that constant, hyper vigilant, you know, rushing state. There's that disconnection between, say heart and mind just to simplify, but the work that you do with the map and the brain rewiring, does that help that helps build that connection back between, you know, the body and the brain and helping people tune in to what their body needs?


Luanne Hopkinson  30:22

Yes, it does. Although that is more what I would call brain based or top down. There's also bottom up practices that you can use and that I have a little bit in my program as well. And that's somatic awareness. So things that involve like I use Chico, which is like tai chi, and yoga. Also, breathing tools and techniques. And then other forms of somatic awareness that you can do like Feldenkrais or Hanna somatics, things that allow you to notice what's going on in your body as well, like, what's the posture like? Are your hands clenched? If they are, open your hands, and put your shoulders back a little bit. You'll notice how you feel differently. So that's like the body, the brain, something really simple you can do is you smile. And when you smile, it actually changes the chemicals being produced in your brain, even if you don't want to smile.


Sarah McLachlan  31:19

So I can't help but smile now that you've said. Yeah.


Luanne Hopkinson  31:22

It help us smile, but it's like it will actually start to produce like, serotonin and things like that and produce less cortisol because of the smile. That's the somatic side, which is body to brain, and we kind of need to do a bit of both. Definitely, movement is important. And gentle movement, a lot of my clients are doing a high intensity exercise. Yeah. And that actually will fill up your histamine in your body because your your body will produce more cortisol, more adrenaline, which will then produce more histamine from the mast cells. 


Luanne Hopkinson  32:00

And so, you know, it's about relearning a little bit about our bodies, but taking away that fear. Because a lot of times it's, we're scanning our bodies with fear, and shifting to living in your body with more trust, like, trust of your body, and I use the MAP coaching a lot for that as well. Because when you get that unwell, you view your body as being the enemy. You don't feel safe in your home and your body is your only home. 


Sarah McLachlan  32:37



Luanne Hopkinson  32:38

And we need to be able to make ourselves feel safe in our home again. 


Sarah McLachlan  32:42



Luanne Hopkinson  32:43

So that's a big part of it is coming back to like, safety within. I think that, that's beautiful. 


Sarah McLachlan  32:51

That's really nice. And it's yeah, so true. So many people feel that disconnected or just don't, you know, wish had a different body or all of those things as well. 


Luanne Hopkinson  33:03



Sarah McLachlan  33:03

So we've talked, we've covered so much ground today. We started off with some symptoms and talking about what people might see. But like you've said, it's a it is a big range of symptoms, and that sort of might be personal to each individual to each person. And so, you know, given your toolkit there, and that you've got lots to draw from there to help people there as well. But could you give us a couple, or a few tips or strategies that women, especially those women over 40 can implement to improve their histamine intolerance? And so we've mentioned the four week diet plan. Go to the show notes. They'll find that and download it. What could they do? Food wise or drink? Or what else would you suggest it could do a couple of things that they could do at home to help alleviate symptoms while they get started?


Luanne Hopkinson  34:02

Yeah. So the easiest one is just reduce all those histamine foods. And then you can you can see where you're going. And you can you can grab my list and my four week meal plan and you can, you know, take out swapping them for other foods, right? And a lot of the low histamine food is a little bit like what did your great grandma used to eat? 


Sarah McLachlan  34:25



Luanne Hopkinson  34:26

So you kind of get going a little bit more simple. And the other things that you can do as well is think about leftovers, because leftovers increase in histamine. So you actually want to freeze any leftover overs that contain meat because those will increase in histamine if you leave them out. And a lot of us are so used to just putting the pot in the in the fridge and then having the rest for lunch tomorrow. But yeah, if you freeze them and I always say the freezer is your friend. Like, batch cook meals, fill up the freezer, because then that takes away that stress of having to think of what I'm going to cook at 7:30 at night. And now I have to do something from scratch. You've got, like you're at home takeouts.


Sarah McLachlan  35:16

Yeah, fakeaway. 


Luanne Hopkinson  35:18



Sarah McLachlan  35:18



Luanne Hopkinson  35:20

And so those are some real basic tips. The other ones are, you know, making sure that you're looking at that, that stress in your life, and just going okay, like, where am I saying, yes, when I want to say no.


Sarah McLachlan  35:37



Luanne Hopkinson  35:37

And just starting with the real basics, they're like, can you introduce a little bit of me time, where you can meditate for 10 minutes, or you can go for a walk in nature, preferably, if there's a park nearby. And just get a bit of time where it's just you, and nobody's asking anything of you. But just that short, 10, 15, 20 minutes a day, if you can start doing that, you can start giving your brain a little bit of breathing space. And it all starts with like, one simple change. And then you build another little change, and another little change, and it's like little building blocks.


Sarah McLachlan  36:19

Yeah, I agree. Often people think I gotta do like, you know, change everything all at once, or it has to be this grand gestures that we do. But actually, it's so small habits and stacking or building on those that make up to that big change for us over time and help our bodies to heal. And especially if you're feeling so unwell, the idea of making grand sweeping changes is even more, you know, so overwhelming.


Luanne Hopkinson  36:47

Yeah, it can be. And the important thing to really understand is it does take time to heal. Especially when you're feeling really uncomfortable. You want to be fixed, ASAP. But the honest truth is, if there was a pill that could fix it, we'd all be taking it. 


Sarah McLachlan  37:04



Luanne Hopkinson  37:05

So the reality is it does take time, it takes time, because mast cells, once they're activated, they live for a few years. And so you're looking at calming down the body so that as we're as the body regenerates, like our cells in our body are constantly replenishing a gut lining replenishes within just a few days, but we need to keep creating an environment so that our body is going to be healing. And it needs to be happening every day. And it needs to be happening over a period of time. 


Sarah McLachlan  37:37



Luanne Hopkinson  37:38

So you know, we can't kind of just snap our fingers. And it's done. But just like the old Pantene commercial, I love that commercial. "It won't happen overnight, but it will happen." And you know, determination is the thing that got me through. I was just, I wholly and totally and completely believed that I can get there. And that's really what it what it is.


Sarah McLachlan  38:01

That's massive to help keep yourself going. Just with that subconscious thought, rather than it's hopeless, it's useless. It's never going to happen for me.


Luanne Hopkinson  38:10

And it's easy to get in that state. But yeah, really going like, if you understand how the body and the brain are working, you can just really remind yourself, well, this is why I need to do this. And you get back on the horse.


Sarah McLachlan  38:25

Absolutely. Yeah. And I know it feels really hard, I often have this conversation with my kids or even with my husband. And they sometimes get quite incensed when I tell them that they actually have the opportunity to choose how they want to respond. No one's making you feel this way or, you know, it's all up to us. Sometimes it can feel that we're not in charge and not in control, and it can feel impossible to choose how we respond. But yeah, we you know, I guess we have the benefit of the study and knowledge behind us that we know how powerful your brain is, and your mind and your thoughts. And that sometimes you just got to get dogmatic in those thoughts around you know, loving on your body or not, or telling yourself that you can get better and you can feel well until you know, fake it till you make it. 


Luanne Hopkinson  39:16

Yeah, and same and not about toxic positivity. But about physically going, if I do this tool, it will change my brain whether I believe it or not, whether, you know, whatever, but like it'll it'll happen. So knowing that there are ways to change things that maybe you thought were impossible to change. You know, and our our capacity for life can increase and our resilience can increase and we can approach things in such a different such a calmer way than we used to. It used to be this calm.


Sarah McLachlan  39:58

Yeah, absolutely. Because I choose, I know how unwell I will feel if I am in that way. And I know when you when you know when there's a lot going on, it can feel impossible and it's hard to get yourself up and out of that that place. But I guess the message I want everyone to know is that it is possible even when it feels really hopeless. And I think that's what you hope your clients feel each and every day with the tools that you use with them that there is hope and you can feel well again. And it isn't a life sentence as such, you know, histamine intolerance or MCAS is not a life sentence. You can enjoy food, lots of different foods, and eat out without knowing where the toilets are.


Luanne Hopkinson  40:45

Okay, and as you gradually get little stepwise improvements, you can enjoy life more, and then you get more stepwise improvements. But I, you know, I went from not being able to work and really being at rock bottom, and now, I'm you know, I'm eating avocados, I'm I'm eating out, I'm working on traveling again, you know, I'm doing the things that I wanted to do. And I thought I would never get my life back. Now I've got a new life.


Sarah McLachlan  41:17

I remember when that was happening for you as well. So yeah, it is like a whole different person. Yeah. So thank you so much Luanne, for all that amazing information that you've shared with us today. And I'm sure people are feeling more hopeful or understanding maybe a bit more about what's going on for them. Is it before we finish up? Is there anything that you want to add? Or let people know? 


Luanne Hopkinson  41:42

I think the main thing is you don't have to stay on that diet forever. And if you're starting to notice that you're also excluding other dietary groups, and you're reacting to more and more foods, get help. Before you end up on five foods like I did. 


Sarah McLachlan  42:00

Yes, great advice. 


Luanne Hopkinson  42:01

Because I just don't want to see people getting to that state. And my goal is to keep people on as many foods as possible because the food is not the problem.


Sarah McLachlan  42:11

That's right. There's there's something else the why underneath there as well. And I always think good advice is that if you're thinking of cutting foods out or cutting food groups out, then please do talk to a nutritionist or a naturopath, someone trained in that nutritional medicine that can help make sure your body's still receiving all the nutrients and nourishment that it needs. 


Sarah McLachlan  42:34

So yeah, thank you again. Luanne. It's been such a pleasure. And as I said, I'll put your info in the show notes so people can go and find your free download and find out more about you. And histamine intolerance. 


Luanne Hopkinson  42:47

Yeah, I'd love that I met


Sarah McLachlan  42:59

It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand that aren't alone in feeling this way. And that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation. 

Histamine Intolerance and Perimenopause
Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Syndrome
Brain Retraining and Nervous System Repair
Improving Histamine Intolerance With Mind-Body Practices