Take Care (app) histamine

Can we look at Care as a form of maintenance instead of as an emergency call for chronic issues? Can we look at Care as something to cultivate rather than to delegate?

New health issues are increasing rapidly, due to environmental conditions and GMOs as well as for the newly acquired technical ability to test for them. For many (new) health issues there is yet little knowledge. Often the research is guided by profit-driven decisions, in the interest of big pharmaceutical corporations or exclusively within the analytic tradition.

To look at care as a life practice. We take a health issue like histamine intolerance as a concrete example for which it is clear and mandatory that food intake and lifestyle are determining the severity of the health condition. In defining “Care” I would like to work around the question: Is our diet and lifestyle shaped around products or can we brake out of this path and empower ourselves in designing products - an app in this case - that help us define which food and lifestyle combination is better for each unique person? Can a tool help eventually finding one’s way to still eat or drink that food by combining it differently and so on?

Need or problem you are attempting to solve*

How can one learn to listen to her body and track, compare, and be systematic with the help of technology. The idea is to help people to be more in touch with their body rather than alienate from it. How to empower users with a system that guides them in tracking aliments and environmental reactions, observe cross behaviors, and share that information with other users. A guided digital diary can be very helpful in a case like histamine intolerance where the combination of foods, cooking and food preservation, as well as lifestyle, and environmental conditions, all play a great role, in an intricate and complex combination. Histamine intolerance has been chosen as a concrete case to work with because it’s a health condition I suffer from myself and for which I would like to have a tool that helps me deal with it. From a developer standpoint it will be a tool that I can test in first person. Next to it, there are more and more friends who have found they are affected by this condition, so it will be as well easy to find a group of people for preliminary usability testing.

​Beneficiary, single person and/or community*

Beneficiary will be both single persons and the community in a mutual exchange between users affected by the health condition and those who want to participate and make use of the app like doctors, researchers, practitioners and more.

Solution, brief description of the project*

A first version of the app will be essentially A GUIDED FOOD DIARY.

Obtain information and make your own list of safe foods, referring to a build-in food list of: high-histamine, anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory and cross- check it with a list of typical symptoms and reactions. The idea is to allow users to add #tag foods, behaviors, and symptoms with the intention to generate knowledge and work in the direction of creating a community and use data-analysis for a second version of the app. The food diary can help create awareness and be a systematic tool in finding out which foods provoke reactions and to which degree. It can help to expand one’s diet, follow elimination diet systems, help re-introduce single foods, and monitor whether these provoke any reactions or not. It can help apply more logic to why certain symptoms occur and when. It can be used to help one’s general practitioner or specialist in doing more targeted testing. It can be a great support in case of multiple intolerances as well.

​Technologies already adopted or that you are planning to adopt*

We are a two-women team whit design and development skills. We will start with IOS , and consequently adapt for Android.

​Website (or socials)

We are planning a dedicated website that will follow all the steps of the project.

​License, that you are planning to use


Current status/stage of the project

​1) Setting the theoretical ground with references to relevant texts for this idea from thinkers like: Michael Foucault, Silvia Federici, Cristina Morini, Yuk Hui, Donna Haraway, among others. Based on this theoretical ground I would like to gain insight and discuss the approach with experts from the OpenCare network as well as with possible users from the local community.

2) Observing the context - UI-UX and Algorithms, comparative analysis and design: by looking at existing apps, like: “Food Intolerances”, “All I Can Eat”, “Your food Intolerance”, and other food intolerance apps, as well as other apps on different health issues, as for example, the menstrual cycle tracking app, “Clue”.

3) Sketch out of a wireframe flow for a testable minimum viable product or prototype. The wireframe will also address issues like users privacy and handling of private health information

What role for “the community”?

Hello and and a belated welcome, @deborah_ligorio . I have managed to miss your post – seems like great work, congrats!

The idea of understanding one’s own histamine intolerance seems sound, and is in line with what a lot of people in OpenCare are doing: refocus on preventative health. A question: I cannot quite understand if you have in mind a one-to-many interaction between the app user and the app provider (food diary goes into the phone, advice/feedbck comes out), or a many-to-many interaction between users. Can user A see the diary of user B? Do they interact? What are the mechanisms of interaction, and how do they help users to learn how to use their bodies?

Thanks Deborah + some considerations

Thanks @deborah_ligorio for your application!

I agree with @Alberto that the approach is in line with the OpenCare ethos and practice, cool :slight_smile:

I have some questions but I will try to first off reply to Alberto by interpreting the text above: to my understanding the idea behind the digital service is one where in a first phase the experience is initially one-to-many and the users are receiving feedback, but what they are actually mostly doing is feeding some kind of artificial intelligence that will generate the knowledge about the specific intolerance. the many-to-many kind of interactions will come at later stage as a consequence of the first phase.

      • I’m not 100% sure about my interpretation and would love Deborah to give us more hints about it.

On a side note, I would be interested to know if you (Deborah) have already thought about the interaction of the main task: adding the data tailored to your specific situation.

In my experience, even when the committment is pretty high (meaning the tool can for instance improve the quality of your life), a system that involves a lot of data entry tends to have a short life cycle, (unless the feedback is clear and constant and meaningful).

I’m very interested in approaches where for instance the system knows when is the right time to ask you for the data, or in general where the data entry becomes organic, integrated in your routine, almost happening in the background.

I will check the apps that you have linked, lately I have been looking at “Headspace”, it’s a different field but there can be some interesting insights there.

Last, I would suggest you to check https://edgeryders.eu/en/allergoki#comment-27544, there could be an interesting bond between the two concepts.

ciao :slight_smile:

reply @alessandro contini & @Alberto

Hi Alberto, hello Alessandro,

how nice to find feedbacks! happy to try to answer to your questions. Sorry Alberto, I missed your comment and noticed it only now. As Alessandro points out the project is divided in several phases.

In the first phase we want to make it really easy and doable. So the system will contain lists of foods and their degree of histamine, as for example:

Carrots, Broccoli, Fennel = Low Histamine

Tomato, Orange, Kiwi = High Histamine

Coffe, Garlic, Grapes = sometimes tolerated

This are informations that anyone can find online but while at the supermarket or while choosing your ice cream flavour, it is handy to have it quickly ready all together in an app.

The first phase of the app will also contain a list of Common symptoms: Headaches, migraines, Vertigo, dizziness, Abdominal cramps ecc.

And it will allow the user to check symptoms and associate them with foods into a diary/calendar system.

This is handy in case the user wants to reintroduce a food or wants to monitor the effects of some food that are sometimes tolerated.

In the first phase of the app the system will not ask many questions nor give too many informations. It will mostly be a structured tool for annotation that will empower the personal awareness of the user.

The app “Clue” (menstrual cycle tracking), is a very good example in this terms, it doesn’t do much next to allowing women to structurally note down dates and symptoms, yet it is a powerful tool of awareness.

The data-analisys will only enter  in the second phase. For this there will be some work to be done to design the interaction between what we find trough the data, the assumptions we already have, our approach on care, and the collaboration with practitioners and medical experts.

I hope that I have answered your questions and please let me know, I am happy to answer if there are more questions.

reply @alessandro_contini


Alessandro, I’m also interested in approaches where the data entry becomes organic, integrated in your routine, almost happening in the background. i.e. a wonderful UI UX.

I will like to anticipate what the app will become in the later phases and start to design the interface and the system in a way that more modules can be integrated later on. I’ll definitely like to deliver a smooth user experience.