Migraines: Have you thought about being what you eat?   3 comments

Mercat de la Boqueria, sweets, nuts and dried ...

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Have you thought about what triggers your migraines?  For me, food was a huge trigger. . . I have so much to say on this subject but to get us going, I wanted to leave you a list of foods that are known food triggers for many people.  There are several reasons why these foods are on the list:

  • high tannins
  • high tyramine levels
  • glutamates of some kind (natural and free or MSG)
  • things like citrus that have antihistamine properties
  • foods that are more likely to have a higher mold content. . .

My best advice is to do an elimination diet. Take each of these classes of food out of your diet for a month and then reintroduce them one at a time.

Keep in mind that one food might be your trigger, but the more triggers you pile on top of each other, the more likely you will be to experience a migraine.  For instance, once in a while, I can add a little goat cheese to food for flavor and be fine.  But if I had a salad with walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar (add greens, apples/pear and I just described my favorite salad), I am most likely going to experience a headache as everything except the greens and apple or pears are migraine triggers.  I make sure I would never temp fate when I know that the barometric pressure is going wacky, I’m under a lot of stress, I haven’t been sleeping well, etc.

Learn your triggers.  In a couple of days, I will explain how I deal with trigger foods and cravings.

Here is the list of known triggers:

  • Aged Cheeses
  • Leftovers
  • Alcohol
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nuts
  • Tuna (canned), Dried or smoked fish
  • Sourdough, freak baked yeast goodies
  • Ripe fruit including:  bananas, citrus, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwis, pineapple
  • Dried fruits (figs, raisins, dates)
  • Any soup made from beef or chicken broth that you don’t make at home*
  • Cultured dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk
  • Caffeine
  • Artificial Sweetners (Stevia, etc don’t seem to count)
  • Cold Cuts
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar

So, I certainly wouldn’t want to add dried fruit to that salad I mentioned above.  What else… think about a quick dinner out… suppose you want pizza and a salad or pizza and soup…

let’s look at that.. if you go out, you don’t know what’s in the soup but you can probably bet that there is MSG in the broth… if it doesn’t have MSG (suppose it’s organic soup, a really good quality one… it might have yeast extract that breaks down in your body like MSG…).

Okay, you pass on the soup… but, maybe you’re like me and  and love pizza (I can’t help it, I’m from the East Coast)…  but the crust is a hot yeast bread, store bought sauce (most likely with MSG or a substitute), cheese, and if you eat meat or mushrooms. . . you have a little slice of heavenly triggers galore!!!!

If you have to have your pizza, don’t eat it with other trigger foods… maybe skip the have a white pizza … garlic, olive oil, spinach, ricotta cheese, and ask them to go light on the mozzarella.

I know it’s a bummer to think about having to make behavioral changes… but I think of some wise words when I want to whine about it… When I was a drug and alcohol  counselor, I listened to a recovering person who said this about going to AA meetings:  “you know if you went to talk to parents of a child with cancer and you told them to go to a meeting every day, have multiple cups of coffee, smoke cigarettes, follow some steps, and read a big book, every parent in the world would do it in a heart beat. . . so why don’t we?”

That puts things in perspective for me.  I want to whine about the past and going to a Jewish deli for a roast beef, thousand island, provolone, cole slaw sandwich on rye bread and how I can’t have that piece of “home.”… and then I think about it… is having that bit of my history worth pain for several days?  I’d rather think of my best friends and my long lost family members, St. Mary’s seafront walk way, the Autumn leaves, and driving to Vermont to get homemade jelly. . . that’s what is important.

I’m a better person when I work to minimize my pain and suffering.  It’s my choice and I chose to be healthy!!!

Please let us know which of these are real triggers for you.. because not all of them will be…  Good luck!

Come back in a few days to see what foods are safe for most people!

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3 responses to “Migraines: Have you thought about being what you eat?

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  1. Reblogged this on Namaste Consulting Inc..

  2. You are quite correct in your suggestions. As a sufferer of migraines for over 40 years I have learned what I can and cannot eat. But, somedays for no known reason, like today, I will get a migraine. Today’s was an ocular migraine mixed with clusters. The pain was quite unique and the best I could do was remind myself that “this too will pass” and meditate. Keeping the lights down and sound off helped me and in the end it did pass. In fact today’s poem was written during the episode and I felt it was a good use of a bad situation.

    For those of you who have not yet eliminated trigger foods from your diet what are you waiting for?

    William

    http://fiercebuddhist.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/migraines/

  3. You are totally right Bill and I’m glad that you mentioned this!
    I still get what I think of as “break through” migraines… weather-related, hormone-related, stress-related, etc. I don’t know if I will ever be rid of them totally but I can do a lot to reduce them. Oh, and a big one…. not drinking enough water… who knew that hydration could make that big of a difference (and people on meds need to drink more… juice is good, some herbal teas, but water is best without citrus….)
    And I’m glad you mentioned the “this too will pass”… I woke up on Tuesday thinking I was getting the flu… I decided not to get all dramatic about it, become proactive, and not think of the symptoms as being mine but just being symptoms… I think that helped a lot.. so did the zicam, no diary, no wheat, rest, homemade chicken soup, meditation… it all helped… I had a day of head “stuff”, a day of exhaustion, and then feel better. I also did some yoga nidra last night and that was amazing!!!!!
    Thanks for adding your post to this. I am so amazed at how many migraine suffers just take some meds that their doc’s give them without question and don’t do any more to help themselves. Let’s get the word out!
    Much light and healing for your pain symptoms today.
    Peace, Jen

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