Migraines Part II
Thank you to everyone that read my first piece on Migraines, and especially to anyone who shared the link or re-blogged it. I really thought I was done with the topic, but because it got such a response I’ve decided to add to it with additional pieces that start with this and will continue with information on various treatments. Some are new, some I’ve tried, some I haven’t, and one I am preparing to try some time this year.
As many migraine sufferers know, we have to be careful what we eat. Believe it or not, sometimes what we eat often plays a role in whether or not we are triggering a migraine. There are so many external factors, like avoiding loud noises, bright lights, strong odors, extreme temperatures, etc., but there are also dietary concerns as well. Not all of these will apply to you, many do not apply to me, but they’re definitely good information to have.
Potential Food & Drink Triggers: Chocolate, ice cold foods (like ice cream), aged cheese (Blue, Swiss, Brie, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Muenster, Provolone, Parmesan, Feta, Stilton, Mozzarella, and all processed cheeses.), pickles, soy sauce, certain types of red wine & saki, citrus fruits, ripe bananas, kiwi, raspberries, red plums, papaya, pineapple, dried fruit (figs, raisins, dates, & apricots), tofu, eggs, garlic, onions, olives, beans (broad, fava, pinto, lima & garbanzo), cultured dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, etc.), peanuts, peanut butter, pizza, potato chips, chicken livers and other organ meats, smoked or dried fish, Sourdough bread, freshly baked yeast goods (donuts, cakes, homemade bread & rolls), crackers, soups made from meat extracts or bouillon (not homemade broth), aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, caffeine found in chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea, colas, other beverages like Mountain Dew, and certain medications.
Some of these were new information for me, and some were things I’ve known forever about myself. In order to help you out, I’ll go down the list.
Milk chocolate is a problem for me. I loathe white chocolate, which isn’t true chocolate any way, so I never touch it. Many years ago I switched over completely, so now I only eat dark chocolate. It’s so good that a small amount curbs my craving and I actually find that dark chocolate with chilli peppers helps alleviate a migraine at times.
Cheese wise I’m pretty strange. I eliminated cow’s milk from my diet two years ago, I only buy Coconut milk or Almond milk (Vanilla flavored on both. Also, there is an AMAZING Dark Chocolate Almond milk that I literally have a hard time keeping in my fridge. The last three times I bought it there was just a sip left when I went for some, I never knew it had been opened, and I only live with one other person!). You don’t find me buying or using milk or cream unless a recipe calls for it and I cannot substitute. With certain things, substitution is downright evil. I’m also part Italian and I’m never without mozzarella cheese. I would take it with me to a deserted island, I love it. I have threatened to cut my brother’s fingers off if he touches it when I buy it, and I’m not even remotely kidding about that. Mozzarella has very simple ingredients in it (less than four, I believe), and as long as you’re sticking to the part-skim version, you should be fine. Don’t bother with the Fat Free, it’s a bizarre color and is disgusting beyond words.
I grew up with a real love for pickles and even though I’m not supposed to eat them, I can’t resist Sour Pickles. They trigger a migraine once in a while, but I don’t eat them often enough for it to be a real issue. Obviously, I wouldn’t eat them at all if they were any kind of problem.
I never eat ripe bananas, I like mine when they’re still a little green and that seems to avoid the issue there. Kiwi, pineapple, plums, raspberries, and papaya don’t seem to affect me either, I’m a big fruit person and I’m always getting fresh fruit in huge quantities for myself.
Eggs, garlic, and onions are three of the worst offenders with their sulfur content. I love to cook, and garlic and onions are in so many of the starting ingredients to a lot of what I make, so I have to be careful and cut down the amounts I use at times. If I use fresh garlic I simply won’t eat it in the finished product, which helps eliminate the issue. I choose Vidalia onions most of the time which are sweeter and don’t tend to affect me as much as yellow, Spanish, and white onions do. Red onions don’t affect me much either, but onions can still sneak up on me at times.
I love hummus, so garbanzo beans don’t bother me. I have started to get sick from certain things that aren’t on this list, but sometimes it’s hard to decide if something is a real food allergy or something triggering headaches.
I eat tofu maybe once a week. Sometimes it makes me sick and sometimes it doesn’t. Processed soy products can trigger a migraine for me, fresh tofu is different, but can still pose a problem for some.
Under normal circumstances I try only to drink iced green tea, or iced herbal teas. I admit that I’ve got a slight addiction to Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, but a 16 ounce cup once a day that is mostly ice and rarely ever gets finished is not the issue. If I drank it every single day, all day long, I’d be jumping off the walls from the caffeine.
In the end, we are all different. It is extremely important for each of us to know our bodies and know that works for us. What triggers a migraine for you may not be an issue for me, but the second you become a “migraine sufferer”, it is extremely important that you find out what food and drink items have to be eliminated from your diet. Initially I cut everything out and slowly worked an item back into my diet here and there, and that really worked for me, so I highly recommend that route for others. If one item affects you, eliminate it and move on to the next. See what helps and hinders, it will help you make the best choices for yourself.
The next part of this piece in a few weeks will talk about various herbs and a few treatments that some consider radical, but are bringing immense relief to others. Relief is the ultimate dream when you suffer from migraines, and many people will do anything to achieve that goal.
Please let me know if this helped you in any way, and if you have any info you’d like to share or pass along to me, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment. =)