Migraine Trigger Free Diet – Action Plan Step 1

All the things I shouldn't have. Photo credit: ericmay via photopin cc

All the things I shouldn’t have.
Photo credit: ericmay via photopin cc

This is the first step in my “My-graine” Action Plan. Why?

When migraines become chronic, eliminating food triggers is a good place to start. It’s free, natural, and in some cases food allergies play a large role in triggering migraines. Wouldn’t it be fab. if I could heal myself without tons of meds., doctors visits etc.? To compensate for the foods that I will be cutting out, I take a multi-vitamin daily, as well as other supplements that I deem necessary.

The key to the diet that’s listed below is planning and preparation. As you’ll see, packaged meals, fast foods and restaurant food are pretty much no, noes – very clean eating. Most meals have to be prepared from scratch. When you’re in the throes of a severe migraine attack, it’s not wise to cook and/or bake; I’ve tried and it’s resulted in nausea and vomiting.

As a result, my husband and I prepare meals ahead of time. For example, on July 1st (when I had a tolerable migraine – 4/5), I prepared a soup and baked some bread, which served as my meals for July 2nd. The preparation unfortunately led to a #9 migraine that started that evening and carried over to the 2nd, yet I still benefited. How? All I had to do was scoop my soup in the bowl, toss it in the microwave, heat, hop back in bed, eat and go back to sleep. I did that for breakfast, lunch and by dinner time my pain had subsided to a 6 or 7. In addition to eating tasty, healthy meals that day I also avoided skipping meals, which is one of my known triggers.

Please note I take no credit for the list of food below. The list was provided by, David Buchholz, M.D. of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in his book, “Heal Your Headache The 1.2.3 Program For Taking Charge Of Your Pain”. Have you read it? If not and you suffer from Chronic Migraines it’s a must read.

I officially started the diet on June 30, 2015; and will be following the three stages outlined in the book. The diet is the second stage of the program (see my post Getting Back on Track for details on his 1-2-3 program).

Once I get myself fully organized I’ll start to post pics and recipes of my meals – at least the ones I’m proud of lol ;).

Foods To Avoid

Caffeine – (not even decaf.) Herbal tea is fine once free of trigger flavors e.g. citrus.

Chocolate – White chocolate (no cocoa) is okay; carob is questionable (I’ve not yet found a brand without cocoa or carob).

Monosodium Glutamate – (MSG – see my post MSG Is “Hidden” Everywhere) Warning: Chinese and other restaurant food usually contain MSG. Read labels!

Processed Meats and Fish – Aged, canned, cured, fermented, marinated, smoked, tenderized – or preserved with nitrites or nitrates (most lunch meats contain these – again read labels); certain hams, bacon, pates, smoked or pickled fish, caviar, anchovies. Also fresh beef liver and chicken livers and wild game (which contain tyramine).

Cheese and other Dairy Products -The more aged, the worse. In the book cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese and good-quality American cheese are permissible. As well as, milk, butter and ice cream. I, however, am avoiding all dairy. Yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk are also triggers.

Nuts – And anything made from them like butters, milks etc. (Seeds are okay)

Alcohol and Vinegar – Especially red wine, champagne and dark or heavy drinks. Vodka is best tolerated. Clear (ideally, distilled vinegar) is allowable. Warning: Don’t overdo condiments made with vinegar.

Certain Fruits and Juices – Citrus Fruits (including limes and lemons – I use distilled vinegar as a substitute), bananas. Also avoid raisins (and other dried fruits if preserved with sulfites), raspberries, red plums, papayas, passion fruit, figs dates and avocados.

Certain vegetables – onions, sauerkraut, pea pods and certain beans (broad Italian, lima, fava, and navy and lentils); Allowed: leeks, scallions, shallots, spring onions; also garlic.

Fresh Yeast-Risen Baked Goods (less than one day old)

Aspartame (NUTRASWEET) – Saccharin (Sweet’nLow) may also be a trigger for some. As far as Dr. Buccholtz knows, sucralose (Splenda) isn’t a problem.

Others?: Perhaps soy products (soy oil is safe). Possibly tomatoes, mushrooms and whatever you know triggers your headache.

Leftover after 2 days – I’m not sure if I read this in “Heal Your Headache…” or somewhere else. Tyramine is a compound that naturally occurs in food. The longer the food ages, the more tyramine it will contain. Tyramine is a major migraine trigger. As a result, I freeze any food that lasts more than 2 days.

N.B. Where possible without compromising the list, I’ve summarized. To get the total listing I suggest purchasing the book; it really is an informative read. Please note, I do not agree with his view of what a migraine is, but I do think his 1.2.3 Program makes sense. I’ll surely let you know if it helps me.

For more migraine triggers see: 27 Foods That Can Trigger Migraines

– Skylar

P.S. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried or are trying this diet and whether it helped or not. Please share any tips on how to stick with it. Also let me know what you think of the book if you’ve read it or decide to purchase it.

Please see my copyright and disclaimer after reading this post.


20 thoughts on “Migraine Trigger Free Diet – Action Plan Step 1

    • Thanks for sharing!

      Did you find the food elimination beneficial at all? Weather triggers mine too – excessive heat and thunderstorms. When you say mood, do you mean stressful situations? If you don’t mind me asking. Please forgive me if I’m getting too personal and please let me know. I’m just curious cause it may benefit me or other readers.

      – Skylar 🙂

      • Skylar is there an email that I can share the mood stuff with. Food NO but I can’t drink red wine but apparently New Zealand should be ok – its the nitrates for me. I’m mini2z (at) yahoo (dot) com – Kristin

      • I never cut dairy our – just cheeses that I thought might have been a cause – now I’m being told I should go paleo, I’m GF already but I love my milk in my tea, I should try coconut mild but….that\s work and energy….

      • I so know what you mean. It’s like you wanna say, “Migraine you’ve already taken away so much, do you have to take away my food too?!”

        I’ve tried and failed at this diet so many times. And I LOVE dairy. This is the first time I’m doing this diet and cutting out dairy though. So far it’s only been a few days and I’ve had meals i really enjoy so I don’t miss it yet.

        This time my resolve is much stronger. I’m just so tired of being stuck in bed in pain. I just want something to work!

        I took a look at your blog and followed you. I saw some of the battles you’re faced with. Huh…chronic illness…

        I hope we eventually strike upon something that helps us to improve our health.

      • Just a few chronic illnesses (LOL because I’d cry) I will watch your diet journey and see how it goes. I’m going on Monday to my chiropractor who does nero stuff now from Dr. Carrick – It’s expensive but the migraines, the dizziness, the nausea and walking crooked etc – if all that can be helped it will be money well spent

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