7 healthy foods that may
be your migraine trigger

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Migraine TriggersWhat if you’ve already “cleaned up” your food choices, and are dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free but still having migraines? I’ve had chronic migraine symptoms nearly every day for the last 15 months. So let me tell you, I’ve done a TON of research about migraine triggers.

Would you believe that foods full of health benefits could be a migraine trigger for you?

Here are seven healthy foods that you might want to test for their migraine trigger potential in your body.

  1. Avocado
  2. Nuts
  3. Garbanzo beans / chickpeas (hummus)
  4. Many fresh and dried fruits: citrus, pineapple, figs, papaya, plums
  5. Lentils
  6. Onions
  7. Treats like dark chocolate and red wine

Migraine triggers fall into two basic categories: stuff you can control, and things out of your control. You can’t control the weather, barometric pressure, your hormonal fluctuations, stress (sometimes!), or other environmental factors. You CAN control things that go in your mouth: foods you eat and drinks you drink.

Food and drink choices basically come down to a few things. Foods with tyramine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfites, and nitrites are the biggest culprits.

The reasons why these substances trigger migraine activity are hotly debated scientifically. But there is enough evidence to give eliminating them a try—especially if migraines are difficult for you.

Tyramine is produced when the amino acid tyrosine breaks down. This process can happen naturally in a food—for example, as a tomato ripens. In the list above, tyramine is the biggest trigger.

Tyramine can also be created as a food is aged or cured (as in cheeses), or through fermentation. When eaten, tyramine constricts and then expands (dilates) your blood vessels, which can cause migraine symptoms.

Glutamate is also naturally occurring in some foods, and commonly used as an additive in others. It’s what creates that “umami” flavor and savory taste.

Nitrites are naturally found in citrus foods or juices and in soy products. They’re also used in processed meats like bacon and sausage. You’ll find them in caffeine and alcohol as well.

Sulfite additives are used to prevent foods from turning brown when exposed to air, such as during the drying process. They’re sanitizers, and prevent the growth of molds and bacteria. They can be naturally occurring in the winemaking process.

Hey, I heard you! You just sighed really loud, and I know it’s frustrating. Believe me, I do know how it feels.  We try everything to be healthy, relieve our chronic pain, and then end up with extra migraine activity.

Most likely, you won’t have to eliminate these foods forever. But eliminating them for a short time (2-6 weeks) can give you a clearer idea of which foods trigger you. You may also learn that many of these trigger foods are okay in the absence of other major triggers like hormones or extra stress.

The first step to finding relief is education and awareness. That’s why I’m here for you. Ask me your questions in the comments, and let’s discuss!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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the number one trap to going
gluten-free or fat-free or sugar-free!

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Have you decided to clean up your food choices hoping it will give you some pain relief in a more holistic way? If you have, you may fall into this typical, unhealthy trap!

First you decide to start eating gluten free. You think to yourself, “Well shoot, that’s easy—there are so many GF products on the grocery store shelves today.” Don’t you just have to switch bread for GF bread, pretzels for GF pretzels, pancakes for GF pancakes, cookies for GF cookies?

Won’t a few simple substitutions help your pain levels and improve your health? At the risk of disappointing you, the short answer is NO. The longer answer is not necessarily or it depends on your body.

All processed food products (whether GF or not) have many ingredients within them. You know I’m right if you’ve ever looked at an ingredient list, and realized that you can’t pronounce at least half of the ingredients. Why is that?

Gluten-Free Cereal

When one key ingredient (like wheat, saturated fat or refined sugar) is removed, the food’s manufacturer typically uses a variety of other ingredients to approximate taste, texture, or another characteristic. These ingredients can be harmless for many of us, but may also wreck just as much havoc in our body as the original offender.

Eliminating wheat and gluten from my diet gave me a HUGE boost in holistic pain relief of my inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. And about a month later, I had an amazing and disabling quantity of vertigo attacks. At the time, I attributed the vertigo to gluten withdrawal although I had experienced many vertigo attacks in years prior. About a year into my new gluten-free lifestyle, the vertigo started again and ramped up into some additional horrific symptoms. It turns out they were all connected to migraine activity.

It turns out that one of my main migraine triggers is MSG (monosodium glutamate), which hides in many ingredient lists with a lot of different names. On top of that, MSG is derived from “natural” ingredients so it’s even in the healthier  (but still processed) food choices.

But what does all this have to do with the many kinds of food additives? As a holistic health coach, it’s not easy for me to admit that I was regularly consuming some gluten-free foods with had a lot of additives. And I also was making assumptions that food I thought was “whole” wouldn’t have harmful ingredients—I had gotten lazy about checking ingredient lists!

Here’s an example: Head into the dairy section of your nearest supermarket and look at cottage cheese ingredient lists. Shouldn’t they have just a few ingredients – milk, cream, etc.? (Or as I like to joke—cottage and cheese, right?) The organic, hormone and antibiotic-free cottage cheese brands have just as many additives as the conventional brands. If you see eight brands on the shelf, you may find only one with the “old-fashioned” ingredient list. By that I mean less than seven ingredients that only include items your great-grandmother would recognize. Whether you eat dairy or not is a whole separate topic, but if you do then choose the type that has the “old-fashioned” ingredient list!

More importantly, look for ways to incorporate foods WITHOUT ingredient lists and labels. These are the truly whole foods in our lives—food that IS a plant (not food made in plants). These are things like vegetables and fruit, especially those currently in at the peak of their growing season. They are also minimally processed whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. Sustainably produced animal protein is a whole food—if you choose to eat meat.

Anything from a box, especially if it has health claims printed on the front, is suspect. Even though the label says natural and organic, you may find that food additives in that box are NOT helping you stay well.

Please be your own advocate and learn to read the labels. Choose whole foods if you’re going gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free—that’s the real secret to staying pain-free and healthy!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

Read More
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