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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holistic relief for migraine activity

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Ask the Coach, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Migraine Brain.jpgNever in a million years did I expect a doctor to tell me I needed an elimination diet. Most physicians have limited training in nutrition, and as a health and holistic pain relief coach I have a LOT of training in nutrition. I never anticipated being told that dietary changes were the right path for me.

How did this journey start? Well, back in early November, I caught a cold and then it developed into a sinus infection. Just as I started to feel better, it seemed like I felt worse again. The process of alternately feeling better and feeling worse continued for several weeks. During some of the “worse” intervals, I had some vertigo and quite a bit of disequilibrium. Disequilibrium is when you feel like you’re on a boat – and you’re not! Both of these experiences can be very disconcerting. Then I started to lose hearing in my right ear, including a distortion of low-frequency sounds.

The bad days began to outnumber the good days. Things were going from bad to worse, and no one seemed to have any answers for me. Some medications (like prednisone) worked for a time, but didn’t solve the problem and had scary possible side effects. I was too unwell to try to determine if there were holistic methods, except for getting lots of rest. Doctors, chiropractors, clinical nutritionists, acupuncturists … no one could tell me what was really wrong.

And then I was referred to the specialist I mentioned above. He spent about 20 minutes talking with me about the symptoms I was having. We also talked about the progression of symptoms over not only the several months before our appointment, but over many years prior.

And he told me it was all migraine activity! I could have fallen out of my chair, because I only get the occasional tension headache! In all the years I’ve been doing bodywork and coaching, I’ve always treated people living with migraines. And every time I was grateful that I didn’t live with the kind of pain levels migraines can bring. Here is the lesson for me: sometimes there’s a LOT more to a condition than you realize. Migraine is simply the inflammation of the blood vessels in your head and neck. And because of their location, that inflammation can affect so many different parts of our body.

Migraine includes symptoms throughout many systems of your body – not just your head. And many things, including what we eat and drink, can trigger migraine activity. Since we have more control over what we swallow, a migraine trigger elimination diet was the first step for me.

I thought going gluten-free was tough, but now that I’m forty days into this diet, I am here to tell you it’s much tougher. On the up side, I’ve experienced HUGE amounts of symptom relief. I am SO grateful for the fantastic good days that I am having now (even if it does mean I had no excuse to get out of spring cleaning)!

It would be wrong to tell this story without a shout out to my amazing husband Cris. He was there every step of the way, helping and supporting me with his whole heart. I am so lucky and grateful that he is in my life!

My message for you is this:

1. Even the experts have challenges to face and more to learn.

2. Food and nutrition are intimately connected to wellness.

3. Persist in looking for the solutions – pace yourself, but persist.

4. Asking for help is okay.

This experience has been (and continues to be) life changing. Since it does relate to holistic pain relief, I’m sure I’ll have more to share in the future. Stay tuned …


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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