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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why I’m choosing antibiotic-free meats

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Why Organic? | 0 comments

Antibiotic-Free Hormone-Free Grass-Fed CattleIn my quest for concrete, scientific answers regarding some ongoing symptoms, I recently embarked on a pretty intense food testing protocol.  There are many food testing options available, and this is what the functional medicine practice I’m working with recommended as “top-of-the-line.”

I won’t bore you with the complete test results, although don’t be surprised if I continue to share the things I’ve learned. However, I do think you’d be interested in one particular part of my results and what I’ve learned because of it.

Turns out my body is making a LOT of antibodies to an antibiotic called streptomycin. In simpler terms, I’m allergic to this drug. When I saw this on the list of severe reactions, I also realized that I’ve NEVER taken this antibiotic for medical treatment.

So how is it that I’d be making antibodies for something that’s never been prescribed for me? Thank goodness for Google and the documents available online! Here’s what I found:

Streptomycin is a commonly used antibiotic for large animals including cattle, sheep, and pigs. It’s used all the time in the process of producing the meat and dairy we buy at the grocery store.

Streptomycin is also used to control disease in vegetable and fruit crops, INCLUDING organic apples and pears.  On the upside, the exemption that allowed organic growers to use streptomycin expired in October of 2014. Just be aware that those chemically treated organic apples will probably still be on shelves for most of 2015 as well.

You probably realize by now that I’m not vegetarian, but we’ve been eating with mindfulness (within our budget) for decades. So this was a big blow to my sense of comfort with our choices! And let me tell you, our budget just shifted around so that I can get some relief from this allergic reaction.

I know the changes we’ve made are really the important part of this learning experience for us – and for you! So here’s what we decided to do.

First, I’m going to give organic apples a break. It’s been my go-to fruit for the last few years because it’s inexpensive, easy to find and travels well. I’ll just choose different organic options for the next several months or more.

We are completely switching our beef and poultry buying habits to only antibiotic-free, hormone-free producers. This is NOT easy on our budget, since the costs are about twice what we’ve paid in the past. It really comes down to the “pay me now or pay me later” philosophy. Since the antibiotics are likely playing a part in my health challenges, then continuing to eat food containing them will only make me sicker later. Investing in better quality products now will hopefully lead to better health in the long run for our whole family.

I’m grateful to live in a part of the U.S. (central Pennsylvania) where we can source these products direct from the farm. The web site Local Harvest has been a big help in identifying these folks. Plus, Cris already shops regularly at a local farmer’s market where he’s been able to find a few more sources.

A few Saturdays ago we decided to go straight to a farm store near us. I’m not sure if this would happen everywhere, but after a quick check in to see if we had questions, the family left us on the honor system. We literally picked out our foods, listed them on a steno pad, and left a check in the cash box. And there were two other families right behind us in line. You can’t get much closer to the producers than that!

Taste and texture of these meats is definitely different, especially their leaner and less fatty nature. But it’s not unpleasant at all. And once we decide on the meat we prefer, we’re expecting to buy in quantity to reduce our overall cost per pound.

It’s too soon to tell you whether these changes will make a difference in my health, but I believe they will be positive in the long term. I hope you’ll take the information I’ve shared and consider how it might relate to your own health. I’d love to hear what you find!

Amish Farm Store Sign

 

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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my book is now published

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Holistic Pain Relief, Kick Pain in the Kitchen | 0 comments

Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat is now available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. You may choose from paperback, Kindle, iBooks or Nook versions. You’ll also find e-book rentals at OysterBooks.com and Scribd.com.

Kick Pain in the KitchenWhat an experience it is to write a book! I am humbled by the wonderful feedback I’ve received, both in the Amazon reviews and in person. With over 100 million people living in chronic pain (just in the U.S. alone), I hope my everyday ideas offer hope and empowerment to you and your loved ones.

“I will definitely recommend Kick Pain in the Kitchen to my patients: Those who are looking to avoid pharmaceutical treatment and those who want to combine western medicine with alternative therapies.“ ~ Jane A. Swartz, ARNP, MSN, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner

  • Do you wish for realistic, holistic tools, which will minimize your pain and make you confident in your body?
  • Have you struggled to meet life’s demands because managing chronic pain takes so much time and effort, leaving you exhausted?
  • What would life be like if you could minimize your pain and dedicate the extra energy you’d gain to your goals?

Based on the author’s experience as a massage therapist, holistic health and pain relief coach, and woman in pain, Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat offers you a holistic approach to pain relief that can be integrated with many other treatment plans. It’s full of straightforward, every day steps that anyone can start using right away.

Your path to health and pain relief starts in your kitchen and supermarket cart! The book educates you about why healthy, whole foods based, pain relieving changes can help, while giving you a practical game plan structured through the meals of the day.

Kick Pain in the Kitchen is part informational, part inspirational, and part practical. You’ll finish the book with plenty of options and a new focus on healthy habits to relieve your pain naturally.

 

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 dark side of sugar and pain

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief | 2 comments

Sugar and PainHolistic pain relief and sugar are connected. Sugar is dessert and dessert is sugar, right? Most of us who love dessert, know that sugar is a big part of this desire.

When I was growing up, every meal had dessert after it. I was just telling a client yesterday that there were mornings we even had pumpkin pie for breakfast. Okay, it wasn’t often—but it did happen!

There’s a pretty significant dark side to sugar though, and if you’re going to have dessert you want to be aware of this information. It’s your call what to do with it—depending on where your pain levels are and what other changes you’re making. You definitely want to take this pain-relieving process step by step and not overcommit to changes you’ll find hard to maintain.

But know this—sugar can damage your body. If you’re starting to heal and relieve your pain by changing your gluten or food additive intake, you wouldn’t want to just re-damage it by having excess sugar.

Here are a couple of reasons why sugar connects to pain:

  • Sugar interferes with absorption of magnesium. Magnesium relaxes muscle, and can help relieve pain levels.
  • Sugar can cause arthritis, which is the cause of much pain for people.
  • Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis. Strong bones play a big part in holistic pain relief.
  • Sugar changes the structure of collagen, a significant component in connective tissue. Compromised connective tissue can increase muscle and other types of pain.
  • Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention. Fluid is a function of inflammation, and connects to pain.

Maybe you’re thinking that switching artificial sweeteners for sugar is your solution. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn’t going to help your pain levels either.

Aspartame, a common artificial sweetener is strongly linked to migraines. But did you know that in 2010 Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology published findings that aspartame is linked to fibromyalgia pain and fatigue?

For me, the question of artificial sweeteners goes back to “great-grandmother” foods. How would I explain aspartame or sucralose to my great-grandmother? Would she just automatically know what it was, like we do?

Here’s another thing I think about with sugar. Sugar causes abnormal cell growth. Most people would rightly link this to concerns about cancer, but again that’s another topic. But many people with arthritis have a condition called nodules. Nodules are little lumps of tissue that grow near joints and can cause pain and discomfort.

If nodules are abnormal cell growth, is it possible that eliminating sugar would start to shrink them? Would it prevent the growth of more nodules? I’m not a scientist or a medical professional, but if I were a person living with nodules and the associated pain I would definitely try this.

As with everything here at Confident Wellness, this is your choice. If you’d like a medical professional’s perspective, get it. If you’re not ready yet, that’s okay. Our pain is individual to each of us, and so is the way we go about pain relief.

 

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!

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