Migraine Diet

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  • #40386
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    Editorial Team
    Participant

    Welcome to the Migraine Diet Forum

  • #41946
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    Annie
    Participant

    Have you tried an elimination diet?

  • #41948

    What is an elimination diet?

  • #41949
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    Annie
    Participant

    First of all, I am a firm believer in the elimination diet. I am currently in the process of going through my second elimination diet to try to identify foods that trigger my Migraines.

    My first elimination diet was very successful and although it is still relatively early during my second elimination diet, I believe it is already paying off. I have developed additional food triggers that passed my first elimination diet, but will trigger me now.

    One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone will have food triggers, but what better way to determine if you have them than to go through an elimination diet? The other thing to note which is important is that it can take up to forty-eight hours after being exposed to a food trigger that you get the Migraine.

    There are a few ways to identify food triggers. One is basically by discovery. Every time you eat a particular food, you notice you get a Migraine. Some people will notice a food trigger when they review their Migraine diary and will see that every time they have a specific food, they will get a Migraine. You can eliminate that food and then introduce it back to see what your reaction is after.

    Another way to do an elimination diet is to basically eliminate a whole class of food at a time. You would not eat anything in that class for a certain amount of time and then introduce one item from that class once every week.

    The way I did my elimination diets was to cut out all foods except to keep a basic diet for a certain amount of time and then start introducing one new food once per week. When eliminating foods, this also includes anything you drink or consume.

    No matter which way you approach the elimination diet, you should keep a migraine diary and/or journal. This may also help you identify other triggers or patterns.

  • #41950
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    WildZan
    Participant

    aspartame is the only food trigger I have identified. Most of my triggers are more environmental.

  • #41951
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    lwats80
    Participant

    I am only about a week into my elimination diet but have already noticed an improvement. Wednesdays are normally a migraine day but luckily so far today I am migraine free and don’t feel one coming on (touch wood). Unfortunately I suspect chocolate is a trigger :(

  • #41952
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    lwats80
    Participant

    Further to my earlier post, I would also like to add that I’ve been keeping a diary of everything I eat and drink. This has inadvertently had a dramatic effort on my eating habits. Since starting the diary I have become so much more aware of what I eat and when I eat. I was actually shocked at how little I was eating and how often I tended to skip breakfast and even lunch. It’s amazing how just skipping one meal or eating lunch late can trigger off a migraine. Now I am very strict with myself and make sure I get 3 square meals a day no matter how busy I am!

  • #41953
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    Annie
    Participant

    It’s great when we can identify what our food triggers are! This way when we avoid those triggers, we can avoid some unneeded Migraines.

    It’s so nice after going on the elimination diet when you start feeling better. Sometimes you may not get a reduction in the number of Migraines right away, but just feeling better is a motivation to keep doing what you’re doing and eating three square meals a day is very important too.

    Good luck with your diet!

  • #41954
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    Farmer
    Participant

    After reading this, I may just have to try an elimination diet. I have an idea what some triggers are (alcohol, nitrates found in lunch meat, MSG) but I’m sure there are more culprits, some of which I don’t want to admit to. Please, oh please let it not be chocolate! Diet Coke would break my heart too. A girl has gotta have some fun after all =) What have been some surprises for you all?

  • #41955
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    Teri Robert
    Participant

    If anyone needs information and tools for an elimination diet, you can find information and a free downloadable workbook at http://www.helpforheadaches.com/articles/migraine_food_triggers.htm.

    Trigger identification and management is so important that I think everyone should try the elimination diet to see if they have food triggers. After all, if we find we have triggers we can avoid, that can mean fewer Migraines.

  • #41956
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    BinxsMum
    Participant

    For anyone who’s triggered by aspartamine, don’t take the medicine Cambia. It’s got 25mg of it in it. It’s an NSAID designed specifically for migraines, so WHY they put that in there, I have no idea since so many with migraines can’t have it.

    For me, I’m atypical in all ways with my migraines – meds, triggers, foods, etc. Chocolate, caffeine and alcohol all help my migraines or at least help my meds work better on the pain.

  • #41957
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    Ellen
    Moderator

    The food trigger that gives me the most grief is MSG. This is really difficult to eliminate because it is very sneaky and hides. Labeling will not necessarily read as MSG, but may read Autolyzed Yeast Extract, spices, flavoring, or even natural flavor among other potential listings. Because it is such trouble for me I try now to eat very “clean”. This means if great grandma wouldn’t know what to do with it, I try not to eat it. That said, I sometimes try to go eat out – did it just last night – and often suffer terribly as a result. Note to self: Mongolian stir fry is a b-a-a-a-a-d trigger :( *sniffs* That’s what I get for trying to treat myself…

  • #41958
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    Kym
    Participant

    Teri, this link is no longer valid: http://www.helpforheadaches.com/articles/migraine_food_triggers.htm.

    Any idea where I can find something similar? I have chronic migraines and I’m not sure if I have food triggers or not (I dont have any that I know about — as you know, with chronic migraine, it can be really tough to determine the trigger).

    Thanks in advance

  • #41959
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    Teri Robert
    Participant
  • #41960
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    alig0118
    Participant

    Has anyone tried the Feingold Diet? My phenol levels are very high and can contribute to migraines.

  • #41961
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    Ellen
    Moderator

    alig0118 – This is one I haven’t tried myself yet, however I have heard of some limited success with some patients. Since optimizing our health overall is so important, it would make sense that this might be really helpful to you.

    I hope you keep in touch and let us know how it goes so others can learn from your experience. Thank you so much for sharing about it!

  • #41962
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    jeannie
    Participant

    I saw a reduction in mine after I stopped drinking my beloved iced tea due to gastritis. Doc said no citrus and less caffeine. Boo hoo.

    Then I noticed less migraines. I used sweet and low in my tea 2-3 a day. What a lovely side effect! My gastritis got better and migraines reduced.

  • #41963
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    Ellen
    Moderator

    Jeannine – Woohoo! I’m so glad you had some success! (I love a good success story)

    Tea also has tannins that can be a potent Migraine trigger, so it might actually be a combination of things that triggered your attacks.

    I always encourage readers to really get super good at reading and understanding labels. Nearly everything in our diet today is full of triggers. Did you know that even flour isn’t just wheat? Powdered sugar has corn in it?

  • #41964
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    sharolinarose
    Participant

    Ellen, what else is in flour besides wheat? Is this in all brands? I use King Arthur flour, and would like to think that it is unadulterated.

  • #41965
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    Ellen
    Moderator

    Barley flour is often added to make wheat flour lighter and airier, making a crisper crust. Dough conditioners can be a real Migraine trigger, and they’re in many flour types and brands.

    It looks like there is probably a bunch of ingredients in the flour you are using, however I have no real way of knowing for sure. Here is a link to their ingredient page: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/ingredients It lists many possible ingredients. Always best to check labels. All labels, all the time ;)

  • #43099
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    Tim Banish
    Participant

    I did the elimination diet years ago and it does help. My doctor gave me a list of foods to avoid, as in “don’t eat this or that anymore” The first few weeks were tough because of missing many of my fav foods. After the third week you begin adding one or two of the foods back. If you have a migraine -don’t eat that again. It does take dedication and good list keeping but again it does help. I do sneak some of my “no-no” foods occasionally, and pay for it.
    Food triggers for me are: pork, almonds, anything with MSG added, chocolate (bummer, my biggest weakness behind brownies), aged and smoked cheese, and most flavored chips/snack mixes. Anything seasoned or spiced from fast food places will trigger a migraine too, so if I eat there I tend to order the same items I know are fine.

  • #45008
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    Rebeccapa
    Participant

    I have a migraine diet a neurologist gave me years ago but don’t know how to post it. I scanned it and saved it to my computer. Tim, you may think it is pork but if you are going by hot dogs it is the mixed dogs, they have more preservatives. All beef hotdogs and all beef bologna are great. Mixed ones give me a headache right away. As for tea, we drink decaffeinated. My doc told me last year that doesn’t mean no caffeine but way less. She to be no caffeine it has to say Caffeine Free. That is how I drink my Mt. Dew, I love the taste and they don’t sell Caffeine Free in Virginia so I have to get it from North Carolina. Pepperoni is anothe trigger but I have found out that Pizza Hut uses all natural pepperoni and it doesn’t bother me. One of my worst headaches that I can remember years ago was I got a sausage biscuit from Hardees. Within 30 minutes they were calling my parents to come get me. I can eat fresh sausage but not that stuff that comes frozen and made into patties. I know I have gone on and on but just wanted to share. If anyone has an idea how I can post the diet let me know.

    Becky

  • #46234
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    annequin-harkin
    Participant

    I cut out dairy, gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, eggs, sugar and artificial sweeteners and noticed a lessening in severity. I knew that dairy was a trigger, so hadn’t had it for years, but didn’t realize that other inflammatory foods could make the migraine feel worse. It hasn’t stopped my migraines, but has helped the pain…and, I lost 10 pounds :)

  • #46496
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    Nancy Bonk
    Moderator

    Hi annequinharkin,

    Thanks so much for sharing with us – I am so happy to hear you have seen a reduction in your migraine severity and weight loss!!

    I’ve been gluten free for a while and have lost a bit of weight and it does seem to help with migraine all over head pain…..

    Keep us posted on your progress,

    Nancy

  • #48859
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    Jean
    Participant

    Tried the elimination diet a couple of different ways. Didn’t see any results but since my premier trigger is odors food would be a difficult thing to find. Especially since it can be a combination not just one item. Did change my diet to nothing processed, no animal products and no sugar. Just good whole foods with no additives that I didn’t put in. Months later I noticed that my daily “annoyances” were still there but had not had an acute attack that lasted several days with more days to recover. Do still have every day problems that range from just can’t think, to fatigue, mild nausea, stiff neck muscles, light sensitivity, headache, etc., etc. And one day moderate migraines but nothing acute since last October. Don’t know how long this will last, just another phase or what but I’m healthier and I make sure to exercise. Mostly walk since some (old injuries) lower back nerve damage has stopped some of my more strenuous exercises. It is very important to keep to a schedule and take good care of your body/mind. The healthier you are the more able you are to cope with this disease. And don’t forget to drink water.

  • #48974
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    mheadacherelief
    Participant

    I would like to say avoid going without food for long periods of time and never neglect your breakfast.Some foods you should avoid like cheese,vinegar,nuts,Citrus fruits and juices,Beans
    Bananas.Also avoid that types of food that contains chemical.You should take magnesium and riboflavin vitamin supplements regularly.Add fresh root ginger to your food.

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