Additional Migraine Diet Guidance

Because it was difficult for me to find my food triggers and I was frustrated with the lack of answers to my questions, I’m giving you a lot of detail in this series. You can start with my food lists, but if you’re overwhelmed, there are ways to simplify and demystify the process. Here are some suggestions:

Start by eliminating dairy and/or gluten. Neither contain the food chemicals I’ve mentioned, but many people report that they have found relief by eliminating one or both of them. You can get a quicker start by eliminating them both at once, or you can start with one and see how you do, then eliminate the other.

Try following Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz. It is a helpful book, though doesn’t break foods down by chemical component and doesn’t include many foods that are high in histamine. If you’ve never done an elimination diet, its food lists are a good place to start. It has been very helpful for a lot of people. Just be aware that it is out of date, some of the migraine information is wrong, and that the tone of the book can be condescending.

Dealing With Food Allergies by Janice Joneja is a book I recommend highly. Although the title is about food allergies, the book covers all sorts of food intolerances. You can look up food chemicals that are recommended to avoid and work from her lists. Her tyramine- and histamine-restricted diet is a great place to start. If that doesn’t help you, then you can also add information from the sections on MSG, sulfites/sulfates, and nitrates/nitrites. (For what it’s worth, I primarily follow her tyramine- and histamine-restricted diet.)

Working with a dietician can be tremendously helpful, though not all are well-versed in migraine management. Ask your doctor or other health care providers for recommendations. Dr. Joneja does Skype consults, but they are not covered by insurance. It is tempting to cut every possible trigger out all at once, then plan to add foods back in. This can be a slippery slope to malnutrition and will probably take a lot longer that you expect. (I know from personal experience). If you want to try eliminating everything all at once, please work with a dietician and be very careful to maintaining good nutrition.

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