When a new trigger emerges

Oh hello, new trigger.  Please do NOT come in.

I firmly believe that the majority of my migraine triggers have been with me since the beginning of my life as a migraineur (going on 20 years now).  Though I didn’t have a name for it in my teens, I knew that chewing sugarless gum or drinking beverages sweetened with NutraSweet (aspartame) gave me a wicked headache within thirty minutes or so.  I didn’t connect the dots ’til adulthood, but I now know that many of my migraine episodes were a result of sitting for hours under those awful fluorescent lights that illuminated every single high school classroom I had.  Skipping meals and screwing with my sleep schedule made me feel bad, but I didn’t know the name of what happened after was “migraine,” and I didn’t know what a “trigger” was.

But I’m older and wiser now, and very experienced in the life of migraine.  I like to think I know what my body does and does not tolerate, but I was taught a lesson this year.

I have a new trigger, and its name is RED ONION.

This is not good news, folks.  I am not one of the many onion haters out there.  I am a die-hard red onion fan.  Put it in salads, on sandwiches, on rice, on whatever you want.  I’ll eat it.  It makes my eyes burn when I prepare it, but I do love the smell and I love sneaking bites of it as I cook. I have even been known to announce, “I LOVE onions!” while cooking with them.  I’m telling you: I’m a fan.

Something fishy started happening in the last year or two, however.  I started getting a feeling of warm fullness in my head shortly after ingesting raw red onion.  I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, and I can’t find a better way to describe it than what I’ve just said: at first it feels as if my head is full of warm air or stuffing. Thirty minutes later, I am likely to have a migraine—not always, but enough of the time that it’s a problem.

Like a baby, I refused at first to acknowledge this new trigger, pretending I could chalk it up to something else.  But after  eating it many times over with uncomfortable and even migrainous (my new word?) results, I am going to have to give it up.  I’m more than a little peeved.

Have you had triggers emerge as you’ve gotten older, or have you suddenly realized that something you love to eat has actually been triggering migraine episodes all along?  How have you coped?  Do you ever rebel and eat and drink what you want and risk the migraine that may follow?  What foods or drinks have you decided to cut out of your diet?

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