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Doctors couldn’t help, it took a self packed lunch to figure it!

I had bad headaches all through high school. So it did not surprise me when I developed migraines in college. What did surprise me was the aura that appeared and blinded me 25 – 30 minutes before the pain hit! Eventually I learned I had those minutes to get and take Maxalt 10 to keep the pain away.

Several years later I began developing migraines without aura that would not go away except for a brief period here and there. The migraine would last day and night for weeks. Then months. I wanted to lay down, but then the pain was worse. Doctors did all kinds of tests, but couldn’t find anything wrong. I was walking around with my eyes practically closed, simple indoor light was so bright to me I had to run my finger along the wall so I knew where I was. During this time I was (trying) attending college courses again. I was monitoring studies back to back, so I often packed my lunch. One morning ( a rare headache free day) I finished a study group and had a quick lunch before the next group came in. As the students walked in I experienced a thunderclap headache snap on and as painful as ever. It was all I could do to get everyone started on their study so I could leave the room.

During this time our family was not drinking milk products due to my son’s dietary issues. We were substituting all dairy with soy milk, soy ice cream, margarine, etc. When the lunch headache hit me, I finally had a clue. I began looking at all the food I was eating. Especially what I was packing for lunches for myself. It was the soy products! But not just the dairy substitutes, it also included mayonnaise, margarine,Miracle whip, vegetable oil, salad dressings, Prepackaged food, fast food, marinades, tuna packed in oil, and the list went on. Soy is actually in almost everything. Since it seemed a tiny amount wouldn’t immediately set off a headache I decided I wouldn’t worry about soy lethithin which is in even more food.When I stopped eating stuff w soy in it I was finally pain free for several days. It took awhile to get used to this, soy was in everything I liked.

Then 2 years later it happened again – this time I knew what to do. I looked at what I was eating. The culprit turned out to be Canola oil. For some reason these oils can cross the Blood Brain Barrier. Somehow their ability to get into my brain caused the migraines. It’s been many years now and I’ve been doing pretty good.
One problem is that manufacturers are listing several oils that may or may not be in the products. I’m glad they list everything now. But when they list several possibles, and only one possibility may be soy or canola, I cannot buy the product. I understand that mixing or buying whatever is cheapest is cost effective in the long run. But I wonder how many do not buy products due to this.

Also this really limits what I can eat. I cannot buy Jenny Craig, or other frozen meals. I also have food allergies such as corn so I’m really limited. I read every package I pick up. Once I was working in the kitchen for a camp. I made the food but somewhere I forgot I didn’t prepare the food. I was In bed for four days! Great grilled cheese for lunch and marinated chicken for supper. I learned to never let my guard down again!!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Maddy
    3 years ago

    Joycem24 – thanks for posting, I think Soy is one of the worst items in our food supply, and you are right it is in EVERYTHING. Here is the curious thing I wanted to tell you. About 95%+ of all soy sold in the US is GMO. GMO soybeans are sprayed with Round Up weedkiller which includes glyphosate. It kills the plant when it is absorbed in the plant and stops a particular enzyme process necessary for survival – you cannot wash the residue off. The US FDA increased allowable residues in 2013. Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor at very low levels of concentration. it disrupts cytochrome P450 enzyme functions, Star protein synthesis, aromatase enzyme function amongst other things. Interstingly CANOLA is a seed oil which is also GMO and seed oils have some of the highest MRL (max residue levels) of all foods. It went from 20ppm to 40ppm (parts per million)in 2013. Seems small? until you realize that our bodies hormonal messages travel at very low concentrations…a normal range for estrogen for women would be 40 ug/dl…which translates to .3 ppm (POINT THREE, les than one!). They also believe in the gut it kills off healthy microbes. Non-gmo label does not fully protect, because some crops which are not GMO seed (not bred to be resistant to Roundup) still are sprayed prior to harvest. Beans, peas, grains are frequently sprayed. So organic is the only way to avoid Round up and glyphosate.
    Google around for MIT researcher Seneff (who is being brutally attacked by Monsanto)her work…where really what she has done is catalog the work of hundreds of scientists. And google those biological functions I listed with the keyword glyphosate and read some studies.
    Also, next migraine, try Alka Seltzer Gold. Our neurons need salt and potassium to make sure the voltage in the cells allow neutotransmitters to be released and reuptake to happen. Also need bicarbonate. Lookup bicarbonate deficiency, or acididosis and symptoms of it, and you will find a lot of migraine prodrome symptoms listed.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Joycem24 –
    Thank you for sharing your story with migraine. You discuss such an important topic regarding food/diet as triggers. While this can be an “easy” trigger to control in most cases, it takes a tremendous amount of time, dedication and obviously is frustrating as this limits you a great amount. Although you are likely already well aware of much of this literature, I still thought I’d pass along some of the articles we have related to diet and migraine on the chance they may provide you with some additional things you may not have considered:

    Thank you again for sharing your story and especially for being part of our community.
    Joanna ( Team)

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