A migraine elimination diet is usually the first thing you are prescribed by your doctor after being diagnosed with migraines. What I really mean is a food elimination diet that will help identify your food sensitivities causing inflammatory responses that trigger an attack.
Say that three times when you've been drinking!
I spent years tracking my foods on a hospital designed elimination diet with little long term support or guidance.
It was grueling and disappointing.
I wish this elimination diet was around when I needed it.
I've been reading Dr. Amy Myers newsletters around creating a gluten free life for years now. And I can say, this is a really thorough elimination diet eCourse. With autoimmune disease, or inflammatory disorders like migraines, many doctors find diet a good place to start. Plus 80-90% of our immune system is in our gut, so our gut is the first place to start.
I thought I’d get an e-book and a workbook but this course is not that at all. It’s an interactive online course with comprehensive notes, a few videos and great support documents (easy to download) that help keep track of what you need to and what your next step is.
I find it hard to pick what is my favourite thing in this course: all the clear facts and explanations, the recipe book with yummy recipes, the grocery list, the eating on the go travel tips, or the clarity in the list of which food(s) to reintroduce first. I find the step by step process simple and reassuring.
I chose to re-do the autoimmune protocol but there are two others to suit your unique needs. If you think doing an elimination diet will help you find your migraine triggers easier, and maybe eliminate them too - than I highly recommend trying this one. More details are below.
Chocolate, salami, and red wine - you know the well known culprits to be included in your migraine elimination diet. But it's also the reaction(s) to the unknown foods we are looking to find here. It will also help you determine the severity of your food reactions.
Don't let this be you!
I started my migraine journey with the recommendation of a very strict migraine elimination diet, an ergotamine drug which sent me vomiting and almost comatose all the way to the hospital, and a psychiatrist. Yes those were the days migraines were all in our imagination.
The migraine elimination diet was with a dietician at the local hospital, and after the allowed 3 visits I felt I needed more support. I decided to continue on with a naturopath who used Phillip Alexander's book "It Could Be Allergy and It Can Be Cured" as her basis.
The dietician's version was much simpler than the naturopaths and much cheaper I might add. The naturopath added numerous supplements to the mix.
Both methods required eating a very restricted diet for five to seven days.
You guessed it, chocolate and strawberries were off the list.
With the dietician I was allowed: lamb and chicken as protein, white rice, and soup broth.
I was to keep a journal of what I might
introduce after that. One new food
each week was to be introduced. I have to say here, that it took me 4 years to reintroduce foods this way. It seemed to take forever.
It became increasingly difficult to maintain the main foods allowed and add say broccoli one week and zucchini the next. I know it sounds simple here but after a few months keeping track, and then having to consider the different combinations of foods - well it was just beyond my ability.
The migraine attacks continued as ferociously as ever.
The naturopath's regime was more challenging.
After completing a range of different allergy tests, then eliminating everything on the lists (200 in total I think) if left me with: pears, lamb, lemon, olive oil, chicken and white rice. I was completely deflated.
She recommended spending three months off the
offending foods to let the white blood cells forget about the allergies. Then I could re-introduce one food every 4 days keeping a
journal. It started off simple, but after a while I could no longer make sense of the journal enough to continue on with tracking combinations of foods.
Looking back in hindsight, I learned a lot about my self then. And although I lost a 10 year relationship, I remained positive. Unfortunately, I became weaker and more sensitive to the foods I was allowed and
later I even became sensitive to some of those I did reintroduce. It got very confusing.
It took me almost 4 years to reintroduce foods this way and let go of the new offenders. Of which there were very few I am now happy to say. Dairy products made me sick and sugary foods would set off migraines. Chocolate I already knew as a culprit. But that was about all I could detect then.
Fast forward to say 2006, fourteen years after being diagnosed with migraines and recently diagnosed with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - I got bitten by a mosquito carrying Ross River Fever - lucky me - NOT). My new doctor detects gluten markers in a blood test.
So, I removed gluten from my diet and I was able to walk again very soon after. Ok, that sounds really drastic - but it was - for me. It got me out of bed after many years.
Now I know better, I do better.
I know that gluten is a huge factor for me with my digestive functioning and energy levels.
You might like to read our article on digestion problems.
It does not really affect my migraine severity or frequency, but it sure effects everything else including my mood. And you already know that we need to maintain our good mood with this condition.
Now, all I can say is I wish I came across Dr. Myers many, many years ago. Her e-Course just makes sense to me and it's much more comprehensive than my migraine elimination diet. She speaks my language. I highly recommend choosing easy!
I recommend Dr. Myers very comprehensive elimination diet eCourse as an easier alternative.
The course also has: 25 worksheets; symptom trackers to track your progress; 3 specific diet protocols based on medical needs; unique shopping guides for each diet protocol; tips for following The Myers Way elimination diet on-the-go; a personalized food sensitivity information card; easy-to-follow meal plans; and an interactive food diary.
Here is an overview of each module for you:
Most studies I have come across note a very high percentage in the reduction of migraine days per month if food triggers can be completely avoided. This is why your first stop is usually a migraine elimination diet to help determine your triggers.
Dr. Teitelbaum had impressive results from his research around the most common migraine allergy reactive foods.
“wheat in 78 percent of patients, oranges in 65 percent, eggs in 45 percent, tea and coffee in 40 percent each, chocolate and milk in 37 percent each, beef in 35 percent, and corn, cane sugar, and yeast in 33 percent each.”
Some participants reported a reduction from avoiding the somewhat controversial foods like the artificial sweetener aspartame but that part was disallowed.
So in summary we also must test for: wheat, oranges, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, milk, beef, corn, cane sugar, and yeast. I will add, as does Dr. Myers, gluten and other dairy products. Oh, white flour products and sugar.
The only way to prevent a migraine from an allergic reaction is to avoid that food all together. And if you find yourself having chronic migraine attacks, a good step will be to complete a migraine elimination diet.
Have you tried doing a migraine elimination diet in the past? Do tell ...
Migraine Elimination Diet References:
1. Teitelbaum, Dr. J. (2007) From Fatigued to Fantastic. Penguin Books: NY.
2. Allergy.org (2010) What is Allergy? [On-line] Available at: http://www.allergy.org.au Accessed Jan.9, 2013.
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