Does your migraine headaches diet include eating “neutral” Macrobiotic diet foods? The macrobiotic community claims that their way of eating prevents migraines. Or is food is just one piece of the puzzle?
The Macrobiotic diet is not just what you eat,
it’s HOW you eat,
how you chew,
how many times you chew, and
what you think about when you are chewing.
It’s your awareness around eating and being all at the same time.
It is a way of life and continuous mindfulness of everything you come into contact with. I was macrobiotic for just over 10 years. For me this included daily yoga, walking outdoors, regular shiatsu massages and chanting twice a day.
The best thing I learned was to change what I eat and how I cook with the change in seasons. My macrobiotic migraine headaches diet have become a way of life.
In Michio Kushi’s book The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health he lists migraines as one of the four classifications of headaches. They are considered intensely debilitating headaches “deep inside the head or on one side of the head, usually accompanied by pin points of light, strange odors, or unusual sounds.”
The Macrobiotic way of looking at things considers headaches to arise from dietary imbalances and assures us that:
a more “balanced macrobiotic way of eating will help eliminate headaches and prevent their recurrence.”
Kushi says that the causes of headaches are primarily from eating extreme (Yin and Yang) foods and beverages. He gives little attention to stress or tension saying that increased stress rarely results in a headache arising. However, he does acknowledge that it might increase the pain levels already there.
No one feels the need to take
medications, at least not in his macrobiotic community. Breathe
in...and out...(that's me calming down and wishing it were that easy for me too).
So as he said, Migraines are considered headaches that are “deep inside the head” and this is considered to be from over consumption of meat, salt and fat. More specifically:
Animal protein that is high in protein and fat; salted meat; eggs; caviar; and salted fish.
Yin is expansive.
Think about how alcohol and coffee make you feel.
Yang is contractive.
Salt constricts blood vessels.
Now there is a whole range of Yin and Yang Macrobiotic diet foods, this chart above just provides the basics.
Yin – milk, butter, cream, yogurt, sugar, chocolate and honey to
Yang – beef, pork, lamb, cheese, eggs and salt. Just to name a few.
I will focus on the important Macrobiotic foods specific to the migraine headaches diet. There is a lot to learn, it is a completely different way of thinking about the food you eat. Just so you know.
You can eat everything neutral in moderation.
Please feel free to print these out for more detailed information that includes the change of seasons:
1. Eat whole cereal grains at every meal – brown rice, barley, wheat, millet, and quinoa. During a headache do not eat buckwheat. Avoid baked flour products like bread, cookies, or crackers.
2. Avoid fried rice and fried noodles, fried foods in general.
3. Avoid over consumption of meat and salted meat. Avoid cooking with a lot of oil.
4. If you have Miso soup - try it half strength and have more broth. Too salty is not good.
5. Eat a large variety of fresh vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and Daikon, especially if you experience hypoglycemia – but avoid – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, yams and avocados.
6. Avoid raw salad. Cooked food is best.
7. Allow fish once a week if desired, steaming or baking is preferred.
8. Eat beans and sea vegetables.
9. Avoid fruit - Cooked fruits are preferred to fresh or dried fruits. It is preferred to steam or stew fruits with a sprinkle of sea salt whilst cooking them. The salt brings out the sweetness.
10. Avoid nuts and sunflower seeds. Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are ok once in a while.
11. Avoid stimulants – coffee, alcohol, mint tea and peppermint tea (surprised?). Mint is considered a stimulant.
12. Have salt only in moderation, natural sea salt or Celtic salt is assumed.
13. Avoid midnight snacks – give digestion time to rest so your sleep re-energizes the organs.
14. Chew at least 50 times per mouthful and put your fork down while you chew.
If you are experiencing a migraine - Macrobiotic prevention suggests:
With the Macrobiotic migraine headaches diet foods are just one part of the puzzle. Massaging the migraine pressure point on your big toes on each foot all around the nail bed is said to reduce pain and help ward off an appending attack.
Experts are now recommending that the best way to help prevent migraine attacks is to use a combination of traditional and alternative therapies.
Biofeedback training is the most widely used therapy now to reduce pain. These all work for me. Give one a try.
Hmmm ... I’m sad to report not so good on the headache front. I was a strict Macrobiotic foodie for many years and it did not reduce the frequency or intensity of my migraines.
This does not mean it won’t work for you, especially if your migraines are food related.
Have you tried a macrobiotic food diet? Tell me below in the Facebook comments section, or submit it to migraine stories to share with other readers.
We learn from each other.
Until next time, be well and be pain free,
Macrobiotic Migraine Headaches Diet Reference: 1. Kushi, M. and Jack A. (2003) The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health (1st Ed.). Ballantine Books: NY, USA. pp. 228-232.
Food & Recipes
Migraine Headaches Diet With Macrobiotic Food