Drastic Elimination Diet for Migraine Triggers: What Was I Thinking?
File my plan for a drastic migraine and headache elimination diet under “What was I thinking?” In the innumerable elimination diets I’ve tried — whether based on eliminating common headache triggers or foods I tested intolerant to — I have never found a food trigger. Never. Even when I stuck to the diet for three or four months.
I discovered that peanut butter, beans and legumes, nuts, and now berries are triggers for me by noticing how I felt after eating them. Keeping my diet to “real” foods without additives makes this easier. Having already identified and eliminated some triggers that were prominent in my diet probably helps too. Eating foods in their regular role in your diet is much more accurate than trying to isolate variables that are impossible to separate.
Another reason I’ve decided against the diet is that inadequate nutrition for even a short time can contribute mightily to headaches and migraine attacks. The link is unmistakable for me.
Eating is a fundamental part of life. Something you do so often shouldn’t become a just-because-I-have-to experience. Food is inherently enjoyable and brings people together. Nourishing yourself with food is part of taking care of yourself in general. I can’t overlook the immense importance of that, particularly because I’m not so good at self-care.
My friend with celiac disease mistrusted food so much that she didn’t want to eat. She became so obsessed with ingredients that her behavior was the same as if she had an eating disorder. I can see how easy it would be for me to follow the same path. Now that she’s eased up, she feels pretty much the same and is a voracious eater for whom eating is a pleasure.
Not only is it physically and emotionally unhealthy to deprive yourself of the vast majority of foods just because they might be a problem, the diet’s efficacy is suspect. I may be fed up (ha, ha) with migraine, but moderation is laudable. And probably more useful.