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Drastic Migraine Elimination Diet: It’s Time

Update: I didn’t even start this diet before I realized how absurd it is. I’d be starving myself of nutrition even though elimination diets have never helped me find food triggers. Read the post linked to in the last sentence for details.

I’ve been on elimination diets that avoid the major and minor food triggers of migraine on and off with little success. There’s much debate on the role of foods in triggering migraine, and I’ve always fallen on the skeptical side. The general acceptance now is that about 25% of people have food triggers.

I’ve revised my position drastically: I’m nearly convinced that all foods are migraine triggers for me! No matter what I eat, a migraine comes on 30-60 minutes after eating. Not always, of course, but the vast majority of the time. I know my conclusion isn’t realistic, but it so often feels this way.

This is a slippery slope to mistrusting all food and not wanting to eat. A friend with celiac disease and other unknown gastrointestinal problems restricted foods so much that she couldn’t eat anything without obsessing over the ingredients. It got to where she felt like she had an eating disorder.

To avoid following the same trajectory, I’m trying a dramatic diet. I’m going to go extreme up front to quell my suspicions more easily. For three days, I’ll be down to chicken, oatmeal, or rice and a green vegetable. I’ll slowly add foods back in to see if they are problematic.

Even this diet isn’t foolproof. Because triggers seem to add up to reach a threshold, something that’s a trigger this week may be benign next week. It’s worth a shot.

I’m tired and I hurt. I can barely think. The diet is extreme, but I’m sick of screwing around. I’ve got to find some way to reduce the severity of my migraines and headaches. I still love my life, but there’s so much more I want to do. I hate sitting on the sidelines and I miss being able to think.

Now I have to decide when to start. . . .

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Food Triggers for Migraines and Headaches

Food_trigger The Daily Headache on Food Triggers

Bloggers on Food Triggers for Headache

Resources

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate

I don’t care if it’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or the Trader Joe’s version of this popular candy, peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle, or a spoonful of Jif with chocolate chips stuck on top, any combination of peanut butter and chocolate is divine.

Last week I almost admitted that peanut butter and chocolate are triggers for me. Instead of accepting my fate, I say that I think that they could maybe be triggers.

I can do this because the medical jury is still out on whether foods are migraine triggers. Some believe that chocolate might be food people crave right before a migraine, but that it’s not the actual trigger. Or maybe a patient ate peanut butter and got a migraine, but stress and weather changes really triggered the headache. An ACHE newsletter article called The Trigger Quagmire explores this point of view.

Of course other articles deflate the argument, but I’m sticking with this one for right now. I’ll ignore that my husband is sure that peanut butter and chocolate are among my triggers. He doesn’t love peanut butter like I do. I’m skeptical that anyone loves peanut butter as much as I do. Add chocolate and I’m a goner.