Chronic Migraine, Diet, Treatment, Triggers

An Almost Normal Life Thanks to an Extremely Unhealthful “Diet”

In April, my migraine frequency and severity finally decreased enough that I began to feel like I had a normal life again for the first time in more than a decade. The pieces have been falling into place for a while: the move to Phoenix, wearing TheraSpecs, starting a high dose of magnesium, taking cyproheptadine, attempting a low-histamine and low-salicylate diet, starting Ritalin. I’ve been feeling better than at my worst for a while now, but it wasn’t until April that I began to feel like I could have a consistently almost normal life. The change? I took my diet down to nothing but gluten-free oats, chicken breast cooked in safflower oil, and unenriched white rice. I felt even better after cutting out the chicken and safflower oil a few weeks ago.

I haven’t written about this “diet” — what I eat isn’t healthful enough to constitute an actual diet so I have to use quotation marks — because it is unhealthful and I do not recommend it to anyone. It is an untenable solution and I worry about my nutrition all the time. Yet, I can’t let go of the life that eating this way has given me.

On this limited “diet,” I wake up each morning and know I can probably do what I have planned, rather than knowing I’ll be lucky to mark two items off my list. It enables me to have engaged and interesting conversations with my husband, make plans with friends actually be able to follow through, write regularly for and The Daily Headache, make meaningful decisions for TheraSpecs, exercise most days, go to yoga classes, attend therapy appointments…. In other words, subsisting on oats and rice is the difference between living a fuller life than I have in more than a decade and spending most of my time on the couch, in the unpredictable throes of a migraine.

I know I need nutrition and I don’t plan to eat this way indefinitely. It has yielded some important clues that I hope will further my treatment — I have an appointment with a dietician experienced in food sensitivities in a couple weeks and my naturopath is going to test me for metabolic disorders. While waiting for those appointments and results, I’m slowly testing high nutrition foods to see how I react. I do so with great caution. It’s hard to willingly return to the migraine cage I’ve lived in for so long.

5 thoughts on “An Almost Normal Life Thanks to an Extremely Unhealthful “Diet””

  1. Thanks for the tips and the support!

    Julia, the only side effect I get from cyproheptadine is a little drowsiness. I take 12 mg at 6:30 p.m. each day. The evening drowsiness isn’t much worse than normal and I’m able to sleep off the effects before morning.


  2. Thanks Timothy for the heads up on the book. Will buy from
    Kerrie: Aren’t you getting side effects with cyproheptadene?
    I am also on this drug and do not like the double vision and fatigue it causes. These are just 2 of the side effects. Apparently it also causes high blood pressure. I try nnot to take it too often but I must admit it does work to reduce the intensity of the migraine.
    Take care.
    Julia Hattori

  3. To J. Hattori:

    If you go onto right now (10:30 PST) found
    17 copies of the book. The book has a very simple concept-
    but heh if you have long time migraine problems-may be
    worth a shot.

    Timothy Bauer

  4. Best of luck with the food journey. Hopefully you will find that you can reintroduce more variety. I have certainly found great relief from the strict gluten-free, milk product- free approach (and avoiding vinegar, onions and a few others). The hormonal fluctuation ones though… they are tough. At least they are predictable.

  5. Hi Kerrie
    There is a book out:
    Get It Up! The Simple Surprising Lifestyle that causes Migraine, Alzheimer…..
    by Sydney Ross Singer and Sonja Grismaijer
    I tried getting it on but they are out of stock.
    Maybe has it?
    It’s about sleeping in a horizontal position. Something about how the astronauts had trouble in a weightless environment and so do earth bound people. It got good reviews on Weston A Price Foundation’s journal.
    Take Care
    J Hattori

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *