Chronic Migraine, Diet, Treatment, Triggers

Reintroducing Foods, Reintroducing Migraines

After reading The Post I Never Thought I’d Get to Write, you may think I’ve been gallivanting around town, throwing parties, and having a grand old time this week. I wish. I’ve been testing foods… and having migraines.

There’s no way I was going to waste all the work to eliminate food chemicals from my diet without reintroducing them slowly and methodically. Testing was going great until the day I stopped drinking the elemental formula completely. So now I’m playing around.

“Playing” sounds like fun. It’s actually tedious and frustrating. Here are some of the variables I’m investigating:

  • Do I need more DAO than I’ve been taking?
  • Would I feel better if I took one Histamine Block before eating a small meal, rather than taking two and eating a larger meal?
  • Are the foods I’m eating too difficult to digest?
  • Would juicing fruits and vegetables ease digestion and, thus, not trigger migraines?
  • Am I sensitive to salicylates (the food chemical I was testing)?
  • Am I reacting some other food chemical that I wasn’t on the lookout for?
  • Do I need to rotate foods? (If so, how in the world can I do this with only a few sources of protein and mostly vegetables, which won’t meet my caloric needs for a day?)
  • Is just one food in the group I reintroduced problematic?
  • Does overall sugar content matter?
  • Does not drinking water with a meal reduce the possibility of a migraine? What if I drink a lot of water with a meal?

The food details are even more complicated because I no longer have reliable indicators for when a migraine is coming on. Tooth sensitivity can come on part way through a meal, last for two hours, then stop without a migraine ever developing. Fatigue can come on and then abate after an hour. I don’t want to waste a triptan or drug myself up unnecessarily, so I don’t take anything.

So, I’ve had a migraine every day for the last week (I had one when I was writing last Thursday, I just didn’t realize it), but the pain has only reached a level 5 once. When a migraine hits a level 4, it doesn’t stay that high for long. Much of my days are still spent with pain levels at a 2 or 3. Fatigue is generally short-lived and brain fog is not severe. For me, this is Disneyland.

I am not discouraged. I knew reintroducing foods would increase the migraine attacks and that sorting out all the dietary variables would be messy. I still believe DAO and histamine are valuable pieces of my puzzle. Exactly how they fit into the picture is still unclear, but you can be sure I’m going to find out.

6 thoughts on “Reintroducing Foods, Reintroducing Migraines”

  1. Thank you, Larissa and Amber! Amber, it is so, so difficult to remain positive in a bad spell. Hang in there.

    Violet, thanks for the information. I have yet to try onions, but I’m suspicious of them!


  2. As you already know I am in endless admiration of your optimism, courage, and relentless efforts. Things like food and laughter and sunshine should be sources of joy not stress and agony. You and yoga are helpful reminders to refocus on positivity during bad spells like now.
    Continued good luck to you!!!

  3. Onions are strange plants. I don´t know what the issue is. But I have some strong speculations. Partly tyramine of course. The sulfoxides are very intersting as well, and I tend to answer your question with a straight yes. Sulfoxides are being used for proton pump inhibitors (the stuff you take when you have acid reflux or an stomach ulcer). And this stuff is a major migraine trigger for many people. It threw me from a fairly controlled migraine level into a bad chronic state for months. There might be a connection.

  4. First a big thank you for the hint with DAO. I have been researching about that myself a couple of years ago and got stuck. I ordered DAO pills right away after reading your blog and started a test trial myself. So far it didn´t cause migraines (like for example magnesium does, paradoxically), that is already a start to really go into my personal research.

    Now here is the thing. I am following the anti food-trigger diet by Dr. Buchholz and for me it was the best thing I ever did. Because part of this diet is avoiding tyramine triggers, I am avoiding histamine triggers as well. But not entirely. That´s why I am very exited about your findings.

    The other way around: I definitely know that MSG and food like onions throw me into migraine hell. DAO would never be enough. But, as I said, I hope it might be another step on the ladder to more and more pain free days.

    1. Yay! I hope this is a helpful piece of your puzzle. By avoiding tyramine, you’re already doing the part of the histamine diet that’s most onerous — trying to avoid amine development in protein-based foods. (If you’re still struggling with this bit, here’s a fantastic resource:

      Do you know what the problem is with onions? Is it sulfur?

      Please let us know how the DAO works for you!

      Take care,

Leave a Reply

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