Ta Da! The Headache Center’s Migraine Diet

I’m posting information I got from a handout, courtesy of the specialist at Johns Hopkins University.  The actual document is available online as a PDF, and explains so much about the mechanisms of migraine that I didn’t know. It is helpful for understanding the process. The list is helpful for orchestrating my new diet properly.

Here’s a short summary of items I am supposed to limit or avoid eating/ drinking currently:

  • Caffeine (sodas, teas, even some medications–no more than 2 servings/ day)
  • Chocolate (which also has caffeine)
  • Nuts (especially peanuts) and seeds
  • Alcohol (all alcohol, especially yeasty beverages like beer and wine)
  • Dairy (almost all dairy. anything fermented or aged, so buttermilk, chocolate milk, yogurt, and sour cream are out as well as almost all cheeses.)
  • Eggs
  • Fresh breads and yeast products. yeast in general (brewers OR bakers. This included items like sauerkraut and darker vinegars)
  • Meat  and fish processed in any way (including canned, aged, cured, pickled, salted, dried, or otherwise processed.  Sausages, hot dogs, and jerky, for example. even my beloved pickled herring. and probably gefilte fish too.)
  • MonoSodium Glutamate in all its forms (including soy sauce and any foods with “hydrolized protein” or “autolyzed yeast”, as well as pickled, preserved, and marinated foods.)
  • Aspartame (Equal and Nutrasweet)
  • Beans (most, if not all kinds)
  • Onions
  • Olives
  • Citrus
  • Bananas
  • Assorted fruit (avocados, figs, papaya, passion fruit, raisins, and red plums)

The list can be a little depressing. Fortunately they included a list of acceptable foods as well:

  • Decaf coffee, tea, and soda (although green, black, and white teas and coffee should still be limited–decaf does not equal caffeine free.)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (like fruit juice)
  • Some dairy (milk and softer cheese, like American, cottage, cream cheese, farmer, ricotta, and Velveeta. *Although even those dairy items seem to bother me.)
  • Egg substitute (*If you’re also gluten free, like me, make sure to get a GF egg substitute.)
  • Cereals and grains (commercial breads and English muffins, crackers, potatoes, rice, pasta, hot or dried cereals, and oatmeal. *If you’re eating gluten free, this list is a lot shorter.)
  • Meat and Fish (anything fresh and unprocessed)
  • Seasonings (salt, spices, butter, cooking oil, white vinegar, and small amounts of some salad dressings)
  • Sweeteners (sugar, Splenda, corn syrup *yuck*, and saccharin)
  • Vegetables (most not-bean or pea vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, and any other vegetables not specifically listed to avoid)
  • Fruit (apples, berries, pears, peaches, and prunes)
  • Sweets (Jello, pudding, ice cream/ sherbet, cakes, jam/ jelly, honey, hard candy, and nut and chocolate free cookies)

I can already tell that on this diet I’ll be eating more meat, more starches, and more sugar. I’m not crazy about that, any more than I am about giving up dietary favorites. I just keep telling myself that not all the restrictions will be permanent. And it’s good for my health not to have constant migraines.  So I will carry on.  I can tell it’s helping already, so I know it is worth the hassle.


About crystalsea24

Jane Eyre meets Lisa Simpson meets Belle from Beauty and the Beast meets Velma from Scooby Doo. I read a lot of books.
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