No gimmicks, no fads, just honest to goodness simple food, and the world became a brighter place.
If I could only offer you one piece of advice to help you with your migraines, it would be to change your diet. All that’s needed is simple whole foods and prepared the plainer the better. Then, with your system not overloaded, you will be less likely to be affected even by the most common food triggers if eaten in moderation.
All my life I’ve eaten healthily, exercised regularly, been fit and active with plenty of fresh air. I’m the last person who would have thought the answer was in food. It was only when I became chronic, and into my forties that I began to research and see the connection to why migraine is such a blight on modern living.
First of all we need to understand the migraine brain, which is hypersensitive. It is highly alert to the body’s changes and fluctuations. Any dramatic up or downturn in anything, sends it firing off all over the place, and the result of the overstimulation is the dreaded episode of pain and suffering – migraine.
If you have this type of brain (which runs in families and is genetic), imagine if it was bombarded with all the variations of highly processed foods, sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. Then add to that, lack of sleep, overwork, a bright sunny day, crowds and loud noise, and there is little wonder that the body and mind revolts. It shuts down your digestion, your thinking capacity, and your life, in order to regroup.
It is all so simple, here is my secret:
- The absolutely most important thing: NO SUGAR – that is sweets, chocolate, or any foods containing it. Read the labels and avoid alcohol.
Sugar fluctuations are the biggest hidden trigger. Sugar rushes and sugar lows will almost definitely cause a migraine.
This brings us on to the foods the body turns into sugar:
- NO empty CARBOHYDRATES: that is, no bread, no rice, no pasta, no potatoes, or carby root vegetables like carrots, swede, parsnip etc, at least initially.
This ensures your body gets its energy from fat – a much more regular and steady source, with the added bonus of keeping your weight down too.
- NO processed foods at all. Think about it. They are crammed with sugar to make the product taste good, as well as a multitude of trigger inducing chemicals and additives.
- YES to meat and fish – accompanied by a small salad or green vegetables – organically grown if possible.
- YES to butter, olive oil – very pure with little or no additives. Your body needs fats for energy and to avoid kidney stones.
- YES to a small amount of berries, but NO to fibrous fruit – (Apples, pears) too carby. No to citrus as too much natural sugar. No to dried fruit.
- YES to caffeine in moderation – and at regular intervals. Surprised? Caffeine restricts blood vessels that dilate with migraine pain (that’s why it is always in painkillers like paracetamol) Important note do not go without or go over the top with caffeine as it will always trigger your migraine. Stay as regular as clockwork. Find your sweet spot. Hydrate with water in between.
- YES to snacking. Yay! It’s good to snack, but only the right things. A handful of nuts (not peanuts) midmorning or mid-afternoon will keep you going between meals. Nuts are a great source of Vitamin B and fibre. Important note – If you start to eat nuts regularly, keep to it. To miss a day will trigger migraine. (Vit B is a common migraine trigger)
- Caution with supplements. My advice is to ask for a test through your GP for what vitamins you need to supplement, as to use them indiscriminately could trigger your migraines. A common deficiency is D, which will help reduce migraines if you need it. Vit B fluctuations WILL trigger migraines.
The best advice is to try a supplement and if you feel those telltale signs of a migraine coming on, stop it immediately – unless you are very deficient, then persevere but keep the dose low.
That’s it really. It is all so easy.
Remember to eat regularly. I advise three meals and three snacks.
- Snack (Mid-morning)
- Snack (Mid-afternoon)
- Snack (About an hour before bed)
By eating the right foods in the intervals I’ve suggested above, you will not get hungry, and you will lose weight.
Life is getting better already!
What do I eat then? In my next post I will give you some great ideas.
An invaluable source in the meantime is the book; New Atkins New You, which you can order here UK – US – It has great lists of foods you can eat that are low in carbs. It also shows their carb content so you can keep a total of how much you are eating to ensure it stays low. It also has some great recipe ideas.
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