How I Went About Changing My Diet To Get Relief From Migraine

Let food be the medicine

When I first got a migraine 28 years ago my Neurologist suggested I look at my sugar intake.  My diet wasn’t particularly healthy at the time.  I rarely ate breakfast and if I did it would be processed and high in sugar.  I ate to not feel hungry rather than to nourish my body.  I was pretty desperate at the time, with intense pain and feeling constantly nauseous so on his suggestion, alongside of taking Migraine medication I cut out all sugar for 3 months.   I became used to reading package labels. Slowly my migraine became easier to live with and I began to function on a day-to-day basis again.

My interest in holistic health grew following an accident several years ago which left me with PTSD and Chronic Fatigue.  I started to look at my diet again and this time changed it quite drastically.  I had lost a lot of blood as a result of the accident and people started to suggest foods to increase my iron levels.  As I researched that on Google (Spinach, watercress, Raisons) I started to understand just how much food influences us on a very deep level.  I began to think of FOOD AS MEDICINE.

Here are 5 steps I took to change my diet and reduce my migraine without feeling like I was missing out on something I wanted to have!

I changed my mind set to be one of abundance

Eliminating things doesn’t really work for me.  Thinking I can’t have something just makes me want it all the more and I just waste a whole load of energy in a state of lack!!  To avoid this, I didn’t set out to eliminate anything, and I didn’t make any goals.  I approached this as a LIFESTYLE change not a diet.  I just kept researching, kept an OPEN MIND and took it a day at a time.  I was willing to try adding in new things.

I Added in the Good Stuff

The more I read the more I realised fruit is vitally important to our wellbeing and I should never have put it into the bracket of ‘too much sugar’.  I started having a smoothie every morning, so breakfast became fruit blended with coconut water.  (Bananas, wild blueberries, mango, papaya, pomegranate, figs to name but a few).  I started snacking on melons, berries apples and dates. Now if I’m out for the day I always have either dates or raisons with me and if I see a juice bar I get a juice.

I learnt how to make salad dressings

Lunch became a salad.  I ate (and still do!) lots of lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, spring onions, avocado,  coriander, parsley as they are all good for migraines.  To add in more healing foods, I started making my own salad dressings, often simply honey, lemon and grated ginger, or a homemade garlic aioli.  By doing this I not only added in more nourishment but by default I cut out processed dressings simply because they became unnecessary. 

I Ate More Vegetables

My evening meals became more vegetable based.  Previously I had been firmly in the ‘meat and 2 veg camp’.  I found some great cookbooks for plant-based meals and started to appreciate different flavours and different cuisines.  I started using herbs and spices to flavour my food.  One of my regular go to quick meals is vegetable curry, there are so many different combinations of vegetables and spices that I never get bored of it!  To keep to the plant-based theme I often have it with a jacket potato instead of rice.

I eliminated gluten and dairy

As I increased the number of plant-based meals I was having my intake of both gluten and dairy had gradually reduced as had my fat intake.  But as I continued to feel so much better I realised I was really on to something!  I started to actively eliminate dairy by using almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and I switched to gluten free flours.  But what I found most effective was eating different meals, so rather than try to re-create an old favourite with substitute ingredients I simple ate something else.  For example, rather than a bowl of pasta and tomato sauce I would have a jacket potato with vegetables in a homemade tomato sauce. 

These changes which I implemented over several months made a dramatic difference to my health and my migraine and I hope that you find these steps useful. 

Let me know in the comments…

Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper

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