Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Migraine Triggers. Put that chocolate bar down!

Often people with migraines have triggers. You have enough of them you figure them oyt. It was brought to my attention about a year ago by my neurologist that foods are common triggers. Common foods: chocolate, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, nitrates, MSG, nuts, aged meat/cheeses.

He said to keep a journal. I'm like journal phhhhhh whatever. I did start paying attention to what caused headaches. He is still on my bunghole about the journal! Okay doc I will DO IT :) It does have a place in the world. I just 2 weeks ago learned of a new trigger. So that's why he told me write stuff down? What I ate etc; Plus the guy is trying to get my meds down to a science. I do keep track of how many migraines I have. So I kinda journal right?

 I learned right away nitrates does it every stinking time! So that also covers aged meats. Pepperoni, salami, and stuff like that. They also have nitrates. Nitrates are also common in hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon, and ham. So read your labels. I found lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage,  and bacon without it, and also without MSG. Nitrates will give me a migraine every time. EVERY TIME. So I have to be careful with this one. I like me some bacon, but is it worth it? The pain, numbness, puking, disco light show my eyes put on for me? The smelling cat pee, and burnt rubber?

Chocolate! Crapsicles! Why Dr? He said that its something doctors don't understand that people with migraines will crave chocolate almost insanely like pregnancy craving before a migraine then get a migraine. It's something they don't understand. It's also part of a migraine predome, and I need to pay attention! Scott is shaking his head yes! I have made the man go to the gas station in the middle of the night to buy me chocolate. As a kid I didn't like chocolate that much. I was a hard candy kid. Jolly Ranchers that kinda stuff. So ahhhh this chocolate stuff is all making sense! So chocolate is out. I can't lie. Sniff sniff I will miss that stuff. Sometimes I still eat it, and suffer later! So now to just get to school to stop sending home candy bars to sell. Every parent feels they must buy from their kid. As a parent it’s on page 146 of the parent hand book that we as parents must buy form our kids fundraisers. So I do, and I pay. Over, and over I might add. With nuts, and without, caramel, and rice crispies. Them evil fools.

MSG- Monosodium Glutamate. This a hard one. This stuff is in everything, and can be hidden other names such as textured protein, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, glutamate, glutamate, glutamic acid, autolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable/plant protein, and soy protein extract. I try to avoid it whenever I can, but sometimes it impossible. I was in my favorite Ranch so I switched to one without. It’s mostly in processed foods. I cook with an onion soup mix allot. I found one with MSG. I switched to these concentrated beef/chicken/vegetable packets to flavor soups that don’t have MSG for when I can’t make my own stock. Some things it’s just so hard to avoid. Like in cream of mushroom soup. I have 2 things I cook, and use this. I found a version without ‘added’ MSG which by far is way less, but still some in there. I need to master making my own, and canning my own. Or even freezing it will do. I’m a good cook I’m sure it would be tasty. It is one of those things it may bother you. It may not. I’m not extremely sensitive to the MSG, but what I did notice was if combined with another trigger, or if MSG was in more than one thing than I got a migraine. Or if I ate something with added MSG along with something with naturally occurring glutamic acid. Like tomatoes, mushrooms, aged cheeses, or even chives. So I cut back as much as I can to added MSG for the fact that is somewhat easier than to avoid eating a tomato. I need to journal more. I really do. The hubby thinks that I get headaches after eating the foods that are high in glutamic acid. So I need to write this down.

Artificial sweetener. He said that if I had to eat artificial sweetener then go with Stevia, 2nd choice Splenda. Stevia is natural so that was caught my eye. However I haven’t got used to the taste yet. I was told not eat a lot of sugar as sugar causes inflammation. Yet artificial sweetener can cause a migraine? So now what? I don’t drink a lot of soda, but now when I do I went back to one with REAL SUGAR. I don’t drink more than one a day. I cannot lie I miss my Diet. Dr. Pepper, but doc was right. That sugar knock off was giving me headaches....... I wish they would make that Dr. Pepper with real sugar again! Like they did for a limited time. I may only drink one a day, and will goes days, and not drink any. That makes them taste all the better. LOL. As for to sweeten the coffee also another one I don’t drink much. I have a peppermint coffee flavor with sugar I like. It’s sweet enough I don’t need anything else. If I’m someplace else Splenda it is. I just can’t do the real sugar yet in things like coffee or tea. Just can’t went to long NOT using sugar. I think the only reason I “like” the soda with sugar is it takes me back to being a kid. Like what pop tasted like then. That whole nostalgic thing? Sugar, and corn syrup don’t taste the same! However I do agree they both make you fat, and they are both high calorie. I just like sugar better. It’s not as sweet. Yet as for coffee, and tea. I’m just not ready yet. I’m working on it. Give me time. Maybe? Maybe I will give Stevia more time.........

Alcohol is another common trigger. No we are not talking headache hangover type trigger. The alcohol can trigger a true migraine on some people. I don’t drink enough to know if this causes me migraines or not. When I do drink it’s such a small amount I’m just not sure. I’m sure maybe if I got totally drunk it might? Then again may I not notice over the regular hangover crappy feeling?

Lack of sleep, or to little sleep. This is a common trigger. My sleeping is messed up so this is a toss up? I just thought I would mention it. Just in case? Lack of sleep makes everything more crappy. So bottom line try to get more sleep, and sleep your normal amount of time.

Stress. Well no sh@t Shirlock! Stress will do it every them. Plus raise the bp, and make me sick to my stomach. Then next day I have a migraine. Avoiding stress is easier said than done. I just say avoid the negative in your life. Like people. If they are not bringing positive to your life, then cut them lose, or limit the time you are around them. Try to limit your stress you will feel better for it. I know easier said than done some times. Just try.......

So pay attention to what does, and doesn’t cause your migraines. Often you will have triggers too. You can avoid them, and get less migraines. This is helpful. It also helps when you can avoid migraines because then you can avoid pain medications, and their added side effects. If you know things that cause migraines then it helps you to feel a little more in control by being able to prevent them. Like I said before easier said than done. Noone is perfect, and I mess up. OFTEN. Just do your best. Noone knows your body better than you do.


  1. My mum needs to read this!!!! She has some similar triggers!!!

  2. P.S. I can't drink alcohol because of my medications, but when i have had a beer I have had horrible stomach reactions to the gluten, AND migraine. Fun fun fun.

  3. Tell Mum to also follow the blog. Maybe it will help her too. Maybe make her laugh at least a little......I like beer too. Gluten doesn't bother me so much. They have a gluten free beer now. Try that. I always wondered how it would taste.

  4. Oh I tried gluten free beer. It was so horrid I poured it out! But that was me, and.. I think two brands.. feel free to try it!

    I thought of something during the day about you; I have had way less migraines since I was put on topamax(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000998/) so I don't know if you've heard of it, tried it, or.. if it might help? It SERIOUSLY helped me. I barely ever have them now. So.. if you haven't try it, I would say it is ABSOLUTELY worth asking your dr about. I had no side effects. But you might of course since ALL of our eds bodies are so sensitive and different!! Anyway thought I should share. :)

  5. That is to bad about the beer! I wonder how they make it without gluten? Just a thought. I normally take Topamax. It does help me too! I'm just off it temporarily. I can't wait to get back on it though. It reduces mine too, and if I do have one it's not very often I have the real severe ones.