Thursday, April 22, 2021

Feeling No Pain from Migraines

The Migraine Brain By Carolyn Bernstein

Hopefully, you will gain some advantage from my humble two cents on how I beat migraines. Disclaimer: I fully well expect to have another one because there are floating variables involved. But man, just slowing the frequency, as you know or possibly will know, is huge. I think my friends and family are tickled, not so much because they're glad to see me without angry skull monsters, but because I was bitchy to them during the headaches. LOL.

This is posted on my writer's blog because there was a lot to share and I didn't know where else to put it. Besides, this is writing, one of my passions, and I'm stoked to help you out if it will work for you. I'm not a doctor, another disclaimer. I just tried different remedies for about 30 years. (BTW, I DID go to a doctor in my 30s and she just prescribed medication - I wanted to nix them without pharmaceuticals as you'd probably love as well.) The book above, by a doctor who suffers from the skull crushers also, greatly advanced my personal studies. In fact, my frequency went down to about every 4 to 6 weeks.

You will more than likely benefit from at least an adaptation of the remedy that worked for me if you...

1) Skip breakfast a lot

2) Feel like food somehow triggers them

3) Get loopy from low blood sugar

4) Put off or forget to eat for long periods

5) Exercise 

6) Eat light meals

7) Like your sweets

I have a LOT of friends who try to stay healthy and are plagued with migraines. Hint hint. Don't worry. You don't have to give up ice cream. In fact, let's get one thing on the table. I LOVE junky food. Cheap sandwich cookies, chili dogs, pork rinds, I'll eat them until I die. But I don't eat them a lot. I'm not telling you this to brag or bore you. It had to do with me decoding my reactions. There were times I could pig out on chips sandblasted in MSG, drink a Coca Cola (I love them, but only chug about 2 per month), and eat Chinese food all in one setting and be fine. So, maybe like you, I wondered why could I do that sometimes, and in other situations it killed me.

Throughout my life, it's been easy to regiment a very sensible menu for a work week. I prepare all meals on Sunday and eat the same thing all week, usually pretty 'healthy' high protein stuff. I'm not a health nut, but I try to watch intake and I'm a runner. It's also cheaper. For instance, one week's lunch may be burritos (beans, beef, corn, tortilla, onions, pesto, hot sauce). One of my favorites for years and no head banging from them. Costs about two bucks a day.

After Thanksgiving on many occasions though, I got migraines from turkey sandwiches, but the Thanksgiving dinner itself made me feel great. Hint hint.

I'll get more to how I solved the mystery in a bit. With these menus (or similar ones) I was able to go migraine free for three months--I felt so good I didn't even realize it was that long. Give it consideration or a try.

Week One

Breakfast: burrito made of eggs, sausage with no MSG, cheese, and flour tortilla. 2 cups of coffee.

Lunch: salad made of chicken breasts, walnuts, spinach, sugar free dressing. Also a couple of handfuls of blueberries.

Dinner: Hummus and Triscuits.

Week Two

Breakfast: Whole grain oatmeal (I like Bob's Red Mill), a little chunk of cheese, hash brown patty, 3 or 4 thin ham slices. 2 cups of coffee.

Lunch: Hamburger quarter pound- no cheese plenty of protein here, pickles (actually any vegetables you want) mustard on a whole wheat bun. Add an apple and plum.

Dinner: Chili.

*I eat lunch twice, same thing both times. Actually, you can feel free to eat as much of any of that menu as you want if you're still feeling hungry. Too much is not the problem. My portions, however, are pretty skimpy from the 1st looks of them, then I'm full and it amazes me that I can sustain 4 to 5 hours.

Some other things to take into account because migraines are about body chemistry: I drink lots of water and go to bed at the same time each night with 6 to 8 hours of slumber. Also, I manage stress through meditation and believe me, I'm VERY high strung. Lastly, I don't smoke. Those all impact migraines one way or another.

If your lifestyle is similar to mine, AND you sustain on the suggested meal plan without a migraine, you're very probably a low blood sugar migraineur like myself. I am not diabetic nor hypoglycemic. In the publication I've recommended, I was struck (and I believe the doctor alluded to this) how much migraines are like diabetes. Because I work on my feet, exercise, and have a fairly jazzed metabolism, I have to eat a lot. Like a horse as a matter of fact...which leads me to how the mystery was solved.

It always blew my mind that I could consume the prescribed diet the day before a colonoscopy (chicken broth, clear juices, Jello) and not get a headache although I knew damn well that I have to eat a lot. So, I tried that diet again one day--without the subsequent colonoscopy, LOL--and I outwitted the migraines again. Protein. Sugar. Hint hint. 

Turkey sandwiches had no sugar. The Thanksgiving dinner had natural sugars though in cranberry sauce, corn, and sweet potatoes. (Not to mention desserts, but I'll get to that in a bit).

I tried the Keto or Paleo (can't remember which, but they were both high protein) and the first day I got a headache. When I modified the diet with some whole grain breads, adding almonds, avocados, and green olives as snacks, I felt great. 

The Jello had low levels of sugar. The juices had natural sugar. The bread had a little sugar.

Protein, natural sugars and or good fats, and complex carbs. If you try the shared 2 week menu and feel good, then you REALLY have a solid foundation to work off of to dodge the H bombs for months like I did. Consistency is the key. 

I used to skip breakfast. The brain got better when I started eating in the morning. 

I always ate fruit...kind of. My selection of fare depended on costs a lot and sometimes I'd skimp on the sweet produce. Never again. I'll always have a banana, plum, grapes, cherries with my meals. In fact, early in the no-migraine stretch one day, I felt one developing. My fellow migraineurs, you KNOW that feeling. Well, I drank apple juice and squashed it. Don't just eat fruit though. You got to have the other helpers. 

Be careful of starches like pasta and potatoes. I love them, but your blood sugar should be calm if you eat a lot in one sitting.

As for sweets, MSG, wine and other terrible delicious triggers, there's hope as well. For me, if my blood sugar is stable, I can enjoy all those things...just not all of them at once or all the time. NEVER drink wine on an empty stomach. If you're like me and you go a while without eating or you feel the low blood sugar jitters, you'll more than likely manifest a migraine several hours later. They don't usually happen quickly unless your sugar is low AND you experience a trigger.

Diet sodas are not your friend. Aspartame is a major migraine trigger. You should avoid them with the meal plan. The book goes into other notorious triggers and a lot of fascinating peculiarities. But if you want to get started, keep in mind the blood sugar. Never let it get low.

If you have any questions, hit me up on the FB posting. Godspeed to you. I REALLY hope this helps.

Gusto Dave

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