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Personal Food Revolution #3: Eat Your Breakfast, Skip Your Migraine

Posted May 14 2010 12:00am

One of the best ways to help people transform their lives and create their own food revolution is to write my patients’ stories: this is #3 of 7.*

Mary C. is a 29 year-old Houston mediator with migraines. A poster child for tyramine-rich olives, nuts and pepperoni, she also had brie on English Muffins for breakfast. She downed a six pack of Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke every week, usually at her desk, and beer on weekends. She regularly went a whole day without eating.

There were several factors that could trigger her migrainesskipping meals, stress, artificial sweeteners, beer, the tyramine in her food.

The best way to find out which was her trigger would be to correct all of these, and add them back one at a time. Mary didn’t want to do that, at all.

But she did decide not to skip meals after she learned that is the most common trigger of all. She tried several high-iron cereals (Total and Product 19) for snacks, instead of olives and nuts. And wherever she went she packed her “migraine snack”: toasted pumpkin seeds, which are high in magnesium, which lowers the frequency of migraines.

She’s cutting back on the diet soda and the beer, but since she’s not had one more headache, she says she might stay just where she is on the beverages.

*adapted from ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine .

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