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Sharing My Headache Story with NHF – Jessie B.H.

I am a 32-year-old woman and I have suffered with migraines for as long as I can remember. My mother and grandmother were both forced to live with migraines too, so I feel it is hereditary. I’ve seen countless doctors and taken numerous medications, both daily to help prevent and during the onset of the beast, but none have helped me as much as one little book did, though it wasn’t just the book – it was my decision to change that really made the difference.

After numerous visits to neurologists one suggested a book titled, “Heal Your Headache, The 1 2 3 Program For Taking Charge of Your Pain” written by David Buchholz, MD. I had read many books and tried many things, but one of the major sections of this book deals with ‘triggers.’ We all know about chocolate and caffeine but I had no idea that eating bananas or oranges, raspberries or onions were, or could be, making me so sick! For years I had avoided MSG and other common migraine triggers but until I found this comprehensive list, I could not avoid the random attacks! I write in hopes to help someone that is struggling like me. I still get migraines once or twice a month, but much better than once or twice a week!! I feel that I’ve regained some control but it did take some time.

I have included the list of some of the triggers listed in this book that really surprised me, but cutting out caffeine all together and avoiding these has been my secret to success.

Dietary triggers: Caffeine (in ANY amount), chocolate (white chocolate is ok), MSG, processed meats and fish (i.e., aged, canned, smoked, deli meat preserved with nitrites), cheese and dairy (more aged the worse), nuts (all kinds including butters – seeds are acceptable). Also, alcohol and vinegar (especially red wine), certain fruits including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, Clementine’s, pineapples and their juices, as well as bananas and any dried fruit that is preserved with sulfites. Also considered to be triggers are raspberries, red plums, papayas, passion fruit, figs, dates and avocados. Certain vegetables were also listed, including onions (especially raw), sauerkraut, pea pods, some beans, and tomatoes. Fresh yeast raised baked goods that are less than one day old (bagels, pizza dough, doughnuts etc), artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose and finally, highly processed soy products.

This book offers great advice on many other ways to help yourself, but it really changed my life and I wanted to share this info with you in hopes to make yours better! Good luck!

NHF comment: Please see the recently updated headache dietary recommendations provided by Nancy Jerger, RN, RD, CDE of Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago, IL.

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