Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Do you miss cinnamon rolls?

There is a simple cinnamon roll substitute that has been popular in homes of the mid-west for years. Fresh cinnamon rolls contain tyramine due to the fresh risen yeast and may also contain other triggers in the dough. If you make them yourself at home and wait 24 hours to eat them, then you are okay. However, if you want a quick cinnamon roll substitute that is a little bit more healthy, here is a simple trick.

Cinnamon-Sugar Toast

4 pieces bread, trigger-free (100% whole wheat or whole grain is healthier)
1 teaspoon cinnamon plus 2 teaspoons sugar or Splenda granular, mixed

Toast the bread and immediately spread a very thin layer of butter over the top. Shake the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter, then shake off the excess. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My cookbook is now available!

Please see a preview of my cookbook here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tips for Dining Out

Several of you have asked me what to eat when dining at a restaurant. Actually, I don't really know because there is no perfect choice. Most items are probably going to have a seasoning or sauce that makes it hard to choose. So, pick the best possible option. Avoid special sauces, gravies, casseroles, and soups as they may contain MSG. Even MSG-free menus can have hidden MSG in them. Choose grilled meats instead of breaded meats. Choose grilled or sauteed vegetables instead of fried vegetables. Salads are good, but leave off the cheese and croutons. Fish is okay as long as it isn't pickled or breaded. So, grilled salmon is probably better than a fried fish sandwich. Pancakes, eggs and fruit are a good option, but leave off the bacon and sausage. I hope this helps. It's all about making the best possible choices.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipes from other Migraine Sufferers

I was contacted by someone else who has had great success with Dr. Buchholz's 1-2-3 Program, and wanted to know if I would like some more recipes. Sure!!! Thank you, Helena, for your recipes! The following recipes were created by Helena Caffrey. If you have read Dr. Buchholz's book and have recipes you would like to share, please contact me by e-mail. If they are migraine friendly, I may post them on my blog, and would of course give credit to you. My goal is always to make this diet more accessible to everyone. So, the more recipes there are available, the better!

Macaroni and Cheese

1 package elbow noodles or egg noodles
sliced high-quality american cheese, torn into pieces
salt and pepper

1. Boil noodles as directed on package. Drain.
2. Return noodles to pot. Add milk, butter, and cheese. Stir until butter and cheese are melted.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.


olive oil
2 large tortillas
ricotta cheese
Gunderson's spaghetti sauce or Buchholz's ragu sauce
vegetable toppings, optional - bell peppers, cooked spinach, sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, others

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Grease pizza pan or cookie sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
3. Place 2 tortillas on top of each other. Spread on ricotta cheese and then spaghetti or ragu sauce.
4. Add any desired vegetable toppings.
5. Bake for 10 minutes.

Soda Bread (from Marion Maxwell's A Little Book of Irish Baking)

3 c white flour (I use flour that doesn't contain malted barley flour)
1 t, heaped, baking soda OR 3 t baking powder
1 t salt
12-14 oz milk + (2 1/2 t cream of tartar OR 2 t white distilled vinegar) - buttermilk substitutes (cream of tartar can cause headaches for some)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Dust bottom of a 7' iron casserole dish with lid or 2 bread loaf pans with flour.
3. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Make well in center and gradually add milk while stirring until well blended.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead lightly to form a smooth round (or 2 ovals).
5. Place dough in dish or pans. Cut a cross in the top.
6. Bake for 50 to 55 min or until bottom sounds hallow when tapped.
7. Wrap bread in a cloth to cool.

*Recipes are created or provided by Helena Caffrey, Indianapolis, IN.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cookbook in final stages!

I've been in contact with a publishing/editing expert this week, with over twenty-five years in the publishing business, in order to have my cookbook professionally edited and designed for you. I'm so excited! If you don't mind answering, I have a couple of questions for you in order to make sure the book is completely ready. What are some of the most common questions you hear people ask about migraine, and what are some questions you have? Also, what are some elements you look for in a migraine-free cookbook? Thank you sincerely for your help.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New recipe! Enchiladas!

The cookbook has taken so long to publish that I thought I would give you another recipe. This is not a recipe I give away lightly. It is one I treasure! I hope you love it as much as I do. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 shallots, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 cooked, shredded chicken breasts, or 1 taco filling recipe
1/4 cup + 3/4 cup "salsa with tomato and herbs" recipe
1 7 ounce can chopped green chilies, drained (check ingredients)
4 ounces cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
7-8 soft flour or corn tortillas
3-4 slices high-quality American cheese, optional
1/2 cup chicken stock or water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute' shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes, or until shallots are tender. Add 1/4 cup of the salsa, the chilies, cream cheese, cilantro, and chicken. Add the chicken broth, then stir and heat thoroughly. You may stir in the American cheese at this time if you wish. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and place side by side, seam side down in dish. Top with remaining salsa. Bake approximately 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Other recipes can be found on my website at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rebound-Causing Medication

Something I have not posted about on this blog before is rebound-causing medication, and yet it is one of the main causes of your headaches, along with diet. As Dr. David Buchholz explains in his book Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain (Workman Publishing 2002), "rebound takes you prisoner". There are many medicines that cause rebound, and some of them you can buy over the counter. Avoid anything containing caffeine, decongestants, opioids, ergotamines, triptans, butalbital compounds, and isometheptene compounds. As Dr. Buchholz explains in depth in his book, this medicine should be taken no more than two days a month, as prescribed for those two days, for an out of control headache. If you are unsure if yours is one of these rebound causing medicines, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

When a headache occurs, it is due to dilated blood vessels in your head. This is called vasodilation. Many medicines constrict these blood vessels to offer relief, causing vasoconstriction. When the medicines wear off, the blood vessels dilate to a larger degree than they were previously. If this happens too often, you can understand the "rebound" hole your head digs itself into. Does this mean Dr. Buchholz wants you to suffer, or doesn't understand your pain? No it doesn't. He just knows that more and more medicine is not going to help you when it comes to headaches. The best thing to do is get your body back to its natural state so it can fight headaches its own way, and so you don't have to be a prisoner to medication. Prevent headaches by eliminating what is causing them, instead of treating them with medicines that will cause even more headaches. He offers other solutions for relief in his book.

Along with Dr. Buchholz's headache-free diet, a reduction in rebound-causing medication will hopefully help greatly reduce the amount of headaches you experience. That's step 1 and step 2 of the program. Step 3, if you need it, is preventive medication, which doesn't work for as long, as well, or even at all without steps 1 and 2.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Heal Your Headache by Dr. David Buchholz yet, you are missing a great opportunity to heal! I don't know if I would be functioning today without his advice. Feel free to read my other post "My Migraine Story" found on the left sidebar.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muscle Tension as a Migraine Symptom

You've probably read many articles that say migraines do not cause muscle tension, and that is true, but muscle tension is a symptom of migraine. The migraine itself is not going to directly cause your muscles to be tense. But as a symptom, your muscles in your neck, shoulders, head, even in your back may become tense. I personally notice a difference when a nasty storm rolls in and the barometric pressure changes. I like to call it "cement muscles". I may not even have a headache, but my muscles will become tighter. Do you have to feel the headache to have the symptoms? No. There are many other symptoms that may occur as well, and they are explained in Dr. Buchholz's book. They can range from nausea, change in stools, sensitivity to light or sound, visual disturbances, and dizziness, to difficulty speaking, loss of eyesight, feeling of heaviness or tingling in the extremities, forgetfulness, and more. If you have questions about a new symptom, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on. If nothing can be found, or if the symptom only happens for a few minutes or in relation to the headache, chances are it is migraine related. That should be determined by you and your doctor, however. Best wishes for symptom-free days.

Other great blogs (this one contains Buchholz-friendly recipes) (news about aspartame) (good soup recipe, just substitute leeks for onions)
I will add more to this list later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Note From Me: Trust Yourself

As you may have noticed, I have not been writing on my blog as much as usual lately. If you've read my migraine story, in another post, you know I have been plagued with muscle pain in my back for a long time. I am a violinist, so this is normal. And migraine symptoms sometimes compound this a bit, making it so I have to seek the help of a talented physical therapist. However, my muscle pain has been much worse than usual lately, so I finally developed the courage to visit my general practitioner this week. After an ultrasound he determined that I have two complications in my abdominal area, both relating to my pregnancy three years ago, that have to be taken care of surgically. Most of my pain is not actually muscular at all, even though it felt that way. I am in quite a bit of pain, although non of it compares to migraine, but sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time is uncomfortable. I write as little as possible. My point in posting this is not to gain your sympathy, but to tell you why I am not posting, and for another reason. I realize that migraine plagued my life for so long, and now that I'm free of it, it's hard for me to let it go. Not that I don't want to, believe me. And not that I don't want to let the pain go, that's not what I mean. I'm not really in migraine pain any more, except for once in a blue moon. I owe that to Dr. Buchholz's book and my wonderful team of doctors. What I mean is that it didn't even cross my mind that there may be something else going on. I just figured everything was fine and my problem was migraine as usual. Most people don't suffer from chronic pain, and when they do have severe pain, they go to a doctor, the doctor finds the problem, and it is taken care of. As migraine sufferers, we are used to being seen as whiners, and we are used to walking out of a doctor's office with no cure. So when something else happens to our body, we may not recognize it, and even worse, are afraid to say anything. I am still, to this day, afraid to meet a new doctor or specialist of any kind. The first thing I have to tell them is that I am a migraine sufferer, and everything that goes along with that. Many times they have no sympathy and little education on the subject. Why would I want to share? I am blessed to have a team of wonderful doctors around me now though. I hope none of them move to a new city. I wish all of you complete health and well being, and lots of faith and courage. I'll check in every once in awhile, and I still try to tweet something every day. Best wishes, Heidi.

*If you still have not read Dr. Buchholz's book, you are missing out. Please do so. You will feel much, much better. It is not "the same old stuff" that you have heard before.*

Friday, July 3, 2009


My husband was craving sausage the other day, and was disappointed when I said I couldn't eat it. So I decided to conduct an investigative search to find out for sure. There are sausages that are minimally processed and contain no msg or nitrates. This I already knew, but I was delighted to find that they can now be purchased in any local supermarket, not just in health food stores. The problem is, these sausages still likely contain tyramine due to the spices they contain. If you are at a point in your diet where it can be liberalized, and you are really craving sausage, have some of the minimally processed natural sausage. Just remember that in the beginning, strict adherence to the diet is essential. Or, if you need to cook a dish containing sausage for a get together, use this sausage and enjoy the dish with your friends. My point is, enjoy, just don't go overboard. Best wishes on your migraine-free journey.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dietary Triggers

This is a compact list of dietary triggers to avoid while on the migraine diet. For a full list, please read Dr. Buchholz's book, "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain." Remember, the diet can be modified after you feel better. Once you have your headaches under control, it is time to figure out exactly what your triggers are. Not everything on the list is a trigger for everyone. The diet is designed to be personalized. However, strict adherence is important in the beginning to gain control of your headaches. Please read Dr. Buchholz's book for complete instructions and a complete list of triggers in order to have control over your headaches.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) - and its aliases
Hard cheeses and certain other dairy products
Nuts (seeds are okay)
Processed meats
Alcohol and vinegar (distilled white vinegar is allowable)
Certain fruits, juices and vegetables containing tyramine
Fresh yeast-risen baked foods (wait 24 hours to eat)
Nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, (thiamine mono-nitrate is allowable)
Soy can be bothersome for some. Soy oil is safe.
Please see my "helpful diet facts" above.

Remember to always read ingredient labels.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Migraine Story

For a long time I have debated about whether to post anything about my own headaches. I don't want to sound like I am whining, or that I expect your sympathy. On the other hand, maybe you need to know why I care. Maybe you need to know where I came from, and just how far I've come. Maybe you don't care how much I know until you know how much I care, to use an old cliche. So, I thought I would share a taste of my own experiences with you now.

As a child, I had nosebleeds due to vasodilation (blood vessel swelling) that had to be packed and cauterized in the emergency room because they would not stop. My nosebleeds were almost always followed by a headache. In adolescence, they were coupled with back pain and sinus symptoms, and many times I had flashing lights before a headache. Many people believed my headaches to be all in my head because they came daily. My doctor during my adolescent years diagnosed me with migraines, but when imitrex didn't work, she dismissed that diagnosis as a possibility and decided it was sinus. Let's be clear people, triptans do not work for everyone, and sinus symptoms happen during migraine. It was not my doctor's fault however. She was following what she was taught. Migraines are a big mystery in the health profession.

In college I inhaled every quick fix over the counter medication I could get my hands on, including lots of caffeine. This made pregnancy hard with my first child, and with my second child even worse. I took a lot of pain medication to bear through the pregnancy. I hoped my headaches would go away after my children were born, but they didn't. I still feel guilty for that experience as well. The first neurologist I saw decided giving me caffeine and a low-dose narcotic during pregnancy was the answer. The second one thought a more and more powerful narcotic was the answer each time I went to see him. I liked the third one. At least he addressed diet as an issue. The fourth one, my present neurologist, passes "Heal Your Headache" out to all of his migraine patients. I couldn't be happier with that office.

My symptoms have included loss of consciousness, nosebleeds, loss of feeling in my arms and legs on one side or the other, loss of eyesight for short periods of time, inability to remember conversations, extreme muscle tightness and tension all the way down my back and in my head, neck and shoulders, photophobia and phonophobia, depression, nausea, and the list goes on. Do I feel any of those symptoms now? I still have muscle tension, but not to the degree that I used to, and I get a headache once in a blue moon. I am much better due to the 1-2-3 program and the support network I have around me. I hope you, too, have found or will find relief.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why do studies say migraineurs don't suffer from trigger induced migraines?

The answer is simple. The studies were done by removing only one trigger, or maybe a few triggers from the body at once. They were not done by removing all food triggers at the same time. So, there were still triggers in the body to cause havoc, in which case the migrane sufferer would not improve, except in a small percentage of cases where the threshold level would lower enough to provide relief. This tells me that triggers do pose a problem, if removing them in that fashion still helped 25% of people!

To lower your migraine threshold, you must remove all triggers at once in the beginning (which means strict adherence to the diet), then add triggers back in one at a time after you feel better. Each trigger must be eaten over a period of several days, because it can take up to two days for a trigger to affect a person. It does not have to cause problems the same day it is eaten. This way, you can decide exactly which foods are your triggers. The diet can be liberalized later on after these steps have been done. Dr. Buchholz explains the diet in detail in his book.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Dr. Buchholz's book yet, then you are probably not healing like you could be. I can not recommend his book strongly enough. Best wishes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Child-Friendly Food Ideas

It may seem hard to find food for children to eat who follow this diet. Here are a few suggestions for the little ones.

Sunflower seed butter is a great substitute for peanut butter, and makes a very yummy "peanut butter" and jelly sandwich.

Dried cranberries (with no trigger preservatives) are a wonderful substitute for raisins.

Grilled cheese sandwiches can be made with high-quality american cheese from the deli.

Hormel makes an all-natural sandwich meat that comes in a brown box. It can be found with other sandwich meats at your supermarket.

After a child's headaches are more under control, it may be safe to try fresh mozzarella cheese every once in awhile. Mozzarella is one of the less-aged hard cheeses, so it has less tyramine. Be careful not to give too much, though.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are always a good choice, but stay away from citrus fruit, bananas, and others on the list of trigger foods, as these contain tyramine.

I hope this helps. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Migraine Triggers in Fast Food Items

I was reading an article online the other day, and I thought you might be interested in reading it. It lists the top ten ingredients in all fast food items. And remember, just because an ingredient is not listed in the top ten, doesn't mean it isn't common.

Anytime you want to know the ingredients of fast food items, you can find them online. Here are just a few sites to help you get started. Notice in particular the triggers in McDonald's fries!,3,-1

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seeds, Nuts, and Migraines

As you probably know, nuts contain tyramine which can be a very powerful migraine trigger for many people. Seeds, however, are permitted as long as there are no harmful preservatives added, and can be a healthy and delicious substitute. Seeds contain magnesium, which is great for muscle development and repair. They also contain folic acid which is wonderful for your mood. Not only that, they are high in healthy fats which help the circulatory system and the nervous system, something that migraine sufferers can definitely use. So next time you feel the need for a snack, eat 1/4 cup of seeds and some fruit (not citrus or raisins) to tide you over until the next meal. The combination together will help you feel full. Any other great snack ideas?

Monday, May 4, 2009

How powerful is caffeine as a migraine trigger?

When I first began the Dr. David Buchholz migraine-free diet two years ago, I went cold turkey on all triggers. I didn't eat any triggers for one whole year. That's right. I didn't cheat once. It took me about 8 months to feel normal as a human being after following a horrible diet my whole life. It doesn't take everyone this long. Usually people notice a difference within two weeks and feel great within two to three months. I noticed a difference within two weeks, felt better within two months, and felt great in eight months. I was an extremely severe case. After about one year, I decided to cheat once with french fries and cheese. I remember feeling a little dizzy the next day. No big deal. I was still on the diet and still in control. Two weeks later I decided to cheat again, this time with chocolate and something else with nitrates, although I don't remember what the other item was. And, this time I had a headache. I am now on a preventive medication (step 3 in the 1-2-3 program) so that I can eat out with friends sometimes, and not be rude at people's houses when meals are prepared. Some people are more sensitive to triggers than others and need preventive help.

A few months ago, I decided to have some Dr. Pepper on an outing with some friends. Before beginning the diet two years ago, I was a Mountain Dew addict of the worst kind. My one Dr. Pepper that day led to one the next day, and a couple the next day, and you get the idea. Now I feel a need to have it and am having a horrible time releasing myself as a slave to it. You might say it is an addiction, and maybe it is, but I actually see it as a trigger holding my body captive. Caffeine shrinks the blood vessels. So, when I don't drink it, they swell. Every time I try to go cold turkey, I get a four day migraine, and eventually can't stand it anymore. So I drink a Dr. Pepper and the next day the headache is gone. It's like a drug that my body can't live without because my blood vessels need to be shrunk or my head feels as if it will explode. When I started the diet two years ago I was used to being in pain daily and didn't notice the difference the lack of caffeine made. Now that I'm not used to the pain, I can't deal with it. The preventive medication I'm on will not help me with this. I can cheat with other triggers and go back to living my life normally. But, other triggers don't shrink the blood vessels. So, Dr. Buchholz was right when he told us DO NOT EVER TRY CAFFEINE AGAIN!

I know that revealing this information may hurt some of my credibility with people who follow my site or who wish to buy my cookbook. But, I feel it is important that everyone know why you should NEVER cheat with caffeine.

Update 05/25/09:
I can happily say I am now completely caffeine free! I had a headache for about three days, but going cold turkey was the best way. It was quick and relatively painless. Few of the symptoms I used to feel with migraine plagued me during those three days. Some people don't feel anything at all. I picked a week when there were no barometric pressure changes to bother me, and I kept all other triggers out of the picture. My last encounter with caffeine was a little over a week ago, and the only side effect I still have is a little bit of what I call "cement muscles". My muscles tend to be a little tight, but that is no big deal compared to a headache. Neck and back stretches can cure that. Please friends, do not be afraid to eliminate caffeine from your diet. I feel so much better overall, and I can't stress that enough. Best wishes to you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Place to Talk

This website is designed not only to be a place to find helpful recipes, but also a place for migraine sufferers to talk and share comments, stories, or whatever they wish. Feel free to share!