Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Following the Diet in a College Dormitory, or Other Limited Setting?

If you are trying to follow the diet in a limited setting where you absolutely cannot cook, you don't have the money to eat out, and the only devices available are a microwave and refrigerator, you have probably found it to be a little difficult. Here are some ideas to help you.

Breakfast: You will have to give yourself about 15 minutes for breakfast in the morning, but if you do, you'll have several options available to you. Most or all of these you can find at any grocery store.
There are several cereals you may eat including: shredded wheat, corn flakes, rice krispies, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs, Organic Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola, and others. Just take a look around and read ingredient lists. If you don't find it in the original version, try the organic version or another brand to see if it is any better. Some are, some aren't.
You may also have plain instant oatmeal (instant oats) and flavor them with brown sugar and maple syrup, or cinnamon and sugar, or whatever you like. It's about as easy as making the already flavored packet, but tastes better and doesn't contain MSG.
And then there's the bagel and cream cheese, but let's try saving the cream cheese for dinner options. You can always put jelly on your bagel.
Fruit is always an excellent breakfast option, especially along with one of the other items mentioned above.

Tuna salad is easy to make with some mayonnaise, cut up apples, a little dry mustard, maybe a dash of garlic powder to spice if you wish. You can even add some vegetables.
Sunflower seed butter (you will have to purchase this at a health food store) and jelly sandwich.
Hormel minimally processed all-natural deli meats with lettuce, mayonnaise, tomato, whatever else you wish on bread.
Canned green beans or other vegetables microwaved with salt and butter, as long as they are just the vegetable without seasoning and are on the approved list.
Sunshine Burgers Original flavor (you will probably have to purchase this at a health food store)
Bell and Evans grilled Chicken Breasts (health food store)
Cucina Antica marinara, arabiata, puttanesca sauces to go over noodles from the dining hall. (health food store)
Some frozen french fries don't have other added ingredients. Check labels. Make sure they are microwaveable.
Imagine Organic Creamy Tomato or Creamy Butternut Squash soup. Add milk or water, and whatever toppings you wish. These do contain onion, but it is cooked in so it may not bother you as much. Use your discretion on this.
Steamfresh frozen vegetables in a bag, although it is never a good idea to microwave plastic, may be helpful to you in a desperate situation such as this.
Plain (unflavored) chips or crackers.

Dried fruit, seeds and cut up vegetables make excellent snacks.
Be sure to stay away from frozen dinners, even organic ones. Many of them still contain MSG aliases or other ingredients we should avoid (several in one meal).

Creamy sauce to pour over your chicken or noodles:
Combine 1 cup COLD chicken stock (not broth) and 2 tablespoons flour in a bowl. Stir with a fork until well blended and there are no lumps. Add 4 oz cream cheese (there are measuring lines on the package) and 1 teaspoon garlic salt to the bowl. Microwave on high until cream cheese is melted and sauce is hot. This doesn't take too many ingredients and will flavor your meat or noodles in a way you can't have anywhere else. You may also use just garlic salt on your chicken or burgers to season.

Have fun experimenting with different options and good luck!

Bread Stuffing

1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1 or 2 shallots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
11 to 13 slices bread, cubed and dried on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley, or 2 tablespoons fresh
1 tablespoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken or turkey STOCK

In a large pan, saute shallots and celery in butter until tender. In a large bowl mix bread cubes, parsley, sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add mixture to pan along with stock. Cook until at desired consistency.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vegetarian Recipes

Whether you are looking for vegetarian recipes or just want more recipes to use on your headache-free journey, Helena Caffrey's new post has some information that might be invaluable to you.
Thanks for the post, Helena!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chili Beans substitute for cooking

1 can pink beans or pinto beans
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon shortening

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Add small amounts of water while cooking if needed.

Savory Rice

2 cups COLD chicken stock
4 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1 1/2 cups instant rice

Stir chicken stock and flour together vigorously with a fork until smooth. Heat flour mixture and all remaining ingredients except rice in a saucepan to boiling. Stir in rice and cover. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Uncover and stir. Rice may need to be cooked, stirring constantly, for a couple more minutes if there is any standing water. Do not cook too long as this will make the rice too dry. Remove from heat and let the rice soak up any remaining liquid. Serve and enjoy.

Easier version: Stir chicken stock and flour together as directed above, then combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 7 minutes. Let stand for two minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Soy" Sauce

1 cup beef stock (from preparing a beef roast in water)
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl and cook with your favorite foods. Or, heat in a pan to mix flavors and chill for future use.

Hamburger Stroganoff

1/2 lb lean hamburger
2 shallots, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup COLD chicken stock
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 oz. neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1 cup milk
7 oz. cooked egg noodles or spaghetti noodles, if desired

Brown hamburger, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and olive oil together over medium heat in a large skillet until beef is browned. Drain. Stir chicken stock and flour together with a fork until smooth, then pour into skillet. Add spices and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Reduce heat to simmer and continue stirring for approximately three minutes. Add milk and heat until warm. Pour over noodles, if desired, and enjoy!

1 lb. beef round steak may be used instead of hamburger. Cut steak into bite size pieces and brown for approximately 6-8 minutes before adding the shallots, garlic, olive oil and mushrooms.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

10 cups popped, unflavored popcorn, no butter added
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour popcorn in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cook sugars, butter, corn syrup and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan until they reach 255 to 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount of the mixture pressed between two fingers forms a hard ball that holds its shape but is pliable. Pour in the baking soda and stir until foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir until well coated. Cool for approximately one hour, then break apart and enjoy. Store in a closed container.

Easy, Spicy Salsa

2-3 fresh diced tomatoes or 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
2 shallots, chopped fine

Combine tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until the tomatoes are at desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and stir in the cilantro and shallots. Enjoy immediately, or chill for a few hours to let the flavors set in.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Broccoli and Cheese

One of my favorites, now migraine-free!

Broccoli, fresh or frozen, unseasoned, prepared as directed
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (not fat-free), cubed
One teaspoon distilled white vinegar
One cup chicken stock
8 pieces high-quality American cheese from the deli counter (not processed)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt the cream cheese in a medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Heat and stir until smooth and heated thoroughly. Pour over broccoli and enjoy!

Fried Green Beans

My husband, a teacher, came home from school last year very excited about something he had eaten in the school cafeteria. Intrigued, I talked to him green beans, and he begged me to make them at home. Of course, I can't make them just like the cafeteria pre-packaged kind, but he said mine were good, too. That's saying a lot, especially since my husband isn't crazy about green beans to begin with.

One package frozen green beans
Two eggs, beaten
all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
olive oil, another cooking oil, or shortening

Pour in just enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Mix 3/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup cornmeal in a small mixing bowl. Place the eggs in another small bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat the green beans in eggs, then the flour mixture. Fry one side until slightly brown (about 4 minutes) then the other side. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Dust lightly with salt.


Migraine-free, child-friendly, cost-friendly, and even gluten-free if you need it to be. A note: Many pizza chains use a garlic butter sauce to flavor the crust before adding toppings. Think all that grease is just from cheese? Think again. This recipe provides a healthier garlic butter sauce alternative for you which makes the pizza taste more like the restaurant chains. If you can't have tomatoes, maybe the sauce will even be enough of a substitute.

Burrito size tortillas (use gluten-free, 100% whole wheat, or white, but check ingredients)
Three tablespoons butter or olive oil
garlic salt
One 6 oz can (small can) tomato paste plus 3 ounces water
garlic powder
dried oregano
one shallot, finely grated
Toppings of your choice (green pepper, green onion, shallots, or whatever you desire)
A sprinkling of mozzarella if your headaches are under control.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tortillas on a pizza pan or flat baking pan in a single layer. Bake until they begin to bubble, about three minutes. Take tortillas out of the oven and immediately press them with a thick oven pad (or two so you don't burn your hands) until all steam escapes and the tortillas are flat again. Turn tortillas over and repeat directions for the opposite side. Remove from oven.
Prepare the garlic butter sauce by melting 3 tablespoons butter in a small bowl, or you may use olive oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt and stir with a pastry brush. Brush the butter mixture over the tortillas. If you are using the butter sauce in place of tomato sauce, sprinkle dried oregano on the tortilla crust at this time.
Prepare the pizza sauce by stirring the tomato paste and water together along with 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, dried oregano, and finely grated shallot. Spread this over on top of the butter sauce with a spoon.
Add your toppings, and then the cheese, if your headaches are under control and you find you can tolerate small amounts of tyramine well. As always, follow Dr. Buchholz's directions for adding foods back in as outlined in his book.
Bake pizza until crust is slightly brown, or until cheese is completely melted if using cheese, about five to seven minutes.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tasty Bagel Sandwich (Meatless)

A very sweet person who wishes to remain anonymous wrote in with this recipe. It sounds wonderful! I can't wait to try it. Bonus, it's vegetarian!

1 bagel, hollowed out slightly in the middle and toasted
1/2 finely chopped apple
1/4 cup dried blueberries, cherries, or other allowable fruits (sulfite free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon mixed with 1/2 teaspoon sugar or splenda granular
2-3 tablespoons softened cream cheese or ricotta cheese

Mix all ingredients except the bagel and spoon into the hollowed out bagel. Enjoy!

Food Intolerance and Migraine Triggers

I have made some changes to this post since the original. I would like to thank my friends in the scientific community for your help with this subject.

Migraine triggers are not food allergies; they are more like intolerances. The terms food allergy and food intolerance seem to be grouped together casually as though they are the same, when in fact, they are quite different. In true medical, scientific literature, food allergies are labeled so because the body can generate, in some people, an immune response to certain foods. In the case of migraine triggers, there is no immune response within your body. In other words, migraine triggers are not mediated by the immune system. It is for this reason that triggers cannot be found through pin prick tests, blood tests, or any other similar type of tests. So, how do triggers work? The more you have in your system, the more likely you are to have a headache. So, by avoiding dietary triggers, more unavoidable triggers are less likely to cause a headache, too. I do not want to give away all of Dr. Buchholz's step 2 relayed in his book, so it is important that you read it. However, I will tell you that the more triggers you avoid, the better you feel. In the beginning, it is important to avoid all dietary triggers to let your body heal. After that, the trick is to keep your trigger level as low as possible, and since your body does not generate an immune response to triggers, you may eat your favorite foods once in awhile again. The trick is to only eat them when there are few to no other triggers clouding your system. It is for these same reasons that food triggers do not have to cause a headache every time they are eaten, which can also make them difficult to pinpoint. Dr. Buchholz's method is the only one I've found that can truly eliminate and find all personal triggers for each headache sufferer. Everyone is different, after all, and his method is designed to find your personal triggers. If you haven't read Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain by David Buchholz, M.D. yet, you are missing a real treat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Buchholz-friendly websites

More people are sharing their favorite recipes!

Helena's blog is full of recipes and great advice for those suffering from migraines, and also for their friends and family. Be sure to visit.

Bill's blog is designed to help if you are trying to navigate the diet with few cooking skills. He gives some great tips!

Ricky's quest is to find migraine-friendly food that follows Dr. Buchholz's diet, and she has posted some of her own favorite recipes on her site.

Elodie, a professional chef, has started her site at this address so that we may all heal our headaches with food.

David posts tyramine-free recipes, and they are usually free of preservatives as well.

Here is a Yahoo! Group you might find helpful and supportive.

If you have a site like these and I am unaware, please let me know so I can share.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

DTOX Radio!

DTOX Radio is a wonderful website and radio broadcast dedicated to people with environmental illnesses! They offer a live radio webcast, a "mall" where you can find products which may help with your specific illness, a "world news" page, and even a blogroll featuring fantastic bloggers who are experts in their area. Please take a look at this jewel of a website!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Fried Chicken with White Gravy

Sometimes I am just in the mood for some comfort food. Enjoy!

The Chicken
Canola oil or olive oil
5 chicken breasts, fat trimmed, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, mixed

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with oil to about 1/2 inch thick and heat over medium heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Dip the breasts in the eggs, then the flour mixture. Repeat. Fry the chicken in the oil for 12-15 minutes, turning frequently, or until the centers are no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from the pan.

The Gravy
3 tablespoons oil from recipe above, or use 3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Remove all but 3 tablespoons oil from the skillet. Add flour and blend with a fork in order to mix well. Slowly add a little bit of milk and blend into a paste. Add more milk, a little at a time, until all of the milk has been added. Heat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper. Serve over the chicken and enjoy!

*This meal is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adding Foods Back Into Your Diet

This diet does not have to be a life-long sentence of doom. After you have eliminated all triggers from your diet for about 4 months, or as long as it takes to heal, you can add triggers back in one at a time to see which foods are your personal triggers. Remember, the diet must be strictly adhered to in the beginning. Even if you find, like me, that every food on the list is a trigger for you, it does not mean that you can never eat your favorite foods again. When I began this diet three years ago, I felt so much better that I didn't eat anything on the avoid list for a whole year. When I started to add triggers back in one at a time, MSG was a very obvious trigger, but tyramine was not. For awhile, I thought tyramine was okay for me, but the more I ate it, the more my muscles ached and I became run down and tired. For me, MSG is a much more obvious trigger than tyramine, but for others that may be reversed. The pain of a migraine is such a negative memory to me that I do my best to avoid MSG at all costs, but I could probably have small amounts of it once in a great while if I choose to, as long as there are no other triggers to raise my threshold level. The trick is to not eat triggers very often or in very large amounts. I told someone on twitter the other day that I never eat MSG. Then, I read my words and realized that I need to relax a little. I've been following the diet for three years, and I could probably use a little wiggle room. So, I went to a Mexican restaurant with my family and ordered an enchilada with beans and rice on the side. My husband was overjoyed! Well, I decided to only eat two or three bites of the enchilada and then eat the rice and beans just to be safe. I didn't have a headache! So, a few days later I decided to dip some vegetables in STORE BOUGHT vegetable dip (sparingly, of course). Again, no symptoms! Keep in mind, there were no storms overhead, no hormonal disturbances, and little stress in my life at the time. Also, I had been getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. So, after you have followed the diet initially, you may be able to eat some of your favorite foods again once in awhile. I probably could have eaten the whole enchilada if I had relaxed. My husband found it quite humorous. So, don't begin the diet thinking there is no way you could follow it for the rest of your life. Chances are not every trigger will be a problem for you, and even if it is, try to change your line of thinking. Your body will continue to change as you age, which means your headaches will probably change as well. And, can you continue to go on living as you are? Do you really want to take triptans, shots, narcotics, or any heavy medications long term? Don't be afraid to give diet, using Dr. Buchholz's 1-2-3 method, a chance. It is well worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Tomatoes get a bad rap, mainly because of what foods they accompany, or what additives are put in tomato sauce. Yes, tomatoes can be a trigger for some due to high amounts of free glutamate (not to be confused with an aversion to wheat gluten), but for most migraine sufferers tomatoes are perfectly fine, by themselves. Tomatoes are extremely healthy and may even help aid in weight loss! So, don't knock them before you give them a fair chance. Tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce usually has onion powder added to it, and possibly other additives, which may trigger a migraine. Pizza dough has fresh-risen yeast which contains tyramine, and pizza toppings contain nitrates and possibly MSG. If you make your own italian food at home (which contains tomatoes), and you haven't added any onion powder or onions to the sauce, maybe it's the salad dressing (fermentation) which has triggered your headache. And remember, it could possibly be something you ate from the day before. So, before you blame your headache on tomatoes, which many tolerate well, be sure it isn't something else causing you havoc. After you have removed every migraine trigger from your diet for quite some time, if you still suspect tomatoes, then eliminate them for two to four weeks. If you notice no difference, add them back in. Happy eating!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Migraine and Fibromyalgia

While obtaining my music education degree, I went through a period of time where my muscles became so much like cement that I was in a severe amount of pain. At one point, my left arm and hand would barely move, and I couldn't play my violin for a period of weeks. As a music major, this was not the best situation to be in. I had a senior recital coming up that I couldn't practice for! I saw six doctors, some of them specialists (a physical therapist, feldenkrais instructor, bio-feedback specialist, and others) to help my muscles relax. I was able to play again, but I never did get to full recovery stage. I also had headaches during this time. The pain was centered around my neck, back, arms, and even somewhat in my hips and legs. After finding Dr. Buchholz's book and following his diet, my pain and muscle/fascia tension dropped dramatically. I still have a little bit of muscle pain and tension, especially when a storm rolls in, but not near to the degree that I had back then. I have migraine. For a long time I was diagnosed as having allergies, which I don't have. I was diagnosed at one time with having lactose intolerance, which I don't have. I do have migraine trigger intolerance though, which produces the same symptoms. My point is, sometimes people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia who don't actually have it. It produces many of the same symptoms. If your pain is centered mainly around your neck, shoulders and back, then maybe you have migraine. Do all people diagnosed with fibromyalgia actually have migraine? That's not at all what I'm saying. I'm just saying that both conditions are fairly new to the medical world and hard to understand. Do you have headaches along with your muscle pain? Where is the pain centralized? Is it time to re-evaluate? If not and your method is working for you, that is great! If your method isn't working, and this post has helped you in some way, then I am happy. That was my only goal in posting it.

Happiness and Inspiration

Pain can sometimes be depressing. For that matter, so can life. Everyone has problems and situations in this world, no matter who the person is. I personally think speed bumps along the way make us grow and teach us lessons in life. Think about all the lessons you've learned from hard times. Have you learned as many from good times? However, it is the happy times that keep us going and give us inspiration. What do you do for inspiration? Do you often dwell on migraines and the pain they cause, or do you allow yourself to enjoy what life gives you? If chronic pain has caused you to crawl into a hole, first of all, it is time to begin to heal. Also, it's time to remember the joys in life again. I'm not talking about picking up hobbies again, although maybe that would be great! I'm talking about viewing conversations with people differently. When you enter a room with new faces, do you wonder if people are going to like you, or do you just assume they will because you are a likable person? Do you have faith that situations are going to work out for you, or do you believe that you just have the worst luck? When a negative thought enters your mind, push it out and replace it with a positive one. If a big presentation or meeting is coming up, have faith that it will go well, not the opposite. Whatever it takes for you to begin thinking this way, start it today. I personally get my inspiration by watching Joel Osteen every Sunday. His telecast puts me in a great mood that lasts all week long. I also make sure to spend plenty of quality time with friends and family. They are the people who really care.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Migraine-Friendly Fast Food?

There really isn't any migraine-free fast food. However, Chipotle is not nearly as bad as a burger and fries or chicken nuggets with dipping sauce. Even a grilled chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant can be an MSG bomb. Chipotle makes everything from scratch with high quality meat, and everything is free of additives or preservatives. It's true! Check their website. The meat is marinated in a chipotle pepper adobo, which probably contains citrus and vinegar. Remember, though, that some of that is cooked out again when the meat is grilled, and it is still MSG-free. What you have to be careful with are the toppings. Sour cream and avocado contain tyramine by nature, and the salsas have a lot of onions and vinegar in them. The refried beans are cooked with bacon, so that is a definite NO! Even the corn has onions in it. I encourage you to check the Chipotle website to find out what is in every food they serve, then order accordingly. I wouldn't eat Chipotle very often, and especially not in the beginning stages of the diet. Remember, the diet must be strictly adhered to in the beginning for it to work, so chipotle adobo marinade isn't going to help you. However, later on as a special treat, or when you are in a real pinch and don't have any food with you, Chipotle may be a suitable fast food option. The best option is to make your own food.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Common Diet Mistakes:

Not Avoiding Processed and Aged Foods:
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make on this diet is forgetting to avoid processed and aged foods. Remember, even though a food may only contain a few ingredients which seem harmless, if that food is highly processed, our body will not know what to do with it. Fast food burgers are a great example of this. In their ingredients, they may only contain salt, meat, and a preservative (within the burger itself). However, the burgers are highly processed which by nature means they contain MSG. Burgers and burger substitutes bought at the supermarket pose the same problem.

Fermenting fruits and vegetables, and even meats, starts a process which creates more tyramine within that food. On the other hand, canning (without fermenting), freezing, and drying these items slows the aging process down. So, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (as long as they aren't on the avoid list) should be fine as long as they are not flavored or fermented.

Not Eating Meals Prepared at Home:

I see many people try this diet who continue to eat out all the time. You may continue to eat out if you wish, but you have to be particular in what foods you order and what restaurants you choose. This can make the diet quite limiting. You cannot continue to eat fast food for sure, and many restaurants are not much better. Sauces and gravies are not prepared from scratch, but rather from a base containing MSG, and forget about soups or casseroles. While eating out, you are limited to simply prepared meals with no sauces or gravies, and very limited seasonings if any at all. So, your mouth may get bored. Plus, it's not easy to tell what is in your food, so you may not always know what you are getting. It's better to make a lifestyle change and learn to cook at home. You can make your own gravies, sauces, seasonings and spices, casseroles, burgers, condiments, etcetera, and it is not as difficult or time consuming as you may think. Another plus to eating at home is that it is much less expensive.

Not Following Step 1 of the Program:

For this program to work, all steps must be followed. Step 1 of Dr. Buchholz's program involves eliminating rebound causing medication. Every diet and every preventive measure and medicine in the world won't help you if rebound is still getting in the way. It's only painful for a short while. Yes, I went through it too, so I do know the pain involved. It was well worth it, believe me. I'm much happier now than I was when I was dependent on caffeine and medication. I hear people say to me often "I get headaches every day, so it can't be rebound." If you are taking medication to abort your headache every time or nearly every time you get one, and they are happening often, you probably have rebound headaches.

Not Avoiding Caffeine:

Caffeine can help a headache in process, but it is a rebound causing medication. That's right, caffeine is a drug. That's why many headache medicines on the drug market (prescription and non-prescription) contain caffeine. Caffeine not only makes effective headache medications work faster, but it constricts dilated blood vessels, which is what is causing your painful headache in the first place (there are other factors involved as well). However, once the caffeine wears off, your blood vessels dilate back to a degree greater than they were previously. This is, essentially, rebound headache. You've heard people talk about caffeine headaches, or needing caffeine early in the morning in order to get rid of the stuffy, full, or groggy feeling in their head. It takes more and more caffeine to keep the blood vessels constricted to a comfortable degree. So, to assume that caffeine is not a trigger for you, may not be completely accurate.

Trying to Avoid Gluten:

While following a gluten-free diet can be helpful for many people, it is not the best diet for migraine sufferers. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then the gluten-free diet is the one you should be following. If not, then by following a gluten-free diet you are eliminating some unnecessary foods which can provide you needed nutrients, and you are not eliminating foods which should be eliminated. A great example of this is tyramine. Tyramine can be found in citrus fruits, nuts, onions, and other foods which are perfectly fine on a gluten-free diet. It also allows for chocolate, which is a well-known migraine trigger because it contains caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine, and possibly tyramine as well. You may find some relief by following a gluten-free diet, and some people will have full relief, because by following the diet you are essentially eliminating many sources of MSG. However, for those of you with more triggers, the migraine-free diet is the better one to follow. You'll be eliminating all possible headache triggers at once, then adding them back in later one by one to find your personal triggers, which I'll talk about more below.

Free glutamate (not the same as gluten from wheat protein), found in tomatoes, mushrooms and peas can be a trigger for some, but it is not high on the trigger list. Feel free to leave these in your diet unless you strongly suspect them. If so, eliminate them for two to four weeks. Then, if you see no improvement, add them back in. Remember, pre-made tomato sauces contain onion and/or onion powder and possibly other triggers which can start a headache. It is best to make these from scratch in your own kitchen.

True, Not Every Trigger is a Problem for Everyone, But...

Did you start a food diary to keep track of everything you were eating, but nothing seemed to add up? Part of the reason for this may be due to rebound headache, as mentioned above. The more likely reason, though, is that triggers are extremely hard to pinpoint. Triggers do not have to cause a headache every time they are eaten. It's possible that you can eat chocolate one day and be just fine, but on another day there is a huge storm brewing overhead, you're stressed at school or work, and you have other dietary triggers stacked up in your system as well, causing the chocolate to be the last straw. It all depends on how many triggers and what amount of those triggers are causing you problems at once. Also, a trigger does not have to cause a headache the same day it is eaten. It can wait to strike for up to two days later. So, with the many unavoidable triggers constantly around you, including lack of sleep as well, dietary triggers are extremely hard to pinpoint. All triggers must be eliminated at once, then added back in one at a time for several days at full force to find out if the trigger is a culprit. Nothing can be added back in, though, until you feel fully healed. By eliminating dietary triggers, you are lowering the trigger level in your body which makes unavoidable triggers (even hormones) less likely to cause a headache for you.

Some of this information comes from information I have learned through the process of writing my cookbook entitled Migraine-Free Cooking!, and some of it comes from Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain by David Buchholz, M.D.