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.


  1. Thank you for the very encouraging post. I'm just finishing my second month after starting the program and I'm doing well. It is most frustrating when dining out for sure. But the consequence of a migraine is not worth it. I look forward to adding things back after four months of this strict diet! I've had a couple of headaches this month and although I try to be so careful, there is always something in the food I've eaten that could have been the trigger (cream of wheat? cheating with a little cheese at Chipotle maybe? tuna?) The MSG problem is overwhelming and so hard to avoid. Everything I see now that I'm a label-reader says 'natural flavors'! Sounds like such a good thing, but not. I think of all the triggers, MSG is definitely the trickiest. And I think I'm very sensitive to it as well.

  2. Thanks for your reply! Yes, MSG is definitely the most difficult trigger to avoid. It doesn't even have to be listed in the ingredients, and so many people are sensitive to it. If you are improving though, that is a great sign! The longer you stay on the diet, the easier it will become. Just keep your determination. As you said, the pain of a migraine is not worth it. Sounds like you are doing very well!

  3. bummer, after all that bragging I got a migraine yesterday. So discouraging and I can't even find a 'food mistake' this time. I was so very careful. I guess hormones could play a giant role, but you can't control those! Just wondering if you have any advice on that topic?

  4. The longer you are on the diet, the more in control you will hopefully be of your own headaches, instead of them controlling you. So, your hormones should bother you less too. It takes time to heal, but improvement will happen as time goes on. In other words, the diet should help lower your overall trigger level, which means hormones will trigger less as well. Some people may need a little extra help, which is what step three is for. So, if tests have been run, and your doctor can find nothing else going on, hopefully this will be the solution for you!

  5. thanks you for your cooking book, it lead me to david Buchholz and my own personal story that i would like to share here if it is possible?
    Hi I am just starting my blog:
    Green Alert Heal Your Health
    I am an health supportive chef and a "migraineur" since i am 13 years old. I never stop searching for a way to controle my migraines neither I stop hoping for a solution. It seems that I was in the right direction when I enrolled in culinary school: what you eat could make you sick, more than what you eat make you healthy.
    And finally I came across the "1 2 3 program for taking charge of your pain" from David Buchholz, M.D. and after following it for 2 months now and being very strict and careful with what I am eating I am happy to say:I am migraine-free. This blog is a way for me to share my story and posts all recipes and tips and warning about food, food industry and how to make your life a migraine-free life: because who has time to cook for their morning lunch and dinner every day? Look around: onion, vinegar, acid citric, soy etc.. are every with some good tools and ymmy recipes i believe it is possible. For me and for everyone

  6. Great! I say, the more people spreading the word and sharing recipes, the better. I'm glad the 1-2-3 Program worked for you. I'm anxious to see some recipes on your blog!