Saturday, January 29, 2011

There's Something Wrong, Here

I've been trying to write a post for a few weeks now, but every time I began writing, it wouldn't turn out right. Maybe it's because I'm trying to get to the heart of the matter - our food system. When I tell people that food makes a difference in how they feel, I usually receive a response like this, "Oh, I tried changing my diet and it made no difference for me." The problem is that chemically and biologically, this doesn't make sense. What we put into our bodies does make a difference in how we function.

Our bodies aren't trash cans and can't continually process waste. Food that has been chemically altered from its original state is seen by our bodies as waste, and they don't know how to digest this food, or correctly form it into nutrients. Yes, I'm talking about MSG. When a protein cell is taken apart and any part of it is altered in some way to be used for some other purpose in food, be a little wary. In some instances, this might be okay, but generally not. Our bodies like whole parts of foods. This is why it's important to not eat boxed foods or ready-prepared meals, and not eat food with flavorings. Read Heal Your Headache for a better explanation. Visit truthinlabeling.org.

Did you know that if you eat a lot of fermented, yeasty, or sugary foods, or if you've taken antibiotics recently, you have most likely killed the good bacteria in your digestive tract? This bacteria helps regulate your immune system, and it helps your body process foods better. So, with proper diet (and healthy bacteria in your digestive tract), your body is more able to handle the foods you are intolerant to (migraine triggers). Since we can't have yogurt, it's a good idea for us to take a probiotic supplement daily.

Not all raw meat is created equal. The raw hamburger available at most grocery stores does not come from just one cow, but rather parts of many cows from possibly several different areas of the country. Surprised? Cows are fed a diet of antibiotics, growth hormones and corn among other things, as well as hay or grass. Then, after some other stops, they are shipped to huge feedlots (with cows from other farms), slaughtered, and the meat is all mixed and processed together to be shipped to your store. Chickens are kept in huge chicken houses where they don't have enough room to roam (and don't know any better) and fed growth hormones so that their breasts are bigger (because we all like white meat). Then, some of it is injected with a broth solution containing MSG during processing. Buy organic grass fed beef, organic milk and butter, organic free range eggs, and chickens raised without growth hormones if at all possible. Eat less meat and more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Watch the film Food, Inc. and read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Caffeine may seem like it helps in the short run, but it constricts blood vessels and then they rebound back, possibly to a larger size than they were before. Energy drinks have become a norm in this country, and it scares me, especially since I see so many teenagers drinking them.

Remember, trigger foods do not have to cause a headache every time they're eaten or the same day they're eaten. They can wait to cause havoc for up to two days. This can make them hard to pinpoint. Also, it's important to eliminate all triggers (listed in Dr. Buchholz's book Heal Your Headache, the 123 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain) at once, otherwise the foods not eliminated would still be in your body causing you pain while you eliminated that one. Eliminating one trigger at a time doesn't work.

There's something wrong, here. I'm tired of seeing so many people in pain, suffering. The foods available to us are way too flavored, processed, and unhealthy. The problem is, this is America, a free country, something I wouldn't change for the world, and that's what consumers are buying. I wonder, though, do people really know how unhealthy these foods are? Do they realize that fat-free and low-fat foods have MSG added to them to make them taste better, and that our bodies actually need fat to function? It's the sugar and preservatives that cause problems, not the fat. I think people are trying to make the healthier choice, because it is and should be their choice, but they just don't know what the healthier choice is.
Eat pure foods. Simple.

41 comments:

  1. I also try to eliminate left overs, as they contain a lot of histamines as part of the decay process.

    Thanks for the post Heidi!!

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  2. I've come across too many migraineurs that don't want to change their habits. I know they have that right, or they may not be ready to make that lifestyle change (I was there once too). At the same time I want to tell them they're not allowed to vent about their migraines if they're going to continue to consume the foods you mentioned.

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  3. Hello ladies! Thanks for posting on my blog!

    Yes, you'll notice that a lot of Dr. Joneja's advice about histamine (restricted foods) is similar to Dr. Buchholz's advice. There are some distinct differences though. If a person's main source of pain is headaches, what he or she should be worried about with leftovers is tyramine. Tyramine builds up in leftover food, and is found in fermented foods as well. A tip? Freeze your leftovers so they won't age and you won't have to throw away all of your hard work!

    I understand where you are coming from Jasmine. For those of us that feel better, we want the best for everyone else, especially since we know the place they are in as well, because we've been there. Lifestyle change has to be done, and it has to be done in certain ways in order to work, which may be why many don't believe in it. It can be frustrating.

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  4. You are my new hero! No one seems as concerned about MSG as I am. I've had migraines since I was about 4 years old because we had a Chinese housekeeper and she taught my mom to add MSG to everything! (wonderful woman otherwise, really!) I can't wait to read through your whole blog! Thanks!

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  5. I apologize for the delay in my response. So glad you have found the culprit to your migraines! Yes, MSG can be quite the trigger. I know it is for me. Thank you for your kind comment!

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  6. I have had very seriuous migraines for 15 years and have taken Topimax for the last 3 - it has cut them back to 2 a week, which I am grateful for. 2 weeks ago my Dr started me on a no Tyramine diet out of desperation and am amazed that I have had NO headaches thus far - I can't believe it. I have ordered Dr Bucholz's book and can't wait to read it. I feel like I have a new world waiting for me and am very glad my husband found this web site.

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  7. What about egg whites? I buy All White's Egg Whites. I eat about 1/4 cup of egg whites with toast & organic hash browns that doesn't have any of the ingredients that I need to avoid for breakfast everyday.

    After starting this diet I started eating this for breakfast b/c I needed to find something high in protein [~12g of protein total] since I have to avoid sausage, hot dogs, bacon, etc. I also don't eat steak just chicken & turkey. And I can eat so much turkey.

    Do you recommend any type of cereals - multigrain cherrios or kashi ? Takes forever to look @ the ingredients.

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  8. Paula, I'm glad he did too! I'm also glad your doctor decided to try diet change for you. It's wonderful to feel better, isn't it? Thank you for posting.


    Natural egg whites are definitely healthy. Some people do report having migraines with eggs, but it is not a common trigger. If eggs are a trigger for you, however, then avoid them. As for the All White's Egg Whites, I am not familiar with that brand. It makes me suspicious, so be sure to check the ingredient label for MSG aliases or sulfites. There are some kashi cereals that are okay, as well as other cereals. The best thing to do is read labels, but you can see my post "Following the Diet in a College Dormitory or Other Limited Setting" for more ideas. I hope that helps.

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  9. I am so glad that I found this site. I am on round two of my Dr. Buchholz diet. Did the first one several years ago when I was trying to add yogurt into my diet since it was so healthy. Little did I know it was my migraine trigger. Now we'll see what's been causing this misery for the past 6+ months of daily migraines. I have nothing specific and am just reading through several of your posts. It's just so nice to not feel alone!

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  10. I think simple and ordinary home cooked food helps to cure every disease.It is the best that the body can take...too much of flavoring or artificial additions.

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  11. I am a 34 yr old woman who has been suffering with headaches/migraines for 11 yrs now. I've only just come to realize that food has been the main culprit among others like hormones, weather patterns, and teeth clenching. I found Heidi's and Dr Buchholz MD books and I feel like my life is starting to take a turn for the better. I have been on so many drugs for so long...I'm so happy to be almost rid of them. I too felt so alone. But thanks to Heidi's blog and the other comments I'm starting to feel like I have the right kind of support and information. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
    I am trying to get pregnant and wondering what experiences woman have had while dealing with this...

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  12. I like the discussions that are beginning to take place on the blog. My hope is that many following the 123 program will come here to communicate with one another on common ground. This should be a place of comfort for us. Thanks to everyone for writing in, and for such kind comments.

    To Melanie: Some women notice a decrease in migraine during pregnancy. I wish I had found Dr. Buchholz's book before I decided to have children. It would have made both of mine much easier. I'm so glad you found the book before beginning your pregnancy. Have faith that everything will be okay, and when it happens for you, congratulations!

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  13. Thank you so much for your blog!! It is a life saver. I am on Day 3 of the diet and feel like I am going crazy trying to find things to eat that are msg free. What are your thoughts on kombu seaweed? I was going to use a can of Eden Organic Cannellini beans in a soup but the ingredients include kombu seaweed and I can't seem to find a straight answer online about this. I've also been struggling to find cream cheese and cottage cheese that don't include msg. Thanks a million for all of the advice and information you are sharing on this site. I love Dr. Buchholz's book but putting the diet into practice is quite confusing for me- your site is great to fill in the blanks. Thank you!!

    --Diana

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  14. I have just discovered the website. I am 56 years old, and began having migraines 10 years ago. Last year after giving up parmesan cheese (which I love and put on everything) for Lent, I noticed a definite decrease in my migraines! I decided to eliminate all cheese, and found I am sensitive to all aged cheeses. My migraines continue with the same frequency, however, multiple per month, with some degree of pain every day. My neurologist suggested a gluten free diet. I've just completed 4 weeks of that, and although my stomach feels great, my migraines got worse during the first two weeks on it! That's when I searched the internet, and found your blog. It all made sense-the foods I was concentrating on were all high tyramine foods! I've ordered the book and will be following your blogs.

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  15. Hi Diana, yes kombu seaweed is a form of MSG. I would avoid those beans. When it comes to cottage cheese and cream cheese, not all carrageenan has MSG, but many grocery store brands will contain MSG to make the product taste better. You may have to visit a health food store. I'll tell you though, those are two foods I don't worry too much about. I just do the best I can with both of them and enjoy in small quantities.

    To the anonymous poster, I'm glad you found this site, and I'm glad you ordered Dr. Buchholz's book. It will open your eyes to the reasons for the pain you've been experiencing. You should hopefully be feeling much better soon!

    Thanks to both of you for posting! Best wishes.

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  16. Thank you so much for answering my questions, Heidi! Your cookbook just arrived this week and I have been enjoying it quite a bit. I'd love to ask a few more questions if that's ok. :-)
    It is a relief to have someone to even ask!
    The tortillas I was hoping would work say they have"ground corn treated with lime" and others I have seen at the store say "lime water". Do you think this would be a problem? I also wonder about mayonnaise since many have "natural flavors", "vinegar", and "lemon juice" as ingredients. Would this make sense to avoid? I can't tell you how much I appreciate your blog- you are offering an amazing resource!!
    -Diana

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  17. Hi Diana,

    Those two things are not such a big deal. I would avoid lime flavored chips, as they contain A LOT of lime, but a little bit of lime in the tortilla shell isn't that much of a problem. If you're worried about it, the health food store contains organic tortilla shells that aren't treated with lime. As to the mayonnaise, we are to use condiments sparingly, and mayonnaise is considered a condiment. However, we have to cook with mayonnaise, so I would find the best possible mayonnaise you can, and use it. You aren't going to find mayonnaise without any of these ingredients - it simply doesn't exist. So, use the best possible option available to you, maybe one that has only two out of the three ingredients, then use it as sparingly as you can. I hope that helps. I know it's confusing at first, but it will get easier.

    Thanks again. Best of health to you.
    Heidi

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  18. I've been migraine free since Jan since following the 1-2-3 Diet. Found out that MSG is a major trigger for me. But now that summer is here the headaches are back unlike before which were full blown migraines. Thinking it might be the sun or heat [very humid] so I ordered Polarized glass. Now I might restart the diet again to see if I missed something.

    Should I ask my Dr. to do a allergy test to seei if I'm sensitive to certain foods?

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  19. Hello. I'm so glad the 1-2-3 program worked for you. You might try restarting the diet if you feel you've missed something, but it may not be necessary. I don't know where you live, but it has definitely been HOT. Here are a couple of things to try. First and foremost, make sure you are drinking lots and lots of water. Also, with heat like this, it may be that you are not spending time in the sun, either that or it's the other extreme and you have maybe been exposed to too much sun. If you haven't had enough sun you may need a little vitamin D. Either try a supplement or spend 15 minutes per day in the sun with at least 65% of your skin exposed. With a vitamin D supplement also take magnesium glycinate and calcium. Too much sun exposure can also cause a headache. Your body can only take so much. In its most severe form (severe sunburn, headache, other symptoms), this is commonly referred to as sun poisoning.

    As for allergy testing, I wouldn't bother. If you haven't noticed a problem before now, there probably isn't one. It may be that you have other dietary triggers beyond MSG, but the best way to tell is by avoiding all foods with the component you feel you are sensitive to until you feel better, and then adding it back in to see. Skin allergy testing (pin prick tests), and even blood tests, are not as reliable as people often believe. Many times these tests miss something or bring about false results. Migraine dietary triggers themselves are non-allergic (non immune-mediated) in nature. Read pages 141 and 142 again in Dr. Buchholz's book for more information.

    I hope that helps. Hope you feel better soon.

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  20. Thanks again. I went to the Doctor's started on Topamax again it was the only mediation that seem to work before. Today I started to feel better decide to try to go on a walk. Got dress then BOOOM the headache came back sat down. Reading & drawing are the only things that I seem to be able to do at the moment. Good thing I work at night @ a hospital & it's a/c [actually it's completely cold that you get goose bumps helps with the headaches]. I try to workout but I get lightheaded so I get on the elliciplical for about 5min x 5 times for a total of 25min at least it's something. Overall I think your right I think it's the humidity I daily vitamins & wear polarized glasses when in the sun.

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  21. What do you do for nausea? I can deal with the pain but the nausea that is sends me to the couch. Just today I went for a walk with a headache & all but once I got to the park I turned the car around & went home the nausea was to strong to handle.

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  22. Yes, the humidity can be hard. You might try talking to your doctor about that to see what he or she suggests. Maybe it's time for a medication change? If the humidity is still bothering you that much, and you're following steps 1 and 2 to the letter, then maybe step 3 needs to be looked at again? I'm not a doctor, so I can't advise on that. Have you had a blood test done to see if you are actually deficient in anything, like iron or vitamin D?

    Bklyn, carbonated beverages (caffeine-free) and peppermint candies help with nausea. As the headaches get better, so will the nausea. Also, be sure to eat regularly and drink plenty of water, which I know is hard when you don't feel good. Hang in there. It does get better. If the nausea is too bad you can try talking to your doctor about it, but be careful because many medicines that treat nausea also list headache as a side effect.

    I'm sorry for the delay in my response.

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  23. Thanx. Peppermint candies, ginger ale & water are my best buds right now. No appetite though... but I'm forcing myself to eat. Did go to the doc she gave me antiacid meds nausea is now down to a minimal. Now I'm trying to get a exercise regiment in place which is hard with these headaches

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  24. I love that you addressed the fact that all raw meat is not created equal. Your "Buy organic grass fed beef, organic milk and butter, organic free range eggs, and chickens raised without growth hormones if at all possible. Eat less meat and more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Watch the film Food, Inc. and read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan" is what I'm always telling people. I'm sure my avoiding chemical-filled so-called "convenience" foods saves me from having many more "inconvenient" migraines!

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  25. When I was 13 I discovered that beef was giving me the migraines that had plagued me since I was 10. That was great, and I've had very few migraines in the 21 years since.

    However, now at the age of 34 I'd actually like to start eating beef again. I've cut all grains, soy, and sugar out of my diet as they were causing me problems with a new medical issue. That's been well and good but I'm getting sick of chicken! For the first time in two decades I'm starting to crave steak.

    Has anyone been able to confirm that their beef was causing them problems, and that grass-fed beef didn't cause the same issue?

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  26. Hi Bill. It's important that you read Dr. Buchholz's book as it will clear a lot of these questions up for you. It may be that it wasn't the actual meat causing the problems, but the additives in the sauces or seasonings with those foods. If you would like to try grass-fed beef, which is much healthier, but add your own seasonings (not all-spice or steak seasoning), and not marinade it, at least not for very long, that would be great. I hope that helps. You may have hamburger meat too, as long as you season it yourself.

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  27. Thanks Heidi. I don't think this is the case for me. I have used those seasonings and marinade continually for the past two decades without incident. I ate a hamburger once in my mid-20s, seasoned only with simple ingredients, and my head paid for it over the next couple of days. It's the beef itself.

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  28. Wow, this was insightful. I just found your blog and boy am I glad that I did.

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  29. Hi Bill. If Beef is a trigger for you, then definitely avoid it. You may be craving it lately because you are low on iron. Try eating foods high in iron or taking iron supplements to see if that takes care of the problem. You can try grass-fed beef, but I'm not sure it will help much. If you are able to eat many types of chicken, it probably isn't the feed that is causing the problem.

    Hi Vicki, I'm so glad you found the blog too! I hope it continues to be insightful for you. Welcome!

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  30. Hi Jean! I'm so sorry! Somehow I missed your post. I'm so glad you are spreading the word, and yes, by avoiding these foods you are probably avoiding more inconvenient migraines. It's always so nice to find others who are on the same track. I'm sorry, again, that I missed your post! Thanks for writing in.

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  31. Hi Heidi, I love your cookbook and really would love to see you do some additional cookbooks! I am trying to find a multivitamin that does not have any triggers in it. I have had no luck so far and wanted to see if you had any suggestions. Thanks!

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  32. Heidi I am so grateful to have found your blog as well as the 1,2,3 book. I have been following the diet for four months now and my life has been completely changed! I have found that I am extremely sensitive to MSG. Also, tomatoes :( which I was so sad to discover, but as least I can move forward now knowing what to avoid. Thank you so much for your recipes and encouragement. Also, Holly - I take a multi by Ayush Herbs and it is trigger free as far as I know (no gelatin etc.)

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  33. Heidi, I am just beginning the 1-2-3-Program for my chronic headaches I've had for 25 years now. I feel sugar is a problem for me and was wondering if honey or stevia could be used instead. Thanks! I'm so happy to be able to share on this blog.

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  34. Hi Holly,

    Thank you for your kind comment. If I do another cookbook, it will be mostly vegetable centered, I think. I'm working on those type of recipes now. I think I might just post them on the internet, though, so that everyone can have at them.

    I've had trouble finding a multi-vitamin that works too, so Phoebe I appreciate your help with that. This is what I love...the back-and-forth discussion between 1-2-3 Program followers. This is how we find out more information. I've just been taking a few vitamins separately to fill in the voids, plus eating plenty of raw anti-oxidant vegetables and fruits, so I'm glad to know there's a multi-vitamin out there that will work for us! Thank you, Phoebe, for your encouragement and kind words.

    Hi Brenda,
    25 years is a long time. As far as I know, both honey and stevia should be okay, as long as you don't over-do it with either one. Same goes for Splenda, which is also okay. Hope that helps. Thank you for writing in, and I hope you find relief very soon.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Heidi, for answering my question. It is so great to be able to correspond with you and others who know what I am going through. I just received your cookbook in the mail and am looking forward to trying the recipes.

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    2. I'm (and others too, I'm sure) glad to have you here Brenda, and thank you for your purchase. I hope you feel relief very soon.

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    3. I enjoy trying new recipes from the cookbook and reading the responses from your blog. Thank you for your kind response. I was wondering if vitamins in gelatin capsules are ok to take, because I thought gelatin contained MSG. Also, is it okay to eat fresh, hot biscuits, muffins, etc. that are not made with yeast? I have been on the program for over a month now and have not noticed any change. Do I need to just give it more time or is there something I could do that might help me see some positive changes? Thanks, Heidi.

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    4. Hi Brenda,
      If you are making the biscuits from a mix then they might be causing headaches, but if you're making them from scratch they should be okay. Don't use buttermilk or cream of tartar.
      Some people who have suffered from headaches will end up with tightness in the neck and shoulder area, and it will even radiate down into their back. You might try stretching your neck. Try this: Stand completely straight, shoulders back and relaxed, look straight ahead. Take your head to one side (ear to shoulder) as far as it will go (gently). Take it to the other side. Does it go to one side farther? Does your head go down as far as it should? Does it feel "tight"? You may need to stretch your neck by looking to the right, then down, then pulling at the BASE of the head. Then do the same on the other side. You can do variations on this stretch too, but always pull at the base of the head, by the neck, not the top of the head. Remember, I am no physical therapist and everyone is different, so the stretches you need may be different, if you need stretches at all. And, it's very hard to communicate how to stretch through words, so I hope I did that correctly. You might also try some vitamin D. After not having any sun for awhile, we can be a little low, which may lead to headache.
      Some people really have problems with vitamins. If I take a multi-vitamin, it has to come from the health food store. It just has to. I'm not sure about the gelatin in vitamins. I've actually stopped taking multi-vitamins and started taking everything separately. I take Co-Q Clear 50, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium Glycinate, and sometimes some others if I feel I need them. It's a good idea to take vitamins, so go high quality if you take a multi-vitamin. I hope that helps. It does get better. It took me awhile too. Remember how long you've had headaches. It may take just a little while for your body to heal.

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    5. Hi, Heidi, Is it ok to heat up the day-old or more bread I make in the microwave before eating? Is it just fresh bread when it is hot and up to a day old that I need to avoid? Also, I have seen very little change in headaches even though I have avoided the rebound-causing medicines and have eaten very well, I think, on the trigger-free diet for 4 months. I try to exercise as Dr. Buchholz suggested to raise my threshhold but sometimes have only done it 2 times a week. Do I need to increase excercise times per week? Are there more things I should try, or when would it be time to consider Step 3, do you think?
      In step 3, do I just pick a medicine to try?
      Thanks for any advice you can give.

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    6. Hi Brenda,
      The temperature of the bread shouldn't matter, so feel free to heat it up a little. It's the yeast reaction that is the problem. Feel free to eat yeast-risen bread after it has been sitting for more than 24 hours. Make sure your exercise isn't causing the headaches. Start out slow (walking, maybe) and increase slowly. I'm sure you are doing that already though. If you feel you are doing everything correctly on the diet, it might be a good time to try step 3. Have you tried stretching your neck and back? I had to go to physical therapy for awhile. A neurologist or other medical doctor is the only person who can help you with step 3 because everyone is chemically different. I'm sorry I can't help you with that more. I wish you the best with step 3. Sometimes it can take awhile for medicines to level out, but if you need it, you need it. Medicines can be very helpful when needed. I wouldn't do very well without step 3 and the diet/ lifestyle changes.

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  35. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Concept to Help Dieters Lose 15 Pounds in Just 21 Days!

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