DIET & Making Eating enjoyable again

If I eat what tastes good, I get sick (which I am this morning).

If I don’t eat, I get sick.

If I eat what doesn’t taste good … well … I might still get sick but I wouldn’t even have the initial joy of tasting good food! Oh and it has to be low-fat because - hey - we don’t want our cholesterol to go up any further now do we? :roll:

For those of you who have a good handle on your own version of the Migraine Elimination Diet, what do you eat? I know - it’s different for everybody … I’m just trying to find some ideas … some place to start. I’m having a really hard time with lunches at work. I never go out, so it has to be something I can bring from home.


I can’t really suggest a whole lot of good stuff to eat, unless you are specifically staying away from MSG. What I would suggest though, is keeping a food diary, it makes it much easier to spot your triggers. (Takes time, patience, and more patience :lol: )

Rich- you mentioned you are not eating any MSG, but you are. Lorna Doones definitely have MSG. “Plain Vanilla Ice Cream” with nothing added, is also loaded with MSG. (I don’t know what brand you were eating, but most likely it contained one or more of the following: corn syrup, whey, Natural Flavors, cellulose gum, carrageenan) All contain MSG. I don’t know of any “SAFE” ice creams out there nowadays. Breyers used to be, but not anymore.

Also, please remember: “Organic” is great, but doesn’t mean its MSG-Free. (Not even close). “No Added MSG” isn’t even always safe. It only means MSG wasn’t added by them, and doesn’t have to be spelled out on the label. Our wonderful government and their labeling laws. MSG is considered a “natural” flavor and only has to be spelled out as such.


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The Lorna Doones, well, you may have a point there. I’m on the fence on this one. “Heal Your Headache” book says that "artifical’ flavors don’t seem to be an issue. Other than that, the ingredients are Enriched Flour, soybean oil and/or palm oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottenseed oil, corn flour, salt, high fructose corn syrup, baking soda, cornstarch, soy lecithin, artificial flavor. Yeah, not the healthiest lol, but does any of those ingredients often harbor MSG? I tried looking up the ingredients on an MSG list. Couldn’t find any of these. In Heal Your Headache book, in the food section, he recommends shortbread cookies as a snack. I thought these would be ok. Maybe they are causing me more problems. I can’t snack on nuts, so I dont’ know what to snack on if i give these up lol, but I could if needed.

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As far as the “organic” items I’ve purchased, these are all “whole” foods, no added ingredients. Plain beef, chicken, vegetables, where there is only ONE ingredient in each food,…the food itself So there I am ok. I don’t use any condiments or salad dressings because of the multiple ingredients and the vinegar. I’ve lost a lot of weight. Not good for me, as I’m thin to begin with, but if I DO have MSG in my diet still, the Lorna dunes are the only source. What do ya think?

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MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is not an artificial flavor. (Glutamate occurs naturally in many foods, and when cooked, heated for long periods of time, “processed”, etc. its released and can cause problems in some people who are sensitive.

The "Enriched Flour, partially Hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy lecithin, are all red flags for MSG, and could potentially cause problems.

As far as the fresh vegetables go, many fruits and vegies here in the States are sprayed with a product called “Auxigro”. (It also is considered to be “ALL NATURAL” because of course, its glutamate based.) Again, for some people who are msg-sensitive it can and does cause problems.

Whats left to eat, you ask? Not much unless you make it yourself.
Sad, but true.



I’m still struggling with finding the “perfect” diet and sticking with it, but I have definitely found that I feel better if I go low-carb. My brain is less foggy and my other MAV symptoms lessen. This means I eat mainly fresh meats, eggs, and vegetables. I have also been eating some cheese, which I may need to cut out. I’m not sure why this diet helps, but I suspect it has something to do with the diuretic effect of the diet. It may also be that it eliminates most of the potential migraine trigger foods (besides the cheese). I gave up regular coffee, which had the greatest impact but was the hardest to do. I should give up decaf too since the small amount of caffeine in it does seem to have a mild negative effect on my symptoms. Nitrates in processed meats are also a definite trigger and so is MSG.

Sticking to low-carb also eliminates the sugar highs and lows, which keeps me less hungry. It also prevents the worsening of my symptoms when I “crash” after eating carbs. I get really dizzy and sick when I’ve been eating carbs and get hungry again. If I avoid carbs, I get hungry but not the sick feeling with it. Unfortunately, I love carbs and the temporary calming effect they produce. So, I definitely see your dilemma with the eat or don’t eat issue. Sometimes we’re going to feel sick no matter what we do! Ugh!

It sounds like Rich and I are eating similar foods for the most part. Of course, I’m avoiding Lorna Doones, although I love the taste of them. :stuck_out_tongue: If you are up to trying it, I would be very curious to find out if you experience any improvement by limiting your diet to fresh meats and vegetables for a few days.

Good luck!



Hagen Daaz vanilla is considered safe. And don’t forget gelatin - all those pills we take are in gelatin capsules.


Thanks Julie. Good point!

Back to frozen mixed veggies, I suppose. Gotta put some salt on them - don’t even start on me about salt! :smiley: Maybe I’ll boil a chicken or somethin … yum … boiled chicken - no BBQ sauce, no mustard, no mayo, no hot sauce … just plain ol’ boiled chicken. Egad. (Wonder what my cats’ food tastes like?)

I had something really good as an evening snack so i thought i would pass it along. Slice up some really good pears. Throw them on top of cottage cheese (I know, you have to look at the label, make sure it’s not made from ultra-pasteurized milk, etc) and drizzle a little, or a lot, of honey. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s great!

Yeah, I like cottage cheese & fruit … that could work. I think one thing I’m messing up is when I try to eat the same thing every day. I mean, it seems like I can have a cup of coffee once a week without any trouble, but if I try that cup of coffee every day, I get sick. I guess this stuff sort of builds up, huh? (Some of you probably already know that & are shaking your head at my ignorance!) Anyway, maybe a slip now & then off the ‘naughty’ list is okay - depending on what it is. Aspartame & lunch meats are both on the never list.

Joy, I agree with what you said about eating the same thing everyday. I feel better when I switch it up, Its just so darned hard to do when you are so limited to begin with - I know! :expressionless:

I’m like you, I can handle a cup of coffee once a week, but not any more than that. For some reason, it sets me off into the spins, big time. I’m able to cheat more now than when I first started. Someone else said it - “Listen to your body” and thats great advice. It really will speak volumes, its just hard sometimes to get tuned into it. It takes time.

You might want to try a lunch meat that Hormel has come out with. I think its called “Hormel Naturals” (something like that). Its in a brown cardboard package (looks almost like packaged bacon). My local grocery stores here carry it, its with all the other lunch meats. I seem to do ok with it, I just can’t eat it everyday. (Read the labels, stay away from the smoked turkey). I also do okay with organic mustard and mayonaise I buy at the healthfood store. My problem is finding a good, safe sandwich bread. I miss sandwiches!!!

I always hate to recommend food, because everyone is so different, and whats good for me may not be good for you.

Hang in there, it will get easier.

I miss my bread too - i love bread so much i used to make my own. I seem to do okay as long as there is no sour culture in the ingredients. I know, there’s a lot of other stuff that’s on the “bad” list, but it doesn’t seem to bother me.

I make my own soup stock weekly and make soups during the week. I do okay with whole grain pasta, so i make veggie pasta dishes. I make meals with shrimp and salmon plus a veggie dish (and I can really get creative with veggies) or brown/wild rice and lots of steamed vegetables.

Here’s something I served with shrimp last week:
saute some shallots (1/2 cup), 1 red bell pepper chopped in olive oil or butter (butter is better) with 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp salt, for about 5 minutes.
Add 1 and 1/2 cans of corn, of 1 pound frozen corn and cook for about 10 minutes.
Now, here’s the good part - add 1/2 milk and remove immediately. The milk makes a great sauce with the butter and cayenne.

Here’s one i served with salmon:
Mash up 4 chopped garlic cloves with 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, coarse salt and ground pepper (the coarse salt helps mash it up) A mortar and pestle would help, maybe a food processor, but you can use the side of a spoon too. Place this paste in a large bowl and add a head of cauliflower, cut into florets. Roast it for 15 minutes - push it to the side of the pan and add the salmon and roast for another 10-15. It was great!

NO! Don’t tell me bread is supposed to be on the naughty list!!! I refuse to hear that!!! :roll:

Mmmm Salmon. I likey Salmon! And it’s not that expensive either. You guys are coming up with lots of good stuff. One more question, Julie - in addition to the salmon meals, can you ship me a couple shrimp dinners, too - on a weekly basis … maybe throw in a dessert or two? :smiley:

It’s easier for me to tell the things I don’t eat.

Pork - because it disagrees with the meds I take.

Artificial sweetners.
Smoked meats.
Over processesd foods, such as most box foods or pre-mixed soups, and most Kraft products.
Chocolate (I cheat every once in a while with this one)
Nuts (I cheat every once in while with this one)

I also try to follow a low carb diet similar to a diabetics diet. I have found that by keeping my blood sugar levels more stable, I have fewer problems.

Now that I know that I don’t have meniere’s I allow salt back into my diet, but still “try” to maintain a limited salt diet.


It sounds like we have similar diets. I’ve been trying to stay low-carb because I find maintaining stable blood sugar levels helps too. However, I struggle with it sometimes due to my lifetime habit of eating high-carb. How long have you been eating this way? Do you ever have a carb binge, and if so what happens?

I found the following definitely elevate my symptoms:

Aspartame (Nutrisweet)
Processed meats (nitrates)

I’ve been eating cheese because it is an easy snack to grab when you are hungry and trying to stay low-carb. However, my symptoms have been worse lately (weather change maybe), so I am going to give up the aged cheese for a while to see if it makes a difference.

Any pointers you can share for making it easier to eat low-carb while still following the migraine diet as closely as possible would be greatly appreciated. I like food and all these lists of things I’m not supposed to have frustrate and confuse me! I would like to find some good tasting standby foods to grab when I am hungry so I can avoid impulse eating of the “evil” foods that make me feel bad.



Here’s an incredible veggie dish. I’m serving it with salmon this weekend:

Peal 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut them in halves or quarters and then into thin slices. Steam them until tender.

Combine the marinade: 1 large garlic clove minced, 1/2 cup light tasting olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 T dry mustard, 1 T honey and some freshly ground black pepper.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, add them to the marindate and mix - gently.

Steam the broccoli (spears) until just tender. Drain them COMPLETELY. Lay the brocc on top of the sweet potatoes (don’t mix them in). Cover with some wrap, tightly, and marinate for several hours.

Within 15 minutes of serving, mix the broccoli in. Serve garnished with thin slices of green apple.

You can serve this with anything or eat it alone, it’s outstanding and good as leftovers too - it makes quite a bit.

I haven’t been doing much with desserts - my husband and I are both watching our sugar. It’s amazing, every time I quit eating sugar, I quit craving it. So we’re sticking to fruit. The honey on the pears and cottage cheese is what makes it special so i give in to that.

I’ll be back with more next week :slight_smile:

One pointer about fresh herbs. I know you usually buy them, they wilt overnight, you only use half of them and then throw them away. Do this:

Treat them like they were flowers. Cut the ends off, put them into a glass with about an inch of water in it and cover with plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge. Put fresh water in every other day. Most will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. You’ll know when they’re bad :slight_smile:

I find that when I do this, they are in better shape the following day, having spent the night in water, than they were when i bought them.

I also own an Aerogarden and grow my own herbs.

Mmmmmmmmmm, thanks Julie!!
(Is Julie short for “Julia” ?) :wink:

Oh, I get it! No, it’s short for Ethel.

this is just a short list.
I was on a gluten free diet for around a year, which I followed with precision.
it’s not easy to do! and it looks like this diet would be just as hard.

According to Millichap, certain chemicals in foods called amines, such as tyramine, phenylethylamine, and histamine are often the culprits.
Tyramine is found in higher concentrations in foods that have been fermented, such as:
Aged or blue cheese

Smoked, cured or pickled meat or fish
Red wine or beer
Soy sauce, miso, tempeh
Foods containing phenylethylamine include:
Yellow cheeses
Citrus fruit
Berry pie filling or canned berries
Red wine
Foods containing histamine include:
Beef, pork
Cheese, especially yellow ripened
Chicken liver
Egg Plant
Fish, shellfish
Processed meat, such as salami
Tempeh, tofu, miso, tamari
Tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste
Yeast and foods containing yeast
Citrus fruit

However, two well-designed studies found no effect of tyramine on migraine.

Another study of 39 children found that reducing dietary amines had no effect. Both children on a low-amine diet, high fiber diet and children on a high fiber diet had a significant decrease in the number of migraines and there was no significant difference between the groups.


msg is also a big no no! with celiacs as well.
As it’s made mostly from gluten.
Long Before my diagnosis of Mav.
Looking for answers, due to my symptoms of Ataxia (balance& dizziness and IBS)
I was directed to this site,

Dr.Marios Hadjivassiliou.
talks about the benefits of Gluten free diet in patients, with cerebella dysfunction and shrinkage of the balance centers of the brain.
I know of one lady who was in a wheelchair, who went gluten free due to dizziness and balance issues with ataxia, and after a year she has returned almost to normal on a gluten free diet.
Gluten free diets are now being used with epileptics with good results.

celiacs also have migrianes as one of their symptoms.