Dr S diet

I know we’ve had lots of threads on here about diets, but this relates specifically to the Dr S diet - no dairy, eggs, MSG, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, red wine, freshly baked bread/yeast.

Before I saw Dr S I was following the ‘Heal Your Headache’ (Buchholz) diet, which was a little different - no nitrites (most sausages/processed meats), aspertame, soy products, etc.

But, we gotta eat something! So, I’m hoping soya milk is okay? It’s not the tastiest, and I’m trying to follow the diet as much as possible because I’ll do ANYTHING to get better, as I’m sure we all would, right? I just want to know I’ve tried everything to the best of my ability.

Has anyone found a non-dairy butter alternative? I don’t have much of an appetite most days, but I do love toast, so I need to find something to put on it!

And eating out - yikes! How difficult is that? Indian is okay - pretty easy to determine which dishes don’t have cream/yogurt, but mainstream pubs, yikes! Ask for an allergy menu and everything has dairy and eggs in it!

For any of you with a sweet tooth, I’ve found that most gingerbread biscuits are egg and dairy free, so for an treat, try these!

Cooking is even more of a challenge now. Shopping takes even longer as have to read the labels even more.

Any recipes to share that are accepted on the Dr S diet?

The one thing I do like to make (though I’m the only one in my family who will eat it) in pasta with chicken and sauteed spinach. Used to add cream cheese, but that’s now out! I’m sure there are non-dairy cheese alternatives, but I’m not brave enough to try them just yet. I’m too new to this non dairy lifestyle.

Please help me out with any tips/recipes/advice for this new diet! Thanks in advance!

Hey jsspil,

This thread may be of some help to you: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5980&hilit=we+can+eat

I didn’t realise that we weren’t allowed Soy milk on Dr S diet… I am also following the diet and have been having quite a bit of the stuff. I’ve actually gotten used to it.

If someone can clarify that would be great!

Dr S isn’t that strict with the butter and milk. He said a small bit of skimmed milk in your decaf tea is ok and small bit butter in your sandwiches is ok. I find the butter substitutes have a lot of crap in them. He also told me eggs are a problem for some people he didn’t tell my not to eat them.

— Begin quote from "robertgreen99"

Dr S isn’t that strict with the butter and milk. He said a small bit of skimmed milk in your decaf tea is ok and small bit butter in your sandwiches is ok. I find the butter substitutes have a lot of crap in them. He also told me eggs are a problem for some people he didn’t tell my not to eat them.

— End quote

Hey Robert,

Is Soy milk definitely ok?

Hi Richy,

on Dr S diet yes!! i prefer the unsweetened one!!

— Begin quote from "robertgreen99"

Hi Richy,

on Dr S diet yes!! i prefer the unsweetened one!!

— End quote

great, thanks man

Thanks for the thread RichyF. I remember seeing that back in January before I saw Dr S. The list is so small though, but it does help a little!

I’m going to try to get to a Holland and Barrett tomorrow and see what they have in the way of dairy alternatives to see if there is anything tasty that doesn’t have a long list of ingredients. Don’t want too many chemicals in my body just so I can try to have something that tastes a little like dairy!

I’ve been on the Buchholz diet for ages - haven’t had chocolate, caffeine, MSG, alcohol, nuts, citrus, and a few other things in over 15 months. At least not intentionally. I noticed a change after about 8 weeks of first being on the diet, but that only lasted for about a few weeks. Maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic in hoping that removing dairy and eggs as well may be the extra magic I need to make all the dizzies go away, but I’ll try anything!

Hi jsspill,

Soy milk is definitely allowed on the Dr.S diet I emailed his secretary and asked specifically. Soy sauce is a no, but other soy products are fine. I find that for a dairy alternative I use these things:

Rice Milk (Rice Dream) original enriched (not vanilla) for having a “glass of milk”
Soy Milk (Soy Silk) original for adding to decaff tea/chai or coffee (which we are only supposed to have one of a day)
Pure Sunflower spread - doesn’t contain any whey or butter alternatives in it. There are others out there you just have to check all the ingredients. I’ve found 2-3 butter alternatives that I can have.
Coconut milk for cooking

I don’t eat any bread (including toast) due to the yeast content. I know it is mainly freshly baked breads but I don’t trust the stuff.

Also it is a huge nightmare eating out as most places have MSG in their foods. I’ve found a local Chinese (believe it or not) that caters all their meals with No MSG, limited yeast and the only soy you’ll get comes in packets - called them to reconfirm this. It’s called Kung Po something or other. Indian is pretty good if you know they don’t use MSG and like you said you can usualyl tell what will come on a dairy base. A lot of their foods have dairy in it though from my experience, but small amounts I’ve found that eating out at Indian restaurants hasn’t killed me! Usually when I go to a restaurant I say can I have this piece of meat plain (nothing added!) and I season it myself with rice or something like that (I ask them not to add butter to the rice). If you explain that you have migraine and it can make you feel ill they have a duty not to poison you!

I don’t know if you like Thai food but I’ve found a good option is buying that pastes which have nothing bad in them, not even preservatives and then cooking using coconut milk (much better from a can than from a packet). Baking-wise you’re basically screwed as everything has eggs, butter or milk in it! Somedays it’s worth going “Oh i’ll have a tiny bit and feel terrible for a while”…

Like you I snack on gingerbread biscuits and a brand of oatmeal ones I’ve found I can have too. I know it’s best to stay away from crackers/biscuits but there are some exceptions to the rules! I also snack on rice crackers/ corn crackers, boring but they suffice with some ‘special’ butter and smoked salmon - yum!

I’ve also found some chicken, beef and vegetable stock cubes which don’t contain MSG or Yeast, if you’re interested I’ll let you know the brand - this makes cooking stews, gravies, soups and regular meals like tacos/shepherds pie possible and I don’t have to look like a lemon eating something different! I also LOVE rice pasta (I know we can have the regular stuff but at the beginning I was being uber cautious and even cut out pasta and tomato sauces, ridiculous I know) - So I tend to cook for a quick easy meal some dahl chick peas, rice pasta , thai veg and either a soupy sauce using the broth or a spicy dry one with some tabasco and spices. I mostly snack on fruit and veg now with a hummous I’ve found that doesn’t use lemon juice, and plain or salted crisps - a brand that only uses potato chips, sunflower oil and salt. Bean chips are good too but boy do they pack a punch! and nuts (but in proportion and no peanuts). Oh and if you fancy making home made roasties, crisco is great for that (and allowed) with plain pealed and boiled potatoes :slight_smile:

You said on your previous diet you cut out aspartame too, well I stay well away from all canned soft drinks diet or not, caffineated or not. They can’t be good for the migraine brain!

Hope this has helped some :slight_smile:


Trish - Thank you so much for your reply! Just what I was looking for! I’m going to look for sunflower spread tomorrow - can I find it at a regular supermarket?

I find cooking for my daughter difficult enough as it is - she’s a picky eater - and I refuse to make separate meals for each member of the family, so I’m hoping to just adjust our usual meals as needed. I was going to make butternut squash soup for dinner tomorrow night and realised I need a new stock cube as Knorr is definitely out. What brand do you use? Again, where do you get it from? And where do you get rice milk and coconut milk from? I’ve found Alpro Soy Milk at the Waitrose/Asda, etc, but nothing else, but then I haven’t looked beyond the refrigerated section. Is there more in a special section?

You are a much healthier eater than I am, but I am being forced to get better. I love black beans - not easy to find around here. They are really good with tortilla chips or rice chips. Yummmmmmmmm. I do love hummus, but forgot about it because of the lemon juice - I’ll have to look into hummus again and start reading ingredients! Any recommendations on that one?

I really need to go to the supermarket on a ‘good’ health day and just spend a few hours browsing ingredient lists!

Like you, I don’t have soft drinks, but I do like squash (can only drink so much plain water!), and I found that the Asda own brand of squash doesn’t have aspertame, unlike the main brand and other supermarket brands. I’m sure sucralose isn’t doing me any favours, but it’s not on the banned list!

Sorry to ask so many questions, but it’s nice to find someone who’s been through all this! Have you noticed a difference in your dizziness/overall health?

Thanks again for all your help!


Hey Jennifer! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply.

For sunflower spreads I found them in waitrose and sainsbury’s but I’m sure Asda will have one, just check the ingredients, make sure it’s ‘all pure’ with no whey or butter/dairy ingredients.

I can’t remember having any luck looking in the UK for stock cubes but I didn’t look too far but I’m in Canada now and the brand I use is McCormick (gourmet) all-veg Bouillon from a store called independent (just like sainsbury’s).

Rice and Soy milk are usually found in the health/alternative/specialist section, each store has one of these sections :slight_smile: near the UHT milk, not in the refrigerators! They’re in cartons usually a litres worth is a few pound each. If not I’m sure holland and barratt would have some. Coconut milk is in regular grocery store stuff next to ambrosia rice type cans. The coconut milk comes in cans, that’s the best prepared way to get them powder is crap! Personally tried both.

Hummous either make yourself in a blender, some simple recipes online - careful using apple vinegar or seaseme seed oil - use very small amounts of these things as they’re super strong in flavour! Or if you don’t want to make it yourself just check all the ingredients on the labelling, own made brands are usually the best bet here, they have less stuff added too them. Unlike sausages, best to go for the best with them as they have less preservatives or unnecessary bad stuff in them.

I was drinking loads of squash until my mum pointed out that this is basically concentrated citric juice lol - and lime cordial, stopped all the tasty additives to water/soda, I’m like you, I’m not a big water drinking so I was flavouring it to make it bearable, I realise now I shouldn’t have been doing this :confused: I don’t like the taste of water naturally so I’ve had to force myself to drink it!

Also I was soooo unhealthy before! I lived on diet coke, coffee, cigarettes, chocolate, cheese and bread. I never ate regular meals. I had to make changes to feel better. It was a nightmare at the beginning but now finding alternatives and being more adventurous is quite fun. I love Moroccan, Turkish, Indian and Thai food, so I’m cooking for of this type of food. Eating bucket full-s of rice! Carrots and apples, you get used to it. It took the people are me longer to accept the changes than me to be honest… And Overall yes I would say that I can tell a difference. Chocolate was not doing me any good, I feel really ill if I touch this at all now or cheese, and I’m a lot less lethargic in general (apart from bad or very bad days, nothing can help these) :frowning:

A few other things I really like are roasted veg trays, just cut up loads of veg with garlic herbs salt pepper and oil and bake for 45min, delish! For mash potato I sometimes use squash or sweet potatoes/carrots instead and with soy silk and alternative butter plus loads of salt and pepper it tastes really good! Oat in the morning for small amounts only oats - can be a good start, they made me feel pretty dizzy though. But you might be okay with it, who knows… Oh and teas, yogi teas are delicious :slight_smile:

Black beans, you can get them most places no? I brought loads of different cans of beans at the beginning but never got round to eating them lol, great for salads! And also the one thing I’m not sure of is lentils, can we have them? I think so -i can’t see why not, unless it’s to do with glutamate. Anyway, what I loved making for dinner was a tuna steak on top of a baked potato with loads of veg and some roasted pine nuts with loads of that sunflower butter. Super good! And cheaper than a steak (which is option no.1 at all times if money allows) :slight_smile:

I know how tough it is to shop through this whilst dizzy, I had no idea what I was buying and refused to eat anything that wasn’t organic for the first week because I started freaking out about what the food way doing to my brain. I also didn’t have the energy or stamina or focus to go around a superstore reading labels and getting even more confused. This was all at the beginning of taking a new drug as well, so I was we’ll into Lala land by this point. Once you find a few things that you like that you can have and can make in bulk it’s easy and much healthier, it’s not as convenient as buying packaged stuff but at least you know you won’t trigger symptoms. And honestly cost wise can be cut in half if you buy fruit and veg from your local grocer - we used to have one down the road from us so would buy what was in season and see what I could make with the ingredients. Fresh soups are the best for lunches too cause you can make enough for a whole week and freeze batches. Plus if you find recipes online you like the look of just modify it to work for you :slight_smile:

Loads of love,

Thanks again for your brilliant reply Trish! Ahhhhhh…you’re in Canada! That explains the Crisco reference earlier! I’m American, now living in the UK, and I was thinking Crisco wasn’t very British! Black beans are readily available in the US, but not too easy to find (at least for me!) over here. Found some in Waitrose, but they aren’t very nice (but they are organic, so they tick that box!).

I went shopping Friday and found the sunflower spread you referred to - it is okay. I am having toast because I can’t rule out bread or I don’t think I’d have anything to eat! I also found a good stock in Sainsburys that had no yeast extract, flavourings, etc. so I could make soup, etc. Quite yummy actually!

Finally found the rice/oat milks as well. Don’t know how I missed that section - guessed I never really needed it before, so just overlooked it!

Going to try to get some cookbooks from the library tomorrow for dairy/egg free cooking to get some recipe ideas. Never really cooked anything with coconut milk before and I’ve had a quick look through my cookbooks and Good Housekeeping/Betty Crocker/Jamie/Masterchef don’t really cover these cooking conditions! Go figure!

I love Indian food as well and am somewhat of a confident/adventurous cook, so hopefully I’ll be able to find some good regular recipes soon. My husband and daughter both have nut allergies, so I’m used to cooking around allergies somewhat!

We’ve just realised that we’ll just have to go back to basics and eat things pretty much in their natural state with less flavouring and I’ll have to do a lot more cooking (ugh) and less relying on ready made stuff. Better for us in the long run, so that’s okay! I used to buy pre-cooked chicken to put in salads/sandwiches/pastas/etc. and looked at the ingredients - included milk, yeast extract and vinegar! Go figure! Thought it was just chicken! So now I’ll have to buy chicken and just cook it on the weekends to eat throughout the week. Not as easy, so hoping I’ll feel okay and have the energy to do all this fun cooking!

Love the roasted veg idea. Will definitely try that!

And I agree about Yogi teas. Discovered those at Whole Foods when first came off caffeine. They are brilliant! Sometimes I hate waiting the 7-8 minutes for them to brew, but they smell so lovely!

Have you ever mashed cauliflower? It’s really yummy mashed, actually tastes much better mashed! And mashed sweet potatoes with just a little bit of brown sugar - heaven!

I think lentils are a no-no, but I can’t stand them, so not absolutely sure. Check the link RichyF posted above - I think they were referred to in that link?

Love to hear some soup recipes from you! Used to make potato and leek, but not sure how that would taste with soy milk rather than regular.

I’m looking forward to the spring/summer (well, the UK version at least!) as I tend to eat a lot more salads, so at least I’ll be eating more veggies and it will be easier to stick to the rules.

Another question - have you tried baking at all with any non-dairy butter/milk? My daughter and I used to bake cakes/cookies once a month or so and she loves it, so wondering if the non-dairy butter/milk is any good in baking? Guess I could always just use regular and just not eat it or just make gingerbread every time, but where’s the fun in that?

Thanks again for all your help!!


I just wanted to say that I have eggs and I have butter and I don’t notice any difference in my dizzies with them. Eggs are allowed on the VM diet. Also, be carefuly with soy milk, as alpro soya has maltodextrin in it, which is MSG. There is one brand of soy milk which doesn’t so look out on the back of the packet.

I have been having rice milk in my porridge in the morning.

I also have cottage cheese, which is allowed, and that goes down fine. Also, low-fat hummus which doesn’t have citric acid in it.

pitta breads are amazing. fresh veg (not avocado)

I have been avoiding tomatoes, but do you guys think they’re ok? It would be amazing to be able to have tomato sauce on my pasta.

Oh also, burgers are great for MAVers, along with steak and rotisserie chicken, if you’re eating out.



I’m going to try to go without eggs and butter for 4-5 months just to see if it makes a difference as Dr S says no dairy and eggs may affect some people. Like I said, I’m willing to try anything at this point, so giving these up is just one more step and not really a major hardship!

I didn’t know Alpro Soy milk had MSG! It doesn’t say maltodextrin on the carton! Bloody heck! I’m so careful too! Ugh… This stupid diet is so hard! Thanks for pointing that out! Though thinking about it, soy sauce is banned as MSG, so wonder if the way soy ferments should be banned as could be MSG? Who knows? Maybe I’ll just use rice/oat milk. Tastes better anyway, even though it is usually more expensive.

I made my own hummus today as I couldn’t find any without lemon juice in it. It’s pretty good homemade and easy/cheap to make!

I’m avoiding tomatoes as well - it’s really hard! Difficult to find sauces/dips, etc to put on things isn’t it? Like I said, I may be taking things to extremes, but I’m just trying to take the diet to the bare bones for 4-5 months to see if there is anything I can pinpoint as a trigger and ban it from my diet.

Thanks for your help!

Are we allowed goats milk?
Whats it like? I might try it

Hi all,

I checked soy silk (alternative milk) and it definitely doesn’t contain MSG or maltodextrin so that’s safe’ not sure about the apro brand, if it doesn’t say it on the carton then it won’t contain it (although like chick said, they hide it with long words!) but soy milk isn’t fermented like soy sauce. Soy beans etc on themselves are fine.

I’m sticking to the diet pretty strictly, it’s each to their own’s choice on what they do and don’t eat. But I don’t see how goats milk or cottage cheese would be okay - they’re both dairy. Also pita bread has yeast in it from what I can see from online recipes, so personally I wouldn’t eat it. And eggs are okay one or two here or there but again I try not to have them if I can avoid them. Mayonnaise is a big no go. Occasionally I use a dash of regular milk for my tea, but wouldn’t have a glass of the stuff stand alone…

Burgers are not good for me, the buns plus cheese are two huge no-gos. Ate one at fireworks day and felt horrific! I guess it just depends on each person trial and error :slight_smile:

Rotisserie chicken is really good as long as they haven’t added any spices with yeast in - my local food store has yeast as they’re main ingredient in the barbecue spices that they prepare ALL they’re chicken with :frowning: the lady showed me the tin, I was quite shocked. So many things that we eat contain what we shouldn’t have. And Jen you’re right, finding sauces etc is hassle! Best to just make them yourself, for salads I use olive oil with salt and pepper, mustard optional!

I think everyone’s different with tomatoes, personally I eat them - I was avoiding them too at the beginning but Dr.S never said to specifically avoid them, I’ve not had a clear stretch of feeling good so couldn’t tell you if they’ve been triggering attacks :confused: perhaps someone else could in lighten us on this one :slight_smile: without tomatoes that cuts out half my recipes!

I haven’t done any baking since being on the mav diet, but I’m sure others have and can help so you can still make things with your daughter - I’m sure there must be recipes online (hope so) but baking is all about butter and milk! I can’t remember why but I’m cautious of vanilla extract, I did a load of research when I first started the diet to try and find out WHY we had to avoid all these things individually. I think that’s where I got tomatoes and lentils not being great for us either. I’ll get to reading Richy’s link :slight_smile:

Can anyone explain why oatmeal makes me feel funny? Is it to do with glutamate production? I made sure they were the raw oats, nothing added, still no joy :frowning:

I guess after 4-5 months if you start feeling better then you can start adding things you know you’re safe with :slight_smile: I plan to start reintroducing foods once I get a long patch of wellness and if dr gives me the clear to experiment, I’m nowhere near that point yet so sticking to it strictly! Trying not to be OTT but I have found some definite triggers

I use the original Alpro Soya milk in my cereal and the light in my decaf tea and the only questionable thing in the ingredients list is ‘flavouring’, which I suppose could be MSG. I wish companies had to be clearer in their labelling with MSG like they do with nuts/gluten, etc these days! Its a minefield! I’ve tried the Alpro website to see, but it’s useless and a google search didn’t help.

I know that burgers sold in supermarkets are usually flavoured with MSG/yeast extract/etc so I imagine that the ones sold in restaurants would be the same. Plus, some use eggs as stabilisers, so be careful if you aren’t eating eggs!

Personally I’m not avoiding bread because I love it :smiley: and would probably starve without it, but I am obviously avoiding fresh bread, but I do avoid yeast extract, which is another name for MSG and is in tons of things. That being said, I probably only have two pieces of bread every other day, so not that much really!

I’m not sure about tomatoes either. Buchholz does say in his book that tomatoes can be a problem for some. I found this for the reason:

To tomato or not to tomato? Tomatoes are a trigger for some due to the high amounts of free glutamate. This is not to be confused with an aversion to wheat gluten. Mushrooms and peas can pose the same problem as tomatoes. So, why not enjoy tomatoes unless you know for sure that they are a trigger for you? The diet can feel limiting as it is. Eliminate all other triggers, and if you are still not happy with the result, eliminate tomatoes, mushrooms, and peas. If it makes no difference after two to four weeks, add them back in

I found some recipes to bake egg and dairy free cakes, but the ingredients are a bit to chemically enhanced for my liking, so I think I’ll just let her make regular cakes for a treat and we’ll give most of them away and let her and and my husband have a few.

Wish I could help you out with the oatmeal, but can’t stand the stuff. I always start my day with cereal, ingredients very carefully checked! You would think oatmeal would be okay as it is so healthy and natural!

I’m not sure 4-5 months will be okay, but I’m hoping it will do. If I notice a little change but nothing significant, I’ll go longer. It’s not a real hardship to adjust my diet - I’m not able to work right now, so I have the time (if not the energy!) to mess around with recipes/cooking with the hope that it will make a difference to my health. If not, then at least I’ve learned some new recipes and know that I’ve tried everything I could!