Food triggers? Any tips for elimination diet?

Does anyone have multiple food triggers? I have tons of food sensitivities (mild allergy), and my Dr. and I both wonder if there’s even more unknown ones that are contributing to my migraines. I’d love to do an elimination diet, but it seems so overwhelming to try and start because of horrible “secretive” labeling here in the USA. The fact that even 1 ingredient alone (say, MSG) can be labeled under 20 different names makes it seem almost impossible to do this!

Any tips anyone can give me to make it easier? Do you know of any “lists” of alternative names that ingredients go by? Does anyone know the most common triggers? I’ve heard caffiene, MSG, splenda?, tyramine, alcohol (esp. wine), what else is there?

Oh, I’m also worried about how to really tell, since they say triggers can actually cause a migraine that may not hit for 2 or 3 days after the exposure. So how can you be sure to pinpoint which trigger caused it? And, since it’s normally a combo of triggers, something that IS a trigger may not be noticed if there weren’t other triggers mixed at the same time. So I guess I’m totally confused about how to properly do this. I mean, statistically, you’d have to do it for a LONG time, with every possible food mixed in with other triggers (weather, hormone, lights, lack of sleep, stress, etc) AND know what every trigger of yours is (other than food) before even starting. But at the same time, how can you know every trigger of yours if you’re unaware of the food triggers. If food triggers alone were causing migraines, you might think the weather plays a part, or hormones, of these specific lights… but in reality it may have just been 3 or 4 foods. and Maybe even other triggers, but over the last 2-3 days.


Has ANYONE successfully done this?? I just feel like it’s an insane amount work with not much for results. Would it be better to get allergy testing? And that way atleast avoid foods that I’m allergic to? Or just play around with common triggers for the elimination diet (maybe the top 10 or so)? I feel soooo overwhelmed and confused…

Sure, people have done this successfully.

A food serving as a migraine trigger is not the same as your having an allergy to the food. For instance, goldenrod will make me sneeze but won’t give me MAV symptoms. (You say goldenrod isn’t a food? SOMEbody must eat it, or brew it into a tea.)

Seriously, people have told me about their food allergies without showing the least sign of MAV. (bastards.)

And some people on this board just make with fresh, unprocessed foods so they needn’t worry about ingredients.

So far as I know, I tend to respond fairly quickly to most of the no-nos I’ve experimented with, when they do offend. And when I stayed pretty strictly within the headache diet, took my meds, didn’t play around too much with sleep patterns, I did okay.

Took a friend to a Vietnamese restaurant last week. We told the waiter that I couldn’t eat anything aged or fermented, like soy sauce or fish sauce–or anything with MSG. Eventually I got a headache, even tho the manager swore my Pho had no no-nos. OTOH, my friend order a spring roll sort of dish with sugar cane, after asking whether pork fat was used in the (shrimp?) paste. She was told no. When her dish came, she found it quite yummy, but on exploration found the pork fat. The first pork, she told us, that she’d eaten in 40 years.
So eating out can be a gamble, whatever assurances you seek.


I was told that the food triggers could take 2-3 days to kick in too and felt that with all the other triggers, that made it too difficult to figure out the food part - which only added to the hopeless feeling of having MAV. But then I read in the book The Migraine Brain that if you are going to react to a food it will occur between 20 minutes to 2-3 hours, tops. That made more sense to me. When I moved to Indiana I found a specialist in MAV and he said the same thing - that food reactions occur within 20 min to 3 hours generally speaking and not 2-3 days.

With the much shorter time frame I was able to figure out a few foods that definitely cause problems for me.

Hope this helps.