HYH diet and testing foods

Hi all,

I’ve been in the HYH diet since Dec 1st so going into month 3 now. I was wondering about how long did those of you who have done the diet wait until reintroducing foods back in? How did you deal with any food triggers? Part of me is avoidant of testing foods because I don’t want to get an attack from testing a food and I don’t want to find I’m sensitive to some of my favorite foods…like avocado, or even gluten. Cutting out chinese has been rough as it’s my favorite.

So far I have noticed the diet has helped, although the variable weather and barometric pressure lately has other plans for me. Any insights is greatly appreciated

(NB from admin: these images link to products members have found helpful and at the same time help fund the site: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!)

I think 3 months is a reasonable time for reintroduction. I think the key is to not overdo things. It’s easy to take a bite of chocolate or sip of wine, not notice any trigger, and then declare success. But in reality, it’s a cumulative threshold thing. The more you indulge, the closer you may get to hitting a trigger threshold. I would just lighten up a bit and reintroduce some basic whole foods.

For example, I was so strict that I wouldn’t eat hummus because it had citrus and tahini in it. So when I “lightened” up I started eating more things like that. Or, a few blue cheese crumbles on my salad or whatever. For you it sounds like it might be some avocado. The point is I didn’t go out and drink a couple wines and eat a whole pizza and finish with a dark chocolate bar! And I still would never do that… Well, maybe 1/3 pizza without the pepperoni, but definitely no wine or chocolate for me.

In general, if the diet has helped I’d keep going with it mostly, just lighten up on it a bit and see how it goes. In the beginning of MAV I had to keep going back to a strict diet, each time I reintroduced I had issues, but these days I can be fairly relaxed (except caffeine). Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you might be totally fine with some avocados at this point (-: I’d try it if I were you


Hi @DizzyDrummer
Yes, I know what you mean! Im the same, Im apprehensive to try things because I don’t want to be triggering any worse days! In the beginning I went really strict and didn’t have anything from the diet that I wasn’t supposed to (except a few) slip ups! :roll_eyes: the diet says no citrus fruits but I avoided things with citric acid too. I have found that if I have small amounts its fine as @ander454 says it seems if I dont overload myself I am fine. I haven’t touched chocolate, caffeine or MSG since - well certainly not knowingly. Im glad Erik says 3 months as I am keen to try and add things back at tiny amounts.
I hope you can tolerate some of your favourite foods again! Good luck! :grin:

also remember that fear and avoidance feeds the condition, so dont be afraid and dont avoid things you like. Follow what @ander454 says. Try small things here and there but dont over do it with anything.

1 Like

Hi @DizzyDrummer and all

This is a topic close to my heart and stomach!

I have been on Dr S’s 6 C’s elimination diet since June 2018 . At the start I thought (hoped) I would be able to re-introduce food after 3 months, but Dr S said I had to stay on it for at least one year before I began re-introducing food on the banned list. At my last appointment in October 2018 he said I should stay on the diet and Pizotifen until my next appointment in September 2019 and then he would review things and decide if I could start trying the banned food again and reduce the Pizotifen dosage.
I was quite surprised by the length of time I have had to stay on the diet, but as I made a very good recovery fairly quickly I have been doing as I was told! Although the dizziness and vertigo has gone I still have bouts of ear and head pressure and constant tinnitus which can get quite loud.
At the start of the diet I was very paranoid about not eating the things on the list but I have a more relaxed attitude to it all now and don’t panic if I eat something I shouldn’t. In fact I am sure I am ingesting loads of MSG without even realising it. My theory is that my ear & head pressure and tinnitus is possibly caused by eating certain foods that aren’t on Dr S’s list, but I am not prepared to follow the HYH diet which is even more prescriptive.

I also think the barometric pressure shifts contributes to my ear pressure plus I think being a passenger in a car on a bumpy road doesn’t help and if I do too much exercise in one day my ears protest. Really annoying that things are so up and down on a daily basis, but I can put up with most things if I am not dizzy.

On Dr S’s 6 C’s diet sheet he states that small amounts of the food on the list are not a problem. For example if a particular food or product states it ‘may contain dairy products’, ‘may contain eggs’ or has citric acid listed as a substance do not avoid it because of this.

I hope this helps - as @dizzy3 has said don’t be afraid to try small things here and there - it has taken me 9 months to realise this!


If you’re going to try foods or drinks of any sort, have the smallest tiniest amount and wait roughly 10-15 mins or even 30 for results of possible attack (which shouldn’t be too too bad if you took a very tiny amount)…
That’s how I test food, which I’m going to start doing again to introduce more meals. After that 30 mins of lull no issues, I have another bite/sip but bigger than before to see if there’s any fall-out.
I’ll PM you a site that has meals dedicated to migraineurs.

What is the website for meals and recipes for migraineurs? I am in the same situation and that would be really helpful.

I Pm’d it to you.
Wasn’t sure if it’s okay to link other sites.

1 Like

That’s fine, please go ahead. If we don’t link we’re only using 0.000001% the internet :wink: I only get nervous when people set up accounts just to promote their website or service.

Here’s one https://thedizzycook.com/

(who kindly links back to us btw and is a member of this board)

That’s also linked in our wiki https://www.mvertigo.org/t/diet/14992

1 Like

Haha, that was the site I was going to link! Wanted to make sure. Thanks, James!!
I didn’t realize she’s a board member here!

1 Like

Appreciate your consideration!

1 Like

I think the problem with very restrictive diets is that you may damage your health (by cutting out entire food groups)whilst it can turn out (that bar the usual triggers) that not many of the foods you have junked are a trigger for you. IIRC and it is a long time since I did the HTHYH diet that Bucholz concludes in the book that any food can be a trigger, it depends on if it is a trigger for YOU. So I could eat a big plate of mushrooms and be fine, but one or two could trigger you.Your triggers may not be included at all in the diet exclusions.The list of restricted foods are what his patients and research reports are what people have felt were their triggers. Another scenario is that you could be feeling great (e.g. on holiday with no stressors) and eat lots of trigger foods but not reach the threshold to tip over into migraine. It takes an absolute age to do reintroductions on the HTHYH diet.

I find the 6C diet just so much easier as it covers the main triggers and unlike other migraine diets I’ve looked at don’t say to allow 1/2 a cup of this, a handful of that per day. It is simple and clear with no worries if I eat a slice of cake because it has a bit of egg in it and I can have a squeeze of lime juice or lemon on food, suits me.

However, many doctors don’t believe in the migraine diets. A migraine specialist I saw didn’t rate them. She reckoned you could tell a trigger within two to three hours of eating it as you’d feel crook - e.g. red wine, aged cheese. Another thought cutting down caffeine (mainly in coffee or copious cups of tea), sticking to vodka and if it is a problem for you then cutting out aged cheeses were all that were needed. They also thought that that craving chocolate and dry, salty carbs (like crisps and crackers) were a harbinger of a migraine not a trigger.

I think Dr Silver reckons that caffeine is the problem and if the meds aren’t helping and you have given up coffee and tea you might still be in taking caffeine in some other form, e.g. green tea, chocolate biscuits etc.

I often cling to the diet and go ultra clean when I’m in bad phase as it is something proactive I can do. I also think that for me aged cheese, alcohol, caffeine and MSG are big triggers especially as I’ve got older. I don’t think eggs are a problem nor chocolate (in small amounts, but a binge along with stress etc.) will tip me over my threshold later that night. I’m invariably ill after eating out (restaurants or dinner parties) but I think that is because as well as the food I have to cope with noise, lights, conversation, the stress of it all etc. it’s too much.


Giving up caffeine has got me to the last (now med free) mile.


1 Like

Giving up caffeine was really important for me, too.


I’ve found restricting caffeine (am down to one cup of Builders Brew a day and the rest ‘decaff’) seems to have helped alot with head pressure.

Food triggers should really kick in quite quickly I’ve always thought and the less symptomatic you are the easier to identify. Last evening I ate some hone baked sweet yeast risen dough cake, and this morning woke up with ear fullness something I’ve not had all through recent acute attack. As for once nothing else has changed recently I feel I can blame the ‘fresh bake’. Usually there are other complications which make trigger identification impossible but not on this one occasion.

I could easily have written this. Because in my case there was always a good time delay, anything up to 48-72 hours, it was years before I made the connection but restaurants are my main, and for many years seemed only trigger apart from chocolate and red wine. I’ve wondered lights or food but settled on lights. Particularly mixed lighting. Feeling food would surely give a prompter reaction. During my episodic MAV faze I did find I had no resultant attack eating in a restaurant in summertime with no artificial lights on and think I kind of proved it with the same restaurant. Inside under artifical lights I even, as I became more chronic I suppose, became ill whilst eating out but on one occasion eating in their conversatory (no lights on, midsummer) I was fine. Helen

Very interesting! What were the ingredients in the fresh cake? Any citruses or nuts? :slight_smile:

Definitely no nuts or citrus. Here’s very similar recipe to the one I use but I never include ‘ mixed peel’ cos we don’t like it. I guess there may well be something in the ‘fresh baked’ thing now with the yeast component but don’t quite understand why. What happens to make it OK next day one wonders. I can only compare it with the Old Wives Tale we have in UK where they used to say the ends of a cucumber are poisonous. My question would be “where does the ‘end’, end?”. Helen


Hmmm… Aren’t we not allowed grapes (sultanas) on the migraine diet? I know before you said you’ve used yeast numerous times and eaten same day with no issues.

Yep, sultanas are on the banned list for sure. Sulphates I guess. However I’ve never had problem with dried fruit and eat it regularly. Same applies to dairy. I eat Cheddar cheese and use cows milk daily. I do have food triggers, chocolate, red wine, citrus, nuts, .and fermented things, vinegar, pickles but wouldn’t have expected to react to sultanas. Could well be if it wasn’t the ‘freshly baked’ aspect it was actually a delayed reaction to my walk in the sunshine yesterday afternoon unless of course I’ve suddenly added dried food to the restricted list. Helen

Yum cheddar cheese. I haven’t become daring enough again yet to do that!
Yeah, I read about sultanas and they’re even more dried out than raisins (sounds delicious, never had them).
I really hope it’s not the yeast! Your love for fresh baked breads/goods!
The sunshine will beat you up that much?? :frowning:
If the dried food, then it’s mostly just the sulphate dried food like raisins/sultanas and citrus dried foods that are a no go as it is.