The 'Migraine Diet'


I have a question about the migraine diet. How many of us have noticed a difference/improvement from following it? Have you been able to identify triggers from it that make your dizziness or other symptoms worse?

The reason I ask is that I have been doing the Bucholz diet for nigh on 5 months now and haven’t noticed any difference yet. I am pretty strict with it but recently I have been a bit naughty. I had a pizza with tons of cheese on on Friday night and haven’t since noticed ANY difference! Also a couple of weeks ago I had a glass of wine and didn’t notice any change in my symptoms. I just wonder how I can identify my triggers and reintroduce foods that aren’t triggers when eliminating all of them doesn’t make a difference? Or perhaps I can only do that when I find a medication that works and my symptoms are a bit more under control? Perhaps I need to keep a food/dizzyness diary?

Anyway, I would welcome your thoughts on this.

Becky xx


When i was doing the diet i didn’t find that it helped me improve, but that’s probably because I was on such a fast downhill slide symptom-wise that no change in diet was going to make me turn around.

now that i’m being treated, i’ve started adding back. if i add the wrong thing back, the next day i have more rocking. i’ve found that i can eat pine nuts. anything else i’ve added back has given me problems. I added back peas last weekend because i found out that it wasn’t even on the “off” list - well guess what - i started rocking.

you mention that maybe it’s because your symptoms are still bad, which is a very good point, but i’m thinking that you can still go out right? I can’t so i’m guessing that my symptoms may be worse than yours, but that’s just a guess. it sure is hard to judge these things.

it could be that you’ll find no food triggers. or you may find one. My sister-in-law found 3 and has never had another migraine in 30 years - just by eliminating 3 foods. and you’ve already done the hard part. so do what you’re doing.

But keep in mind - you need to give it a few days for the food to give you trouble, right? If it doesn’t within a few days, i think it’s safe to start eating that food again. Your body will tell you, if you add something back and start getting sick, you’ll know it.

I hope this helps at all,


Yes. Definitely realized a benefit. Just my opinion, but Dr. Buchholz’s book is the gold standard guide to this.


I definitely noticed a difference rather quickly after starting the diet. Caffeine makes my vertigo worse for sure. I’ve tested the waters with a few foods and found that MSG, nitrates, and aspartame are also triggers for me. Cheese and sour cream seem to be okay. I haven’t tried adding back the other foods yet. I think a food/dizzyness diet is a good idea. I’m been thinking about doing that myself lately. If I could only find the energy… :wink:


I’m definitely better now but I’m not sure how much of it has to do with the diet, as I made 4 changes pretty much simultaneously. Those were: Verapamil, Migraine Diet, Exercise Program and Better Sleep. In my case I’m avoiding the “biggies” on the list (caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, MSG, etc.) but I’m not really sweating the lesser items (cheese, spiced meats, etc.). My plan is to get this resolved as completely as I can for at least a year. Then I may start introducing foods again, one at a time with a six month interval between each food.

I agree, its really hard to tell if something like this is working. And, I admit to being more than a little skeptical about the delayed reaction food theory. But who knows? After 3 years of this something sure seems to be working so I’m not going to rock the boat.


Thank you everyone for your replies, its been a great help.

Julie- Yes i can get out of the house so I don’t think my dizziness has been as bad as yours. What I have always found the most debilitating symptom has been the exhaustion. eg. If I go out for a short walk, I have to have a nap afterwards! (Although my consultant has now told me not to sleep in the daytime and only have a max of 9 hours sleep per night so I try my level best not to do this anymore!)

why don’t they want you to get more sleep? the more sleep i get the better I feel, as long as it doesn’t disturb my getting to sleep the next night. we’re sick, we need sleep.

I struggle with the sleep question myself. For the average person, the general guidance is to get a regular amount of sleep at night - 8 hours or so. Your “supposed” to go bed and get up at the same time each day and don’t nap. However, with my current condition, I don’t know if I should be modifying this and sleeping more or trying to stick to my normal healthy person routine. I know I just spent the three day weekend resting and don’t feel any better for it. Last weekend I was out of town with the family for my daughter’s soccer tournament. The forced activity and long car trip actually made me feel better, I think. I believe the six hours of riding in the car on the interstate (not a lot of winding roads) actually helped my head. Who knows… I can’t figure this out!

I’m convinced that, in my case at least, the sleep thing is huge. With the (as yet untreated) apnea I’m having a lot of trouble getting any decent sleep. When I have a good night and sleep better than usual I can count on having fewer MAV symptoms the following day. I know that they say too much sleep can trigger migraine. Well maybe - I haven’t seen any rigorous studies to support this - but for me the more I sleep I get the better I feel.

I’d be interested in hearing how many folks on this forum really feel like they get enough high quality sleep most nights. I think we might find that poor quality and/or insufficient sleep is a very common trigger.


Chaz, I’m with you on that one. I know that if I stay up too late I start to feel symptoms straight away, mostly nausea and I know that I’ve got to get to sleep asap. If I’ve slept 8-9 hours I find I wake up feeling much better and that lack of sleep is a real trigger for me. I’ve got teenage kids who are coming and going at all hours so I sleep with ear plugs and try not to lay awake until the last one comes home because I’m a wreck in the morning. It seems to work. Because of the Klonopin and tricyclic antidepressant I’m taking, I can also get a bit drousy through the day and often take a nap which can also be deadly. When I wake from a day time sleep, I can often feel nauseous and just plain lousy so I try to avoid it or keep the naps to only half hour if possible (once asleep that’s not always possible), but it’s better if I get through the day without sleeping and my sleep that night is always much better too. I think my two biggest triggers are sleep deprivation and stress/anxiety.

— Begin quote from “MarciM”

The forced activity and long car trip actually made me feel better, I think. I believe the six hours of riding in the car on the interstate (not a lot of winding roads) actually helped my head. Who knows… I can’t figure this out!

— End quote

One other person told me that the more she does the better she feels (i’m not sure how much sleep she gets, i’m just talking about activity, because the more i do the worse I feel, regarding rocking). I guess you just have to do what feels best for you.

Chaz, for sure, the reason i need at least 8 hours and i prefer 9 or 10, is because my sleep is disturbed. i’m not sure if i’m apneic. my husband doesn’t find me gasping or holding my breath, but last summer when I was sick, I woke a couple times in a gasp. thanks for bringing up the apnea thing again. I have to look into that.


My Consultant, who specialises in migraine, told me to follow these lifestyle measures:

  • Drink plenty of fluid (3 litres of clear fluid per day, no caffeine or alcohol)
  • Avoid missing meals
  • Aim for 8-9 hours sleep at night, going to bed and getting up at the same time where possible.
  • Avoid daytime sleep or morning lie-ins.

I think these are something to with the fact that migraine can be triggered by irregularities in your body (such as the sleep:wake cycle and meal patterns).

I could sleep for 12 hours and could drop off at any time during the day if I let myself but conversely if I push myself over the first initial hurdle and actually do some light activity I feel much better. If I do too much though, it completely wipes me out so I have to strike a balance. Its very confusing and hard to get right!

i guess you just have to listen to your body and find what it needs. I actually find that my body needs something slightly different each day. I’ve hardly ever found too much sleep to be bad for me or my symptoms. The only thing it could be disruptive to is getting to sleep the following night, so i do watch that.

Thanks for the input from your migraine specialist - that’s good info.

Not sure if anyone’s mentioned this point yet - I’ve only skimmed the responses - but I can eat some things once in a while & be okay, but if I eat a couple trigger foods two days in a row, I’ll get ‘sick’. The big triggers for me - caffeine, artificial sweeteners - get me right away (within an hour). I ate a Snickers bar last night that didn’t hit me until this morning.

It gets old not being able to eat pre-packaged stuff or lunch meats & I still miss coffee soooo much.

Becky, the food/dizziness diary is a good idea. I think it helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed … trying to remember all the stuff you can’t eat.