Saturday, March 6, 2010

Want Migraine Food Triggers - Really?

A while back I said I had a little more to say around Migraine food triggers. I've read a lot about the elimination diet, food triggers and some comments on the subject that left me feeling troubled. I needed some time to digest this before giving my opinions on the subject since these comments were said by other Migraineurs. This is still a sore spot for me as I have many food triggers as well as other Migraine triggers.

The Migraineurs who made the comments don't have food triggers. Their common belief seemed to be as long as you don't eat your food trigger, you're good to go and that they wanted food triggers. Basically, you shouldn't have any Migraines if you don't eat your trigger foods. Here are some of the Migraine food trigger comments that I found irksome:

>> "if you have several Migraines a week, it's probably not from food" -- How can you say such a blanket statement? I have several Migraines a week and I have food triggers. I found a lot of triggers while doing the elimination diet which reduced my Migraines down to several a week.

>> "all foods trigger a migraine isn’t that much different from saying no foods trigger a migraine" -- I went to a new Migraine 'specialist' after completing the elimination diet. His only comment to me about the elimination diet was that 'sometimes you can find too much on the elimination diet'. This indicated a couple of things. He doesn't believe in the elimination diet, like the Migraine doctor I came from, and he believes that people who go on the elimination diet, make up food triggers. I did my elimination diet very methodically and believe in the triggers I found.

>> "I'd love to find a food trigger because then it would be under my control"

>> "I'd hate to find a food trigger because then my Migraines would be my fault"

>> "I’m starting to think the food trigger thing is nonsense" -- Come on, get real! I can attest that foods really can trigger Migraines.

>> "some of us wish we had triggers that could be avoided" -- Really? Without having food triggers, you're still getting many Migraines. Would you really want to mix foods to avoid in with everything else you currently do to try to not get a Migraine?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to manage Migraine food triggers sometimes?

I did a full Migraine elimination diet instead of a piece meal one where you eliminate one group at a time and add back the foods from that group one at a time. Other people will eliminate one food and add that back in on an as needed basis. Whatever works for you is fine, but I'm glad I went the full route as I found a lot of good Migraine food triggers while doing it.

When I added back my foods, I listed everything about the food; right down to the ingredient level. I can't imagine doing this any other way. Don't get me wrong, I can think of several things I would do differently if I were to do a full elimination diet again, but going down to the ingredient level is not one. Can you believe I've read where some people don't think the ingredients matter?

As an example, it's real easy to say and to stay away from mayonnaise or hot dogs if they are your food triggers, but what if it's more than just those foods? What if it's the soy or sodium nitrate in those foods? All of a sudden, you can see how many more foods you would need to avoid than just mayonnaise or hot dogs. Probably so many more foods than you realize. Plus, if you know it is those ingredients, maybe there are other ways you can have mayonnaise or hot dogs? Can you get mayonnaise without the offending ingredient? Can you get hot dogs without preservatives? For me, the answer to both of these questions is yes.

I can understand blaming someone who knows chocolate is a Migraine trigger for them yet they insist on eating that afternoon chocolate bar only to end up with a Migraine. I can understand rolling your eyes when someone purposely eats a known Migraine trigger and then whines about their Migraine. I have little tolerance for that too, but it's not always that easy to avoid your food triggers. I wish it was.

The way I see the comments above? I'd rather not have Migraine food triggers. It would be so much easier to manage my Migraines without them. To not worry about everything I eat and what ingredients are in all of the foods I want to eat. I still have Migraine disease whether or not foods trigger them.

If you are getting as many Migraines as you are getting now without food triggers, just imagine how many more you would have or how much more stuff you would need to avoid and STILL get the same amount of Migraines that you are getting today.

Do you still really wish you had food triggers you could avoid?


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Never knew if my avoidance of certain foods was from true migraine creation or aversion training because of pain!!!! Sorta Pavlovian after awhile - eat this - 20 minutes later excruciating pain. Was the migraine already started when I ate the substance? I didn't have aura's so it was very hard to tell...

MigrainePuppet said...

I understand what you mean. As tough as it is, sometimes we just need to bite the bullet and try the food again when we don't think anything else is in the works with our head. I felt like I was intentially creating Migraines some weeks while on the diet too. It's better to know if something is a trigger for us.