There is so much I wish I know about minimising and avoiding migraines when I first started experiencing regular migraines. Here is what I would tell my 17-year old self:
1. The migraine brain is sensitive and needs special care. There will be times when you won’t be able to push yourself as hard as others. You need to find a balance between work, play and rest.
2. Food is your best friend. And also your worst enemy. Be careful with alcohol and caffeine. And sugar. Especially sugar. Your brain can’t handle wild blood sugar fluctuations. Be careful with artificial sweeteners, even stevia. Eat regularly, focusing on quality protein and vegetables. Avoid processed crap. Get to know and understand your food intolerances.
3. Anxiety is normal with migraine. Practice self-care and self-love. Be gentle with yourself. Ensure you are well nourished with zinc, magnesium and B vitamins.
4. People around you may not understand your migraine. It is up to you to ensure your environment is migraine friendly with lighting, seating, noise levels, odours. If your work has artificial or fluorescent lighting, feel free to take out the light bulb above your desk and replace it with a soft desk lamp. Take days off when you need them. Avoid toxic people and toxic environments. Do whatever you need to keep your environment low-trigger.
5. Understand your early warning signs for migraine. Yawning. Change in mood. Cravings. Eye disturbances. Anxiety. Keep an eye on upcoming weather changes. As soon as you notice the signs, stop and take care of yourself. Protect yourself from triggers.
6. Build a team of health professionals around you. A good GP. A neurologist. Naturopath/nutritionist/herbalist (of course!). Physiotherapist. An understanding personal trainer or Pilates instructor. Chiropractor or osteopath. Not one single practitioner will have a cure or all the answers, but each will have something to offer which will help. Be responsible for your own health, but seek advice widely.
7. Keep hydrated, and your electrolytes balanced with mineral salts. Always have salt and ginger handy to stop an early attack. Drink extra water when you feel a migraine coming on.
What can I eat?
When I first began to see the real link between what I ate and migraines, I was really confused about what I should eat to help manage migraines. Even though I was a qualified nutritionist!
Some research showed me to just avoid trigger foods. There were also lots of diet recommendations out there for migraine – low carbohydrate, keto, anti-histamine diet, anti-inflammatory diet, plant-based and paleo. What diet was best for migraine? Were sugar-free foods okay? What about carbs?
I was overwhelmed and felt paralysed.
Through my extensive research into the right foods to nourish and heal my body, I learned that food is medicine. I began avoiding processed foods, reducing trigger foods and aiming for proteins and vegetables as the base for most meals.
I found that the best approach was to keep blood sugar levels balanced with low carbohydrate foods and aim to include anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, blueberries, ginger and fish.
Amazing things happened. Less migraines, clarity returned and I just felt better. I transformed into a healthier, clearer, and happier me.
You can too.
Baby steps are the key.
Start small - with breakfast.
I tell all my clients that a low sugar, nutrient-dense smoothie is a good place to start
I don’t mean the smoothies you find at cafes and juice bars – you know – the ones that are more a dessert than nutritious.
No, the best smoothie is one you make yourself. Done right, smoothies are the quick, delicious and portable way to start your day off on the right note.
If you use the right nutrient dense ingredients, a good breakfast will:
• Keep your blood sugar balanced
• Provide protein to keep your energy level high and even
• Give you fibre to nourish your digestive system
• Get you off to a great start by including your all-important leafy greens first thing in the morning
• Start your day off right so you are less likely to throw in the towel by lunch
If you are ready to try this approach, I encourage you to start with one of these easy, super quick recipes which I’ve designed especially for migraine nutrition.
DOWNLOAD THE 5 BREAKFAST RECIPES
These recipes reduce or avoid common migraine triggers, and reduce inflammation while being low carbohydrate so you won’t have blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day.
Another great quick option is the chia seed pudding which you can make the night before for a quick grab and go breakfast. The other recipes are also super quick to make.
Ready to really heal?
I'd love you to make an appointment for a private consultation.
In good health,