Re: Migraines and suchJuly 6, 2010
For those of you bored by talk of migraines, I give you my almost-annual reminder that Salt and Vinegar potato salad is AMAZING. Enjoy. Now for the other six of you still reading:
A reader pointed out to me that I owed you all an update on how the migraine diet was going.
Uh. It's not. I made it about two weeks of eating AIR, and gave it up. I found it almost impossible to avoid everything that particular diet wanted me to.
BUT: I switched daily meds (to Nortriptyline) and I've started eating 1oz of dark chocolate every day. I know. Rather than treating it as a trigger, I'm using it as medicine. This makes MUCH more sense, no? This is on advice from my friend Theresa, for whom the practice has really worked -- perhaps she will chime in in the comments with a little bit about what she told me? Basically, you eat it on an empty stomach when you first wake up. Nothing to eat for the next hour. The dark chocolate has to be very simple, and include four ingredients: cocoa, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar. Absolutely no milk or protein of any kind (no nuts, etc.); the protein leaches away the . . . (help me out here, Theresa) the good stuff, the phytochemicals. I know you're BLOWN AWAY with how much I know. Oh, stop.
I buy the 100 calorie packs of dark chocolate from TJ's -- one and a half bars is about 1oz, but most days I just have one bar.
The chocolate, I swear to God, seems to be helping. In the last three months, I've had only one migraine, and it was mild and easily treatable by medicine (and it was totally my fault, because I felt it threatening and had a glass of red wine anyway. Dummy).
And get this: The other night I felt one coming on, and I realized it had been a few hours since I ate, so I had a relatively empty stomach. I ate an ounce of dark chocolate. Within 45 minutes, I was fine. People. Whoa. I don't usually GET fine. I usually circle the drain.
Oh, I also gave up caffeine (except for what I get in chocolate). No coffee, no green or black tea. Let's not talk about it. Wah! But honestly, giving it up wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, not at all. Not sure why. Maybe it's just what my body wanted.
Also, THIS IS BIG: I gave up all the meds I was used to taking for headaches. For two and a half months, I restricted myself to Tylenol and Advil -- no rebound drugs (see this NYT article-- includes anything with caffeine, like Exedrin,and my prescription meds like Fioricet). If you take pills for headaches more than twice a week, you might be at risk for rebound headaches. Right after I wrote here about my migraines, I decided to try this. I was popping Exedrin Migraine easily three or four times a week to push back headaches that waxed and waned. As soon as I stopped taking them, I had a 48 hour migraine that was so bad I was halfway convinced I would die. No joke. Every thing I'd read said you have to NOT take your meds for at least two or three months so your body gets over the rebound effect that keeps headaches going. However, going through that migraine was pretty awful. I felt like a junkie: all I could think about was how close my meds were to me -- I could just take one...
But I didn't. And I didn't die. Now, theoretically, my medicine should be useful to me if I take it only when needed (less than once a month, hopefully). And when I did pop a pill for that last migraine, it worked that way. The pain lasted for less than six hours, and it was relatively mild.
To sum up: YEEHAW!
*obviously, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Consult with your doctor before doing anything different or weird.