Everything I Know about Migraines

I put (almost) everything I know about living the migraine-friendly life into this book.  The website helps you find more recipes to get you there.

I was diagnosed with migraine disease in 2014 after three scary vertigo attacks. The initial diagnosis was vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease, but physicians can only make their best estimation and, years later, mine still isn’t 100% certain.  That’s when I became my own health advocate.

I wrote the first holistic guide to living with migraine to help others, because the information I found was confusing and frustrating.

The result:  My migraine attacks fell from 3-5 days per week to 1-2 per month. The  daily headaches are gone. I haven’t experienced the severe vertigo since starting my Plan. It’s a common-sense approach that my doctor now promotes to his patients.

Everything I know about migraine disease is now in a lifestyle guide: The Migraine Relief Plan. You can preview it now on Amazon.com or check out my top ten tools for migraine relief on this website. Feel well soon. The follow-up full color cookbook will be available in Spring 2022.

The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver
What’s Your Migraine Type?
What’s Your Migraine Trigger?

Migraine FAQ

Migraine is not “just a bad headache.” It’s a complex neurobiological condition that likely has physical and chemical components. It can be triggered by multiple factors, and those triggers are cumulative. Understanding your personal triggers is helpful to improving the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. While triggers don’t cause migraine, reducing them in your life should help reduce the frequency and possibly the severity of your attacks. Note that not everyone responds to lifestyle changes in the same way, but all the changes I recommend will support your overall health and wellness.

If you have regular headaches that are severe enough that you miss out on work or fun activities, please see a headache specialist. If you have regular “weather” headaches or sinus headaches, those are likely also migraine attacks. True sinus headaches are rare; it’s estimated that 90% of what people call sinus headaches are actually migraine. If you have headaches tied to your monthly cycle, those are most likely menstrual migraine.

Yes. During a migraine attack people can experience vertigo, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or other hearing symptoms, neck pain, light or sound sensitivity, aura and other visual disturbances, and even temporary weakness or slackness in facial or arm muscles. If you have any of these symptoms, please see a doctor right away, during the attack if possible.

I went undiagnosed for years because my migraine attacks were atypical. It wasn’t until I started having vertigo attacks that I went to a specialist. In retrospect, I believe my migraine attacks started in childhood as abdominal migraine, and weather has been a huge trigger for me.

First of all, good for you for trying to change your diet! It’s really challenging, especially in our culture. Here’s what I have learned:

Not everyone has food triggers, but many people do (my guess is about 30%). Food allergies (often unknown to the person) are also more prevalent in people who get migraine. If you continue to eat foods that you are allergic to you (latent allergy vs. anaphylactic allergy), that creates an inflammatory condition in your body and your brain. An inflamed brain is thought to be more likely to trigger into a migraine attack.

What most people do is eliminate a few items they know are “supposed” to cause migraine for a few days or a couple of weeks, like red wine, cheese, and MSG. If that doesn’t work, they think that food isn’t a factor for them. However, it takes several weeks, possibly months, to see improvement once you’ve removed all possible food triggers. The list of food triggers is extensive and includes many common and healthy foods, like soybeans, avocados, citrus fruits, and onions. It’s very difficult on your own to navigate the migraine elimination diet, as the lists are inconsistent and no one offers recipes. When I received my list I learned that about 75% of what was in my refrigerator as a super-healthy eater contained migraine triggers. It was staggering news.

That’s where my Plan comes in. I waded through the morass of information and created a Plan that works. It’s approved by a neurologist and has been vetted by a holistic clinical nutritionist. I walk you step by step through the process. And I explain how to do it even if you follow a special diet like paleo or vegan. My Plan also helps you get off packaged and processed foods that are by nature inflammatory, with high levels of low-quality seed oils, sugar, and salt. Any one of these elements can be a problem for people with migraine.

It should, because I didn’t stop at food. I built in all the lifestyle factors that are known to affect migraine attacks: regular sleep, regular gentle exercise, meditation, hydration, nutritious food eaten throughout the day, healthy fats and lower carbs, no sugar, and much less sodium.

Since migraine is an inflammatory process, my Plan also reduces inflammation by removing processed food, gluten, and sugar. I give you dairy-free options for most of my recipes, as dairy can be inflammatory for many people (I personally have to avoid it). I recommend high-quality healthy fats like extra-virgin olive and coconut oil, and grass-fed/pastured animals as well as wild-caught fish if you eat animal protein.

Together, these factors are successful in reducing the migraine threshold in most people who try it. Plus, I’m a big believer in empowering people to take charge of their own health, and having a Plan to follow and learning more about what works for you helps you feel less like a helpless victim. That’s always a good thing.

My Plan is not anti-medication. You’ll work with your doctor on that. But it should allow you to reduce the medication you need to take, which is positive overall. I still take triptans when I need to, but I’m glad I don’t need to ration them out like I used to. I want my medications to be effective down the road when I need them.

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