Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book Review: TMWtEiIhHaM

I'm going through a headache book reading spree, and my first review is the book with a mouthful title, "Tell Me What to Eat if I have Headaches and Migraines" by Elaine Magee, M.P.H., R.D. The foreword was written by Frederick Freitag, D.O., Diamond Headache Clinic.

This was an overall informative book of foods and drinks that commonly trigger headaches. I'm sure you've heard all about these, but here's a list (not all-inclusive, of course):
  • chocolate
  • caffeine
  • red wine
  • tyramine (aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, some processed meats, avocados, overripe bananas, chocolate, nutes, seeds, pork, venison, soy-based foods
  • nitrates/nitrites, MSG, & other possible additives
  • aspartame
  • fatty foods
Other tips:
  • Eliminate suspect foods from your diet for 1-4 weeks
  • "Ok" cheeses are: cottage cheese, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, and fresh or low moisture mozzarella
  • Women 31 or older should take 320 milligrams of magnesium to help with hormonal headaches
  • Nitrates/nitrites are mostly in cured meats and are usually on the ingredients label
What stood out as very negative to me was the part on MSG. I have MSG intolerance not related to my headaches and therefore have a lot of knowledge on the subject. The section only listed products that contain MSG and didn't even mention hidden names such as autolyzed yeast extract. The book is from 2005, so there are lots of new products not mentioned that contain MSG! Plus, some products now do not contain it because of the organic trend. And, some recipes listed in the book could easily have MSG in them if you're not careful.

This was a good intro to nutrition related to headaches, and it's a quick read, so I'll let you decide if you want to look into it further.

I'm still putting off going on a migraine trigger elimination diet because I'm enjoying food too much after ending my gluten-free diet.


Headache update: I only had two headaches on vacation and they started in the evening my last two days and didn't get bad enough to require meds. It was great! I had a migraine when I got back but I took the red-eye flight and didn't sleep, and then napped the whole next day, so that was my fault. When I saw my acupuncturist Monday he said my neck and head felt great - hardly any knots and muscle tension like I usually have. He said I should take vacations more often. I wish. :)