Science can’t explain why so many migraineurs claim that there is a link between certain foods or beverages and their headaches, but they do. Sadly, the food triggers are different for each migraine sufferer—it’s not like someone who needs to lower their cholesterol and the doctor tells them to eat egg whites and lose the bacon, migraineurs have to figure out their triggers on their own. The best way to do this is with an elimination diet.
The first step in any elimination diet is to put together a suspect list. A migraineur has had a headache the day after every football party for years. a) What is served?
b) Who hosts?
c) What items never change from party to party?
d) If it doesn’t happen every time, what was different?
e) Did someone else make the potato salad this week?
List the suspects and move to step two.
Second Step is the hardest step in an elimination diet. Until a suspect is identified, everything from the meal that seems to trigger a headache must be eliminated. Then the dieter can add items back into their life, one at a time, until they identify a trigger. Once the trigger is identified, it can be avoided.
Do not stop with the first trigger identified. Most migraineurs have multiple triggers. If an elimination diet is going to help someone, he or she needs to identify all the triggers.
For many migraineurs, the trigger is not a single food, but a combination of foods. For example, avocados trigger migraineur A and B is okay with them. However, when B eats guacamole he gets a headache every time. Why? Guacamole is made up several common triggers including avocado, citrus juice, seasonings, and vinegar. B may be okay consuming any one of these alone, but combine them and its sure formula for a headache.