Migraines and food

It’s winter and it’s been very dry and cold this last couple of weeks here in KY Many of my friends have been having more headaches…specifically migraines. So I thought I would share some info. Now I know… if you get migraines you have probably tried just about everything, but have you been consistent? Let me know about your headaches in the comments.

What to Avoid if You Get Migraines *

Migraine headaches can be terrible. The pain, vision problems (including aura), nausea, etc. can be debilitating; especially if they stick around for hours or even days.

Migraines affect about 15% of adults, so they’re fairly common. And, while the exact cause is not known, there are lots of known triggers. Many foods and drinks are common triggers of migraines. You may have noticed certain foods, and drinks trigger your migraines. Sometimes the migraine comes on within an hour of the food/drink. Other times it may happen several hours, up to a day later. Avoiding these triggers can help.

One of the main ways these foods and drinks trigger migraines is by their action on the blood vessels in the brain. When the brain’s blood vessels constrict and then dilate (widen), this seems to cause migraines. Many of the foods I’m listing below affect the constriction and dilation of blood vessels during a migraine.

If you or someone you care about suffers from migraines, this post lists common triggers. Avoiding these can be a great tool to reduce these uber-painful headaches. You may be sensitive to one, or many of these foods/drinks. They act as migraine triggers in some people, but not all. You can find out by eliminating them and see if avoidance helps you.

Foods to avoid if you get migraines*

The first food that commonly triggers migraines is hard cheese like cheddar and Swiss; this is because they contain
“tyramine” which is from an amino acid in the protein found in cheese. Other foods high in tyramine include those that are aged, cured, dried, smoked or pickled. These include sauerkraut and tofu.

The second common migraine-triggering foods are cured or processed meats. Things like hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon
are in this category; this is because of their nitrates and nitrites that can dilate those blood vessels in the brain. Even if these are not a trigger for you, it’s best to eliminate them from your diet because of other health issues they’re associated with like colon cancer.

I wish I had better news, but the third common migraine triggering food is chocolate. The evidence is conflicting, as some studies show a link and others don’t. You may or may not be sensitive to chocolate’s effects on the brain; you have to eliminate it to find out.

Artificial flavors like monosodium glutamate (MSG) also trigger migraines. MSG is often found in Chinese food and is
a common migraine trigger. There is not a lot of research on this, but it’s something to consider eliminating from your diet to see if it makes a difference.

Drinks to avoid if you get migraines*

Alcohol is a common trigger for headaches and migraines. Red wine and beer seem to be the most common culprits. We’re not sure why, but it may be red wine’s compounds such as histamine, sulfites, or flavonoids.
Ice and ice-cold water have also been shown to trigger headaches and migraines. So try not to eat or drink things that are
too cold.

Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame are another common trigger. Aspartame is in diet sodas and other processed foods to make them taste sweet without adding sugar. As with MSG, there is not a lot of research on its effects with migraines. But
again, it is something to consider eliminating from your diet and see if that makes a difference.


There are many common food/drink triggers for migraines. Maybe one, or more of these trigger migraines for you. The best way to know is by eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks and see how that works.

The list includes hard cheeses, processed meats, chocolate, alcohol, ice water, and artificial flavors and sweeteners.
Do any of these trigger migraines for you (or someone you care about)? Let me know in the comments below!

Recipe (migraine-calming tea): Migraine-Calming Fresh Herbal Tea

(1 serving)
5 washed mint
leaves (or a tea bag)
2 cups of boiled
Steep mint leaves
(or tea bag) for 5-10 minutes.
Let the tea cool down a bit before drinking it.
Serve & enjoy!
Don’t forget to leave your tips for migraines or your aha’s in the comments!


Elimination diets. [Infographic] Could giving up certain foods solve your health problem?

https://examine.com/nutrition/scientists-just-found-that-red-meat-causes-cancer–or-did-they/ https://examine.com/nutrition/does-aspartame-cause-headaches/

Tis the season….3 Tips to avoid overeating!


Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. Remembering why you are thankful!

AND it is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there. Does it?Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals. (Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.


Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. And you get too much “air” in the belly!

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish. But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting hytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”. And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

There may be some that can’t eat salad greens…so find a high fiber veggie single and enjoy. Find some and learn more about the benefits of fiber here.

In Summary

• Have a glass of water
• eat mindfully
• start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water
to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful
looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

Slices of lemon & ginger
Slices of strawberries & orange
Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
Chopped pineapple & mango (my fav)
Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.



What is glycemic index? And is it important?

Have you ever had your blood
sugar levels tested or heard about eating to balance blood sugar?
You know I talk about it a bunch, so if you have ever worked with me you have heard this. 
Have you
wondered about the science behind how foods affect blood sugar? 
Or more
importantly, which foods affect your blood sugar more than others?
If so, this post is for you. If not you, maybe someone you love.
It’s all about the glycemic index
and glycemic load. And it’s not boring, promise!
Read on because you may want
to pay attention to foods that are high on the glycemic index or high glycemic
load. And if you’re at risk of blood sugar issues, pancreas conditions, or even
diabetes this is IMPORTANT for you to know. And if you aren’t and don’t want to ever be, this is important too.

What is the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load?
Glycemic this and glycemic that.
Does it matter?
You’ll notice that they both
begin with “glycemic.” That’s one tip that they have to do with
sugars and carbs. Not only how much sugar is in foods, but more importantly,
how it affects your blood sugar levels.
In general, diets that are high
on the glycemic index (GI) and high in glycemic load (GL), tend to increase the
risk of diabetes and heart disease.
FUN FACT: Starches like those in
potatoes and grains are digested into sugar; this is because starch is just a bunch
of sugars linked together. Digestive enzymes break those bonds so that the
sugars become free. Then those sugars affect your body the same way that eating
sugary foods do.
Glycemic Index (or “how fast”)
The most common of the two terms
is “glycemic index” (GI).
As the name suggests, it
“indexes” (or compares) the effect that different foods have on your
blood sugar level. Then each food is given a score from 0 (no effect on blood
sugar) to 100 (big effect on blood sugar). Foods that cause a fast increase
in blood sugar have a high GI. That is because the sugar in them is quickly
processed by your digestive system and absorbed into your blood. They cause a
“spike” in your blood sugar.
So, you can probably guess that
pure glucose is given a GI rating of 100. On the other hand, chickpeas are
right down there at a GI of 10.
Regarding GI: low is anything
under 55; moderate is 56-69, and 70+ is considered a high GI food.
Remember, this is a measure of
how fast a carbohydrate containing food is digested and raised your blood
sugar. It’s not a measure of the sugar content of the food.
How the carbohydrates in food
affect your blood sugar level depend on other components of the food. Things
like fiber and protein can slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and
this can make even a high-sugar food, low on the GI scale.
So, lower GI foods are better at
keeping your blood sugar levels stable because they don’t increase your blood
sugar level as fast.
FUN FACT: Can you guess which
food has a GI of higher than 100? (Think of something super-starchy) White
potatoes! They have a GI of 111.
Glycemic Load (or “how much”)
The glycemic load is different.
Glycemic load (GL) doesn’t take
into account how quickly your blood sugar “spikes”, but it looks at how high
that spike is. Basically, how much the food increases your
blood sugar.
GL depends on two things. First,
how much sugar is actually in the food. Second, how much of the food is
typically eaten.
Low GL would be 0-10,  moderate GL would be 10-20, and high GL would
Example of GL and GI
 So, let’s compare average (120 g) servings of
bananas and oranges:
Serving size (g)
GL per serving
Excerpt from: Harvard Health
Publications, Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods
As you can see, the banana and
orange have almost the same glycemic index.; this means they both raise your
blood sugar in about the same amount of time.
But, the average banana raises
the blood sugar twice as high (11) as the orange does (5). So, it contains more
overall sugar than the same amount (120 g) of orange.
Of course, this is all relative.
A GL of 11 is not high at all. Please keep eating whole fruits. This is an easy example.

So…What does this all mean for
your health?
Certain people should be aware of
the effects that foods have on their blood sugar. People who have diabetes or
pre-diabetes conditions like insulin resistance  need to be aware of the glycemic index and
glycemic load of foods they are eating regularly.
The GI and GL are just two
factors to consider when it comes to blood sugar. Some high GI foods are pretty
good for you but if you want to reduce the impact on your blood sugar, have
them with a high-fiber or high-protein food. That’s why I always talk about eating with a fiber food or protein.
If you have blood sugar
imbalances or diabetes, you should probably be aware of the GI and GL of your
If you are at risk of diabetes or
heart disease, you might try swapping out some higher GI/GL foods and replacing
with lower GI/GL foods.
If you want to prevent either of those in the future, remember these tips.
Oh, and check out this low GI recipe I
have for you.
Recipe (low GI): Mediterranean
Serves 2
1 cucumber, chopped
½ cup chickpeas, drained and
½ cup black olives
¼ red onion, diced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
1 dash sea salt
1 dash black pepper
Place first five ingredients
together in a bowl.
Add remaining ingredients to a
jar (to make the dressing) with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.
Add dressing to salad and gently
Serve & enjoy!
Add chopped avocado for even more fiber and healthy fat.
When you try it…come back here and let me know!


Top 3 ways to eat healthy on the go!

                                  Can you Eat Healthy
While Traveling?
                        (or just going out to eat, running around town?)
soon? Perhaps a long-awaited vacation? Business trip? Something completely
different? You just are always running around?
No matter
where you’re going, you’re probably going to appreciate some quick and easy
healthy food ideas. These can help you stay on track and help you bring, and
find real food. While these tips can all be used right here at home, this is
extra-important when you’re traveling. Traveling can throw your regular healthy
habits off when you’re skipping time zones or even just being in a different
As a
health coach, I have such a sense of pride when my clients skip junky
convenience foods. Let me give you some great strategies that can help you do
this while you’re “on the road.”
When booking
your hotel room, ask if you can have one with a mini-fridge. This will help you
store some of your healthy snacks and groceries while you’re there.
this is important because not only will it keep you from becoming a “hangry
junk-seeker,” but it can also hold you off until you’re able to stop at a
proper grocery store for say…actual real food!
Here are a bunch of my favorite
on-the-go snacks to have on hand in your bag and/or cooler:
●     If you’re going to have a cooler,
or eat them within a couple of hours, try fresh fruit or boiled eggs (don’t
forget the ice packs).
●     Unsalted nuts and seeds (I love
walnuts and pumpkin seeds myself).
●     Dried or even freeze-dried fruit.
●     Kind Bars or Organic Bars of your
●     Sliced veggies (carrots, celery,
cucumber, broccoli, etc.) with a dip (hummus, guacamole, salad dressing, etc.).
You can even buy single-serving packs at Costco.
●     Find good quality protein bars, or
make your own before heading out.
●     Good quality granola cereal (I
love Purely Elizabeth varieties)
●     Savory snacks like roasted
●     High-quality protein powder to
make your own smoothies (I like Sun Warrior or Organifi). Be sure to also pack
a mini blender, like a Magic Bullet, if needed.
●     And don’t forget your drinks.
Bring some water with you. Or if you’re flying, choose water in the airport and
on the plane.
 Here’s one pf my favorites:  
Take a lengthwise slice of zucchini, roll it around fresh cut veggies of your choice..if you need a binder…try a smear of veggie cream cheese, hold together with a toothpick…throw in a baggie and take along.  This is about 50 calories alone and about 70 calories with the smear!
                                                                 (there’s an APP for that!)
course, you can always Google your destination and search for grocery stores or
healthy restaurants. But there are a couple of websites and apps that may be
helpful for you.
●     FindMeGlutenFree – A website that
searches for gluten-free restaurants around the US.
●     HealthyOut – An app that helps you
find restaurants that cater to your dietary preferences, be they gluten-free,
lactose-free, low-calorie, low-carb, etc.
●     Food Tripping – Designed for road
trips, this app helps you find alternatives to fast food.
often comes with unnecessary junk food that can derail your healthy lifestyle.
Planning ahead and being prepared can be simple, and help keep your health
goals on track even when you’re out and about!

When you change nothing, nothing will change

When you change nothing, nothing will change

Recently I found a little calendar that had some amazing monthly pages!  I have to share one with you.(with a few add ins)
 Written by Suzy Toronto, the calendar is called “Always Color Outside the Lines”
Make Each Day Ridiculously Amazing!
I believe with all my heart that if I want to have an incredible day, it’s my responsibility to make it happen.  I need to convince myself that no matter what stands in my way,I am going to make it ridiculously amazing.
Believe me …I know that can be  tall order.
Some days just getting out of bed seems to trigger a chain of events that is pretty much as far from amazing as you can get.  (You know, it’s those mornings that start out like a washing machine on a spin cycle. And you can’t decide if the world is trying to kill you or make you stronger!)


But it really is up to me(and you) to how the rest of the day rolls out from there.  (Agreed?)
I force myself to put on a wacky smile (does make you feel better), even when it i not easy to do.  Because I believe attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure – it encourage me to play in the puddles rather than complain about the rain.
AND you know the best part?  An outlook like that is contagious! It spills over onto everyone and everything and floods your world with positive energy, making “amazing day” the new standard.
The bottom line is this:  When you change nothing, nothing will change! (how true is that!) But with a new attitude, you can really make a difference.  So don’t just “Have a nice day”  make is ridiculously AMAZING!
I totally want your days to be amazing!How do you make your days amazing? Leave a comment and share!

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