Migraines, Headaches, and Atkins, Oh, My!
I'm not a big fan of talking about myself in detail, but I've decided that if my story can help anyone, I have to get it out in the world. Here goes...
I started getting headaches in 1992 when I was 13 years old. What did my doctor suggest? Ibuprofen. Gee, thanks, Doc! (For letting me waste so many years and completely ruin the lining of my stomach.) Pain killers are NOT the answer to headaches.
I finally discovered that milk triggered headaches and took that out of my diet, but the headaches never completely went away. They came and went, but mostly came and stayed. I had headaches weekly, and then daily. I took my ibuprofen and Excedrin and tried not to complain. I became an avid researcher of WebMD and every other medical site I could find that might give me some inkling of what to do.
At one point I developed an essential tremor and had an MRI, so at that point I knew I didn't have a brain tumor (and there was nothing to be done about my tremor except medicine that made me so groggy I opted to just stay awake and shaky!), but still, no doctor seemed to think my headaches were a big deal. More painkillers.
Fast forward to my late 20s, and the headaches were lasting 24/7 for days on end, and I felt like I was going mad. I couldn't concentrate--I even thought I was becoming ADHD because I couldn't speak in complete sentences, let alone think complete thoughts. I had all kinds of testing done and begged my doctors to test for anything, but it was all to no avail. No brain tumors, no eye problems, no heart problems. Then after my daughter was born in 2004, I started becoming intensely lethargic. If I ate ANYTHING, I couldn't stay awake. It was much worse than the usual sleepiness after a turkey dinner kind of lethargy. I tested negative for diabetes and hypoglycemia. I was SO tired all the time, I HURT all the time, I was getting home from work and sleeping all evening.
Finally, in July of 2009, at 29 years old, I made an appointment at a headache clinic. It took one visit, and one suggestion of "try a low carb diet" to resolve this. SIXTEEN YEARS OF HEADACHES.
Don't get me wrong, the first couple of weeks starting a low-carb diet can be miserable. As your body adjusts to it you get what Dr. Atkins called a "low-carb flu," but believe me, after the misery I had been going through, I was ready to try anything. But AFTER my body began adjusting I got a huge spike of energy, and the headaches dissipated. I have been a believer ever since. I still get an occasional headache, but I'm so careful with my eating, it's pretty easy to pinpoint where I've gone wrong and avoid that food in the future.
These days I have learned to avoid 99% of processed, chemical-laden foods. You might be surprised to find out just how much MSG is in that "all-natural" canned soup you're eating. (I'm lookin' at you, Progresso.) "Natural flavors" is just another term for MSG.
I could go on and on, and I will write more later, but for now, I just want anyone who might be struggling with headaches to know that you're not condemned to a life of misery. No, low-carb won't work for every type of migraine, and I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist by any means, but until you've exhausted every possibility, you'll never know, and isn't it worth knowing?
I'll write about gluten intolerance next time, but in the meantime, feel free to leave me a note in the comments section. I'd love to talk to more people with experiences like mine.
Life is Good
Live Like You Mean It!
(and don't eat sugar, it's evil)
This little side blog of mine used to be mostly about food and health, and now it's mostly about Jesus.
Egg Nog Shake
Spicy Seasoning Mix
Spinach Pizza Quiche
Cheesy Broccoli Soup