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HeadWay, Issue #094 -- Don't Make Me Change What I Eat!
April 30, 2012

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In this month's issue:

Don't Make Me Change What I Eat!

A Rising Star: Butterbur

Say what?!  Alkaloid

Don't Make Me Change What I Eat!

When you're in pain - perhaps in constant pain - it's really hard to think about changing how you eat.  After all, you look in the cupboard for something that will just ease the pain a bit - or at least help you forget it.  You're not likely to be thinking about calories or fat intake or a balanced diet.

Trust me, I've been there.

Still, diet remains one of the most powerful ways to fight migraine, headache, and any kind of bad health.  Small changes can lead to big improvements.

So for the patient who is being dragged kicking and screaming into better health, here are some of our easiest, least complicated tips:
  • The Every-Other-Drink Trick:  Are you drinking high-sugar drinks a lot?  That includes, soft drinks, juice, and sugar in your coffee!  Here's a tip - after you have a glass of something, have a glass of water next.  That's right - every other drink you have during the day - make it water!
  • Calm-down-your-Juice Trick:  If you like juice, but the sugar-spikes are causing problems, try watering-down your juice, just a little.  Or, try sparkeling mineral water mixed with juice for a healthier and classier alternative.
  • The Craving-switch Trick:  Do you crave coffee?  Salty food?  Chocolate?  Whatever it is, there's a healthier alternative that will still satisfy your craving!  Take a look at this chart and make note of the alternatives you most often crave.
  • The Leave-it-There Trick:  One of the most famous tricks of all - just don't buy it.  Go shopping when you're not hungry, don't go down that isle, and just forget to put that item in your cart.  Go home, eat healthier, repeat.
  • The Crazy-Day Trick:  One day a month, invite some friends over and have a crazy cooking day.  Make portions of food and snacks that you can grab quickly when you're hungry, and make them fast, healthy, easy, and migraine/headache/cluster friendly.  This could be quick oatmeal for the morning, homemade beagal bites, frozen meals, a meal-in-a-jar, granola, even candied ginger.  Check online and make a list of what to make.  Spend a day recovering, then enjoy for the rest of the month!
  • The Motivate-Me Trick:  Get a new cookbook with lots of beautiful pictures.  Seriously, a little motivation to cook for yourself just once in a while can make a huge difference in the quality of food going into your mouth.  For lots of lovely recipes, try The Migraine Cookbook: More than 100 Healthy and Delicious Recipes for Migraine Sufferers , or for more ideas and less pictures choose a book from The Headache and Diet connection
  • The Mad-Label-Reader Trick:  One thing that has made a huge difference in my diet is simply learning to read and understand food labels.  Learn more at The Migraineur's Quick Guide to Reading Food Labels
If just one of these tricks works for you, you've taken one step - just one step - to eating food that will be a little more you-friendly and migraine-fighting.  Which one will you try today?

A Rising Star: Butterbur

The herb butterbur is a rising star in the world of migraine treatment.  From something that very few had heard of ten years ago, butterbur has become one of the top migraine treatments out there.

An extract of the petasites hybridus root, butterbur is being recommended as a migraine preventative.  Not only is it one of the top treatments for adult migraineurs, it's recommended for children as well.

Few side effects have been associated with butterbur.  Burping and drowsiness are sometimes reported.

Recently, butterbur has risen to the top of the list when it comes to complementary treatment for migraine, in new guidelines just released.

As with any natural supplement, you need to be very careful where you buy it from.  Butterbur naturally has toxic alkaloids, which may damage your liver and even cause cancer.  So don't just buy the cheapest thing off the shelf - do your research first.  A well known brand is Petadolex, and you can also get butterbur combined with riboflavin, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10 in Migravent.

Typical doses range between 125mg and 150mg a day.  The Petadolex at the link above is 50mg, with a suggested dosage of 50mg three times a day for four weeks, then 50mg twice daily.

Say what?!  Alkaloid

An alkaloid is an organic compound containing carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and usually oxygen, which is derived usually from plants.  Alkaloids are "amines", so you'll often recognize their names, such as caffeine, nicotine, theobromine, codeine, etc.

Alkaloids may be good for you or bad for you.  Some have been of great medicinal use.  Toxic alkaloids are the ones you want to avoid.  Today we know of over 10,000 different alkaloids.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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