I have battled migraines for over a decade now. Before me, my mother had them so badly that she would lock herself in her bedroom all day, only coming out to vomit. She saw many, many doctors and had lots of imaging done of her head and brain trying to find a solution, but never found any cause or relief. And now here I am with the same problem. I wrote about my migraines in great detail in this post last year; part of the reason I am carefully adding food groups back in as I transition off Medifast is to figure out what, exactly, could be the cause of the migraines.
You see, before I started Medifast, I had headaches every single day. Yep, every. The doctors were concerned. It's not "normal", they told me. They did all kinds of tests but found nothing wrong. Yet the migraines persisted. And then I started Medifast and they stopped. No more migraines at all! It seemed like a miracle to me. And even when I had 'off' days and as I have changed over to whole foods, the migraines didn't come back. But this week, they came back with a vengeance. I woke up with a migraine every single day this week, including today. It is almost debilitating. I have head pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and sometimes visual disturbances. I take pain medication which sometimes helps take the edge off. But I have had to stop and wonder: WHY? Why now, why this week, what has changed that my migraines have come back full force? Why did I not have them AT ALL on Medifast? I don't think there is any 'magic' in those Medifast packets, so it has to be something that I had eliminated during that diet and have added back in now.
Now, to figure out the mystery.
I know it is not stress, lack of sleep, or allergies because I still had all those things while I was doing Medifast but the migraines were gone almost completely for two years.
I thought it could be soy withdrawal, which someone suggested to me on Facebook and the symptoms do fit, BUT I had the migraines before starting to use soy so there is something else going on here. Plus my mother didn't eat soy. I believe there is some genetic component that involves a food sensitivity.
I know it is not meat, fish, eggs, dairy, healthy fats, nuts, artificial sweeteners, or vegetables because I ate those daily while on Medifast and never got a migraine.
I know it is not fruit, because I added that back in weeks ago and did not have a problem.
So what, exactly, did I add back in recently?
1. Two weeks ago I added in beans and legumes.
2. One week ago, I added in grains.
Hmmm. Well, looking back over this week I see that more than just oatmeal was added. I had been considering adding grains back in (as that is recommended in Transition) and without actually making that decision, this week I ALLOWED myself to have a bite here, a little there. I had a couple of crackers one day. A slice of bread with dinner another day. A bit of pasta was the first wheat I added a little more than a week ago, which you may recall if you follow me on Twitter where I sometimes post my meals. In fact, my tweet was, "Casserole provided for dinner: chicken breast, pasta, peas, celery, other veggies in there, Parmesan. Will see if the pasta agrees w/me!" Huh. Well maybe it didn't agree with me after all, because after adding this stuff back in, the migraines returned.
Now I am starting to believe the migraines could be caused by wheat or gluten or grains in general. Maybe I have a gluten sensitivity, or grain intolerance, or maybe it's just wheat. Hard to tell! But since the migraines came back so strong and hard this week after having some wheat, pasta, and bread here and there, I am gonna go with the theory that the two are somehow connected.
Transition has been somewhat like an elimination diet for me, adding things back in gradually to see how they affect my body. I am going to take advantage of that! My plan this week is to pinpoint the cause of my migraines. The only thing I am going to change is to take grains back out. No more bites of pasta, slices of bread, or crackers. In fact I am not going to eat any grains at all. I have a notebook and am going to simply make a list of the foods I eat everyday and whether or not I have any kind of headache. If the headaches go away with the grains, then I will know. If not, I will go forward with cutting out beans and legumes, too.
Here's hoping this works!