from this place (our food journey)

from this place (our food journey)

 

We've been here before. It's true.

And here we are. Back again.

My sweet man has suffered from migraines since I can remember. At times they seem to vanish for months. Other times will have him carrying a nagging headache around for weeks. Months. With migraines scattered here and there. I don't want to belittle anyone, but from an observer's experience I can tell you two things that I know.

One: Migraines are misunderstood (both in culture and modern medicine).

Two: Migraines are debilitating. A person cannot function. They are not just a bad headache.

We've been to neurologists and allergists. We've sworn off possible trigger foods. We've been handed bottles of pills that made my husband feel like he had a buzz all day. Not so good for climbing lighthouses and inspecting boats. We've drastically changed the way we eat. We're active. But they keep coming back like an unwelcome guest. It is heartbreaking to see someone you love live with chronic pain.

I picked up this book mostly for some whole food recipe inspiration and sat reading the first few chapters nearly in tears. While I had thought of myself as fairly food wise, I had no idea that whole foods like good organic farm fresh eggs and small amounts of raw dairy could cause chronic migraines. No doctor we have seen in the past decade has suggested it either. Not one. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. But it does.

Here is another piece of our story…

When Luke was a baby, he had such bad tummy troubles that I finally swore off all eggs, dairy & soy until he was nearly two. And while he is now growing strong and healthy, his tummy still regularly bothers him. Nothing major… but enough to make a mama raise her eyebrow and wonder. 

I realize now that what is perfectly healthy whole food for one person might not be for another. And while I already understood this in terms of serious life threatening allergies…. I did not understand this in ways of mild auto-immune type symptoms that are harder to trace to their cause.

So in some ways I feel like we've stepped back to square one. We've pulled gluten, dairy, & eggs out of our diet. We feel strongly about eating even more green smoothies and nourishing plant foods in the months to come in hopes of finding some healing.

Somehow this feels like a big serious thing to bring here, to this place. But it's truly where we are. I feel very strongly that food and feeding my family is an extension of my love. It's something I hold dear and I am prepared to make whatever changes are necessary to nourish all of our bodies. I know too, that so many of you are on a similar food journey.

So today, I ask that you please share. Share food that makes you feel well. Recipes, books, and websites you use to find resources to feed the people you love.

Thank you~

xo

stephinie

 

26 thoughts on “from this place (our food journey)

  1. we have dealt with migraines with both the mr. and my eldest daughter and it is really, really difficult and frustrating. neurologists, eye doctors, you name it, nothing to cure the problem, just prescriptions to “manage symptoms.” we found that with my mr., it’s much more seasonally-related and allergy-related, and if he’s eating well and taking high doses of mg, he does better. my daughter’s were gut-related and oddly enough we made this discovery when we realized that when she had a bad migraine and sipped a bit of kombucha, she felt almost instantly better. we worked with a homeopath and changed her diet – added mg, a digestive enzyme, more fermented foods, and found her perfect headache remedy. it’s been a year since we first began our changes and she has been migraine-free since. anyway, i’ve rambled. i’m sorry. just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone 🙂

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  2. I definitely had fewer migraines (down from on and off for two weeks a month to one or two days a month, and much less severe) after ditching the gluten and dairy. But it’s so freaking easy to let a bit sneak in here or there. Or et lazy when we’re on the road. And then we pay for it. After the vegan month with Heather’s workshop, I feel amazing. Now I’m back to way too much cheese and a sandwich here and there . . . and then the depression started seeping through again. It’s hard to describe it, but there’s a definite fog that comes with the gluten and dairy. For me, at least.
    I love the whole life nutrition website. And So Delicious coconut creamer. 🙂

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  3. I feel his pain. Ive suffered from migraines since i was 10. In the last year theyve gotten alot worse. My hubby is concerned because of how many i get ( 2 a week.. sometimes more) As much as i dont like taking meds.. Ive found that Aleve works the best. 2 Aleve and a nap. Doesnt always get rid of them completely. But it takes the edge off. If i wake with a small headache and dont take some aleve.. by noon i feel like im dying. Cant open my eyes, cant move my head, cant talk, cold sweats and lots of face down staring into the toilet 😦 I hate it. Ive tried for years to pin point food triggers but the foods i thought gave me the aches… have turned out not too as ive gotten older. Very confusing. I need to try removing dairy which will be hard since im a sucker for cheese.
    Also another reason i have them is because of the damage in my neck from my accident a few years back. My neck is 14 degrees forward. Lots of traction and pain and possible surgery is what will fix that. Dont really know what to do about that on the headache part of it.. it wont fix my headaches but it would help them a little bit.
    But, youve brought up some good points about food and whatnot, Im going to do some research here and see what i can and can not eat. Its hard to say “yup, i can try eating just that type of stuff” because of my Crohns Disease.
    Hope his headaches get better!!!

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  4. Oh, you *know* I’m right there with you, Stephinie! And I sent you a long email yesterday, but would add a couple of things… First, I think that if there really is a food causing issues, it is important to know that you might have to be a lot more careful than you would ever think. Our GI doc. was really serious with us about making sure that our daughter didn’t have contact with any gluten at all- even microscopic amounts could cause issues. We discovered this first hand last spring when she got sick after eating food that was grilled on the same backyard grill that was used to make grilled bread for salad- a year before. Crazy. Granted, she actually has celiac which isn’t an allergy and is relatively high stakes in the scheme of things but still… We ended up having to get new cutting boards, wooden utensils etc. Anything with a porous surface had to go and we never, ever eat out. We’ve approached the whole thing seriously, and the results have been amazing. She is finally climbing the growth curve and has stopped having the constant aches and pains that she used to feel in her joints.
    That was a long paragraph!
    As far as resources go, I think that the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook is excellent for when you need to do some special occasion baking, and it can also be good for morale if your people are used to having a treat now and then and are especially sad about missing out on them. I also think that having an absolute ton of avocados handy is an excellent idea- we eat about ten a week between the four of us.

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  5. “Share food that makes you feel well”
    – I am wheat, dairy and egg-free, too.
    I love stirfries with shitaake mushrooms, pak choi, brocolli, mange tout, onion. With gluten-free soy sauce. Fried in rice bran oil, which I find very light and lovely. It has a high smoke temperature. I also love… roast veg.
    Slow-cooked casseroles – I eat meat – with gluten-free sausage with apple, and I add apricots and puy lentils along with leeks and some other veg. That makes a tasty feast.
    Also, wheat-free pasta with steamed veg.
    Simple boiled new potatoes with salt and pepper.
    Simple oven-chips which are just potato and sunflower oil. From time to time!
    I use apple puree as a sauce sometimes. Or organic apple/pear baby food.
    Drinking hot-warm water feels good, inbetween teas… Hazelnut milk with some hot water is like a pretend tea, and is lovely.
    Bio-Kult probiotics help me, as does Spatone Iron-rich water.
    Here in UK, some supermarkets are making good ranges of free-from ready-made foods now. Some of those leave me feeling good too!
    I’ve made some lovely cookies and cakes from the Allergen-free book, mentiond in previous comment, too.
    Wishing you all good equilibrium and tasty explorations on the way. xxxj

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  6. This is such a heartfelt post, and I’m thinking of you both as you navigate this.
    What I want to share is not a resource, but a way of being that has helped me in my own food journey.
    Trust yourselves.
    I believe that our own bodies hold the knowledge of our needs, and if we take time to listen, they will guide us.
    My aunt tells the story of my brother as a toddler with severe eczema eating as many avocados he could lay his hands on, because he craved them. But they also held the oils he so badly needed.
    I do not mean to brush aside the hardness of this situation for you or suggest that you clever people haven’t thought of this already.
    But reminders are always necessary, and no matter how many resources we read, we still have to come back to the reality of living in our bodies and the decisions we must trust ourselves to make.
    Take care,
    Fiona.

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  7. I really wanted to thank you for your honesty regarding the health issues your family faces and what you are doing to naturally help them. I found your previous blog post very helpful as recently I have been starting to pay a lot more attention to the subtle hints my body has been sending out, and things where way off balance. Not I have a flue off balance, but I have no energy and my guts don’t feel right and my muscles are tired. Little things that all add up. I will be reading the books you recommended and starting to implement changes into my life as well, including far less grains and dairy, and way more fruits and veggies. Without your post I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of looking at it from a dietary perspective quite as closely or known what tools to start looking into. So thank you.

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  8. I am so sorry that your man is dealing with this. I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 13 years old. After Violet was born, I fell ill with chronic vertigo- which after seeing 4 different specialists was determined to be a different ‘strain’ of migraine. There are times when the attacks are so frequent 3-4 times per week and I am more sensitive to changes in weather. For all of those years I was put on almost every medication available. All added new, undesirable symptoms. It wasn’t until I sought the counsel of a gastroenterologist for chronic and severe abdominal pain that it was suggested the pain (both in my head and gut) was food related. I had been eating yogurt with fruit everyday for lunch and that ended up being one of my biggest triggers (next to chocolate, as were the bananas in my yogurt). It was not just the fact that I was allergic to dairy (and lactose intolerant) but that the process used to make yogurt was a leading trigger. As soon as I cut back on the yogurt (I wasn’t a big dairy eater anyway) the symptoms started to dissipate a bit. I have tried to cut dairy completely out- but it’s difficult because it is hidden in so many products. I grabbed a handful of the kids’ animal crackers the other day- not even thinking to read the label and of course they were made with dairy and I instantly started to feel that twinge simultaneously in my head and gut. I had been under the care of a homeopath for years. She was wonderful and more knowledgeable than my primary care physician. Working with her was definitely a big step to restoring balance (even if only to be able to speak to someone who was sympathetic and knowledgeable). I have tried a couple of supplements to help prevent the frequency of the migraines. Feverfew worked fairly well as did Butterbur (which also helps with seasonal allergies). Most recently, because of a severe flare up of fibromyalgia, I have switched to lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) 480mg at bedtime. Since I started the lemon balm (about 2 months ago), I have not had a migraine attack and the symptoms of the fibromyalgia have lessened considerably.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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  9. I’m really glad you posted this. You have created such an wealth of community that I know it will help a lot of people knowing they are in the same boat. You’ve created such an amazing pinterest food board too!

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  10. Hi there! I’m so sorry that you guys are having to deal with these food “problems”, I know just how frustrating it can be as a mama who is trying to carefully feed our families only to find out it’s part of the problem. My youngest and I are really allergic to corn, and I have learned sensitive to gluten and dairy. I have somehow let it creep back in here and there (mostly just for the two who weren’t allergic, and then we all wound up eating it) and now my little guy has had two days of dreadful tummy problems. Back to square one. I hope you find success on your mission…your family will feel so much better! ❤

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  11. thank you for this. it sounds we've traveled similar paths seeking answers. you've inspired me to get in gear with making kombucha again. i know it's good for all of us! especially since we ditched our beloved yogurt. my brain is truly whirling around with so much information right now. all good, mind you. but just SO much of it. in truth, only time will tell. now i just need to keep on keeping on. (and pray for some patience!)

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  12. those are the two that I keep seeing over and over as culprits. which is fine with me. eggs are what i miss the most all ready! i do the same. i get lazy and let it sneak in. especially when we're out and about. this week i am ditching the gluten stuff so it isn't even tempting. the compost will get the last bits of flour. and have you tried that creamer with a bit of honey in chai tea? delicious!

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  13. I'm pretty sure ditching dairy/gluten would do your Crohn's a lot of good. I've read that several times. Joe's are migraines are that bad too. And you know? I hate to think any of our kids would ever suffer that way. So the food/allergy/diet thing is even more important to me. There are tons of great resources for eliminating gluten & dairy from your diet. I keep meeting person after person who says it was life changing for them. At least to live it 80% of the time. Much love to you on your journey as well. xoxo

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  14. He's been tested for everything. Not one allergy so far. But we can't find a Dr to do an ELISA test which I hear is better. We'd need to see a naturopath and pay out of pocket. There is no naturopath in our area and we just can't afford it right now. So I'm using that book as a guide and eliminating. I guess food sensitivities are sometimes impossible to test for too. *sigh* But I made some decent brown rice bread. The kids ate it up toasted and slathered in raw almond butter with their green smoothie this morning. I requested the allergen free cookbook from the library! Thank you. We've got birthday's coming up so I am hoping to find a cake to bake. And frosting of some sort too!

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  15. Thank you for sharing. The recipe ideas all sound delicious! We've been drinking water with lemon every morning upon waking and it really makes a difference. I'm hoping to make some coconut kefir soon too! It's certainly a whole new culinary adventure 🙂

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  16. I think we often forget that food is so important to our well being. I know I do. And I am *really* learning that food is different to each of us. What nourishes one can make another ill. Finding answers and balance is key. I hope you find healing on your journey with food….

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  17. Thank you Amy. This was very helpful. I am really hoping that we find some answers this way. I know it can take a few months for the body to heal, so now I just need to be vigilant and patient on this journey. Have I mentioned patience is not one of my strong points 🙂 I wrote down the herbs/supplements too. Thank you, thank you!!

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  18. It's frustrating and truly a bit emotional to know that something you are feeding your family is contributing to an illness. And such a guessing game to figure it all out? I'm glad to have some friends along this journey, for sure.

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  19. As another chronic migraine sufferer (although it comes in clusters and I’ve not had one for quite a few months – I ended up in hospital last autumn with them though) your husband certainly has my sympathy.
    With regards to the various gluten and dairy free foods available in supermarkets (I’m in the UK too), I would advise some caution as they can still have pretty junkie ingredients! I was dairy and gluten free for years (although not anymore).
    You could try checking out some Paleo sites regarding ideas of things to cook as they will be gluten and dairy free (well grains as a whole are a no-no, even the gluten free ones), although you’d have to avoid the eggs on there too, but might give you some ideas.
    I have a book by Arianna Bundy called “Sweet Alternative” from which I’ve made a few recipes. The book is gluten and dairy free, but does have eggs in (although I guess you could use an egg replacer?)

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  20. I'm hopeful eggs will not be the culprit! We plan to add them back in 2-3 months. I have looked at some paleo cookbooks for inspiration and yes on the avoiding junk food! Aside from the occasional treat, we really try to avoid anything that comes premade in a package. Right now I am getting my feet wet in the world of gf baking! It's like science for grown-ups 🙂

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  21. I just found your blog today and the connection is instant. I too suffer from migranes. I very specific form that doesn’t result in the painful headache as much as disorientation, vertigo, lack of energy and at it’s worse motion sickness from walking, driving myself in a car or even just “seeing”. I agree that it is misunderstood. People don’t understand that the effects last for weeks at times. I seem to go in cycles and so for me allergies and seasonal issues are at least part of the problem.
    Recently I went 8 weeks without a single headache. I didn’t even realize it had been so long until I had a headache. If only I knew what made them vanish for 8 weeks!
    It is mind-blowing to look at the lists of things that could be causes. I have come to terms that for each person headaches are personal and the triggers are different. I don’t think there is a single answer to this strange thing called migrane.
    For me a chiropractor does wonders and does sleep. I feel my triggers are lack of sleep, diet anything, caffiene, not eating (low blood sugar) and stress. I don’t see food as a source for me as much or perhaps it is just to big of an issue to get my hands around.
    I wish your husband and all of us that suffer luck. Please keep posting on your path with this. I would love to hear from others and you.

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  22. Thank you for sharing your story. I think you are right about everyone's trigger being different, it certainly takes a lot of searching and patience to find answers. Wishing you healing and wellness on your journey. (and yes, I do plan to share monthly updates for a few months!)

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  23. Where have I been? Somehow you got lost in my rss! I went gluten/grain free in the spring and forced my whole family on board this summer. It seemed silly that I felt so much better, but then let my kids eat what was making me feel like crap. We live in Wisconsin, so they might brand us heretics if we give up dairy, but I am thinking about it. I would love to hear what blogs you’ve discovered. I love all of Jennifer McLagan’s books, though not necessarily gf. I sort of stopped baking cold turkey. It used to be my profession and everything gf just seemed like a sad immitation, but I’ve recently started again. I made this:http://paleomg.com/caramel-cheesecake-minus-cheese/ and it was unbelievably good.
    And this: http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/2012/gluten-free-grain-free-chocolate-granola-recipe/ has filled the no-cereal hole.
    dude, I could talk about this all day. let’s email.

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  24. Hello there friend 🙂 Grain free? Wow. I don't know if I'm ready to jump of the grain wagon. I know my budget isn't for sure! But we're definitely making small tweaks here and there. Hoping to find some answers & healing. Those recipes look amazing!! I'm looking up the books as soon I am done typing too. I'd love to share and commiserate (oh how I miss cheese! and eggs!)… I'll be in touch~  xo

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