More on migraines- and seasonal decorations too!
Maddy here, just chiming in! I must admit to only an occasional perusal of
the list these last few months, as life continues to get increasingly more
chaotic, with one problem after another raining down upon us. But I couldn't let
this subject pass without offering my 2 cents. Maybe it will be able to relieve
someone else's terrible suffering.
Many doctors will tell patients that documented cases of food sensitivities
causing migraines are not common, but if you are the one whose migraines can be
controlled by certain food avoidance, you aren't likely to care how uncommon
A number of years ago I stumbled upon the Tyramine/migraine connection, and
the relief for me has been nothing less than profound. If you were to search
the 'Net you might find so much contradictory information about Tyramine that
you might be tempted to throw your hands up in despair and cast off the whole
thing. Trust me, don't give up! If you are Tyramine sensitive, you might find
that something you ate with impunity one day might cause an explosive migraine
the next time, and come to the conclusion that there is no connection. This can
have several explanations:
1- The amounts of Tyramine in any particular food can vary tremendously from
one batch to another. Further, Tyramine (and other amines as well) actually
increases the older a food gets, so a freshly cooked meal might not bother you,
whereas the leftovers, even though far from spoiled, might contain just enough
more Tyramine to spark a migraine, especially in combination with another
2- One's susceptibility is a "threshold" phenomenon, meaning that you might
be able to handle "X" amount of Tyramine, but if you climb over a certain
amount, you will react. So eating several servings of one or several foods high in
Tyramine can add up to a threshold dose. Also, eating small amounts several
days in a row can add up to the same thing.
3- Often one can have a delayed reaction, so that the migraine you get on
Friday could well be caused by something (or several things) you ate on Sunday,
Monday, and Tuesday. This makes it a very diffecult puzzle to discern the
connection and figure out the causes.
4- Each individual's degree of sensitivity can also vary from time to time,
depending on many other factors such as stress, illness, level of immunity, etc.
So what foods are high in Tyramine? The basic rule is that anything cured,
preserved, fermented, aged, etc. is suspect. The worst offenders are aged
cheeses (Parmesan, cheddar, Bleu, etc.) red wine, and smoked/cured meats (bacon,
ham, lox, smoked sausage, etc.). Very ripe bananas and avocados can be high also.
Other foods can be a problem as well, but they contain different chemicals. I
hate to be the one saying this, but chocolate is often a problem too!
Then there are environmental triggers to consider. Perhaps you can eat a
small amount of cheese and a piece of chocolate, but if someone near you is
smoking, or wearing strong perfume, the combination will send you over the edge. MSG
and Aspartame (Equal) can also be problems. The official position of the FDA
is that these chemicals have never been proven to cause the reactions that
people claim. But again, it doesn't matter if 1000 people don't react to
something, if you are the one who does!
About 15 years ago we were sitting at the kitchen table while my son mixed up
a pitcher of Crystal Lite drink, (sweetened with Aspartame). He was rather
sloppy, and the volatile powder reached my nostrils within seconds. So I
inadvertently got a hefty sniff that Crystal Lite, and within 30 seconds a migraine
started crawling up the back of my of my neck, up the left side of my head,
where my migraines occur 95% of the time.
Anyway, each person is going to be somewhat different, and will have to do
her own experimentation. The best thing to do is to keep a detailed food diary,
and when you get a migraine, look at EVERY morsel of food eaten within the
last week. And don't forget that one piece of Aspartame sweetened gum or breath
I have the URL to a website run by a woman in England who probably has the
most detailed information I have seen anywhere about food sensitivities. Anyway
who wants it, please email me and I'll send it on. (Including links in my
posts messes up the format when it gets to the list. Anyone know how I can address
this problem? Thanks!)
So, to justify this post as having something to do with gardening, I'd like
to mention a wonderful and very easy decoration I made. Now, I admit, it's not
exactly my original idea. I saw something similar in a catalog selling for an
incredible price, and decided I could do it myself. I made a huge star, about
25 inches across, from Weeping Willow branches and Ilex Verticilata berries.
(The inspiration piece in the catalog was made from grape vines and the
berries). I wired the main branches of the star together, then just started weaving
smaller branches all around it. Then I hot glued the berries on. It looks
beautiful hanging outside on a birch tree, where a spotlight shines on it at night.
I see some birds pecking at the berries, too! Now I'm making very small ones
(about 4 inches) as Christmas tree ornaments, and those I will coat with
Verathane so that they last.
OK, back to work!
Happy Holidays to All!
Hudson Valley, NY zone 5/6
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