The Path That Led Me Here
Oh goodness. I think you sleuths know that I tend to walk in openness, honesty and vulnerability when it comes to describing my health journey. Opening the door that I’m about to was not an easy or flippant decision for me, but one that I think is valuable to share. It is about my daughter. She is nine years old and a complete treasure.
At age six, she was diagnosed with migraines. At age eight, she started having severe visual abnormalities such as blobs covering her vision, “lightning strikes” in her field of vision, colored dots and most concerning her vision would swap. Meaning what was on the right hand side of the room would now look as though it were on the left hand side. As these alarming symptoms continued to increase in severity, we were going to various doctors, getting blood work done, an MRI and then we got a diagnosis…MIGRAINES!
Perplexed Doesn’t Even…
I couldn’t believe it! I was relieved but perplexed. The pediatric neurologist went on to share that you can get a migraine virtually anywhere in the body and it seemed as though she as experiencing retinal migraines along with traditional ones. He explained that having four migraines (including migraine phenomenon) more than four times a month would be classified as severe and recommended lifestyle changes and medication. She was experiencing migraine phenomenon at least four times a day! He advised her to drink more water, get good sleep, eat a low tyramine diet, wear sunglasses while out in the sun and some other tidbits. He gave us a low tyramine diet for her to follow and a migraine log to track any symptoms of migraines and their severity.
What We Opted For And The Low Down On Tyramine
I am not one to hop on the pharmaceutical bandwagon right away, so I told him that we would change up her diet some and work on the other lifestyle changes (if I had a dime for every time I’ve told her to drink more water or wear her sunglasses I would be a baller) and reconvene in about two months to see how things were going and he respected our decision.
I then got looped into the world of tyramine. First off, I had never heard of it. Then after researching it I was left in a flood of confusion. The lists were not comprehensive and not only that, one list over here would say to avoid this food and another would say that food was permissible. I was contacting Universities and hospitals and they were all conflicting in their information. I vowed to put my sleuth hat on and crack this tyramine code for my daughter and for the rest of us migraine sufferers…but fate stepped in.
I happened upon Stephanie Weaver online one night and I saw that she was called the “Migraine Expert”. With my interest piqued and hoping maybe she had some answers, I e-mailed her. I inquired if she had cracked the tyramine code and if the recipes in her new book could be conformed to Paleo (my daughter is pretty much a Paleo kid). What followed, was the most wonderful and genuine response. I could feel her compassion for my daughter and she offered to send me a copy of “The Migraine Relief Plan” to see if it helped and that many of the recipes could be made to fit the Paleo diet.
When the book arrived, I devoured it. In the first part of the book, Stephanie shares about her own story with migraines, headaches and Meniere’s disease. I was so appreciative of her honesty and for the inside look at her journey. As the book continued to unfold, it turned into one of my most favorite health and wellness books and I’ll tell you why.
The In’s And Out’s
This book is packed with lots of information, but it is presented in a simple and palatable way. I never felt overwhelmed or swallowed up by it. As an author and recipe creator, Stephanie is very thoughtful about how she presents all of this information. It is all very well appointed.
I love that she lays out a comprehensive 1-8 week transition plan as well as strategies for months 3-6. She includes a symptom/food/sleep/movement tracker, shopping lists, meal planning guide, lifestyle tips, lots of wonderful research and findings. I love that she also covers the gamut of life and talks about eating out, planning to fail, what she orders at Starbucks. You know, those practical day-to-day tid bits!
Plus, her recipes! Folks! They be good! Once again her intentionality and thoroughness comes shining through. The recipes are unique, flavorful and unexpected.
My fellow Paleo peeps: There are 78 recipes in the book. All of which are gluten free and sugar free. There are 72 recipes that are dairy-free and 59 recipes are grain-free, so you will have plenty of dishes to choose from.
Here are a couple of stand out recipes from the book to give you a sneak peek at the recipe side of things.
One Of Our Faves
One of our favorite recipes has been the Smoky Butternut Squash Soup. We have made this several times and OMG y’all! It is fab! I love that she used 2 “surprise” ingredients in this that sent the flavor over the top. I’m not going to reveal to you the recipe for this one, but the $13 price tag on Amazon is worth this recipe alone! But, here is a pic!
*Side Note: We typically add more salt to the recipes since sodium doesn’t trigger our daughter.
This book is packed and I feel it should retail at over $30 (at least). I’m not saying this to score points with the author. I’m not saying this flippantly. Today alone, I referred to the glossary and appendix a few times…that’s packed too! Since we have implemented this diet and have done several other lifestyle changes, my daughter has not had one migraine or visual anomaly! Not one! She has had 3 headaches in the past month and a half that were triggered by lack of water and lots of activity in the sun (with no sunglasses), but no migraines! She went 7 months with non-stop, daily migraine activity. This is HUGE!
I am enormously grateful for Stephanie and “The Migraine Relief Plan” in countless ways. I didn’t have to be on the case when it came to low tyramine food, I had a guide map and didn’t have to reinvent the wheel and my most favorite thing is that my daughter is not in pain or suffering in the ways she was before. This book as helped ease anxiety and the overwhelm that can come with a diagnosis, diet change and more. If you know of anyone suffering with any kind of migraine disorder, I simply cannot recommend this book enough. We have been enormously blessed because of it.
About The Author of The Migraine Relief Plan
Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. She has a Master of Public Health in Nutrition Education from the University of Illinois. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego.
To stay up-to-date on our product reviews and investigations, join our sleuthy community!
Do you struggle with migraines? What helps you?
(Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here).
Reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Plan, copyright 2016 Stephanie
Weaver. Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, Inc.
Recipe photography copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar