As a migraine warrior, I walk a thin line every day. I best avoid triggers when I vary little from my daily routines. Not too much or too little sleep, not too much or too little food, not too much or too little caffeine, and limited exposure to glares and certain odors.
A change in household cleaning supplies, hair care products, or laundry detergent can mean the introduction of a new smell that can turn out to be a trigger. Once I find products that work for me, I stick to buying only those items.
The same concept applies to food as well. A couple of decades ago, I began experiencing mild migraine episodes for 4 or 5 days in a row. Though common for chronic migraine warriors, this was not the norm for me.
The first question I asked myself was, “What have I changed?”
A mental rundown of my daily routines led me to the answer. Cereal. Bored with my usual breakfast, I had been eating cereal filled with a plentiful scoop of raisins. I took a quick peek at a list of potential migraine food triggers, and I discovered raisins were on the list.
I immediately stopped eating the tasty, raisin-laced cereal and my migraines went back to their normal frequency. That’s what I get for varying my routine. It was fun while it lasted.
I wish my food triggers could be foods I don’t enjoy, like raspberries or cauliflower. I’d love to say I can’t substitute riced cauliflower for jasmine rice for medical reasons. That’s not how it works though.
I can occasionally have a handful of raisins and a banana, but I must be careful of how much and how often. I must be mindful of veering too far off my normal course of life. I must make sacrifices to keep myself participating in living.
My oldest known trigger is changes in my eating pattern. I require three meals a day at specific intervals. If I miss my window of opportunity for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then I risk triggering an episode. I remind myself that I lose more time combatting an episode than I consume by taking the time to eat.
Water is another element of interest in staving off a migraine. I don’t know what the scientific stance is on the relationship between migraine illness and water, but it seems like I’m more likely to have an episode if I haven’t been drinking enough water.
Hydration is important to good health of all kinds, at all stages of life. It makes sense water could be a healthy component of migraine prevention as well.
Though migraine prevention is often a rigid endeavor, there’s room for branching out and trying new foods. But there’s not a large amount of wiggle room. I must be mindful of the impact of changes on my routine, but expanding my horizons is also important to living a healthy life.
In all things balance. That’s the key really. Balancing the thin line between living with migraine and plain living is where we migraine warriors often find ourselves. We each must decide which rewards are worthy of sacrifice and develop daily routines that best fit who we are.
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