Comfort Foods for Migraine

By Brittany

One of the most common side effects of migraine are nausea and loss of appetite. The two go hand in hand, or can be individual symptoms. Luckily, my nausea rarely escalates (I feel for you those of you who struggle!) but it is the symptom that has been with me almost daily since my concussion 3 years ago.

Within the first 4 weeks of my concussion, I lost 10 pounds thanks to debilitating nausea. Previously an avid meat eater, the sight of it in those first few weeks was simply too much to bear. Everything turned my stomach and I basically lived off cereal.

Eventually, I was able to introduce more normal food and meats back into my diet, but I got really good at listening to what my body wanted in forms of food, primarily using visual cues (“you eat with your eyes first” is absolutely real for me now).

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The nausea never really went away, though. Often times it’s more annoying and nerve wracking than my pain. I’ve tried all the remedies I could think of to get it under control, from ginger to peppermint tea, to peppermint oil on my stomach, throat and temples, to Gravol (only at bedtime though, because it wouldn’t actually take my nausea away, just made me sleep so I couldn’t notice it anymore) to countless prescription nausea medications, just to name a few.

My current nausea medication is Metonia, and it works great! The downfall though, as with most medication I’ve ever been prescribed, is I can’t take it more than 3 times per week. It goes with me almost everywhere I go, but I save it for extreme times. It only lasts 4 hours so there are a lot of factors that go into the decision to take it.

Sometimes if I eat something, it pushes the nausea down for up to 20 minutes, other times it doesn’t. Sometimes it takes my appetite away completely and there’s nothing to do but wait for it to pass. As you can imagine, or have no doubt experienced yourself, if you’re a chronic migraineur, fueling the body properly can be a real challenge.

One of my favorite coping mechanisms for chronic migraine is unleashing my creative side with cooking and baking. Ever since I was a little girl, it’s been one of my favorite things to do. Coming from a tight-knit family and country background, I learned from the best, those people being my grandma and my mom. In high school I actually aspired to be a chef, but eventually I decided that lifestyle wasn’t for me, and I went on to pursue other ventures. However, being in the kitchen is something I still hold near and dear to my heart.

Some days I can’t even bring myself to even make a piece of toast, but other days I get a hint of creative energy and my pain takes a back burner while I release that energy in the kitchen. I love to try new recipes, particularly when I crave “clean” and “green” (when my migraine isn’t craving sweet and/or salty), but especially recipes with healing and comforting properties.

Thankfully, I don’t have any food triggers for migraine, but I know a lot of people do. If any of the ingredients in the recipes below can trigger your migraine, don’t try this at home! Hopefully they give you comfort the same way they do to me.

Breakfast has always been one of the hardest meals of the day for me, and I get sick of the “same old, same old” really easily, but I’ve come up with an awesome recipe that makes breakfast super easy and low maintenance in the morning!


Overnight Oats Recipe

There’s a decent amount of protein in these overnight oats, along with fiber, antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fatty acids from the chia seeds. My morning staple, to go with this, is organic french press coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon brewed in with the grounds.

Cinnamon is my favorite spice and has many healing properties and benefits. Being high in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties is definitely the frontrunner, but it may also help the body fight infections, repair tissue damage, ease muscle tension and might even give some people relief from headaches!

If coffee is a trigger for you, there are many other ways to add cinnamon into your beverages or baking. Sometimes I even put it in my smoothies!

Instructions:

Ready in 5 minutes + overnight

Serves: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or your choice of milk
  • Drizzle of maple syrup, or your choice of sweetener

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar or Ziplock container.
  2. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 6 hours.
  3. Top with fruit or enjoy on its own!

     

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup Recipe

 

My other new favorite recipe is easy and cheap to make. This soup has an incredible combination of flavors in it, and tastes like a healing and calming hug in a bowl!

Ginger is one of the most commonly used anti-emetics. I don’t find it quite as versatile to use daily like cinnamon, but it also has many of the same healing properties such as being high in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties, it may also help ease muscle tension, and is well known for aiding in digestion.

Ginger pairs well with turmeric as well, which is also well known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties too. I love to use fresh grated ginger in tea, cooking and baking, rather than the powdered ginger. It has such a comforting aroma to it and instantly makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

If you’re into gingerbread cookies this holiday season, try swapping out powdered ginger for fresh. You’ll have the most tender gingerbread cookies of your life!

Instructions:

Ready in 40-50 minutes

Serves 4 bowls

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • ½  white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 carton vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a medium sized pot, saute the fresh ginger, garlic and onion in coconut oil, until onions are soft and the combination of aromas make you want to do a nose dive into the pot (not recommended though), approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add in chopped carrots and the whole carton of vegetable broth.  Let simmer on medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes, until carrots become soft enough to put a fork through.
  3. Once carrots are soft, add in the can of coconut milk and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Using an emulsion handheld blender, regular blender or NutriBullet (that’s what I have), blend all the ingredients until smooth consistency.  
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy the perfect balance of flavors that will sit on your palette for the rest of the day and keep you going back for more and more of this warm, comfort soup.

With pain, nausea, and energy levels changing so frequently, it’s important for me to keep my body fueled with foods that not only support me, but are also low maintenance for the times my creative energy is but a dull flicker.

I’m always looking for new and healing recipes to try, so please feel free to reach out to me and share what’s in your healing recipe book as well!

 

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