A Wahls’ Warrior Approach to Eliminating Migraines
A guest post from Wahls Warrior Alene Brennan:
The first time I met with a neurologist was in elementary school.
I had no idea that MS was in my future decades later.
The topic of discussion was migraines – debilitating migraines. I had more migraine days than non-migraine days in a month.
I was on a rainbow of medication and often hospitalized. Then my neurologist casually handed me a list of foods that “may trigger migraines.”
The conversation was so nonchalant, it was almost as if the neurologist didn’t believe it himself. However, something inside me knew this was my way out of this nightmare.
I started myself on an elimination diet – and within weeks the migraines were less frequent and less debilitating.
The migraines that previously had me rushed to the emergency room were being managed by the foods on my plate.
Why was this not mentioned in my first migraine appointment?
And why were more doctors not talking about this?
It’s a question I still ask myself decades later.
Another question I ask is why was I not told that migraines could be an early indicator of autoimmune disease – especially MS?
The connection of MS and migraines has not been extensively researched but it has been suggested that individuals with chronic migraines later go on to develop an autoimmune disease and individuals diagnosed with MS are more likely to experience migraines. (Lucky us, huh?)
But the good news is that you may have more control over migraines than you realize.
If you’re reading this, you’re either already a Wahls Warrior or at least interested in using food as medicine. And the even better news is that a lot of the foundational steps to the Wahls Protocol support a migraine management plan.
As a nutrition coach certified in the Wahls Protocol, the plan I create for my clients with MS and migraines always starts with the Wahls Protocol. We then complement it with uncovering their unique migraine triggers.
Everyone’s triggers for migraines can be different, as is the tolerance of each trigger.
For example, some may be triggered by irregular sleep patterns. Personally, this was a light bulb moment for me years ago when I always got headaches on the weekends and vacation. It was a combination of different sleep habits and the release of stress – also known as “letdown headaches.”
Others may be triggered by chemicals in their environment such as cleaning products, perfumes, or bath and beauty products. So, I walk the individual through the process of a DIY detox of their home products.
Then there are food triggers. Beyond the typical culprits of gluten, dairy, alcohol, processed meats, and food additives, there are even some “healthy” foods like nuts, bananas and citrus fruits can trigger migraines for some people.
The key is uncovering your individual triggers and creating a plan to eliminate them.
Most of all, know that you have the ability to reduce your risk of migraines through diet and lifestyle. It’s certainly helpful to have someone guide you through the process, but it can be done and it is worth it. (To help you along, you can receive my list of Top 10 Most Overlooked Migraine Triggers.)
We may experience significant health challenges, but it’s important to remember that nature supports us with tools to assist in our healing. It’s upon us then to empower ourselves with these tools to improve our health.
You can start with small changes but as the quote says, “do something today that your future self with thank you for.”
Beyond food, Alene empowers individuals with the use of doTERRA essential oils to help manage physical symptoms, emotional wellbeing and reduce the toxic load in their home. Essential oils are a natural extension of the food is medicine approach – or as Alene says, “Less Pharm, More Table.”
Alene holds four certifications: Nutrition Coach, Natural Food Chef, Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer and two specialty certifications in the Wahls Protocol and the Autoimmune Protocol. In addition to these certifications, she has great insight in the food and healthcare industry having lead a 12-year corporate career working for Fortune 500 Companies such as Campbell Soup and Aramark and Virtua.
She has been featured in USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Mind Body Green and on Fox News.