Closely monitor and log a wide variety of daily activities: foods consumed, amount of sleep, exercise, etc.
Identify actions that contribute to (or help) my migraines.
Strive to change only one item at a time in order to more easily determine what does and does not impact my headaches.
Project start: Feb 9, 2017
Significant reduction in frequency and intensity of migraines
Reduction of use of prescription migraine pills from 5-7/month to 1-3/month
Learnings: What I Need To Do To Keep My Migraine Rate Low
Avoid foods on my Migraine Trigger list (below). These are foods I have definitively found cause headaches for me.
Eat foods from my Migraine Safe list (below) - adding one unsure or untested food every couple of days.
Eat heartily during the day. (Prior to this program I would eat things like salads and fruit between breakfast and dinner. This left me famished in the evening, which lead to heavy eating late at night.)
Do not skip meals.
Have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. (Low blood sugar between meals tends to be a headache trigger.)
Eat no high-sugar desserts any time after dinner - ever. (e.g. Cake, Cookies, Pie, Ice Cream, Sorbet, the majority of restaurant desserts, etc.)
Consume no calories after 9:00PM. (I sleep better on an empty stomach.)
Go to bed no later than 1:00AM. Going to bed too late results in unrestful sleep. I'm convinced a deep, restful sleep is a key part of being headache free.
Eliminate daily consumption of caffeine. Caffeine is a great headache cure. However in order to work it must cause a spike/stimulus of the nervous system. Daily caffeine consumption reduces the ability for caffeine to stimulate the system....because you already have a chronic high level of caffeine in the system. My first action when I get a headache is to take 2 Excedrin and a cup of caffeinated coffee. Most of the time this cures the headache.
When possible sleep or nap after taking prescription headache medicine.
Jim's Migraine Trigger Foods
Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken (They're loaded with a variety of things, including lots of salt.)
Raw Citrus (Lemon or Lime - including the juice).
Balsamic Vinegar - especially Balsamic reductions
Asian food eaten in restaurants. (I presume either soy sauce used in cooking or MSG is the culprit.)
Pizza (I believe this is a result of the high carbs in the crust.)
Processed Meat: Deli meat, pepperoni, bacon, etc.
Processed foods that have MSG, Nitrites, Nitrates, etc. (e.g. a pre-packaged Tandoori Chicken spice caused me problems.)
Jim's Migraine Safe Foods
Meat & Fish
Sausage I cook myself (i.e. it doesn't have preservatives)
Red / Yellow / Green Pepper
Yogurt (Lightly sweetened. I eat Greek Gods Honey flavored - the full fat version.)