Saturday, January 15, 2011

Migraines and the vegan diet...update

If you have glanced at my profile, you might have noticed that one of the main driving reasons to our family joining the vegan world was to try and alleviate my husbands relentless migraines. In the past we had tried multiple remedies, ranging from conventional medications (totally ineffective) to chiropractic care (a wonderful addition to our lives and one we still regularly use but not a remedy for the migraines), natural supplements (ineffective), taking Juice Plus+ (whole food supplement - in short, fruits and veggies in a capsule --- effective in reducing them and greatly improving overall health but not effective in eliminating the migraines)...nothing worked totally and completely. Over the years, we have been able to pinpoint his main triggers - dehydration, consumption of foods containing nitrates/nitrites (a preservative found in preparred meats such as bacon, smoked sausage, lunch meat etc), lack of sleep, overexertion (during workouts mainly), and stress. For the most part, we were able to stay on top of these triggers but the migraines continued. Sooo - we converted to a mainly vegan diet. As we continued eating vegan, the migraines faded almost completely. Most times my husband would eat meat (as a treat), a migraine would emmerge. Time progressed and the pattern continued - when he would enjoy a meal containing meat while at work or at someone else's house, he would get a migraine. Every once in a while, a migraine would be caused by one of his other triggers unavoidably (lack of sleep or high stress). The connection has been amazing. My husband agreed to try the "vegan thing" for a week - we are now on month 6! He is vitually migraine-free and we are loving the vegan lifestyle. I am learning more and more how to make things that our family loves and we are all enjoying good health. Though diet can be a challenging area to change, it is integral in every health condition! Every health challenge will be affected positively by the way one eats - it may not cure the problem but it will improve it to some extent. More on this in a later post! AND for those who don't believe a change in diet is possible, my husband is living proof that even meat-eaters can learn to love this way of eating. He comes from a family of meat-lovers and he has always loved meat too. He now eats meat as a treat a couple times a month but loves eating vegan the rest of the time...I never thought I would say that! For now, suffice it to say, our diet transformation has been more than worth it!


  1. I recently was advised by the doctor to try the vegan diet for my allergies and migraines.
    How long did it take for migraines to completely go away once your husband starting his vegan diet?

  2. Is it just actual meat that triggers a migraine or any animal product (eggs, cheese, etc)?

  3. The food and meds we ingest takes a major toll in our health. That being said, it’s only logical that you look first into your diet when you feel that’s there something wrong with your body. So, kudos to both of you for figuring out that the over consumption of meat was actually the main culprit for your husband’s relentless migraines. I hope this major transformation in his lifestyle did great in improving his overall wellness!

    Agnes Lawson @ MedWell Spine


Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.