Friday, May 31, 2013

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor...Happy

We all know the phrase: an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what does it mean? How can apples be so beneficial that we don't have to see the doctor anymore? Not only are they diverse and delicious, but they have so many vitamins and nutrients.

1. Biting and chewing apples stimulates the production of saliva, which reduces tooth decay. Even though apples are acidic, they offer cleansing and brightening qualities. The fiber rich peel assists the acid for a winning smile. Although apples are great for teeth, don't forget to brush! That acid and sugars need to be cleaned off.

2. A new study shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer's away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Apples also protect you from Parkinson's disease and certain cancers.

3. Eating an apple a day as an in between meal snack is also a way to control hunger. The large amount of fiber takes a long time to digest so a person feels fuller longer. So you won't grab that piece of afternoon candy and you're waistline will thank you.

4. Women who war at least one apple a day are 28% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don't eat apples. Apples have tons of soluble fiber which helps control blood sugar swings. As a hypoglycemic, I enjoy this benefit a lot!

5. Just like the red in a red delicious, your red heart loves apples too. The soluble fiber binds with fats in the intestines to lower cholesterol levels and slow the build up of cholesterol in arteries. 

6. The fiber in apples help your digestion system by reducing diarrhea and constipation. By staying away from dairy (which is part of the headache diet) and fatty foods, you can reduce irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids. 

The list goes on and on and on. The great thing about apples is you can cook them or eat them alone. I enjoy dipping mine in caramel or cooking slices with cinnamon for extra flavor. How do you enjoy apples? 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Migraine Dreams

Yesterday was what I call a "bad head day." On top of beautiful Midwest weather triggers I had hormone triggers too. I went to sleep around 4:30 in the afternoon and woke up at 8:00 this morning. In the time I was in "migraine coma" I had some crazy dreams. I should have had a pen and paper by my bed because it might make for a good movie:

My dad and I were wrongfully accused of murder so we were on the run. I had to buy a new iPad and change my name so we couldn't be traced. (Strange so far) My dad ended up being caught but I escaped and this time I had my dog with me. Not sure how that happened. I then helped someone dig a grave and stayed with them to earn some money. I woke up after my dog and I started going down a trail next to a putt putt golf course to find a new home.

Any other migraineurs have crazy dreams when you're in migraine coma?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sweet Tooth Remedies on the Headache Diet

As many of you know, chocolate is now considered a no-no while on the Headache Diet. How many of you mourned that loss? I know I did! While I do get a piece of chocolate about once a week (sometimes you need your chocolate), there are other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Fruit: Some headache diet fruits are naturally sweet such as strawberries, peaches, mangoes, and blueberries. By adding these to your dairy free ice cream, you have a healthy and sweet dessert. Strawberries are my favorite and now that they are in season, they are affordable. 

Caramel: Yes, caramel does contain dairy, but a little bit to sweeten your treat won't hurt. If it does, then discontinue. I enjoy caramel on my apple slices for a quick, sweet treat.

Stevia: Instead of Sweet N Low (contains aspartame), use the natural sweetener, Stevia. 

Sorbet: A fruit sorbet (strawberry is my favorite) has a lovely taste to satisfy any sweet tooth. This is a good substitute for ice cream. 

Dairy Free Ice Cream: The brand, So Delicious, has a great line of soy and coconut ice creams for the dairy free dessert lover. I enjoy the vanilla soy ice cream and add fresh strawberries. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

What headache diet friendly sweet tooth foods have you found?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Diary of a Mad...Migraineur

I attended a Migraine Chat on Wednesday while stuck on the couch with a migraine. The subject was something I've been struggling with for a while: guilt. With all the cancellations and calling in sick, I had so much guilt that I didn't know what to do about. One fellow migraineur offered advice that helped her: write it down. She writes down her feelings as she feels them in a notebook that goes everywhere with her. What a great idea! We often forget things throughout the day so why not see what I'm feeling before, during, and after my attacks. Plus, what are my symptoms and thoughts about them?

Thursday May 9, 2012

4:00 a.m. - I couldn't sleep at all the entire night so I might as well be up for the day. While watching infomercials and music videos, I made a nice bowl of cereal with soy milk. At about 6:00 a.m., I couldn't take it anymore: I had to get out of there.

6:30 a.m. - As I arrive at work, I feel extremely nauseated and hungry. Wait a minute, I just ate! It's like I can't eat enough to be satisfied. As I chomp on my apple, I am experiencing off and on dull pain.

8:00 a.m. - My neck starts to strain as if my shoulders are constantly shrugged and someone keeps pushing them. The pain in my head is like a light switch, going on and off in an instant. The hum of the fluorescent lights are driving me batty!

10:00 a.m. - I am thankful for my fellow migraineurs on Twitter sharing the same woes as me. I don't feel so alone. They know what I'm going through and don't judge me.

11:00 a.m. - Sharp pain the middle of my forehead as if somone is poking me with their finger repeatedly. What an annoying feeling!

11:15 a.m. - As I'm walking, I start to feel like I'm going to voming but I'm also extremely hungry. Wait, I just ate an apple on top of the breakfast I had earlier!

11:30 a.m. - My head feels so heavy while I'm walking. My body is swaying side to side as if I'm drunk.

12 noon - After eating a sandwich, my energy starts to return. Maybe it's blood sugar? As I'm feeling frustrated, I start thinking I should see a therapist about everything. I start researching what my insurance covers and the cost out of pocket. What about hypnotherapy and acupuncture?

12:30 p.m. - I think I need a karaoke night. My pain level finally went down as I refilled my water glass for a third time.

1:00 p.m. - Stomach starts doing back flips again. I'm back to the light headed wobbly feeling. Now my back starts to ache and both temples are at a constant throb.

1:45 p.m. - Onset of migraine in the back of my head, having a sharp and dull pain. Pain level is at a 6 so I take my Gabapentin, Naproxen, and Axert. I hate having to rely on pills when I'm in pain. Makes me feel weak. I wish my body was "normal." Start getting sharp pain in the back of the neck with throbbing on both sides of my head continuing. Eyes start drooping and face gets flushed.

2:00 p.m. - At this point, I'm debating on going home for the day. It's been a long one and I have class in the evening while going on no sleep. I don't want to appear "weak" and let people down at work though. Two more hours and I should be okay. Then I start to see spots. Might not be a good idea to drive. Pain level increases to 7 plus back ache, side cramp, sore neck, sore shoulders, and body drained of energy.

2:10 p.m. - My head feels like my brain is playing bumper cars with my skull. Sharp pain randomly with temples still throbbing slightly. Pain has the light switch effect again going from 3 to 7 instantly.

2:25 p.m. - Can't take it anymore so I head home.

3:00 p.m. - As I get home, I take a short 2 hour nap. My dog peed on the carpet and then curls up next to me.

5:00 p.m. - I wake up from my nap and know immediately I'm going to make it to class. I'm in way too much pain.

6:00 a.m. on Friday - I wake up. Oh my goodness! I slept all night! My poor dog probably went nuts. She's still curled up next to me though.

It was quite a day, but I did learn a lot about how I felt and what I was going through. I'm not going to post my day all the time, but on days that unusual or "bad" attacks occur, I might summarize. This notebook idea has helped me and I hope you try it :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Squash: The Best Vegetable You Hardly Use

When I was a kid, I always turned my nose to squash. It looked weird and I didn't really know how to eat it. Now that I'm an adult and cook with a very restrictive diet, I need to be reintroduced. There are so many to choose from: summer squash, winter squash, butternut squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, gourds, banana squash, butternut squash, yellow crook-neck, yellow straight-neck, and so many more. All of them have their specific benefits and their ways to be cooked. This versatile vegetable is one I recommend to all those who want to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

I started out with zucchini because it seems like the "easiest" squash to be acquainted with. After cutting it up, I mix it with other veggies and meats as a stir fy. Of course, I'm using a preservative-free soy sauce to keep the clean and delicious. Make sure to be MSG-free! You can't even taste it! The great part about zucchini is it absorbs all the nutrients and flavors of what you're cooking while grabbing a watery taste when you chomp down. One cup of zucchini has 36 calories and 10% of the daily fiber requirement. The daily fiber of zucchini aids in digestion, prevents constipation (a common migraine woe), maintains low blood sugar, curbs overeating, lowers cholesterol, and reduces the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BCH). One great thing about zucchini to a migraineur is the potatssium found can help lower blood pressure (one of my problems), provide vitamin A and C for antioxidants, reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and helps the body metabolize protein. When cooking zucchini, you can eat it on its own, add to salads, or use to make bread. Since it doesn't really have a taste, you won't even know it's there!

The next squash I tried was spaghetti squash and boy am I in LOVE! I've had friends and family that tried to get me to try it and I just couldn't imagine how a non pasta would taste better than pasta. I'm a believer now! First, I cut it in half. Next, I added garlic salt for taste (and more benefits). After cooking in the oven for about 20 minutes, I was ready to scrape the insides. It really does look like spaghetti noodles. How neat! I then sauteed mushrooms to add with the spaghetti squash. After tasting, I couldn't imagine life without it. There are so many benefits to spaghetti squash like all the vitamins. One squash contains Vitamin A, C, B-6, K, thiamin, riboflavin (one I am deficient in), niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid. Manganese, potassium, magnesium (a mineral migrainuers need), calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and selenium are also in this amazing vegetable. Just like zucchini, spaghetti squash contains daily fiber intake of 9%. Fiber helps in weight reduction as it makes you feel fuller longer. Only 42 calories and 10 carbs in 1 cup serving, you can add this to any diet. So many benefits in an amazing vegetable. The outside of the squash can be used as the actual bowl when eating (saves you dishes). Who can beat that?

I am excited to test out some of the other squashes in my cooking adventures. What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Migraines are Like Coffee...

When it comes to migraines, there are infinite forms. Not all pain is the same and not all symptoms are the same. To explain, I often think of the infinite types of coffee.

Decaf - that beginning stage of migraine where you have some pain, but not enough to shut the lights off for. Decaf coffee has the flavor the regular coffee drinker needs without the caffeine.

Half-Caf - the pain is enough to start looking to preventatives but you are still able to function. I get these a lot at work and try to get back to the decaf stage.

Cappuccino - the migraine itself morphs into a new type of pain. Since cappuccinos are a type of coffee but not necessarily coffee, I thought this would explain it well. It's the type of migraine pain that moves around and causes other symptoms like stiff neck, weakness, and others. I'm experiencing this kind right now.

Double Shot Espresso - the "holy crap I'm dying" type of pain.

This is my way of explaining a few types of migraines while adding some easy to determine terms for non-migraineurs.
There was an error in this gadget