{On a Personal Note} What Liza Has Learned About Migraines

Posted February 12, 2017 by Liza in Personal / 18 Comments

Hi there gorgeous readers!  I’m here to share my personal experience with migraines and to recommend something that actually worked for me.  If you don’t know what a migraine headache is, lucky you!  For real, I don’t wish them on my worse enemy (not that I have any 🙂 ) These are not normal headaches, they are stronger, often causing pain in specific areas of your head (temples, or one sided, or right behind your eyes) and cause other symptoms like sensitivity to light, nausea, and dizziness. I’m sure symptoms are as varied as the person having the migraine.  Oh, and they can last hours or days.

My migraines started at the ripe age of 15.  That was the year my parents got divorced and after many doctors and tests (EMGs, labs, ophthalmologists…) it was decided that my headaches were stress related.  I suffered through them for YEARS.  Some worse than others and some so epic that shall forever live in infamy.  I tried many medications and to reduce my stress level.

In 2009 the love of my life was deployed to Iraq. I started having migraines every day for three weeks straight and I finally went to the doctor and he told me that if I was serious about getting rid of my headaches, that I should read this book:

Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz

I immediately ordered it and followed the program to the proverbial “T”.  What is it you ask?  Well, it’s a program designed to recognize your triggers –  food, emotional, medical and environmental – and then minimize them.  I’m sure I cannot spell the whole thing for you as I didn’t come up with the system (copyright and all that that), but learned a lot about my triggers.  Some of them are:


  • Nitrates – I cannot eat anything with nitrates, including hot dogs, cold cuts, canned foods.
  • Certain nuts – Peanuts are absolutely a big NO-NO for me.  Al a lesser extent, I can’t eat pecans and cashews.
  • Preservatives – Not all, but some canned foods and frozen dinners are bad for me.
  • Chinese – I avoid at all cost and also any soy based food.

What I do:  Obviously, I avoid eating these.  I cook a lot from scratch, I read labels carefully, I don’t eat something if I don’t know what’s in it, I ask questions about the food when I eat out.

Other Stuff

Lack of rest – If I don’t sleep at least six hours every night, I can’t function right and I take the risk of getting a headache.

Stress – Work, life, kids… they happen.  It can be stressful at times.

Hormonal – Sadly, there is nothing I can do at specific times of the month.

What I do: I try to sleep at least six hours per night, specially since I have insomnia.  I try to plan ahead, I’m very organized and try to minimize stress and decompress with my hobbies.

I’m not a doctor, but this has worked for me for eight years so far.  My humble advise is to take care of yourself, know your triggers, avoid them and you will be so much happier.  I don’t know for you, but for me, nothing that I eat is worth a migraine. Nothing.

Do you happen to have bad headaches or migraines?  Have you tried a diet? Do you know your triggers? 



I'm an avid reader (since I learned to read at age four) and a book blogger (since May, 2011).I read mostly YA, but I also read romance, new adult and some middle grade.

Born in Puerto Rico, hola :), military wife for 22-years, and mother of three boys.I work full time doing something else that I love (sadly I don't get paid for reading!)


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18 responses to “{On a Personal Note} What Liza Has Learned About Migraines

  1. Sorry about your migraines. I have chronic headaches since I got my Lasik surgery a few years ago. y headaches were bad and lasted about 2 weeks non-stop at a time. I would go to sleep with a headache and wake up with a headache. It sucked so bad. I would take 4-5 advil/tylenol/medicine because I was so desperate for it to go away…and 80% of the time it wouldn’t even go away.

    This sounds dumb but ever since I started exercising regularly (5-6 days a week) my headaches have almost completely gone away. I used to track my headaches in my bullet journal and since I started doing Blogilates in November, I rarely get them anymore. I would have them almost every day and now I have one maybe once a month. 🙂

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

  2. Oh no, so sorry to hear that you also suffer from migraines. I’ve been having the worst time with them. I’ve seen 2 neurologists, had a bunch of test, and kept a food/sleep journal and still haven’t found relief. They told me I have chronic migraine because I have 3 or more a week. It really does effect your quality of life. I’ve found a couple triggers (not enough sleep, hormones, etc.) but nothing that has helped me get rid of them. So frustrating!

    • Liza

      Julie, the plan in the book has worked for me and made my life a lot easier. I still get them, but maybe 2-3 a month, not a a week. Best of luck!

  3. I don’t suffer from migraines, but my mother does. She has tried so many remedies but most often they only provide temporary relief. She has been using this natural balm though that’s been helping her a lot. I can definitely see how yours stemmed from stress, since they always seem to spike during difficult moments.

    • Liza

      Migraines and its triggers are as unique as people are. I’m glad something is working for her, this booked has saved me a LOT of pain for sure 🙂

  4. Leah

    I just found out last year that what I thought were sinus headaches were migraines, and yes, they are THE WORST! I haven’t had one in a while *knocks on wood* but I think they were triggered by dehydration. Now I drink water regularly every day.

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I am definitely going to check it out.

  5. Nathan

    I don’t have migraines, but I think I Dad does, which could be stroke related. (He has had bad headaches since he had a bad stroke). I find if I don’t get enough sleep I get headaches.

  6. Amy

    I love hearing this! I hear from so many people that I’m ridiculous for blaming my migraines on food, but after having them 5 days out of 7 for three years, I was ready to try anything. Soy and nitrates are a problem for me too, as well as citrus. Oranges, peaches and even blackberry jam will take me out. Now I have maybe 2 migraines a month instead of constant pain. I will have to look into this book!

    • Liza

      Yes Amy! Food are BIG triggers. Before I read the book I eat a lot of nuts and peanut butter and they were literally killing me 🙁 I rather know my triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Good luck Amy and let me know if you end up reading the book.

  7. Rita Wray

    I suffered from migraines when I was younger. I started taking magnesium 250mg daily and it helped. It may not help others but it did help me.

  8. Hmm, I might check that book out someday soon.. I’ve had migraines for years, which I suspect may have come from a concussion that I didn’t really take care of well (and possibly also just plain stress). Not sure if I have anything specific (other than stress) that triggers it, but I am certainly going to pay some more attention to that now!

  9. My #1 trigger is sugar. White sugar, honey, tried fruits and so on trigger my migraine so I avoid them. I guess how they influence my blood sugar level is something that gives me issues. I love everything sweet so at first it was very hard for me, but in the end it’s worth it. Life without migraines is wonderful.

    Great to hear that you also managed to identify your triggers.

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