How the Ketogenic Diet Healed My Chronic Migraines
My Life before Keto
Having 24/7 migraines was devastating. Some days I could barely function due to the pain and the anxiety about what the pain meant.
I was afraid I was going to have to learn to accept this “new normal.”
My life had shrunken dramatically and I couldn’t be the wife and mother that I wanted to be.
It was miserable.
Of course, I had tried for a long time to search for a solution. I was avoiding my many food triggers even before trying keto.
Those triggers tend to be the common ones for many migraine sufferers – cheese, avocado, citrus, banana, onions, sour cream, yogurt, nuts, and anything fermented including vinegars. I also stayed away from gluten. But going keto was the key.
I heard about keto for migraines while doing general research on dietary protocols for migraine. There are quite a few good studies on the topic.
Professionally, I work with people with migraines, other neurological conditions and auto-immune disorders. I have chronic migraines so I’m passionate about helping others with this awful condition.
After some initial resistance, I decided that I had an obligation to try the ketogenic diet to see if my own symptoms improved. I also wanted to see if this is something that my clients could try as a therapeutic intervention.
I loved keto from Day 1! I had minimal cravings for goodies and other carbs and I felt good.
And best of all, keto gave me good migraine control.
Keto improved my migraines and my life
And keto didn’t just help with migraines. It took me weeks to notice that my ability to think had also improved as I was taking on more and more challenging responsibilities.
Since controlling the migraines with diet and getting off of the daily mind-numbing medications, I have my life back. I have energy and can do everything I used to do before my migraines became chronic.
I have some keto patients but wish I had more. The ones who try keto are doing great! They not only have good control of their pain, their brain fog has cleared.
Those with vestibular symptoms are feeling more steady and confident. I have clients who can go back to work and feel like themselves again.
There are few resources available to guide people with migraines on how to help themselves in addition to medications OR in lieu of medications.
Those specific medications only work for about 50% of the population. They often have lots of unpleasant side effects. The keto diet is a MUCH better alternative and it’s yummy!
Give Keto a chance!
I know many people might feel initial disgust at a ketogenic diet.
My first reaction to keto was definitely, “yuck, I’ll never try that!”
In my mind it was an intolerable diet washed down with some MCT oil.
But, the more I investigated the current and practical approach to reaching ketosis, the more I realized that my impression was terribly wrong.
Our society is very “fat-phobic” and it’s often difficult to unlearn something we have been told for decades.
Some parting advice for when you first start on a ketogenic diet
The first few weeks on keto can be a bit painful. I definitely had some ups and downs then.
I had some headaches that resolved quickly with Aleve in spite of hydrating and trying some broth. (Check out this post on overcoming keto flu.)
But, I also had times of great energy and excitement about not craving goodies and high-carb foods. I never thought that would happen!
Since then, I have found I can even eat a small amount of my known migraine triggers and not feel symptoms.
The ketogenic diet allows me much more freedom to eat in restaurants and I feel like I’m participating with my friends and family. I feel great!
Finally, don’t overthink it! Get a buddy or coach to help you through the practical matters and give you the support you need.