Migraines and Food Sensitivities

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Migraines suck! For those of your fortunate enough to have never experienced it, let me assure you – I rolled my eyes at sufferers, thinking, “it’s just a bad headache.” And then life gifted me with my own experience of one. #karmasabitch And it is like a headache on steroids, jacked up on bath salts, and tainted with food poisoning. The #migraine was utterly debilitating. Beyond the pain, each sufferer experiences unique symptoms. For me, I wanted to throw up, and my eyes wouldn’t stop burning and watering.

Thankfully I do not suffer from these often, but I know many who do. And they have to skip classes, call off work, or stay hidden in a dark, cool cave somewhere in isolation. The cost of medications accumulates year after year

There are some typically held food beliefs around migraine prevention, such as avoid tyramine (aged cheeses, pickles, canned soups), nitrates (cured meats), MSG (soy sauce, meat tenderizers, many Asian dishes), tannins and phenols (tea, apple skins, bananas), and sulfites (red wine) . Gluten is being looked for some now, as well (wheat bread, pasta, crackers, cereals; rye, barley, etc) People are encouraged to keep a food diary in an attempt to determine their triggers. But as reactions can be dose dependent (a small amount doesn’t trigger it, so you think it is “safe” but then a large dose triggers it), stackable (two seemingly “safe” foods can be consumed at the same time, and now trigger pain), and delayed (it can take up to 72 hours before the reaction occurs), you have to look at doses, stacking, and timing to try to determine what’s going on.

From the National Headache Foundation: “People with headache disease vary in their sensitivity to specific foods. Reactions to foods may take anywhere from ½ hour to 72 hours to develop, making them often very difficult to pinpoint. Everyone is unique..”

And still, sometimes all these general dietary tricks don’t help. So people add on lifestyle habits – meditate, get good sleep, drink enough water, don’t go through caffeine withdrawal, have a proper pillow and mattress, manage stress, see a massage therapist… again, this may help some people, but not everyone.

This can start get extremely exhausting, frustrating, and hopeless. Not to mention, expensive between days off, doctor bills, prescription drugs. So I am grateful that I have another avenue of relief I can offer my clients when these other attempts fail: food sensitivities personalized to their blood’s immune system reactions and inflammation response. This is the Mediator Release Test (MRT) combined with the LEAP protocol (the method of starting with safe foods, and how we challenge new foods), and lifestyle habits. And many LEAP clients have had great success reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of their migraines. Then we can dig even deeper into other possible root causes (nutrient deficiency, hormone imbalances, environmental triggers) with renewed energy and less pain.

Understanding my body’s triggers makes it easy to stay away from reactive foods. My headaches have been less frequent, and if I do get one, it only last a day. In the past, I was going 3-5 days with the same headache

Playfully Fierce Healing participant, R.S.

“Diet often plays an important role in migraine pathophysiology because 60% to 80% of the immune system is in the gut… When a susceptible individual eats a reactive food or chemical, the immune system releases mediators such as cytokines, leukotrienes, or prostaglandins, which in turn produce pathophysiologic effects such as clinical and subclinical inflammation, pain receptor activation, neurological and endocrine dysfunction, or edema. These effects are implicated in chronic inflammatory conditions such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is why these conditions are frequently comorbid.” [READ: certain foods trigger your immune system to go haywire, leading to many different types of symptoms, including pain!]

And that’s the key with the8-week Playfully Fierce Healing program: we not only look at your blood test to plan your personal elimination diet program based on foods that are tested as ACTUALLY safe, but also address lifestyle habits that may be perpetuating to the problem, and educate you in learning what may help prevent further problems in the future. Sustainable healing!

Quoted Sources:
Today’s Dietitian
National Headache Foundation

Amrita Bar Giveaway and Promo!

NOTE: Sampler giveaway, and promo code information at the end of the post! 🙂  Enter or purchase some healthy, whole-foods protein bars for your start to a vibrant and health-filled 2019!

We eat with our eyes first. And Amarita was a treat from the moment the box arrived. I was delighted at the variety of flavors in the variety pack, and fell in love with the bold colors on the tote bag. First impression: colorful and energetic!

Nourish Your Passion Bag | USA

And then they get another bonus — an email from the company, asking if my bars arrived safely.  Well that’s a nice little check in!  I approve.

email confirmation



When I was looking in to protein and snack bars to try, this company caught my eye because they had the same mission I have as a Lifestyle Dietitian — to help heal health issues through nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods, and managing stress within the body. Owner Arsha and his wife started to create recipes for the bars while working to help their son recovery from a host of gastrointestinal issues and nutritionally-based autism. They have worked from the ground up, starting with hand-wrapped products sold at their local farmers market, and now are available nation-wide in various health food stores and online.



I contacted two of my gym friends to sample these bars with me – I wanted a little more input and feedback. So, the three of us got to sample these whole-food treats, and compare notes.  Overall, we were all impressed! We liked the texture and taste, with each of us having a few differences based on personal preference. Whole ingredients, balanced macronutrients, enough sweetness from the dates without being overpowering, we all agreed these are a win!

Amrita Starter Pack | 7 Bars | USA

Ready to sample some of your own??


Want a chance to get your own bars? Here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway! No purchases necessary!!


Check out their website, https://www.amritahealthfoods.com/

  • 1st order: $10 off; code “AmritaLove”
  • Following orders: $10 off and free shipping on orders over $49; code “dublin”


Many thanks to Amrita Bar Founder, Arshad Bahl
for helping provide this opportunity for you all!

Recipe: No-Bake Protein Brownies



Most people would make you scroll through their entire blog post with all their inner most thoughts and humorous anecdotes.. but, if you’re like me, ya just want the freakin’ recipe! So, without fanfare, here it is!

No-Bake Protein Brownies

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice (thin butter is easier to mix – I like almond, or peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (great use of leftovers!)


  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, soft, pitted, soak if needed
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup avocado (approx 1/2 fruit)
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs coconut milk if needed


  1. Line a small, deep baking tray with baking paper and set aside. (I like to use a bread loaf, and make thick, dense brownies!)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut flour, cocoa and protein powder and set aside.
  3. If needed, heat and melt your nut butter with your honey until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring well.
  4. Stir in the mashed sweet potato until dough is smooth
  5. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of coconut milk (or milk of your choice) If too thin, can add a little more powder of choice (I usually like to add more protein powder)
  6. Press dough into the lined baking dish. Set in fridge to firm up while you make the frosting.


  1. Soak the dates first if they are hard. Once soft, drain any soak liquid and keep it. Put the dates in food processor and process to sticky paste. Use the reserved soak water in small amounts if needed to help process the dates.
  2. Add honey, avocado, melted coconut oil, and process. Add cocoa powder and protein powder, Process, scraping down sides as needed. Process until smooth and creamy. Add coconut milk if needed to thin.
  3. Pull brownies back out of fridge. Spread frosting evenly on top.
  4. Enjoy! Can also sprinkle with crushed almonds, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate chips, or other favorite garnishes.
Recipe from www.DublinDietitian.com

Ok, NOW for some of my thoughts! 😉 No wait, another picture first…


I have made these brownies three times now. And every time, they are a little different as I work with different protein powders, different nut butters, and different garnish.

But every time, they have been delicious!

My Buckeye fans would probably enjoy using peanut butter rather than almond butter. It definitely adds a nice creamy boost to the flavor! But for chocolate purists, the almond is a milder flavor, allowing you to indulge in the rich cocoa goodness without interference.


Have fun, play with it, and enjoy!

Nutrition varies by specific ingredients used and if/how much liquid you add to thin, but each serving is approximately 240 calories, 9g fat, 38g carb, 10g protein

Recipe: Rosemary Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Mixed Nuts

This is one of my favorite holiday treats! (ok, being honest, cookies are the favorite – but this is one that comes with a little nutritional boost!) A little salty, a little sweet, and a little spicy – all rounded out with hint of Christmas pine, and rich comforting maple.


In addition to being lower sugar than most holiday treats, a 1/4 cup serving of these provides healthy fats, copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Rosemary Sweet 'n' Spicy Mixed Nuts

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 2 1/4 cups Mixed Nuts, unsaltedIMG_20171218_155651608
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 Tbs Rosemary powder
  • 1 pinch Cayenne powder
  • 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Purse Maple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Spread nuts onto baking sheet, bake 10 minutes
  4. Remove nuts and let cool
  5. While cooling, melt 1 Tbs butter. Set aside
  6. Mix remaining ingredients to make sauce
  7. Pour nuts into a large bowl and stir in melted butter, tossing to coat.
  8. Add sauce and toss to mix evenly
  9. Spread nuts back onto baking sheet, and bake 5 minutes. Stir, and bake another 5-7 minutes until golden and bubbly
  10. Cool for about 20 minutes; serve warm

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

You can heat the sauce mixture on the stove top over low heat to thicken it up. Then instead of a nice sauce, it becomes a thicker syrup and makes this treat more like a brittle.


Recipe from http://www.DublinDietitian.com

Rosemary Nuts

Have a great holiday season, however you celebrate!

10 Reasons To Eat More Fresh Produce

(*At the end of this post, there’s a special bonus offer for Dublin Life Time members!*)


In my research, I have come across many tidbits and studies that help shape my nutritional philosophies. Other times, I find information that doesn’t tell me anything new, but states it in a new way, and makes a bit of an impact. This was one of the things that jump-started my own transformational journey.

In Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live, he had a graph that depicted the correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption, and risk of disease. Now, I know we’ve all been told to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I guess I’m visual, and this graph just grabbed me! The almost perfect correlation was just so glaringly obvious in his graph that it really struck home for me.

QK motivation (90)

The left side indicates HIGH disease state, and LOW produce and plant-based food intake (“unrefined plant foods”)… then you gradual move to the right, and see that as that produce intake begins to rise and finally peeks at the top right corner with HIGH produce intake, the disease rates have dropped significantly!  Pretty much a perfectly proportionate shift. (Yes, I’m aware correlation is not causation)

The old USDA adage was “5 a day,” but Life Time recommends 5-6 cups per day. Wahl’s protocol recommends 9 cups per day of a variety of categories.

And I am on board with that high amount with Wahl’s as the ideal to strive for.

So, what can a high produce intake do for you?

  1. SATIETY: Fill your stomach with a large volume of low-calorie foods, thus helping you feel full while staying low in calories.
  2. NUTRIENTS: Boost your vitamin and mineral intake in a natural way
  3. IMMUNE SYSTEM: Boost your body’s ability to fight infection
  4. MORE ENERGY! ’nuff said
  5. BRIGHTER EYES, SKIN, AND HAIR: Begin to heal your body on the inside, you start to glow on the outside.  You can “Grow Younger!” as your old and tired cells are replaced with nutrient-rich healthy new cells!
  6. REGULARITY: Get extra fiber that can help with keeping you regular, which helps fight that awful bloated feeling you may get on other foods
  7. DETOXIFY: helps your body with its natural elimination of stored up toxins in your system.
  8. HYDRATION: Get extra water that remains in the fresh produce, which means extra hydration for you! (and your skin – helping to keep it from looking tired and dry)
  9. CRAVINGS: Lessen cravings for other processed foods, over time. You crave what you eat, believe it or not, and eventually people who eat more fresh produce crave more fresh produce as they break old habits and sugar addictions

I aim for vegetables at every meal – you can add veggies to omelets; add spinach to smoothies; have salads; sautee, stir fry, and roast vegetables; puree and add to soups. Fruit is a great snack, mixes into oatmeal well, and can add a sweet tang to many dishes. Try something new!

Have a wonderful, fresh-filled day! I’m going to go eat a fruit salad 🙂


If you are struggling to get your high intake of fruits and vegetables, I recommend trying the Life Greens. It’s not a permanent replacement for fresh fruits and vegetables, nor an excuse to bail on produce, but while you are working to make new habits and increase your whole-foods intake, it is a beneficial way to supplement your diet and help keep you healthy!

Use Trainer Code 208455 in the Cafe or Online to get 10% off; Set it up for Autoship, and get 20% off.


  • Reduce risk of obesity, cardio vascular disease, mental health issues
  • Helps balance thyroid and stress hormones
  • Protects bone density
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • May help with increased fat-burning
  • Improved immune system
  • Improved glucose metabolism


  • Balances anabolic hormones (muscle building)
  • Preserves muscle and protects bone health
  • Reduced carb fuel utilization
  • Improves time to exhaustion

RECOMMENDED DOSING: 1 scoop up to 3 times daily. There are non-shake ideas on the handouts at the booth.

Life Greens