I’m excited to welcome Alicia Wolf from The Dizzy Cookfor my second guest post! I first met Alicia three years ago, through my boyfriend Justin, and a lot has happened since then. In 2016 Alicia was diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis and Vestibular Migraine, two vestibular disorders that are not commonly known by the medical community, which makes them difficult to diagnose. To put it simply, your vestibular system (inner ear) is what is responsible for your balance. Vestibular Migraine is not what one would think of as a “migraine headache”, but is characterized by extreme light sensitivity, vertigo, a feeling of imbalance or unsteadiness, a lightheaded or floaty feeling, and dizziness – hence the name “The Dizzy Cook”. This chronic illness would previously leave Alicia bedridden for days. She says, “I’ve gone from bedridden to extremely active by following the Heal Your Headache Diet”.
What is the Heal Your Headache (HYH) Diet? Today I’d like to do a little Q&A with Alicia so you can get to know her and learn all about the HYH diet. Then I’ll share my five favorite recipes from
Q: What prompted you to start The Dizzy Cook?
A: I was searching online for Migraine diet recipes to help me when I was too ill to really do much for myself. The recipes were all over the place as far as what’s “Migraine friendly” or weren’t very good, so often I had to create my own. I realized there were not very many fun wellness or food blogs out there for those suffering with chronic conditions like Vestibular Migraine, and I wanted to create a space where people felt hopeful and positive about their diagnosis. A Migraine diet can seem overwhelming to someone who is already going through so much, so I tried to make it fun and easy for everyone. Plus these are healthy recipes anyone can enjoy – with or without a migraine!
Q: Can you give us an overview of the Heal Your Headache Diet? What is restricted?
A: The Heal Your Headache Diet was developed by Dr. David Buchholz after years or studying his patients. It’s currently the recommended diet for anyone with Migraine who visits Johns Hopkins. It eliminates or reduces foods that are common Migraine triggers – those high in tyramine and histamine (a substance associated with cured meats, aged cheese, and fermented items), MSG in all forms, sulfites/nitrates, caffeine, etc. You stick with the diet till you see a noticeable reduction in your Migraine days and then reintroduce foods to see what your dietary triggers are, if you have any. At the very basic level, it’s about eating whole, fresh foods that are not processed. I had no idea how many health foods had hidden MSG under other names – one of them being “natural flavors”. They can even inject it into raw chicken! Although we can’t control outside triggers such as stress or weather, controlling food triggers can help you lower your overall threshold for getting a Migraine.
At first I thought the diet was silly. I didn’t really notice a huge difference. About a month in I tried yogurt, which I had previously eaten everyday for breakfast. I immediately had a Migraine Associated Vertigo attack. I realized that the diet was truly working. I’ve had friends who don’t have disabling symptoms, but suffered from daily headaches and they realize they are eating some of the common trigger foods. One friend was using lemon everyday in her water – the second she eliminated it, her headaches majorly decreased.
Q: I know you are a VEDA ambassador, can you tell us more about VEDA and other organizations you’re apart of?
A: VEDA is the Vestibular Disorder Association, who’s goal is to spread awareness about Vestibular Disorders like Vestibular Migraine. Dizziness is a common symptom for 1,000 different illnesses and when you have a clean MRI, a doctor will send you home with “Vertigo” as your diagnosis. But it’s truly a symptom of something deeper going on in your body. I saw 6-7 doctors who diagnosed me with everything from “stress” to “Multiple Sclerosis” to a “Perilymph Fistula”. One said I needed surgery that would make me deaf…I didn’t. Doctors told me this was an uncommon diagnosis, but I get several emails and messages a day from people all over the world with the same symptoms. My neurologist has a 6 month wait list that continues to grow. At the end of the day, doctors simply aren’t trained enough in these disorders. It’s important to spread awareness so people can get proper treatment and can continue to live their life.
Q: I saw your blog post announcing a cookbook coming in 2020, congrats! Can you share more about The Dizzy Cook Cookbook?
A: Thank you! I’m currently writing it now and I love how it’s all coming together. I want it to be simple yet delicious, like an Ina Garten cookbook but Migraine friendly. It will be a collection of some of my favorite recipes, like the Pumpkin Sage Pasta. There are a few comfort foods in there that I thought I could never eat again, but I’ve figured out a way to make them head friendly.
I hope these Q&A’s helped you learn more about Alicia, more about Vestibular Disorders, and more about where you can find some great recipes online. Now for the fun part, here are my five favorite recipes from The Dizzy Cook. I hope you enjoy these recipes and cook them for upcoming holiday events… maybe your office potluck or family get together.
The following recipes are from thedizzycook.com:
That’s all for now, stay tuned for the next guest post!