Eating, Working, and Living with Chronic Migraine

Recent Posts

Five book recommendations on migraine and persistence

Five book recommendations on migraine and persistence

These book recommendations are for migraineurs, people who love and take care of us, and anyone curious about migraine. I’ve also added some of my favorite reads on pursuing your dreams and not giving up. So much of the migraine journey mimics life – it’s […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Blogging process: What I learned from my first year of blogging

Blogging process: What I learned from my first year of blogging

Plan, plan, plan. The best advice I’ve heard about blogging is “keep blogging.” One way, maybe the only way, to do that is to have a plan. Over the past year, I’ve developed a planning and blogging process that works best for me. I usually […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Blueberry gluten-free pancakes

Blueberry gluten-free pancakes

I used a pancake recipe from Bob’s Red Mill for inspiration (of course). They have some of the best recipes with gluten-free flour. I modified it a bit and added in the blueberries. You can replace the blueberries with your favorite fruit, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or a mixture of the three!

What you need

1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder  = (1 part baking soda + 2 parts cream of tartar)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
3 oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbsp coconut oil

 

How you do it

Preheat large pan to medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, baking powder, sea salt, and baking soda. In another smaller bowl, combine honey, vanilla extract, grape seed oil, and coconut milk. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients.

Gently fold in eggs. Once fully mixed, gently fold in blueberries.

Add coconut oil to preheated pan. Once melted, ladle pancake batter onto pan. Flip pancakes over when they begin to puff (they look like they have little holes in them) and become lightly browned on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Serve hot with maple syrup and a buttery spread (like soy-free earth balance). Top with more blueberries or your other favorite fruits. If you’re not quite ready to serve, keep pancakes in a warm oven (about 200 degrees) until ready to eat!

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Sweet potato hash

Sweet potato hash

Ahh… good mornings. They seriously make the whole day better. I had one of them recently. I woke up on time, refreshed, and (mostly) prepared for the day. I also remembered that I made a sweet potato sausage hash the night before! After dicing a […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Brown rice chips with pico de gallo

Brown rice chips with pico de gallo

This is another easy dish that “wows” guests. I usually serve as an appetizer and trust me, it doesn’t last long! My guests are always asking for more…no matter how much I make! What you need Brown rice chips: 4 brown rice tortillas 2 Tbsp […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Oven-baked rosemary lamb chops with mint sauce

Oven-baked rosemary lamb chops with mint sauce

Our good friends Carlton and Lisa gave me this recipe. They like to cook and I’m so glad they shared this recipe with us. It’s yummy and very classy. Your guests will never know who easy it was for you to make!

I don’t eat citrus, and it’s definitely a challenge not using lemon in recipes, especially sauces. The mint sauce for this dish typically calls for fresh lemon juice. I used a lemon-substitute, white vinegar. White vinegar is bitter, and the sauce needs a liquid for the consistency so I used white vinegar and added an equal amount of sugar to counter the bitterness. Tastes so good!

What you need

4 lamb chops
Dried rosemary
Coarse salt
Ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 Tbsp grape seed oil (or olive oil)
2 tsp mustard
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 scallion, thinly sliced

How you do it

Heat broiler to high.

Rub both sides of the lamb chops with ¾ tsp each dried rosemary and coarse salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper.

Place lamb on broiler pan and broil until browned, turning once, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk white vinegar, cane sugar, grape seed oil, and mustard.

Stir in red bell pepper, mint, and scallion.

Serve the lamb chops with the sauce spooned over the top or on the side in a small bowl.

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Computer glasses by Gunnar

Computer glasses by Gunnar

I do everything I can to help reduce light sensitivity and protect my eyes. One of the most helpful tools are my computer glasses by Gunnar. The picture above is from their website. The glasses are comfortable and effective. I do everything in them! If […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Spiral vegetable slicer by Farberware Spiraletti

Spiral vegetable slicer by Farberware Spiraletti

I’m in love with the Farberware Spiraletti Slicer Cutter, found at Target (picture included is from Target.com)! I eat chicken spaghetti every week. I usually make a lot of it at the beginning of the week and eat on it the rest of the week. I love […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Chicken spaghetti sauce

Chicken spaghetti sauce

I make this sauce weekly. It’s easy to store and easy to eat. I usually freeze some of it too. I put it over gluten-free noodles or make spiral zucchini noodles (pictured)…so good! I think the best way to make sauce is by eyeballing the seasoning and adding flavors to taste, BUT I’ve measured out my ingredients and provided those here for your use.

What you need

Browned chicken:
2 lbs ground chicken
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 cup white onion, chopped
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp oregano
1 tsp and 1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp celery powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp onion powder

Tomato sauce:
About 44 oz tomato sauce (I typically use one box Pomi strained tomatoes and one box Pomi tomato sauce)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mixture─marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, and oregano, one part each (I make a batch of this ahead of time to use on various dishes or you can get one premade at your local spice shop)

How you do it

In a large skillet, heat grape seed oil. Add onions, 1 Tbsp oregano, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and 1 tsp celery powder. Cook until onions are browned and tender.

Add ground chicken. Make sure the chicken is evenly distributed in the skillet. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp onion powder or until chicken is covered.

Flip chicken and sprinkle the other side with the same─1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp onion powder or until chicken is covered.

Brown chicken for about 7 minutes, until fully cooked (no longer pink).

Add tomato sauce. Mix in Italian seasonings and ground black pepper. Add additional seasoning to taste. For example, if you like spicier sauce, add in additional ground black pepper.

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Muffins: Gluten-free, dairy-free

Muffins: Gluten-free, dairy-free

Updated: November 24, 2017 I updated this recipe to include any kind of fruit filling. Originally, I only made blueberry muffins, but, maybe it’s the fall weather, I added cranberries to this batch. I’ve also tried apple, which is good as well. Basically, whatever fruit you […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Anti-glare computer screen filter

Anti-glare computer screen filter

Too much computer time is a common migraine trigger. This is partially because many migraineurs are sensitive to light. How many of us use a computer (or some type of electronic device) all day long? I’d be surprised if the answer is not all of […]

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
Copper crisper, nonstick tray by Gotham Steel Ti-Cerama

Copper crisper, nonstick tray by Gotham Steel Ti-Cerama

Have I mentioned that I’m a lazy cook? Can I prep it, put it in the oven, and walk away? Yes? Then that’s my kind of cooking. It also means that sometimes, and when I say “sometimes” I mean always, burn the bacon. I put it on the baking sheet, place in a 400-degree oven, set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. The smoke detector usually goes off before the kitchen timer.

But, now I have the copper crisper, nonstick tray by Gotham Steel Ti-Cerama, found at Bed Bath & Beyond (picture included is from BedBathandBeyond.com). The bacon, pork or turkey, no longer sits in the its own grease while cooking. Of course, you can use the copper crisper for many other things like roasted potatoes and kale chips, but I was an instant believer after one round of perfectly crispy bacon (with no smoke alarms sounding).

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest

My Migraine Story

My migraine story

My migraine story

As far as I can remember, I started getting bad headaches when I was 16. The summer before junior year, I remember my parents having a party at our house. I remember I wanted so badly to hangout with the guests. I remember it so vividly that I can picture the green shorts outfit I was wearing. My hair was in a ponytail, and I had on low, strappy sandals. It was a backyard party─good food, loud music, and people talking, dancing, and swimming in our pool. As much as I tried, I couldn’t take it anymore. My head was pounding, and I needed to go upstairs to my room. Laying down wasn’t working. The music seemed to be getting louder and louder. Unbeknownst to me, my dad had unwittingly started blasting the music inside (no longer just using the outdoor speakers). The music was now playing throughout the house. It reverberated throughout my room. My head was pounding even harder. It was like I could hear my headache pounding to the beat of the music. I eventually got up enough energy to barely crawl out of bed and walk downstairs. I found my dad. I squinted through the pain and the bright, blaring sun to tell him the music was too loud, and it was making my head hurt. This was our family’s first experience with migraine. We didn’t even know it was migraine, at the time. We would find out much later the depths of symptoms, treatments, and countless trials and errors.

Of course, he apologized and turned the music off inside, which helped, greatly. I went back to my room and finally went to sleep. When I woke up, I went to a party at a park with some people I knew from school. Why did I do this…go to this party when I was sick? I can’t really explain it now. Maybe I didn’t want to miss out, maybe I was too embarrassed to admit something was wrong with me, maybe I didn’t consider I could actually say “no” after I’d already committed to going out. What I do know is that it was the first of many situations where I pretended everything was okay, that I wasn’t in pain, and that I didn’t have a debilitating disease.

Fast-forward almost 20 years later, when I learned I have hemiplegic migraine─a rare form of migraine that presents with stroke-like systems. For me, this includes complete numbing of the right side of my body. I develop unbearable head pain (a level 10, if you know anything about measuring pain), again, mostly on the right side. I have extreme difficulty speaking, not just saying words, but also saying the correct words. For example, if I’m trying to say, “I need my prescription and water,” it may come out as, “med…water…in…can’t…” and that’s it. Thankfully, I have a caretaker, my husband, who is now completely aware of my migraine symptoms. We have a migraine protocol and plan, which is essentially to help me to bed, bring me my medication and water, and check on me every 30 minutes. If I’m still in the same condition after an hour and a half, it’s time to go to the ER.

I don’t remember talking to my doctor about hemiplegic migraine. I love my neurologist. He and his team are hands-down, the best headache specialists I’ve seen. (Note: I cannot stress how important it is to see a doctor who is specializes in the field you need care. If you have headaches, see a headache specialist. Not a neurologist that knows about headaches, but specializes in Parkinson’s disease, make sense?) I obviously knew I had hemiplegic migraine symptoms, I mean, I’ve been experiencing them for over half my life, and my doctor treats me for these symptoms; however, I didn’t know the medical term until I learned about it through a blog post. See how beneficial we bloggers are? (wink, wink). Knowing the full name and description of my rare disease brought me comfort and gave me confidence. I thought, “someone knows about what I’m going through and is sharing it with others that may have no clue.” It also encouraged me to continue to share my story, the best I can, in hopes to comfort others.

Then, I read The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein, M.D. I learned that during the writing of her book, which was copyrighted in 2008, less than .01% of the population had hemiplegic migraine. After some quick research, I realized this percentage is still accurate today. Studies suggest hemiplegic migraine occurs in roughly one in 10,000 people. NOT comforting. That number sent me into a downward spiral. I immediately ugly cried and wondered “why me?” I wondered this for a long time. Why am I in the .0001%?!? I mean, if I’m going to be in the top .0001% of anything, can it at least be of fee earners, professional athletes, or pop stars?

I was sharing my angst with some close friends, and one turned to me and said that often the people who experience rare diseases are those who also experience the greatest the triumph. I’m heeding that statement and believing it into reality. I’m going to continue to be confident in my migraine story. I’m LIVING with chronic migraine. It doesn’t dictate who I am. There are risks and rewards in life, and I believe me and my fellow migraineurs have a special opportunity to make a big impact in all our endeavors. This is my main purpose in sharing my migraine story─to make an impact on migraineurs and non-migraineurs alike. To show how living with chronic migraine is still living but maybe with a few modifications. I share more on this and other funny, emotional, and uplifting stories in my personal migraine journal. Subscribe get access to these heartfelt, authentic stories.

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest