Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vegetarian Recipes

There's a book called "Feast without Yeast" by Bruce Semon, MD and Lori Kornblum, PhD, that is mostly vegetarian recipes that overlap quite well with the Heal Your Headache (HYH) diet. It has information that links some of the foods together from Dr Buchholz's migraine trigger list (such as nuts and fermented foods).  Whether it's the same reason for triggering migraines or not, it's interesting.  I bought the book because it uses honey as a sweetener, as one Amazon reviewer complained, well, because this is in contrast to other yeast-free diets.  Incidentally, migraines also run in Dr Semon's family, and they have long been making the food-migraine connection and avoiding select foods.   

Semon calls for no vinegar in the diet, and recipes use fresh lemon juice instead.   That's the only modification I've made to the Heal Your Headache diet to use these recipes.  I still eat the other allowed foods for HYH (except white vinegar and yeast), and still avoid the other non-allowed foods in HYH (other than fresh squeezed lemon juice).  If you find you don't tolerate some of the vegetables allowed in the HYH diet, you could try only using them cooked.  I find i'm fine with cooked tomatoes, shallots, and green onions, but probably not raw ones.  Semon uses lots of tomatoes in his recipes.

The book is well organized and has over 200 recipes.   They were developed for kids with other medical problems, but I'm finding I get lots of recipes and fresh ideas from it.  Thankfully, he includes useful tips for gradually changing the diet.  With his book, I am looking forward to adding beans and more soups to my diet. I already subscribe to the frequent use of brown rice and potatoes that he suggests, but now have more recipes for these as well.

Buchholz's "Heal your Headache" drastically changed my health, and thus every day life for me and my family.  Semon's book is another great tool (in addition to Heidi Gunderson's cookbook) for applying the diet in HYH and learning more about what's in food and about food intolerances/sensitivities.  Semon is an MD that has helped many patients and one of his own children by using the diet, a very touching story he includes for the readers' benefit.  He seems to have begun with observations and theories and then learned from his experience with many patients, through trial and error and much listening and observation.  Sound like anyone else?  "Thanks!" to both Buchholz and Semon!


  1. That should be a very good and useful book.Honey is a very good substitute for sugar and so is lemon a good substitute for vinegar...better to be as close to nature as possible for a healthy diet.I like it the organic way too.

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  2. Agreed. Thanks for your comment. After starting the migraine diet, I've become much more aware of food. I'm greatful for and supportive of the local and organic food movements.

  3. Citrus is a common migraine trigger for many. I haven't read all of your blog so I am unsure if you have discussed this. I am simply looking for trigger free foods. Citrus is one of my glaring triggers especially and unfortunately lemon which I love. I have read the opposite in several places, that a limited amount of unaged vinegar such as white vinegar is alright, but for many citrus is not an option.

    1. It's good to see your comment on citrus. Orange juice is a stronger trigger for me than lemon juice. I've added small amounts of lemon juice back into my diet for cooking, instead of white vinegar, but people starting on HYH would be avoiding it. I do best limiting white vinegar to the small amount in a little bit of ketchup. I see you have been finding recipes and posting, :o) -

  4. I am new to migraine free cooking. My daughter has been getting them for years and we are experimenting with elimination diet to find the source since it seems food related. We don't eat a lot of foods with nitrates. Even lunch meat is rare. But through my research it listed beans , dairy , and breads as well as citrus as triggers . I am a little confused as to why I am seeing so many recipes on the web containing one or more of these things. Nuts as well. Could someone help me to gain clarity on this? I want to do whats best for her without making her feel too deprived as we already have one with ulcerative colitis so we are already strict. But I am confused by the conflicting advice vs recipes I am seeing. Any help is welcome. Thank you

  5. Hi Brianne, I'm not sure if you are trying to follow the HYH diet or different migraine trigger-free diets that have been suggested. When I started looking at food recommendations there were a variety, different enough that I couldn't follow all of them, it left nothing to eat. And right, they all allowed different foods so recipes for one violated the ‘avoid’ list for others.

    When I found the HYH diet (Buchholz, Heal your Headache: the 1-2-3 program for taking charge of your pain), it worked the best for me. Dr Buchholz followed many patients for many years to compile it, and I’m guessing that’s why it’s dead on for so many people. I added everything back in it allows. I was happy to get flavor back in my food. He has you start with his diet and then add things back in one at a time. I do best when I don’t add anything back in.

    Lunch meat, ham, hot dogs, and bacon that are ‘not aged’ and have ‘no nitrates or nitrites’ and ‘no msg’ are showing up in markets now. They are an improvement, but I have still found I do better without them. These products add to confusion for trigger avoidance, but after migraines are in control, they might be doable for some people to add back in.

    Nuts are not allowed in HYH, but seeds are. Toasted or roasted sunflower seeds and pine nuts (which are seeds) are both good substitutes. Other allowed foods are bread at least a day old (no malted barley flower), most beans (not lentils or limas though), and fresh dairy; milk, butter, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and American cheese are all allowed. Eggs are allowed, too.

    HYH doesn’t allow citrus, but suggests one can try adding lemon juice back in for cooking once migraines are in control because it’s so frequently used. I should stick to posting recipes without it, though.

    I hope you are finding what works. It’s information overload at first, but gets better.
    Good luck to you and your daughter. It’s great to see the support you are giving her. Helena

  6. I'm doing the HYH diet as well and glad I found this blog. I just read about cooked vs. raw veggies in the post above, which I hadn't considered but will try.

    I've been doing the diet for 3 months now and feel much better. I can still tell, however, that some foods are making me dizzy and queasy, but not go into a full-on migraine.

    The main foods that I think are doing this are black olives and eggs. I also wonder about olive oil. Can anyone comment on these foods specifically?

  7. Hi Tim,
    Glad to hear you are feeling better with a change in diet. Cooked vs raw veg and fruit, too, is from food sensitivity and allergy references (not listed). That's great, that you are able to identify additional personal triggers.

    Just to clarify for others, eggs and olives are allowed on the HYH diet. For olives, i check ingredients for vinegar. Eggs are fine for me; I eat them often. If these are triggers for other people, though, Tim would like to know. thanks, :o)

  8. Olive oil is also allowed on HYH.

  9. HI! I am 3 weeks into the HYH diet and already very impressed with the results as I can tell a difference. All of your recipes and knowledge is appreciated! I was wondering your thoughts on coconut oil in cooking and baking. Before starting the diet I had started substituting coconut oil in a lot of my baking. I thought I'd read in the book that coconut wasn't allowed. Just wondering your thoughts :) Thanks!!

  10. Hi Alicia, glad you are seeing an improvement with the diet! Thank you for your comments. You are right, coconut is not allowed on the diet (regardless of the plant species to which it belongs), as confirmed by correspondence with Dr Buchholz.

    I will look into coconut oil and post the information. That’s a good question. Sorry for the delay. Best of luck with the diet and controlling migraines! -Helena

  11. Hi again Alicia,
    Coconut oil and peanut oil could be used in moderation in the diet. This made me wonder about white chocolate and cocoa butter. Dr Buchholz actually recommends avoiding cocoa butter. There are white baking chips, such as Nestle and Ghirardelli, with no cocoa butter, that could be eaten in moderation. The Ghirardelli chips also have no hydrogenated oils, another plus. -Helena

  12. Helena. Are you still using this

  13. Yes, I am. Are you following the HYH diet? Does it work for you?

    The diet is still key for me for controlling migraines. I haven't been able to post new recipes for years as I'm raising my kids and working full time, but plan to get back to doing so several more years down the road.

  14. you can make a cup of hot tea or just drink something that relaxes you since sometimes you could get headaches from dehydration. Then I would suggest going to a quiet place and avoid bright lights, sitting down and closing your eyes for a bit.I suggest you Home remedies for headache through this you get instant of knowledge about How do you get rid of a headache