Tag Archives: headaches

5 Steps to a Healthy Being by Beth Ellen DiLuglio M.S., R.D., C.N.S.D., C.C.N., LD/N,


5 steps, 5 simple steps can help us reduce dis-ease and induce ease.

1)  EAT WHAT GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND.  A pretty simple concept, yet the best way to have a healthy diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, good fats and good carbs.  Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease,  high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.  Ideally eat 9 or more servings per day for optimal health.  Add whole grains, legumes,  nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and you are on your way to a truly health promoting diet.  Of course it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides and toxins that can end up in our produce and we’ll cover that in a future post.

2)  HYDRATE.  Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is extremely important to our metabolism.  Our bodies are at least 60% water and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and impaired athletic performance.  Preferably our fluid intake will mostly come from purified water (I recommend Reverse Osmosis for several reasons we will cover in a future post).  You can use RO water to make tea, coffee, lemonade and fruit seltzers.  Most of us need at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight to start.  We need to take in additional fluid in case of hot weather, losses during exertion, fever and other specific conditions.

3)  BE ACTIVE.  We all know that a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease and even cancer!  Moderate activity that lasts at least 60 minutes should be done daily , or at least 5 days per week.  To improve our fitness level, aerobic activity can be added a minimum of 3 times per week along with some weight training to build and maintain lean body mass.

4)  RELAX.  Stress can be as detrimental as a poor diet.  The “fight or flight” response is great if you have to wrestle a foe or escape from one.  A chronic “fight or flight” response is not great as the hormones coursing through our bloodstream can actually wreak havoc on our systems over time.  A constant barrage of cortisol can even negatively affect parts of the brain.  Deep breathing can reverse the stress response and begin to restore balance and harmony.  Plan play time and get adequate sleep in order to keep that balance.

5)  SMILE!  Just the thought of a smile can make us feel really good.  Imagine what the real thing can do!

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Why we binge eat


Over eating and emotional eating is just another sign that you are in fact human.

knowing why is more than half the battle

knowing why is more than half the battle

You’ll see a lot of articles about how to fight the occasional eat-fest, in fact I dare you to find one woman’s or man’s magazine near the holidays and at the beginning of summer that doesn’t address this issue.

In these magazines, and even on weight loss forums all over the net, you’ll see suggestions with how to beat it: eat this food, don’t eat that food. Go for a walk, take a bath. But let’s be honest, if these things worked, we’d all be prunes from taking all of those bubble baths and ben and jerry’s would be out of business….well, okay, they’d have to at least sell the summer home in Buenos Aires.

So here’s some more practical advice on discovering your reasons for binging and how to heal from them:

There are only 2 possibilities for eating past hunger:

1) you’re not getting enough nutrients from the foods you eat.

If this is true, your cravings will be for very particular food groups and will often come with other health problems like light headedness, cranky moodswings, headaches, muscle cramps, etc.

For example, someone that does not get enough protein or is getting too much protein will crave sugary foods because both proteins and sugars will show up in your blood sugar insulin levels, keeping the right amount of proteins in your diet will keep sugar cravings at bay. If this is you, you may feel fatigued in your workouts, have irregular periods or feel sluggish.

People on over restrictive diets low on calories will crave carbohydrates and sugars because these are the sources more quickly turned into energy in the body.
If you know that you’re not eating well or are on a ___diet (fill the blank in with any one food item and you KNOW it’s a bad idea), this could be your reason. Do you feel hungry constantly, do you have trouble sleeping? These could be signs of imbalanced carbohydrates in your diet.

2)you’re not getting enough emotional outlets in your life.

Look, we’re emotional beings. We eat for hunger, yes, but we also eat because we’re stressed, tired, lonely, bored, celebrating. And we’re not the only ones. I’ve watched my cat eat until she puked (and then eat the puke, and then puke the puked food and eat it again) because she was lonely, so why should we expect more from ourselves? Okay, fine, don’t eat what you’ve puked.

If you know this is why you over eat, I ask you to think of one question: What feeling am I seeking when I eat too much?

This one question will get you a lot more than you may think. If you eat until you feel happy, what happened today or earlier that made you UNhappy? If you eat until you feel calm, what made you irritated? Generally, emotional eating form their own kind of food groups:

Crunchy salty foods = aggravation, irritation.

Sweet, soft doughy,creamy foods = sadness, need for consolation.

Soft, salty foods = boredom, loneliness.

Fatty, fried foods = feeling spacy, ungrounded, unsure.

Now of course there’s no science book that’s going to break down these parallels in what you eat, when and why. You could be ready to punch your boss in the face and reach for ice cream, not chips, but hey, don’t you want someone to console you after you punch him?

In the end, if you can start with knowing why YOU eat too much, that’s more than half the battle.

So I’m not saying the next time you go shopping to distract yourself from the Dorito aisle because it’s “bad”, but just think, what do I want to feel after I eat this? and see if that changes anything.

Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of www.RedAppleYoga.com, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced  Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.

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Stress, certain foods, food additives, and hormones can initiate headaches.


Is your pain in the head a pain in the neck? Stress, certain foods, food additives, and hormones can initiate headaches.

Researchers have classified many different types of headaches that include sinus headaches, exertion headaches, fever headaches, menstrual headaches, and bilious headaches. To simplify let’s examine the three major categories of headaches.

  • Tension or muscle contraction headaches are often caused by anxiety and stress. These headaches are characterized by dull pain that begins in the neck or back of the head and squeezes the forehead area. They are characteristically described as having a “rubber band” tightened around your head.
  • Migraine or vascular headaches affect approximately 28 million people, and 4 times more women than men. Migraines can begin suddenly, or present with warning signs, such as aura. They are characterized with one-sided sharp throbbing pain that may induce vomiting, dizziness and hypersensitivity to sounds and light.
  • Cluster headaches, which are also vascular, affect approximately 1 million people per year in the United States. Cluster headaches usually cause pain on one side of the head, occur in groups or “clusters”, that can last for days at a time.

Anxiety and stress are the most common triggers of headaches. Avoiding all controllable situations that commonly cause stress and tension, such as avoiding over-scheduling appointments, and dodging upsetting confrontations and situations, may help you avoid some of your headaches. To address the stressors in your life that you can’t directly control, there are some steps you can take to help you handle that stress, and help you avoid tension headaches. Stress reduction exercises, such as biofeedback, meditation, and yoga, can help you to become a stress survivor. Let’s not forget about moving the muscles below your head. Exercise is a great stress reducer.

Dietary allergies play a major role in the onset of headaches. Identification of allergens in your diet can result in elimination of that cantankerous throbbing in your head. However, in clinical practice, I eliminate specific known headache triggers commonly found in one’s diet prior to receiving the results of allergy testing. Let’s explore some the common dietary headache inducers.

A group of phosphoproteins in milk are commonly referred to as “casein”. Casein, which comprises 78.7% of all the protein in milk, is a major trigger of migraines and other types of headaches. Many practitioners eliminate all sources of casein in the headache sufferers diet. To eliminate all casein one must avoid all dairy, and the many foods in which it is found. It is commonly listed as sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, or milk protein on many food labels. These three main ingredients are found in sports bars, sports drinks, packaged goods and commercial tuna fish in a can (how do you think they pack tuna into a perfect hockey puck shape). An excellent book on the affects of casein and headache is “How To Rid Your Body of Pain”, by Dr. Daniel Twogood.

Another common dietary headache trigger is tyramine. Tyramine is a phenolic amine found in various foods and beverages. The following list depicts tyramine sources that should be avoided.

Cheeses: All aged and mature cheeses, since it is impossible to know the exact tyramine content, all cheeses should be avoided. Including but not limited to cheddar, swiss, blue cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, cheese spreads, cheese casseroles or any foods made with cheese.

Yeast, Brewers and Extracts: This group includes brewers yeast, extracts such as marmite, and fresh homemade yeast leavened breads; yeast found in prepared foods, soups, can foods, frozen foods, should be checked for the addition of yeast abstracts and should be avoided.

Meats/Fish: Pork, and all smoked, aged, picked, fermented, or marinated meats must be avoided. Including but not limited to picked fish, picked herring, meat extracts, livers, dry sausages or prepared meats, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, frankfurters, bacon, bologna, liverwurst and ham.

Also avoid: chocolate, overripe bananas, citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit), sauerkraut, broad fava beans, Italian beans, tofu, soy sauce, and miso soup.

Beverages: No coffee, tea, cocoa, beer, Ales, domestic and imported, Wines, especially Chianti vermouth, Whiskey and liqueurs, such as Drambuie and Chartreuse. Nonalcoholic varieties of beers and wines should also be avoided.

Supplements to avoid: yeast vitamin supplements, L-tyrosine, NADH

The ubiquitous flavor enhancer MSG must be avoided. Monosodium Glutamate is directly associated with the onset of headaches in many people. According to George Schwartz, M.D., MSG is found in many common grocery items, and is usually hidden in the ingredient label. The following listing should help you avoid MSG and illustrate the fact that this substance is not only found in Chinese food.

Definite Sources of MSG: hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast or yeast extract, gelatin.

Possible sources of MSG: textured protein, carrageenan, vegetable gum seasonings, spices, flavorings, natural flavorings, flavorings of chicken, beef or pork, smoke flavorings, bouillon, broth or stock, barley malt, malt extract, malt flavoring, whey protein, whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate or concentrate, soy sauce or extract.

For more information on MSG, click this link http//www.nomsg.com, or refer to the book “In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex”, by George R. Schwartz, M.D.

Caffeine can cause headaches. If you are a coffee drinker that decided to quit and had that classic “caffeine withdrawal headache”, you know the pain inducing power of this substance. Even the caffeine content in standard OTC pain relievers can cause a rebound headache. When trying to kick the coffee habit, wait until the weekend, or when time off from work is available. Next, try a coffee substitute product, such as the latest from the company Allergy Research called Best Café.

Avoiding tannins may be helpful for some sufferers of headaches.

Tannins are found in black tea, many herb teas, apple juice (though not apples), dates, kiwi, peach, berries, coffee, chocolate, carob, alfalfa, red wine, many alcoholic drinks, walnuts, and pecans.

Other substances to avoid include hydrogenated oils, sugar, food additives (especially sulfites), alcohol, and smoking.

Environmental allergies can play a role in the onset of headaches. Working with a progressive medical center to identify such allergies, can result in treatment called neutralization and desensitization, which can help alleviate headaches if it is part of the cause.

Hormones may be the cause of your headaches. 60% of women’s migraines are linked to their menstrual cycle. Migraine-type pain shortly before, during, or after menstruation, or at mid-cycle, may indicate a variation in estrogen levels. Further, hormone neutralization/desensitization may be beneficial therapy when treating headaches. A knowledgeable holistic physician can identify such problems.

Controlling blood sugar is an often overlooked, yet important part of any headache treatment protocol. Never consuming carbohydrate alone, eating small frequent protein rich meals, and avoiding all refined sugars and flours from one’s diet are just some of the steps to stabilizing blood sugar to head off a headache.

Certain supplements can help ease that pain in your head. Doses of the following supplements should be tailored to each individual by a certified nutritionist.

Supplements

EPA/DHA 2,000 mg
Beneficial Bacteria Lactobacillus GG, 1 capsule per day
Ester-C 1-2 grams
Calcium 1,000 mg in divided doses
Magnesium 400-800 mg
B2 100-400
B complex 100 mg per day
Carnitine 1-3 grams
CoQ10 30-300 mg
Selenium 200 mcg
Vitamin E 400-800 IU
Vitamin D 400 IU
Feverfew 2-3 capsules per day of extract
Curcumin 100-1,000 mg

Other causes of headaches that need to be examined include TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, brain tumor, spinal misalignment, over doses of vitamin A, and hypertension. It is imperative to see a doctor if you are suffering from headaches.

According to the National Headache Foundation, your genes may play a role in you becoming a migraine victim. If both your parents had migraines, you have a 75% chance of inheriting that pain. If only one parent is a migraine sufferer, your risk drops to 50%. If a distant relative has migraines, your risk sinks to 20%.

Migraines may damage part of the brain that responds to pain and activates the fight or flight response. According to a recent study, scientists imaging the brain have found that blood flow to certain parts of the brain increases dramatically during the course of a migraine. Researchers at the Kansas University Medical Center found that migraine and chronic headache sufferers had more iron in a part of the brain called the periaqueductal gray region than those without headaches. The researchers mapped the brains of 51 subjects divided into three groups: 17 without migraines, 17 with migraines, and 17 with episodic migraines that progressed into a condition called chronic daily headache. They used magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a technique to map changes in the concentration of iron. According to researchers, the concentration of iron corresponds to the amount of damage – more iron indicates the potential for free radical damage. The results of the study were presented at the International Headache Conference on July 1, in Manhattan.

The periaqueductal gray region sits in the brain stem, which extends up from the spinal cord and controls many involuntary processes. One of its main functions is to diminish pain. Researchers postulate that chronic migraines can lead to increased sensitivity to pain, even when they don’t have a headache. K. Michael Welch, the vice chancellor of research at Kansas University Medical Center, believes that though future studies are needed, we should be very aggressive about preventing migraines.

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