Sweetness of summer need not include dairy or artificial food dyes

Where does dairy come into play with migraine prevention?

“Dairy is a commonly-reported migraine precipitant although patients are more likely to identify cheese or yogurt as a trigger than milk.”*

For me, dairy is something that has been a problem since I was a kid. I am most definitely lactose intolerant. And I tested that over and over again because I loved ice cream. The aftermath was always awful. Finally, I distanced myself from it.

As the years have gone on, I have made it a practice to consume very little dairy. Fortunately, we have such a plethora of dairy substitutes when it comes to milk product (read about my favorite milk option here) options – yogurt (I say yes to Fage) – cheese.

One of the most common pieces of advice doled out by medical professionals and patients alike is to “track what you consume.” That is valuable advice.

It can be easy to miss that oddball carbonated beverage at a gala or the chip and dip combo at your office lunch gathering. Hold on tight to that journal and stay committed to it, because it could serve a very useful purpose in avoiding migraine triggers and staying symptom-free.

“Strategies for managing migraine triggers include keeping a headache diary, focusing on healthy lifestyle choices and using prevention.”*

I wouldn’t have as quickly identified pepper as one my triggers without my food diary. To this day, I still vividly remember that night after dining at a restaurant and consuming a peppered dish. Thankfully I had Cambia with me to help mitigate the pain and discomfort. But the effects of migraine still wore me out.

Ready to throw something else into the mix? How are food dyes impacting your system?

artificial food dye

You could place me in the middle of the grocery store, spin me and in each position I stop – I see processed, packaged, even freshly-made meals and desserts that have a commonality – artificial food dyes.

I have a few friends who have a severe reaction to red food dye. I know that is a common culprit and also highly avoided by many women during pregnancy. It’s tough – right. I can see both sides of the story. Our society is driven by desire. If presented with two similar-tasting meals, but one has a more dynamite appearance – I’d bet most consumers would choose that one.

“Food dye consumption per person has increased fivefold in the United States since 1955” (predominately Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6).**

“Artificial dyes derived from petroleum are found in thousands of foods.”** Think – puddings, yogurts, cakes, jello, cereals, even vitamins… Prior to the use of petroleum to make food dyes, they “were originally derived from coal tar.”*** And yes, they are still just as risky to ingest!

It pays for us to be mindful about everything we ingest in our quest to reduce our migraine episodes. Please use a food diary! Don’t forget to observe if food dye is in an ingredient listed on anything you purchase.

And remember, bringing color into your life doesn’t have to be through food dyes! The sky is already blue; birds vary in brilliant colors; and trees are green! Enjoy the colors found in nature, not those made from chemicals!

*Source: Triggers, protectors, and predictors in episodic migraine, Michael J. Marmura, Thomas Jefferson University, 2018

**Source: The artificial food dye blues, Environmental Health Perspectives, Oct. 2010

***Source: Toxicology of food dyes, Sarah Kobylewski, Michael F Jacobson, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2012

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