Low Histamine Rainbow Succotash Breakfast Recipe

I’ve found a delicious, healthy breakfast that my whole family loves eating.  It’s very easy to prepare and it gets me started off on the right foot because this dish offers lots of healthy fats to support my lymphatic system and loads me up with minerals and prebiotics (resistant starch in the beans, arabinogalactans in the carrots).  The sulfur in the cabbage supports sulfation detoxification pathways, and the potassium and magnesium in the kale support electrolyte balance.

What makes this dish more than just healthy but boring steamed vegetables is the corn and the fat.  The corn adds a lovely sweet flavor that balances our the greens – and the ghee, olive oil, seasonings and the beans make this meal very filling, flavorful, and satisfying.

If you prepare the kale, carrots, corn, and cabbage ahead of time – chopping and grating them finely as pictured below, then spinning them in a salad spinner – this meal can be made very quickly. I make large amounts of this mixture and keep them in a big bag in the fridge.  Then I just sautee the garlic in ghee, throw in the veggie mixture, add the black beans for reheating in the side of the pan, and dish up in a matter of minutes.

I also like to sprinkle this dish with some mild New Mexico chile (since my histamine isn’t so high anymore).  If you are very sensitive to histamine, you could use paprika instead.  It’s the spicy capsaicin in the seeds of chillis that triggers migraine, not the sweet meat of mild chilli or peppers.  Alternately, if you cannot handle any chilli at all, use lots of black pepper, as this helps raise blood pressure.

I use both ghee and olive oil in this dish to get the benefits of both.  Fat helps the vitamins and minerals in cooked vegetables to become more bioavailable.  The butyric acid in the ghee will help feed healthy gut bacteria, and the Omega-3 fatty acids will help lower inflammation.  The olive oil drizzled on top afterwards will help to reduce histamine and raise diamine oxidase.

My husband likes to put a fried egg or two on top of his.  The choline in egg yolks is excellent for raising methylation. Remember to load on the salt, we need it!

Ingredients for 2 Meals of Succotash:

3 cloves of chopped fresh garlic, sauteed in
3 T of clarified butter/ghee
4 cups of prepared chopped cabbage, kale, grated carrot, and frozen or fresh corn
2 cups of black beans
chilli, pepper, paprika, and salt to taste
drizzle of olive oil
garnish with cilantro, avocado
2 fried eggs (optional)
Squeeze of lemon or lime (optional)

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

Three Incredible Cheese-free Pesto Recipes

I frequently get asked for help with recipe ideas for sauces and dressings to spruce up low-histamine foods, so I wanted to offer these pesto recipes up for your consideration. Eating low-histamine needn’t be bland! I found these amazing pesto recipes in my friend Helen Spieth’s “Guided Fall Cleanse and Nutritional Program”, which she does twice a year out of Portland, OR. I wanted to feature and highlight these different versions of pesto because pesto is a great way to get olive oil into your diet.  As you may know, olive oil is high in oleic acid and has been shown to decrease histamine load, especially in the lymphatic system.  It also increases the enzyme DAO (which breaks down histamine), so I recommend people get a lot of olive oil in their diet (cold-pressed organic virgin of course!).

Directions: combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Add a little extra olive oil to get it going.  While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is achieved, adding more if necessary.  Put in jars and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Cleansing Pesto

2 cups basil
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups parsley
2 cups soaked sprouted almonds skins removed
3-4 garlic cloves
3/4-1 cup olive oil
1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt

Spinach Lemon Basil Pesto

1.5 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemons (2-3)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Dill Pesto

1 bunch fresh dill
4-5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

Easy Tangy Herbed Cashew “Chevre”

This cashew chevre recipe is one that I adapted from other recipes online which contained histamine-triggering ingredients like apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast.  This version is free of those trigger ingredients, and tastes similar to the almond “feta” recipe, but is much less labor intensive because it requires no straining of the excess liquid, and no baking.

2 cups cashews, soaked for 3-6 hours and drained
2 clove garlic
1/3 cup of lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons)
1/8 t lemon zest
2 t salt
3 T refined coconut oil (so there is no coconut flavor)
3 T virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water

Directions: After soaking and draining your cashews, blend cashews and all other ingredients at high speed until very creamy and smooth. Scrape the mixture out of the blender into a bowl and keep covered in the fridge overnight.  Prior to serving, scoop the desired amount out of the bowl and roll it into a log or roll shape across your favorite blend of fresh chopped herbs.  You can use chive, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, black pepper, or oregano.  I also like to roll (or sprinkle) mine with sweet roasted paprika powder, which imparts an amazing smoky flavur and, unlike other chillis, is generally not a histamine trigger.

If you a prefer a milder, less tangy, less salty version of this soft “cheese”, adjust ratios to make more of a sour cream like cheese using, for example, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1.5 t salt, and 1 clove garlic instead of the above quantities.  For sour cream, you don’t have to chill it or roll it in herbs.

Another alternative is to mix the chopped fresh herbs into cheese mixture.

This cheese is excellent over tacos, on rice chips, or spread onto vegetables.

Enjoy!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

Improve Your Sleep & Brain Health with This Electrolyte Sesame & Honey Recipe

honey for better sleep

Getting better sleep is perhaps the most crucial – and elusive – lifestyle improvement for those with migraine headache.

Without adequate sleep (and especially deep REM sleep), the body and brain can’t repair itself.  Many of us with a history of chronic migraine may not even remember what it feels like to wake up from sleep refreshed and energized.  Instead, most people with migraine will not only have poor sleep and fewer REM deep sleep cycles than healthier people, but migraines will actually start in the middle of the night.  The result is waking up with a headache – a horrible way to start the day.

Some people even wake up very early in the morning – between 1am and 4am with the headache, and never fall deeply back into sleep.  This is because both adrenaline and glutamate levels peak at this time when the brain is starved of proper nutrition and fluid to regenerate. The solution is to give it the proper nutritional support prior to going to bed in the form of sufficient electrolytes, glucose, tryptophan, and GABA-enhancing prebiotics.  All of these ingredients will help to counterbalance the excess cortisol and glutamate that normally peak when the brain is stuck in a dysfunctional circadian rhythm.  For more info on circadian rhythms, check out this article.

My question is always: are there simple culinary Folk Medicine remedies that can help to solve these seemingly intractable problems?  The reason I always ask this question first is because I’ve never found there is NOT a simple, affordable, safe Folk Medicine solution that works as good, but usually better, than pharmaceutical options – which just scramble our fragile systems even more.

As it turns out, honey has long been recognized throughout history for its energy and brain boosting effects.  Now, science is catching up on the explanations for why honeys is so supportive of brain health.

Honey has an appreciable nutritional value. Raw honey possesses anxiolytic, antinociceptive, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant effects and improves the oxidative status of the brain. Several honey supplementation studies suggest that honey polyphenols have neuroprotective and nootropic effects. Polyphenol constituents of honey quench biological reactive oxygen species that cause neurotoxicity and aging as well as the pathological deposition of misfolded proteins, such as amyloid beta. Polyphenol constituents of honey counter oxidative stress by excitotoxins . . . and neurotoxins . . . Raw honey and honey polyphenols attenuate the microglia-induced neuroinflammation that is induced by ischemia-reperfusion injury or immunogenic neurotoxins. Most importantly, honey polyphenols counter neuroinflammation in the hippocampus, a brain structure that is involved in spatial memory. Honey polyphenols also counter memory deficits and induce memory formation at the molecular level. (Source)

From the research I’ve done into sleep and migraine, I’ve created this delicious sleepy-time drink that can be consumed prior to bed and actually works to help establish solid, regenerative sleep.  You won’t find this recipe elsewhere on the web, so if you have any friends with sleep issues, please share this article!

But first, a few lifestyle choices that will act as powerful (and obvious!) leverage points for better sleep:

  1. Limit screen time past 9pm. Turn off your cell phone, get off the computer, turn off the TV.  Why not even turn off your router!  Give yourself a break.  Develop clear boundaries around technology use.
  2. Implement a simple relaxation routine into your evening prior to sleeping.  This could be as simple and variable as taking a hot bath, making the space for mediation or prayer, reading poetry, snuggling with your kids, making love to your Beloved or exchanging massage with them, doing some yoga, or burning some incense (I personally love sweetgrass, palo santo, or cedarwood shavings burnt on charcoal). Anything that relaxes you!
  3. Get outside during the day (or supplement with Vitamin D) and move your body.  Getting both sunlight and exercise improve sleep and serotonin production.  If you can’t get outside, look into vitamin D supplementation.  It’s been shown to be chronically low in people with migraine, and is essential for establishing healthy sleep patterns (and a host of other things, including digestion).  Blood values for vitamin D should be a minimum of 30ng/ml, up to 80ng/ml.  Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with low serotonin levels.
  4. Examine your relationship to caffeine and coffee, and adjust accordingly.  Some of us are so sensitive to caffeine and coffee that drinking a small amount in the early morning can be one reason we have a hard time falling asleep even long after the coffee was consumed.
  5. Take good care of your adrenals. “An effective way to manage chronically elevated cortisol levels is to ensure that the adrenal glands are supported by proper nutrition. Vitamin B6, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin C often become depleted with prolonged hyperactivity of adrenal gland activity and increased production of cortisol.” (Source).  Most people with migraine are depleted of B6 an B5 because their gut flora have become so dyregulated that the gut flora no longer produce the B vitamins for them, and their ability to absorb the nutrients and cofactors needed to utilize them in food is also compromised.
  6. Reduce your histamine load.  High levels of histamine interfere with sleep.  You can follow a low-histamine diet until you get your histamine overload addressed.

Restorative Sleepytime Drink Recipe

In order to increase blood volume, serotonin, melatonin, GABA, and energy for the brain, our ideal drink would include electrolytes, glucose, tryptophan, and prebiotics.  To make this recipe simple and avoid complicated and lengthy prep time prior to going to bed, you’ll want to prep the milk portion of this recipe and the honey and salt portion separately and have them prepared for easy mixing every night.

Also keep in mind that there is some evidence that tryptophan needs to be consumed prior to the honey for the honey to get the tryptophan into the brain, in which case it is valuable to drink the nutmilk portion throughout the day and the honey portion prior to bed.  However in this case, if drinking the honey with the nutmilk prior to bed is more appealing than the honey/salt alone (whether or not you have had the nutmilk earlier in the day), that is a good option.

This recipe is only for those who tolerate honey, which doesn’t spike insulin levels like other simple carbs. The honey used in this recipe must be organic. Honey can accumulate GMO pollen grains and pesticides. A lot of conventional honey is made from bees fed high fructose corn syrup, and/or is adulterated with high fructose corn syrup. Highest quality is of importance here.  Honey is an amazing food full of 18 amino acids.  It is antibacterial and soothing to the throat and stomach.  Honey raises blood sugar gradually, unlike consumption of refined sugars.

Nutmilk Portion
Sesame seeds are the seeds highest in tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin).  They also contain calcium which helps the body to utilize tryptophan.  Almonds also contain tryptophan as well as magnesium, which aids in sleep.  You can make a nutmilk out of both sesame and almonds, or either of these alone, or experiment with variations on this theme (pumpkin seeds are also high in tryptophan, and shredded coconut contains it as well).

Note: Almonds are expensive and extremely water and labor intensive – they actually have to import bees from New Zealand to pollinate monoculture almond groves.  Therefore, a simple sesame seed nutmilk is the more sustainable option.

Here’s an example of the ratio of almond to sesame seeds that I personally enjoy most:

1/2 cup hulled raw sesame seeds (the majority of the oxalate content is in the hulls, so get unhulled)
1/2 cup of almonds
4 cups of water

Blend on high power and strain through a cheesecloth, nutmilk bag or fine mesh strainer. I personally prefer a mesh strainer even though it requires me to use a clean finger rotated in a circular motion in the strainer to help the nutmilk through. After all the milk has been strained through, I empty the strainer of the larger chunks before pouring the next portion through.  The nutmilk made with a strainer rather than nutmilk bag seems richer and thicker.

Honey & Salt Portion:
1 cup of water warm enough to dissolve honey (but not boiling, to preserve vitamins and enzymes in honey)
2/3 cup of organic raw honey (10 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons of Himalayan Pink or Sea Salt

To Make Your Drink Each Night:
Warm or cold, drink the following mixture prior to brushing teeth and going to bed:
1/2- 1 cup of the nutmilk
1 teaspoon of the honey salt mixture
1 teaspoon of resistant potato starch (to feed friendly flora and increase GABA).

This nutmilk recipe is also delicious used throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels up, and not only for consumption prior to bed. In that case you can also just store the mixture in the fridge with all the ingredients already combined, just be sure to agitate the potato starch if you do that, as it tends to settle at the bottom.

Comments are open for this post.  Please let me know how it works for you! Happy Sleeping!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

 

Chicory, Dandelion, and Chaga “Coffee” Recipe that Supports Digestion & Adrenals

Herbal Coffee Ingredients and How they Support Your Liver, Gallbladder, Kidneys, Immune System, & Digestive Tract

I’ve discovered an herbal “coffee” recipe that is nourishing and supportive to the kidneys, liver, and digestion.  So I ultimately don’t have to deny myself at all.  With the recipe below, I can get a flavored drink similar to coffee that is healthy and offers the ritual of coffee, but which actually supports me.

Dandelion root is the quintessential Folk Medicine remedy, known to cleanse the liver and build the blood.  It’s a powerful antioxidant and, like coffee, helps to stimulate the production of bile and the transport of toxins out of your body.  It’s a great immune system booster.

Chicory root also helps to increase bile flow.  The roasted root is known to help with blood sugar imblanaces, constipation, and osteoarthritis.  It also contains inulin, a powerful prebiotic, although not in steeped form.  It also reduces cortisol levels and supports the liver.  Check out it’s beautiful blue flower below!

Chaga mushroom is found on birch trees in North America, so if you live outside of Canada or the US, it may be hard for you to come by – in which case just make the recipe above without chaga.  When I lived in Vermont, my husband found a huge chaga polypore that provided us with delicious tea for over two years.

Chaga is a bit pricey but is well worth the cost due to its many benefits.  Like dandelion, chaga is an immune-booster and antioxidant. It is full of Beta-D-Glucans.  It also supports the integrity of blood vessels and provides soothing properties in times of irritation. This can be helpful for those suffering from pain, neuropathy, and even diabetes.  It’s also recognized for its benefits to the digestive tract and for healing ulcers.

Finally, Here’s My Herbal “Coffee” Recipe.  Enjoy!

In 3 cups of water, boil 2 T roasted dandelion root, 1/2 T chaga mushroom, and 1/2 teaspoon of roasted chicory. Boil on low for about 8 minutes until very dark. Strain this and put it in the blender hot with 1 T of coconut oil. Blend until creamy and pour into mugs, add maple syrup or honey as desired. Adjust the chicory ratio if it tastes too over-roasted or you prefer a stronger roast.

 

Savory Indian Prebiotic Lentil Dosa Wraps

The recipe below is a wonderful Indian flatbread that is delicious, savory, and incredibly satisfying for those of us who are avoiding wheat and gluten.  It is also a perfect dish for those of us wanting to improve gut health through prebiotics – since the resistant starch in the rice and lentils of this dosa batter will feed the friendly gut bacteria, thus lowering inflammation.  Lentils are an excellent source of iron!!

I have used a variety of different types of lentils to make this batter – from French green lentils to the little red lentils.  My personal favorite is the traditional yellow dal lentils that can be found in Indian markets and organic in some health food stores.

While this flatbread becomes more flavorful and fluffy the longer the batter is fermented, for our purposes in making a low-histamine wrap we will not ferment it as long.  It is sufficient to soak the rice and lentil batter covered on the counter for 3-4 hours until the grains have softened up for a smooth batter. For those who only get migraines once in awhile, it should be fine to keep the remaining dosa batter in the fridge overnight and use the next day, since the level of fermentation at that point is nowhere near as problematic as other foods that have been fermented for longer time periods.

These dosas are great used as a wrap for traditional Indian fillings like potato curry, but also good filled with any number of other savory ingredients for which you would normally use a flour tortilla.

Prebiotic Dosa Batter Recipe

1.5 cups of lentils (you can use a mixture of channa dal, red lentils, green lentils, or urad dal – or any of these alone)
2 cups of rice (basmati, jasmine, or parboiled rice)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
1/2 t salt

Blend ingredients in a powerful blender such as a Vitamix at high speed until the grains have turned into a fine flour.  Add water gradually until the batter forms a paste, similar in consistency to crepe batter – or as desired, depending on how thick you want the dosa.  I perfer a thin crisp dosa made with a thinnner batter. (Alternately, you can soak your grains until the water runs clear and then blend the soaked grains in water to make the desired consistency).

Let batter mixture sit covered on the counter for about 4 hours in the blender, then blend again for a few minutes to make the batter extra smooth.  You can also leave the batter in the fridge for up to 8 hours before blending.  If you are highly sensitive to fermented foods and get very frequent migraines, err on the side of cooking with a fresher batter.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat with ghee or a high-heat cooking oil like coconut or grapeseed oil.  Pour a ladleful of batter into the pan and spread it into a circular shape.  You can add herbs sprinkled into the batter at this point if you prefer. Cook on medium-high heat until the batter bubbles or is crisp brown on the other side, then flip and cook the other side for a few seconds until lightly browned.

Eat hot and enjoy!

Another version of this recipe can be found here.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

 

 

Creamy, Decadent, Low-histamine Ranch Dressing Recipe

People often write to me asking me about what they can eat in the way of healthy sauces and dresssings while on a low histamine diet, so I thought I’d share this amazing “ranch” dressing with you. A friend of mine brought this delicious and creamy dressing to my house the other night and I found it easy to adapt to make it low-histamine.  All I did was switch out the vinegar for lemon juice and the date for maple syrup!  Fresh dill is one of my favorite flavors so I’m happy to share this with you!

 

3/4 cup filtered water
1 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 tsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon minced garlic
 (1 clove)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Herbamare or salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus more to taste

Throw the water, drained cashews, lemon juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, red onion, and Herbamare into your blender, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy.Stir in the fresh herbs, and add more to taste.

The original recipe can be found here!

Enjoy! And stay tuned for more recipes!

Low Nitrate Green Drink Recipe that Won’t Trigger Migraine

Are you aware that some green leafy veggies are high in nitrates and therefore may contribute to migraine headaches? Hence the need for a low nitrate green drink.

While higher levels of nitric oxide (and raw, green, leafy veggies) may be a good thing for people with hypertension and high blood pressure, it’s not so great for those of us with hypotension and low blood pressure.  Nitrates contribute to vasodilation and low blood pressure, and when our blood pressure is low (as most of ours are who are prone to migraines), there is insufficient blood and therefore oxygen getting to the head (as well as impingement on nearby cranial nerves). If you’re not familiar with this problem, please read my blog post “Migraine Trigger Alert! High Levels of Nitrates in Green Leafy Veggies.”

Below is the recipe I use when I want a low nitrate green drink.

It’s absolutely delicious, and the mint acts as an antihistamine! According to Anthony William, cucumber juice helps to reduce nausea.

Cucumber juice is also one of the best natural diuretics around, aiding in the excretion of wastes through the kidneys and helping to dissolve uric acid accumulations such as kidney and bladder stones. It has the ability to help reduce edema, bloating and swelling in the body.  It also has wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits which can significantly benefit autoimmune and neurological disorders such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Anxiety, Depression, Shingles, Eczema, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, & Lupus. (Source).

Run these veggies through your juicer and enjoy!

1/2 head of Romaine Lettuce
1 medium sized cucumber
1/2 large pear
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 carrot
1/2 lemon without peel
1 stick of celery
1 inch of ginger (optional)
1 carrot (optional)

I hope this information will empower you to keep eating your greens in a way that is truly nourishing to you given your unique sensitivities. I will continue to update this article as I learn more about nitrates.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. [/author_info] [/author]

Rehydrate with this DIY Electrolyte Recipe to Get Rid of Migraines

DIY electrolyte recipe

The Key to Proper Hydration is Electrolytes!

Yes, we’ve all heard this one before – those with migraines need to hydrate.  What some of us haven’t heard is that drinking water doesn’t make your cells hydrated if your electrolyte balance is off.  The cells need an optimal ratio of potassium to sodium in order for the potassium/sodium channels to work (as well as magnesium and calcium, but potassium and sodium are the most important for actually getting rid of a migraine). I’m sharing my own DIY electrolyte recipe so that you can make some yourself and have it on hand to drink when you feel a migraine coming on, or preventatively.

Buying pre-formulated electrolyte powders won’t work as well because most of them are formulated for athletes who lose a lot of sodium or aren’t directly formulated for migraineurs. Migraineurs need a higher potassium to sodium ratio to help the sodium potassium channels work optimally properly. Migraineurs also lose more electrolytes due to kidney dysfunction, so must replenish more frequently than most people to stay hydrated (since their kidneys don’t reabsorb minerals as efficiently).

DIY Electrolyte Recipe for Migraine

4 parts potassium gluconate powder (I use NOW brand potassium gluconate)
1 part sodium chloride salt (I use sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt but any kind will do)
8 parts Acerola Cherry Powder Vitamin C (I have used Terrasoul Superfoods Brand)

To make a big batch of electrolyte powder reflecting the above ratios, I tend to mix up 1/2 cup of potassium gluconate, 1/8 cup of salt, and 1 cup of acerola powder.  Then I mix approximately 1 Tablespoon of this mixture in 1-2 cups of water or juice (depending on your sensitivity to sugar).  I add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup for taste so that it’s not so tart, tho it will work just as well without it.

Alternately, if you’d like to get phosphorous and calcium in your electrolyte drink, you can also use SaltSticks. For every 1 SaltSticks capsule use 1 teaspoon of potassium powder (I use NOW brand potassium gluconate).  I just open up 30 capsules of SaltSticks, pour them into a jar and mix them with 10 Tablespoons of potassium powder and 20 Tablespoons of Acerola powder so I have a lot on hand.

Note that I’ve added Vitamin C to this DIY electrolyte recipe (which isn’t an electrolyte) because it is a mast cell stabilizer, supports brain health, and lowers histamine.  Unlike lab-created vitamin C powders which are created through a fermentation process, Acerola powder offers up vitamin C in a whole-food form.  You can make this electrolyte mix without the vitamin C but the vitamin C will greatly help those with migraines.  Vitamin C is incredibly important for both brain and adrenal health, since it helps to increase progesterone (a glutamate scavenger) and serotonin (which most people with migraine are low in).

I take this electrolyte drink for maintenance but it can be very effective if you feel a migraine coming on or have brain fog.  You may need to take this every few hours and/or drink it with a lot of extra water to stave a migraine off.

Adding in Magnesium as an Essential Electrolyte

Personally, I also like to add magnesium chloride to this DIY electrolyte recipe, because it is easier for me to take this all at once rather than separately.  I’ve found I do better taking magnesium in the morning rather than evening.  I make my own magnesium chloride at a 1:1 ratio with hot water until the chloride flakes dissolve, then add 1/2 teaspoon of this to my electrolyte drink.  Magnesium is essential for proper absorption of Vitamin D and is a precursor to Serotonin (among other things).

One of the many chemical reactions in your body is the release of serotonin.  Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter by relaying messages from one area of the brain to another.  Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced by serotonin either directly or indirectly.  This includes brain cells related to mood, depression, sexual desire and function, sleep, memory, appetite and some social behavior.

Serotonin is dependent on magnesium.  The biochemical reactions necessary for serotonin, which is the brains natural feel good drug, cannot function properly if you are suffering from low magnesium. (Source)

Taking supplemental magnesium will make your stool softer. Magnesium gluconate seems to be the most well-tolerated form of magnesium taken internally. Using this same 1:1 ratio of magnesium chloride flakes to water to make a magnesium oil that can be applied topically is an alternative solution to oral intake for those that have trouble digesting the magnesium.

Also, keep in mind that magnesium is necessary in the body for proper detoxification, therefore, may cause detoxification symptoms with its use. Detoxification symptoms include headache, fatigue, brain fog, body ache, and other similar ailments, so it’s important to go slow if you are just starting out with magnesium supplementation.

Test How Well this Drink is Working by Measuring Your Blood Pressure

Of course, you should know whether this drink is working for you by way of your symptoms improving or being alleviated.  But it’s also valuable to check your blood pressure.  Most people with migraine have low blood pressure.  You can buy a hand-held blood pressure cuff at your local drug store.  You need to know your normal resting blood pressure in order to see how much your blood pressure will go up after getting proper electrolytes.

For me, my normal blood pressure is 100/60.  I have brain fog symptoms starting at about 94/60.  Taking salt or electrolytes usually raises my blood pressure back to 98 or 100/60, and symptoms subside.

Happy hydrating!

Please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat migraines, or act as a replacement for medical care from a medical professional.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

 

Hypertensive Essential Oils for Migraine & Headache (DIY)

You’ve probably noticed that it’s not just synthetic fragrances that are a horrible trigger when you have headache and migraine symptoms – some essential oils (especially the more floral and low-note oils like jasmine and patchouli) can wreak havoc on your fragile brain too.  That’s because those and many other oils are hypotensive (ie, vasodilating) oils. Therefore, migraineurs may want to avoid geranium, jasmine, marjoram, rose, valerian, lemon, melissa, neroli, nutmeg, vetivert, and ylang ylang essential oils, especially when they are symptomatic.

As we know, migraine for many of us is triggered by vasodilation  – which means blood vessels impinge on nearby cranial nerves in the neck leading up to the head.  This blood vessel dilation is responsible for low blood pressure and a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain.  In order to constrict our blood vessels and improve blood flow to the head, we need vasoconstrictive (ie, hypertensive) essential oils.  And it turns out that there are many more oils aside from the classical headache treatment using peppermint oil that can help us, which Mother Nature has so kindly provided!

In this blog post, I want to share with you my recipe for a vasoconstrictive/hypertensive essential oil blend.  The oils I’ve chosen to use in my own SimplyWell Migraine, Headache, & Brain Fog Support Blend are only a few of the vasoconstrictive essential oils out there. My friend Lauren over at AroMed essential oils noted to me that all of the oils chosen in this blend are also great for digestive issues.  No surprises there, since most migraines are digestive migraines!

So Which Essential Oils are Hypertensive?

The research into the properties of most of these oils is seemingly straightforward, but we need to keep in mind that many plants are adaptogenic – meaning that a single plant can respond to us in a way that is not static, but rather catered to what our particular imbalance is.  For example, some plants can raise blood pressure in someone with low blood pressure, and lower blood pressure in someone with high blood pressure. Neat, huh?  Seriously folks, plants are magical, kindred helpers!  This adaptogenic ability of some plants may explain some of the discrepancies when reading about an oil being both hypertensive AND hypotensive.

From my research, I’ve read that the following oils will help to constrict blood vessels and thereby raise blood pressure: grapefruit, black pepper, frankincense, cypress, orange, rosemary, peppermint, basil, thyme, balsam of peru, hyssop, geranium rose, and holy basil. (I’ll be sure to add to the list as I uncover more research).

Here’s my personal take on the recipe:

I believe that true Folk Medicine is medicine that is created by and accessible to the people – which is why I am sharing my own personal blend here for those of you who like to make your own products rather than buy them.  Feel free to tweak the ratios of the oils presented here and share what you’ve learned in the comments below if you feel called.

3 parts organic grapefruit essential oil
3 parts organic black pepper essential oil
2 parts basil organic essential oil
1 part organic rosemary essential oil
1 part organic peppermint essential oil
1 part organic frankincense essential oil
2 parts or more organic olive oil (depending on how concentrated you want this)

I decided to make my blend with 20% organic olive oil.  Why?  Who want’s diluted essential oils?  Well, because of the fiery quality of the peppermint and because some people are more sensitive to straight essential oils when applied neat to the skin.  Everyone’s different, so I’ve added organic olive oil to the blend to buffer some of the intensity of the oil while applied topically, but keeping it potent enough to be very aromatic and effective simply by inhaling.

The olive oil doesn’t serve here as a base carrier oil though – it has many therapeutic properties.  I’m madly in love with olive oil, and here’s why: olive oil is high in oleic acid, which increases DAO by 500% (thereby helping to bread down histamine, but only relevant when ingesting).  It’s been demonstrated that olive oil raises serotonin levels, and that just the smell of olive oil can positively affect blood sugar and satiety. A phenolic compound contained in virgin organic olive oil, named oleocanthal, shares unique analgesic and anti-inflammatory characteristics with Ibuprofen.

Olive oil has also been shown to reduce neuro-inflammation from pesticide exposure in rats. That might be why consuming some olive oil will help to eliminate migraine symptoms if you happen to indulge in something made with wheat flour from grain doused in roundup or other pesticides. I’ve personally noted a big difference in my reaction to wheat, and I wonder if this is due not to the gluten in wheat, but to different farming practices for wheat grown in different regions. (Wheat grown in damper regions is more likely to be sprayed with roundup to “finish” the wheat, since roundup is a dessicant and will dry kernels out evenly.  Roundup is also regularly used on oats, barley, and beans for the same reason – even though these are not genetically-engineered, roundup-ready crops).

How to Use the Oil

Although I am not marketing my blend for internal use due to liability issues, the oils are organic so they are therapeutic grade – and I know that some people (such as myself) are comfortable with using organic oils internally and probably will.  In my own case, I have used this oil blend successfully to mitigate some brain fog that I got after indulging in a bowl of spicy New Mexico green chile.  I placed a single drop of this blend on the roof of my mouth in the area where the soft palate begins.  This is also an area right below the pterygopalatine ganglion (also known as the sphenopalatine ganglion). Stimulation of this ganglion has recently been shown to diminish cluster headaches. The fibers that go through this ganglion also go through the trigeminal nucleus along with the trigeminal nerve. The vagus nerve goes through the trigeminal nucleus as well. The glossopharyngeal nerve may also be affected by essential oils placed on the palate. This nerve innervates the partotid gland, which is directly responsible for vasodilation.  All of the nerves mentioned here are implicated in migraine.

Important Note: One reason that I am not recommending this oil for internal use even though many could and might benefit from it that way is because grapefruit is known to affect many pharmaceutical medications – the juice, at least, can increase the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream.  I have no idea if the compounds in the oils would do that too, but if you are on meds, it is best to be cautious ingesting this oil or drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit.

To use the oil aromatically rather than topically, place 4-8 drops of it onto a tissue or your hand and inhale until symptoms improve. For migraine at night, place the tissue near your pillow and sleep on your side to breathe the aroma continuously.

 

Don’t want to make it yourself? You can get the blend in our shop!

Vasoconstrictive Blend of Organic Essential Oils

For those of you who aren’t really into DIY, I’ve made my blend available for sale as a service.  Buying all the oils in bulk to produce your own blend can get expensive, so if you don’t want to go that route of investing upfront in all the oils, I’ve done that for you.

We’re so excited to make this essential oil blend available in our shop after receiving great feedback from those who tested it out for us. This blend of oils can help to alleviate brain fog and headaches and reduce the severity of migraines. It is a great tool to have on hand while you are working to heal your gut with the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol (at which point, you shouldn’t need this oil anymore!)

How nice of Mother Nature to make all this medicine available to us!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
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