Welcome to Spot Clean Food: How to Cook Allergy-Free and Migraine-Free. (To be accurate, it should be called, “how to cook and eat for gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, casein-free, egg-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, sesame-free, and low-tyramine diets, as well as free from foods that have been identified as the most common migraine triggers,” but that’s a mouthful.)

I don’t know what magical Google algorithm has brought you here, but something has shown you that what you eat has an impact on your health. Whether it’s autism spectrum disorder, celiac/coeliac disease, familial dysautonomia, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, MAOIs, migraines, multiple sclerosis, or even the placebo effect–all are welcome here.

For me, it started with migraines and the National Headache Foundation’s low-tyramine diet. As a result, I’ve been playing with my food for over 10 years now, and fell so in love I quit my job and went to culinary school. Along the way I’ve developed a few simple guidelines to help me in the kitchen and at the table:

1. Pray (or PRAI)
Migraine diets are notoriously complicated but the easiest thing to remember is to stay away from aged proteins. Add to that an egg allergy, a casein allergy, and most recently a wheat allergy, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what I’m really dealing with is “protein-related autoimmunity” (PRAI). Yes, I am making up my own science-y word for it, but in the face of medical uncertainty, sometimes it is best to just close your eyes and pray.

2. Don’t get overexcited
When living with a chronic illness it helps to remain calm, so I avoid excitatory chemicals, like tyramine, artificial sweeteners and MSG in its many forms. I also manage stress as much as possible and even when a recipe goes horribly wrong, my kitchen is a happy place.

3. Trust your gut
If you feel better when you eliminate something from your diet, then go with it. There is more information coming out every day about the neurological connection between our bellies and our brains (known as the gut-brain axis). Your gut may in fact be trying to tell you something, so it’s worth investing some time in really listening to what it has to say.

I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a registered dietitian, nor am I sponsored by, related to, or otherwise affiliated with one. I am a chef by vocation, a patient by obligation, and a geek by inclination. The purpose of this site is to share my love of food and my thoughts on why it matters. I reserve the right to keep an open mind and change it as new information becomes available. Likewise, I encourage you to do your own research, play with your food, and share what you learn.

Thanks for stopping by,

5 Comments on “About”

  1. nurulthecook
    24 August 2012 at 06:59 #

    What you write here is also my experience over the past 17 years of cooking, experiencing and learning about what my body wants and needs. Milk and some milk products was a big one for me. My various allergies are nowadays so reduced-almost non existent! And I rarely get migraines. I see some information you mention above that I am not familiar with. So I will research some more! My blog is a new born baby and I have SO many experiences I want to write about and will do over time. Thank you very much for sharing!!!!!

    • spotcleanfood
      24 August 2012 at 17:24 #

      Thanks, Nurul!

      Wish I could say the same–my food allergies have gotten more pronounced, while fortunately my migraines are manageable. But I will always be learning :)

      Your new-born baby blog is quite charming. Keep it up!

  2. Denzer32
    18 November 2012 at 13:13 #

    I too am on a journey with my health and eating as well, and I see that you’re on a very restrictive diet…which I imagine can pose many challenges. Have you ever heard of this book Disease in Disguise by Dr. Carolee Bateson-Koch? I wanted to mention it to you, as the author makes a solid case for helping people with severe food sensitivities and allergies, and heal completely from these issues. Her work is quite remarkable and inspiring because she explains how the body is made to heal itself, given the right support…which may not always be diet restrictions as we know it. Its definitely worth the read. If you read it, I hope it brings some fresh perspective for your journey. Best….

    • spotcleanfood
      19 November 2012 at 07:46 #

      Hi Denzer32,
      Thanks for checking out the site. I have not read Dr. Bateson-Koch’s book, but I’ll definitely add it to my list. From the reviews, it looks as though she provides a very clear explanation of the digestive system, and I support efforts to help the body heal itself. I am cautious though about cures and panaceas–I think there is always more that we don’t know.

      It’s curious that her work focuses on enzymes. The last edition of the book was from 2004 and since then probiotics have certainly been accepted by the mainstream medical community, but enzymes seem to have fallen out of fashion. That being said, now that I live in a tropical country, I’ve found that a regular serving of pineapple has helped me adjust. Not papaya though–I still can’t get over the taste of eating a rubber glove.

      Best of luck on your journey as well and please do stop by again!

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