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,