30 Days Without Cheese

I completed another 30 Day experiment. This time I went 30 days without any aged cheese. This restricted me to just cottage cheese and cream cheese. All other types of cheese were eliminated during this period. I was motivated to see if this would have an impact the the frequency and intensity of my headaches.

Mouse Cheese by arbyreed

In the post Hunting Headaches Take 2, I decided to see if tyramine was a culprit in my headaches.

The good news is I may not need to give up dairy. After Marians comment, I went back and took a deeper look at dairy. It seems aged cheese has something called tyramine, which is a trigger for migraines. Now, I am still not certain that my headaches are migraine in nature, but Im willing to give this a try.

Well if you have been following my headache journal, you can see that my headaches didn’t decline last month. In fact, they got worse. So cheese is innocent, therefore tyramine is not a problem for me. Although it is discouraging that I still haven’t solved my headache problem, it is good news that I’ve eliminated another suspect. And a delicious suspect at that. 🙂

The Internet provides endless amounts of information and opinion on what you should or shouldn’t eat. The best person to listen to is yourself. Doing 30 Day tests are a phenomenal tool for taking control of your own health destiny. Eliminate a food for 30 days, keep everything else the same and then monitor. At the end of 30 Days, reintroduce the food and monitor for 4 more days. Did things get better, worse or stay the same? You have your answer. No doctor or blood work required.

As for my headaches, the quest continues. I’ve got a book on the topic, which is something I should have picked up months ago. I’m also testing two new supplements. I’ll figure this out.



Add yours

  1. What if it isn’t diet related at all? Could the experiments apply to eliminating certain activities or limiting them as well? For example, what if it turned out that it were related to a particular pollen or aroma? Far fetched, perhaps, but what about monitors or other lighting conditions ? The irony, of course being that researching your cure on the Internet might actually be the cause 🙂

  2. Curious if you’ve ever tried a micronutriant reboot like fasting with the exception of fresh fruits & veggies …some juicing for poteny. I love quality meats for macronitrients but when the body needs to right itself and correct an imbalance, micronutrients are the tools. I’ve heard many headache (as well as more severe autoimmune afflictions) success stories, and in less than 30 days.

  3. @Ryan – That is very possible. If you look at my headache journal you will see that I have monitored temps, barometric pressure, pollen and even temp swings. I do know there is at least a partial dietary link, as gluten and alcohol make the headaches far worse.

    Aroma would be interesting, as it would have chased me from state to state. Also, my sister in Ohio gets similar headaches. Washington, California and Ohio are three distinct climates. Something else is at play.

    If I can’t eliminate them, then reducing intensity enough to not disrupt my sleep is the next best goal.

  4. @Mark – I hope it doesn’t come to that. It should be noted that I had these headaches when I followed a vegetarian diet. I’ll use your idea as a last resort. My hunch is I’d be massively hungry on that program and lose muscle.

  5. Maybe first try 30 days of only high quality meats while also supercharging your micro-nutrient intake?

    The other grim possibility you need to cut back on the coffee :-/

  6. @Mark – I only eat high quality meat from local pastured farms. I also eat a fair amount of fermented veggies, which have super nutrient profiles to fresh.

    My coffee intake was reduced by 30% during the last test period and I’ll continue to reduce it slowly. If coffee is reduced too fast, other conflicting pain symptoms surface. For my tests, I am focusing solely on late night sinus headaches.

  7. Hi MAS,
    Have you ever gone for 30 days entirely without caffeine? Obviously it sounds like you’d have to “titrate” down over a period of months in preparation… Having at least some caffeine pretty much permanently in your bloodstream might be a confounding factor.

    And I’m sure you’ve seen references to the phenomenon by which a person craves precisely the substance that is highly toxic to him or her. An inflammatory response can have as a side effect the release of opioids and/or cannabinoids, which of course can be highly addictive. This dynamic is likely at play with people who find it very hard to give up, for example, pasta or dairy even though they clearly have negative health consequences from consuming them.

    BTW – I am definitely addicted to cocoa, but I don’t have any health problems so I don’t see a need to reduce or (godforbid) eliminate it from my diet. Also, everything I’ve seen about (raw, organic) cocoa suggests it is definitively a superfood with no negative side effects.


  8. @GWhitney – No I haven’t, but I have heard of the phenomenon that you speak of. Along with dairy (yogurt specifically), I am really hoping that caffeine isn’t it. But I understand that these tests are coming if the current ones fail.

    I just bought some cocoa, but haven’t opened it yet.

    If it ends up being caffeine, I’ll probably have to leave Seattle. Too much temptation. 🙂

  9. While I do eat Primal I am frustrated by the community that refuses to acknowledge that the mind is a credible cause of illness of any kind.

  10. @Dirk – I understand the mind – body link as it applies to physical pain.

    The Psychology of Back Pain

    Maybe it applies here as well. It has crossed my mind.

  11. Tried acupuncture? I had daily headaches – something called “cluster migraines” with no relief. I did acupuncture once a week for over 6 months for something completely different. It didn’t help with that problem but I ceased having headaches for more than a year. When they came back, I went back to acupuncture and I’m on my way to having a headache-free life. And I’m loving it.

  12. @KD – No, I haven’t. My primary goal is to solve the headaches myself. Once I’ve exhausted all my ideas, then I will seek medical help.

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