Step 1: Eliminate All Caffeine
We need the body to flush out tissue irritants, and caffeine stops this from occurring. Though caffeine may make you feel better temporarily, it perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. You may get a headache from withdrawing from the caffeine as the toxins are released, but then your headache threshold will immediately decrease. The more caffeine you consume, the more you lower your headache threshold, meaning almost any small stress can create a headache. That means you have to stay away from soft drinks, caffeinated teas and coffee until you have not had any headaches for at least a month. Then, if your diet is healthy enough, you can typically get by with one serving of tea or coffee a day.
Step 2: Eliminate Meat, Dairy, Peanuts, Chocolate, Sweets and Baked Goods for Two Weeks
These are trigger foods for many headache sufferers, but also processed foods and animal products can expose us to toxins and don’t contain the phytochemicals and antioxidants needed to fuel brain detoxification.
Animal-protein digestion floods the body with acids and wastes that can pass the blood-brain barrier. Cutting back on meats and other animal products enables the body to reduce the excess nitrogen waste products that exacerbate headaches. Later, you can consume animal products in small amounts. This doesn’t just mean meat, but also egg whites, chicken and fish. It is necessary to significantly curtail the amount of animal protein eaten to lessen nitrogenous wastes that can irritate brain cells.
Dairy, peanuts and chocolate are all rich in tyrosine, which can trigger headaches in some people. Fewer people are sensitive to the tannins in wine and dark beans, which in some cases also has to be eliminated.
High-glycemic carbohydrates, especially commercial baked goods made with sweeteners and white flour, create inflammation in the brain and also should be eliminated.
Two weeks is the minimal time to really be super careful with your food choices, because in this time frame, we are going to replenish your body with nutrient-rich foods. We want your body to have a chance to heal and repair itself before giving it more food-derived acids and toxins to deal with.
During these two weeks, you will feel worse before feeling better. This probably will last about two to four days, but it’s important to work through it because it’s your body going through withdrawal and that’s a good and necessary thing. It will help you feel better in the long run.
Step 3: Have at Least a Cup of Plant Protein Daily
Peas and lentils are great sources of vegetable protein. Other great examples include nuts and seeds like sunflower and hemp seeds, or whole grains like millet, quinoa or steel-cut oats. Remember all natural plant foods (except fruit) have adequate protein.
These nourish your body with important nutrients; they do not give you excess nitrogen or acidify your tissues like animal protein does. One anti-aging secret and the secret to getting rid of headaches is to eat more plant protein and less animal protein. You will probably never experience a headache again if you use these foods as your major source of protein.
Step 4: Eat at Least a Cup of Cruciferous Vegetables Daily
Vegetables like kale, broccoli, arugula and Brussels sprouts fuel the detox process that allow your cells to repair themselves and release the toxins that cause headaches.
In each cell is a garbage-collector repair engine, and the healing compounds in these vegetables fuel that engine that collects, removes and destroys garbage.
The enzymes that help us in these veggies are formed in our mouths as we chew them. So if you cook your veggies, make sure to mix in some raw as well. Also, if you want to heat them up (for example, for a soup), make sure you chop or crush the veggies while they are raw, before you add heat. If you heat them before you chop them, you will lose the compounds needed to reduce toxins in your body.
Step 5: Have Two Servings of Carotenoids a Day
I have observed that almost all headache patients have shockingly low levels of carotenoids in their system, and the secret to recovery is to build up the levels of protective phytochemicals in your tissues. These stabilize neurons in the brain from a detoxification burst that trigger headaches. Carotenoids, along with the cruciferous veggies, are a great way to prevent the buildup of inflammatory compounds. You’ll want a range of colors, from the purple in beets and the red in tomatoes to the orange in carrots and yellow in squashes.
(Adapted from Dr. Oz TV show)