When it comes to a migraine diet, there are so many choices out there. Finding the right migraine diet for you can make a huge improvement in your symptoms and decrease attack days. But a lot of the complaints I see are focused on how difficult a migraine diet can be after you see the list of foods not allowed.
Foods Allowed on a Migraine Diet
Because I know it's very easy to get caught up in focusing on the foods to eliminate on a migraine diet like Johns Hopkins or Heal Your Headache, I spent a long time putting together this list of foods to embrace that you can eat freely during the elimination period. I began this diet because I wasn't complacent with just feeling 60-80% on my meds and supplements. I knew there had to be more, but wanted to approach things from a more holistic standpoint. You could have probably told me to walk around on my two hands to feel better and I would have tried it!
Focus On What You Can Have vs. What You Can't
Beginning a migraine diet can be completely overwhelming. I remember standing in the middle of the supermarket (which was already a challenge), looking at my book of things to eliminate and tearing up. It was like literally everything I picked off the shelves was on the "no" list. But I promise the shift gets a lot easier. This diet, although temporary, gives you the tools you need to make better decisions about food going forward. And even now that I've reintroduced foods, I try to cook more at home or check the ingredients on pre-made meals more often.
Because you now know foods to avoid temporarily, we will focus on the many things you can have. You might be surprised that you find new foods or spices that you actually enjoy more than you did before! Plus it can make you a better cook too.
Is Coconut a Migraine Trigger?
Coconut is controversial. Although HYH says to eliminate it, I don't see it affect people enough to that you should leave it in unless you don't see an improvement in your migraines, but that call is up to you. Perhaps eliminate it if you're not dairy free, but keep it in if your diet requires you to be dairy free.
I created two lists of basics that you can print out or save to your phone and carry with you to the grocery store. Hopefully it makes your life a little easier. If I missed something, it might not be on the "no" list. I just wanted to give you an idea of how many things you can actually have!
Heal Your Headache & Johns Hopkins Migraine Diet Foods to Enjoy
For pdf print outs:
Fruits Veggies and Spices Allowed on HYH
Meat, Cheese, Drinks, Beans, Grains, and Condiments Allowed on HYH
For more information on how to start a migraine elimination diet.
Pre-made Foods Allowed on a Migraine Diet
And for migraine diet pantry recommendations - check out these pre-made migraine-friendly foods and snacks.Don't forget these tips for eating out on a migraine diet.
Hi, so thankful for you, about a week ago I had to cancel an appointment with Dr. Beh that I’ve been waiting for since March! I’m taking notes on all you have published here and will be getting your cookbook as well. It’s been a long hard road for me that started in 2018. Thanking Jesus for the doctor that mentioned you today!
I'm so sorry you had to cancel with him, but hopefully some of these things can help while you wait!
Emily Herzberger says
Hi Alicia, I just got your cookbook and have been loving the recipes. I was wondering about cheese options. I saw that American cheese is allowed on the HYH diet, but I live in Canada and we don't carry it here. Is there an alternative similar to American cheese that I could substitute? I'm looking for something that's shreddable. If not, what ingredients should I watch for when buying cheese?
Tom Olt says
Are there any tenderizing spices that are safe to use?
I'd have to see a specific label, I don't know any off the top of my head.
Penny Bradshaw says
Is Chayote squash on the migraine diet?
I need a replacement for coffee. Please give me some alternative options.
Hi, I recommend this post for alternative decaf coffee options.
Nancy Speer says
What about the use of coconut milk and coconut oil? Should they also be avoided (in the same way as coconut)? Thanks.
Coconut oil should be ok. I'd be wary of coconut milk. I generally say to eliminate coconut milk and coconut unless you're dairy free for a sensitivity or allergy. It's not a super common trigger that I find, but every once in a while people say it helps.
What about dragon fruit?
Are allspice and nutmeg allowed spices during elimination? I didn't see them listed and wondered if there was a reason for that?
Yes, they're fine! I think I just ran out of space for everything.
Does this work for IIH, Idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
Just came across your site. Won’t go into lengthy details but I believe what I have been experiencing for the last year is vestibular migraine that has transitioned to a neurological/vestibular problem from original headaches years ago. The information you have presented is eye-opening. I downloaded the diet book right away and I’m looking forward to getting things right through diet and chiropractic that may help with the cervicogenic part i’ve also had issues with. Thanks so much and when I get a chance I’ll definitely be finding out more information about your recipes.
I have really appreciated your posts and recipes as I start this HYH diet myself. It can be hard at times, but I believe it will be worth it! I am wondering about cheese…is Alouette cheese ok to eat? The Boursin cheese was out of stock, and this was right next to it, so I decided to try that brand, but I am not sure if it is the same cheese type/quality and ok for migraines or not. Not sure if you know the brand or not but thought I would chance asking.
I hope it goes well for you!! I just looked it up and it does have more gums than Boursin does so if you can find Boursin at some point, that would be a better option. But overall its a sub in a pinch!
I heard bananas were good for migraines bc they have potassium but they are not on your list, does that mean they are actually bad for you? Ty.
Hey - so ripe bananas are higher in tyramine which is why they're not on the allowed list. I've found some people to do fine with them, some can only tolerate ones that are green...so it's definitely worth being aware of.
Thank you so much for all the information i really love yogurt 💔
What can i replace it with? If you have suggestions i would be great full
Definitely check out my yogurt free mango lassi recipe for a suggestion!
Hello I was wondering about salt? I don’t see it on the safe list under spices like pepper is but I also don’t see it under the avoid list. Is it safe? 🤞🏼
Nvm you say kosher salt 🤦🏻♀️
Are cherries ok? I love cherries on my smoothies since they lower Uric acid but I don’t see it on the list and hoping it can be eaten? Thanks!
Yes, they're on the list! 🙂 I recommend my cherry smoothie.
Hi Alicia, I was wondering if injera is a problem to eat while on the diet. I eat it every day and since it is fermented I was not sure if it could cause headaches. I am also not sure what to do about bread. The HYH book says to be careful of day old or fresh bread and mentions that commercial bread is the best option. However, commercial bread has more ingredients like malted barley in it so it's hard to find one that is safe to have. How did you navigate this situation?
Hi Hanna, Unfortunately if it's fermented it can be an issue. This is why sourdough is advised against in the elimination period. There are several storebought brands that are ok, and regular yeast bread is also ok to make at home. I have some brand suggestions in my migraine diet pantry staples post.
Thanks Alicia, that's a bummer, we eat that with every meal. And thanks about this wonderful site that has all the information one can need on this diet. You thought of everything. You are really amazing and considerate.