Pantry Staples for the Heal Your Headache Migraine Diet

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pantry staples for the heal your headache migraine diet

Because it can be so difficult to know what to buy when you first start the Heal Your Headache or a low tyramine migraine diet, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite migraine diet pantry staples. It will certainly make trips to the grocery store much easier on your head if you can stock up on a few of these. I have linked to most everything on Amazon so you can see a picture, but I’ll also give you some other options of where you can buy them. I’ll continue to update this list as I find more, so please keep checking back!

Grocery shopping with chronic migraine can be your worst nightmare. When mine were horrible, I usually sent my husband with a list. As they slowly got better, I would go attempt to go at off times (early in the morning or evenings and NEVER on Sunday), and wear a hat or sunglasses like I’m Julia Roberts. A sunbutter-loving Julia Roberts! Eventually I got to the point where I don’t usually need a hat or sunglasses, but I do still like to go when it’s less busy. I’ve even seen some folks walk around with headphones, which I plan to start on big shopping days.

The Dizzy Cook Heal Your Headache Diet Pantry Essentials

SNACKS

  • Sunbutter – Sunflower seed butter. I like the Organic Sunbutter brand which you can get at Whole Foods because it has no added sugar or salt, but you can also find a good one at Trader Joes or here (for cheap!) at Thrive Market. Look for the one without added sugar. I love to use this in smoothies and recipes calling for peanut butter. I’ve used it in my faux Asian “peanut” noodles and you can barely tell the difference! 
  • Tahini – Sesame seed butter. Can find at most grocery stores, just check the label. Really great in hummus and to mix in to salad dressings. I occasionally also use in smoothies.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sacha inchi seeds. Great for snacks, added protein in smoothies, and putting on top of salads.
  • Sparkling Water – I like Topo Chico, but any sparkling water is great to have on hand for mocktails or a refreshing soda replacement. Add fresh mint, rosemary, cucumber, fruit, pomegranate or tart cherry juice.
  • Juices – I’m a big fan of organic pear juice, tart cherry juice, and organic apple juice to either put into sparkling water for a mocktail, marinate meats, or splash with vinegar for a nice dressing alternative. I love pear juice in Asian recipes that call for pineapple juice.
  • Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers – Very good brand for crackers can be found at Whole Foods and health food stores.
  • Trader Joe’s Classic Original Water Crackers – Love these super clean crackers with fresh goat cheese or Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese. I always keep HYH cheeses on hand for an easy snack! Ricotta is another good one. I love the Calabro Ricotta brand drizzled with a bit of honey and some cracked black pepper…treat yourself!
  • For other cheese – look for fresh mozzarella, burrata (usually packed in water), chevre (fresh goat cheese), oaxaca (think if monterey jack and mozzarella had a baby), Arla cream cheese (no gums), and farmer’s cheese. Organic Valley Cream Cheese does have locust bean gum but it is well-tolerated! 
  • Boulder Canyon Olive Oil Potato Chips – These are always in our pantry and they are delicious. Only potatoes and olive oil! I have seen them at Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and multiple other grocery stores.
  • Crunchmaster Multi Grain Crackers in Sea Salt – The best gluten free cracker you can find. These are HYH safe too.
  • Primizie Crisps in Simply Salted and Italian Everything – These are my favorite chips in the whole wide world from a local company in Austin, TX. They’re so delicious with hummus or just by themselves. The Italian Everything are seasoned, but with all natural spices. It’s very rare to find flavored chips without MSG. I would order in bulk if you can!
  • Chessman Cookies – A sweet snack!
  • Aleia’s Gluten Free Ginger Snaps – These are good for my GF friends

My favorite chips - primizie crisps

 

CONDIMENTS

  • Distilled White Vinegar – You will use this in A LOT of cooking as a substitution for the citrus tang or in place of aged vinegars/apple cider vinegar for salad dressing.
  • Trader Joe’s Alcohol Free Vanilla Extract – it’s extremely difficult to find a vanilla without alcohol added!
  • Coconut Aminos While the HYH book tells you to avoid coconut, this is made from the sap of the coconut blossoms and is ok for most, but it is fermented and something to watch. It’s a great alternative to soy sauce. I usually purchase mine at Trader Joe’s. 
  • Sir Kensington’s Organic Mayonnaise This one is questionable if you are just starting HYH because of the lemon juice, but it’s the cleanest mayo I have been able to find without making your own. I usually purchase it at Whole Foods, but the link is to Amazon. With no additives, MSG or preservatives, and only a tiny bit of lemon, I would guess that you could be ok with this if you’re not super sensitive to citrus. I say this because you’ll notice lemon juice is right next to sugar as ingredients and sugar is 0 grams on the label. This basically means the amount they put in is super small. Making my own all the time would have been a headache, so I just stuck with this the whole time and still had good results. If you’re very strict though, try Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil Mayo. It does not have any citrus and the avocado oil should not be an issue, like actual avocados are. I’ve seen a lot of people have luck with Just Mayo and Spectrum’s Organic, but they do not look quite as clean as Sir Kensington’s. A jar runs about $8 at my Whole Foods here so pricing is comparable on Amazon.
  • Annie’s Dijon Mustard – Mustard is another tough one to find without additives like xanthan gum and citric acid. I use Central Market/HEB Organic brand, but I think Annie’s is more widely found. Their regular mustard is ok too. 
  • I used to recommend Yellowbird Sauce Blue Agave Sriracha before they changed their formula to include citrus. This is a good example of how you should always review ingredients because companies can change them at any time! The best options I can find right now are Lingham’s or Fix, which do still contain very small amounts of potential triggers, but are otherwise very clean. Have a look at this post for more explanations
  • Pretty Thai is a small Austin, Tx based company, but they have a Sweet Thai Chili Sauce that is safe and SO good.

BAKING

  • Panko makes a safe substitute for most bread crumbs. I like this gluten free option from Jeff’s and this regular option.
  • White Chocolate – I recently discovered Divine chocolate bars at Whole Foods and their white chocolate is some of the best I’ve tasted. It’s super creamy and not overly sweet. I love to use it in baking. They’re less expensive at Whole Foods, but you can also get them here on Amazon in bulk. It seems like a lot, but you can keep them in the freezer and take them out as needed. The flavor alone is paying a little extra for.
  • Kerrygold Butter and Ghee  – I’m not lactose intolerant, but this is the perfect alternative to regular butter if you are avoiding for migraine purposes. Ghee is butter with the milk solids removed and it can be cooked at higher heat than olive oil without burning. It’s really great in Asian foods where you need to cook at a higher heat. I love Kerrygold Butter because it’s straight up butter with no “natural flavors” added.
  • All Purpose Flour – Anything without malted barley is ok. Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached Organic White All-Purpose Flour, Arrowhead Mills Organic White Flour, White Wings La Paloma All Purpose Flour
  • Gluten Free – Both Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills make a great assortment of rice, oat, and buckwheat flours. Posts on this site will have suggestions on which one is best to use. For All Purpose try Pamela’s Products (thickened with guar gum instead of xanthan gum), or Trader Joe’s All Purpose (no gums, but you may have to add a thickener when baking, like psyllium husk.)

BREAD

  • I can usually find a good migraine safe bread at my local bakery. You mainly want to avoid anything with “malt” in it – so malted barley. If you can’t find one,  Pepperidge Farm’s Wheat Bread or Dave’s Killer Bread are both well-tolerated.
  • Manna Bread is another wonderful and very clean brand.
  • For my gluten free friends, Free Bread is a good brand, but does contain xanthan gum so be aware if you’re sensitive to gums. Also Against the Grain has Original Rolls with very minimal ingredients! Don’t forget about corn tortillas too. For my Dallas friends, try Unrefined Bakery. They do contain apple cider vinegar and xanthan gum, but I find it’s too small an amount to cause an issue for me.

STOCK & BROTH

  • Pacific Organic Bone Stock (chicken) and Butchers Bone Broth -The cleanest broth/stock I’ve been able to find besides making your own. This particular Pacific has been hard for me to find even in Whole Foods, but you can order through the link on Amazon. Occasionally it’s out of stock. Butchers is a little more difficult to find. They say they have it at Costco, but I’m not a member so I have no clue! Should you not be able to find this I have also seen good things about Grow and Behold bone broth which can be ordered here.
  • I have a recipe for instant pot chicken stock that cooks in about an hour and a half total. It’s super easy and flavorful, especially if you plan ahead and freeze it for future uses. This will be your safest option.
  • You’ll find as you feel better and can test more foods that there are many good vegetable broths that contain onion, but they don’t cause a migraine attack. One of my favorites is the Trader Joes “Hearty” Vegetable Stock, NOT the low sodium, or the Pacific Vegetable Broth. Perhaps cause it’s mostly water that’s infused with the flavor? I’m not quite sure. Either way, I strictly avoid any broths or stocks with “natural flavors”, but the ones with onion towards the bottom of the ingredient list might work for you if you are in a time crunch and can’t make your own.
  • Fody Vegetable Soup Base does not contain MSG as I’ve double checked the ingredients in their “spices” with the company.

PRE-MIXED SEASONINGS

Primal Palate has some good ones.
New Bae Seasoning – A substitute for Old Bay seasoning
Taco Seasoning – Theirs does not contain onion.

SMOOTHIES & BREAKFAST

  • Annie’s Pancake Mix – Good for pancakes when you don’t want to make your own.
  • Organic Dried Mulberries – I order these online from Amazon, but you can also find in health food stores. They’re great to use in place of bananas to sweeten your smoothies and they are considered superfoods. They’re very versatile in that they can complement many flavors very well. I’ll also occasionally toss these in a salad.
  • Organic Goji berries – Also order from Amazon, but can be found in health food stores. These have a mild flavor reminiscent of raisins with a hint of cranberry – sweet and tart. They can blend in almost any smoothie and are also a superfood.
  • Trader Joe’s (or any brand) Gluten Free Oats – Can use for oatmeal or to thicken smoothies
  • Tempt Hemp Milk from Living Harvest – Can be found at health focused grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts. If you can tolerate dairy, fresh organic milk is great. If you have a tough time with drinking milk this is a good alternative for oatmeal. I don’t love that it contains gellan gum, but it’s the cleanest one I’ve been able to find without making your own. I also like to keep hemp seeds in the pantry.
  • Oatly Oat Milk – The perfect dairy substitute without NUTS! They also leave out all the gums and sketchy “natural flavors”. I love this stuff and they just started carrying it at Central Market. Shop around on Amazon for the best price. It can be tough to locate at the grocery store.

Frozen cherries, blueberries, and strawberries – I like to stock up on these at Trader Joe’s to make a variety of smoothies in the morning.

QUICK MEALS

  • Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta – I always keep a bag of this on hand for any days that I feel terrible. Mix it with some Boursin cheese or butter and safe veggies and you’ve got an easy dinner.
  • Olo Chickpea Pasta – The only chickpea pasta you can find that has ONLY chickpea flour. Super clean and has a little extra protein!
  • Rao’s Sensitive Marinara – You can get this through the link on Amazon or I’ve also picked it up in Sprouts. No onions!
    Cucina Antica Marinara is also made without onions or added citric acid. The pricing on these through Amazon is actually comparable to those in store, around $7-8. You get what you pay for! I’ve also heard that Sprouts has a sensitive marinara that does not contain onions as well.
  • Cauli’flour Pizza Crusts – This crust only contains cauliflower, fresh mozzarella, eggs, basil, and garlic. It’s super clean for HYH, gluten free, and you don’t have to worry about the fresh yeast. Trader Joe’s also makes a decent one that’s less expensive, but it has more fillers than Cauli’flour.
  • Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi – This one can get a little gummy if you don’t cook it right, but the flavor is still good.
  • Zhoug Sauce – Found at Trader Joe’s this sauce contains jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and spices. It’s like a spicy cilantro pesto or chimichurri sauce.

ALCOHOL

If you’ve been on the diet a few months are are ready to reintroduce beer and wine, consider trying out TheWand by PureWine. I never thought I could drink red wine again before testing this out. It’s the only product to remove both histamines and sulfites. Get 15% off and free shipping over $19.95 (which is less than Amazon) through this link with code thedizzycook.

Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce

I hope you find this list of migraine diet pantry staples helpful. Comment below with some of your favorites!


This post contains affiliate links where if you make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of profit from Amazon. Thanks for supporting the ways I make The Dizzy Cook possible. 

MSG-Free pantry staples for the Heal Your Headache and Johns Hopkins migraine diet

Alicia was diagnosed with Chronic Vestibular Migraine in 2016 and has been able to successfully manage her symptoms through medication, supplements, lifestyle changes, and the Heal Your Headache Diet by Dr. David Buchholz from Johns Hopkins. She's the owner of The Dizzy Cook.

39 comments

  1. Renee V

    Question about the Pacific brand broths: The Bone Stock doesn’t apparently exist anymore and the Vegetable Broth has onions. What are your comments/findings regarding the current Pacific brand products?

    Reply

  2. Claire Newman

    Hi, echoing all the other comments, thank you so much for creating and building this site. It is so useful! After reading the HYH book I came away feeling v overwhelmed about the changes and after a few days thought there must be someone who’s created a recipe book which is how I came across your site. To provide this whilst battling your own health is amazing. I look forward to the cookbook coming out.

    My only question at the moment is do you know whether ‘spirit vinegar’ when listed as an ingredient is OK? Many thanks 😊😊

    Reply

    1. Alicia

      You’re welcome!! I’m so glad it’s been helpful. Yes, distilled white vinegar is sometimes called spirit vinegar in the UK I believe.

      Reply

  3. Nancy B

    I discovered you over a year ago, Alicia, and your site has been a Godsend. I began the HYH diet after reading Dr Buchholz’s book in July, 2018 following a diagnosis of chronic vestibular migraine….a diagnosis that took 19 months of miserable dizziness and tests and doctors to finally receive, from an ENT specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. I’m doing well and sticking strictly to the diet, despite doubts of people in my orbit who don’t “get it” and who give me a look when I’m fussy in a restaurant. You get it, and I appreciate all the information available to me thanks to you and your wonderful site. Keep up the great work. I look forward to your upcoming cookbook!! One question: Have you ever used Ripple for a milk substitute? It’s pea protein, and it’s delicious. I use the Ripple Original on my Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Cereal or in my smoothies. It does have guar and gellan gums that do not bother me, and the company assured me the “natural flavor” ingredient is not a form of MSG.

    Reply

    1. Alicia

      Hey Nancy, I totally get that!! I wonder how all the celiac people must have felt before gluten free became mainstream too. 🙂

      So I would have loved to suggest ripple but pea protein is actually a source of hidden MSG! Many with glutamate sensitivity cannot tolerate it. So that’s why I recommend the other brands like oatly or hemp milk instead. Unfortunately we have to be a little wary about what some of these companies say. Sure it doesn’t have outright “monosodium glutamate” in it, but it can contain other items that are naturally high in processed glutamate (like the pea protein!). I hope that’s a little helpful. If you’re doing fine with it, you may not be very sensitive!

      Reply

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