Despite reading a lot of stuff about the harm meat and dairy do and going vegan (for most of the time), I really didn’t even think about it.

Last Friday (Oct. 4th) was my birthday – a day that for many years I haven’t been looking forward to. Not because I don’t want to get older, but because I remember what my birthdays were like when I was a kid, and they’re not like that anymore. They are not as special, they are predictable. No one (except my husband) gives me surprise gifts, they just hand a card with banknotes in it so I can buy a present myself. Boring. But it doesn’t matter.

This year I was somewhat looking forward to this day because we had a reservation in my favourite Italian restaurant where I used to love eating Spaghetti Carbonara. Even though I mostly eat vegan food (meaning I do not consume animal-derived products directly, but sometimes it happens that I eat something containing dairy or eggs, although I can’t taste it there), I still wanted to order Spaghetti Carbonara, and I did, and it was delicious! I can’t say I have no compassion for animals, everyone in my family knows how much I do, but I was raised to think that no matter how much pain you feel for them, it is absolutely normal to eat their meat. Many times I refused to think it was normal but I was raised as carnivore, I believed I needed meat to survive. Only now after being almost meat-free for a month, I see the complete opposite.

So Spaghetti Carbonara was delish. Not a clean food, overloaded with unnecessary calories of fat, but I didn’t feel guilty for a second – it was my birthday, and I’ve been eating clean food for four weeks now, except the weekend two weeks ago when we ordered Chinese, but it was vegetarian. That same weekend we also went to Ikea and I, not feeling guilty a bit, ordered meatballs in their restaurant, enjoyed them a lot (there are only few exceptional meat-containing dishes that I actually enjoy), and the rest of the evening I was down with a terrible migraine. I attributed it to the trip to the Ikea store, which took about an hour, then spending over two hours in the store, looking for the furniture and décor items we needed, then driving for an hour to pick up our daughter from grandparents, pack things and one more one-hour drive home. I was wrecked.

But this weekend it wasn’t just the Carbonara that I ate. On Saturday my in-laws decided to have barbecue, and soon our table was flooded with barbecued pork skewers (Shashlik – a traditional Caucasian dish which I also used to love) and traditional Russian salads containing eggs, mayo and more meat – beef and chicken, and a homemade chocolate cake with a frosting made of cream and Mascarpone cheese and chocolate. If I’d said ‘I can’t have this, I am vegan’, I would have probably stayed hungry on my own birthday celebration and offended my mother-in-law. I had no choice but eat it. By the end of the day I had a migraine and thought I was tired, but when the next day everything from food to my headache repeated, I started seeing a pattern and went Googling. Searching through Mayo Clinic, WebMD and other websites like them I found that there are many activities, foods and chemicals that can trigger migraines. I was interested exclusively in food triggers.

Foods commonly known to trigger migraines are:

  • Cheeses
  • Processed meats
  • Chocolate and Caffeine
  • Citrus fruits
  • Alcohol

In my case though there were no processed meat, no cheese and no alcohol (my in-laws don’t drink at all, so alcohol is kind of a no-no in the house). I didn’t eat citruses either that day. Chocolate – yes, the cake. But according to some blogs and sources, meat and dairy products can just as well trigger your migraines, which I think happened to me. I used to have headaches from time to time and thought it was normal. But it wasn’t. Headache is never normal, with a few exceptions. And if you suffer from migraines, it is time to find the cause. It is not necessarily meat, but for some people it is possible. Stress and lack of sleep, poor diet habits like loads of unhealthy foods or starvation and dehydration may be the culprit. Talk to your doctor and discuss your habits. Even if there’s no visible reason at first, it doesn’t mean you should stop looking. There are as many food intolerances as there are people. Medicine is only a temporary solution, and not at all healthy.

To me, I seem to have found the culprit. And it’s not only headaches. Just one or two days of eating meat lead me to tiredness and drowsiness and make my gut go crazy with cramps and bloating and my stomach feels full and heavy.

So that’s my post for today. I thought that people might see it as a no-meat act and truly believe now that I am on a mission to transform everyone into plant-eaters, but it’s not the purpose. What I would really like to see is that people know the truth about food, how it affects their systems, and make their own choices. I’ve made mine and since the last weekend I am sure I made the right one. I just got one more reason to stick to it.

Stay healthy and fit!

P.s. For more information on Migraine Triggers, read this medically reviewed article: http://www.healthline.com/health/migraine/triggers

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