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Who has time to deal with a headache? Not me!

When I started cutting out foods with additives, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, lowered my caffeine I noticed a HUGE difference in my recurrence of headaches. Want to know how you can recognize the difference in headaches and how to nip them in the but! Of course you do!

Let us turn to the wisdom of Doctor Annemarie Colbin Ph.D. Dr. Colbin founded the Natural Gourmet Institute for Culinary Arts and Natural Gourmet for Food and Health in New York 35 years ago. Oh and did I mention she was a keynote speaker for my school IIN? Yep, she’s amazing. Dr Colbin wrote her thesis for her Ph.D on the causes of headaches.

Here is her theory boiled way down into 5 types of BASIC headaches (keep in mind that when food is discussed as the cause she is describing the energetics of the food and not the macronutrients (i.e. the iodine in salt). This is not meant to be a cure all or replace a visit to your doctor. If you have recurring headaches please see your doctor immediately. 

1. Type: Expansive headaches 

These headaches are caused by too much expansive food in the diet. Expansive foods are sweet (fruits, desserts, alcohol) and these headaches will be made much worse by eating more sweets! 

Cure: Eating a salty food like olives, anchovies, umeboshi plums. Eat a small serving and wait 10 minutes to see if the headache dissipates before eating more. 


2. Contractive aka “tension” headaches.

These are caused by, you guessed it, too many contractive foods in the diet. These are brought on by over consumption of too many salty foods, as well as too much heat, and too much work/stress. 

Cure: eating sweet foods like applesauce, fruits, fruit juices, or fruit based smoothies. Eat a small serving and wait 10 minutes to see if the headache dissipates before eating more. 


3. Liver headaches 

These are very common headaches because they are caused by too much fat consumed on an empty stomach. These headaches can be tough to diagnose because it takes about 3 hours for a liver headache to come on. Just think back a bit, if you had a big steak with french fries for dinner and you have a headache later that night, it probably is a liver headache. 

Cure: Dr. Colbin’s remedy for liver headaches is lemon tea. Use 1/2 of an organic lemon. Squeeze the juice into a cup. Boil the remaining peel and pulp in 1 and 1/4 c. water for about 10 minutes. Add to the juice and drink. Even if you don’t have a liver headache there is no harm in drinking this tea, so its worth a shot. 


4. Caffeine headaches 

I distinctly remember these words from my mother “not before my coffee” and now I understand why. Caffeine headaches are brought on by the lack of caffeine when the body is used to having it. Coffee is, after all, the number one addiction of America. If you want to get rid of caffeine headaches, the only cure is to keep consuming caffeine. A better solution would be to ween yourself off of the caffeine roller coaster gradually until you no longer crave it. Small amounts of caffeine are ok, but over consumption can have terrible effects on your central nervous system, sleep cycles, and overall mood.

Cure: Reduce caffeine intake slowly. Start by replacing coffee with natural occurring caffeine sources like yerba mate and lower caffeine green and white teas. Try replacing an afternoon cup of coffee with a green juice or smoothie for energy  and crowd out your plate with nutrient dense veggies and lots of water while you transition. 


5. Structural headaches 

These are from misalignment or an injury to the body (most likely to the head, neck, or back). Usually symptoms of structural headaches will be focused into the area of the back of the neck and travel up the back of the head. Sometimes there will be pain in other areas of the body i.e. lower back, shoulders, etc. Remember, everything is connected so if you have an injury in your lower back the same muscles travel all the way up to your skull. 

Cure: Seek the professional help of a good chiropractor kinesiologist/craniosacral therapist/ myofacial release specialist. Make sure to have x-rays and a doctors thorough exam to make sure there are no significant damage that needs immediate attention before seeking the help of these types of therapies.

Additional info:

If you find you have an intense headache in your eyes, back of your neck and into your teeth it is possible you have a sinus infection. Try draining your sinuses with a neil med sinus irrigation bottleor neti pot with filtered water and provided packets. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve. 



Please consult your doctor about any changes in your health. This site is for information purposes only and is not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.