Being diagnosed with vestibular migraine has been an emotional, challenging journey. Preferable, however, to having no answers as to why you can’t tolerate any movement without feeling like you’re going to throw up, having the feeling of being on a boat while lying in bed, or being so fatigued you need a rest after something as simple as having a shower. As an illness that’s only been recognised as a distinct form of migraine in the last few decades it can sometimes feel like there’s a real lack of information and expertise out there. You can imagine then, my delight when I stumbled across Alicia Wolf thanks to another blogger (apologies that I don’t now know who).
In her book The Dizzy Cook, she writes generously about how the Heal Your Headache diet helped her get her life back after being diagnosed with vestibular migraine. It is emotional reading about her experiences, which included losing her job, and the list of foods that you have to cut out is intimidating, especially as a vegetarian suddenly unable to eat lentils, soya, and nuts. However, Wolf completely understands what it’s like to be starting this journey, encouraging you to focus more on what you CAN eat than what you can’t, and offering tips and tricks to make the process easier. She also writes about other parts of the treatment pie and how finding the right combination can help you begin to have more good days than bad.
It’s a well-thought out book with everything from breakfast, dinner, mocktails, condiments, and ideas for entertaining. There’s also a solid baking section at the end which will please readers with a sweet tooth. Following this diet you quickly realise pre-prepared food that’s safe is almost impossible to find, and you’ll need to make most things from scratch yourself. The variety of sauce and dressing recipes included help you not miss firm favourites, and she offers great ideas for substitutes which help keep a few old popular recipes in rotation with a few adjustments.
Being American based there are quite a few things that are difficult or impossible to get in the UK, but after the initial investment in getting some different kitchen staples it becomes much easier. When I first bought the book I was a bit worried by the small number of vegetarian recipes, but I soon realised that with a few adjustments, making use of side dish recipes and the additional dishes on her website, there was plenty to keep me going. The recipes themselves are delicious and there are many I’d continue to make without needing to follow the diet. Wolf also runs an active Facebook community which offers support, recipe tips, and encouragement. She responds to queries quickly and helpfully and always seems far more interested in genuinely helping than making a sale. This is a great book for anyone starting out on the HYH diet, giving you delicious recipes rather than simply a scary list of dos and don’ts, and a sense that you’re not alone.