"The Migraine Relief Plan" + Maple Sesame Glazed Chicken

A first look at "The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health" by Stephanie Weaver.

Copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar

I get headaches.

Sometimes I get them accompanied by nausea, light sensitivity, or dizziness. I've been to a neurologist who said they were just headaches, not migraines. But you could have fooled me! After my diabetes diagnosis back in 2014, I changed the basic make up of my daily eating habits and along with reversing the disease, the headaches accompanied by these terrible side effects also drastically reduced to maybe 1 or 2 every few months. Granted, I still get tension headaches from stress but even these aren't anywhere near in number what they were just 3 years ago. So I'm a big believer that what we use to fuel our bodies makes a huge difference.

"It turns out I’ve been having migraine attacks my whole life, but because they were atypical, I wasn’t diagnosed."
Stephanie Weaver, author of The Migraine Relief Plan

Meet Stephanie

My friend Stephanie Weaver knows headaches, too. She's lived with them all her life. She, along with her mother, have called them "weather headaches." In 2014, after suffering some serious bouts of vertigo, she finally got her answer: Stephanie suffered from migraines with Meniere's variant (Meniere's disease affects the inner ear and is made worse by a sodium-rich diet).

Author and wellness coach, Stephanie Weaver, pauses while preparing to give a cooking demo during the launch party for The Migraine Relief Plan on Sunday, Februrary 12, 2017 in Point Loma, California.

Stephanie is an impressive woman. An author, blogger, certified wellness and health coach, she has a Master of Public Health in Nutrition Education and has dedicated her life to eating well and living healthfully. She spent years as a vegetarian, then vegan, thinking a plant-based life was the most healthy for her body. Yet, she suffered from crippling headaches.

As a person who advocates for people to take charge of their own health and now finally armed with a diagnosis, Stephanie set out to do her own research and found that there was a gaping hole in the books available: none offered a gradual transition with recipes to nourish the body while at the same time avoiding all the migraine triggers.

"I wrote the book that I needed," Stephanie recently told the crowd gathered in a beautiful home in Point Loma that hosted her book launch. "If this book had already been available, I would have bought it and that would have been that. But it wasn't."

"I don’t assume that you will change overnight. It’s not realistic, especially for people in pain." Stephanie Weaver  

A peek inside the book

What she did do is create a book that gently guides you into a lifestyle change that addresses not only food, but also the mind and body.

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health

Author: Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC
Photographer: Laura Bashar
Publisher: Agate Surray
List Price: $19.95
Paperback, 336 pages, 78 recipes
Meal plan is gluten-free, sugar-free, low sodium and easily adapts to a Paleo diet.
Available on Amazon


The book is divided into 5 parts:

  • Part 1 is an overview of the plan, why she created it and the Migraine Relief Plan food list.
  • Part 2 explains the plan, broken down week by week over the course of two months that covers everything from changing your mindset, setting up your environment for success, cleaning out your fridge and even a week devoted to how to eat out while on the plan.
  • Part 3 takes you through month 6, teaching you how to maintain the plan through self care, detoxifying your body, home and work environments, as well as addressing sleep and gentle exercise.
  • Part 4 addresses long-term lifestyle changes that includes trigger testing: slowly adding some foods back into your diet to see how your body responds.
  • And finally, Part 5 are the rigorously tested recipes written using only the approved foods on the Migraine Relief Plan food list. 

"Most diet books and programs assume that you will follow the program 100 percent. As a health and wellness coach, I know that’s not realistic." 
Stephanie Weaver

Delicious food

Any diet that doesn't include delicious food is going to be challenging to adhere to. Therein lies the beauty of having a recipe developer write a book like this: once you adjust your tastebuds to lower-sodium salt and get back to what real, whole food is supposed to taste like, you can't help but fall in love with these recipes.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I made the recipe I'm including here, the maple sesame glazed chicken. When the marinated chicken hit the hot pan, an explosion of mouth-watering aromas took up residence in every nook and grannie in my kitchen. The first bite made me a convert: Stephanie successfully created a teriyaki-inspired dish that didn't need all the sodium, soy and sugar found in traditional teriyaki to taste great.

Copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar
Copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar

During the book's launch party, I had the opportunity to try several more dishes including the Creamy Not-ella Carob Butter, the Spicy Kale and Swiss Chard Sauté, and Pomegranate Marinade for Beef or Chicken (we were served beef). For dessert, we were served Carob Squares (yes, there's dessert and snacks, too).

Other recipes in the book that I can't wait to make include Spicy Fish Tacos, Smoky Butternut Squash Soup, Peachy Pulled Pork, Berry Cobbler, and Bacon Salad Dressing.

Not just for migraine sufferers

Although this book is geared towards migraine sufferers, everyone can benefit from the lifestyle changes that Stephanie suggests like meditation, gentle movement, or embarking on a social media fast. Plus, the recipes presented here are anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, low-carb, low-sodium and most are already Paleo-friendly. With her gentle guidance and expert, first-hand knowledge, I truly feel this book can help anyone become a healthier, happier version of themselves.

Copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar

Maple Sesame Glazed Chicken

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 45–50 minutes Passive time: 1/2–8 hours

This Asian-inspired glaze is close to teriyaki without being sticky-sweet. This dish is shown on the cover with Wild Rice and Carrots (page 246) and Spicy Kale and Swiss Chard Sauté (page 243).

1 bunch green onions

2 tablespoons white vinegar (see Cooks’ Note)

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 3/5–2 pounds (0.8–1kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (5–6 thighs)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons dry toasted tan sesame seeds

Budget friendly: Very

1. Remove the roots and tips from the green onions. Cut the white parts into chunks and put them in a blender. Slice the green parts thinly and set aside.

2. To make the marinade, add the vinegar, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, garlic, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and ginger to the blender and blend, along with the white parts of the onion, until smooth.

3. Put the chicken in a large bowl. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

4. Heat the coconut oil in large nonstick lidded skillet set over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.

5. Drizzle any remaining marinade from the bowl over the chicken and sprinkle the reserved sliced green onions, stirring to coat chicken. Then, partially cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium–low. Cook for 10 minutes, turn the chicken, and cook for 10 minutes more. Leave a small opening between the cover and the pan so some of the steam can escape.

6. Remove lid from chicken pan to check chicken for doneness. Cook just until done, either by checking with a meat thermometer for 165°F (74°C), or by cutting open. Sprinkle sesame seeds over. Remove from the heat.

7. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cooks’ Note: Use skinless chicken for this recipe, as this cooking method will not deliver crispy skin. If you’re not sure about sesame oil, start with 1 tablespoon, then taste.

Per serving: 46g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 18g fat, 3g saturated fat, 196mg sodium, 681mg potassium, 2g fiber

Reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Plan, copyright 2016 Stephanie Weaver. Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, Inc.

About the author: Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. She has a Master of Public Health in Nutrition Education from the University of Illinois. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Migraine Relief Plan directly from the publisher for review consideration; I received no further compensation. Opinions expressed are my own.