1% Thursday: Watch out for Leftovers

This week: try to start avoiding leftovers more than 48 hours old.

Don’t waste food!  Don’t you know people are starving in [country x]?

Sure, we all want to save money, not waste – but there are times when our caution may be causing problems.

Something is happening to those leftovers in your fridge.  After a few hours, they really begin to "age".  Protein and bacteria start to dance.  And the result is… tyramine!

One of the most popular types of diet for migraineurs is the low tyramine diet.  But this diet isn’t just for migraineurs – other conditions seem to improve with a low tyramine diet.  And those taking MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) – common anti-depressants – also usually follow a low tyramine diet.  This would include brand names such as Nardil and Marplan.

But sometimes we get a lot of extra tyramine when we don’t mean to.  That is, when we eat "leftovers" – food from a previous meal that we’ve stuck in the fridge for another day.

24 hours passes, even 48, and things aren’t too bad.  But beyond 48, and you could be getting more tyramine than you want.

We’re talking mainly about food with protein – such as meat and tofu.  Of course, there are also foods that start off with too much tyramine.  You can read more about the overall tyramine diet here.

Remember, we’re not saying the food is bad – it’s not necessarily food poisoning we’re concerned about.  This is food that would normally be safe to eat, unless you’re trying to get less tyramine in your diet.  So most official warnings about how long to keep foods won’t apply here.

What’s fine for your house-mate may not be fine for you.

So what you need to do is plan – use a freezer (freeze right after cooking, thaw and eat right away), don’t cook too much at one time, invite friends over.  You can avoid eating food more than 48 hours old without wasting it – it’s a matter of planning.

Of course, there are other reasons to eat fresher.  Generally, fresh foods simply taste better, and are better for you.  Trying to follow this rule will mean a healthier, more nutritious, more delicious diet.

What is 1% Thursday?

1% Thursday

Every Thursday at Headache and Migraine News (weather permitting) we’ll talk about one measurable, practical thing we can do to make our lives just 1% better.  Usually it will be something very easy, sometimes it will be a challenge.  Let us know if you try it, or share an idea of your own – and maybe a year from now we’ll see that things have really changed for the better!

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2 comments… add one
  • Emily Feb 25, 2010

    Great suggestion. I had not thought about the problems with chemical buildup in left overs. Thanks again for your 1% Thursdays!!

  • Tracy Mar 23, 2010

    Simply putting leftovers in the freezer after a meal makes this much easier to accomplish.

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