The 3 Pillars of Migraine Freedom, Part 2 (Miracle Moment Episode)

In part 2 of this 2 part series of the Miracle Moment, we review the 2nd and 3rd PILLARS OF MIGRAINE FREEDOM.

Links mentioned:

MIGRAI-NEVERLAND, our premier resource for those who want to find their pill free path to migraine freedom:

The Ultimate Guide to Migraine Freedom:

PRIMAL PROVISIONS, or Migraine Miracle meal planning service:

PRIMAL PROVISIONS Recipe of the Week:

The book that started it all, The Migraine Miracle:


[00:00:01] So welcome again to the Migraine Miracle Moment. I’m your host Dr. Josh Turknett. [3.9]

[00:00:05] I’m a neurologist, migraine specialist and author of the book the Migraine Miracle, and a migraine sufferer myself. [6.4]

[00:00:12] And the mission of this show the Migraine Miracle Moment is to help you find your path to migraine freedom without pills. So in this episode, which is part two of the two part series on the three pillars of migraine freedom, I’m going to be addressing this second and third pillars. [16.4]

[00:00:29] And once again for more on the three pillars of migraine freedom and to download the plan for getting started with the migraine miracle go to [12.7]

[00:00:42] And you can also find that link in the show notes. [2.8]

[00:00:45] So first things first, we’re going to get started with our BEAST SLAYER OF THE WEEK. [5.5]

[00:00:51] And so each episode of The Miracle Moment we highlight somebody in our migraine miracle community who has recently dealt a mighty blow to the beast. [8.0]

[00:01:00] And this week it is Melissa. So this be slayer of the week actually comes from a recent Amazon review of the book the Migraine Miracle. [11.4]

[00:01:12] And it comes from Melissa who says “I will be forever grateful for this book and think about all that I learned from it daily. It has truly changed my life. [7.9]

[00:01:20] “I think it should be required reading for every person even those who have never suffered a migraine because it so clearly illustrates why the typical American diet is failing all of us and why there is so much cancer heart disease and auto immune disease. [12.7]

[00:01:33] “I thought I grew up eating super healthy. After all we never ate fried foods and avoided a lot of artificial things. But now I look back and see my diet has always been filled with pancakes bagels whole wheat bread and lots of sugar. [11.7]

[00:01:45] “I started getting migraines in 2005 and they have progressively gotten worse to the point that I started getting them a couple of times a week with two small kids to take care of. [8.1]

[00:01:54] “I had to change something.” And here’s the second part. [3.2]

[00:01:57] “What was shocking to me was reading the part about how damaging vegetable oils are. I thought ‘Oh well I cook with only olive oil and butter so I’m good’ until I realized how many of my quote healthy snacks like roasted plantain chips or popcorn were actually coated in safflower or sunflower oil. [16.4]

[00:02:14] “That was super eye opening for me. Recently we moved and I went a little off the diet ate a bowl of rice noodles and vegetables and felt terrible the next day. [7.9]

[00:02:23] “Dizzy and then got a migraine. A few days later I was craving a pumpkin beer and then got another huge migraine the next day. [6.0]

[00:02:29] “I realize I have to take this really seriously. I miss feeling great and energetic like I did when I was following it strictly. It’s not that hard to give up some of the things when the BENEFITS ARE SO WORTH IT. [9.4]

[00:02:39] “I really hope all who are considering buying this book get it and feel better soon. [4.2]

[00:02:44] There is a lot to like about what Melissa said there but the thing that I wanted to call attention to, which ties in well to the content of this episode, is that she’s appreciating that all aspects of the plan matter and then it’s important to not focus on one part of it exclusively while overlooking or neglecting other parts. [18.5]

[00:03:03] There is a tendency for people to kind of narrowly focus on a particular part of the plan. [4.7]

[00:03:08] A lot of the time that’s the amount of carbohydrates in the diet but as we’ll discuss today, it’s important to remember that the plan isn’t about any one thing, which is why there are three pillars not one. [10.3]

[00:03:19] And as I discussed in the first episode, this is a root cause HOLISTIC approach that addresses all the major factors that pertain to keeping migraines away and for optimizing health in general. [12.9]

[00:03:33] And so to fully reap the benefits requires that we focus on all of them. And as Melissa says here she now appreciates the importance of doing so. [9.0]

[00:03:43] So as I mentioned earlier this is part two of the two part series on the three pillars of migraine freedom. [6.1]

[00:03:50] In part one I covered the first pillar which is eliminating rebound headaches, and as I talked about in that episode it’s virtually impossible to make progress if you’re not addressing rebound headaches or put another way, the role that the headache medications play in keeping you constantly vulnerable and at risk of having another migraine attack. [18.7]

[00:04:10] And so that’s why I covered it first, to help ensure that nobody overlooked that key aspect of the plan. If you missed that episode you can go back and catch it and you can do so at, where you’ll find links to that and all the prior episodes. [17.0]

[00:04:28] And because rebound is such an important topic we’ll be talking more about specific strategies for conquering it in future episodes. [7.6]

[00:04:36] So today we’re going to move on to the second and the third pillars of migraine freedom, and once again to learn more about the three pillars and download the ultimate guide to migraine freedom, go to MYMIGRAINEMIRACLE.COM/MIGRAINEFREEDOM, and you can click the link to that in the show notes. [16.5]

[00:04:54] So the second pillar of migraine freedom is eliminating mismatch foods and behaviors. [10.6]

[00:05:05] In the last episode I introduced this idea of mismatch. [3.3]

[00:05:09] And in this context a mismatch refers to the difference between an animal’s current habitat and their natural habitat. And the greater the difference the greater the mismatch between an animal’s natural habitat, which includes the foods that eat and the life it leads, and its present habitat, the more stress and strain it places on their body and their brain. [19.8]

[00:05:30] And as I said in the first episode, most of the chronic illnesses that we doctors now see in in the medical clinic are fundamentally the result of this mismatch. [8.6]

[00:05:39] And the reason for this is that we humans have taken ourselves out of our natural habitat, but our biology has had nowhere near enough time to adapt accordingly to all the mismatches that that’s created. [11.2]

[00:05:51] And this escape from our natural habitat started about 10000 years ago when we started building civilizations. And the reason we were able to do so in the first place was because we started farming, which meant we could stop moving around looking for food and could instead stay in one spot for long periods of time and build civilizations. [18.7]

[00:06:11] Now as time passed we’ve continued to change our habitat in a way that has continued to increase the amount of mismatch between the habitat that most of us now inhabit and our natural habitat. [11.8]

[00:06:23] And that mismatch has grown considerably over the last century as technology has allowed us to escape our natural habitat even further. [7.7]

[00:06:32] So the easiest way I think to understand where the big mismatches are for a typical modern human is to simply consider what the life of a wild human was, which is still the natural habitat of a human being, and the one where we would typically thrive. [15.0]

[00:06:48] And we can broadly categorize their lives from the standpoint of diet, or the foods they ate, and lifestyle. [5.7]

[00:06:59] So from a lifestyle perspective, a human in his or her natural habitat lives in a close knit tribe of supportive friends and family, is awake when the sun is out, and asleep when the sun is down, and their lives are regulated entirely by the rise and fall of the sun. [16.3]

[00:07:17] They spend a considerable amount of time outside each day. They’re physically active walking for extended periods of time every day throughout the entirety of their lifespan. [10.0]

[00:07:27] They are exposed to a wide variety of soil based microorganisms that would have been part of the population of a healthy gut microbiome. [7.5]

[00:07:36] And from a diet perspective, a human in their natural habitat would eat animals of pretty much any kind, and any edible plants found in nature. [10.7]

[00:07:47] And those edible plants would typically consist of starchy tubers and root vegetables. So things like yams, turnips, cassava, as well as local fruits when in season, and the occasional leafy green vegetable. [12.7]

[00:08:00] So again that was our habitat for about two and a half million years, and this is the habitat that we’re still best adapted to and where we thrive. [6.8]

[00:08:08] The further removed we are from it, the sicker we become. [2.8]

[00:08:11] And so I think it’s pretty easy to then understand where our modern lives tend to deviate the most from this template. [6.0]

[00:08:17] From the diet standpoint, in particular what’s most striking is the absence of added sugar, refined carbohydrate, and vegetable oils because together these now form the bulk of calories for the typical modern human. [13.8]

[00:08:32] And so together these are arguably the single biggest source of mismatch for a modern human, and not surprisingly we continue to learn more about the many ways they are linked to chronic illness. [12.1]

[00:08:45] And the reason that mismatches are such a problem is because the biological mechanisms that our bodies have for maintaining good health and keeping the conditions inside the body within the optimal range needed for us to thrive are all designed for this particular habitat. [14.6]

[00:09:00] So the further we deviate from that the greater the stress we place on those systems the more we struggle, the less optimally we perform, and the greater our risk of chronic illness. [9.1]

[00:09:10] And while it’s unrealistic for a modern human to live this way entirely, it’s critical for understanding what healthy behaviors are to know what this template looks like. [10.9]

[00:09:22] And so it’s still the most useful and most powerful framework for understanding what healthy behaviors are. And in fact, had we had this framework all along, we’d never have gotten ourselves into the public health mess that we were now in, or told people ridiculous things like to eat low fat or to cook everything in industrial seed oils. [19.8]

[00:09:43] And even if we can’t live or live our lives exactly according to this template, or this ideal, we can certainly align our lives with it as best as possible especially in certain key ways. [12.1]

[00:09:56] Now there’s plenty more to explore here in the realm of mismatch foods and behaviors, and we’re just scratching the surface right now. [7.2]

[00:10:04] We’ve also learned a ton in the past decade or so about how we can change our diet and lifestyle habits in ways that are aligned with this template, while still retaining all the wonderful things we love about our modern world and our modern life. [12.9]

[00:10:18] So this is a big topic and we’ll be digging deeper into the specifics of these various components in subsequent episodes. [6.0]

[00:10:25] And it’s obviously something of great importance to any human being. [3.3]

[00:10:29] But this mismatch concept has special importance for the migraine suffer and we’ll talk more about why that is in subsequent episodes. [7.8]

[00:10:37] Once again, if you want to know the key diet and lifestyle changes for lasting freedom from migraines, grab “The Ultimate Guide to Migraine Freedom,” which I linked in the show notes. [10.1]

[00:10:49] And so now we’ll move to the third pillar which is to establish metabolic flexibility. [7.7]

[00:10:57] Now this third pillar is related to the second one because one of the major consequences of the changes in our diet over the past 10000 years as we’ve escaped our natural habitat and especially over the past century has been the dramatic rise in the amount of CARBOHYDRATES in the diet. [15.9]

[00:11:14] In other words one of the most important mismatches when it comes to diet is the amount in particular of refined carbohydrates. [7.2]

[00:11:22] A human in its natural habitat eats essentially ZERO refined carbohydrates. [10.1]

[00:11:32] And this is probably the area where the nutritional guidelines we’ve been given over the past half century have had such terrible consequences. [8.1]

[00:11:41] So one of the great problems we face right now in health care is the emerging obesity epidemic, especially in the developed world. Here in the United States, the rate of obesity has been rising considerably almost ever since the guidelines were released to start cutting fat. [17.5]

[00:11:59] And here’s a graph that shows that. So you can see when the “eat low fat” guidelines were published, and ever since then obesity rates have gone up. [9.7]

[00:12:09] So why is that? [1.1]

[00:12:12] So we were told by certain health authorities to lower fat intake to reduce our risk of heart disease. And we were also told to do so to lose weight. Obviously that didn’t work out so well. [10.8]

[00:12:24] Both of those pieces of advice turned out to be ENTIRELY WRONG. [3.0]

[00:12:28] And one of the sad ironies in this story is that all of the low fat products that were created in response to that advise have likely been drivers of the obesity epidemic. [10.5]

[00:12:40] And one of the paradoxes of obesity, which ties into this idea of metabolic flexibility, is that body fat is a stored form of energy. [8.3]

[00:12:49] And the reason we’re able to store body fat in our fat tissues is so that we can create a reserve of energy we can tap into when food availability is low, or in between times we eat. The typical person with a healthy amount of body fat has enough stored energy in their fat tissues to meet their energy needs for a month or so. [19.7]

[00:13:09] So a non-overweight individual with what would be considered to have a healthy amount of body fat has enough energy in their fat tissue to meet their needs for about one to two months. [10.5]

[00:13:21] Someone who is at obese range may have enough stored energy to meet their energy needs for four months or more. [5.0]

[00:13:26] Yet in spite of having all that stored energy they still get hungry between meals. In fact it oftentimes seems that they are hungrier between between meals compared to someone who’s lean, or someone with less stored energy available. [11.5]

[00:13:39] So that doesn’t seem to make much sense right? [1.9]

[00:13:41] So this three meals a day routine that’s become our cultural standard appears to be a recent development in human history. But if you’re carbohydrate dependent you may not even be able to imagine that it could be any other way. [12.6]

[00:13:54] In fact if you’re carbohydrate dependent, you may even need a snack in between meals just so that you’re not distracted by hunger pangs! [6.8]

[00:14:02] So why is it then if you do have all this stored energy available, why is it that you’re still getting hungry so often? [6.6]

[00:14:09] Why isn’t the body just using that stored energy in the fat tissue in between meals? [4.0]

[00:14:14] And the answer to that lies in this idea of metabolic flexibility. So humans are capable of extracting energy from two primary sources: carbohydrates and fats. [10.9]

[00:14:26] And when we eat we can extract energy from food to meet our immediate energy needs, and we can store the rest. [6.8]

[00:14:33] And while we can store very large amounts of fat in our fat tissues – enough to meet our energy needs for months – we can only store a relatively small amount of carbohydrates. And in between meals we rely on this stored energy to meet our energy needs. [15.1]

[00:14:49] Now that stored energy doesn’t just magically come out when we need it. It must be first taken out of the fat tissue, absorbed into the circulation where it can then be transported to the various cells of the body that can then burn it for energy. [13.3]

[00:15:04] So now imagine if we were to take a drug that blocked our ability to get the fat out of our fat tissue, so the fat can get in and be stored but it can’t get out. So what would happen in that scenario? [13.4]

[00:15:18] Well every time we ate, any excess energy would be stored in our fat tissues in our body fat would continue to grow. [6.2]

[00:15:25] However when we tried to access that energy in between meals we’d be unable to do so. So our brain would sense that our energy is running out and produce a feeling of hunger so that we would then find more food. [12.8]

[00:15:38] In this particular scenario we would continue to add fat to our body, but we’d never be able to actually use that fat for its intended purpose. Those fat stores would just continue to grow because we’re unable to use them. [12.7]

[00:15:51] And this is precisely the kind of scenario that’s happening with obesity. So there’s plenty of stored fat but it’s not easily accessed. [7.7]

[00:15:59] And so someone in this situation must eat often in order to meet their energy needs. But in this case it’s just not a drug that’s keeping the fat in the fat tissues inaccessible, but rather the amount of CARBOHYDRATE in the diet. [13.8]

[00:16:14] And this is what it means to be metabolically inflexible or carbohydrate dependent. [5.0]

[00:16:20] So one of the key differences between the modern diet and the diet of a wild human is the amount of refined easily digestible carbohydrates, especially sugar and white flour. And these are foods that have been processed or refined in a way that renders them easier to digest and absorb. [17.7]

[00:16:38] And so what happens when we eat them? We get a big boost in our blood sugar, and that’s a feeling that many people enjoy. [6.9]

[00:16:46] And it’s usually followed by a big decline in blood sugar as the body kind of marshals all of its resources to try to get that excess sugar out of the blood before it damages the body’s tissues. [10.4]

[00:16:57] And whereas a wild human would have never eaten food of this type EVER, a recent study showed that 61 percent of the foods a typical American buys is of this kind of processed refined carbohydrates. [13.1]

[00:17:11] So a metabolically inflexible human on the typical high carbohydrate Western diet is then experiencing these big swings in blood sugar levels throughout the day and the result is unstable energy levels and mood, along with other long term health consequences that can arise from it. [16.2]

[00:17:29] And almost everyone on a standard Western diet likely has some degree of metabolic inflexibility, again largely a result of the extraordinarily high amount of carbohydrates in the diet. [11.0]

[00:17:41] The good news is that most of the time this situation can be reversed. And the most successful way of doing it has been to reduce the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. [10.2]

[00:17:52] And the great thing is that just by cutting out processed foods, which again tend to be loaded with refined carbohydrates, we’ll cut out the major source of those for most people. [9.0]

[00:18:03] Once you understand this problem of metabolic inflexibility you can see why reducing carbs in the diet is such a great way to lose weight, because by doing so and by becoming more metabolically flexible you’re enhancing the body’s ability to use stored body fat. [16.5]

[00:18:19] So you’re burning more of your fat for energy and you need to eat less to support your energy needs. [5.8]

[00:18:26] But beyond making losing weight easier, establishing metabolic flexibility also has a lot of other benefits. [5.9]

[00:18:33] It’s the reason why people who stop eating the standard high carb diet and move to a more moderate or low carb diet experience major improvements in energy levels, elimination of sleepiness after meals, and stabilization of mood and so on. [13.2]

[00:18:47] It’s the reason why they feel so much better a few weeks after switching to this way of eating. And being able to easily access stored back body fat gives you access to these reserves of energy that you never really realize were there. [13.4]

[00:19:01] And we also find that this establishment of metabolic flexibility is a critical piece for the migraine sufferer, so people oftentimes experience a major improvement in migraine control after this transition to fat adaptation. And that’s why it’s one of the three pillars of migraine freedom. [18.1]

[00:19:20] The energy rollercoaster that most people are on that’s a product of the high carb diet is a HUGE problem for people with migraines because it leaves them in a constant state of vulnerability, which is why changing how you eat in a way that gets you off that roller coaster makes such a huge difference. [16.3]

[00:19:38] So just to summarize, metabolic INflexibility, which is also known as CARBOHYDRATE DEPENDENCE, is the inability to switch easily between carbohydrate and fat for energy, including accessing stored body fat, and this metabolic situation sets the stage for all sorts of problems, and is a big problem for anyone with migraines. [21.9]

[00:20:01] And then on the other hand, metabolic flexibility, which is also sometimes referred to as fat adaptation, is the ability to easily switch between carbohydrate and fuel and carbohydrate and fat as a fuel source, and most notably here between carbohydrates and stored fat. [17.1]

[00:20:19] So this is the metabolic state that we all want to be in. [3.1]

[00:20:22] It reduces our risk of chronic illness and metabolic disease, and we just feel a whole lot better. And a human in their natural habitat is going to be metabolically flexible. [11.4]

[00:20:35] So with that we’ll conclude this overview of the three pillars of migraine freedom. [4.5]

[00:20:40] As I said, we’ll be diving more into some of the specifics in future episodes, but that should provide everyone with a good framework for understanding the plan, how to optimize health in general, and how to get on the path to migraine freedom. [12.3]

[00:20:54] And with that in mind, it’s now time to move on to the Primal Provisions “pick of the week. [5.8]

[00:21:01] So for those of you who don’t know Primal Provisions is our weekly meal planning service where every Saturday we send out a Migraine Miracle meal plan, along with recipes for all the meals, grocery lists, and prep day instructions for people who want to prepare their meals for the week in advance. [17.4]

[00:21:19] So it’s a super easy way to get started with the Migraine Miracle plan, especially the food part, as it kind of takes all the planning and decision making off the table and saves you time and anxiety, and ensures that you have good delicious meals to eat throughout the week. [15.9]

[00:21:35] So every week inside of our Migraine Miracle Facebook group we take a poll and see which recipe from Primal Provisions people want us to post on our site. [10.1]

[00:21:47] So at the time of this episode we had two recipes that were tied in our poll. [5.3]

[00:21:52] One was our Goat Cheese Chicken Alfredo, and the other was our Spicy Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs. And so that means I got to get to cast the deciding vote. [11.9]

[00:22:05] And so the winner is… the spicy lemon ginger chicken thighs. [6.3]

[00:22:12] So the goat cheese chicken Alfredo was fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But these chicken thighs were one of the best things I’ve ever had. [7.5]

[00:22:21] I’ve never been all that crazy about chicken thighs to begin with, but clearly I just never had them prepared the right way. [6.8]

[00:22:29] And one of the great things about chicken thighs is they’re usually a cheaper cut of meat as well. [3.8]

[00:22:33] So do yourself a favor and grab that recipe at MYMIGRAINEMIRACLE.COM/THIGHS. [8.2]

[00:22:42] There’s also a link you can click on the show notes and when you go there you can download the full recipe as a PDF file which you can print out if you’d like to use while you’re cooking. All right. [14.7]

[00:22:56] So I’ll be out of town for part of next week so the next full length episode is going to air in two weeks on Wednesday September 13th again at 2:30 p.m., but I’ll be seeing you again before that for some shorter in between shows, so be on the lookout for those. [17.4]

[00:23:15] And once again you can find all the prior episodes of the Miracle Moment at my MYMIGRAINEMIRACLE.COM/MOMENT. And for those of you in the States I hope you have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. [13.8]

[00:23:30] And now go enjoy the rest of your day and SLAY THE BEAST! [3.5]