Her migraines were daily, she could no longer work, and she was “living on pills” just to get by.
Then, Jan decided she’d had enough.
LINKS and RESOURCES mentioned:
MIGRAI-NEVERLAND, our premier resource for those who want to find their pill free path to migraine freedom (including the new Beastslayer Training Academy): mymigrainemiracle.com/endofmigraine
The Timeline of Migraine Freedom – take the QUIZ and find out what phase on the Timeline you’re on at mymigrainemiracle.com/migraine-freedom
The 7 Signs You’re Having Rebound Headaches: https://www.mymigrainemiracle.com/rebound/
DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE TO GETTING STARTED at beastslayers.com
PRIMAL PROVISIONS, our Migraine Miracle meal planning service: mymigrainemiracle.com/primalprovisions
PRIMAL PROVISIONS Pick of the Week (Roasted Leg of Lamb): https://mymigrainemiracle.com/lambleg
The Migraine Miracle Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/migrainemiracle/
The book that started it all – The Migraine Miracle: https://www.amazon.com/Migraine-Miracle-Sugar-Free-Gluten-Free-Inflammation/dp/1608828751
– – [Dr. T] All right, welcome to another episode of the Miracle Moment, so on today’s episode I’m going to be sharing with you another migraine miracle story, this one coming from Jan Richards, and Jan is one of our Migrai-Neverland members and as you’ll soon hear, she’s coming to us all the way from Australia and she first discovered the migraine miracle by reading the book and then ultimately joining our Migrai-Neverland membership.
And as you’ll soon hear, she’s completely turned her life around in several ways and you can just hear the joy that’s in her voice, it’s still incredible and a bit magical for me to think that just by putting words on a page someone’s life half-way around the world can be transformed like this, but it just shows how valuable and precious good ideas are and how important it is to do whatever it takes to keep sharing and spreading those ideas.
And I’m certain that someone out there is going to hear Jan’s story today and will be inspired and motivated to take action so that they can then experience the same sort of transformation that she has. Also, I know that I talk about how valuable these success stories are to those of you listening for inspiring and motivating you to make big changes in your life, but I should also add that these stories are also extremely valuable to me as well and they inspire and motivate us to keep trying to get the message of the Migraine Miracle out in to the world.
Anytime you put yourself out there whether it’s in the form of a book or a podcast or a blog post. Whenever you release something like that out in the world you’re almost guaranteed to invite some criticism and haters especially some of the topics that I cover in the book and here on the podcast. Nutrition for one, as I’m sure you know, and as Jan will talk about in her interview can get people really fired up.
In fact it’s often times surprising just how controversial a topic it can be but also spreading the message that drugs may not be the best solution for migraines is not one that some folks wanted to hear or the idea that we as migrainers have the power to influence the course of our condition and aren’t just the victim of unlucky genetics that we’re powerless over is another message that’s sometimes not openly received, so, I get plenty of negativity directed my way and of course, like I said, that’s bound to happen anytime you put yourself out there but nonetheless negativity is no fun.
I’m just as human as everyone else and like every other human I’m a bit predisposed towards taking the negativity harder than the positive feedback. Additionally as you’ll hear Jan speak about, you’ll likely encounter some of this yourself if you make changes to your diet and lifestyle and especially if you try to share your thoughts on the topic with others, even if it’s with the best of intentions.
You might be met with a surprising amount of resistance and resentment, so, these are issues that all of us going down this road that’s still somewhat unconventional will have to deal with in some way, shape or form, so, learning to deal with that negativity and most importantly learning how to not let it derail you from the road you’re on is a big piece of ultimately being successful.
So, hopefully these stories will help you deal with that negativity in the same way that they help me. That’s one reason we have many of these stories right there on the homepage of mymigranemiracle.com to serve as a source of inspiration for you but also for me as well and to help remind me that this work is worth doing. That continuing to do everything I can to get this message out there is worth doing and to not let the negativity stand in the way of doing that so, to Jan and to every single one of you who has or who will take the time to share your story or to give your feedback.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and also know that by doing that you’re helping this mission and you’re helping to bring this message to all of those who still need to receive it. So, thank you so much. Just as a short bit of housekeeping before we get started our next 30 day jump start challenge which is designed to get you off and running with the migraine miracle plan with a full head of steam kicks off September 15th, so, as part of the Jump Start challenge everybody in the challenge moves through the beast slayer training academy together.
And the Beast Slayer Training Academy now includes as a bonus module, our newly created menstrual migraine protocol, and you can take part in the challenge either by becoming a member of Migrai-Neverland as one benefit of membership is that you can sign up for as many challenges that we conduct as you’d like or you can sign up for it directly and to learn more just go to mymigrainemiracle.com and click on the resources link at the top and you’ll find information related to the jump start and Migrai-Neverland as well as the other resources that we have to offer.
Also, for the notes and transcripts of prior episodes of The Miracle Moment go to mymigrainemiracle.com/moment and just a final note before I get to the interview. The audio on this interview isn’t perfect however, I do have the full interview as a video with captions if you want to listen or view it that way just go to mymigrainemiracle.com/Jan. She really has a wonderful story and she’s a lovely person, so, I think you’ll find that listening to it is more than worth the effort. Okay so, without further delay, here’s my interview with Jan Richards.
So, Jan if you don’t mind kind of giving us a little bit of your back story actually maybe just first of all tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are and where you’re from. –[Jan] Yeah, well I live on the Sunshine Coast, I’m 59, I’ve had migraines all my life and now I am kind of what I call accidentally retired which is part of the migraine story but I’m actually really quite happy about that because now that I’m really healthy it’s wonderful being retired. – Right. – I live on my own, I live in a beautiful beach resort, it’s gorgeous with my little puppy dog. –
Fantastic. So tell us a little bit then about your history with migraines. When they kind of began and how they evolved over the years? –[Jan] Okay, I would say I had headaches as a kid, before even I was a teenager, I recall having headaches then. When I got into my teens they got a lot worse. When I was in my early 20s I took beta blockers, like in my 20s the pills would actually control the hormonal side a little bit but I was still getting headaches like at the end of the period cycle of your thing so they actually put me on another hormone that sort of used to cover that seven day period, and I took, I literally took the pill, I know it was almost like, 20 years, without a break virtually.
Largely to control the migraines and to some extent it did. I used to get really really really bad hangovers that I think in retrospect they were probably just migraines so, like I always had them. Honestly, I never actually spoke to a doctor about them until like six years ago and I think that’s just because I’d always had them and I just thought you have a headache, you take pills.
About six years ago I was really sick. I couldn’t work particularity effectively and –[Dr. T] Right – [Jan] I went to the doctor and it was actually the first time I’d ever talked to him about the migraines and, so, I started, I actually started a whole series of things at that time cause I realized I was pretty, in a hole and I started meditation, I started yoga, I saw a therapist and have been seeing a therapist for years and it’s been wonderful, it’s really the whole thing, the meditation, yoga, therapy really helped a lot but the other thing that the doctor did was put me on Imigran which was, I wish I had never taken one of those tablets.
So, five years after sort of starting all the meditation and everything, on one level I felt a bit better, but the rebound headaches were just unbearable and I said all the time, I was taking, I actually asked by GP if I was overtaking Imigran –[Dr. T] Right. –
And he checked my prescriptions and he said you’re right on the boarder. I was taking I would say four or five easily a week. You only get four in a packet and I was replacing the packet at least once to twice a week and I was also taking codeine mix medications, a lot of Panadol, anything I could get my hands on. I wasn’t sleeping very well so I was taking stuff to help me sleep. I was taking stuff for my sinuses because I felt my sinuses were always not right. I was just living on pills. –[Dr. T] Right. – [Jan] It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all, and I actually gave up work because I couldn’t concentrate. My vision was really bad, and one day I just quit and even after that, kind of stress levels went down a lot which did help but because the rebound and the headaches just kept rolling on and all along and one day I actually called a friend said I can’t come to coffee I’ve got a migraine and she was really sick of it, and she said to me why don’t you go on this diet like my daughter done.
She used to get migraines and she doesn’t anymore and I though oh yeah right and I started looking. I just started looking. I had never thought about what I ate in terms of migraines. Other than triggers. I knew there were lots of them. So, I just started looking and because I’m a person who’s taken pills all my life and we think that we go to the doctor and the doctor fixes things I wanted to find a medical reason to do this diet and I think it took me about a day of googling various different things.
And I read heaps of stuff, I read a lot about diabetes and I read a lot about you know keto, all sorts of things cause that was the diet that her daughter was on and eventually I found your book and that was like the Sunday night and the Monday morning I got up and I called every single book store on the Sunshine Coast and none of them had it and I couldn’t read, my e-reader was broken and I can’t read an iPad because my eyes are really light sensitive but eventually I called this book store, and they had it.
So, I went up and I bought your book and read it and followed it, and that day really changed my life, it really did completely. –[Dr. T] Wow, yeah, that’s pretty incredible that all the way across the world you’re able to find it. – [Jan] And really, you know I was thinking oh I’m gonna have to download this and read it, you know, on my Pad but I didn’t want to because I really had a lot of trouble reading on the iPad and although less so now a year down the track but yeah that’s how I got your book and I’ll actually tell you when I was reading the book I’d had migraines all my life and there was so much I didn’t know about them. There was so much in that book that it taught me. The whole thing with the balloons and all that- – [Dr. T] Right.
– Sort of thing made sense. It made it easy to understand. I think I have like a long prodrome and that also had made it difficult I think to sort of know when to take things and all that sort of stuff and when I might be just before the migraine and when it was really coming in and all that sort of stuff so, I learnt a lot from that but when I read the chapter on grains I literally went to the cupboard brought every grain I had out of the cupboard and took it to the neighbor and when I, I did, when I read the chapter on drugs I went in to my bathroom and I literally flushed them down the toilet.[Dr. T] Wow, that’s pretty impressive. Yeah, so, you were prepared. [Jan] I had to do something if I was gonna do it and you made it sound like it would work. I think if I’d read it and then thought at the end ah, it’s a fairytale you know, or if, you know, people try to flaunt you stuff all the time. [Dr. T] Sure. [Jan] You know but I read it and I though no this is real. You know, this can work and because also over the weekend I’d read a lot about the keto diet and I sort of had thought that the whole thing sounded like a really good idea, so, you know, I was prepared mentally and by the time I read the book I was prepared to just ditch everything and do it.
I did keep the Imigran and I took two more Imigran from that day onwards. One about a week and a half in when I had a massive migraine right, so I was just sort of teetering on the edge of ketosis so, I took one then and I took one a couple of weeks later but I remember thinking neither of them did any good so, that was it, I just didn’t take them any more.[Dr. T] Right. [Jan] And didn’t take any of the codeine drugs, didn’t take, the only thing I kept was Panadol and aspirin and these days if I have to I take that but rebound really blew my brain. The thought that I’d been giving myself these migraines for so many years. [Dr. T] Oh, yeah. [Jan] You know. [Dr. T] Yeah. [Jan] So, that was kind of a big thing too. I just didn’t want to go back in to that territory at all. [Dr. T] Yeah I totally understand. Yeah, and unfortunately as you probably know that’s a really common story. People don’t realize that, you know, that the medicines are fueling the problem and it doesn’t seem like that should be the case and you, you know, think you’re doing all you can for them and then realize I’m unwittingly fueling the process. [Jan] Yeah, and the thing is, we don’t think about what we eat really. You just eat, you know, the health department kind of says, eat your five whole grains a day, fruit and vegetables and no fats and that’s what I’m thinking. In fact, I was a carb queen, I lived on carbs. [Dr. T] Yeah. [Jan] Right, and I thought, and I was hungry every hour, you know, because you are when you eat like that. You know, my body wasn’t happy and I’d been taking for my stomach for indigestion and stuff like that. I’d been taking things like nexium and tagamet and stuff for like, 15 years, and about three weeks in to the plan I thought I don’t think I need to take this anymore and I just stopped taking it. [Dr. T] Wow, yeah. [Jan] That was the first real difference for me. My stomach just was fine. [Dr. T] Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. So many times these digestive symptoms that have been, you know, blamed on all sorts of things, whether it’s reflux or whatever just go away quickly, I mean, same thing happened to me and the same things happened to a lot of folks now and yeah, we don’t realize what the true culprit is. So, about how long ago was this that you found the book and kind of started on this journey? – [Jan] It was the 30th of January last year. [Dr. T] And so prior to that point what was kind of typical for you, how often were you, you mentioned with the Imigran like, four to five times a week. Is that kind of where you were at? [Jan] Yeah, yeah. [Dr. T] Gotcha, so, pretty close to daily headaches of some sort? [Jan] If I went four or five days without a headache, it was like, oh, I was so excited. Back then they were pretty much constant and I had a lot of yeah, sort of side symptoms that have seemed to have settled down a lot now but one of them was my vision and the light sensitivity and because I was at a computer all day every day with my work, I think that was more a big thing for me but yeah, really I had got to the point where I couldn’t work effectively which wasn’t good, it wasn’t good at all. [Dr. T] Yeah, and for those in the US Imigran is Imitrex or sumatriptan and so, you, did you, going back to your, listening to your story it sounded like things kind of went further downhill once you started on that in particular, was that in retrospect the experience? [Jan] Absolutely though that. I remember the first time I took Imigran and I was at my brother’s wedding and they’d had a long wedding out in the sun and I got this massive migraine and we had like five or six hours and then there was a long function and I, we were in Maui and I went back in to my hotel room, closed everything so it was pitch black and I took my first ever Imigran and I remember the guy said to me if it doesn’t work in two hours take another one and I took the two and I went out that night and I was fine and that’s probably the first and last time it ever worked but it did work. [Dr. T] That’s the double edged sword because you know, it so often does work initially and I remember the first time I took it. I thought like, this is miraculous, you know, and but for me too that’s kind of if I look back and reflect things went from very episodic to much more frequent over the ensuing years. [Jan] And I think that close friends say to me once they sort of knew that I had got through a lot of that you know, in the last year that they even could tell how much worse I was getting. People I worked with where you know, it was so obvious how much worse they were getting in those last five years. [Dr. T] Right, and so how are things currently this day for you as far as headaches are? [Jan] Oh, good. I was trying to think when I actually had the last headache. And I would say that that would be, it’s gotta be well over six months ago which is just awesome. [Dr. T] Yeah that’s fantastic. [Jan] Yeah, it’s like, you know, I’d worked on this from so many different angles but for me the icing on the cake really were, the going off the drugs and the diet. I think they really helped 80 percent of the effect of the whole thing. [Dr. T] Yeah, was the change in your diet initially difficult or challenging? Or were you just so ready for anything that could work you were kind of willing to do whatever it took? [Jan] Pretty much. I actually did Jenny Craig about five years ago and it really I think when you do something like that they just starve you when you actually go in to ketosis by accident so, I knew how hard that was gonna be and the first three weeks were hell. Absolutely, like I said, I had a massive migraine in the middle but I was so determined and particularly because even really quite soon there are little positive things.
Your stomach’s a little bit more, you know and I think that I was determined enough that I got through until the first three months really but also, excuse me, a lot of people I know talk about the energy burst when you, you get when get in to ketosis and I was in there, I like stayed there for around three months and I never got there. My energy levels stabilized which was good.
And from that standpoint it was good and so, I felt better, but, I didn’t have that extra energy that I sort of thought I should have and I actually did a lot of, I read a lot of books and a lot of stuff at that time, in fact I’ve got a stack of books in front of me here I actually started to put some more carbs in because I did read that some women need more carbs and stuff like that, and I thought well, I’d give anything a go, but eventually I went to my GP and said look, I’m eating this diet, I’m not getting headaches anymore and he already knew that and he was kind of like stoked that and he took down the name of the book and lots of stuff, but he did pull blood tests so, that was six months in to the diet, and the fantastic thing was everything in my blood test was brilliant, my glucose, my magnesium, absolutely everything.[Dr. T] Yeah.
The only things he was worried about were the cholesterol and after sort of going through your stuff with him I convinced myself and probably him that that was actually a part. You know, I think even though I didn’t really get the full benefits from it to start with, I still got enough benefits from it that I was gonna keep going.[Dr. T] Yeah, sure, and I think you make a good point to that, you know, there are kind of different types of changes in energy that you might experience. You know, some people could get, feel a boost in energy but for others it may just be, like you mentioned, a stabilization where, you know, you’re off the, it’s no longer the ups and downs that you’re used to and really like, that’s a weapon against it, stability of any kind is a weapon against migraines, so, now you’re not keto anymore correct? [Jan] So, I don’t think I need to hang around there in keto. I think, you know I don’t have a headache. And I think I’ve found, I’ve found and it took a bit, but I think I’ve found something that suits me and I actually used my app yesterday and went through everything I ate yesterday and I just saw here when I was talking to you that I was, you know telling you the truth, and I, I’m net about 50 grams a day of carbs, the app is mixed and we work on net here so, I guess that’s probably around 70 or 80, so that’s about where I am on a daily basis and I don’t have to work hard to do that. [Dr. T] It’s still pretty low, so, yeah, that’s good and that’s you know, that’s kind of how I advise folks to do it with keto, it’s a extra tool that kind of give you a boost but in most cases it’s not something that needs to be done on the long term. It can just kind of help you get to where you want to be more quickly and you know if we wanna kind of, if we wanna kind of adopt an ancestral approach to it that’s probably a way to do it because you know, more than likely most of our wild ancestors were spending parts of the year in keto cause it’s when carbohydrate rich foods were not available and then we’re having other parts of the year where they weren’t, so, I like that as just a baseline model for overall health anyway. [Jan] Yeah, definitely. That’s kind of where I’ve stuck at and I’m comfortable with that, I don’t have to think about it too much. It just, you know, it’s just the way I eat now which is really good. [Dr. T] Right. And are you fairly active physically or? [Jan] Well, the past five years when the migraines were at their worst, basically it’s very difficult to exercise. But, I was always someone like, I had got in to the yoga. I’ve always swum, and I would like try to swim but it was never, kind of, something I could do regularly because I didn’t feel good enough at the time but now I am really getting back in to it. In fact, last year was my health year, this is my fitness year, so, I’m swimming two or three times a week, I do a yoga class a week, I do a Pilates class a week, I walk the dog a couple of times a day, so, I’m getting reasonably active now which is good. [Dr. T] Yeah, that’s excellent, and you mentioned too before when you went on the plan and you threw your, threw the medications away and you went through a difficult stretch was there anything that you did to kind of help you through? I know we have people who, we get this question a lot, cause folks you know, realize where they need to go with things but then are obviously apprehensive about the thought of enduring without the medication. Did you have any particular strategies that you used? Or did you just kind of grin and bear it? [Jan] Yeah, pretty much I just stuck it out. If I did get something that I thought could accelerate into a fair headache and I still will do this if I think, or if I have to go out or something and I’ve got sort of, a bit of a headache I do the coffee, two soluble aspirin and a hydrolyte and sit down and try doing meditation for 15 minutes or half an hour or something like that if I possibly can. That’s kind of what I have done in the last year but really if I felt that I had a headache that it was necessary to take something for. [Dr. T] Right, have you felt, do you feel like that your headaches now are more receptive to that kind of approach than they would have been a year or two ago? [Jan] Yeah! If you don’t do it very often a couple aspirin will actually work. [Dr. T] Yeah, that’s another thing that definitely a lot of people notice is that oh, that the headaches actually respond to something again, so, you know that, so that you can, you know, once you kind of get through that hump you can actually use the medicines as a tool to get you to a better place, you know. [Jan] Yeah, although, as I said I’m so aware of the whole rebound thing that I, if I don’t, if I can get away without taking anything I will. [Dr. T] Yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably, that’s always the lesson that I’m trying to convey is not that you don’t have to take anything you can’t take anything ever again but it’s just like, to appreciate, to understand what the consequences could be, so that you’re making that as an informed decision as possible. – [Jan] Absolutely. [Dr. T] Yeah, so if there’s a, if there’s anybody out there who’s listening and they’re kind of where you were, you know, a few years ago, kind of at the worst, what would you say to them or what would you have said to yourself back then? [Jan] I would have said throw the Imigran in the bin or down the toilet or something so that you can’t take it. Look, it was a long road for me. I was taking drugs from the time I was a kid you know, and I’m just talking about the medication. I don’t know, try to, I think for me a big part of it was anxiety fed in to it because I had headaches so much you know, you know you’re not performing well, you get anxious about that sort of thing, so, I think that honestly, some sort of mindfulness thing that really helped me hugely, you know, try to limit your drugs, try to get, you know, a little bit of exercise and eat what’s good for your body, that’s all I can say.
I didn’t do any of those things and you know my body loves the food it just absolutely loves it. I lost 6 kilos over six months and I’m never ever hungry. I’m never hungry. I think because the hunger use to cause so many headaches I would still have a bit of a thing in head that said oh, go on, I gotta go and eat. Which is probably not necessary all the time now but yeah, try the diet. I think the diet’s, it is a miracle. I hate to say it.[Dr. T] This is the challenge right? This is the challenge, is the trying to not oversell it but at the same time try to convey just how transformative it can be. [Jan] Yeah, the first three weeks will be hard depending on how many carbs you’re eating. The first three weeks will be really hard. I had really bad headaches too. I mean, you just will but it’s worth it. [Dr. T] Different people have you know, different ways that they like to do things and, you know, some folks are ready to just do it all at one time whereas for others it makes sense to tackle one thing at a time and that kind of thing has to be individual. It also sounds like it’s kind of changed the way you see food and that you’ve noticed probably in more ways than just headaches kind of the way, how connected what we eat is to how we feel. That’s another one of the benefits and it’s another thing that kind of migraineurs are predisposed to be able to learn that lesson easier, pay attention because we do get this, you know, powerful connection between food and the way we feel. [Jan] Absolutely. I don’t know whether you have them over there acai bowls would be a acai berries and I convinced myself because it’s full of antioxidants and stuff like that I could give one of these a go. They’re just pure sugar pretty much! And I reckon it was ten to 15 minutes after I started to eat it I had the shakes and that night I had a prodrome. It was incredible. [Dr. T] And I can, I can reflect, think back too about how many times I ignored things like that. Not thinking that the connection between the food and how I felt was that, you know, that direct and I would say ah, that probably wasn’t true and then once I started paying more attention I realized man, this is real and it makes a difference. Do you have any parting words before we let you go? Anything else you wanted to share with the audience? Or did we cover it all? [Jan] I’d just say give it a go. Well, literally quitting my job because I couldn’t work to feeling so good. I’m 59, I reckon that in my 60’s I can be healthier than I was in my 50’s and probably my 30’s. It’s that much of a change to treat your whole body not just your head. [Dr. T] We see this over and over, you come in for the migraine relief and then you stay because it transforms everything else in your life and the way you feel and yeah. [Jan] And people see me and they say oh my god you look so much healthier than you did a year ago. You know, they can’t believe the change. I had a friend up here last week and she left, she’s getting on a plane and she said keep doing what you’re doing, you know, you’ve really changed. Even my GP, you’ve changed your health around. It’s incredible. [Dr. T] It’s very tempting I think, when you go through this and you experience all these great changes and you want to just tell everybody you know, about it and try to get them to change their ways but just sort of existing and then showing you know, people do start to notice that you’re looking healthier and that you know, that you’re more vibrant and then they, then the ones who were interested will start to ask. [Jan] I got up evangelical from the early days because I you know, I was just feeling so much better and no great expectation of ever feeling any better and I sort of started to talk about it to people, but I actually stopped doing that. Unless people ask me about it because people really object to it. They object to being, not just the being told how to eat but I actually had people walk from me in a conversation once I say light carb, they’re that negative about it. I know. [Dr. T] Yeah. What’s happened around nutrition is kind of bizarre but yeah, it’s a hot button thing, but yeah, I think for me the best language to use has been a nutrient dense whole foods diet. I don’t think anybody can argue with that as an approach, you know, and that’s all it really is. You’re just improving the nutrient quality of the food you eat.
Well, thanks again Jan, so much for joining me and for sharing your story and for doing all the hard work it’s taken and suffering to get to where you’ve been. I think Gregory made a good point in the last podcast as well in terms of like thinking about making this transition and sort of enduring the hard part to get to where you wanna be which is that in many ways migraineurs are already prepared for that because we’ve dealt with more than our fair share of pain over the years and so, you know, we kind of have developed the ability to endure this or[Jan] Yeah, we’re tough. [Dr. T] Yeah, exactly, we are tough, like it or not we have to become that way. Alright Jan, well thanks so much for joining me.