Harnessing Hive Wisdom
When The Migraine Miracle was first released in November of 2013, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
After realizing that migraine freedom was possible for everyone, and that the typical approach to migraine treatment was making migraines worse, I decided it should be my mission to get that message, and the guidelines for how to make it happen, into as many hands as possible.
I thought a book would be one way to do so.
Would it be enough? I wondered. Would people take it to heart? Would they listen to what I had to say?
I knew that the information it contained had the power to transform people’s lives. But accepting that information, some of which runs counter to conventional wisdom, and then acting on it? That’s a different story.
To say I’ve been pleased with how things have gone would be a huge understatement.
For many, the book was the spark they needed to propel them to a place they hadn’t thought possible – into the land of migraine freedom. I was somewhat prepared for that possibility, but the reality of it was thrilling.
(RELATED: Click here to listen to the stories of those who’ve taken their lives back from The Beast.)
What I wasn’t well prepared for was just how much the feedback I received from those putting the book into action would teach me.
It soon became clear that this crowd-sourced feedback was a treasure trove, allowing me to understand the ways in which the plan could be refined even further to maximize success. And, more importantly, allow it to help even more people win their migraine battle.
This powerful feedback loop was boosted even further when we launched our Migrai-Neverland community.
Patterns emerged. It became clear that the road to migraine freedom was a progression of steps, with major milestones along the way (this progression has now become the Migraine Freedom Timeline).
While the specifics of how those milestones were reached varied from person to person, the milestones themselves were consistent from one migraineur to the next. In many ways, the process resembles the developmental milestones of childhood: the pace of development may vary from one child to the next, but the order is the same.
And consistencies began to emerge amongst our most successful members, particularly the common behaviors and habits that we now realize are essential to paving the way to migraine freedom.
Likewise, consistencies also began to emerge amongst those who stumbled. A set of behaviors, habits, and mindsets that stood in the way of progress.
In sum, I’ve learned two very valuable things through all of this:
- The journey along the Timeline to Migraine Freedom is largely a predictable sequence of events. The pace at which different people move through the progression may vary, but the order is the same.
- Where you are on that timeline determines what your next course of action should be, and where you should be focusing your energies.
I recently introduced the concept of the Timeline of Migraine Freedom, and the 4 phases to migraine recovery.
As I stated there:
“Your primary objective, then, is to make consistent forward progress along the timeline, focusing your efforts not on the final destination, but on the next step that will move you forwards on the timeline.”
Make steady, consistent progress over time, and the beast will fall.
(RELATED: Ready to find out what phase of the timeline you’re in, and find out what to do next to move you forward? Then CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE QUIZ.)
[Introducing] The Pillars of Protection
Through all of this, it’s become clear that there are 3 pillars to success for every migraineur I’ve worked with. Every behavior that moves folks forward along the Timeline of Migraine Freedom centers around these 3 objectives.
Strengthen each pillar, and you’ll build an impenetrable fortress of protection against the beast. Ignore any one of them, and he’ll exploit that weakness.
From here on out, these will be known as the “3 Pillars of Protection.” They are:
Pillar #1: Elimination of Abortive Drug Effects (“rebound”).
We are currently in the midst of an [largely silent] epidemic of drug induced chronic headaches. I cannot emphasize this enough.
The medications used to treat migraine, while helpful in the short run, can be very harmful in the long run. Far too long we’ve treated what should be a LAST resort as a FIRST resort. And millions are paying the price.
The central issue is that the most commonly used and prescribed abortive drugs for migraine, while in some instances can help relieve an existing migraine, make us more vulnerable to a future attack. And this vulnerability grows the more they’re taken. Adding further insult to injury is the fact that the drugs become less effective over time at relieving an attack. It’s this vicious cycle that so often leads to chronic migraine.
In my experience working with thousands, not only is eliminating this drug-induced vulnerability essential to winning the migraine battle, but failure to account for it can undermine all other efforts to slay the Beast.
Benefits of Eliminating Drug-Induced Vulnerability:
- Restores the brain’s natural mechanisms for relieving migraine.
- Heals the damage from migraine drugs.
- Reverses the changes in brain chemistry that lead to marked increase in migraine vulnerability.
- Removes susceptibility to the long term health risks of drugs.
Pillar #2: Elimination of mismatch foods and behaviors.
Eliminating mismatch foods and behaviors is the cornerstone of leading a life that’s appropriate for a human being.
Our bodies and brains are all adapted, from birth, to a particular set of foods, and a particular set of behaviors.
Eat these foods and engage in those behaviors, and you’ll optimize your chances of realizing your full potential as a thriving, fit, healthy and happy human. This is what happens when diet and lifestyle are matched to your biology.
Matching Our Diets
When it comes to food, the concept is simple: stop eating foods your body is ill equipped to process and digest.
This includes not eating:
- Food with substances that impair digestion or damage our gut lining.
- Food engineered (and typically made in factories) to maximize consumption by hijacking the reward centers of the brain.
- Food with substances that trigger an immune response (particularly in the setting of a damaged gut lining), leading to systemic inflammation, and likely compromising the blood/brain barrier (the wall that protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood).
[RELATED: Looking for the simplest, easiest, and least time consuming way to get started with the Migraine Miracle plan without any guesswork? Click here to check out Primal Provisions, our weekly meal planning service.]
Matching Our Behaviors
And when it comes to our behavior, the goal is the same. The lives we now lead in this technologically advanced world bear little resemblance to the one that our brains are still adapted to.
Today, most of us lead lives that are poorly matched to our biology. Lives that are:
- Disconnected from nature, and from the rise and fall of the sun.
- Disconnected from daily physical activity, from using our magnificently engineered bodies in the myriad movement patterns that nature intended.
- Disconnected from the close-knit tribal networks of extended family and friends we knew we could depend on in times of plenty and in times of need.
And no, we can’t turn back the clock 100,000 years to reclaim our hunter-gatherer past. But what we can do is understand the ways in which our lives and our diets are poorly matched to that past, and work to reduce that gap in our modern world.
Benefits of Eliminating Mismatch Foods & Behaviors:
- Heals gut damage, reducing the chances that environmental toxins make their way into the bloodstream (vitally important for migraine, a condition of heightened environmental sensitivity).
- Reduces systemic inflammation, a hallmark of virtually all modern diseases.
- Promotes stable internal bodily conditions (homeostasis).
- Restores hunger and satiety as accurate indicators of energy needs.
- Re-aligns our biological cycles with the rhythms of nature
Research has shown that all of the above factors have a direct link to increasing the risk of migraines.
Pillar #3: Establishment of fat adaptation (or metabolic flexibility).
The cells of our body can run on two types of fuel: specifically fat (fatty acids) and sugar (glucose). In the fat adapted, or metabolically flexible, state, our cells can easily transition back and forth between these two fuel sources. Energy levels are stable (since the body can easily tap into stored fat in between meals), and we have appropriate levels of stored fat.
Given that our ancestors had nowhere near the same degree of access to easily digestible carbohydrates that we have today, it’s likely that this has been our metabolic state for most of human history.
On the other hand, the diet of the typical modern human, high in processed carbohydrates, leads to a state of metabolic INflexibility.
And a metabolically inflexible state is associated with large swings in energy throughout the day (including lots of periods of low energy and fatigue), correlated with mealtimes, and the excessive accumulation of body fat stores. It’s the life most adults are accustomed to, and mistakenly believe to be an inevitable part of aging.
Benefits of Establishing Fat Adaptation / Metabolic Flexibility:
- Stabilizes energy levels and mood
- Stabilizes hormone levels
- Accelerates fat loss and promotes ideal body composition
These are the 3 things most critical to long term success, and each of these has its own set of key habits and behaviors.
However, one thing I’ve learned is that which of these elements you should focus most of your energies on depends largely on where you currently are on the Timeline of Migraine Freedom.
And to help you know exactly where you should be focusing your energies, I’ve created this short quiz to help you find out.
If you’re already pretty sure what phase you’re in, then click on the relevant link below:
— I’m in Phase 1 —
— I’m in Phase 2 —
— I’m in Phase 3 —
— I’m in Phase 4 —