Phase 4: OPTIMIZE
First of all, pat yourself on the back, because it’s likely through a lot of hard work and dedication that you’ve reached this point.
In all likelihood, your life has been transformed in many ways just in getting here. Besides your conquest of the beast, this approach to eating and living has more than likely seeped its way into other parts of your life.
You may have forged a deeper connection with the world around you.
You may be more intentional about all the day to day decisions you make.
You may have a renewed appreciation for the rich bounty of natural, wondrous foods we have at our disposal.
You likely recognize the full scope of this approach to living, realizing that it has the potential to go well beyond the realm of migraine to touch and transform all aspects of your life. That at its core this is really about realizing your full potential as a human being.
And so Phase 4 is all about optimization. The optimization of YOU.
This experience has also likely impressed upon you the value of listening to your own internal compass, of ultimately trusting yourself when it comes to making fundamental decisions about how to live your life, one of the silver linings that comes from realizing that sometimes the heavily credentialed “experts” don’t have all the answers.
Your success in getting to this point is almost certainly through the the formation of habits, which now make continuing with the plan feel almost effortless.
You may be tempted at some point to test your limits, not because you desire to go back to your old ways, but because you’re curious, and you might like to indulge in something that’s “off plan” from time to time. Worst case scenario you move back to an earlier phase. Fortunately, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve made it to Phase 4 before, so you know the way back.
Now, in addition to continuing to fortify your Pillars of Protection, your focus shifts towards continuing to optimize the health benefits that come from living a life that’s aligned with your biology.
PHASE 4: High Priority Behaviors
If it ain’t broke… Keep riding the train that brought you here, focusing on maintaining and fortifying the 3 Pillars of Protection: elimination of mismatch foods and behaviors, maintenance of fat adaptation and metabolic flexibility, and prevention of rebound headaches.
Take it to the “next level” behaviors. Continue to optimize your physical, mental, and emotional health through some of the following.
Fitness and play. Have you fully integrated regular physical activity into your life? Have you found ways to get your body moving and your blood pumping that you actually look forward to?
If not, keep looking, cause I bet there’s something out there for you. “Exercise” shouldn’t be unpleasant. And play shouldn’t just be something you only do when you’re a kid.
Explore traditional food preparation methods. Chances are, you’ve forged a richer connection to the food you eat. Keep it going by trying your hand at traditional methods of food preparation. Grind your own sausage. Ferment your own kimchi. Cure your own bacon. Connect with some ancient traditions and make delicious food. Win-win.
Level up your sourcing: How many of your meats, fruits, and veggies can you get from local farms? Explore farmers markets in your area, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), or other types of local delivery services. Consider growing your own. Use “Eating on the Wild Side” to guide in your exploration of a world of ancient varieties of fruits and vegetables you’ve never before encountered.
Book: Eating on the Wild Side
Intermittent fasting and ketosis. Even if your migraines are under good control, there are plenty of other reasons to consider intermittent fasting and ketosis, as there’s an emerging body of research demonstrating the benefits of both (and the two can easily go hand in hand) for prevention of a host of aging related ailments.
This may be especially relevant for you if you have a family history of cancer or neurodegenerative disease (Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc.).
Keep learning and growing. If you’ve made it here, it’s likely that you’re curious and don’t believe that learning should stop when school ends (which regrettably isn’t the norm these days). So don’t stop.
Keep up with the latest in the field of ancestral health. Geek out big time on whatever piques your interest. If I had to single out the one unifying trait amongst all the patients I’ve had who live in good health into their 90s and even beyond, it would be curiosity. Hands down.
While our modern world may not always align with our ancient biology, there’s no question that we live in the golden age for nurturing our curiosity.
Create. Write stuff. Make stuff. Taking novel ideas that are in our mind and making them real is the defining feature of our species. Humans create. You’ve got that most sophisticated machine inside your noggin the world has ever known. Make the most of it.
Spread the word. There’s no greater thrill than using what you know to change another person’s life for the better. Having made it here, you likely possess a wealth of knowledge that could transform another person’s life as you have yours.
Share. Continue to be an active member of the Migraine Miracle community. Be an ambassador, lead by example, and keep showing those around you that there’s an alternative to the conventional way that too often leads to lives of misery and unrealized potential.