From Crippling Migraines to Boundless Energy
A story of healing through a whole food plant-based approach
At the age of 21, during my second year of university, I started to suffer badly with migraines and headaches. They got so bad that I couldn’t socialise or exercise and my studies started to suffer. After battling on for what seemed like an eternity (in reality it was about two years) I had a scare with the migraine medication I’d been prescribed and it made me realise how rubbish it made me feel. Gradually my thoughts had become very disjointed, I had a cloudy head all the time (which made work very difficult) and frequently felt faint, weak and uncomfortably delicate. It started to seem like I was too sensitive to go out into the world without it hurting my senses. I was miserable.
Time for Change
In May 2015 I decided I needed to take my health into my own hands and do something about it. After some researching I discovered the book “Eat to Live” by Dr Joel Fuhrman and followed his anti-headache elimination diet for three weeks; this meant I cut out processed foods and animal products overnight, putting my focus on a simple diet of a few whole plant foods.
By the time three weeks were up I was bouncing off the walls with energy, headache and migraine free. It was an amazing transformation and phenomenal to experience such a big change in such a short period of time. I continued with the basic elimination diet and gradually added in a new food (that was whole food and plant-based) every 2 days. I was hungry for knowledge about this new lifestyle so I educated myself as much as I could. I watched lectures online and read many books by American Physicians on the power of a plant-based diet; from the work of T. Colin Campbell, to Dr Dean Ornish, to Dr John McDougall, to Dr Joel Fuhrman and everything in between. It seemed like a whole new world had been opened up to me.
At the end of that summer I was thriving. I could socialise again, I could exercise and I went on to complete my final year of university (and a dissertation that I didn’t think would be possible to write in my previous state of health) without a single migraine attack. And I achieved First Class Honours! Not only did this experience help me to get rid of my chronic migraines and headaches, I also healed up some eczema and an unhealthy relationship with food.
This whole experience has been life changing to say the least, not only did I get rid of the crippling head pains, but have gained so much more than I expected. I’ve explored foods in a way I never did before like delicious sweet-like fruits from all over the world that I never even knew existed. I’ve pushed my body on long-distance bicycle tours in the UK and abroad. I’ve had a career change, which has pushed me to do scary things like speak to rooms full of people about my story. I’ve learned to tune into my mind and my body, and I have met some of my best friends along this journey. What a difference from being curled up in dark rooms for days on end!
My health transformation inspired a career change — I am now a Health and Mindfulness Coach. It gives me such a buzz to see people experience similar transformations through choosing real, whole foods and self-care strategies. My favourite client story success has to be a lovely client from the U.S.A. who had been suffering with migraines nearly every day for 20 years. Together we reduced them to 0–2 per month and she got her life back!
The biggest thing I’ve learnt is the fascinating power of our bodies. It’s amazing how well we become when we feed ourselves whole foods and learn to listen to what is really going on inside of us.
I hope this story has inspired you to listen to your body and has given you a ray of hope if you’ve ever struggled with your health.
Alice Thompson, July 2020.