Jackie Parry – author


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How I Cured My Migraines

I’m 99% free from migraines!

The most interesting thing I’ve learned is how to moderate what I eat and not feel as if I am missing out. It’s so obvious and!  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Since January 1st, I’ve:

  • Monitored what I’ve consumed
  • Moderated meat and fatty foods
  • Vastly reduced the amount of chocolate and alcohol
  • Consumed at least 3 litres of water a day – don’t guess it measure it otherwise you won’t drink enough!

This has helped reduce my headaches enormously, but I’ve found out other, non-food related tactics that also help.

A low-pressure system, i.e. a storm, will give me a headache (I’ve always known this can set me off, but a friend reminded me of it recently.)

If I over-heat I will get a headache. This could be working in 35 degree heat, but at a recent house-sit I took a dip in their pool. They heat their water via the sun – and it was like getting in a bath. While it felt pleasant, not long after I suffered from a headache – I felt it come on as my body warmed up.

How to manage my migraines

  • Keep cool – this means not only plenty of water to replace what I’ve lost (in additional to the three litres if doing physical work) but also pouring water on my wrists and neck, and even my head – cooling down properly, reducing my body temperature.
  • Plenty of water – 3 litres a day and much more if doing physical work.
  • Eat well – when I say I have reduced my meat intake, I try not to have it more than once a week and in this I am not including fish as meat. I eat a  lot of fish. I’ve lost weight and feel great. The main reason for doing this was to help my digestive system. I am an A+ blood type, which means I can process carbohydrates much easier than meat.
  • Stress – I have become adept at Choosing Happiness! It works – choose to be happy and content and you are. I also have a way of dealing with jobs that I don’t like. Recently I’ve been painting the interior of our caravan; it’s a fiddly, messy job (I am a messy painter). But as soon as I find myself losing my cool with it all, I remind myself, “at some point you will not be able to do this – so enjoy it while you can!” It works! I appreciate my health and energy.

UnravelTravel is my travel brand for gifts – take a look here… Choose Happiness is just one theme…

Vastly reducing my chocolate intake has helped. I try to stick to dark chocolate if the urge becomes too strong. Milk chocolate is almost an instant trigger (if eating a good quantity – a taste now and then is okay).

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What I came to realise

Food is connected with happiness. I don’t think I’ve been as happy as I am now. When things haven’t gone right I know I comfort eat. Now, as I am so content food is become just a fuel, something to keep me going – not something to indulge in – mostly…

Drinking a lot of water fills me up. So I eat less, keep hydrated, not only does this combats headaches it helps my skin too.

I am feeling great and looking great, even if I say so myself!

So, after just a few months of monitoring my intake, stress levels and body temperature, I feel I am in control. I am never without my stainless steel water container and constantly sip from it throughout the day – ensuring I consume at least 3 litres. (Mug can be purchased here.)

THIS IS KEY!

HAVING A NICE MUG/DRINKING VESSEL MEANS I KEEP IT WITH ME AND

CONSTANTLY SIP THROUGHOUT THE DAY!

My head has never felt so clear – ever – in my life! So that is a remarkable breakthrough.

Someone recommended I take Magnesium for migraines, but also for many other health benefits. So I am giving that a go as well.

Any questions or advice needed (or offered), please drop me a line.


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Audio Book – A Standard Journey

Latest Audio Book now available

What timing!

The same week I will be reunited with my boys, the story of our travels with those horses becomes available on Audio.

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My diligent publisher, New Street Communications, worked with the skillful Caroline Doughty to create a wonderful audio version of my book.

A Standard Journey, 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent is about the trials and tribulations of forming a team between humans and animals and how that journey changed us all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Listen to a sample here.

I’ve not seen my boys for 3 years. Charlie, Ned, and Dom come home to us this week. Stevie and Spirit will stay with friends as they don’t want to part with them. They are fine, but I’d love to have the whole team back one day.

Dom, Stevie (ridden by Noel) and Spirit at the back

Dom, Stevie (ridden by Noel) and Spirit at the back

I'm on Charlie, leading Ned, Noel on Stevie leading Spirit with Dom at the rear

I’m on Charlie, leading Ned, Noel on Stevie leading Spirit with Dom at the rear

Those boys morphed from fearful, lost creatures into magnificent, confident beast. (l to r) Stevie, Spirit, Dom, Charlie (leader), Ned.

Those boys morphed from fearful, lost creatures into magnificent, confident beast. (l to r) Stevie, Spirit, Dom, Charlie (leader), Ned.


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Migraine Advice Update Part 3

Great Migraine Advice

Tips on Combatting that Migraine

With the great advice and suggestions detailed in the previous blog, I’ve received more in-depth comments too.

“Foods that contain Tyramine, often fermented foods: Mature cheese, red wine, beer, sauerkraut, soy sauce (very high in salt as well, which wouldn’t help), vegemite and chocolate. Nitrites used in cured meat, Aspartame (there’s a reason why it’s not recommended for young children – it screws with your head!)”

I had to look up Aspartame and this is what I found:

From the NHS – UK Website:
Aspartame has been subject to more scare stories than any other sweetener, ranging from allergies and premature births to liver damage and cancer. Read more here.

Here’s a great article all about migraines, it mentions Aspartame as a possible cause.

It also talks about other triggers, many of which make perfect sense to me. What was most interesting that they say some women have a headache prior to their period. This was spot on for me too (see my previous blog here on combating my migraines).

This article talks about a study that “proves” Aspartame does not contribute to migraines.

However, despite mentioning a study that proved this fact, this is issued by the Aspartame Information Center.

More information on Caffeine

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, so supposedly if migraines are partly due to vasodilation, it could be good. But it also increases blood pressure, so it might cancel that out. It increases cortisol levels – the stress hormones – so I’d probably steer clear of it.”

 “Chocolate has some caffeine, but more theobromine – a similar chemical. It is, however, a vasodilator. Although it contains serotonin, the feel good hormone, migraines are also partly caused by an excess of serotonin.”

Fabulous – yum – recipe! An alternative to Chocolate

I’ve mostly read that chocolate is a no no. I’ve had very little over the last month. Thank you, Simon Hugh

Thank you, Simon Hugh Wheeler for offering so much valuable advice and this recipe.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“An alternative to chocolate is carob. I know it’s not the same, but for example, I’ve made a microwave, 1 min mud cake with carob flour, an egg, some sugar and a touch of cinnamon and ginger which is gorgeous.”

Simon goes on to say, “Carob has no caffeine, no oxalates (if you have kidney or joint problems, that can help), but has fibre, calcium, magnesium and vits A, B, and D, amongst other nutrients. It also has antioxidants and Gallic acid which is a mild analgesic – it helps to reduce cholesterol too.”

Find out all about Carob here.

Needless to say, I will be looking into carob recipes further.

What now?

Well, I’ll continue on my quest to monitor what I eat to see if I can nut out what affects me.

However, as I am eating everything in moderation, it may take some time. If I don’t have a migraine within a month of this experiment, I will be ecstatic as I usually have one at least once a month.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I lose control and binge on something yummy (yes, it’ll be chocolate), then I’ll monitor the results.

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Simple Solutions

I hope to solve my problem with the simplest solution – and I fully intend to solve it – watch this space.

Update: My research has revealed some incredibly interesting triggers and things to avoid… all will be revealed soon. BTW – I am winning the battle!


4 Comments

Migraine Battles Part 2

Migraine Advice from around the world

On talking openly about my battle with migraines, I’ve received an amazing response.

As promised I’m going to share some comments, advice, and suggestions. My experiment continues and I’ll have some interesting results to share with you soon.

Praise

“It’s always wise to discover the cause instead of treating the symptoms” and “Good on ya!”

It’s lovely to receive positive encouragement

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things to avoid

Cheese
Dairy products
Preservatives
Colouring
MSG
Artificial flavourings
Citrus
Chocolate
Wine
Too much meat

Replacing lost nutrients

Seeds and nuts

Good for migraines

Caffeine

Magnesium

Bad for migraines

Caffeine

Chocolate

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What can be good for you

Dark Chocolate

Interesting remarks to ponder

“Sometimes people think chocolate is a trigger for their headaches as they have eaten it just prior to getting one, when really you’ve eaten it in response to the onset of a headache, (e.g. your body needs it).”

I found this interesting and this made good sense to me. It’s something I am keeping in mind as I go and monitoring my results.

In response to “Chocolate can be good for you,” one person commented, “I can’t eat dark chocolate at all, guarantees a migraine with vomiting.”

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another friend mentioned their pain and suffering with migraines, “I’ve tried everything even Botox! I sometimes think it is hormonal and the Doctors don’t know what to do apart from tablets..”

I’d never ever do botox (botulism injected – yikes!) of course, desperate times calls for desperate measures and I know when I’ve been in extreme pain I’d pretty much take anything that would hold some hope. This is one reason I am avoiding Doctors for as long as possible – I don’t want drugs, I want to beat it myself.

Alternative Help

“I was advised that pouring cold water over your head can ease it, mine disappeared of their own accord.”

I do find that if I am too hot (working in that humidity mentioned in the last blog), I suffer, so this makes sense too. I have had a cold cloth on my forehead and the back of my neck before, if I remember to do it early enough – if I don’t, with a full blown migraine, nothing can touch my head. (I’ve done some interesting (self) research on this!)

Later, another person commented, “We have used ice packs around necks in ED to help the really nasty ones that meds weren’t budging with some success.”

I’ve taken note and will try to use this method in the early stages IF I get another migraine.

Image courtesy of Antoine Henrich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Antoine Henrich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More Technical Advice

Look out for Part 3 of this experiment which will detail some fabulous advice for those who have to take the next step – watch those chemicals! Read those labels!

And – a great alternative/recipe for chocolate…

It’s time for me to step away from the laptop to give my eyes a rest…. to much screen time could be another trigger!


5 Comments

Beating Migraines Update 1

Have I conquered my migraines?

It’s a bit early to say, but I believe I’ve made an improvement. Never has my head felt so clear!

What’s Worked For Me?

For over two weeks I’ve monitored what I eat, but that’s not the key – not yet, anyhow.

I’ve reduced my meat intake (but eaten lots of fish), this is mainly to help my digestive system.

I’ve moderated chocolate. I’ve eaten two squares of dark chocolate and didn’t like it one bit, it just tasted of sugar.

I’ve eaten one ice-cream and one iced coffee – that’s as bad as it got.

Other than that, it’s been fish, pasta, salads, porridge, eggs, fruit, noodles, vegetables and potatoes (on the whole).

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Keeping Hydrated

I’ve consumed at least three litres of water a day, monitoring it very carefully.

Findings

That’s the key so far, although it is too early to tell, but I am starting to feel that I didn’t drink enough and that is the main reason for my migraines.

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Headache

I did have a headache last Thursday. It certainly wasn’t a migraine and miraculously two panadol’s knocked it on the head almost immediately. Previously, Panadol’s/Paracetamol hasn’t worked for me for years.

What caused the headache?

That’s easy, it wasn’t anything I ate or drank, but I over did it. Moving from one house (house-sit), to our caravan (temporarily between house sits) on an extremely high-humidity day didn’t help. I cleaned the house we were leaving, then we had to empty the caravan (the annex was in bits, in the caravan) and then scrub the 24 ft caravan that hadn’t seen any cleaning products for many years.

Blowing Puffle-Valves

I blew one, actually several. The rain clouds were building. We had nowhere else to stay (well, we did have a lovely offer from a dear friend, but for some reason we were on a mission!). Noel put up the roofing iron, above the caravan roof, to help to keep the van cool. The hatches leaked slightly, so it put a stop to that too.

At 7:30 pm we both fell into bed exhausted (yes, we did shower). Our limbs screamed in protest, and I don’t think I drank enough water to replace what I lost.

Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next steps

I am still monitoring what I consume. I’ve succumbed to a massive T-bone steak – delicious and, well, I think that’s about as bad as it gets! Oh yes, I’ve had a few slices of bread, but still a fraction of what I had before. And, of course, I’ve had a little wine, but when doing so I’ve consumed more water to fend off dehydration – and I’ve only had a few sips here and there.

Taking Care – the Answer

If I had to give you an answer right now about the cause of my migraines, I’d say drinking enough water and not pushing it is the key. So today, on a stupidly hot day, we’ve worked on the caravan this morning (preparing to paint it) and come back to the house (next house-sit) and turned the air conditioning on. Time to do some laptop work and keep cool – taking care.

Other Answers

I’ve had a great response and bundles of advice about what sets off migraines. Some of it contradictory – which is more than interesting; some of it very detailed. I am hoping that I don’t have to get too technical by reading the labels on everything I eat. I’ll share some advice/suggestions soon – it’s all rather an eye-opener.

In the meantime –  has anyone else combatted headaches with water?

(Interesting in from boat-to-land escapades? Check out our latest adventures here).


7 Comments

Health and Monitoring Migraines

Accidental New Year’s Resolution

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Not usually.

I prefer to look back on the year and remind myself of all my achievements.

Quite by accident, on the first of January I decided to take action against my migraines.

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Morphing Migraines

Over the years my migraines have changed.

  • They were a short burst (one day) of extensive pain and vomiting
  • Then the vomiting eased but the pain intensified – sometimes to a frightening level
  • Then the pain eased – so less pain but now they last 4-5 days
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can just about function with these ‘new’ migraines but I don’t really like how they travel from one side of my head to the other – I can feel them creep across my brain!

Drugs

The other problem is that I am taking more and more painkillers. I’m avoiding prescription drugs, but this has to change because:

  • Right now I take codeine with aspirin and throw down some panadol if I need an extra boost
  • Codeine will become a prescription drug next year
  • I’m fed up with popping so many pills
Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Action

As of the first of January (quite by accident) I’m listing everything I eat and drink. I include the time spent on the laptop, quantity of sleep, level of stress, bed time and the time I wake up.

Boring Diet

Consequently, I am making other changes:

  • I am avoiding chocolate
  • I’ve cut right down on alcohol (not a drop during the week and a small quantity Friday and maybe Saturday night)
  • I am avoiding chocolate
  • I am rarely eating meat (well, I am consuming fish). As an A+ blood type, my body finds it easy to digest carbohydrates but hard to process meat
  • I am avoiding chocolate (total success so far, by some miracle).
  • Did I mention the chocolate?
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How

  • The chocolate is hidden in the fridge. I’ve recently been told that Australian chocolate has additional preservatives to prevent it melting as quickly.
  • I’m drinking a lot more water – ensuring my intake is at least 3 litres per day
  • The less chocolate and meat I eat – the less I crave it. So it’s becoming easier.

Results so far

  1. I have loads of energy (driving hubby nuts)
  2. I wake up less grumpy (hubby happy)
  3. My digestive system is working a treat (everyone’s happy!)
  4. My head has been quite clear for a week (again – everyone’s happy)
  5. I’m losing weight (yay me!)
  6. My perpetually dry lips are starting to repair (whoop whoop)
I'm back to my old self - only a better version!

I’m back to my old self – only a better version!

Relapse

I know I will struggle at times (Noel ate a meat pie yesterday and my stomach growled in protest!). When it happens I will just revert back to the better behaviour the next day and carry on.

I’m looking forward to reporting how I do. AND – why is this subject on my author blog? Well, sore eyes and head are rather important to avoid if I want to write!


16 Comments

Where in the World do you Write?

I can write anywhere

Over the years of travel I’ve always made time for writing.

At school I wrote, through jobs – I wrote. Then I started writing for myself – there’s much more motivation there!

Here are some of the places where I’ve made camp and tapped away (‘thumped’ Noel says) on the keyboard.

Isla de Cocos - note the wet trousers (from knee down) we were anchored out and dinghied in avoiding the sharks nipping at our feet!

Isla de Cocos – note the wet trousers (from the knee down) we were anchored out and dinghied in avoiding the sharks nipping at our feet and stepped out of the dinghy too early!

 

Magdelana Mexico

Magdelana, Mexico

 

In a TSR (Travelling Stock Reserve) while trekking with our 5 adopted horses - just Noel, me, our 5 boys and the occasional bit of writing!

In a TSR (Travelling Stock Reserve) while trekking with our 5 adopted horses – just Noel, me, our 5 boys and the occasional bit of writing!

 

One of my favourite pictures - sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast. On board our first boat Mariah II

One of my favourite pictures – sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast. On board our first boat Mariah II

 

Renovating a 1920 Dutch barge in France. In the background was welding, grinding, hammering etc - it was bedlam and very hard to work/live in the same room as the renovations!

Renovating our 1920 Dutch barge in France. In the background was welding, grinding, hammering etc – it was bedlam and very hard to work/live in the same room as the renovations! (Love the jim-jams!)

 

On board Mariah II again, traversing The Great Loop - a year long adventure through the USA and Canada that I still miss today!

On board Mariah II again, traversing The Great Loop – a year long adventure through the USA and Canada that I still miss today!

 

 

On board our Dutch barge again - with Lily the cat who adopted us! And we're still renovating.

On board our Dutch barge again – with Lily the cat who adopted us! And we’re still renovating.

In NSW, Australia - we are dismantling an American Barn - so part of the way through the process.... I tap away!

In NSW, Australia – we are dismantling an American Barn. Part-way through the process…. I tap away!

Where do you/can you write?