April 26, 2017

Turner Syndrome and Paleo: The Pursuit of Health

This guest post is by Paleo Treats fan and customer Brittani Ehrhorn.  During a conversation we had, Brittani let us know she'd be willing to share her experience with Turner Syndrome and how Paleo had helped her with health issues she hadn't been able to manage previously.  We thought it'd be worth it to share her advice with you in the hopes that we can help others manage their health no matter what their diagnosis.  To health!

Brittani Ehrhorn talks about Turner Syndrome

Brittani: 

I was born with a chromosomal abnormality called Turner Syndrome. Turner Syndrome, or TS, refers to a missing chromosome in females (part of the second X chromosome in some or all cells.) The most visible sign in people with TS is that we're usually a little shorter than most people.

Through my experience with TS, I've learned to see that physical differences in all humans are a reminder that we all have our own unique composition, internal life, and healthiest environment.

Having Turner Syndrome has meant a good amount of medical concerns since a very young age. I give lots of credit to modern medicine in helping overcome a lot of the congenital issues I had to make me who I am today. In recent years however, I’ve come to realize how important it is to take my health even more seriously in a big way with my nutrition and lifestyle.

I was always pretty active growing up and always had home-cooked meals I would eat at the dinner table with my family. (Ed. note: Eating home cooked meals with family and friends is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.  Nutrition isn't the only thing that matters, social interaction is important!)

However, nutrition was something I never gave much thought to. High school came along and by my junior year I no longer needed to do the required physical education, so I stopped taking that class.

I was very involved with my academics and striving to go to college, so extracurricular sports were not a priority. Combine that focus on academics with the freedom of having my own car to get fast food whenever I felt like it, and it led to some unhealthy habits.

When I got into college, the stress of that along with a busy schedule, a budget, the freedom of cafeteria food and late night runs to Del Taco (conveniently located right by my school) helped support bad habits that quickly flourished.

During this time, whenever I went to the doctor for checkups my labs were always okay, but I had some weight gain and recurrent severe migraines.

Something in me wanted to see if these chronic health issues would improve if I changed my lifestyle. At first I started out with portion control. I would make my own meals 85% of the time, and just turning away from fast food helped. Then, I started hearing great things about eating Paleo.

I decided to jump in!  Surprisingly, it was easy to cut out gluten, and I noticed that my recurrent migraines started to happen 85% less often.

Paying attention to what I eat (and tracking it, more on that later) has helped me become much more in tune with my body. I've learned to read the ingredients and interpret signals from my body about not just what makes me feel good in the moment, but in the hours and days after.  It’s important to stop and listen and not just go through the motions of what looks to be “good for you”.

Another great benefit for me eating Paleo is that learning as much as I have about the impact of our diet has made me really proactive regarding potential health concerns (such as thyroid and hormonal issues, diabetes, cardiac and several others) that are a concern with my chromosomal abnormality.

Why wait until there is a problem to that needs to be fixed when you can create a healthy lifestyle now?

One thing I think has helped me more than anything else as I stepped into the Paleo world was to keep a journal. I’m over six years into mine and having long term feedback beyond just the cravings and taste of food, and into what happens days after a meal (or ingredient) has helped me create whole seasons of ease rather than just a day or two at a time of feeling good.

I've learned to connect making my meals, emotional eating, and motivation into a healthy pattern. Keeping a journal helps hugely with that. 

While starting can be hard, It DOES get easier and I love how I feel and being able to take the initiative regarding my health. 

I’ve recently become a nurse, and though I firmly believe modern medicine has a place in healthcare, I am also grateful that I can live by example to my patients and offer practical insight into nutrition and lifestyle choices health

No matter what your challenge is, from chromosomal abnormality to acute injury, paying attention to what you eat and how that makes you feel can radically change your short and long term health.  

To your health!

Liked this article on Paleo & Turner Syndrome?


Nik Hawks

Author

Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!


Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?

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