As you likely know, I suffered from Crohn’s symptoms for a really long time. I feel like a totally different person now and I’m often asked exactly what I did to improve my digestion and terrible gut issues. The first thing I say jokingly is, “well I figured out that beer and chicken wings weren't good for me!”

The truth is…it’s taken many years of trial, error, learning, and relearning to get where I am today. 

I wasn't even close to eating healthy 20 years ago. While I suspected that food had an effect on the severity of my symptoms, my gastroenterologist insisted that this wasn't the case. I was in denial and I thought there was nothing I could do about my Crohn's disease. 

This led to a couple of unhealthy patterns that continued for some time:

1)    Trusting and putting my faith in someone else who was an “expert” so that I didn't have to make any real changes (change is hard after all!)

2)    The frustration of the symptoms drove me to seek comfort in food and alcohol.  

As I began to learn more about nutrition, I was on somewhat of a roller coaster of extremes. I would read something about dairy being bad, then cut out dairy for a month. Then later read something about gluten being bad and would cut out gluten for a month…and so on. These dietary “adjustments” provided varying degrees of relief while some provided no relief at all. I was basically just grasping for straws and seeing what worked.

I also began to dabble in supplementation at this time. I learned about cat’s claw and slippery elm. When I first started using them my symptoms improved and these herbs are still helpful to this day. But I learned that if you don't actually make positive lifestyle and nutrition changes, the symptoms can creep back no matter what herb, supplement, medication you’ve started.

Back in those days my activity level varied based on my energy level and severity of symptoms and I definitely shied away from exerting myself or stepping outside of my "safe" level with exercise. If I had a few good days I would enjoy some  basketball or something similar. Other times I could go months with no real activity at all and it was all I could do to get out of bed and make it through an average day of school or work. 

20 years ago Troy vs now Troy is absolutely an evolution (and still is!)…a gradual learning, tweaking, and continuing to make improvements. I am now to a point where I follow what I consider an optimal diet.

 While I do still make some food choices that I know aren’t necessarily the best for me, I choose these things mindfully. If I want to enjoy the treat food, try something new, or test the stability of my gut, I will. I truly believe moderation (rather than deprivation) is one of the keys for creating changes that stick for a lifetime. But in general, my day-to-day is closer to what I’ve learned is the ideal diet for me. 

And how did I learn what my ideal diet is? It’s taken me a while to get here. But with the combination of food inflammation testing, blood type knowledge, and a whole lot of trial-and-error, the path became very clear to me.

For me, I’ve learned that my optimal diet is fairly low fat and higher in healthy carbohydrates and protein. I choose organic when I can, gluten-free for the most part, and opt for foods with minimal added ingredients.

Though everyone’s optimal diet is likely a little different, I’ve found that the same great system I used to dial in my nutrition works for my clients as well. It’s a difficult process when you try to go it alone…looking at food labels, seeing words you can’t pronounce, and wondering if they’re okay or something you should avoid even though they’re “natural” ingredients. Having a guide or a coach can help you navigate the complicated food additives, emulsifiers, and preservatives that really can wreak havoc on your gut.

For example, ingredients such as “carrageenan” and the various “gums” may be “natural” but are often culprits that exacerbate digestive symptoms.

And what about those foods that ARE healthy and good for you? Could they be causing or making your digestive symptoms worse? Possibly. This is where a Food Inflammation Test comes in! 

Though I’ve made HUGE strides in the quality of the foods I eat, one of the places I’d like to improve personally is to better enjoy the process of cooking or making my own food. Thankfully my youngest daughter does enjoy cooking from scratch, and it's become a source of togetherness when she makes us something new and we get to experience it as a family. 

As for supplementation and vitamins, I’m always searching for efficiency and simplification in this area. While I do believe that vitamins and supplements are a necessity in today's modern world for many reasons, I try not to add to the stress and the over-analysis that often comes with the supplementation game. Therefore, the supplements I recommend to my clients are those that have worked for me personally.

It’s important to note that your personal supplementation routine is not locked in stone…it may change depending on the stage of your gut health journey. Now that I’ve resolved my gut issues and I’m more focused on optimizing my health and extending my lifespan, my supplements routine continues to evolve. I still continue to experiment…I will go on and off supplements for months at a time to try to discern any value or difference in the way I feel and through blood work. I am absolutely still my own (and your) guinea pig . 

With regards to activity and movement…I am very thankful that I feel like a different person from 20 years ago and I’m considerably more active than I used to be at an even younger age.

When I was quite ill with symptoms, I would watch a neighbor of mine who was in his late 70’s trimming his bushes and I would honestly think to myself that I would never be able to do that again. The thoughts I used to have of my kids growing up without a dad who could play catch or ride bikes with them have gone by the wayside as my health has continually improved.

Even more recently, I’ve recognized the healing power of relationships with friends and family and the big impact the connections we have with the people we surround ourselves with can have on our health. 

I’ll elaborate on the topic of connection and relationships in my next post!

Stay tuned!

Happy Healing!
Dr. Troy
The Unfortunate Expert

PS - If you’re ready to feel better once and for all, schedule your free Telehealth consultation here to see if what I do works for you! You’ll gain me as your partner and coach…someone who’s been where you are.


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