James’s story

Meet James, a martial arts instructor with Crohn’s Disease

My name is James Marsh and I am a martial arts instructor from London. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2004 when I was 21. Since then I had a colon resection in 2007 and have been on many kinds of medication until 2013 including Prednisolone and Aziathioprine for long periods.

In 2013 I read a book called ‘The Paleo Solution’ by Robb Wolf which completely changed my relationship with the disease. In the book the author (a former biochemist and gym owner) argues that humans have evolved over millions of years to eat animals and vegetables, and that  that only within a fraction of our existence have we veered from that with the advent of agriculture.

I experimented with this ‘human’ way of eating and saw huge benefits. Foods allowed are: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oils.  Foods not allowed are: all processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, most dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine and trans fats.

Since 2013 I have not needed to be on long-term immunosuppressant drugs at all and ended up gaining over 10kg of weight (from 59kg to 72kg now). I have been tweaking my diet ever since, since if I’m not careful I am still susceptible to short but intense flare-ups (blocking in the anastomosis-the join from the colon surgery).

I have realised that in order to tweak my diet I need to have the attitude of a scientist and test theories, rather than reacting emotionally to what may or may not be negatively affecting me. I use a note-taking software called ‘Evernote’ and track my progress.

An example of what I eat:

Morning: Black coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Fasting until lunch.

Lunch/Dinner: Fry any meat/fish in coconut oil and butter. Serve with some salad (olive oil on top) or steamed kale/spinach/fried asparagus etc