All Of That “Diet” Stuff

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Greetings from the Bolt Bus! I’m blogging on my way down to New York City right now. Hooray for in-bus WiFi!


I started my morning with my usual two-ingredient pancake, but this time I added an extra egg for some staying power. I topped my pancake with blueberries and a scoop of sunflower butter.

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I later went back for a second and third scoop of sunflower butter””might as well finish off the jar!

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The pug, of course, waited patiently by my side to lick the jar. At least he has manners, right?

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After breakfast, I gathered my things, said goodbye to Murphy (and his sweet pug face), and then walked the mile to the commuter rail station to catch the train to Boston.

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Commuter rail station —>;

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Train ride —>; South Station —>; Bolt Bus.

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I don’t arrive in New York City until mid-afternoon, so I packed a lunch to take with me on the bus.

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What I packed: a spaghetti squash-egg-coconut flour pancake on top of steamed spinach with leftover sautéed zucchini and mushrooms.

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I also packed a sliced banana with honey pecan pie coconut butter and blueberries.

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Omg, flavored coconut butter. Love.

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Ok, so let’s talk about this “diet” stuff”¦

Let me start off by saying that one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much is because I learn so much from you guys, my wonderful readers. When I blogged about Project Get Better a few weeks ago, I received so many supportive emails, comments, and tweets from all of you, which made me feel so loved””in fact, reading a number of your emails even got me a little choked up. It means so much to me to know that there are people out there (even perfect strangers) who care about me and who are routing for me to get better, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Seriously. I appreciate it so much.

Included in all of your emails, comments, and tweets were a bunch of helpful resource recommendations (i.e. books, blogs, websites, podcasts, studies) to help me find out more about Ulcerative Colitis (UC), Paleo, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). (Again, THANK YOU!) One of the resources that an overwhelming number of you suggested was the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Several of you also mentioned there was a section in the book devoted specifically to autoimmune diseases, which ultimately sold me, so I ordered the book from Amazon (on my iPhone from bed) last week. (Amazon makes it way too easy to order stuff!)

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I received Practical Paleo in the mail yesterday afternoon and immediately cracked it open to see what it was all about””and I’m really loving it so far, especially the autoimmune section, which gives nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, very much like what I learned at the Whole30 seminar. I’ll talk more about the book in the future, but I just wanted to let you guys know how much I appreciate the recommendation and that I’m learning a lot and getting some great ideas from it already, which brings me to all of this “diet” stuff on CNC.

So, I have to admit, I really don’t like that I put a label on my current diet. Obviously, I think Paleo and SCD are beneficial to my health, and I know it would be easier to say “I’m eating Paleo” or “I’m following the SCD diet,” but I’m just not a fan of defining the way I eat. Instead of putting a label on it, I’m simply eating with my health in mind. Of course, this is personal and specific to my condition, so I’m playing around with how certain foods make me feel, how they affect my symptoms, and, basically, just doing what’s best for me. Even if it looks like Paleo or SCD or GAPS or some weirdo combination of them all, my main goal is to eat healthy and pick foods that will hopefully heal my body. At the end of the day, I just want to be well.

I’m sorry I’ve been all over the place with regard to my diet and what I’ve been saying about it on CNC. Ulcerative Colitis is a strange and unusual disease, and it doesn’t make much sense to doctors and researchers, and it definitely doesn’t make much sense to me, so I’m doing my best to wrap my brain around it all. The disease affects everyone differently”” and diet, drugs, lifestyle, and everything else add another (confusing) piece to the puzzle. I also keep learning more and more about UC as well as the immune system, inflammation, anti-nutrients, leaky gut, probiotics, etc., so my thinking continues to change and evolve, which is why I’ve been a confusing mess on here lately. I hope you guys understand. Thank for you bearing with me as I try to figure it all out.



  1. I totally know what you mean about not wanting to label your diet. I feel like it leads to stereotypes and restrictions that might not be what was intended, or needed. Everything should be negotiable–especially when it comes down to each individual. We are all different–and have to find what works for ourself. Hopefully your readers understand this, too! And that you need to do what helps you to be your healthiest, happiest self! 🙂

  2. I wish you luck in figuring it all out. I have had to deal with food allergies (chicken) and that was hard enough, yours sounds much worse. But i think once you find out how to deal, everything goes so much smoother. People always ask me if I miss chicken, and I always say, not enough to deal with the side effects (think food poisoning).

  3. I’m curious about the saturated fats in things like coconut butter/milk/etc, and nut butters in general. Is this one of those things where the saturated fat is OK? It seems like the Paleo “lifestyle” incorporates a lot of that. I’m just curious.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Not sure if you read Fitness magazine, but there is a GREAT article about saturated fats in the September (maybe August?) issue. New research shows they’re not all bad! In fact, many of them are good for you!

  4. Hi Tina, my comment is a lighter comment for this heavier post, but I just wanted to let you know that I made, for the first time, the 2 ingredient pancake! I actually used egg whites instead of real eggs. It turned out fabulous! I looked at a couple different posts with some of your tips before making it. It took a long time to cook! I put it in the pan, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on make up, made a batch of regular pancakes for my husband to eat, and flipped my bananacake as I was putting his into another pan. They were done about the same time, but I think my pancake overall took like 30 minutes to cook. Maybe my settings were too low. But it tasted AMAZING!!!!! I loved it!!!! Glad I found a healthy option to eat when everyone else wants pancakes. So thank you!!

  5. Murphy has great manners 😉 I need to get my hands on this honey pecan pie coconut butter asap, after reading your review of it, I was drooling. You can put coconut in anything and I will be a fan. Hope you have a great trip, I’d be looking forward to that lunch 🙂

  6. I totally get this! I always said “no diets” also and then I started dabbling in Paleo because of the health benefits (though no diagnosis, I have always had digestive pains, and looking at my future me aka my mother, hers are similar but on a worse level). Anyway, I too hate saying Paleo but like you said, it is easier sometimes. In the end though, you do what you need to in order to be healthy. It doesn’t matter what the label is!

  7. I totally understand what you’re going through. I’ve had a lot of digestion issues over the past 3 years and I’m slowly trying to figure it out but not being successful. I was told a year ago that I am gluten and soy intolerant, but I dislike that label, especially since I’m learning that my issues are sooooo much more than that. I cut out those two and still have tons of problems. Figuring out gut issues is a constantly evolving thing, so I wish you the best of luck! I also love when you write about it and give resources because it’s so helpful to me!

  8. Have fun in New York! And, yes. I agree that at the end of the day, we should just want to be well and be healthy 🙂
    I’m sure that healthy eating would be easier and become a lifestyle/habit if we all go into a new eating plan with that as our main goal.

  9. I’m an everyday reader and huge fan of your blog and received Practical Paleo in the mail yesterday afternoon from Amazon, too – total coincidence!

    I’ve been crossfitting for 2 months (in large part because of your posts, honestly!) and absolutely love it, especially after reaching boredom with running post-marathon. My stomach issues – paltry compared to yours, admittedly – have entirely cleared up in the past few weeks that I’ve cut out dairy and grains in my diet. My boyfriend and I even made “fried rice” with grated cauliflower last night, and picky eater that he is, loved it!!

    I am loving this new way of life with paleo + crossfitting, in large part due to following your blog. Interested to read where your journey takes you, whatever mixture of “diets” and types of exercise it is – you’re inspriational and I’ll be reading!

  10. Tina have you heard of Sarah Wilson? She’s an Australian journalist and nutritionist and blogs at

    She has Auto-Immune disease (Hashimotos) and follows a paleo diet. She has also quit sugar completely (including fruit) which has helped her and you can get her ebook via her blog.

    As a fellow A-I sufferer I found cutting down on sugar one of the most helpful things to stop my gut flaring and although I eat some fruit I have worked out which ones are lower in fructose via Sarah’s 8 week plan.

    I still bake cake and cookies and so on using Stevia rather than sugar. Anyway hope the info is helpful.

  11. You’re expressing yourself perfectly. Everyone should eat to support their own health. We all obviously have different needs. That’s why some people are lactose intolerant or gluten free. Don’t worry about anything but getting better!! We’re all on your side 🙂

    Enjoy NYC!

  12. Great post Tina! I try to stay clear of most labels I put on my diet too! I don’t want to box myself in as being only Paleo because maybe some day I will decide I want to eat dairy or grains. It’s all a balancing act about finding what works best for you! Little heads up too the author of Practical Paleo Diane is holding a nutrition workshop at CrossFit Vagabond in MA the end of September! I’m going and can’t wait! Should be interesting

  13. I couldn’t agree with you more. I hate diet labels because they are almost always temporary! Life changes and things change so to say that you are 100% eating a particular way for the rest of your life is usually premeditated. I always say, I eat for what is best for me and my body right now. Maybe next year, I’ll feel differently but I know what works and I go with it. 🙂 Have a safe trip Tina!

  14. Digestive woes can be so difficult! Have you ever thought about trying acupuncture? If nothing else, it could ease any stress and balance any lack of sleep that might exacerbate digestive troubles. The school I’m going to (in Newton) offers acupuncture on the cheap from student interns – best deal in town 🙂

  15. I really admire your dedication to your label-less “diet”. Sometimes it seems like we have to call a way of eating something specific to really committ to it but that doesn’t have to be the case. Eating for your health is the way to go! I’m currently pondering a change to how I eat after a Hashimotos diagnosis. It’s tough to sort through all the information on what might help but some of the resources you’ve used seem very useful, so thanks!

  16. Really appreciated the sentiments of your post today! Years ago I remember my mom, who ate a completely plant based diet, not appreciating labels either. When someone would ask if she was vegetarian or vegan she would alway reply, “I’m a human being” We’re imperfect…we make daily choices…we’re human beings.

  17. You know, I get irritated when I see people going on “diets” because it is the latest fad and they believe it will magically change their lives but changing the way you eat for health reasons in a whole other ball game.

    When you are hurting and in pain or experiencing unpleasant effects and that can be changed from eliminating or adding certain foods to your diet, it makes perfect sense!!

  18. I think it’s good you’re not going to label your diet and follow anything too strictly. Finding what works for you and feeling the healthiest is what we all want! Hope you have an awesome time in NYC! 🙂

  19. You are doing a great job! “I’m simply eating with my health in mind” <– I love this quote from you. A perfect way to put it.
    You truly have to listen to your body and there is no "diet" that matches everyone's body. Everyone is made up differently.
    You lunch looks amazing!! I need to get back in the kitchen.
    Hope you have a wonderful time in New York! Can't wait to see some pics.
    -Michelle {LiveLoudly}

  20. I don’t think you should apologise for experimenting with your diet – there’s ‘diet’ and ‘Diet,’ the former being contingent on health and what makes you feel your personal best, and the latter being a more contrived approach to losing weight, usually involving a somewhat dogmatic tone when responding to questions about it.

    I have IBS and it’s so irritating trying to figure out how to not be doubled up with cramps and running to the bathroom all day. I was supposed to be tested for UC, Crohn’s disease and Diverticulitis last week but I backed out…partially because I am so worried about any dietary changes being judged on my blog, and partially because I’m still in denial about how bad things are getting. Again, something I keep off the blog. Thanks for being honest about your issues – it really does help people like me feel less embarrassed about our own problems.

  21. No need to feel badly Tina! I have stomach problems too and honestly your posts these last few months have helped me to eliminate a lot of desserts from my diet and I’ve been eating a lot more “real” food. As a result, I’ve been feeling a lot better so thank you! I know this has been an icky experience for you but thank you for sharing your journey.

  22. Good for you! I notice when you see the people with the most successful, and lasting weight loss, they always follow their own diet plan. Trial and error for what works best for them. The human body is an intricate machine, and no two are alike. Good luck as you continue your journey.

  23. Hi Tina! Great post! Ultimately, we all just care about you, so always do whatever is best for you. Everyone’s different and hopefully we all understand that. I think it’s great that you’re so transparent on your blog, and to throw it out there I don’t know anyone who doesn’t change their mind to do what’s best for them 😉 Changing your mind is a great thing! It’s how we learn. Never feel bad for that.

  24. You have such a healthy attitude through it all! It’s great that you’re staying health-focused rather than “must eat this” “must not eat that”. You’re doing great!

  25. Tina, I haven’t found you to be a confusing mess at all! In fact, I love that someone as well-known as you is telling us what’s going on and so open to change. I have been a vegetarian since I was 13 (and I’m 32 now) and I decided to switch things up this summer to experiment with a paleo diet to see if it makes me healthier and feel better. All of us who care about our health switch things up; it’s a continuous journey, you know? I, personally, love your blog even more now that you’re making all these healthy changes, because I can totally relate, and now that we’re eating similar foods, I get tons of ideas from you! So, keep it up.

  26. Having a brother who is celiac made me hyper-aware of the term “diet” when he was young: we used to call it the “special” diet he ate, but really, it was a way of life that allowed him to function (and honestly, be alive!). With your condition, there’s a lot of figuring because it’s not really a “diet” but a lifestyle change and you’re working through what’s best for you – and I’m even learning along with you! I absolutely wish you the best and hope you continue to feel healthy and do all the stuff you love.

  27. Hi Tina,
    I hope my question about Paleo and SCD didn’t lead to your post above – I wasn’t criticizing you or your choices at all- just curious about the similarities & differences between Paleo and SCD (your chart was helpful btw!)
    I’m with you on ditching labels … so I wouldn’t even bother saying you’re trying a combo of Paleo/SCD/GAPS etc….just say you’re experimenting to see what works for you and your body. I tried a gluten free vegan and vegetarian diet for a while and it just didn’t work for me (my blood tests showed I was severely lacking in protein, iron etc). Since this summer, I’ve added fish, eggs and the occasional poultry back (while still remaining gluten and dairy free) and I feel so much better. Everyone’s different and for some, a vegan or vegetarian diet, or gluten galore is fine. But for others it’s not. At the end of the day everyone has a right to do what it takes to make themselves better and you shouldn’t feel as if you need to justify your dietary choices to anyone but yourself! So please don’t apologize! 🙂 Go for it…ditch the labels and do what you need to! 🙂 And I hope you feel better and stay better!!

  28. I totally understand not putting a label on your diet. I find that often limits our eating and sometimes makes others think we can’t eat anything else. I have a friend that while she eats a 75-80% vegetarian diet, she has never called herself one because she wants to be allowed to eat chicken or a burger and not have anyone give her a hard time for it.

  29. I don’t think you’ve been a confusing mess at all! You’re someone who’s learning what foods are good for your body specifically, and which ones aren’t so great. It’s a process that everyone with food allergies and/or digestive disorders goes through. I think it’s great that you’re documenting the process and really making a commitment to figure out what works for you. You’re setting an awesome example for so many people out there going through a similar situation!

      1. @Tina: Thanks for reply!:) I am also eat 2 or 3 eggs sometimes, but I am also worry about the “fat”. Same situation in nut butter. I am using fitnesspal to check my nutrition and I found that if I eat 2 eggs and 2TBS’s almond butter, it is so easy to eat more than 42g fat a day.(the healthy suggestion is 40-50g fat a day ,right?? ) have you ever worry about it when you eat nut butter and eggs more than the regular healthy suggestion??

        1. Personally, I don’t worry about the fat in my diet because the majority of it comes from whole foods and are good fats. Don’t fear fat! 🙂 I mentioned this in a previous comment, but there’s a really helpful article in this month’s Fitness magazine about fats. You should see if you can find it!

          1. @Tina: inspired me! and after I read your short review of ,I also order this book today. Can’t wait to read!!:)

  30. I love all of your “pancake” variations! I’ve been meaning to try your Egg-banana recipe but I’m scared I’ll mess it up. I think it’s best to experiment on the weekend when I can more easily opt for Plan B if need be. I hope you figure out the diet that works best for you…don’t worry about “being all over the place!”

  31. I have to say that I’m with you 100%! I’ve changed the way I eat recently too because I’m tired of being bloated and uncomfortable. It’s been a slow realization that I have a sensitivity to wheat. Not been tested (yet?) but I took wheat out my diet and BAM no more bloating! 2+2=4 right?
    I’m ordering the book “wheat belly” and doing research, changing the way I eat, and the way I cook. I feel MUCH better so hopefully once you get into the swing of things you will too!

  32. Can totally, totally relate. I have been sooo confused lately on which “approach” to take. I have an autoimmune condition and am so eager to get well, but there’s so many diff ideas of what is or isn’t going to help. I just keep trying! That’s all we can do.

  33. Girl, you just need to figure out what foods work best for your body. Your readers are just along for the ride! 😉 I just hope that you are able to find whatever it is that makes you feel completely “normal” again. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to deal with that angry colon of yours!! :/

  34. You’re doing what’s best for you! There is nothing wrong with that, ever. It would be ridiculous to expect you to suffer constantly from UC flare-ups just because you didn’t want to appear to be promoting eating a certain way. Everyone needs a diet that works for them — we’re lucky to not still be in the “meat & potatoes” olden days, but have so many different foods and methods of preparing them available to us. It sounds like you’ve been feeling better overall since you’ve been eating more “paleo”, that’s all that counts!!

  35. OMG, every time I read one of your posts I get a wicked craving for peanut butter. Wonder why?

    Off I go. My flabby thighs would like to #thankyouverymuch.

  36. 1-your food looks effin awesome.
    2-it’s so interesting to read about your health journey with UC…very informative.
    3-you’ve remained one of my fave blogs for years and it’s why I keep,coming back…your honesty, genuity, and grat tips and advice along with dope workouts.
    4-best of health wishes, always!

  37. It’s refreshing that you don’t label your diet. I am also not a fan of labels (of any kind). It is also amazing just how much diet influences health to the extreme. Makes me wonder what I could prevent (at the present moment or in the future) just by little tweaks in my diet… cancer? diabetes? I hope you’ve found the solution for your condition.

  38. I started Paleo when I joined crossfit back in May, and I’ve eased off it but just the simple change of cutting out everything processed (I didn’t eat much processed food anyways) and going gluten-free did wonders for me! In the last week I’ve had gluten for the first time in a while and it’s incredible the effect it has on my GI tract now..yuck 🙂

    Good luck dealing with your UC! I’ve had a couple of friends and my roommate in college deal with that, and I know what a beast it can be. Keep your head up!

  39. Just wanted to say I love your blog (which inspired me to buy your book), and because of you I’ve tried new foods in new ways. Thanks for your great recipes,photos, and inspiration. I appreciate your positive attitude and how you share your lifestyle without making those of us who are still learning feel dumb!

  40. UC is such a terrible disease. I’m sorry you have it. My brother, FIL and best friend all have it, and you’re right–it’s incredibly unique, nuanced and totally frustrating. I wish you the best and admire your proactive attitude.

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