Enjoy Your Life

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.

Yesterday afternoon, I headed into Boston for my appointment with my new gastroenterologist at MGH.

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I drove to the T, parked my car, and then took the train into the city. I don’t trust the MTBA to get me anywhere without an issue, so I always give myself plenty of extra time when I take public transportation into Boston.


Surprisingly, everything went smoothly, and I ended up at Charles/MGH about 30 minutes before my appointment, so I popped into Whole Foods to do a little grocery shopping and buy a snack. (I always need a snack.) Plus, I heard a rumor (thanks, Kim!) that Whole Foods now sells coconut aminos, so I went in search of a bottle.

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Success! Found it!

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A lot of the recipes in Well Fed, including the Paleo Pad Thai, call for coconut aminos, but I haven’t been able to find them, so I’ve just been making the recipes without. Now, I’m really excited to taste those recipes!

Then, it was time for my doctor’s appointment at the Crohn’s & Colitis Center. As soon as I saw the office, I felt really good about my decision to switch doctors.


So, my appointment”¦ I don’t even know where to begin, but it was awesome. I love my new doctor. He’s friendly. He’s funny. He listens. He doesn’t blow off my questions like my previous doctor, so he’s already an improvement! He also told me he only drinks water and beer, so I think we’re a good match. Haha! But, in all seriousness, I think he’ll be a great doctor for me. I met with him and his Nurse Practitioner for more than an hour, and they answered all of my questions.

Ok, let me see if I can summarize what we talked about. Let’s start with diet since it’s been such a hot topic on CNC lately.

I told my doctor about all of the changes I’ve made to my diet and what I’ve been eating. He listened, took it all in, and then replied: “Enjoy your life.” (Obviously, he could tell I was a tad stressed out about it.) He explained no single diet or eating plan works for everyone with ulcerative colitis. What you eat and how your body responds all depends on what part of your intestine is affected and what symptoms you have. Then, I asked him about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Paleo and whether any of his patients have had success with either of them. He said, yes, some of his patients felt better when they followed these diets, but it was difficult for them to maintain long-term. He said if eating a Paleo-like diet makes me feel good, I should keep doing it.

I also asked my doctor about specific foods (nut butter, protein powder, red meat) and whether I should be eating them or not. To this, he simply replied: “Eat whatever you can tolerate.” He explained that ulcerative colitis varies from person to person and even changes within the same person over time. What works for one person might not work for another, so I really just need to figure out what foods work best for me. He did mention, however, during a flare, I should avoid nuts, seeds, corn, raw veggies, and salad since their “shape” can upset the intestines. Additionally, he said, endoscopically, certain foods don’t heal the intestines, but it’s an organ that is constantly repairing itself.


Ok, then”¦

Enjoy your life.”

Eat whatever you can tolerate.”

I’m planning to pretty much keep doing what I’m doing with my diet because it makes me feel great, but I’m going to play around with some new (and old) foods to see how they jive with my system and affect my symptoms. I’ve sort of been doing this all along, but, this time, I’m really going to focus on enjoying my life and not letting my food choices stress me out.

As far as what this means for the Paleo Challenge, Mal and I chatted about it last night and we decided we’re still going to participate””we don’t want to let down our teammates and we still want to achieve our fitness goals””but we’re just going to do our own thing and see how closely we eat a Paleo diet. Hey, it’ll be a fun experiment for us!

Onto exercise”¦ I asked my doctor about intense workouts and whether they’d bring on a flare or affect my symptoms, and he said probably not. I told him all about CrossFit and the type of workouts we do there, and he told me they shouldn’t be an issue. Sweet. I’m going to CrossFit tonight! BOOM!

And a long-term plan”¦ this is where things got tough for me. (I may or may not have cried because I’m a loser.) I asked my doctor about my ultimate goal of managing this disease without prescription drugs, and, in the nicest way possible, he said it’s probably not possible, especially since my body isn’t responding quickly to the steroids, which means more of my colon is probably infected. (Of course, he doesn’t know this for sure. He wants to do a colonoscopy if I’m not better in 4 weeks when I go for a follow-up appointment.) So, then, I asked him what a good long-term plan would be for me, and he replied: “Get off steroids, stay on Colozol, keep taking VSL#3, and do a handstand.” (Not going to lie, I love that he threw “do a handstand” in there. I think he just wanted to make me laugh because I was on the verge of tears, but it was much appreciated.) I’m not totally psyched with his answer, but I know I’ve spent way too much time and energy trying to figure out this disease, which just isn’t possible, so accepting this and moving forward will hopefully do me some good.

So, yea, good news and bad news, I guess. I have a lot to think about and definitely a road to recovery ahead. I’m not sure what else to say because I’m still trying to process everything, but I want you guys to know I truly appreciate all of your support over the past several weeks. It hasn’t been easy for me, especially with all of my diet changes and attempts at weirdo home remedies, but it means a lot to me that you continue to read and show your support.


After my doctor’s appointment, I walked back toward the T and then broke out the snack I bought for myself at Whole Foods. When I opened my bag, I was surprised to see the coconut aminos spilled all over. GAH! (The top of the bottle wasn’t screwed on all of the way.) I cleaned up everything the best I could, but, as you can see, my snacks were covered in coconut aminos.

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On the drive home, not even kidding, the “check engine” light went on in my car. Seriously, car, wtf?

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The car repair shop was on my way home, so I swung in to get it checked out. It turns out it was another sensor issue. (The rain may have confused it and caused it to turn on.) The mechanic cleared the codes, so the “check engine” light is off for now. Hopefully, it stays that way!

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Dinner was Pot Roast with Cider-Maple Gravy and Mashed Butternut Squash and it was really good. It was a simple recipe (just 7 ingredients), so it sort of tasted that way. Not bad, just not amazing, ya know? I ended up adding curry, paprika, cinnamon, and onion powder to my butternut squash to jazz it up.

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I’m off to NuVal for my last time!



  1. I love that your doctor was so honest and supportive! It sounds like you are finally getting a handle on things, and are prepared for the tough battle ahead. It won’t be easy, but all of that Cross-Fit STRENGTH can’t be for nothin’!

    Oh, and I always need a snack too 🙂

  2. Bittersweet appointment. I’m glad you found a doctor better than the last. UC and other IBD/IBS is so difficult. Have you visited Cheeseslave’s blog? She claims to have healed her gut over a 2 year period. It’s going to be a process but I know we’ll get to the bottom of our tummy woes one day! Seriously, visit my doc when you’re in NY!

    I loooooove coconut aminos! Heads up: it ferments after a while, like several months, so use it up.

  3. The way I see it is: You’ve tried to control this thing without prescription drugs. I TOTALLY get it, I’m the exact same way. But it sounds like you’ve got a great doctor, and you’ve done all you can do. I guess it’s great to be able to treat everything with diet, but sometimes it’s not possible, and if it’s absolutely the only thing that is going to make you better, then you’ve done what you can do.

  4. So glad you found a doctor that you love! that is essential to managing a condition like this. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and changed doctors because I didn’t feel like I was getting the attention/treatment I wanted. My doctor is all about natural stuff, and apparently Paleo is good for my condition too. I don’t follow too strictly but try to make most of my food choices along the lines of Paleo.

  5. Sounds like you had a great appt and really connected with your doc. That is so important. Please, don’t be totally opposed to meds. Ulcerative colitis is no joke. And not to totally scare anyone, but my best friends brother actually died from ulcerative colitis a couple of years ago. So just be open to any and all treatment options.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  6. I’ve been using coconut aminos for almost a year, it’s great! I can’t have gluten or soy so it’s my only replacement. I’ll warn you though, not all whole foods carry it, it seems to be pretty hit and miss.

    Also, I love what your doctor said – enjoy your life. I’ve had a hard time these past couple of years with all of my GI issues and I hate having a label like “gluten free.” Sometimes I can eat a small piece of cookie and it’s fine. I just need to not worry so much, do what’s best for me and ENJOY MY LIFE. Sounds like a great doctor.

  7. I buy the coconut aminos and love it, but beware, it can explode, kind of like a carbonated beverage if it’s accidentally shaken, even when the top is on! I guess you figured that out, but just wanted to tell you it can happen even when the top is screwed on tightly.

  8. Glad to hear your appointment went mostly well. I have absolutely no experience with what you’re going through BUT my daughter (who’s 8) has always suffered REALLY badly from eczema. Like when most kids have completely grown out of it and are totally “normal” she was still covered in red scaly patches on her knees, elbows and wrists and always having people (kids and adults) ask her about it. Kids just ask because they want to know, but well-meaning adults would ask her if she’d gotten hurt because of the oozing scabs and then give her a sympathetic look and it would make her want to scream, cry and run away all at the same time. Point to all of this–we found the same answer your doctor gave you. There is no cure. There is no magic pill, and what works today may not work tomorrow or what works for you may not work for her.

    So…all of that said….I agree with your doctor. You can let something like UC or eczema rule your life or you can live your life, just with this condition. Find what works for you right now and take chances (safely). If you really want something, try it and see. If you’re happy with where you’re at, then keep doing that. Wish you the best of luck with it.

  9. I’ve had the same problem with coconut aminos recently. I’ve been using it for a couple years and never had issues, but recently the last three bottles I’ve bought have leaked while holding them in the store or in the bag on the way home. Strange, huh? Also, the cashier at my local health food store told me several people have returned the product because of this. I wonder why they’re not being sealed properly… Might be time to contact the company. At $5-6 a bottle, it shouldn’t be leaking!!

  10. Glad to hear you like your new doctor! It is so difficult to find a good doctor that gets you. For years, I was sick and saw several doctors (even some that are the top in the country) and they either didn’t believe me or told me the same thing. Then I found a sports medicine doctor whom I love and she discovered that the root of lots of illness & injury for me was massive undetected insulin resistance. My blood sugars were always normal so no one thought to test it except for her. Suffice it to say, I feel so much better now!

  11. I am glad you found a new doctor! I suffered GI issues for years and finally made the decision to go to a specialist and it was the best decision ever! I was going to participate in the challenge (at my box) as well but decided against it. I kind of wish I didn’t 🙁

  12. I’m glad to hear your doc sounds like he’s actually going to, you know, LISTEN to you! I’m sorry not everything was what you wanted to hear drug wise but he sounds like he has your best interest at heart. Crossing my fingers for the best!

  13. That is great that your new doctor is actively listening to you and helping you map out recovery! I hope that (whenever) I get my new neuro referral (for neuro #7) he or she is as great. 🙂

  14. Wow, this doctor sounds awesome! It can be SUCH a struggle to find a good doctor. I think it depends on the facility too – I’ve been noticing my doctor’s office has been accepting more and more patients and is just getting WAY too busy. Not good.

  15. Glad you found a doctor you like! That’s great news.

    The same thing happened to my coconut aminos! We bought the bottle from WF and next thing we knew, it leaked over everything. Guess the cap just sucks on all the bottles.

  16. My coconut aminos leaked when I brought them home from the grocery too. Maybe there is something wrong with the bottle?? I like using them a lot in cooking!

  17. I am so happy for you! I know people who go to the doctor and tell them they need surgery right away…great to hear it is not your case!
    You are an example of what discipline and preventive medicine (nutrition and exercise) can do. Keep up the good work!

  18. I had a health scare in 2006 and afterwards I tried to perfect my diet to the point that I actually became obsessed with what I could/shouldn’t eat and it majorly backfired on me. I also felt SO alienated from social and family events that I stopped going. I was a mess!! Then one day it dawned on me that was wasting my life away worrying about it all and in the end, it was not making much difference.

    I finally caved and took it one day at a time and cannot tell you how much better I feel. I eat what I feel like eating that day and leave it at that. I had to feel better mentally before I could ever feel better physically.

    Hopefully you will find what works for you!

  19. i am on the verge of tears anytime i go to the doctor-it doesnt matter if it is the dermatologist or the gyno! something about it just makes me nervous!

  20. I know everyone is different, but I want to give you some hope. My mom has ulcertive colitis. She had it when I was growing up, but when I was in high school it got so, so bad. She was in the hospital some of the time, but when she was at home she was on the couch in pain, constantly vomiting, just wasting away. It was so painful for me to watch as a teenager. My sister and I would sit in our room in tears, holding out ears so we could not hear her vomiting. That was ten years ago and now she is completely off drugs and pretty much flare free (I do not know if she even have flares anymore- I assume she does not). I think the biggest turning point for my mom was reducing stressors (she changed jobs to one she enjoys, though she makes less money). She eats what she wants and drinks coffee and wine. It is possible to get off drugs, so just keep moving toward what works for you and have hope. 🙂

  21. So glad you found a good doc! I agree that it’s really hard not to get wrapped up in the long-term…I do that a lot and consequently cry a lot. My hubby always reminds me to just focus on what I have in front of me in the “right now” since that’s all I can deal with anyway.

    Hang in there and congrats on the doc-approved return to CrossFit!!

  22. Glad you are getting answers! I realize there are times in my life when I hear things that “enjoy life” from doctors and get frustrated. Why? Because by focusing on tangible things like my food, exercise, etc. I feel I have some sort of control over something I have no control over. So when I am told to “Enjoy life” I perceive it as a white flag of surrender. Something I know I need to do, let go and not control what it is I cannot. Instead, accept.

    Curious, how many VSL#3 did he recommend taking?

  23. Oooh that mashed squash looks great!
    And I love that he threw in the “and do a handstand”. I’m sorry for the bittersweet news but it sounds like there’s still a possibility for you not to go on meds. I hope you will be able to control the symptoms and flare-ups with a diet.

  24. Have a fab time in Seattle and enjoy yourself. Follow the doctors orders (which can be hard sometimes) and live life. I hope everything goes smoothly but now at least you can start getting back onto the CFit train again and kicking butt.

    By the way, I saw yesterday that Mal is crossfit level 1 certified, what does that mean? Meant to ask on the post but hate doing it on my phone.

  25. What exactly is it that you don’t like about being on drugs? Is it the side effects (do you have any)? Sometimes pinpointing the exact cause of the fear or hesitation can help you psychologically adjust to taking them. Of course we’d all like our bodies to naturally work like a well oiled machine, but sometimes we just need a little boost from the pharmaceutics 😉
    I’m glad you found a good doctor at MG. They really are the best docs in boston! 🙂

  26. I hope you start to feel better soon and I’m glad you found a doctor you like. He sounds great. I love his advice to just “enjoy life.” It’s so easy to forget such a simple concept; sometimes we just need a reminder.

  27. Bleh, it seems like there is always good and bad news whenever you go to a GI. I have *another* colonoscopy scheduled for next week. I went to the doc last week and he’s ruled out celiac [hello gluten goodies] but has confirmed it’s either IBS or IBD or [there’s always a 3rd haha] it could be due to my lupus [autoimmune problems are never easy to understand]. My younger brother has crohn’s so my momma and I just joked that we’ve been through this all once before, we should be set the second time around…

  28. so glad you have found a dr that you are happy with. i hope he continues to be great for you-even if he has to tell you things you don’t want to hear. i’m also happy you are going to a place that is known for working with your disease. thank god for living near cities where we have access to specialty places like this.

    did he have stress reduction ideas? I feel like the obvious ones are yoga/meditation, spending time outside, and going to a therapist. I’m only good about the spending time outside part!

  29. TINA!!!! I just got chills readying this! Seriously, this guy knows his Sh*t!! That is EXACTLY what I have learned about have an IBD. It’s so personal for each person and the only thing you can really do is learn your body, know your body and try your best. Ah, I am so happy for you!!!!

  30. I have crohn’s and did the SCD in about 2004. It worked really well for 3-4 months, but like many people, I flared after 4 months. I definitely was not enjoying life during that time and was truly eating to live and not enjoyment. I lost too much weight and was miserable. It sucks to deal with this. I wish you the best with finding what works for you!

  31. I’m glad you found a good doctor! I like that his advice is pretty applicapable for anyone struggling with digestive issues. There is no miracle cure or even general guidelines that work for everyone. You just do the best you can and try to figure out what works for you.

  32. This post makes me happy to read! I cannot imagine what you deal with having colitis, but I LOVE that your doctor’s prescription is to “Enjoy Life”. That is probably one of the “healthiest” things you can ever do. Best wishes, and hoping for lots of healing for your ailments!!

  33. Definitely time for a new car!!! Glad your appointment went well! Have you considered that your colitis is an autoimmune disorder? I’ve just started reading in to the research and it’s amazing and makes a lot of sense.

  34. Your new doctor seems like he really knows what he’s talking about! The news regarding medication is unfortunate, but it might be one of things you just have to do, y’know? I mean, if you had cancer (god forbid) and chemo was the best option, you would undergo that treatment – For some issues medication is the best way to go.

    At least he gave you the green light on Crossfit! That’s gotta make you happy. 🙂

  35. What’s your hesitation about the drugs? Just wanting to be as natural as possible? Or do they make you feel a certain sort of (bad) way. I’m glad that your doctor was supportive. Hopefully, you can begin to relax a bit now. I know that it will be a tough road though. Nobody wants to have to live with health problems completely out of their control, especially when they focus on being healthy in all other aspects of their lives.

  36. I abosolutel love Whole Foods Market! Unfortunately we don’t have the store in Denmark, but every time I go to the US i buy tons of wholesome goodies – somehow my suitcase always tends to get filled with food and clothes whenever I go the the US, I wonder why! 🙂

  37. It sounds like you have a really great doctor! I always appreciate some full honesty and it sounds like he is really realistic! I think he is right too you just have to live your life and enjoy it! BTW that coconut aminos is awesome! I use it all the time!

  38. I’m so happy to hear you found a doc who understands you! You will work through this issue and find what works best for you.

    Just curious, do you plan on having iced coffee again? Or have you found that you genuinely enjoy the dandy blend?

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