Three Changes

in All Posts

Mmm. Quinoa!


I made a fun quinoa strawberry mash this morning for breakfast.  I even topped it with a tablespoon of almond butter (I have thing against nut butters on warm oatmeal, but for some reason decided to try it today)!


My quinoa  mix contained:


  • 1/3 cup quinoa, cooked with rice milk
  • 5 large sliced strawberries
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Toppings:  flax and almond butter


To make the mix, I just cooked the first three ingredients together for about 8 minutes.  Ta-da!  So easy.


Three Changes


Last night, I mentioned that I am going try to implement three changes in my diet.  In the past month, I have been experiencing physical and mental symptoms that alerted me to the fact that I’m doing something wrong


I’ve dropped a few hints here and there, but I’ve been struggling emotionally for the last month.  There’s a few issues in my personal life that cannot really be discussed on the Internet that are causing me anxiety, stress, and sadness. 


Perhaps as a result of these emotional struggles, my physical health has started to suffer.  I’m having a lot of trouble sleeping – I have issues falling asleep, staying asleep, and feeling rested when I wake up.  As a result, I’ve been pounding coffee and tea in throughout the day, which in turn creates really bad headaches.  I’ve been drinking more beer than usual, too – sometimes just for fun with friends, but also sometimes to just deal with my emotions.


For an endurance athlete who has been exercising 5 – 8 hours a week, not getting enough sleep is REALLY, REALLY bad.  I’ve felt like a walking zombie, had trouble concentrating, struggled with my writing, and cried at the drop of a hat.  This is not working!


One of the awesome things about Chinese medicine is that the doctors believe your emotional state has a strong impact on your physical health, which is obviously true for me right now!   Last night, the doctors recommended that I make three small changes to my diet, which they believe will improve my physical health and make it a lot easier for me to handle my emotions.


SUGGESTED CHANGE #1:  Drink warm water upon waking, and drink more warm/lukewarm water throughout the day.  All of the doctors believe I am dehydrated, which is compounding my sleep issues and making me irritable.  Although I drink enough water during exercise, I’m not drinking nearly enough during the day, and I’m counter-acting my water consumption by drinking so much caffeine.  By starting the morning off with a cup of warm water, they say I’ll ‘prepare’ my stomach and intestines for food and it will be easier to digest breakfast.


MY THOUGHTS:  This is an easy change that I can make without much effort.  I’ll give it a shot!  And I probably am dehydrated because I often wake up thirsty.


SUGGESTED CHANGE #2:  Reduce the amount of caffeinated beverages, especially coffee.  I’m dehydrating myself and adding to the vicious cycle of lack of sleep by artificially keeping myself alert during the day.


MY THOUGHTS:  Although I never plan to give up coffee or tea entirely, I can understand why the amount of coffee/tea I’ve been drinking is probably not a great idea.   I am going to try to cut back in hopes of improving my sleeping patterns.  If I need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, I’ll go for a short walk.


SUGGESTED CHANGE #3:  Eliminate dairy products.   The doctors suggested that eating cold, damp foods like dairy impedes my ability to process and transform the other foods I’m eating into a viable source of energy.  As a vegetarian, I use dairy products frequently as a meat replacement and source of protein – sometimes eating dairy three times a day (I thought the doctor was going to kneel over and die when I said that).   They also I start eating more fish.


MY THOUGHTS:  I do not want to eliminate dairy from my diet the way I eliminated meat.  I went Vegan for a Day for the blog and found it very hard to eat a completely dairy-free diet.  I take pleasure in a lot of dairy products (cheese, yogurt, ice cream) and do not want to be a vegan at this point in my life.  However, I can understand that I perhaps eat too much dairy.  I’m going to try to slowly reduced the amount of dairy in my diet so that I’m eating one serving a day on average.  I’ll have to get creative and find new ways to get my calcium and protein, but vegans all over the world do it every day, so it won’t be that hard.  


Oh, and in regards to the suggestion I eat more fish, I told them I was a vegetarian and there was no way I was going to eat fish.  Instead, they suggested eating more eggs.  I like eggs!  🙂


Whew! :) 


Has a doctor ever recommended you make a dietary change?  Did you take their recommendation at face value or do a version of the “my thoughts”?  What’s the most pivotal dietary change you’ve ever made?



  • Jessica @ How Sweet March 11, 2010, 8:57 am

    I find I feel so much better when I don’t have caffiene. I don’t like coffee or tea or anything like that, but when I do occaionally have it, I feel like crap. I think you will feel a world of difference!

  • Holly March 11, 2010, 9:00 am

    oh girl – you do what you need to do! sometimes i wonder about my caffeine intake, but i seem to sleep okay. however, i do understand the stress thing and have gone through similar issues lately. perhaps i shall take a cue from you on this one and do all of the above. hope everything is well – hang in there, because this too shall pass 🙂

    and this is officially a totally rambling comment.

  • Megan March 11, 2010, 9:02 am

    I’m sorry to hear that your going through a rough time right now. I’m sure it’s just a phase and that it will pass. Its funny, cause I’m going through a crazy emotional phase right now. You said you’ve been drinking more beer.. I’m drinking more hard drinks. NOT GOOD! I got so p’ed off at myself for doing it that I through all my alcohol away the next morning. Alcoholism runs in the family.. so needless to say, it scared the crap out of me that I got trashed… and not only that. I got trashed BY MYSELF!

    I don’t know if I could give up coffee. 🙁 That would be sad.

    Good luck. I hope you feel better!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers March 11, 2010, 9:03 am

    I had a doctor tell me once I had to stop eating red meat because my cholesterol was too high…apparently she didn’t listen to the fact that I was already a vegetarian!!! Also, a lot of research now is saying that coffee doesn’t dehydrate you as long as you are used to drinking it (your body adapts). (That’s not to say drinking more water and cutting caffeine won’t still have benefits, just fyi ;))
    I hope the diet changes help you feel better emotionally/physically! I’m right there with you on the mental health showing up in your physical health- way to take charge 😉

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly March 11, 2010, 9:03 am

    The best change I ever made was to remove gluten. I am not totally 100% gluten-free (more like 90/10) but it is has made the bggest difference in my skin, my digestion, and my emotional well being. I feel physically better which in turn makes me feel emotioanlly better! Goodluck Caitlin!

  • Matt March 11, 2010, 9:03 am

    Even though I have a slight lactose intolerance, there is no way I could give up dairy. I love cheese!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 11, 2010, 9:05 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a tough time right now– I hope everything is okay 🙁

    These sound like good changes to make…although I can see why you would be resistant about the dairy thing! As a vegetarian, you already feel like you’re cutting a lot out of your diet! I take a lot of pleasure in my dairy too 🙂

  • Kat March 11, 2010, 9:05 am

    I hear you on the dairy thing. My doctor recently told me that i should try the same thing (cut out dairy or significantly reduce) due to an autoimmune disease and i am like you in that i will easily eat 3 servings of dairy a day. It is going to be a challenge trying to cut back but should be interesting.

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:06 am

      one way i’m going to try to handle this is using more hummus on sandwiches i would otherwise use cheese. also, when i make pumpkin yogurt, i’m just going to add more pumpkin and less yogurt.

      small changes add up!

  • Jen March 11, 2010, 9:06 am

    Sorry to hear you’re going through a rough time. Life sucks sometimes.

    How do vegans get enough calcium and vitamin D without eating dairy besides supplements? Or is that the only option? I’ve toyed with the idea of cutting out dairy too but I’m really worried about osteoporosis. And I’m an endurance athletes too, so I know I need more calcium and vitamin D than recommended.

  • Marla March 11, 2010, 9:07 am

    Sorry to hear about your recent woes….I don’t know if it’s the time of the year but I too have not been able to sleep,feeling depressed and down and low energy.
    Do you think we have a wee bit of “SAD” syndrome (but i knwo you live in sunny Florida…)
    I really appreciate this post.
    I have been reading that warm water with lemon in it first thing in morning is supposed to be amazing for one’s health(before breakfast).

    So ironic, because yesterday I was thinking perhaps I am dehydrated too!(I drink green tea a lot in day).

    So my goal and hopes are to
    Drink water 3 times a day(whether warm or cool)
    Somehow find a way to solve sleep troubles
    Get out in the sun to help my blues
    Start going to more YOGA classes -maybe even daily(so helpful with stress and my moods)

    And finally, try and be aware each day of my blessings in life rather than looking at my life in a negative light.

    let’s all let the SUNSHINE in (literally and figuratively!)

    Please keep us updated on how this is all going for ya,thanks!

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:22 am

      YES- let’s let in the sunshine!

  • Carolyn March 11, 2010, 9:08 am

    I’ve been trying to get enough water (though it’s usually cold)and I don’t usually eat more than 1-1/2 servings of dairy/day. But I definitely need to cut out soda/diet soda.

  • Babycakes March 11, 2010, 9:09 am

    I figured dairy was going to be the biggie. I’m vegan but I remember the days as a vegetarian when I thought I could never give up my yogurt. Now I can’t imagine eating it. Even if you don’t eliminate dairy completely, it’s good to experiment with different sources of vegetarian protein. Look at it as an opportunity to try new things 🙂 Also, have you read The China Study? It might change your views on dairy, similar to the way that previous books factored into your decision to become vegetarian. Anyway, good luck with these changes! And I hope whatever is going on in your personal life resolves in the best way possible.

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:23 am

      I really want to read The China Study!!! Maybe I will order that after I plow through Taking Charge of Your Fertility 🙂

      • D March 11, 2010, 10:16 am

        you HAVE to read the china study! i wrote you a comment about this a looooong time ago 🙂 i have read it about four times since i first read it a year ago, and ive passed it onto my parents (who are now vegan) and my best friend (now vegetarian). it was truly a life-changing book for me. if skinny bitch influenced you, then i think the china study will honestly blow your mind. im a literature student, and yet this book was the best thing ive ever read, in terms of something that really stuck with me and now influences my life on a daily basis.

        • D March 11, 2010, 10:23 am

          okay i realise i sound maniacal, but i honestly cant stress this enough! the china study honestly changed my view of food in the most positive way. i was a vegetarian when i read it, but still ate fish on occasion because i find it less of a health and ethical problem (personally). i was toying with veganism when i read it, and like you i LOVED greek yogurt (i would honestly debate over spending my hard-earned student cash on an extra beer or an extra fage), but i never gave it a second thought after reading the book. it made me SO EXCITED about eating an awesome, healthy, vegan diet. and im pretty sure it doesnt even say “vegan” at all, its just about a plant-based approach to food. it also discusses seafood and some of the ethical concerns, which you might find interesting since the holistic doctors recommended it. i dont eat tuna steak anymore, and very limited salmon, but i do feel a lot better (both with health and morals) about eating scallops (which i know youve said you love!) and shrimp on rare occasions.

  • Jessica March 11, 2010, 9:09 am

    I have never had to make dietary changes for health reasons at all. I wish you stength and I hope you feel better soon.

  • brandi March 11, 2010, 9:11 am

    While I’ve never had to make a change like this because of health problems, I try to do some of these things because they DO keep me feeling good.

    I do drink coffee or tea everyday, but only in the mornings. If I have caffeine in the afternoon, I feel all jittery and have trouble sleeping, too.

    And (if nothing else) I try to drink water in the morning before anything and I think it makes me thirstier during the day, causing me to drink more water. I hate ice cold water (unless I’m burning up), so I always have mine just cold out of the filter or room temperature.

    Having a big glass in the morning does make a difference for me. The days that I haven’t had it are the ones that I drink the least amount of water.

  • Erin March 11, 2010, 9:11 am

    Drinking more water is HUGE. I gave up 95% of soda, juice and coffee-like beverages and now almost exclusively drink water. I don’t like warm water, though, so I tend to drink it cool or room temperature. You know how you can’t really “wake up” until you’ve had your coffee? I feel the same way about water.

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) March 11, 2010, 9:11 am

    Sorry to hear it’s been so rough. I think we all go through phases like this occasionally. It seems trite, but this too shall pass 😉

    Do what you have to do to get emotionally well – no matter what it is! I think those all seem like good ideas that have actualy insight and factual support sround them, too. Best of luck — let us know how it goes 😉

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 11, 2010, 9:11 am

    Eggs are awesome. Check out this recent article in the Daily Mail about their benefits:

  • Marla March 11, 2010, 9:12 am

    PS Not to butt into your life, but I was also going to mention that in the past changes in my work life/day as well moving locations has added a great amount of stress.

    So don’t underestimate changes in life like switching to a self employed lifestyle,preparing to move cities etc -they can wreak havoc on our emotional as well as physical selves.

    Take care!

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:23 am


  • Lauren March 11, 2010, 9:13 am

    I am sorry to hear you are going through a stressful time, but it’s great that you are trying to address the issues that are causing you some problems.
    I can say from personal experience, eliminating dairy was one of the best things I have ever done. Any stomach issues I previously had went away.

  • Lisa March 11, 2010, 9:14 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s very important that you keep parts of your personal life off the internet, but I also think that people can learn from your experience so sharing a bit of it is kind of you.

    I’ve never had a doctor tell me to alter my eating habits, other than a nutritionist, but I have heard that Chinese Medicine does not like dairy, so I’m not surprised they advocate for you cutting it out. I couldn’t do that either and eat at least one, usually more, servings a day too. I think it’s important to have a bit of ‘my own thoughts’ because it is our body and really, we know ourselves better than they do and sometimes their reccomendations require a bit of tweaking.

    Good luck with everything. I wish you all the best!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! March 11, 2010, 9:14 am

    I have never had a doctor tell me what to eat, accept a “healthy diet”! Though I should have when I was 100+ pounds overweight of course….=O

    Personally, I get what they are saying about the whole Dairy thing, however I do not agree that cutting it out of your diet is good for you at least in the long run. I am not a Dietician but I read and learned enough to know that Dairy (calcium & vitamin d) are very important for us, especially women and we should be getting at least 3 servings of it a day if not more. Most Dieticians’ I know or follow online drink milk with every meal.

    I am very sorry to hear that you are going through a rough time right now……….JUST TRY TO THINK AS POSITIVE AS POSSIBLE and you will get through it I promise! Believe me I have been too what I would call “hell & back” in my life and positive thinking helped me a lot! Plus, my amazing family!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete March 11, 2010, 9:14 am

    Lack of sleep being an endurance athlete sucks! I have been dealing with that for the past couple of months since the husband got deployed!

    I love eastern medicine b/c they actually talk to you about your diet. When I was going to the to doctor for my IBS-C issues, their solution was a stool softener. A nutritionist looked at my diet and said that I should be getting enough fiber in with what I was eating, but never said, ‘hey look, why don’t you try this?” So frustrating!! Especially when you go a week and a half w/o pooing!

    I hope you get everything resolved! 😉

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) March 11, 2010, 9:14 am

    That’s awesome that you have such amazing resources at your finger tips! My heart goes out to you that you’re experiencing some hard times in your personal life 🙁 Hope all is well soon, sweetie.
    I like the warm water thing – I’ve heard several times that it’s easier for our bodies to drink warm or room temp water because they don’t have to bring the temp back down that it does for cold water to our body temps.
    Ever since becoming vegetarian, I’ve drastically cut back on dairy, just because I relate it so much to animals. Have you tried the SO Delicious coconut products? They make delicious milk, yogurt, and ice cream! As for cheese…have you tried raw goat cheddar? That stuff is awesome!

  • Kelly March 11, 2010, 9:15 am

    Sorry to hear about the rough time you are going through. I am the same way with sleep sometimes and it makes everything so much worse!

    I had to overhaul my whole diet when I was diagnosed with IBS- it was scary but I think in the end it was a lot like being injured, yes it stinks that you can’t have certain things but you get really creative about other things to eat. I love your idea of hummus. I love hummus and I try to eat it as often as possible. I can’t really eat too much dairy either, but I do usually have some greek yogurt every day and I’ll probably never give up ice cream completely 🙂 You know what though? Much as I love my greek yogurt, soy yogurt can be yummy sometimes too for a chance of pace!

  • Cecilia March 11, 2010, 9:15 am

    I love you’re approach to things, because you always seem to listen to advice you get from people around you, and at the same time tailor them to your own situation. I admire that!
    The best dietary change I ever made was to only have coffee in the morning. I love love love coffee, but it always keeps me up at night, even if I drink it around 3 p.m. So now I only every buy they best coffee, have a big cup in the morning which I drink slowly, and then that’s it for the day, and that’s okay, because I get my coffee and I get my sleep.

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:24 am

      thanks 🙂

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans March 11, 2010, 9:16 am

    I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a rough patch! I know that when I am particularly stressed I have lots of trouble sleeping. The things that help me the most are to stop watching tv about an hour before I go to sleep and to spend that time reading in bed. Something about that relaxes me. I also try to meditate or use what I call “yoga breathing” as I try to drift off to sleep. I lay on my back and think about each breath moving through my body. Focusing on this and not the 3 million things that are going on in my life helps me fall into a very solid sleep!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health March 11, 2010, 9:18 am

    I make the choice each and every day to not eat a lot of things that impact my health negatively. As someone in recovery from disordered eating, I made these changes slowly and with honor to my body, mind and spirit. As a result, I am feeling better and more connected to my food. I feel nourished by my food instead of feeling guilt and anxiety. It is amazing.

    I choose each day not to eat:
    gluten (wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats)
    dairy (though I do eat goat cheese a couple times per week)
    sugar, including fruit and things like ketchup

    I talk a lot about these issues on by blog and wrote a post about this very topic called “Deprivation vs. choice” if you (or your readers) are interested in reading it.

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:25 am

      i think framing it as a CHOICE is a great idea.

  • Andrea ( March 11, 2010, 9:21 am

    First, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Second, I think you’ve shown over the years that you are more than capable of making life changes that are positive. You are strong and determined and it really shines through on your blog. I’m very inspired by your take-charge attitude and drive to make the most out of your days and you life in general! Good luck!

  • Maya March 11, 2010, 9:22 am

    I feel your pain. There has been a lot of family drama for me, too in the past year and a little seasonal blues did not help matters.

    I am a vegetarian but I often eat vegan meals. I don’t think I’ll ever go full vegan because a) I love my Greek yogurt b) I love fro yo and c) I like to indulge in certain dairy goodies occasionally, like a delicious cheese at a restaurant or dessert. I find it easy to make a lot of my meals at home vegan, however. For example I made nachos the other night and used humnut sauce (hummus+nutritional yeast+water) instead of melted cheese, and almond milk is really delicious. Luckily for you blogworld has a lot of really great non dairy meal ideas! A big glass of water in the morning helps me keep up hydration all day, I think it will work well for you! And it’s great for your skin.

  • Ruth, Diet Procrastinator March 11, 2010, 9:24 am

    Those are big changes! I can tell you that it’s pretty easy to get used to the water increase, and when I stopped drinking more than three caffeinated beverages a day I noticed that my sleep improved. I’m still working on dairy reduction myself. I use a lot of soy milk and eat a lot of beans, so I’m down to about one serving of dairy a day. It’s usually cheese!

  • Katie March 11, 2010, 9:25 am

    hummus and avocado are perfect cheese replacements. you could also try vegan nut cheese! i’ve never tried to make it but i think all of these look awesome…

    and for yogurt you always have soy and coconut milk options. good luck!

  • Jessica March 11, 2010, 9:25 am

    Have you read Thrive by Brendan Brazier? He’s a vegan triathlete, and he has some great insights on nutrition and stress and ph balance. Very insightful, and since you’re a triathlete maybe it would dovetail nicely with your training! Have a good day!@

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:25 am

      I really want to read that book too! So many books, such little time.

      • Christine March 11, 2010, 9:31 am

        I’m not vegan or vegetarian but Thrive is a great book and a quick read. I use the Vega protein powder and the maca in it gives a nice boost.

        Sorry to hear you’re feeling poorly btw…not sleeping is like living with low level depression.

      • Jessica March 11, 2010, 9:50 am

        On his website he has a Thrive in 30 video series where he talks through the major points in his book. You could put it on while doing your lunges! 🙂 tee hee! Hmmm, or maybe you can download them and listen while you’re running?

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion March 11, 2010, 9:25 am

    Interesting! I hope things get better for you. I have a lot going on in my personal life too right now as well, I am having a HARD year! I agree that it totally affects your whole being.

    I think that working on your hydration is smart. Hydrating is so important especially for someone who is so active like you. I bet it will make your endurance and athletic performance even better too!

    Good luck with the no dairy thing, that is going to be difficult, but you can do it!

  • Molly @fuelherup March 11, 2010, 9:26 am

    Great changes!

    Honestly, giving up dairy 100% was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself!
    When I became a vegetarian 2 years ago, I was always talking about how dairy and eggs were here to stay, but then it ind of happened gradually and I am so happy!

    I love beans, but my stomach doesn’t handle them very well, so I find that I get a lot of my protein from nuts. I love making my own “flavors” of nut butter, sweet or savory!

    A great replacement for yogurt is Coconut Milk Kefir – you can get it sweetened and in flavors like vanilla or strawberry, or just plain, and since it has the same probiotics as yogurt, the taste is the same!
    A good replacement for cheese on things like sandwiches is hummus or bean “dips” or savory almond butters. (Nutritional yeast can add flavor to things like omelettes.)
    I know you’ve already replaced milk with rice milk, which is a great step!

    I’m getting acupuncture tomorrow to help with an injury – I’ve loved seeing how it worked for you!

    • caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:28 am

      i hope it helps you! it takes a few treatments before you see improvement so stick with it.

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini March 11, 2010, 9:27 am

    I am excited about these three changes you are making as I truly believe they will work, as two of them helped me a lot a few years ago.

    I started the warm(ish) water thing a few years ago. In yoga there is a belief that cold water puts out one’s “internal fire” (agni) which is essentially the immune system and body’s abilities to cope with stress. I wasn’t sure what I believed about this but started drinking warm water as soon as I got up and throughout the day and it has made a big difference to my ability to sleep and deal with stress. Around the same time (this was all when I was doing my yoga teacher training) I also cut down on caffiene which helped too. These days I have a cup of coffee with breakfast and a cup of tea in the afternoon. Otherwise it’s herbal tea and warm water all the way!

    As for the dairy, well I’m lactose intolerant! Funnily enough I have planned a couple of posts over the next couple of weeks about dairy replacements so take a look if you have time!

    Good luck with it, I’ll be interested to see the results 🙂

  • Sophie @ yumventures March 11, 2010, 9:28 am

    Thank you for sharing this! These small changes seem to be what your entire blog is about…making small changes that add up to a big difference. If you find it difficult to drink a ton of water throughout the day, I find eating lots of raw fruits and veggies helps boost hydration too (yay green monsters!). Just snacking on some grapes can be so refreshing!

    I cut gluten out of my diet almost 5 years ago, based on what a doctor recommended. What seemed like a huge challenge is not not so difficult. Sometimes I slip up and eat something breaded because I want to, but in general I now prefer to eat things without gluten, because it makes me FEEL better. And that, to me, is the most important thing. I have really cut down on dairy, too. Almond and rice milk are great replacement, and any goat or sheeps milk cheeses are much easier to digest! Just making those little switches has made a difference to me, too =) Good luck!

  • bobbileigh March 11, 2010, 9:28 am

    I was given the advice to limit caffeine (I used to drink a pretty strong energy drink a day). This was a hard change but I found as I worked out more and nourished my body through the right foods I didn’t need it anymore.

    The biggest change I have made is a recent change of giving up meat (I still eat some fish)but I used to eat meat for both lunch and dinner on most days. I thought the change would be very hard and it has been much easier than I thought. I also limit dairy to my one serving of Yogurt in the morning and cheese once or twice a week as more of a treat. I can’t deny how much better my body feels from these changes!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat March 11, 2010, 9:29 am

    Going vegan was the most pivotal change I have ever made but I still found it to be fairly easy for me. There are so many products and alternatives out there that you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything.

    I only ate meat occasionally so giving that up wasn’t hard and I didn’t notice too much of a difference (other than a clear conscience). But when I gave up dairy, everything got better — my emotional state, digestion, energy levels, etc.

    Good luck to you 🙂 I’m also starting to cut back on caffeine this week!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 11, 2010, 9:29 am

    Sorry to hear about your problems 🙁 Really hope things improve for you girl!!!

    I can see where those things would help you. I’m always dying of thirst in the morning… maybe I should try the warm water thing. I don’t drink too much caffeine, usually only a cup of coffee in the morning. And I refuse to give up my dairy. But I DO need more water.

  • Cyclist Kate March 11, 2010, 9:30 am

    I went to see a D.O. a couple of years ago for some ongoing health issues that weren’t a big deal, but I was curious what he would say.

    He had me do an online test-thing (which I payed $300 for), then, from the results, told me I needed to base my diet on free-range red meat. I “could” have chicken sometimes, but virtually all grains and fruit were out. Even most vegetables weren’t recommended. He told me that he followed this diet, too, and carbo-loading for him was a big plate of spinach. So my days would essentially be 2 meals of red meat with a small side of non-starchy vegetables, maybe some other kind of animal protein with some vegetables, done. (and to be clear, I didn’t go see him for weight loss!) This was how I was supposed to eat for the rest of my life!

    And I was about 90% vegan at the time. Yeah, um, no. I walked out willing to consider the option, then realized this whole online-diet-quiz thing was probably a load of shittake. I did some research, and it didn’t really have any evidence backing it up. It was pretty disappointing, but a good lesson in how we have to filter what doctors say.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:37 am

      yup – not all docs know what the heck they are talking about! LOL

      • Laura March 11, 2010, 2:06 pm

        I can’t believe doctors in the U.S. are allowed to do those kind of things- they’re so different in the U.K! I’m in Medical training and we are taught to treat a patients body, mind and their social circumstances- and we’ve been told that in fact, in a lot of circumstances, a healthy mind and life is the most important factor in having good physical health. We’re not robots are we?!

        • Laura March 11, 2010, 2:19 pm

          e.g… quite a few doctors in the U.K. are certified practicing acupuncturisits and recommend things like yoga and pilates!

    • Ellie March 11, 2010, 7:23 pm

      Doctors sometimes do silly things (like the $300 food analysis) but being a D.O. has nothing to do with it. A D.O. goes through the same training in medical school that an M.D. does except with some extra training on the musculoskeletal system. D.O.’s and M.D.’s also receive the same training after medical school in terms of residency and/or fellowship.

      • Cyclist Kate March 12, 2010, 9:29 am

        My bad–I wasn’t trying to imply at all that the advice had anything to do with the degree. And I also just realized that it wasn’t a DO but a Doctor of Oriental Medicine…again, a practice I totally respect and I’d see another Doc. of Oriental Medicine in a heartbeat, this guy just happened to not be the right doctor for me. I’ve gotten pretty bad/inadequate advice from medical professionals with a variety of degrees.

  • Jess March 11, 2010, 9:31 am

    I went through a really rough time last year and found that among other things, coffee was huge. I went cold turkey for about a month (which stunk) and then did decaf or half caffeine. Made a HUGE difference! I’ve slowly crept back to full caffeine, and I know I need to cut back again.

    I also learned that I can’t do full caffeine Starbucks – they have so much caffeine than other coffee! And ditto everyone else’s thoughts about no caffeine in the afternoon/evening.

  • Anna March 11, 2010, 9:31 am

    Your strength is really amazing — all varieties of strength. I admire your ability to share so much of yourself with all of us. Also, instead of whining (like I would) about a dairy reduction, you’re taking it on as a challenge. My hat is off to you. I hope you reap all the benefits and more from these changes. Take care and be well.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 9:37 am

      thank you 🙂

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 11, 2010, 9:32 am

    I’ve been having some similar issues lately and am visiting an acupuncturist who is also a specialist in Chinese medicine. She wanted me to try to not drink while I’m eating and reduce my dairy consumption. I eat SO much dairy so that is the hard part!

  • alyssa March 11, 2010, 9:36 am

    Good luck with your diet changes, and I hope all is well and straightened with your health! stay positive and you will plow through it just fine 🙂

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place March 11, 2010, 9:38 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about whatever is going on in your personal life. HUGS! I’ve been there, too and it’s totally affected my health. I hope you can worth through whatever it is and come out a stronger person.

  • Alexis March 11, 2010, 9:42 am

    Ugh, I’ve done a lot of dietary changes in the last few years. I was dairy-free for a year, and gluten-free for three months (I was having pretty severe GI issues, and I was trying the elimination diet to identify triggers).

    My biggest issue with dairy-free was cheese, hands down. I have yet to find a good substitute that doesn’t taste plasticky. If I had known about nutritional yeast last year, that might have made things easier, I use it a lot like cheese now (on eggs, popcorn, it’s on my tuna sandwich today).

    I think you’re approaching this the right way by taking steps that are manageable for you. Good luck, and I sincerely hope you begin to feel better!


  • Liza March 11, 2010, 9:43 am

    When I read your post, I felt as though I was reading about myself! I’m also going through a stressful period and constantly feel physically and emotionally drained. Unfortunately, everything also worsens for a week before my period. I’m going to try water and cutting back a bit on the caffeine as well.

    Out of curiosity, do any of you have issues with PMS? The fatigue is the worst part for me. Caitlin, I’d love to see a post on PMS sometime.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:14 am

      i do get really bad PMS and that’s one of the reasons i’m exploring natural birth control methods, which i’ll write about more when i finish that new book i’m reading!

      • jvegegirl March 11, 2010, 11:13 am

        Becoming vegan ELIMINATED all of my cramps, PMS, and period issues. I think cutting out dairy might have similar effects for you 🙂

  • Jennie {in Wonderland} March 11, 2010, 9:44 am

    Sometimes I think, ‘oh, but I haven’t made any dietary changes so I can’t talk’ and then I think… OH WAIT.

    I gave up coffee a few years ago when it became clear that it messes with my body. Coffee makes me feel nauseous and dizzy and it also upsets my stomach. That was a big change because I used to drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day while I’d be working – all Canadians do, lol – and I depended on it to wake up. I occasionally have a cup at business meetings and I used to drink a bit of iced coffee when I worked at Disney, but by and large, coffee’s out of my life.

    I became a vegetarian nine months ago and at the time, I gave up cow’s milk as well. Since then, I’ve slowly been phasing out eggs, cheese and yogurt from my diet too. Now, I drink rice milk, don’t eat eggs, only occasionally eat goat’s cheese and I have soy yogurt if I’m really craving that particular snack.

    I also pretty much got rid of junk and all fast food from my diet. I haven’t eaten at McDonalds or any of those places for years. For a girl who used to pound back a plate of nachos every night and thought nothing of eating an entire bag of Doritos with onion dip – those are all big changes, ha ha. Not to mention the Mickey Ds runs I’ve made in the past… wow.

    I think my biggest helpers along the way with giving up dairy were hummus and Green Monsters. GMs provide all the iron and calcium I need [I found a fantastic coconut milk drink that is fortified with calcium that I love for GMs!] and the hummus mimics that lovely smooth taste of cheesy products. Especially when mixed with nutritional yeast, which has to have been sent from the Gods. It really wasn’t that difficult to get rid of dairy once I just thought of it as not an option, if you know what I mean. Once it’s not there to eat, a person must find replacements. I think the ‘hummnut cheese’ has been the best substitution so far for me!!!

    Good luck, Caitlin! Sorry about my novel of a response!! <3

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:17 am

      Green Monsters are so amazing!

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward March 11, 2010, 9:45 am

    Last year I gave up soda for Lent. I was drinking a diet coke every day after lunch at work, where it is free. It went really well, and eventually I stopped craving it. For some reason I started drinking it again shortly after.

    I’ve been having a lot of stomach issues on my evening runs, and I can’t seem to pinpoint the culprit. I’m going to try to cut out soda again and see if it helps.

    Thanks for always reminding us that our health comes first! Good luck incorporating these changes into your lifestyle.

  • Kathleen March 11, 2010, 9:50 am

    Do you take vitamins/supplements? I do but I take them through out the day instead of all at once and I take them with a full glass of water, each time. I am not a big water drinker so this way I get plenty. As for the dairy, I replaced my milk with almond milk. Silk just came out with one and almond breeze has one in the diary case now. I think my biggest change was actually elminating things that were processed and too many ingredient and keeping the ones I still consume to a minimum.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:18 am

      All I take is calcium and occasionally B vitamins. I should take more though.

  • Katie March 11, 2010, 9:55 am

    At the start of the year, I made a few fairly dramatic dietary changes. I’ve been struggling emotionally for quite sometime, and usually turned to food as a comfort. I was also an extremely unhealthy vegetarian for about 6 years…consuming large amounts of dairy and not nearly enough whole grains, fruits or veggies. But this year I decided I wanted to try veganism. I’ve tried in the past, and slipped up, then felt like a failure. But this year, I decided to try for 30 days and see how I felt. I wasn’t commiting to a lifestyle change forever…just 30 days. After that month, I was pleasantly surprised at how much better I felt. And based on how much better I feel, physically and emotionally, I am extremely motivated to continue down the vegan path. I’m not saying it’s the choice for everyone. Also, I believe dairy is extremely addictive, so it is hard to quit. But it seems to be helping me.

    Good luck with your changes! I think they are all excellent ideas!

  • Jenn @ Livewellfit March 11, 2010, 9:56 am

    Well, step one right now is to recognize how awesome you are in recognizing that something wasn’t quite right and rather than just sit back and wait to see what unfolded…you looked for some answers. So many of us just get sucked into life at warp speed that even if we notice subtle or loud signals- we don’t have the time to listen!

    Personally, I love the world of alternative medicine. I think there is so much truth to how our mind and body is connected. When our mind is off- so is our body and vice versa.

    My biggest diet change: to stop restricting and to no longer binge. I didn’t do them both at once 🙂 but I took about a thousand baby steps of the course of a year which has helped me walk away from both things entirely. It was a lot of mental work that translated into diet changes. But I am so much healthier now…

    I hope you start to feel brighter and better each day!

  • Kristen March 11, 2010, 9:56 am

    Hi Caitlin,
    I am a local reader and love your site. I have never commented but wanted to let you know about my expereince with sleep. I have never slept well myself… a few months ago I gave up coffee cold turkey. I was drinking 2 cups in the morning. My sleep improved immediately! I’m not saying go cold turkey forever… but a week long experiment might be interesting. Also, wanted to say that my favorite post of yours was the post about your relationship with the Hus and how you are each in charge of your own happiness. That post really hit home for me. It’s the wisdom in posts like that that keep me coming back. Thank you for all that you do! =) Best of luck changes!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:18 am

      thank you 🙂 are you in orlando?

      • Kristen March 11, 2010, 11:17 am

        Yes, I’m right downtown. Blocks from Dandelion! =)

        • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:22 am

          i’m having a tri party on sunday at 10 AM after the race if you wanna come! you can bring someone. email me if you’re interested! seebriderun at

  • Juli D. March 11, 2010, 9:57 am

    I’m sorry you’ve been struggling emotionally lately. We all have times in our lives that are hard, and they suck to go through. When you’ve got a lot of negative things going on, remeber the positives in your life – husband, family, friends, doggies. You’ve got a lot of love in your life and as long as you’ve got that everything will be okay.

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness March 11, 2010, 10:00 am

    Good for you for taking into consideration the doctors’ thoughts and adjusting your life the best way you can. Thirst is a huge signal for dehydration. I don’t drink warm water, but I do drink room-temperature water all day long. I only like cold water when I’m working out. I drink SO MUCH more water if it is room temperature.

    I’m curious about the dairy… I drink TONS of milk, simply because I love it. I’ll have to read up on that more.

    Also, I’m sure you know this, but cut back on the caffeine slowly. Otherwise, you’ll get withdrawal headaches from LACK of caffeine!

  • John March 11, 2010, 10:01 am

    I hope these changes bring about the desired results!

    My doctor is retiring next year and that’s good as he’s never been a preventative doctor. As I was putting the weight on he would never ask what’s going on like it was normal. So the next year I’m looking for a doctor who won’t wait for to tell them what’s wrong

  • Karen w March 11, 2010, 10:04 am

    If they think those things will help, definitely try it! I had heard about caffeine making you dehydrated but had not heard the warm water advice before. I like the idea of it, thanks got sharing. Do what you need to do to get back in the game mentally, you don’t want to completely break down!

  • Hannah Hawley March 11, 2010, 10:04 am

    So sorry to hear about the challenges! I too struggle from many of the same symptoms, and one thing that really helps me is going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. As for drinking coffee and tea, I limit myself to one caffeinated beverage a day, and then opt for decaf coffee and herbal teas. As for dairy, I too must limit it, along with wheat and white rice, and anything with a high starch content. Its about finding a balance. You can totally do it.
    Sometimes its not just a phase, depression can hit even the healthiest of people, so listen to your body and your loved ones. If you think that is what it might be, don’t wait. It is not worth it.

  • Michelle March 11, 2010, 10:06 am

    I’m a bit older than your typical reader (I’m 36) and I am still working on the healthy balance thing, but I cut all caffiene (coffee, tea, diet soda) after I had a kidney stone in December. I was a 20+ year caffiene junkie! I sleep better and wake up less than I have in about 10 years. When I crave something warm to drink, I drink Decaf herbal tea, which seems to do the trick.

  • Jen March 11, 2010, 10:06 am

    Your honesty and thoughtfulness are inspirational! I hope your emotional bumps in the road get smoothed out. Just think about how many people you positively affect every day! Think about the community that you have created with your blog.

    Also, I bought the Thrive book and it honestly didn’t tell me much that I didn’t already know. I think you might have the same experience. If possible, don’t buy it – borrow it or something. I could send you mine if you’d like.

    A book that might really help is called The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine. It might help your understand your emotions a little. Just a thought…

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:19 am

      thanks for the offer re: thrive! i have a bunch of local friends who have a copy so i’l prob snag it from them and save you the shipping 🙂 hehe.

  • Kristina @Mendonpondmusings March 11, 2010, 10:07 am

    I’ve been trying to eliminate dairy and eggs from my diet – and if you actually look at the amounts of calcium and protein you can get from natural alternatives – veggies, whole grains, and fruits – you will be really surprised. I can definitely feel the difference when I have dairy or eggs and when I don’t. I tend to get a stomach now from dairy and feel much better without either. Stress sucks! I am sadly compensating with too much wine.

  • Sabrina March 11, 2010, 10:07 am

    I think these are three great changes. Do you read ? She has had some ongoing physical issues and is trying a very natural way to heal them. it is really interesting!

    I have tried cutting dairy completely out of my diet as I feel it is unnatural to consume the milk of other animals, but it is just SO HARD. I LOVE the taste and satiated feeling I get when eating yogurt, cheese, etc. I did, however, notice then when I stopped eating it completely for a few weeks my skin was literally glowing! GLOWING.

  • Morgan March 11, 2010, 10:08 am

    I hope whatever it is works itself out and you start to feel better soon.
    Right now (in my opinion), having your health is one of the most important things you have ownership and control of. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel better, you should try! Maybe try mixing half caf/half decaf?
    You seem to be great at setting your mind to something and doing it, so I am sure with these changes, you will start to feel better and more like yourself soon!

    • Kristin P. March 11, 2010, 11:00 am

      I second the half caf idea! That really helps me when I’m trying to cut down.

  • Bella @ Stilettos on the Streetcar March 11, 2010, 10:10 am

    I was also a vegetarian who relied heavily on dairy to fill the void. That said, I’ve recently reduced the amount of dairy I consume. I couldn’t go cold turkey (strange expression for a vegetarian), so I weaned myself off dairy using substitutions. I now make my oatmeal with UVAB instead of skim milk, and I traded cheese for hummus in my sandwiches. I feel much better. The payoff makes it worth the change.

    Good luck with your dairy dilemma! I hope you see the positive changes I did.

  • Joanne March 11, 2010, 10:17 am

    I’m very in tune with my body. The only diet change which was suggested to me was not from a doctor but from a Body Builder Trainer. He suggested a “blood type” diet. For the most part, it really worked for me, mentally and mostly physically. But it had to be tweaked because only I know how much I exercise and how I feel.

    1. Coffee and Tea: Ok early in the day but for every cup you drink, you need to also drink a cup of water to make up for the caffeines dehydrating effects. You’ll eventually cut down on it because you’ll spend too much time in the bathroom.

    2. Becareful with the dairy. Make sure if you give it up you get your calcium from other sources. VERY IMPORTANT for a woman. Take a supplement if necessary.

    3. Protein is important to prevent injury especially since you are so active. Yes, you need the carbs, but you do need lean, good quality protein available from tofu, beans, egg whites, even protein powders…other sources for Vegetarians. *Replace one of those coffee or tea sessions with a protein shake.

    As for following that suggested diet by the body builder: I do feel better and still maintain it about 80% of the time.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 11, 2010, 10:19 am

    those are definitely some changes to deal with! i strongly agree that our emotional health directly affects our physical health, but i would definitely find it hard to give up dairy. i’m not a vegetarian, but i did give up meat for Lent, and i’ve been eating a LOT more dairy than normal because of it! good luck girl…keep drinking that water and we’ll all be cheering you on 🙂

  • Kareen March 11, 2010, 10:26 am

    I am sorry to hear you are having a rough time right now. I am sure a strong woman like you will be able to overcome everything.
    The changes you will try to implement are surely challenging. I will certainly follow your progress with great interest as I have myself had a few health issues that have surfaced lately. That’s why a food blog is so great, I was able to go back and see where the problems were. I believe I also have been eating too much dairy and while like you I don’t want to give it up completely, in the next few weeks I will consciously reduce my consumption of cheese.

    Thank you for sharing the good and the bad, you are a great inspiration.
    Good luck on Sunday!

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind March 11, 2010, 10:28 am

    Wow this conversation just had me doing roughly a million Google searches. Why was it suggested you drink WARM water? Is it just easier on your body? Also, the dairy thing freaks me out a bit, considering I eat A LOT of it. Does anyone know where I can find reputable information on dairy’s effects? I’ve heard before that cutting out dairy can be good, but I’ve never heard it from a trusted source.

    Sometimes, dietary recommendations are so frustrating to me. I feel like it all depends on who you talk to. As soon as I’ve done enough research to convince myself cutting something out of/adding something to my diet is a good idea, I come across a study that suggests doing the exact opposite is more beneficial.

    Grrr! Inquiring minds want to know! 😉

    P.S. It’s been said several times, but sorry times are tough for ya right now, Caitlin. I have a feeling the toughness is compounded by the fact that there’s a certain level of expectation for you to be Polly Positive on your blog. (At least I put that pressure on myself – I hate writing Debbie Downer posts, even though I do it sometimes.)

    ANYWAY! (geez, small novel here)

    I’m saying a prayer for you, and I KNOW things will look up for you soon, because you’re such a GENUINELY positive and great person. 🙂

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:01 am

      thanks 🙂

      cold water is apparently a shock to your system, while warm water is gentler and doesn’t diminish your chi (if you wanna get all chinese medicine!).

      most sources are heavily influenced by the milk and dairy industry. i would just try doing your own research and reading different points of view to come to a conclusion. i’ve heard the china study is a really good read!

  • Heather (The Single Dish) March 11, 2010, 10:31 am

    Tough times are hard, I hope this time passes quickly for you. Good luck with the dietary changes. I was told by a doctor to cut back on caffine because it was making my glands swell and tender! Strange! Anyway, hang in there.

  • Kelly March 11, 2010, 10:32 am

    Good luck making those changes. I could also never give up dairy, I eat yogurt and cheese every day.

  • carolyn~ March 11, 2010, 10:38 am

    I hope that things begin looking up for you. I think the hardest thing is being told to give up something versus if you decided it on your own.

    Interesting that you talk about caffiene. I just read a post this morning from the San Francisco Marathon blog about eliminating caffiene while training to get better sleep.

    Good luck with your changes…

  • Chelsea March 11, 2010, 10:39 am

    Ok, I need to make sure I have got this right…I do drink lots of water, and I do perfer it room temperature or warm. However, I also enjoy a few cups of green tea a day since I cut my coffee habit. Is this an unhealthy way to think that I am getting fluids? Maybe I should have only one cuppa tea a day instead of many? I have been suffering with some “down in the dumps” times (because I refuse to call it depression) due to some health problems as well as the ‘ol family issues too, so I feel like I can benefit from your changes. Can you give some more meal ideas with less dairy…ugh, I LOVE cheese. On the “eat more fish” note, does eatting more eggs instead really provide the same healthy doses that fish does? I perfer eggs over fish too. Maybe a little Q&A with the doc would be nice!! Thanks Caitlin

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:59 am

      the doctors said i cannot replace regular water with tea or coffee.

      in general, three cups of green tea is fine, but the husband says you should mix it up with other teas (like black). 🙂

      and there will be tons of meal ideas with less dairy soon!

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' March 11, 2010, 10:41 am

    I think those sound like great suggestions! I’ve started drinking warm water with a slice of lemon in the morning, and it is such a nice ritual. The lemon is extra-alkalizing for your body, especially before drinking caffeine!

    I’ve cut back to having coffee as a “treat” on the weekends, and have switched to green tea during the week. Take it slow! Caffeine-withdrawal headaches stink. 🙁

    And cutting back on dairy was kinda hard for me, too! Cheese was the hardest– but then I discovered that goat cheese is way easier on your body! I think I read somewhere that it doesn’t have the protein casien, so it doesn’t “gum up” your body the way cow’s dairy does. Try Alta Dena or Shiloh Farms Raw Goat Cheddar! It’s sold as a block of hard cheese, and shreds and melts like the traditional stuff! It has saved my life. 😀

    Good luck with your changes!!

  • Amy March 11, 2010, 10:43 am

    Caitlin – do you think you’re overtraining? Here are some common symptoms – sounds like you have a few:

    Common warning signs of overtraining include:

    •Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
    •Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
    •Pain in muscles and joints
    •Sudden drop in performance
    •Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
    •Decrease in training capacity / intensity
    •Moodiness and irritability
    •Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
    •Decreased appetite
    •Increased incidence of injuries

    Its just a thought!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 10:55 am

      No, I don’t think I’m overtraining. My problems are unfortunately real.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:02 am

      Sorry, my response typed out rudely and I didn’t mean it to. Thanks for your concern. I wish the answer was just to cut back on exercise. 🙁

  • Jacquie March 11, 2010, 10:48 am

    I obviously had to go through a lot of dietary changes when I was in recovering, but I think the best way for me to do it was like you, do them in a way that makes sense for your tastes and lifestyle. So dairy might be harming you, cut back, but if you love dairy, there’s no reason to cut it out. That’s why even going vegetarian or vegan can be in baby steps because a drastic change can cause a feeling of loss and you then crave those things.
    Take it easy love!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople March 11, 2010, 10:51 am

    I used to have major problems sleeping, and I drank one Diet Coke a day. I never drank or ate a single other thing with caffeine in it. So now, I don’t have any caffeine in my diet and sleeping has never been easier. Who knew? Apparently they did!

    The hardest thing for me would be the dairy thing. I don’t see myself being able to get enough protein! I get about 60-80 grams a day and that’s with me having about two greek yogurts a day! I don’t eat faux meat, as I try to eat as clean as possible. I eat nuts in moderation, I can’t eat too many eggs because they cause gastrointestinal distress.

    I hope making these changes helps you feel better! Even though they won’t get rid of the personal stuff that is plaguing you so. You’ll be in my prayers!

  • Amy @ Second City Randomness March 11, 2010, 10:52 am

    Good luck with taking in less caffeine. I agree- it’s a vicious cycle! For awhile, I had gotten off of coffee completely and switched to mostly green tea… but that didn’t last long unfortunately. Now I have my cup of coffee, but it’s a considerably smaller cup (on most days) and it’s only one vs. the two I used to pound.

    A doctor never asked me to, but I made the effort to cut out a lot of meat consumption (which is huge for me because I lived on a cattle farm of all places growing up!). Now I only have it a few times a week, and I really do think it makes me feel so much better! Almost refreshed? Either way, I prefer my diet this way!

  • Shellybean March 11, 2010, 10:56 am

    I’ve never had a Dr. suggest that I change my diet to better my health, but one of the main reasons I eat the way that I do is b/c it positively impacts my health.
    In terms of mental health, I find that eating healthy food at the same time every day (and not letting myself get hungry) paired with working out at least 3 times a week do the trick for controlling my mood swings. When that gets out of whack, so does my mood. Of course, I think I’m preaching to the choir telling you this. 🙂
    I will say that I am the queen of drinking plenty of water. I have 32 oz. bottle on my desk that I fill and empty twice a day. I also drink a glass of water in the morning and a couple of glasses in the evening. (Warning: drinking anything too late at night will make you get up and pee in the middle of the night. I do anyway b/c the thought of “I shouldn’t drink water this late” makes me thirsty!)
    As for alcohol and sleep- I like to have a glass of wine in the evening, and I used to take a benadryl in the evening as well before going to bed (I have allergies and benadryl makes me drowsy). When I needed to lose some weight last year, I cut out the wine except on weekends and my allergies weren’t bugging me so I skipped the benadryl and woke up in the morning feeling amazing compared to how I normally feel. I still have wine a few nights a week, but I do notice that I am much more refreshed in the morning if I haven’t had any booze the night before- and the effect is worse with Benadryl (even by itself), so I try not to take it at all anymore.
    I am a really good sleeper though and I do practice all of the “good sleep” habits you hear about- the bed is only for sleep and romantic time (I don’t even read in bed), I don’t drink caffeine after noon, no TV in the bedroom, etc…

  • Kristin P. March 11, 2010, 10:57 am

    My acupuncturist made a lot of dietary suggestions including drinking warm water. I have been doing it for awhile now (I never got into doing it in the morning) but throughout the day at work I get warm water. Also, I love a latte in the morning but I keep it to one latte and thats it. Just water or herbal tea for the rest of the day. I used to have a really hard time falling and staying asleep but its much easier for me now. Good luck!

  • Jessica March 11, 2010, 10:59 am

    Hmmm i’m so excited to see how you handle these changes!! Those doctors in preventive medicine know wassup– i will admit 🙂

    The warm water may be kinda gaggy, but try adding lemon to it! I bet that’d make it tastier.
    And maybe you’ll be able to incorporate more dairy back into your diet once things start to get better….maybe its just too much on top of all this stress you’re experiencing! I’m sorry about whatever’s going on, by the way!! Have a great day love!

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self March 11, 2010, 11:00 am

    This is why I want to read more about Chinese/non-Western medicine. I love that they emphasize the connection between emotional and physical well-being. Obviously I think that’s important, considering my blog is called Health for the WHOLE SELF. 🙂

    I think the dehydration thing is really important. I’ve heard that our bodies benefit ten times more when we’re taking in water slowly throughout the day, instead of in large intakes every now and then (such as when exercising).

    And one more thing about non-Western medicine. Every (Western) doctor I’ve ever been to has encouraged me to eat MORE dairy – at LEAST 3 servings – because of the calcium. But like you said, there are other, better ways to get calcium that don’t have some of the negative side effects that come with consuming lots of dairy.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:03 am

      western doctors’ views on dairy are heavily influenced by the meat and dairy industry. just saying.

      • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self March 11, 2010, 11:11 am

        So true! We like to think that doctors aren’t biased, but that is definitely not the case!

        I basically meant that they always tell me to eat more dairy, even though my understanding is that that isn’t really the healthiest thing.

        • Eliza March 11, 2010, 2:10 pm

          all other ‘animals’ are weaned off dairy soon after birth. I look at it that way, we don’t need it, but some lean dairy can be beneficial to our bodies- and tastes good!

  • Orla March 11, 2010, 11:01 am

    Caitlin I really hope that you start to feel better soon. 🙂
    I cut coffee and tea out of my diet a couple of years ago and I felt great for it. It slowly creeped back into my daily routine but I found that cutting it out to once a week helped. I buy the very best coffee I can get my hands on now and on a Sunday morning after exercise I sit with a coffee and the papers for a while.
    I also have stage 4 endometriosis and have “unpredictable” PMS.I was recommended by my doctor that 100mg of Vitamin B6 per day would help with moods and hormones as would evening primrose oil (I take 1000mg per day)
    THe B6 really help and I swear by the EPO.
    Hope that either of these help.

  • KatieTX March 11, 2010, 11:11 am

    Sorry you are going through hard times. Have you read the many magazine articles out there about sleep ritual? Like no computer for an hour before bed, no lights in the bedroom, no dogs in the bed (gasp!), drinking warm water before bed, etc. Also, try yoga!! The breathing and meditation is amazing for your emotions and calming your mind! I agree with the person above me about B vitamins, but you probably already know about those! good luck!!

  • steph March 11, 2010, 11:12 am

    Caitlin- so sorry you’re going through a rough time right now. Just thought this would be a great time to let you know this is one of my favorite blogs to read, first of all just because i think you’re so cute and funny!

    but what i mostly respect is how REAL you are. i know healthy living blogs are obviously meant to inspire people to have healthy habits, but i loved that you once admitted to having a few drags of a cigarette (sorry to bring it up again haha). we ALL do “bad” things sometimes and i find it so refreshing that you are not one of those people who walk by a smoker and have a fake coughing fit. obviously smoking is unhealthy/gross- but it’s there. seems silly but that just made me love you even more! hopefully you get out of this funk soon! <3

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:23 am

      oh man. i have a really good post coming up about cigs at lunch! you will like it 🙂

      thank you!

  • M. March 11, 2010, 11:23 am

    I understand your point Steph, but have to say I honestly DO have coughing fits when I walk past smokers…
    I just didn’t want all the smokers of the world to think that some of us with asthma were faking coughing to be rude or make a point!
    I know it such a tiny point to make, but if you knew how many people allergic(asthmatic reaction to) to smoke really suffer when they have to walk behind a smoker or walk by those smoking outside their work-it really affects my health a lot.
    Thanks for listening!(and I agree with your main point that Caitlin is refreshing in her honestly written blog where her candor really makes me smile !

  • Emmanuelle March 11, 2010, 11:23 am

    Sorry to hear you’re going through tough times, hope things will get better soon!
    I hear you on dairy, I’ve been thinking a lot about cutting down lately, there are days on which like you I can have up to 3 servings a day, and others when I have “only” one or two. A Dr. also told me once I should cut down as my belly is not a fan, but I love the stuff too much!

    I totally agree with you on the pressure from the meat and dairy industry, here in France and Belgium we regularly have those adds on tv encouraging us to eat dairy at every meal, “les produits laitiers sont nos amis pour la vie” (“dairy is our BFF”, to sum it up), and it drives me crazy! I also read that as adults, we don’t process calcium from animal sources anymore so it’s pointless to use dairy as calcium source (I eat dairy for protein and oh well it’s good), I can’t remember where it was, I’ll have to do some research here.

    Anyway I hope all your changes will work for you, good luck!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs March 11, 2010, 11:23 am

    When you said yesterday about all the dietry changes you were thinking about making, I just thought ‘wtf!!??’ cos you seem to eat so well! But now I can see where they are coming from with the water and the caffeine – not so much the dairy though..I don’tquite get the deal with why dairy is so bad for you!? Maybe you could do a post about it?
    I’ll be interested to hear how the sleeping improves too, cos I’m having trouble sleeping (and I definetly don’t drink enough!) so yeah – can’t wait to hear what comes of all this!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:24 am

      i’ll get the hus to write a post about it soon!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] March 11, 2010, 11:35 am

    I am NOT a fan of nut butter in my oatmeal either, but your creative strawberry mash sounds really yummy!

  • cara March 11, 2010, 11:37 am

    my doctor told me my stomach issues were from stress (I was 16), turned out it was food allergies. So I stopped listening to him. But another doctor told me to eat more yogurt, oatmeal and fiber and I do listen to that. I need to work on more water as well! I always feel thirsty even though I drink 1 – 2 liters a day minimum.

  • Denise (the apple hill adventurer) March 11, 2010, 11:39 am

    just remember
    this too shall pass

    i have wanted to try sweet quinoa for a while now. now that i have conquered the savory, i think its about time i give it a Go!

  • M. March 11, 2010, 11:43 am

    I have read so many good things about natural, plain yogurt.
    How does asian medicine view the benefits of yogurt?

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 11:47 am

      i think this is a complicated answer, but basically it’s not an ideal food because its cold and damp and for most people, that causes problems.

  • Carrie H March 11, 2010, 11:43 am

    Caitlin, I hope whatever the circumstances are that are bothering you get better soon. My 90 year old granddad (who I love and adore and think is the best person I have ever met) told me once that a MacBeth quote got him through his roughest combat time in WWII, watching his friends die and suffering through his own life-threatening injury. I have that quote on my fridge, and read it almost every day and think of him and all that I have because of him, and know I can make it.

    “Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”

  • Nutritious Foodie March 11, 2010, 11:48 am

    Intresting suggestions and I can completely understand as why they were made.

    I can’t drink cold liquids.. so I always drink room temperature or warm water at all times.

  • marge March 11, 2010, 11:50 am

    I have been anemic for several years and Western doctors are unable to explain the deficiency. They know it isn’t diet based because of its severity and think it points to an internal injury. But after many tests to my digestive track, they were unable to locate the problem. I have since gone to an accupuncturist and even had a “Doctor” look at my blood on a qualitative level. He basically told me I should mostly eat like a cow–all greens, grasses, sprouts, and mostly raw. He believed that my blood was suffering from dairy, wheat, sugar, and alcohol. So mostly raw AND red meat about 3 times a month is good, for its source of b-12. He somewhat seemed like a quack, but I did incorporate more greens into my diet, as I have always loved them. It does make me feel better. I also avoided milk, but still have yogurt and cheese occassionaly which I believe are better forms of milk because they have more enzymes and culture. Goat cheese and sheep’s as well is known to be more digestible than cow’s.

    My accupuncturist thought I was running too much. At the time, I was running about 25 miles a week. I have since cut down because I actually felt like I was always pushing myself. My runs weren’t feeling as easy as they used to be. I started more strength training and I still haven’t gotten around to yoga like I promised I would. The accupuncturist and the raw-foodist blood doctor both explained that exercise is a form of stress. I believe it is, but I also need it! It keeps me feeling alive! When I mentally checked out of it though, I felt I had to listen to myself a bit more.

    Caitlin, you seem to have such a healthy grip on things. You seem so balanced! I hope you aren’t worrying too much about your health, as you seem to do a great job. (As you know very well, obsessing over health brings over even more issues.) I love that you always have an action plan and goals in mind. I think you will do well. I like where you are going with B vitamins, as you mentioned you are trying to take more often. I think it should help, especially since you cannot get B-12 as a vegetarian. It is essential that you take them as they make your food more bio-available–very important for athletes!

    Please know that your thoughtfulness and considerate attitude rub off on your readers. Your blog really helps to keep me level-headed and I thank you for sharing and giving so much.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 12:05 pm

      thank you SO much for your thoughtful comment. i really appreciate it!

      and i’m sooo glad acupuncture helped you – how awesome.

  • Anne March 11, 2010, 11:53 am

    I will be interesting to hear how cutting down on dairy works for you. I am dairy dependent too!
    Acupuncture and massage in one night? Sounds intense to me!

  • Heather March 11, 2010, 11:59 am

    I think it’s great you are recognizing what you need to do to change your habits and see if doing these things work for you. From personal experience, I can tell you a few things:

    I originally went vegan for health reasons. I had been a vegetarian for approximately 9 years when I started eating meat again (because I’ll probably get flamed for saying this, but I *LIKE* the taste of meat – I just can’t get behind the factory farming and really, inhumane murder, so eating free-range organic meat wouldn’t cut it out for me) — anyway, I was hardcore lactose intolerant and it got to a point where even taking Lactaid before meals was not working. I cut out dairy slowly and got rid of cheese and milk and kept eating yogurt and kefir and noticed that the dairy with healthy bacteria didn’t really mess with my system the way stuff higher in saturated fat did.
    I also used to drink A LOT of caffeine. Three cups of coffee in the morning (well, I drink like 1/2 coffee and 1/2 non-dairy milk, but still) and lots of black tea. I still drink coffee occasionally, but have started drinking rooibos tea. It’s the only tea I’ve found that has no caffeine but still tastes kind of “dark” like black tea or something. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea because it’s kind of bitter. Rooibos tea with a little sweetener of choice + non-dairy milk reminds me of coffee. It’s so good! But yeah, in the end, upping my water helped with feeling dehydrated. I also started juicing a lot, but that was more about creating a caffeine “buzz” and giving me energy — green smoothies help in a similar way, I think.

    Anyway, good luck with all of this! I know you know this, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. You are the most important person in your life (and also to your mom, dad, husband and Maggie & James) so even though things are hectic and stressful, don’t forget to do things for yourself — bubble baths, acupuncture, massages, leisure walks with the pups, etc. Take care! <3

  • Julie March 11, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for being so honest about the emotional stress that you are going through right now. I read your blog and a few others pretty religiously and have gotten a TON of inspiration from you and to know that you are experiencing that really conforts me b/c my personal life right now is completely upside down and its been hard to make choices like exercise and not going out for dinner/lunch everyday when those are the only things I feel I can enjoy.
    I wanted to bring up what I am doing for my stress, and I didn’t read through everyone’s comments to see if it was mentioned, but I am going to counseling. Not sure if this would apply to your situation, but I have experienced some great clarity and some definite release of the stress in my life. I have great friends and family and even a wonderful fiancee who I share things with regulary, but really having a weekly meeting with someone who is 100% dedicated to hearing me out, helping me sort through what I am experiencing and come to a resoultion, even if its a tiny one, has helped immensely.
    I wanted to say this here, especially since a part of this blog and the operational beautiful blog is so focused on changing our preconceived notions or societal norms, and boy is there a “stigma” attached with therapy (BTW I REFUSE to call is therapy but instead I call it counseling, b/c I have to power to make these changes/decisions, I just need some help!)
    So there it is, just to let you know that I know where you are coming from and that while I truly hope you find some release or relief in the changes in your diet, that going and talking with a counselor is OK and really can help.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 12:06 pm

      i agree with you. i’ve been looking into therapists in my area. i think its a good idea not to unload on the people in your life but to take it out on a professional 😉 i’m glad you’re getting the help you need, too!

  • Sarah @ THE FOODIE DIARIES March 11, 2010, 12:05 pm

    A loooot of doctors have told me to give up dairy bc of GI problems–but whenever I’ve tried, I’ve not noticed a big difference. And I’ve been suppppaaaaah cranky because I sort of live for cheese and yogurt.

    I think you’re approached your changes in a very realistic way–and I can’t wait to hear how it all works out for you!

  • Allison March 11, 2010, 12:16 pm

    You might also try improving your “sleep hygeine” too- limiting alcohol and caffeine like you’ve been told, only using your bed for sleep, getting up and going to bed at the same time, getting off the computer 30 minutes before you go to sleep, etc.

  • Jenny March 11, 2010, 12:25 pm

    I just finished reading Taking Control of Your Fertility and will be interested to see what you think about it. I went off hormonal birth control last summer and have been amazed at how much better I feel now. Irritability, night sweats, headaches, and frequent weight changes were all contributing to near depression like symptoms for me. Without birth control pills, I feel like a new woman! And I like being in control of my health and my body. I hate that some in the medical community are so anxious to treat symptoms instead of deal with the actual cause of the problem. Just my 2 cents. Really enjoy your blog!

    • Jenny March 11, 2010, 12:36 pm

      Sorry, check that – Taking CHARGE of your Fertility. I’m so excited about taking control and taking charge that I got the words confused! Haha! 😉

      • Ashley March 11, 2010, 12:50 pm

        I have been thinking about getting off BC for some time now. I also loved that post. I think i’m about to take the plunge but am definitely scared that my body is going to be out of whack! I hope it goes as smoothly for me as it did for you!

        • Jenny March 11, 2010, 1:05 pm

          My doctor said it could take 6-12 months for my body to go back to “normal.” It took me about 6 months, but was really worth it in the long run. GOOD LUCK!

  • Tami March 11, 2010, 12:40 pm

    i have been drinking warm water for months now. get a pretty container, i got a cool one at the thrift store for .99 with a cover, and leave it out on your counter.

  • Eva March 11, 2010, 12:47 pm

    My acupuncturist also told me that re: water in the morning– only she suggested room temperature water or a little warm (never cold). I’ve found it really does make a difference!!

  • Ashley March 11, 2010, 12:49 pm

    Have you tried Goats Dairy at all? I have heard that it is much more tolerable than cow’s dairy. I know the taste is MUCH different though. I wonder the doc’s thoughts on that. I just know people with cow’s dairy allergies that can easily tolerate goat products. I have even seen goat milk mozzarella! And, I just had a friend, who is an acupuncturist, tell me how TERRible it is to consume COLD foods. I don’t like iced beverages but I do like smoothies + ice cream, etc. I would have never guessed! I will try the warm water as well. Definitely easy to get down than ice cold in the AM. I’m not even going to get into the health changes I’ve made b/c this is already WAY too long 😉

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 12:50 pm

      i have not tried goats dairy – maybe i should.

      and yes, they hate cold stuff with a passion.

  • Salina March 11, 2010, 12:49 pm

    I’m sure you will find what works for you…I hope everything works out for you in your personal life =)

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 11, 2010, 12:53 pm

    I always drink warm/luke warm water. It makes me feel like a grandma and everyone makes fun of me but it’s just more pleasant for my mouth, esophagus, tummy etc. I don’t drink it while or after working out though…no way jose.

    YOU ARE A STRONG WOMAN CUTTING BACK ON DAIRY!!!! I am bowing my head to you right now. I eat dairy all the live long day and love it just as much as you–if not more. You can do it though and if it ends up helping you, then it’ll be worth it (maaaybe) 🙂

  • Frannie March 11, 2010, 12:54 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I know I’m late to comment on this post, and I didn’t have time to read all of the previous comments. I just wanted to tell you that I’ve also struggled with sleep disorders and I found a natural solution for myself. I tried OTC sleep aids, Ambien, Lunesta (with horrible sleepwalking and sleep activities as side effects), and they didn’t work. My super-hippie aunt (I love her) recommended melatonin, which is a supplement, and it is my lifesaver. I take 3 mg when I have trouble sleeping – it’s nonadditive, I have zero side effects, and the best part is that if I have to, I can fight it and stay away – like if the house burns down, I’m not dead-to-the-world, but I WANT to sleep. They also have 1 mg and 5 mg dosages, so you could try it and see if it helps. Good luck!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 12:57 pm

      i have been using that but it gives me CRAZY dreams.

      • Katie March 11, 2010, 2:12 pm

        It gives me crazy dreams tooo!

    • Jennifer R. March 22, 2010, 3:30 pm

      You could try Valerian root, to help with sleep… or even GABA (it helps calm the mind if you have a lot of thoughts in your head). Melatonin is not good to take on a regular basis.

  • Kim March 11, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Like you, I love my dairy. I sometimes have 3 servings a day, easy. I’ve heard how bad this can be, but I think it’s what works for me. I need calcium and protein! I guess going vegetarian was my biggest dietary change. I was used to having turkey sandwiches for lunch almost every day, so I’ve been much more creative with sandwiches and wraps. I don’t miss turkey at all now!
    Anyway, I think it’s good that you heard their suggestions and realized how to incorporate them in a way that works for you. I hope you start to feel better! I’ve struggled with sleeping in the past and I know how much of a toll that can take!

  • Kailey (SnackFace) March 11, 2010, 1:09 pm

    I applaud you for sharing this and for seeking natural measures. Not that I would expect anything else from you, but I still think it’s awesome.

    I’ve done the vegan thing, then vegetarian and now I’m wanting to go back to more vegan again. I noticed that dairy often makes me nauseated and it’s messing with my skin. (Well, that or the cold weather, I must figure it out.) I also noticed that there are so many incredible alternatives, there there’s no sense in my eating dairy. Then again, if I want some Greek yogurt/ smoked gouda/ frozen yog, I’m going to have it. Basically, I GOT YO BACK!

    The only dietary recommendations doctors have told me was to eat more. Not a problem now!

    I could really treat myself better when it comes to sleep though (four hours last night???).

  • Susan March 11, 2010, 1:14 pm

    First, I’m sorry you’re going through a bad period right now 🙁 BUT being able to recognize it and start taking steps to make it better is a huge step in a positive direction 🙂

    I’ve never heard that about warm water before! I actually just read that cold water first thing in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism.

    As for the dairy thing – TOFU!! It’s got both calcium and protein. Double whammy 🙂

  • kat March 11, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Thanks for being so honest! It takes guts to put that out there, especially for everyone to read about! It sounds like you have some good changes to make- I think taking charge will help you feel more balanced. I am glad to hear though that you didn’t blindly take everything recommended to heart. You know your body and your values.

    Good luck and can’t wait for the updates!

  • Reenie March 11, 2010, 1:22 pm

    No way could I, or would I give up my milk! I can go thru a gallon in 4 days:)

    Hugs to you Caitlin.

  • Sarah March 11, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I suffer pretty badly from heartburn so I finally made the switch from coffee to tea about 8 months ago. I am a coffee fanatic but the acidity of it was killing me. It was a sad day but I knew that if I didn’t do it I would never relieve the acid reflux and I would be putting myself at a greater risk for other health problems.

  • Robyn March 11, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I’m sorry that you’ve been going through some things. It seems you have a lot in limbo right now – the hubbby just about done with school, moving, your book getting close to publication, the triathlon and the other races you’re training for. Limbo is hard – we’re moving in July to a new city (never lived anywhere else), the husband’s set to finish his masters in May, I have my first 5K coming up in a few weeks, I’m waiting out my hormones to see if my acne clears up, and I’ve recently given up dairy to see if that will help with some of the allergy problems I have each year. We’re asked to be patient and to just deal, but with so much up in the air and so much waiting, patience can be in very short supply. I do think that talking to someone might help. Between my husband (best friend #1) and my best girl friend, I’ve got it covered, thankfully. I hope you are encouraged by what everyone here has had to say.
    Also, I just wanted to say that, as with Jenny above, getting off birth control was by far the best thing I could have done for my health and sanity, especially since I was on Yaz and have recently found out that some of the things I was experiencing may have been caused by the Yaz. But I feel more like the Robyn I used to be. Even though I have horrible sleep habits (something I’m working on), I don’t feel so awful like I used to on the pill,i feel more motivated, lost weight almost immediately, and have had much fewer headaches. Between using to help me track my cycle and send me email reminders and using condoms, it’s been good so far. Full disclosure – after going off the pill, I have developed the worse acne I have ever had in my entire life. It it is not horrible, but for someone who didn’t have much, this has been hard to deal with. That being said, it has confirmed to me why I had been feeling so bad – my hormones were so out of balance from the pill and now my body is trying to right itself. I read that it can take about a year for the hormones to achieve some normalcy – i’m halfway there. I just started making green smoothies last week and have noticed a difference already in my face – fewer pimples, scars fading, and the tone evening out. Thanks for recommending those for acne.
    As for the dairy -free bit, the thing I miss most is cheese. I have substitute milk and ice cream, but the substitute cheeses I hear are far from cheese-tasting and so I have had to make adjustments. Like i’m going to try my hand at making cheese-less pizza tomorrow and I’m hoping to figure out a way to make an omelet without cheese. I recommend She has been so helpful to me, and I plan to buy her book to help me even more.
    Sorry for the dissertation. Hope it all works out. Take care.

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 1:47 pm

      thank you for the thoughtful comment!

  • Amy @ Running in Pink March 11, 2010, 1:51 pm

    Sorry to hear you are having some emotional issues at the moment – i really do hope you feel brighter soon.

    Thank you for your honesty, i think we can all relate to how you feel at some point in our lives and it is not very nice.

    I have not made a food change other than become Vegetarian but i do strongly believe in the power of food and water because of what happened to my mom recently – she was experiencing really bad stomach/kidney pains, she went to the dr who carried out a number of tests and one was for cancer. Whilst she waited for the results and for her scan, the dr advised her to cut out all caffeine and use a fibre drink.

    By the time her scan came up this week it was all clear and my mom feels 200% better, the cancer test was also all clear! My mom swears that it was the caffeine causing her so much discomfort (and as far back as i can remember she loves a proper good cup of English strong tea!)

    I plan to see a professional nutritionalist in the future and as i know that my diet is not fantastic.

    Sorry i blabbed on a bit didn’t I? Hope you feel 200% better soon too x

    • Emily March 11, 2010, 2:05 pm

      That is so interesting about your mom! Thanks for sharing & I’m glad she’s okay 🙂

  • Kate March 11, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Wow–I don’t know what you are going through (good luck with whatever it is), but your emotional state sounds exactly like mine! Especially the waking zombie/crying at a drop of a hat part. Even though the though of drinking warm water first thing in the AM makes me gag, I will give it a try for a week.

  • Emily March 11, 2010, 2:03 pm

    Good for you! I add lemon juice to my hot water when I’m on a hot water kick. I do try (and figure it’d be a good habit to get in to) but get out of the habit so easily. With the dairy, I was advised to give it up at the same time as I had to give up soy. The only thing I truly miss now is (and I apologize in advance if it gives you a craving) strawberry cheesecake haagan dazs. I wound up eating avocados, blended bananas etc, and not missing dairy at all. I didn’t want to wind up going nut heavy, so some days blend veggies til they’re creamy etc. I quit soy and instantly felt better, but with dairy it took me longer as I think I look(ed) to it for comfort. I do still dabble with the above named sin, but after a while found I didn’t miss dairy. If you’re not planning on eliminating it entirely, I reckon you’ll manage just fine. As for caffeine, I wound up blending in green and blacks cocoa powder into my smoothies as a way to start the day off to a warming start 🙂 I hope you start to feel the benefits soon!

  • Bree@beeskneeslife March 11, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing and being so honest. I have had some craziness in my personal life lately too and my sleep has suffered the last few months. I cut back on caffeine (coffee) and only have it in the morning now, but have thought about cutting back more to see what happens. I hope things start to get better for you – and thanks again for sharing because reading all of the comments helped me out, too!

  • Katie March 11, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I’m so sorry that you are struggling with some emotional issues. I know firsthand how taxing that can be. I hope things improve!!

    The first two changes seem simple enough. Good luck with the third one though!! :)I’ve recently been trying to cut back on dairy and its not the easiest thing.

  • Laura March 11, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Biggest dietary change- being put on an NG tube for 5 weeks to kick start my gluten free trial ;( Caitlin, I know you are getting enough, but I just wondered, have you thought about slightly increasing sources of protein that are rich in tryptophan- the precursor to serotonin e.g nuts, beans, tofu, seeds, wheat germ? Maybe that might help with mood, sleep etc? Also, has your husband suggested anything like melatonin for the sleep? Hang on in there, you’re a star!

  • Lauren @ Running Examiner March 11, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Poor thing 🙁 Take care of yourself, and I hope you feel better. External forces really can do a huge number on our health and wellness. I’ve definitely been there; I’m sure everyone here has been there.

    That being said, you’ve outlined such a practical, clear-headed approach to bettering yourself. How great of you to realize in the midst of anxiety/stress that you need to implement some healthy changes. I’m positive you’ll be successful with these.

  • liane March 11, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you are going through some tough times 🙁

    I am in the middle of packing up my life & moving to a new city, and I’ve totally found that the healthy eating component has been sorely lacking. This post really made me stop and think about how I need to get back on track! Thanks!

  • Tara March 11, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Hey there! I have not been keeping up with the comments so I don’t know what all has been said regarding this post, but this is great time to ask you if you’ve heard of the new book called “The Butcher and the Vegetarian” – it’s written by a blogger (Tea & Cookies) and it’s a wonderful account of her vegetarianism and subsequent meat consumption. I’m like 1/3 of the way through it and find it really interesting! I thought I’d suggest it to you – I’d love to hear what you think of it!

    Also – I can’t wait to hear an update on the warm water in the morning thing… how warm is warm? Are you supposed to run hot water from the tap, or boil and let it cool to “warm”? I think Chinese/Alternative medicine is SO COOL!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 2:43 pm

      like, lukewarm. just not cold. i just heated my water up in the microwave for a minute.

      • Tara March 11, 2010, 2:48 pm

        oh, funny! I always drink tap water that’s cool not cold. By the time I get to the bottom of the cup, it’s room-temp and I love it! Much easier to drink that way, I think.

  • greenbean March 11, 2010, 2:38 pm

    why warm water? just curious

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 2:42 pm

      its easier on your stomach than cold water.

  • Tay March 11, 2010, 2:39 pm

    My apologies for whatever it is that’s stressing you out in life. Stay strong and I’m sending get well/strength vibes your way!! I also really admire your approach to this way of healthy living/eating. You’re not taking it all too seriously and eliminating dairy or caffeine completely. But you’re going to enjoy it in moderation – which is always key 😀 Power to ya.

  • Madison March 11, 2010, 2:47 pm

    I must say that aside from the drinking more water thing, the other 2 changes will take some getting use to. I am not able to eat dairy due to health reasons and miss it from time to time as I use to eat the stuff all the time. I guess it was easy for me to give it up because it was causing me so much pain and grief. I think you are right on track with eating less of it gradually.

    I use to drink warm water all the time when I was trying to cut coffee. I think sometimes I just craved some warm liquid. I use to get alot of grief at coffee places/restaurants when I just ordered “hot/warm” water instead of a drink.

  • Elaine March 11, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I’m excited to see how you reduce dairy. As someone who’s lactose intolerant, it’s discouraging reading health and veg or semi-veg blogs that hardly ever post a recipe that doesn’t include cheese or yogurt. You know that though, that’s why you didn’t go vegan.

  • carrie March 11, 2010, 3:32 pm

    best of luck, caitlin. Ive been on here lurking for a while, and I’m trying to make the same adjustments. It seems like you have some “dampness” going on… me too. I’ve been doing acupuncture and taking chinese herbs for quite a few months now. My acupuncturist has been trying to get me to give up dairy for ages… Im working on it, or rather lessening my dairy consumption. but man, i love my greek yogurt!

    youre not alone… in fact, ill go have some hot water now.

  • Lauren March 11, 2010, 3:59 pm

    Caitlin, I don’t know exactly what is going on, but I do know one thing- many, many people are magnesium deficient. This will not register on a blood test unless you are deathly low, but it can have a HUGE impact!!! I saw a Ph.D. who specializes in functional medicine (looks at the body holistically in conjunction with the mind). Some symptoms include headaches, muscle aches/spasms, frequent urination, constipation, eye twitches, difficulty sleeping/insomnia, feeling like you need to take a deep breath/sighing a lot, hiccups the list goes on and on. Google can tell you more. 🙂 Also, exercise uses up a lot of our magnesium and our calcium : magnesium ratio should be 2:1. When you look at foods, many of them such as dairy can have ratios up 25:1, leaving people (especially those with low magnesium)to feel very ill. It might be something for you to look into further, and remember, blood tests only show you if your magnesium is deathly low, so don’t go by that- go by your symptoms. Good luck!

    • Caitlin March 11, 2010, 4:01 pm

      thank you for this tip!

  • Samantha March 11, 2010, 4:07 pm

    Hoping some of the changes help you feel better and the things that are weighing on your heart and mind do as well.

    I was sent to a base nutritionist that was no help at all. She told me the reason for my weight gain was adding carbs back into my diet after restriction for so long…then promptly provided me with a meal plan that doubled the amount of carbs, and contained plenty of “fake” options like sugar free jello. Needless to say I’m still 10-15lbs from where my body needs to be, but I’m eating whole foods and not sweating it like I did before!

  • Nicci@NiftyEats March 11, 2010, 5:09 pm

    Ihoe this phase wil pass soon and you will be able to get more sleep dear. I don’t rely on coffee or drink it very much, but I feel you on the water. I’ve started logging my water intake. I was getting sleeep, being dehydrated along with the bad headaches as well. I tend to replace meat wih many dairy products too. I hope these changes will help you too.

  • christy from pittsburgh March 11, 2010, 6:08 pm

    I’m from seattle so I love my coffee! however, lately, all of a sudden, i just stopped drinking coffee (mainly bc the hospital coffee is so bad that it was pointless for me to drink it). I noticed that i’m a lot happier at work. my temper is way better. i’m less anxious. I drink tea now, and I love it! try cutting out coffee for a few days and see how you feel!

  • Tass March 11, 2010, 7:49 pm


    Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve had very similar issues since 9/11 and have never attempted to seek medical help. It would come and go (getting better the warmer and sunnier it got). I’m not an endurance athlete so I can’t imagine the havoc this is causing you but I wish you luck and will try to implement your dietary changes into my own, perhaps it will help.

    Thanks so much again for sharing, you are an amazing being!

  • Jes March 11, 2010, 9:05 pm

    I am so sorry that you are going through a tough time, and I hope everything gets better soon! I admire you for cutting back on caffeine. I have been considering doing that myself. I am curious about how giving up dairy is beneficial (I’m not knocking it, just honestly curious). I will have to check that out, although I’m not sure I could fully give it up. Perhaps you could try some caffeine-free tea, so you will at least still feel like you are drinking tea. I recommend the mint flavored kind. (o;

    • Jes March 11, 2010, 9:30 pm

      Sorry for the second comment, but I just found a cool site while looking up about a dairy free lifestyle. Just wanted to share.

  • Melissa (It's a Veggieful Life) March 11, 2010, 10:59 pm

    Hope you’re feeling better soon! I understand about the dairy. I’ve cut back on it too but until someone can make imitation dairy products that don’t taste like the plastic container it comes in, I have to have the real stuff (even if it’s in moderation). Good luck!

  • Jolene ( March 11, 2010, 11:44 pm

    My homeopathic doctor said that I could drink less coffee (I only have a cup or maybe 2 a day). She said to try and limit it to 5 cups a week. I have about 7.

  • Susan @ Journey for Health March 11, 2010, 11:56 pm

    My doctor a few years ago (whom I no longer see) told me to go on a 1500 calorie a day diet. I ignored her suggestion simply because I was being lazy and not taking charge of my life. But I am concerned that 1500 would not be enough to provide energy. I have since cut down on a lot of bad foods and am taking a more detailed look at what I eat….but I still don’t stick to a strict calorie limit.

    • Caitlin March 12, 2010, 8:41 am

      i would chew off my arm on a 1500 calorie diet.

  • Oxidaisy March 12, 2010, 7:36 am

    Wow, this post could not have come at a better moment for me. I am really sorry that you have not been feeling so well lately. I already noticed, reading between the lines, and I think it is a good and brave thing that you opened up about it. I have been feeling a bit like you do lately: very tired, sleep problems, emotional, with some issues that don’t give you the rest you need, and with an injury. I just made up a plan to fight all my symptoms and get back to my balanced, happy old self. And guess involves less caffeine and more water too!
    Good luck with implementing all those small changes in your life. I would love to hear how they are working for you in a couple of weeks. Take Care!

    • Caitlin March 12, 2010, 8:41 am

      thanks so much for this comment… it made me feel better 🙂

  • Mish@SugarWand March 12, 2010, 8:22 am

    I am currenty free of the following:
    Dairy, gluten, sugar (except stevia/xylitol), coffee, soy, kidney beans and almonds. I am cutting out fruit as well.

    It’s made A HELL of a difference. I am telling you that.

    I hope that you are able to sort stuff out with life. It’s hard and it’s annoying. But remember to be gentle with yourself. We’re all here supporting you.

  • whitney March 12, 2010, 9:23 am

    I’m sorry your going through all of that it must be really tough and your doing so well with your training. You are an inspiration.

    I know how you feel with the emotional, sleeping, stress , anxiety, etc. I have been going through the same thing and it takes an extreme toll on the body.

    Waking up everyday feeling like you have been hit by a train and knowing it won’t get better is not fun. I hope your changes begin to work out and you start looking up because your doing a great job, your inspirational, your going so many places in life, and your blog is a big help in my life as well!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 12, 2010, 4:32 pm

    I’m glad you are listening to them but putting your own spin on them.

    For me my doctor gave me many suggestions for my IBS. Not eating sugar is the hardest for me so I’m willing to try anything to get rid of the pain.

  • Lori March 12, 2010, 6:48 pm

    I know this is a late comment – sorry. I was wondering why they suggested you cut back on dairy?

    • Caitlin March 12, 2010, 6:52 pm

      The doctors suggested that eating cold, damp foods like dairy impedes my ability to process and transform the other foods I’m eating into a viable source of energy.

  • Cindy March 12, 2010, 8:37 pm

    Years ago, my doctor actually suggested to me to stop being a vegetarian and I ended up doing so. I was not getting enough protein since I have a nut and soy allergy and diary and eggs were not enough. I eat chicken and fish now on occasion, but not every day. Now they would probably encourage me to drink WAY less coffee and eat more veggies. The coffee is one thing, but on a strict budget, fresh produce is hard to afford, at least until the prices come down in spring/summer.

  • Dominique March 13, 2010, 9:19 am

    After a really long time of stomach issues that never seemed to end (it was about an almost 10-year journey), I finally saw a gastroenterologist who diagnosed me with IBS. It hasn’t been too hard though specific foods I can’t eat are ones I really enjoy (especially broccoli and popcorn) so sometimes there’s a “cheat day” which I end up paying for later but usually it’s worth it.

  • Jennifer R. March 23, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Caitlin, first off, I’m sorry you are feeling like you are, and I pray you will feel better soon. I’ve had my own health issues for 8+ years and have learned SO much in the process. I agree with the comment about the magnesium — a deficiency can cause sleep issues. Do take the supplement at night for better absorption (with calcium). Also, vegetarians can be low in B-12 which can cause all sorts of problems (I have to take a special methylated kind since I don’t absorb the more common kind of B12 — due to my anemia, which was caused by the gluten intolerance.). Over the last year, I have become gluten and dairy free, and I also avoid soy because of my thyroid (see Fermented soy is supposed to be okay (tempeh, miso, tamari).

    And lastly, have you had your adrenals checked? I had this problem after the birth of my 2nd child. I went to an alternative doctor and there is a test kit that checks your saliva 4 specific times during the day to measure your cortisol levels. Stress really burns out the adrenals, whether it be mental or physical. My adrenals were in stage 3 exhaustion, so I understand how you are feeling now and can relate. A good book I highly recommend is Adrenal Fatigue, by James Wilson (this REALLY helped me out). And by the way, caffeine can really burn out the adrenals too. Good luck to you in figuring all this out. I hope and pray that what I have shared would be helpful to you. Hugs!!

    • Caitlin March 23, 2010, 3:40 pm

      thanks for all this awesome info. i’ll look into it.

  • Amanda (The Shoe Perspective) April 15, 2010, 7:31 am

    Feel better! My friend gets migranes which are bad. When I get dehydrated, I pass out. It’s kinda ok because I know whaty to look for. I carry a water bottle to school always! (I once walked away from a team photo shoot because I didn’t have breakfast that day and was passing out) Yeah, I eat breakfast too…

  • Bethany Herrington April 15, 2010, 3:37 pm

    I searched through your comments, but didn’t see anything to answer my question: why do you drink warm water? I think warm water is disgusting and love tons and tons of ice in my water. Just curious if there is something about warm water that is better than ice cold?

    • Caitlin April 15, 2010, 3:40 pm

      warm water is easier for your body to digest. it’s not as big as a shock to your system because its closer to body temp. i’ve been leaving my brita on the counter instead of in the fridge. it’s not warm but its not cold. it works!

      • Bethany Herrington April 15, 2010, 3:44 pm

        Caitlin – thanks for your (super quick) reply. That’s interesting about the warm water and completely makes sense.

        Oh – and I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now (close to a year) but have never commented. I wanted to let you know how much I love it. I’m not in shape, but have started P90X a couple weeks ago and am eating better….I am looking forward to getting healthy. Your website has been a huge encouragement to me.

        By the way, I love how when you replied to my comment it sent me an email. That’s fabulous!

        Keep up the good work/blogging. Love it.

        • Caitlin April 15, 2010, 3:46 pm

          Isn’t the email reply feature cool??

          Thanks for reading my blog for so long! That means a lot to me and I really appreciate it 🙂 Good luck on your healthy journey!!!!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point