Just what IS a stitch, anyway?

Good morning, all! Thank you so much for all the well-wishes.  I’m feeling 100% better now, especially after reading all of your comments!  It seems like most of you have had your share of food poisoning.  Blegh!

Yesterday morning I decided that I needed all the friends I could get to help me stay well, so Jim kept me company for breakfast.

Morning Jim

This breakfast cookie was made with:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T skim milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 T PB2
  • Toppings: cinnamon, dried craisins/raisins, pecan

I puttered around on the computer for a little too long, and by the time I was ready to go for a run, I was hungry again!  I grabbed a date on the day out the door.


This run was… not good.  It took a little while for me to get warmed up, and by the time I found my groove, I had to stop every 30 seconds or so because of the silly stitch in my side! It was in the same place as its been for the last couple weeks: above my right ribcage.  After 3.5 miles, I finally got so frustrated that I just walked the last mile home.  And I didn’t just walk… I walked at a snail’s pace.  Everyone on the street passed me, and I’m sure I looked furious about it.  When I got home, I plunked down on the computer and found this lovely Wikipedia entry explaining just what the Side Stitch is… I’m going to squelch this little bugger once and for all!

When exercising, a side stitch (also called a side ache, a side cramp, a side crampie, a side sticker or simply a stitch) is an intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage. It is also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). This pain may be caused by the internal organs (like the liver and stomach) pulling downwards on the diaphragm, though an exact mechanism remains to be elucidated. Consistent with the suspected cause, it is more likely to occur in sports involving up and down actions – like running, jumping, swimming and equestrianism. If the pain is present only when exercising and is completely absent at rest, in an otherwise healthy person, it is benign and does not require investigation. There are a variety of published ways of alleviating the symptoms including adjusting at what point in your stride you inhale

Causes: Most of the time, side stitches occur on the right side of the body. This is due to the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, the liver, being on that side. Certain athletes also report a pain in the tip of their shoulder blade. This is believed to be because this is a referred of pain for the diaphragm via the phrenic nerve. When the side stitch is on the right published advice is to try to exhale when your left foot lands.


  • Improve fitness
  • Strengthen the diaphragm by using exercises such as those that aid respiratory rehabilitation
  • Strengthen core muscles (abdominals,lower back, obliques)
  • Limit consumption of food and drink two to three hours before exercising (in particular, drinks of high carbohydrage content and osmolarity (reconstituted fruit juices))
  • Drink water beforehand to prevent muscle cramps
  • Warm up properly
  • Gradually increase exercise intensity when running
  • Exhale when the left foot hits the ground, and inhale when the right foot hits the ground
  • Run on soft surfaces

Curing a Side Stitch:

  • Stop exercising. With the digits, push into the abdomen on the right side, and up under the rib cage. At the same time, forcefully let out a deep exhale while holding the lips closely together.
  • Try belly breathing; inhale while pushing out the stomach, and on the exhale, relax the stomach muscles.
  • While running, exhale when your foot strikes on the opposite side that the side stitch is located. For example, a side stitch on the right, exhale hard when your left foot strikes the ground.
  • Reduce the frequency of breathing (e.g. in jogging, inhale for four steps and exhale for four steps)
  • Lie down on the back and lift the knee on the side with the stitch up to the chest.
  • Do not breathe too hard, shallow breathing for a few minutes at the same time maintain oxygen input levels.
  • Relax the mind and do not focus on the stitch itself.
  • Put pressure on the affected area, not enough to hurt, but just enough so the pain subsides

THANK YOU, Wikipedia!  I’m certainly going to try these out. As my mom said, stitches make you feel like you’re having a heart attack!

I ate my lunch in two parts. Part 1 was leftover Health Valley Corn & Vegetable soup with Bragg’s and Sriracha:


Part 2, an hour or so later, was a big salad with romaine, sprouts, carrots, hummus, a black bean burger & Annie’s Light Gingerly Vinaigrette.

Lunch salad

After lunch, I hopped on the subway and went into the city to get some groceries.  I usually go to Trader Joe’s once a month; it was time! I had to stop at Whole Foods for a few things TJ’s didn’t have (like pumpkin… although they say it’s “seasonal”, they don’t sell it until the end of October! Sad 😦 ).

At Whole Foods, I literally bumped into a sample station with my cart for Grandy Oats, who were giving us two flavors of cashews to try: Maple Roasted & Nori Sesame.  What interesting flavors!

Grandy Oats Cashews

They were both delicious, and complemented each other nicely.

Maple Roasted & Nori Sesame Cashews

When I got home, I laid out my groceries.  Here’s what $58.98 from Trader Joe’s looks like:

Trader Joe's haul

And here’s what $26.45 from Whole Foods looks like.  (I didn’t realize until I got home that the “canned pumpkin” was actually “pumpkin pie mix”, but oh well! I won’t need any sweeteners this way 🙂 )

Whole Foods haul

When I’m shopping for recipes, I usually get everything that I can at the cheapest store (in this case, Trader Joe’s) and get specialty items where I can find them.  The prices reflect this!  Thanks for helping me with my coffee question… I ended up listening to Averie and grinding my own at Trader Joe’s. I selected the Breakfast Blend, which is both Fair Trade and Organic, and makes me feel festive drinking something especially for breakfast!

TJ's breakfast blend

While hustling around, I had a quick snack, using the quinoa crackle I’d made from Body + Soul magazine.

Body + Soul Quinoa Crackle

I’d made this, oh, a month ago?! At least it’s getting used up! I plopped two tablespoons with 1/2 banana on top of Trader Joe’s Organic Nonfat Vanilla Greek yogurt.

Yogurt, banana, quinoa

After whipping up a few things in the kitchen (to be enjoyed later in the week), I headed over to Caitlin‘s gym to go to an event hosted by SELF‘s Reach Your Goal program. On the way in, we passed yet another sample station.

Katie Graham

Katie Graham – or the “Green Smoothie Mama”– is a holistic health coach who works with the Equinox gym to ensure clients’ minds, bodies & spirits are in sync.  She gave us each a shot of her wheatgrass/mango/banana blends for us to try. It was delicious!


Caitlin, her friend and I decided to go to the 30/60/90 class: it’s basically Step Aerobics using weights.  Holy moly, was this hard!  I’d already run today, so I had to channel my inner Melissa for the strength.  I did Step in college, and it was nice to get back into it again.

On the way out of the gym, we stopped by the cocktail table… they don’t usually have vodka lying around, so we decided to take advantage of the special event! I had clementine vodka with club soda.

Clementine Svedka & Soda

We headed over to Caitlin’s house, where Nancy had prepared a lovely, farmer’s market fresh meal.  We started with a delicious salad (note to self: put lemon juice and parmesan in my dressing):

Farmers Market Salad

We also had a fabulous, whole wheat pasta with heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs from the garden, and mozzarella.

NYTimes Pasta

I had 1.5 servings 😀

Dinner pasta

No meal is complete without dessert, so Tasti D-Lite called… I got a small cup with half Peanut Butter, half German Chocolate Cake, covered with Heath Bar. Mmm. It was a Tasti Tuesday.

Tasti Tuesday

I collapsed into bed as soon as I got home, but couldn’t fall asleep.  Don’t you hate when you’re too tired to sleep? Oh well.  I’m off to my internship… have a lovey day!


29 responses to “Just what IS a stitch, anyway?

  1. “also called a side crampie”… really? hahaha

    LOVE TJ’S pumpkin butter! i couldnt’ find it at my TJ’s though.. they must not have it yet. I have to stock up.

    Also that multi-grain baking mix makes some amazing pancakes as well as muffins!

  2. Love the return of Jim! 😉

    Have you ever been to the TJ’s in Brooklyn?

    Sorry about the cramp situation… doesn’t sound fun. Hopefully one of those solutions works for you.

    ❤ ❤

  3. Wikipedia = ANYONE (even a 2-year-old or a cat or something that can type a few letters, haha) can update it, so be cautious about the advice.

  4. Nice TJs loot!! I haven’t had a masala burger in so long – I need to pick up a box!

    Sorry about the side cramps 😦 I hope you find something that works!

    Clementine vodka? That sounds awesome!

  5. Ohh love WF samples! Maple roasted cashews sound legit… Good luck with your stitch! I’m the same way when I have to stop during a run to walk… I literally drag myself home and, I’m pretty sure, I gave everyone who passes by a stare of death… Lovely, I know

    Have a great day!

  6. Thanks for the shout out girllllfrand! I hope you like your coffee! I really feel that for the price, TJ’s coffee is a great value. If you’re feelin into the fair trade/organic vibe, they have lots to choose from, and if you’re not (like me who just adores their un-fair Sumtra LOL) then it’s an even better value. And the grind your own ensures freshness to a better degree.

    As for all your food…it looks awesome. Love the use the month old quinoa crackle. My hubs gets some interesting brown bag lunches with all my random odds n ends in em 🙂

    As for your side stitch, girl I hope you find relief. In jr. high I used to get em horrible and havent had issues like that since I was a kid but I know they are debilitating.

    Oh and bumping into a sample cart with your camera. Priceless. Where’s the Visa priceless commercial music?


  7. ugh, I HATE side stitches and have them all the time.

    some of the tips work really well for me sometimes, and sometimes it seems like nothing works! I hope you find something that works for you!

  8. that is one tasti tuesday…loving it. all the loot looks good, and sometimes i purposely buy pumpkin pie mix because it tastes better than regular pumpkin 🙂

    love wikipedia, and thanks for the side stitch info. i never stopped to think what actually might be causing it. usually for me, if i eat too soon before running, i am guaranteed one.

    and finally, clementine vodka sounds heavenly.

  9. What a great day you had. I used to get those side aches all the time when runing in high school. Beathing as you strike your foot down did help. My coach taught me that one.

  10. I have to run around to 3 different grocery stores to get everything I need without spending a fortune. It’s no surprise that my Whole Foods bill is always the largest with the least amount of goods!

    P.S. Jim is cute!

  11. Glad Jim is back from vacation.

  12. Im glad your tum tum is betta!!!

    the breakfast cookie is adorable


    and I allllllllllllways get side aches/ stitches which = one huge reason i don’t like to run or walk often!! it’s like so hard to plan my meals around! haha unless I go RIGHT when I wake up.

    happy thursday loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  13. Such helpful information on stitches! That explains why they are always on the right side–good luck with yours, I know that breathing properly should help you a lot.

  14. homegirlcaneat

    Can we get tasti DDDDDD light when I come to NYC?!?!?!!?!??! I NEED IT!

  15. WOW! that quinoa crackle looks good? is there a recipe on your blog?

  16. Thanks for the info on side stitches! Yay for Tasti D-Lite:) I had a super large one today also.

  17. Yum last night was delicious and so much fun! Yay for Katie Caitlin time. And we have so many left overs, so feel free to head on over again! Plus, I’m back to writing yippee! xo

  18. P.S. I CANNOT believe you did a run and that class. Mad woman.

  19. Don’t you just hate how once you have them they stick with you for a while? It is almost like a pull or mild injury or something. Mine are also sometimes on the left, though – how weird! I hope that you find something that works. For me – frequent walking breaks to prevent them are the only “cure” of sorts, which is incredibly frustrating. I hate being passed by someone – or being given the raised eyebrow when slowing down the treadmill, etc. I hope they get better!!

  20. thanks for teh comment! omg. i think i’ve just been sooo tired i can’t sleep! crazy.

    that ice cream looks good!

  21. Okay, I have to say two things. Number one, I think I love you more each day! not in a creepy way, you and I are just so alike! I pretty much only shop ant both Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I noticed some spices took up part of your shopping trip. Those are expensive but luckily are an investment! I think their 365 brand is a pretty good deal.
    2. The best cure I’ve found for a side stitch is the belly breathing thing, although I am much less yogi about it and much more forceful at sticking my stomach out as far as I can on an inhale, and forcing the air out and sucking my stomach in as far as I can on the exhale. Also, you could try some intervals! Like running for 2-3 minutes and then walking for 1-2 minutes. It really works!!!!

  22. Excellent info on stitches…good to know for future ref!
    You’re making me want to visit TJ’s…AND TASTI D LITE. That dessert looks legendary.

  23. That was interesting! I never knew what a stitch was or what to do. Except cry! I am such a wuss when it comes to pain, and stitches HURT! Will try these tips.

    I was too tired to fall asleep last night too 😦

    Enjoy your Thursday!

  24. hooray for breakfast jim and medjools.

    dude, who are you!? equinox!? (ummm, baller!!) i wish i could go there, alas, i am a nysc member (sigh)…maybe after i make my first million i can join the posh gym that all the cool kids and celebs go to.

    btw, i have recently learned how to stretch my $$ to the max at WF. i thought that moving into my neighb, it would be my financial downfall, but i swear im saving more than ever!! goes to show you that small, new york health foods stores can charge you anything and you just lie down and take it. well NO MORE. 365 brand + coupons have me singing a different tune 🙂

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  26. I really hate side stitches. I read an interesting article that talks about how to help them.
    Here is the link, I don’t know, it may help you out 🙂

    Groceries look good, I do the same, buy most of the stuff as TJ’s then I get special stuff at WF.
    You are making me wish we had a tasty-d-lite here…I may just have to visit you in NY to get some!

  27. Your post just made my day. Seriously. I love love love Trader Joe’s with a passion. They have great things and their vanilla greek yogurt is so good!

  28. Pingback: Long Runs & Last Days « Lilveggiepatch

  29. lilveggiepatch

    For some reason this went to my spam folder! Thanks SO MUCH for this article… saving it and I’ll try these tips out next time I hit the pavement!

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