If you are newly diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, or find yourselves in a flare with a painful bladder you can't quite get control of, it is important to stick with the bladder friendly column of the IC Food List, keeping your meals as plain and simple as possible. It is much harder to filter out which food is causing your bladder symptoms to flare if you are eating foods with many ingredients such as casseroles, soups, or stir-fries. Of course, keeping your foods simple is only part of it, and sometimes you are in so much pain or you are so frustrated that you can't think straight.
Trust me; I have been there. So I have come up with a short list here with some hints for keeping it simple at this stage:
- Make IC menu planning a family affair. Consulting with other family members about menu choices can increase their understanding of your condition and the foods you can and cannot have.
- Consider including foods that might be triggers for you, but that your family can eat. It was nearly a year before I realized that I had not been buying strawberries for my family just because I couldn’t have them!
- Stick to your grocery list. Often people walk through the grocery store waiting for inspiration to strike. A list insures that you have all the ingredients that you need for the week and helps prevent impulse buying, which can be tough on the wallet.
- Recycle your weekly meal plans like institutions do. Hospitals, schools, and nursing homes use “cycle menus” to simplify planning. Once you have developed a few weeks of menus that you and your family enjoy, go ahead and reuse them. Save the grocery lists, too.
- Make two batches of a meal and freeze one for later. Everyone has days when they are too busy or too tired to cook. It is nice to have something available that you can quickly reheat.
- Involve everyone in mealtime activities. Establish this as a special time to spend with individual family members. Assign days when each person has a chance to help with breakfast or dinner. Have all the ingredients out for people to pack their own lunches. Even small children can help to set the table, measure ingredients or stir batter.
For more tricks and tips on how to implement the IC diet, see Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet: A Confident Choices® Book.
- Simplify cleanup. Use disposable plates and utensils on days when symptoms flare or energy is limited. Line baking dishes with aluminum foil or bake food in foil pockets. Use a slow cooker to bake a one pot, complete meal of meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
PS: Thank you so much to all of you who are making your Amazon purchases though the Confident Choices links. Here are some of the products that purchased to help our cause!
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate
For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.
For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive BladderFor health care workers: Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators
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