Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Helping Spouses and Other Family Members Understand the IC Diet

Working Together to Understand Interstitial Cystitis
One of the most common questions I hear from interstitial cystitis patients is, "How can I explain my dietary restrictions to my family members?" 

I am sure many of you have heard people say things like, "Just have a little coffee, it won't hurt you!" Or, "If you drink cranberry juice, that will cure your bladder infection!" Or even, "You aren't any fun any more because you worry about your food all the time!" Trust me, I live the same life you do and have heard it all. 

Of course, most of the time, our family members have our best interests at heart, but they just don't know as much about the disease as we do. They simply haven't spent as much time as we have researching our disease, including sifting out the good information from the bad we have read on the internet. I don't know about you, but for many people, it can be exhausting trying to explain the IC dietary modifications to people over and over. So how can you bring your loved ones up to speed about the IC diet? Here are some suggestions:
  1. First, set the tone for collaboration instead of conflict. Ask for help. Let your spouse or other family member know you appreciate their concern and that you would like to work together to manage the modifications of your interstitial cystitis diet.
  2. Ask them to learn along with you. Have them follow this blog, "like" the Confident Choices Facebook page, or sign up for my newsletter. You can also send them links to articles you read on ICN or other reputable IC diet websites.
  3. Print off the two page IC Food List for them. Yes, give them their own copy. Let them know which foods are definitely off limits for you and let them know you would appreciate help finding recipes that include the foods you CAN have. Not only are you reinforcing that this is the diet you are working from, but you are hopefully going to collect some great new recipes!
  4. Consider giving someone their own copy of Confident Choices: A Cookbook for IC and Overactive Bladder if they don't live in the same household as you do, but you eat with them often (your best friend, your parents, your siblings). Imagine the relief they will feel having a simple, go-to book for recipes that they can be confident you can eat. 
  5. Allow your spouse or family member to listen in on a phone or video consultation with me. Sometimes when someone hears the information from an expert, it reinforces the concept. It will keep you on the same page. (Just always let me know someone else is there!)
The important thing is that in most cases your family really does want to help you. Remember, the key is collaboration, not conflict! 

Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

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 Bladder

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