Welcome to my I.C. blog! I’m Tiffany from Chicago, Illinois. I’ve always loved cooking but having I.C. threw a wrench in my culinary plans.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis/PBS of the bladder. This is a condition that involves unbelievably severe pain of the bladder when you consume the wrong foods or drinks and when you are dehydrated. When you eat an offending food and then urinate, the urinary burn is beyond words and can last hours or days in a flare. Sometimes you have to urinate so frequently you wonder how you will go to public/crowded places or enjoy life. It’s a brutal condition that came out of nowhere for me – and shows no sign of ending.
In 2017, my I.C. worsened which led me to have a hydrodistension surgery of the bladder, in addition to another female surgery. I take many drugs to manage I.C. to just feel remotely like I used to. I highly recommend Dessert Harvest aloe pills 5x a day or more. It’s very soothing to the bladder and I’m not as irritated anymore – but I still must avoid my irritant foods. I am still running to the bathroom almost every hour, excluding nighttime. I found an excellent uro-gyne, but no matter what we do, I am unable to eat any of my irritant foods. I’m more often than not in pain, with expert help.
I make my own food because I know it’s safe. I know exactly what went into it and that it won’t hurt me. Eating out can be scary especially when restaurants have pre-marinated foods and too many ingredients or too many irritants in one dish (like Thai, Chinese, or Mexican). They barely know what is in the foods or sauces they purchase sometimes. The key is to avoid certain restaurants or genres, order bland, and avoid the sauces that have lemon/lime or spicy ingredients, and to talk with your server.
Please heed this warning: With I.C. your irritants won’t be the same as mine, so please take my recipes as a jumping off point. If you know raw tomatoes bother you, omit them or swap them for something else.
Unfortunately it’s a condition that involves uniqueness to each individual, but most people have some common irritants.
Also, my old recipes may involve foods I can no longer have, like salsa, for instance. So please take my old recipes with a grain of salt. I got away with a lot before my I.C. worsened.
To name a few of my current irritants:
-chocolate (milk or dark) or cocoa powder
-90% of fruits: citrus (lemon, lime etc), grapes, cantaloupe, nectarines, pineapple, strawberry, raisins, cranberries, cherries, mango, peaches, etc.
-spicy foods like hot sauce, jalapenos, chili peppers.
-foods with vinegar: pickles, potato salad, sauerkraut, salad dressings.
-acidic food like tomatoes, salsa (even mild), ketchup, BBQ sauce,
-almost all alcohol, most coffee, espresso
-anything with carbonation, seltzer, pop, especially Coke.
-fake sweeteners, even Stevia.
-spices and ingredients: like cinnamon, cayenne, citric acid, chili powder, hot curry, mustard, paprika, red pepper, vinegar.
-coffee, tea (not herbal), soda, drink powders, energy drinks, alcohol, carbonated water, most juices, etc.
-foods that are too processed or have too many ingredients or uncertain “natural flavors”.
Since then, I’ve reluctantly had to re-learn how to cook. I.C. really sucks but if you eat your irritants you are voluntarily torturing yourself. Once you feel that severe pain and urinary burn, you’ll do anything to stop it, including avoiding foods you never thought you could live without like chocolate, strawberries, and traditional tomato-based “hot” chili etc.
I hope you find something on my cooking blog that entices you and makes you motivated to cook an I.C. safe meal for yourself or your family. Don’t give up cooking just because you have I.C.!