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An IC-friendly Thanksgiving: recipe tips and more!   

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and indulge in a delicious feast. However, for people with Interstitial Cystitis, also known as Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS), it can be a nightmare. We’re here to prove it’s possible to have an IC-friendly Thanksgiving this year!  

These ideas will help bring people closer together while acknowledging the difficulties that come with this condition. Here are some suggestions for enjoying a tasty Thanksgiving meal while keeping IC symptoms at bay. 

IC and Thanksgiving: 4 foods to definitely try. 

When you have IC/BPS, navigating Thanksgiving can feel like a balancing act. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious options that are IC-friendly. Let’s look at a few.   

#1 – Turkey 🦃 

Turkey is a lean protein that is generally well-tolerated by most people with IC. However, it’s important to avoid heavily seasoned or marinated meat. Certain spices and flavors may trigger symptoms. Opt for plain roasted or grilled turkey for a safe and flavorful option. 

#2 – Mashed Potatoes 

Mashed potatoes are typically IC-friendly. With everything on this list, be mindful of the ingredients used in preparation. Avoid using ingredients like butter, sour cream, or excessive amounts of salt. Instead, consider using a small amount of olive oil or a non-dairy alternative for creaminess. 

#3 – Cooked Vegetables 

Steamed or roasted vegetables like carrots, green beans, and zucchini are generally safe for those with IC. Avoid using strong spices or acidic dressings. Instead, season with a small amount of olive oil, herbs, and a pinch of salt.  

#4 – Rice or Quinoa Stuffing 

Traditional stuffing often contains ingredients like onions and garlic, which can be problematic for people with IC. Bring some creativity into the kitchen this year! Consider making a rice or quinoa-based stuffing.  

You can use IC-friendly herbs like rosemary and thyme for a delicious alternative. For more cooking tips with IC in mind, check out this article from Bev Laumann.  

IC-friendly Thanksgiving beverages 

IC symptoms can make your relationship with hydration a little strained. But, it’s important to remember that water makes up about 60% of our bodily composition. In other words, staying hydrated crucial.  

Water helps dilute urine to make it less irritating to the bladder. It also aids in flushing toxins out of the body and supporting other bodily systems. Here are a few IC-friendly beverages to try this Thanksgiving. 

  • Of course, water tops the list. You should consume this straight-forward beverage throughout the day. But, keep reading for more creative options. 
  • Herbal teas, such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger, can soothe and are usually well-tolerated by people with IC. Avoid teas with caffeine or added flavors. 
  • If you have IC, you might already know to avoid cranberries. Cranberries are common during Thanksgiving, but they can be too acidic for many people with IC. They have a known history of causing flares. Instead, try a low-acid fruit juice, like pear or apple, diluted with water for a milder flavor. Read more on The IC Diet: 7 Foods to Avoid. 

With IC/BPS, you might be worried about urinary frequency appearing as an unwanted dinner guest. Some foods, such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, and cabbage, can keep you hydrated. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see which foods and beverages work for your body.  

Easy tips for enjoying Thanksgiving with Interstitial Cystitis 

Having a successful Thanksgiving with IC/BPS requires thoughtful consideration beyond the menu. It’s about creating an atmosphere of comfort. You want to ensure that the festivities are enjoyable for everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions.  

Communicate your needs 

If you’re attending a gathering hosted by someone else, don’t hesitate to communicate your dietary restrictions. Most hosts will appreciate knowing about any special dietary needs and will happily accommodate you. 

Bring a dish 

Consider bringing a dish that you know is safe for you to eat. This way, you’ll have a guaranteed option that aligns with your IC-friendly diet. 

Practice portion control 

Even with IC-friendly foods, moderation is key. Large portions can still lead to discomfort, so listen to your body and pace yourself. 

Plan ahead 

Before the holiday, review the menu or discuss the meal plan with the host. This way, you can identify potential trigger foods and suggest alternatives. 

With some thoughtful planning and communication, you can enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal without triggering your symptoms. Choose IC-friendly foods and drinks, be proactive about your diet, and enjoy the holiday season comfortably and easily. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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