How To Navigate Valentine’s Day With Interstitial Cystitis
Valentine’s Day is the one day each year where we are supposed to show our love to our partner or spouse (and I must warn you, this post may get a little sarcastic)…
First of all, you should be showing your partner love each and every day. It does’t have to be anything major, but just little things like asking how their day is or kissing them goodbye.
And for all the single people out there? Valentine’s Day has a way of making you feel alone - I know we’ve all been there at some point in our life!
So for the singles who are reading this, contemplating if they should keep reading, know that you are seen and I’m not completely ignoring you. My best tips for you include treating yourself to something you enjoy, have a “Galentine’s Day” with other single friends, or show yourself some self-love. Remind yourself how awesome you are and you don’t need to be in a relationship to prove that.
Now, for those in relationships or maybe even in the “talking” phase (this is just young folk lingo for the early stages of a relationship), let’s get into it.
Here are my best tips for enjoying Valentine’s Day (V-Day) while having IC:
First, I want you to drop all preconceptions you have for Valentine’s Day. Throw the typical traditions out the door. If you want to have penetrative sex with your partner because you love them and want to? Great. But if you’re someone suffering from pelvic pain or pain with intercourse, things may not be easy. And not to mention the many people who have a low sex drive for various reasons that could include medication side effects! If this sounds like you, I want you to stop putting pressure on yourself for Valentine’s Day. Your spouse will still love you if you tell them you don’t want to have sex with them (or at least they shouldn’t), which brings us to tip #2…
YOU MUST COMMUNICATE. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but having deep conversations with your partner about any anxiety surrounding the V-Day is so important. Or even discussing how you are feeling about not being able to or have the desire to be intimate is such an essential part of a healthy relationship. Your partner is not a psychic; they can’t read your mind. You must be willing to share what you are feeling in order to help them understand. Remember, if they don’t have IC, they will most likely have very little idea about what you go through each day. Cut them some slack and give them the opportunity to show you how much they care in a way that feels right to them and your relationship.
If you want to indulge in a trigger food, DO IT, but do it right. You’re probably thinking, “Callie, what the h*ll are you talking about? Do it right??”. Yup. Whether you have done an elimination diet or not, you either have some idea to complete knowledge of what triggers you. If you know chocolate triggers you, and white chocolate or carob just isn’t going to cut it, have a small amount & take Prelief. If you want a glass of wine? Prelief. *You should not take Prelief every day, especially if you have high blood pressure. This should only be used once in a while when you want to consume a trigger item. But most importantly, remember you are human and need some chocolate or wine (or whatever you’re into) sometimes. You may flare for a short period, and if you do, check out this article on flare busters, but remember it is not the end of the world.
Lastly, just try to enjoy the day. If your partner wants to cook you a meal, show your gratitude for the idea, but if it gives you stress, consider communicating that with them. If you are worried a problematic ingredient may slip into the meal, either offer to help prepare it or give the person 3 different IC-friendly recipe options to choose from.
Hopefully these tips are helpful. Navigating holidays with a chronic illness like IC can be difficult, but not impossible. For more tips, follow me on Instagram & Tik Tok @callieknutrition.
Valentine's Day Recipes:
Crispy Coconut Shrimp
24 medium shrimp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic & any IC friendly herb seasoning if desired
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 tsp black pepper (if tolerated)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
3. Sprinkle shrimp evenly with seasoning blend and pepper.
4. Place the flour, egg, and coconut in three small separate bowls. Dip shrimp first in egg, then flour, then back in egg, then generously in coconut.
5. Arrange shrimp on a baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Enjoy!
Source: IC Chef Cookbook
Chewy Carob Brownie Recipe
1/2 cup flour (gluten-free works too) 6 tablespoons roasted carob powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup cane sugar 1/2 cup coconut oil (or unsalted butter) 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Optional: 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (to sprinkle on baked and cooled brownies)
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 for a metal pan or 325 for a glass baking dish. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. 2. Place flour, salt and carob in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Set aside. 3. In another large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Use an electric beater or stand mixer to cream the mixture until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. 4. Add dry ingredients and nuts (optional). Beat just until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Scrape brownie mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake in a metal pan for about 25 minutes (bake in a glass pan for about 35 minutes). 5. Watch cooking times carefully. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the baking dish comes out clean, the brownies are done. 6. Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. When cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).
White Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
(Yields 12 cookie sandwiches)
2 packs of Sweet Loren’s Sugar Cookie Dough (to make 24 cookies total)
2 cups Lily’s White Chocolate Chips, divided (I like Lily’s because it is without soy)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place cookie dough pieces onto the parchment paper. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges according to package directions. Cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Combine 1 cup of white chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 5-10 minutes.
4. Using a spoon, spread the chocolate mixture onto the flat side of 12 of the cookies. 5. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. 5. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.
6. Combine the remaining white chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
7. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet (it helps to spread it with a knife).
8. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container in the fridge and enjoy!