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Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting an Elimination Diet for Interstitial Cystitis

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

I’m sure when you were diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis you were handed a piece of paper that explained what not to eat and that was it. No follow-up, no one to talk to about diet.

Maybe you joined an online forum, a Facebook support group, or simply internalized your struggle with no one to really understand or help guide you on your diet.

Maybe you decided to do an Elimination diet yourself or cut out multiple nutrients such as gluten or dairy.

Today, I wanted to discuss the 5 most common mistakes I see people make when they decide to take on an Elimination diet.

  • They don’t collect baseline data. How are you going to know if a food affects you if you don’t obtain baseline data? Wondering what kind of data I mean? Food intake, voiding patterns, pain levels, etc. We need to document it all, no matter how tedious it begins to feel.

  • They don’t eliminate the most bothersome foods for a long enough period. Time is a huge factor in identifying your unique dietary triggers. In order to achieve a level of relief, and give the bladder a break, you need to give it time to heal. You need 2 weeks at least. 3-4 weeks are more ideal to give the bladder some needed R&R before the testing phase of the Elimination diet.

  • They slip up or don’t commit - I call this “half-assing” (please excuse my language). If you don’t commit 100% to this diet for 2-3 months, you will essentially just be wasting your time. What I mean You can also unintentionally slip up or consume a trigger without knowing. For example, years ago when I did the Elimination diet, I knew I was supposed to avoid soda, so I decided to try seltzer water - BIG MISTAKE. The naive early-20-year-old that I was didn’t realize citric acid was in both soda and seltzer water. Another example was avoiding acidic fruits like citrus and strawberries, and I would eat grapes without knowing they are considered a “try it” food. My point is, it’s easy to overlook small choices like these.

  • They don’t test foods properly. In order to measure your body’s reaction to the food or beverage, you need to test it over the course of 3 days. This means slowly increasing the amount you consume, which means your body may be able to tolerate a very small amount of something, but not a regular-sized portion. Giving yourself 3 days of a food will help you identify if your body has a reaction to the food, and specifically, what that reaction is. Once you identify it, record, and move on to the next food.

  • They let eating become a chore. Just because you are eliminating potentially bothersome foods doesn’t mean you can’t spice up your food with bladder-safe ingredients! Check out social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for bladder-friendly recipes. Your choices are going to be limited for quite a while, so why not make the most of the food that you can eat?

So now that you know what the 5 most common mistakes I see people make when they begin an Elimination diet, you know exactly what NOT to do. I hope you enjoyed learning the most common mistakes and feel more confident to take control of your IC.

Want to conduct an Elimination diet but feel you need some guidance? Check out my Road To Remission program to learn about how I can help you minimize your symptoms in just 3 months!


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