How to do the Ketogenic IC diet in a healthy way

How do you do the Keto IC diet? I get asked this question frequently…even when I wasn’t posting regularly on my blog. So let’s start with this for those who don’t know what is the Keto IC diet?

The Keto IC diet is two diets together: Keto or Ketogenic and IC or Interstitial Cystitis. I’m sure everyone and their mother knows by now the popularity of the keto diet for weight loss, but what about for health purposes? And maybe that includes weight loss, but not always. The IC diets is about maintaining an alkaline diet as best as possible without triggering a flare up in your bladder or the rest of your body.

This IC Master list is generally what have worked off of to help me with my IC diet, eventually you will learn what works for you. The more in a flare up you are the more you should not eat acidic foods, like tomatoes, alcohol, onions and other foods/drinks like that. Once you are healing you can start testing what foods you can add into your diet.

The Keto diet is at its core cutting out carbs and refined sugar..yep bye bye breads, pasta and chocolate. Read up about what you should eat on Keto online, it can be challenging. And fair warning some people who have IC do not do well on it. The reason I finally committed to the Keto IC diet was because of the bacteria in my bladder. I have candida glabrata growing in my bladder. Candida glabrata is a rare type of yeast infection that can be very challenging to get rid of. I have been through three rounds of treatment. One was a anti-fungal medication I took orally. And the last two were compounded meds that a compounding pharmacy had to make for me for self-catheterization. When I tell you this is not fun… believe me.

What seems to keep the Candida glabrata from becoming overgrown is the keto diet, which makes sense because sugar feeds bacteria…yeast is very much a bacteria. After the first round of self-catheterization meds I made the mistake of eating carbs again because I felt good and it ruined my treatment. Healing takes time and I need to be more careful.

So now on to the business of what to eat on a Keto IC diet…because it seems SO LIMITING! And yea it can feel that way often. Don’t get me wrong I miss eating the foods I love but I don’t miss the pain I felt and self-catheterization.

Here’s foods that I like to eat regularly…This is not a comprehensive list at all.. This is just off the top of my head. And I think I will another post about this next week to fill in the blanks on what I missed here.

Eggs: I love to eat eggs. Hard boiled, over easy, scrambled, omelets. Eggs are so versatile, they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even a quick snack if you want.

Fish: Salmon is my personal favorite, but I also enjoy tilapia. Really almost any fish is great for Keto IC, but not fishsticks because they are fried. One thing to keep in mind though is how you prep your fish. Be mindful that you are IC friendly with your preparations.

-Nuts: I always keep cashews on hand for a snack. They are high in protein which is important for Keto and IC friendly. (*people with nut allergies should be aware of that this would not be appropriate for them)

-Cheese: Who doesn’t love cheese? But careful about the kind of cheese because certain kinds of cheeses can possibly irritate and flare up your IC. Please refer to the IC Food list for this. Cheese is great for anything… good to use for a snack or in an omelet or make a pizza from scratch. There’s a million options for cheese.

-Meat: If you are careful about the meat you choose because of your IC… not spicy, processed or cured. Meat is a great choice of course and really a mainstay of a Keto diet. You can make all kinds of stuff…. Bunless cheeseburgers (or make lettuce wraps), tacos with low carb quesadilla wraps, chicken salad (with appropriate IC modifications).

-Desert: This would be no list of mine if I didn’t include desert… let’s start with ice cream. There’s two low carb brands of ice cream that are amazing. Halo and Rebel. 100% delicious and they have a ton of flavors, low carb. There’s a brand of no sugar chocolate called Lilly’s, which you can now find at most grocery stores..Harris Teeter, Mom’s, Giant and more. Lilly’s has amazing sweet snacks. Milk chocolate bars and chocolate covered popcorn that will blow your mind. If you can eat chocolate, try it. Sometimes people with IC can’t eat chocolate at all… at first I couldn’t but later on as I started healing I was able to eat some and then more later on. I eat a lot of vanilla and caramel deserts even still when my bladder isn’t at it’s best.

Here’s what I might eat on a given day.

-Breakfast: Eggs or Two Good Yogurt- this Greek yogurt only has 2 grams of sugar per cup and it’s freaking delicious and as of late it’s being sold in more and more grocery stores.

-Lunch: Chicken Salad or something else that is left over…read that as easy to make. If not I will just have a snack like cashews and/or cheese.

-Dinner: Salmon or chicken with a green vegetable like broccoli or asparagus.

The Keto IC diet is challenging on an easy day, I have been doing this on and off for years now. I’m going to just lay it out for you. There are days when I just want to eat Chinese food or order pizza and cry about how I hate my diet. Sometimes I let myself have a cheat day. I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect. This diet is exhausting but my health is more important to me than not.

I think meal prep and knowing what you need BEFORE you go to the store is hugely important. Especially if you are just starting out on this journey of a diet.

You might feel like this is the blandest most boring diet ever.. and maybe it is (…because it is) but it is certainly better than having a bladder that is on fire with crushed glass inside trying to get out… or whatever your version of that is.

I know how hard it is and I can only hope that this gave you some ideas. I really encourage you to research research research. Research Keto and then look at the IC food list and see what needs to be changed. Sometimes it is just trial and error. Also you can always message me if you have a question because I am here for it.

I wish you well on this journey, friend.

Still Chronically Ill…along with the hope of being chronically amazing

It has been much too long since I have posted on here. I think it is time to really get back into it. So much has changed since my last post in January 2019. I don’t even know where I have been. Well…I guess I still have my four cats (crazy cat lady!), and live in the same house with my same partner and… okay well I promise stuff has changed. Like I graduated from grad school and got a job or two. And I picked up a hobby or three.

My time away from my blog has taken me so very far. Alas, I am still quite chronically ill…possibly even more so than before. If that’s possible? Yes… it is lol. It’s impossible to catch anyone up in one post…. so I won’t try. But I will just talk about where my health is at physically. Because I have a new health problem!!! …yay…

Around February/March 2020, right before the coronavirus hit hard, I started having ear problems. I thought initially it was an ear infection in my left ear and then possibly a sinus infection. Left ear symptoms have included ear fullness, tinnitus, hearing loss, ear pain, balance issues, vertigo. I went to an ENT who sent me for a MRI of my left ear. The MRI according to the ENT, my primary doctor and my neurologist was all clear. So generally speaking that’s good… but then what’s wrong with my gosh durn ear?

Well the ENT then told me that the ear pain was most likely related to my chronic migraines and because I have tendency to clench my jaw. I disagreed with him. He actually argued with me about it. He was very rude and talked to me like I have no idea what I am talking about when in fact I have many years experience being chronically ill. And I know my migraines very well, including when I get new symptoms related to my migraines.

I have had chronic vestibular migraines with auras and vestibular vertigo (a different kind of vertigo than what I am experiencing related to the ear issue) since I was 17. And this is not the same thing. I discussed it with my primary doctor and neurologist and both agreed with me, that this ear pain and all it’s symptoms are new and unrelated to my migraines.

My next plan of action was to have a audiogram and balance test. I decided to do it with that same ENT because it was easier during the pandemic than finding a new ENT…or so I thought. Is anything ever that easy? The balance test required me to stop almost all my medications 48 hours before. Medications including: antidepressants, antihistamines (This one I understand), anti-vertigo meds (This one I understand), migraine meds…all of which I take and need to survive. I tried and went into severe withdrawal after 12 hours and was curled up in a fetal position in the dark and just sobbing.

I broke down and took all my meds..It took me another 24 hours to feel normal again. When I called the ENT’s office to discuss the situation they said I couldn’t do the balance test unless I could stop all the meds, even though I still experience balance/vertigo issues while still taking my meds. And when I first went to see the ENT for my initial appointment he did a 2 minute balance test on me and it was horrendous. I left the office literally holding on to the walls because I was so off balance…that continued for the duration of the day.

So after they refused to work with me, I decided to find a new ENT. And I have an appointment to meet with her at the end of August. I have a strong feeling that I have Meniere’s disease and my primary doctor agrees, all my symptoms matches Meniere’s perfectly, so the ENT I will be seeing specializes in balance issues and Meniere’s.

One last comment about the first ENT, when I told him I thought it might be Meniere’s, he shut me down hard and fast. He told me it was impossible because it is so rare. Umm…Hi…I’m queen of the rare illnesses! I don’t appreciate doctors who don’t listen and think they know everything. It says a lot about the medical community that they think they know everything and they don’t listen to their patients. And if I do end up having Meniere’s I will most certainly be calling that ENT to let him know, because that’s just how nice I am 🙂

And for those who are unfamiliar with Meniere’s disease… it is a chronic illness that affects the inner ear, which is responsible for hearing and balance. Meniere’s symptoms include but are not limited to: vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), ear pressure. That being said Meniere’s is pretty rare according to ENTs, Neurologists and other doctors. The American Hearing Association says that about 0.2% of the US population have it. But because it is so hard to diagnosis it makes wonder if it’s rare because it is so hard to diagnosis OR because of ENTs like the guy I went to see who refused to even entertain the belief that it could be Meniere’s and told me that it’s related to my migraines when it’s clearly not…I mean with doctor’s like that in our medical system how is anyone supposed to get a proper diagnosis?

As for me… I am a rainbow of chronic illnesses.

OR maybe it’s that they are like Pokemon…gotta catch em all!!! /Sarcasm

But I like to think that not matter what…I am chronically amazing despite how many chronic illnesses I collect. Maybe the more I have the more amazing I am. It’s hard to say right now.

Until next time my friends!

Being chronically ill is like wishing you could have a new bike but instead of getting a new bike you get the plague ...over and over again.