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: June 2002
An IC Friendly Picnic
month to have a picnic than June? Get some fresh air and exercise,
enjoy nature, play with the kids. Take the family and head for the
ocean, mountains or park... with a few stops along the way of course.
Traveling with IC can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be
impossible. With some advance planning we can relax, enjoy bladder-friendly
food, and have a great time.
The ICer's motto: Be
There's just no substitute for good planning and preparedness for
a day of recreation. In the last ten years I've discovered on numerous
occasions that it's so much better to be over-prepared (even if you
get teased about it) than to spend the day tense and worrying about
all the "what-ifs."
Since I've had
IC, planning means more than just packing medicines, food, and soft
cushions, and marking rest stops on maps. I try to prepare my body
too, by sticking closely to my diet and being well rested on the
day before, not rushed and exhausted by trying to accomplish too
much at the last minute.Stress
and tension can help bring on a flare too.
If I want to
take cooked foods, I try to make them a day or two before. Some
foods actually taste better that way... the flavors have a good
chance to blend. But what can you take that travels well, isn't
too messy to eat, and doesn't need to be heated? Of course it needs
to be bladder-friendly too. And would easy or quick to fix be too
much to ask?
Ready to eat snacks
There are a few companies that produce snack-type food we can eat.
But it used to be that brands would stay pretty much the same year
after year. Now however, products come and go in the blink of an eye.
Companies merge, formulas change, brands disappear. Today an item
has no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Tomorrow they decide
to change the recipe and add bladder burners like monosodium glutamate
or aspartame. That's why I'm a little hesitant to name products...
this article may be around long after the manufacturer has changed
the recipe for the packaged food. So please check labels for ingredients
your bladder can't tolerate, no matter what I say here! Also bear
in mind that everyone is a bit different, so these are just suggestions
for products to take a look at. The items have been suggested by various
IC patients and not everyone will be able to eat every one of these.
With that caveat, here are some packaged snack type foods that (for
now at least) are good to take on trips:
and Deli-Rye only
Original potato crisps (in a red can)
- Potato chips;
Kettle Chips natural gourmet potato chips, lightly salted only
Snyders of Hanover, Old Tyme, regular
- Salted cashews;
Costco's Signature brand has no artificial ingredients added
malt balls; from Whole Foods Markets
- Orville Redenbacher
popping corn, plain (Comes as kernels in a jar. Not the microwave
bag-type); prepared at home. Corn may bother a few who need low
white corn restaurant style tortilla chips, plain. (Corn may bother
a few who need low oxalate.)
- Corn Nuts,
original flavor. (Corn may bother a few who need low oxalate.)
dill pickles (No acid, no preservatives. In the refrigerated section
of the market)
- String cheese
or mozzarella strips
- See's candies;
white coated cashew brittle (for those who can tolerate a little
We can also
assemble some other nutritious snacks quickly. The veggies are good
just dipped in a bit of salt, or with a dip (see recipe from my
cookbook below): Black olives, carrot sticks, celery sticks, whole
radishes, red bell pepper strips, whole roasted almonds, bananas,
blueberries and/or honeydew melon chunks (for those who can eat
Drinks are always
a problem. I've found that if I don't take my own, drinking fountains
and plain water are hard to come by. I wind up drinking canned sodas
or fruit juice-- and I pay the price later. If you find you must
purchase something to drink, fast food establishments that serve
Barq's root beer are good bets. Barq's has no caffeine and you can
dilute it with ice cubes. Depending on your bladder's sensitivity
you may also need something to cut the acidity a bit, Tums or Prelief
or Coffee Tamer. But this only applies to the on-tap kind from restaurants...
the canned version of Barq's has all the bladder burning preservatives
that most sodas have.
Watch out for
dehydration too. It's easy to have fun and get so interested in
what you're doing that you forget to drink something. Being a bit
dehydrated can produce concentrated urine and major pain for many
IC people. (IC urine has been found to have irritants like histamine
and methyl histamine as well as a protein that helps keep the bladder
lining from healing). Of course if pain is not a big problem
for you but frequency is, then you'll want to balance your body's
need for fluids with your ability to find a rest room. (If you're
not near a restroom, the disposable TravelJohns
are great to have. Just tuck one in your pocket for emergencies).
Try packing these bladder friendly drinks for your picnic:
- Herb tea
bags; Stash licorice, Celestial Seasonings peppermint, Bigelow
Mint Medley (take a thermos of hot water and a ziplock bag for
the used tea bags. Or make tea and refrigerate for iced herb tea.)
- Sobe lizard
blizzard (It's available seasonally and perhaps not in all markets
around the country. It comes in a big bottle but for traveling
I pour it into small plastic ones like the empty Evian bottles.)
- Gerbers pear
The Perfect Main
Now down to
the nitty-gritty, the main course for the picnic. Fried chicken
is wonderful on picnics. For dessert, how about some fruit? Remember
to keep your food cold enough to discourage bacterial growth.
8 chicken legs
1/2 c. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground savory
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper (optional, omit for low oxalate)
and herbs in a paper or plastic bag, add one or two pieces of chicken
at a time and shake. Heat about 1/4-inch of shortening or cooking
oil in a skillet until a drop of water sizzles and pops. Add chicken
pieces. Brown one side, then turn with tongs to brown the other.(Be
sure not to crowd the pieces). It will take about 15 or 20 minutes
to brown the pieces. When browned, reduce heat to low and cover
tightly. (If you don't have a tight-fitting lid, add 1
or 2 tablespoons of water). Cook until tender, about 25 minutes
(uncover the last 7 to 10 minutes). Remove and cool, then refrigerate
until time to pack.
This quick and
tasty cucumber sandwich idea was sent to me by IC patient Toni Wickhart.
Thanks for sharing, Toni!
and thinly sliced
softened cream cheese
2 slices sandwich bread (without preservatives)
Spread two slices
of bread with cream cheese. Add layer of sliced cucumber between
the bread. (Or mix chopped cucumber with the cream cheese and spread
on bread). You can also add: a tablespoon of chopped chives, chopped
black olives, or chopped hard-boiled egg. If bacon doesn't bother
you, add a bit of cooked chopped bacon.
Easy IC Style
2 slices sandwich
bread (without preservatives)
1 can pure tuna (Star Kist Gourmet's Choice Tuna Fillet, in water--
this kind does not have soy or flavor enhancers, unlike others)
margarine, tub kind
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried chervil for low
red lettuce leaf
generously on one side of each piece of bread. Drain the tuna and
break up with a fork. Mix with the parsley and a dash of salt. Arrange
tuna on one bread slice, top with lettuce and other bread slice.
Here is a clam
dip recipe originally from Taste of the Good Life, a Cookbook for
an Interstitial Cystitis Diet. Kept cool, it's great with crackers,
chips, cooked large shrimp, or veggies.
makes about 1-1/2 cups
1 8-oz. pkg.
cream cheese, softened
1 7-oz can minced clams, drained (try Snow's- or make sure the brand
doesn't have these: monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed anything, or
3 Tbsp. clam juice (reserved from clams is ok)
1/2 c. cottage cheese
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper or white pepper (optional)
salt to taste
and reserve 3 Tbsp. of the juice. Beat together the cream cheese
and clam juice until smooth. Process cottage cheese and milk in
a blender or food processor until fairly smooth consistency. Add
clams and process a few seconds more. Fold cottage cheese mixture,
allspice, garlic powder, and pepper into the cream cheese. Chill
at least two hours to let flavors blend.