This morning I was fortunate enough to meet with a lovely group of ladies at their support group for people who have been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome. (For those of you who are not familiar with this condition, you can read about it here) This is a fantastic group started by Martha Fowler, RN back in 2010. Since then, I can tell you that Martha has been an amazing support for several of my patients! It’s nice to have someone to talk to who understands and has experiences the same symptoms you have been going through.
Before we got started, Martha introduced us to Barley coffee—I know what you’re thinking—weird, nasty, gross—but I was shocked that I actually enjoyed this concoction! When I first tasted, I will admit, I poured myself approximately ¼ cup (assuming I would hate it), but I quickly went back, filled it all of the way and drank the entire thing! SERIOUSLY! I actually think I may keep this on hand to drink on a regular basis. I have long wanted to cut back on my caffeine intake, and really, this may be the ticket!
Why the need for Barley Coffee? For people with Interstitial Cystitis, coffee is a significant irritant to the bladder (well, really, it’s an irritant to all bladders!). Coffee is a double-whammy of irritation—not only does it have caffeine, but it is also highly acidic. Mix this together, and you get a very unhappy bladder—and if you have IC/PBS, that equals pain and strong urges to urinate. (http://iheartguts.com/tag/bladder)
What is Barley?
Barley is a grain, a member of the grass-family. You may recognize it from being used as animal food as well as in beer, bread and soups and stews. The Whole Grain Council (yes, it exists) has listed several health benefits of eating barley including lowering blood sugar, decreasing cholesterol, and possibly with weight loss. (see: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-barley) And what about drinking it? Well, I will admit it’s not quite the same since you are not actually consuming the grain—but, it seems like a good option for your bladder! And it tastes pretty darn good.
Check out the recipe!
Martha’s Barley Coffee
1 bag of barley (dry—looks like rice)
- Roast barley over medium heat, stirring constantly until browned. (WARNING: Per Martha, this may cause some smoke, so make sure your kitchen is ventilated! Stirring constantly reduces likelihood of burning). Best to roast slowly as this decreases the likelihood of burning.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Store in airtight container until ready to use.
- Add roasted barley
(not sure how much…maybe 1 cup?)(Martha corrected me–just add a few tablespoons!) to pot of water and heat over medium. The longer you heat the water/barley the “darker” your coffee.
- Strain out barley & save for later use!
- Serve in your best coffee pot with cream/milk & sugar.
Thank you ladies of the IC/PBS group for allowing me to meet with you this morning! I enjoyed our time together VERY much! Happy Weekend!