Let me start by stating this caveat: this was my diet based on the guidelines given to me by my nurse. You may be given other guidelines by your clinicians. Always refer to what has been given to you by your team first.
What makes me an expert? I'm not! But what I am is a food blogger who has many food sensitivities and has become skilled in food substitutions, especially on a tight budget.
I was diagnosed with papallary thyroid cancer in late November 2014. I had a total thyroidectomy because I had a mass on each hemisphere, a "sticky" 4cm on the left. The removal was not 100%. I'm considered persistent. In July 2018 I will be facing my 3rd stimulated whole body scan needing low iodine diet (l.I.d.) prep of at least 2 weeks.
Why low iodine diet? Iodine is a naturally occurring mineral that is needed to produce a hormone in your thyroid called thyroxine. By going on l.I.d. the thyroid will be starved of it so, when given radioactive iodine, any remaining thyroid cells will soak up that iodine and light up under the whole body scan.
Iodine isn't just in iodine salt. Broad list of other foods to avoid:
- Egg yolks
- Anything from the sea
- Canned foods
- Seasoning mixes
My nurse is always keen to point out that it's "low" iodine not "no" iodine. Obviously, don't eat your way through the Cheesecake Factory's menu but don't put yourself under the pressure to not eat one tiny bit of iodine. It's hard. It's especially hard these days when we eat a lot of processed food.
- Find a friend or family member to help
- Meal planning and prep is key
- Take a field trip to the market ahead of time
- Never hesitate to call your medical team
- Read labels
- Google is your friend, bring it shopping with you to help decipher ingredients
- Don't eat out
- Have non-iodine salt will travel
- Find a splurge substitute (for me it's sorbet)
- Remind yourself that a bottle of pinot gris is iodine free!..... ok, Maybe that one is for me
Most recipes on my blog are from scratch and can easily be made l.I.d. friendly just by switching out salt or using vegan/soy free substitute. I will be posting more specifically l.I.d. menu plans and recipes very soon.