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Tips for low iodine diet

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2011

I just had my 2nd surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid. I am getting ready to start the low iodine diet for the 3 wks before the RAI treatment. Does anyone have tips. I want to be careful and follow the diet closely since hurthle cell does not always absorb the iodine, I want to give myself the best results. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


alapah's picture
Posts: 287
Joined: Oct 2009

I found the free downloadable LID cookbook at thyca.org to be a tremendous help. I also did the LID for a longer time (some only do two weeks but I figured I'd do all I could to make the RAI most effective). In addition to the cookbook, thyca.org has other great general information (http://www.thyca.org/rai.htm#diet).

I cooked quite a few things on the weekends to make it easier to eat throughout the week and plan on what to have so I didn't have to make a big deal about it. I 'hid' all of my iodized salt, butter, etc so I didn't accidentally use it. For some things, I put a colorful sticky note to remind me it was off limits. Make sure to read ALL LABELS for soy, salt and other no-nos. For example, I was surprised to find that some types of frozen raw chicken had salted broth as an ingredient.

I still make one or two things from that recipe book even though I am not on the LID - did one of the pancake recipes today. It has a good variety of meal and snack ideas.

BTW, that cookbook has a one page summary of what you can and cannot eat on the LID. I carried around a printout of that page in my purse so I could reference it when I was out and about. I didn't really eat out at all and avoided processed foods.
Best to you!

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks so much! I think I am going to have to be on the diet for about 4-5 weeks

diane2h81's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010

I ate a lot of veggies when I was on the diet and made my own smoothies.

GLAD makes steam bags for the microwave, I would cut up fresh zucchini and yellow squash and steam (no seasoning added). Other veggies work too, just make sure they are on the approved list.

I also made my own version of a Greek salad; cut up fresh bell peppers (really like the red & yellow), cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and mix with olive oil and Italian seasoning (NO SALT). There is a limit on the serving of grains, but if you can find salt free pasta and add that to the veggie & oil mix.

You could also use the oil and Italian seasoning for a non spinach salad. I know spinach is not allowed, so no spinach salads :(

I can't remember what brand, but there are individual serving size of sweet peas in the freezer section. They are meant to be steamed but I defrost in the fridge and then eat as a snack.

For the smoothies I would use frozen fruit (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries...) with 100% pure orange juice, a banana and a handful of ice. I still have the smoothies all the time, but now add protein mix when I'm not on the diet.

I found a friend with a grill and had him grill 2 weeks worth of buffalo/bison meat for me. I put it freezer and would defrost on each day. From what I read buffalo/bison has less iodine then beef and whole pieces of meat less iodine than ground meat. Weird. I think the limit on meat is 6 oz a day.

If you have a bread machine there are a few low iodine bread recipes out there (the bread machine makes it easy). And if you have a whole foods, or something similar, you can get fresh 100% almond butter (taste almost like peanut butter). A slice of toast with almond butter was good for breakfast.

I also packed my entire food intake for the day in a cooler with a handy shoulder strap.

Hope that helps. I've only had to do the diet once so far but learned a lot going through it, a lot of what does not work lol.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks so much so all the info! As much info I can get the better!

Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Getting ready for isolation on Friday of next week. I was in the kitchen cooking all day long. As I was cooking I decided to try something new. I had some frozen banana slices in a bowl in the freezer. I had intended to process them in the blender but my blender broke. I found no salt peanut butter at the grocery store this morning and decided to combine them. WOW! What a wonderful treat and it has some protein, which I crave. Reminds of when my mom made peanut butter and banana sandwiches for me when I was a kid, but without the bread. Today I made homemade Vegetable Beef soup and Spaghetti with Meatballs to freeze for the next two weeks. I really like the Vegetable Beef soup because it was something my mom also made when I was a kid. It's kind of a comfort food. If anyone would like the recipe just let me know. My other favorite "mom" recipe is Stuffed Cabbage. Would be happy to give that one to anyone who would like it. These recipes freeze and reheat well.
God's Blessing on everyone,

Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi Julie! I would love the recipes! I start the diet tomorrow and planning on cooking and freezing. I found a great whole wheat bread recipe on allrecipes.com and made loaves and hamburger buns and froze those. Could you also share your spaghetti sauce recipe too? Thanks! Looks like we are going at the same time! Feb. 16 is the day I take the radiation. Good luck to you!

Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi JustAnnie,
I am going on the 4th for my treatment. Less than a week to finish preparing. Today is my last day to clean house and get all my gloves, cleaning stuff etc. Then back to work on Monday, thyrogen injections on Wednesday and Thursday (with blood draw) and then RAI on Friday.

Vegetable Beef Soup (of course using non iodized salt)
1-1.5 pound Stew meat (boil in about two and a half quarts of water) Get this started while you are chopping the vegetables
Two cobs of corn cut from the cob (add to the boiling meat)
Celery (about two to three stalks) (add to the boiling meat)
Carrots (about three) sliced thin (add to the boiling meat)
Cabbage (about one third of a head)(add to the boiling meat)
1 onion (add to the boiling mix)
Green beans cut (add to the boiling mix)
Two cans (16 oz) of Non Salt organic canned tomatoes diced)(add to the boiling mix)
One can (16 oz) of Non Salt organic canned tomato sauce) (add to the boiling mix)
Sweet Basil (fresh or dried) about 3 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and cut about three large potatoes and add to the mix last. When these are soft the soup should be ready. It takes about one and a half hours for the meat to get nice and tender. I also use No Yolk noodles to add to the soup after it is done.

Stuffed Cabbage
One large head of Cabbage (steamed to the point it is soft and can be removed leaf by leaf and can be pliable to fold. I cut the core and put in a boiling pot of water for about 15 minutes)
Before you steam (boil) the cabbage)
brown about a pound of lean ground hamburger and salt and pepper to taste. You can also use garlic if you like.
Boil some rice. I use white rice because I love it and it is low in iodine but the thyca cookbook recommends a different type. Use whatever you like.
Mix the rice and meat after they are done.
Peel back the cabbage leaves and fill with the mix of meat and rice. Use the outer leaves that are unusable and layer in the bottom of a large pot. Fill and wrap each leaf and place in the pot. Add about a half cup of water and a 16 oz can of tomato sauce (no salt of course) and two 16 oz cans of tomatoes diced with the water. Boil on medium for about 30-45 minutes depending on how pliable your cabbage was when you put it in the pot.

Spaghetti Sauce
Two cans Diced tomatoes (no salt) and one can of Sauce
One onion diced
Fresh basil chopped
About six to seven mushrooms sliced.
Sautee the onion, basil and mushrooms in Olive oil then add the tomatoes and sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and add about one tablespoon oregano. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
I made meatballs to add to the mix. Using lean hamburger, onion, salt and pepper, oregano and basil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and add to the sauce while simmering to absorb the sauce and flavor. Angel hair pasta is my favorite so that is what I use. The Kroeger (Fry's) brand doesn't have added salt and is not made with eggs.

Just check all the ingredients you buy to make sure they don't have salt. I usually use a bag of frozen vegetables in the soup, but I noticed that most have salt added, so for my LID I do all fresh.

Hope you enjoy,

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