Monday, October 15, 2012

Low Iodine Diet

By Marisa DeMeglio from NYC, USA (Flickr)
[CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
via Wikimedia Commons
Over the summer someone close to me had to go on a low iodine diet (LID). Even though it seems as if being on a diet without iodine would be easy, its much more difficult than you can imagine and is tiring being on such strict dietary constraints for two weeks. It's hard not to crave things you shouldn't have. But we found it to be fun to try new things and I found a few new products that I will continue using.

I thought I'd share some of our discoveries because reading what others had done was so intensely valuable to us. We believe the diet was a success, so the approaches we took seemed to have worked. I sincerely hope your diet works well for you. But we aren't doctors nor nutritionists. I did my research, but you should to. And if you find that something here should be changed or updated, please let me know.

Today, I'm listing a few general thoughts on products. Then I'll share a few recipes in upcoming posts.

First. The most valuable resource we found (beyond our doctor) was the cookbook (pdf) at ThyCa.org. Go there. Listen to your doctor. But basically, for LID we cut out salt with iodine, all foods from the sea, soybean products, dairy, and most pre-prepared/packaged foods. We got a non-iodized kosher salt immediately because we didn't need to cut sodium, just iodine.

I found a few products that made general cooking easier:
  • Mrs. Dash. Great way to spice up all sorts of meats, dishes.
  • For a milk replacement, Pacific all natural Hemp non-dairy beverage doesn't contain sea salt (found in most nut milks) nor carrageen (also to be avoided and in many nut milks). Problem with this one is that Whole Foods carried this product at the beginning of the diet and discontinued it by the end. It could be difficult to find on the shelf and another company's brand of hemp milk contained sea salt. It wasn't a viable replacement. I used this hemp milk in a modified pancake recipe that turned out great. It's so delicious I intend to make them that way again. That recipe is coming soon!
  • Chicken is usually processed in facilities with water that contains salt. Considering LID is "low iodine", not "no iodine," fresh chicken can be used sparingly even though it most likely has iodine. But, when possible, we tried to go "no iodine" figuring that trace amounts would show up in things we didn't expect. And better to cut it when we could. Limiting chicken would've been difficult in an already restricted diet since it's a favorite here. Instead of cutting back on chicken, I bought the "air chilled" chicken from Whole Foods. It's a bit more expensive, but I was lucky enough to hit a sale, as well as buying an entire chicken at a time is more affordable (also good for chicken stock, recipe to come). Air chilled chicken is not processed with salt and shouldn't have added iodine.
  • Herb-ox Sodium Free Chicken Granulated Bouillon. Great to have on hand.
  • Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. We used this with olive oil on several different kinds of salad since so many off the shelf dressings were out. It mixed things up a bit since variety helped get us through having a restricted diet.
  • Pomi Chopped Tomatoes. These come in a carton instead of a can. Iodine can leach from cans, so we used canned products sparingly.
I'll be posting a chicken broth recipe, a chicken coconut soup, a variation on a thai spring roll, and the pancake recipe as soon as I can get them organized.
Hope this helps anyone who has to do the low iodine diet and I hope you can find the adventure in trying new foods that we did!

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