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Monday December 17th 2018


Life Redefined: The Low Iodine Diet

Post Published: 03 August 2011
Category: Column, Life Redefined, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column
This post currently has 5 responses. Leave a comment


Yesterday was the first day of my annual low-iodine diet as I prepare for a whole body scan. I hate this diet. To be honest, the diet itself is not bad. The food is all good and fresh and, if you choose the right meals, is actually quite healthy. The reason I hate the diet is because of all the mental associations. In my mind, this diet is a cancer diet. I only have to eat these low iodine meals BECAUSE OF THYROID CANCER. I have to constantly remind myself that the diet is short-term (10-14 days) and that the food really is quite tasty.

I really want to share my new favorite low-iodine resource with you. I’m not receiving any perks for talking about this cookbook. Dear Thyroid isn’t receiving any perks as a result of this post. This is just my personal opinion. J So now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, here’s the cookbook:  The Low Iodine Diet Cookbook written by Norene Gilletz. You can check it out on amazon.com by clicking here. I love this cookbook for multiple reasons. The introduction to the cookbook is written by the director of the thyroid oncology program at the University of Kentucky. I think he does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of the diet and the mechanisms behind it in laymen’s terms.  I particularly appreciate his detailed explanation of why it’s important to avoid dairy on this diet. But the goodness of this cookbook does not end with the introduction. Norene Gilletz has some great recipes, tips, and substitutions for every meal. She really helps to make the low iodine diet much more palatable. I highly recommend you check out this great resource.

A quick reminder/tip for those of you who are on the low iodine diet or who will be on it soon: be sure to check food labels for carrageenan, agar-agar, algin, and alginates. These are all seaweed byproducts (and thus contain iodine) that are commonly found in processed foods. Sometimes people get so focused on checking for salt or soy that they forget to look for these additives!

My favorite meal so far: vegetable soup made (mostly) with vegetables fresh from my Dad’s garden. DELICIOUS. I would LOVE to hear from you—what’s your favorite meal when you’re on the low iodine diet? How do you get past the mental block of the LID? I really want to hear all your tips!






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5 Responses to “Life Redefined: The Low Iodine Diet”

  1. Melissa Travis says:

    Harumph. *stabs all mandatory diets in the eye*


  2. Mike says:

    Whilste nearing the end of my LID, I thought I was going to die. It was not pleasant. Last Febuary, thyroid cancer was found in a vascular bundle below where my thyroid used to be. My doctor told me not to worry;”It’s a slow growing cancer.” I was scheduled for scan using Thyrogen in June, however, I’m on a waiting list(for Thyrogen).
    The company that makes Thyrogen told it’s stockholders not to worry; lack of thyrogen is only about 4-5% of it’s profit. What!?! Should I worry?

    • Don’t you just hate when doctors use “don’t worry” and “cancer” in the same sentence?!

      I know the Thyrogen issue is making things a mess for lots of patients right now. May I ask, are you located in the US? If so, your chances of getting Thyrogen soon are somewhat better, although still not guaranteed. I know it’s so frustrating. Unfortunately, Genzyme’s manufacturing issues are causing serious delays in shipment of Thyrogen. They expect delays through 2012! I know this is really not encouraging news, BUT, I do have some advice for you. Talk to the clinical manager at your doctors office (or whoever is in charge of scheduling the I-131/I-123 scans) and make friends with this person! Call weekly and get an update on the situation. This clinical manager will know the current Thyrogen availability at your local hospital or at whatever facility administers the Thyrogen. OK, so if you stay in touch with the clinical manager, you’ll know what’s going on locally with Thyrogen. Also, by making friends with the clinical manager, you may likely get bumped up in the waiting list.

      This isn’t the only thing you can do, though. The next thing you can do is call your insurance provider. Ask to speak with someone who works in the specialty pharmacy department or who works with the company’s affiliated specialty pharmacy. For me, this specialty pharmacy is CVS/Caremark. Call this specialty pharm and ask if they have any Thyrogen available. There is a possibility that they will. If they do, you can talk with your clinical manager about getting an Rx and order directly from your insurance/specialty pharmacy. Though this process is not as straightforward as making one call and scheduling with your hospital, it can be effective.

      I hope this is helpful to you. I know it’s frustrating for you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.


  3. tamara says:

    Im on LID time number 6 or so. Cancer for almost 5 years, every 6 months minus time off for two surprise pregnancies (that’s another issue!) It’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. Find a good butcher for a little meat, buy a bread make, get some no-salt potato chips from whole foods, take a few meals you love (for me, anything mexican) and make a low iodine version. I agree, the worst is the every meal reminder that you have cancer. And the contantly thinking about what will my next meal be, do i have snacks on hand and when can I put cream in my coffee again! Otherwise, it makes me feel really healthly. Imagine if we had cancer, no synthroid in us leading to depression, tiredness, etc and we were eating a bunch of crappy high fat, high salt, high carb, food. THEN, we’d have casncer, feel worse and die of heart disease. So, I say, “YIPPEE FOR LOW IODINE DIET” bring it on!

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