Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Low-iodine Diet: The Basics

As part of my cancer treatment, I'm getting radioactive iodine. Basically they take out all they can when they do surgery, and while my surgeon got it all out, since it had spread to two lymph nodes and my tumor was "stuck to my trachea," I need the radioactive iodine to kill off any pesky cancer cells left behind.

It's not bad, from what I've read; take a pill, be in quarantine for three days while you're radioactive, body scan 7-10 days after, and you're good. Possible side effects most people seem to complain of is nausea and things not tasting right for up to six months. (One man said everything tasted soapy. Let's not do that one.)

In order for it to be as effective as possible, you must be on a low-iodine diet for two weeks ahead of time. Since your thyroid cells absorb iodine, if you starve them of it for two weeks, they will suck up that delicious radioactive version like a cult's death kool-aid and cease to exist.

So, you ask, what has iodine in it? The short answer: EVERYTHING.

It's actually shorter to write what I can eat, versus what I can't. 

I can eat:
  • Fresh vegetables, frozen ones if there's no added salt...Minus spinach, cruciferous vegetables, celery, potato skins, soybeans (and everything made from them), and most regular beans that I luckily hate anyway
  • Fresh fruit...Minus cranberries, strawberries, rhubarb, and dried fruit
  • Fresh meat from the butcher case with no processing (outside of grinding) and no additives (Hello Whole Foods)...Minus all seafood and organ meats and only 6 oz a day :(
  • Egg whites
  • Unsalted nuts and nut butters
  • Grains and cereals that are unsalted, unprocessed, and additive and preservative free
  • Bread, if I make it myself with no bad ingredients (like milk, eggs, etc)
  • Oil
  • White vinegar
  • Natural sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, up to 2 servings a day...Minus molasses
  • Spices...Minus any with salt in them or in their title
  • Herbs!
  • Small amounts of non-iodized, non-sea salt
  • An assortment of beverages I don't drink anyway. (That's right, I can't eat 2 of 3 ingredients for ants on a log, but I can drink Sprite and coffee. Not right I tell you.)
It actually looks like a lot of variety when you put it that way. A lesson on trying to see that glass as half-full, perhaps?

Today was my self-inflicted Day 1, which I will delve into tomorrow! :)

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