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Fat Guy

The low-iodine diet

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I have been following this with great interest as I have an allergy to iodine but only in greater concentrations - I get a "butterfly" rash on my face almost immediately and know enough to stop consumption of whatever I am eating.

I can use sea salt in moderation but use kosher diamond flake for most of my cooking.

Shrimp and other shellfish that concentrate iodine and rockfish seem to be the foods that affect me the most.

I avoid fish from the ocean, freshwater fish are no problem. I can't have soups made from kelp but a tiny amount in seasonings doesn't bother me.

Few vegetables bother me - I have to use caution eating radishes and have had a mild reaction to watercress, spinach and some of the mesclun varieties.

Your discipline is remarkable, I doubt I would be able to maintain such a regimen without someone standing over me with a whip! :biggrin:

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The existence of an iodine intolerance is yet another thing I didn't know about iodine. I've gone from zero iodine knowledge to more iodine knowledge than 99.99% of the population in a week.

I have to guess that the low-iodine diet is only somewhat relevant to the efficacy of these Iodine-131 tests and treatments. Were it truly critical, they couldn't possible be giving those dietary guidelines out to the general population with an expectation of good compliance. It must be that it helps a little, maybe, so they figure there's no great harm in people messing it up and some possible benefit to following it. I mean, today early in the morning I was chatting with other people in the waiting area who were on the diet and some of the misconceptions were astounding. It seems a lot of people don't even get that salt and iodine are two different things, or that cream is made from milk.

It was very interesting to talk to the medical staff who had knowledge of actual iodine measurements taken from actual foods. Apparently there is huge variation in things like vegetables just based on where they're grown. Who can be expected to keep track of that?

I'm glad it will be over soon is all I can say.

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It was very interesting to talk to the medical staff who had knowledge of actual iodine measurements taken from actual foods. Apparently there is huge variation in things like vegetables just based on where they're grown. Who can be expected to keep track of that?

I'm glad it will be over soon is all I can say.

During part of my teens, I lived in Wisconsin in an area that has very little iodine in the soil and vegetables are all very low in iodine, as was grass and the silage fed to dairy cattle during much of the year. In the elementary schools, children were given iodine tablets once a week or so because the incidence of goiter was much higher in that area than in other areas and many people refused to use iodized salt.

I attended the last two years of high school there and apparently teens were exempted because I was never offered the tablets.

I know there are other areas where these same conditions occur. I don't know if it was caused by the glaciers or not, I haven't studied it. However, I am sure someone has.

Again, I have to say that you are a very strong individual.

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I only have two more meals to get through, and things have become much easier since I learned that Thomas' English muffins are allowed. I've already had an alarming amount of cantaloupe this morning. I hope it wasn't grown in an iodine-rich part of Mexico. I've got my eye on an English muffin with this nice organic pear butter for my main breakfast. Lunch is going to be a little weird because I have a PTA snack-committee meeting and I won't be able to taste any of the snacks. I may just skip lunch and sleep until dinner -- kind of like placing oneself in cryogenic freeze for a long spaceflight.

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I'm supposed to start sucking on sour-lemon candies in order to get any iodine-131 out of my salivary glands. It's surprisingly difficult to find sour sucking candies that don't have forbidden dyes. Then there are the punctuation issues.

At the pharmacy, on the shelf was a tin of candies labeled:

"CITRUS LEMON & SOUR CHERRY TRAVEL SWEETS"

There were no commas or hyphens. The container was opaque. The illustration on the tin was of lemons and cherries.

What do you think was in the tin: one, two or three types of candy? I bought it just to find out.

The tin contained two types of candy: citrus-lemon and sour-cherry.

I'm supposed to eat 1-2 candies every 2-3 hours through Sunday.

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Being a curious creature, I just had to spend some time investigating the subject of iodine depleted soils (and other minerals) and found some interesting articles, some of which were so technical as to numb my brain.

I did find this site which has apparently compiled most of the scientific information and put it into easily understood language.

While there is information about the other nutritional elements, iodine has the largest amount of data at the bottom of the page.

http://www.becomehealthynow.com/hair/hair_min_documentation3.shtml

In the discussion section the effect of glacial melting is considered the reason for the low iodine soils in the Great Lakes region and as this extends into New York state, I would assume that soils there were also affected.

Another site, one of those more difficult to understand, noted the increased incidence of goiter in Egypt due to the annual flooding of the Nile and speculated that the same occurs in areas of China but there have been no studies conducted by western scientists since 1948 and none published by Chinese scientists in western scientific journals.

It's interesting just how important iodine is and how many parts of the body are affected by either too much or too little.

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Now we are moving into the sour-candy phase of the operation. Between my various family members, there have thus far been four acquisitions:

0211101333c.jpg

On the left are the Simpkins grammatically incoherent candies, then Lemon Head candy, then War Heads, and finally Royal Lemon Drops.

The Royal Lemon Drops I have immediately dismissed as artificial-tasting and of poor quality.

The other three are all good and I'm not sure I've settled on a favorite (I also don't have to). The Simpkins candies are probably the best tasting but they lack in the sourness category, they have an annoying powdered-sugar coating and the packaging is not good - odd since they call themselves "travel sweets."

By far the sourest are the War Heads. They also have the best packaging. The issue with the War Heads is that, while they're great on the attack, once you suck through the outer layer they're insipid.

The Lemon Heads are a good compromise. They're both sour and not chemical-tasting.

I'll eat a few dozen more and by then maybe my opinions will gel.

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Now we are moving into the sour-candy phase of the operation. Between my various family members, there have thus far been four acquisitions:

0211101333c.jpg

On the left are the Simpkins grammatically incoherent candies, then Lemon Head candy, then War Heads, and finally Royal Lemon Drops.

The Royal Lemon Drops I have immediately dismissed as artificial-tasting and of poor quality.

The other three are all good and I'm not sure I've settled on a favorite (I also don't have to). The Simpkins candies are probably the best tasting but they lack in the sourness category, they have an annoying powdered-sugar coating and the packaging is not good - odd since they call themselves "travel sweets."

By far the sourest are the War Heads. They also have the best packaging. The issue with the War Heads is that, while they're great on the attack, once you suck through the outer layer they're insipid.

The Lemon Heads are a good compromise. They're both sour and not chemical-tasting.

I'll eat a few dozen more and by then maybe my opinions will gel.

Do you keep "sour salt" in the house? It's straight citric acid crystals, and intensely sour. I believe it was used in Schav, the sorrell soup, when no other souring agent was available.

I think, that when crushed, it's used to make the sour coating on the Warheads.

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This is a fascinating regimen, and one I've certainly not heard of prior to now. Are you still on the low-iodine diet while you do this?

One more question: are you encouraged to eat high-iodine foods once this phase is over, or are you simply inclined to gorge on seafood after a week of deprivation?

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I remain on the low-iodine diet until 6pm today -- 2.5 hours from now local time.

There is no official recommendation to increase iodine. My natural tendencies, however, will more than compensate for a week of reduced iodine. I'll probably have my levels back up by midnight.

I have had a jar of citric acid on my spice rack for about 15 years but never knew what to do with it. I still don't know what to do with it, but now I know more about it.

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Go easy on the citric acid -- it is definitely an acid. In metalworking, we mix it with water and heat it in a crock pot to make a "pickle," to remove carbon oxides and flux residue after soldering or annealing non-ferrous metals (silver, gold, copper, bronze).

We buy it in big 50lb bags from a restaurant supply place to use at the studio, and if you get the powder on your skin, it definitely burns. And between years of gardening and metalworking, my skin is pretty much impervious to anything....

I think it's main use in the home kitchen might be for adjusting the PH of canning recipes. (For which you probably do NOT need a 50lb bag!)

Congratulations, Fat Guy, on getting through such a difficult week, and thanks for educating us all about the wonders of iodine.

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There is no official recommendation to increase iodine. My natural tendencies, however, will more than compensate for a week of reduced iodine. I'll probably have my levels back up by midnight.

I'd be very curious to know if you actually have an iodine deficiency at this point, after being directly injected with it (albeit in its radioactive form).

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It came in three pills but yes, I imagine I don't have an iodine deficiency at the moment. Nonetheless, I will be eating foods containing iodine. Big time.

I spent the afternoon agonizing over the pizza v. Chinese food decision. I also came very close to falling off the wagon. On two occasions I had to walk out to the post office and on my route is a pretty good pizza place. The internal dialog on all four occasions (two round trips, passing the pizzeria four times total) was along the lines of, "It's 3:45pm. There couldn't possibly be any harm in having pizza now instead of waiting until 6pm. But no, I've come so far I can't hurl myself off the wagon with only a couple of hours left. I'll have a Lemon Head instead."

And wouldn't you know it, in the final minutes of the diet a dark-horse candidate emerged: bacon. Dinner is going to be grilled cheese with bacon, in about 10 minutes.

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Citric acid is very useful in baking - especially breads that need a bit of a "boost" to keep from being heavy.

I use it all the time for an acidulated bath for vegetables and fruit.

I have some in a shaker to apply to certain things such as sliced eggplant - to be rinsed off before cooking

Also works for the more "mature" zucchini (the big bomb type) which are sometimes a bit bitter.

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Citric acid is very useful in baking - especially breads that need a bit of a "boost" to keep from being heavy.

I use it all the time for an acidulated bath for vegetables and fruit.

I have some in a shaker to apply to certain things such as sliced eggplant - to be rinsed off before cooking

Also works for the more "mature" zucchini (the big bomb type) which are sometimes a bit bitter.

AHA! Thanks, Andie! New grist for my 'facts mill'! :raz:

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I thought you could use to help out your sourdough starter as well. I remember reading that somewhere.

FG, do let us know what your Sayonara, Diet! meal was...


Edited by ambra (log)

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I'd be very curious to know if you actually have an iodine deficiency at this point, after being directly injected with it (albeit in its radioactive form).

Iodine-131 has a short half life - about 8 days. What that means is that it takes very little of it by mass to produce enough radioactivity for the procedure (in other words it has a high specific-activity). So for that reason it won't have any significant impact on your overall iodine level. Also, it decays to xenon-131 so between that, and excretion, it goes away without much unintended good or bad effect on your thyroid.

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To commemorate the end of the diet I had a fantastic meal at Le Bernardin on Friday night. We started out with an egg and moved on to several iodine-rich seafood courses.

I'm off the diet and the sucking-candy regimen ends tomorrow, so I may not have much more to report. Then again I may have to do this for a week each year forever, so we'll see.

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Very sorry that you've gone through this, Steven. I had I-131 treatment for stage III thyroid cancer in 2006, and the differences between what your doctor recommended and the regimen I follow are interesting. I do the low-iodine diet for three weeks before my yearly follow up whole-body scans, & started the latest on Tuesday, April 13. If the cancer hasn't come back this time, we move to an every-other-year schedule. What keeps me going, honestly, is fear. If I mess up, then the scan is less effective, and the doctor may miss a new growth.

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At least you have eggwhites. At first I thought - no eggs, no dairy, I'd starve.

But rice, veg/fruit and meat makes for an easy week. I would horribly miss soysauce tho.

Roast potatoes in olive oil are wonderful and I never keep on the skin.

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I was searching for information on yeast, salt and iodine when this thread popped up. My hubby also deals with an annual low iodine diet for testing. Your mention of Thomas English Muffins was exciting until I looked at the list of ingredients. What I found says there is soy flour in them, and soy is prohibited. Did you find another variety, or something? It sure would beat baking if I could find something premade.

 

Thanks!

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This is a 5 year old thread, wanda. Unfortunately Fat Guy is no longer even with us so he will be unable to answer.

 

However, to address your question, it could be there was a recipe change made at some time in the past 5 years in the Thomas muffin factory to include soy (for higher protein content). Seems to me that they began advertising their English muffins a while back as 'healthier' and higher in protein than others - though I don't really recall when that was. As a result, they probably would not qualify now as low iodine - but, if I were you, I would ask a doctor if they would or could/have been tested lately.


Edited by Deryn (log)

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