When someone is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the treatment plan often involves a thyroidectomy (complete removal of the person’s thyroid) along with radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) .
Unlike most cancer treatments, radioactive iodine treatment is very targeted. Thyroid cells crave iodine. I had to follow the low iodine diet for two weeks before my treatment to deprive my cells of iodine. I also had to go off my thyroid medication and take special injections to lower my levels further. After being on the diet for a while my body started to crave iodine. When I swallowed the radioactive iodine pill, my starved cells attached themselves to the radioactive iodine cells. The hope is that the radioactive iodine cells go on to kill any remaining thyroid cells.
I had to go on the low iodine diet for two weeks in August 2014 and again in October 2015.
Low Iodine Diet Restrictions
On the low iodine diet I was not allowed to eat:
anything from the ocean – fish, seaweed and various additives and preservatives that originate from seaweed such as carrageenan
anything packaged or commercially prepared – baked goods, meals at a restaurant etc
What can I eat on the low iodine diet?
On the low iodine diet I was able to eat:
lots of fresh fruits and veggies
chicken and lake fish
beans that I soak and cook myself
raw nuts and nut butters
cocoa and other chocolate as long as it doesn’t have dairy
pasta, rice, quinoa and other grains are ok as long as they don’t contain dairy, eggs etc
The first time I went on the diet I did a lot of things for the first time – made my own bread, soaked and cooked my own beans and made my first curry dish.
The second time around I focused on putting together creative vegan dishes, making my own almond milk, tomato sauce and other treats. In some future posts I’ll be sharing pics, recipes and meal planning ideas.
Some of the LID recipes and ideas I’ve shared so far include:
- Low Iodine Diet Tomato Sauce
- Low Iodine Diet Avocado Pasta
- Healthy Granola (can be made LID friendly)
- LID dinner ideas
I am not a healthcare professional or nutritionist. This post and any information I provide is only based on my own experiences. Guidelines for the Low Iodine Diet can vary depending on your doctor and treatment. Please speak to your doctor about your specific health concerns.