My Whole Body Scan is Scheduled

I had an appointment with my oncologist last week. She was in a hurry. She didn’t say a thing about my thyroglobulin levels. We had previously discussed a whole body scan a year out from my RAI. She told me I wouldn’t have to do the low iodine diet, get the Thyrogen shot, or be isolated with a tracer dose of I-131. Ummmm, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. Maybe she was confused with some other test. She was out the door before I could ask any questions.


As an aside, it is so important for you to learn everything you can about your body and your cancer. You have to be knowledgeable enough to be proactive in your treatment. Doctors make mistakes. They are in a hurry. Trust them, but don’t trust them. You know what I mean? It’s like my dad told me, “when it comes down to it, nobody really cares about you.”  I love my dad’s candor. : ) You take care of you.

Anyway, after my doctor left, I spent time with the scheduler, who was on the phone with the Nuclear Medicine people at the hospital where I will be having my scan. I will have to do the diet. I will have to get the Thyrogen shots (Yay! I don’t have to come off my meds). There will be some kind of isolation (although I’m not sure what the requirements are yet….I’ll have to call the Nuke Med. Dept. myself). Duh.

So, I am scheduled for my first Thyrogen shot on Monday, March 16th. Second shot on Tuesday and tracer dose of I-131 on Wednesday. My scan will be Friday morning, March 20th. Of course I won’t get my results immediately. My doctor said if I haven’t heard from them in 5 business days post scan to give them a call. Ugh.

I will start LID next Wednesday (two weeks from the tracer dose of I-131). Again, I was given no instructions from my doctor. I pretty much follow the diet found on ThyCa’s website. I’m prepping some foods today to freeze. I’ll post recipes when I can.

Pad Thai (LID)

Pad Thai (LID) 2

I’m really excited about this recipe. I love Pad Thai. I feel that if I can make LID versions of my favorite dishes, then being on that soul sucking diet will be a little less painful. This LID version of Pad Thai is yummy. Having this recipe in my repertoire will definitely make LID easier.

I adapted/simplified this version from a recipe for Thai Noodles in Victor Sodsook’s True Thai. It’s good, a little on the sweet side, but good. So good that I have made it twice this week (and I’m not even on LID yet). The ingredients are fairly easy to find, although I’m not sure how authentic of an ingredient ketchup is. Once the ingredients for this dish are prepared and assembled, it comes together quickly.

Pad Thai (LID)

Pad Thai (LID)

8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (bahn pho) – look for one that only has rice and water as ingredients
1/4 pound chicken breast, sliced
6 tablespoons Umami Sauce (recipe here)
5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt-free ketchup (Hunt’s and Heinz make salt-free ketchup)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
egg whites, equivalent to 3 eggs, lightly beaten
fresh cilantro, chopped

crushed unsalted peanuts
chile pepper flakes
fresh bean sprouts
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime wedges

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until they are soft, about 15 minutes. When they are ready, drain in a colander and set aside until ready for use.

Meanwhile, combine the Umami Sauce, vinegar, sugar, and salt-free ketchup. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

Have all the ingredient ready and within reach. This dish comes together quickly once the cooking begins.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turning the wok to make sure the oil coats the bottom. Add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add lightly beaten egg whites. Cook the egg whites, stirring to scramble them, until they are set. Pour the prepared sauce mixture into the wok. Add the reserved softened noodles, tossing gently in the sauce. Cook until the noodles are tender and have absorbed the sauce, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the reserved cooked chicken and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve. Have the crushed peanuts, chile pepper flakes, bean sprouts, additional chopped cilantro, and lime wedges on the table so everyone can add their desired condiments.

Adapted from True Thai by Victor Sodsook (William Morrow and Company, 1995).

Umami Sauce (LID)

Umami Sauce 2

I’ve been trying to come up with a soy-free, fish-free, and iodized (or sea) salt-free substitute for soy sauce and fish sauce. I  I saw a blurb in the January 2015 issue of Saveur magazine about a chef (Christian Puglisi of Relae in Copenhagen, Denmark) who makes a Mushroom “Soy” Sauce to add umami to his dishes. I adapted his recipe to fit my needs for a low-iodine diet (LID) I have to go on soon.

Use the Umami Sauce instead of soy sauce or fish sauce (a great way to veganize Asian dishes) in recipes or incorporate  into other dishes to add a umami/mushroom flavor. I used the umami sauce in a low iodine diet version of Pad Thai. I was really happy with the results.

Umami Sauce

Umami Sauce

8 ounces white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Slice the mushrooms and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the mushrooms and mix to distribute. Let the mushrooms sit for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Line a small colander or mesh strainer with cheesecloth over a bowl or measuring cup. Pour the mushrooms and their liquids into the strainer. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out all the liquid from the mushrooms. You can use the mushrooms for another purpose. Store the mushroom liquid (Umami Sauce) in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Avocado Citrus Salad (LID)

This is a beautiful salad for LID. It tastes as good as it looks.

Avocado Citrus Salad

Per two servings:
1 ripe avocado
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt

Using a knife, peel the grapefruit, making sure to also remove the pith. Segment the sections of the grapefruit over a bowl (to catch the juice) by cutting carefully along the membranes. Squeeze the juice from the remaining membranes into the bowl. Repeat with the navel orange. Cut the avocado in half, remove the peel and pit and then slice. Place the arugula on a serving dish. Arrange grapefruit segments, orange segments, and avocado over the arugula. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the citrus juice with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and sugar. Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles (LID)

Refridgerator Dill Pickles

Making refrigerator pickles for LID is incredibly easy. The key is using cucumbers specifically for pickling (or using cucumbers you grew yourself). Do not use those dark green things typically found at the grocery store. Their skin is thick and has wax on it. This recipe results in crunchy, tart dill pickles. If you like your pickles with a bit of kick, add a serrano pepper that has been cut in half or a teaspoon of hot chile flakes.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Makes 1 quart

2 kirby (pickling) cucumbers
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon dill weed

Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat as soon as the solution comes to a boil. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, wash the cucumbers, trim off ends, and cut vertically into spears. I cut the cucumber in half, cut the halves in half, and then cut the quarters in half for a total of 8 spears. Place the cut cucumber spears, garlic clove, dill seed, and dill weed into a clean quart-size Mason jar. Pour the pickling solution over the cucumbers and screw on the lid. Allow to cool on the counter and then refrigerate. For best results, let pickle for 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge before eating.

Squash Ribbons (LID)

Squash Ribbons 2

This is a quick, simple, and colorful side dish for LID.

Squash Ribbons

2 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Trim the ends off the zucchini and yellow squash. Using a vegetable peeler, make thin slices lengthwise down the squash until you reach the seeds. Turn the squash and make more slices until you reach the seedy center. Repeat until only the core of the squash is left. You can discard the center portion or save it for another use (cut up and throw into a vegetable soup).

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the squash ribbons and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper, and serve

Squash Ribbons

Spicy Roasted Okra (LID)

Spicy Roasted Okra

One of the many joys of no longer having a thyroid is the non-existent metabolism. I have put on 17 pounds since my thyroidectomy surgery in January. Having been diagnosed with hypothyroidism over 13 years ago, I’m no stranger to the weight issues that go along with thyroid disease. Right before my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I was on a sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free diet for 6 months. In that 6 months I lost a whopping 4 pounds. It’s discouraging. I don’t have room for extra weight so I have resorted to calorie counting. There are some great free apps out there to make it easier. I’m aiming for 1500 to 1700 calories a day for (hopefully) weight loss.

I love okra. Roasted Okra is totally addicting and satisfying too. And, it’s LID-friendly. Plus, it’s super easy to make. I used a jalapeno from my garden and it was super hot. It made for some SPICY Roasted Okra. It was so spicy, I got the hiccups. Do you get hiccups when you eat spicy/hot foods?

Vegetables typically have lower calorie counts than other foods, so it makes sense to eat more of them to aid in weight loss 1 pound of fresh okra has 124 calories! 1 tablespoon of canola oil also has 124 calories. 1 jalapeno has about 4 calories. This entire recipe (if made with 1 tablespoon of canola oil) only has 152 calories! So, there’s no guilt when I eat the entire batch of Roasted Okra by myself. : )

Roasted Okra

Spicy Roasted Okra

1 pound fresh okra pods, ends trimmed
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 – 2 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
Kosher salt and pepper
spices of your choice (I used garlic powder and cumin)

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Cut the okra pods in half lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss the okra and sliced jalapeno with the oil. Season the okra to taste with Kosher salt, pepper, and preferred spices. Arrange the okra in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast the okra in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring once half-way through cooking. I like the okra right when it starts to crisp up and brown.

Crusty Bread (LID)

crusty bread

Isn’t this a beautiful loaf of crusty bread? It’s perfect for LID too.

I found the recipe on Pinterest. This crusty bread is incredibly easy to prepare and it is comparable to something you would pay $4 or more for at a bakery. All you need to prepare this impressive loaf is an enameled cast iron pot with a lid.

I mixed up the bread dough and let it sit overnight. I baked it the next day. The bread bakes in the lidded enameled cast iron pot at 450 degrees F. That’s a pretty high temperature. There was a chemical/plastic smell in the house while the bread baked.  I’m pretty sure it was the handle of my enameled cast iron pot. My particular pot (Lodge brand) is oven safe to 500 degrees F., but I will probably remove the handle when I make this bread again.

I’m just going to post a link to the blog where the recipe originated. Janet at Simply So Good has detailed instructions on making the bread, along with fabulous pictures and many bread variations.  She also has a Q & A section for the recipe. Apparently, it is very, very popular. I can see why….this bread is amazing!

LID Enchilada Sauce

This is an easy enchilada sauce that can be used on LID.  You can roll a variety of filling in LID-friendly corn tortillas and top them with this sauce and bake. There are so many possibilities. The leftovers from Southwest Chicken makes a wonderful filling for enchiladas.

Many commercial chili powders contain salt. As always, read labels. I use chili powder from Penzey’s.

LID Enchilada Sauce

3 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
2 cups water
1 8 ounce can no salt added tomato sauce

Heat the 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and chili powder and whisk to form a paste. Mix in the cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Gradually whisk in the 2 cups of water. Let the mixture come to a boil, whisking often. It will thicken slightly. Add the can of tomato sauce and check for seasonings. Reduce the heat to low and keep the enchilada sauce warm until ready for use.

Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas)

Saag Chole (LID)

I am already planning for the low iodine diet I will have to go on in March to prepare for a whole body scan to check for persistence/recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’ve been looking through some of my favorite recipes, trying to find ones that are LID-friendly or can be easily adapted. This is one of my husband’s favorite Indian dishes. It is so flavorful and easy to make. I serve it with Basmati rice. This dish freezes very well. I put individual portions with some cooked Basmati rice in the freezer for use in March. It will be nice to have quick LID meals to pop into the microwave.

Some people are told they cannot have or need to limit spinach on their low iodine diet. Follow the instructions you were given. Also, when buying frozen spinach, read labels. Several brands contain salt.

saag chole

Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas)

2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, skin removed and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
kosher salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
20 ounces (2 packages) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (make sure it doesn’t contain salt)
1 14.5 ounce can (no salt added) chickpeas, drained (or about 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas you cooked yourself)
1 teaspoon garam masala (recipe below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until lightly browned. Add the ginger, garlic and cumin seed and saute until the cumin seeds darken. Add the tomatoes, spices, kosher salt, spinach and chickpeas along with 1/4 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the Saag Chole for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, add the garam masala and lemon juice. Serve hot with cooked Basmati rice.

Adapted from a recipe in: From Bengal to Punjab: The Cuisines of India by Smita Chandra (The Crossing Press, 1991).

Garam Masala

This is a garam masala spice mix that I use in Indian dishes. It is easily doubled and keeps well in a glass jar. I love mixing these spices together. They smell amazing! Use this spice mix in any Indian dish that calls for garam masala.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.

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