A Note About Salt

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I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt when I am on LID. In general, kosher salt does not contain iodine. I have assumed that most people know what kosher salt is, but I may have been wrong to do so.

A recent commenter on this blog expressed concern that I use kosher salt on LID and list it as an ingredient in my recipes. He was concerned that kosher salt could contain sea salt or iodized salt. Sea salt and iodized salt can be certified as kosher, but they are not safe for LID. I have never seen sea salt or iodized salt that has been certified as kosher labeled as “kosher salt”. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. ALWAYS READ LABELS.

On a low iodine diet, you can not have sea salt or iodized salt, even if it is certified kosher. You can’t have Himalayan rock salt, gray salt (sel gris), bay salt, solar salt, fleur de sel, bamboo salt, smoked sea salt, black salt, or iodized table salt. Avoid fancy, gourmet salts, just to be safe.

You can have non-iodized (table) salt, and non-iodized kosher salt.

Here’s the deal, you can not eliminate salt completely from your diet while you are on LID. It is very dangerous to do so. Your body needs salt and if it doesn’t get it, you could die. Do not eliminate salt from your diet. 

I am in the process of changing all my LID recipes on this blog to list “non-iodized salt” as an ingredient instead of “kosher salt”.  I don’t want someone to have a non-productive LID because I assume everyone knows what kosher salt is.

Buffalo Cauliflower (LID)

LID Buffalo Cauliflower

When I’m not on LID I make this recipe with butter, but it’s just was good with the Earth Balance Soy Free Spread. Frank’s and Texas Pete hot sauces are both LID-safe (of course, always check ingredient list, as ingredients can change). Alternatively, you can use the Buffalo sauce on baked chicken wings (just make sure that the chicken wings have not been injected with a salt solution….ask the butcher).

Buffalo Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, wash and dried, separated into florets
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
pinch of non-iodized salt (I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt)
1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Originial Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Texas Pete is also LID-safe)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, melted
pinch of non-iodized salt

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, water, and non-iodized salt in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and mix to coat. Using tongs, place the battered cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Throw out any left-over batter. Bake at 450° F for 20 minutes or until the batter becomes crispy and golden. I flip the cauliflower halfway so that it browns evenly.

Meanwhile, combine melted Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, Frank’s hot sauce, and non-iodized salt in a large bowl. When the cauliflower is done baking, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

LID Round 3, Day 2

Eating today was easier with a bunch of store-bought LID-safe products.

Trader Joe’s does not use iodized salt in their products. They do use sea salt often, so make sure to check ingredients lists. Their Tuscan Pane bread is delicious toasted.

Boar’s Head does not use iodized salt in their products. You can get their meat products sliced to order at many grocery store delis. Publix carries Boar’s Head products. You can browse the Boar’s Head products and see their ingredents list (as well as pre-order the deli meats) in the Publix app or online.

Newman’s Own does not use iodized salt in their products. They have a wide selection of pasta sauces, salad dressings, and salsa available in grocery stores nationwide. As long as there are no forbidden ingredients (like cheese), their products are safe to use on a low iodine diet.

Ken’s Foods does not use iodized salt in their products. They have a wide variety of salad dressings that can be used while on LID.

pasta-and-sauce

What I ate today:
Breakfast:  Toasted Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane with Earth Balance spread, Boar’s Head Salsalito Roasted Turkey Breast, cold brew coffee with So Delicious Coconut Creamer
Lunch:  Sopa Ranchera, Tostitos
Dinner:  Penne pasta with Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina Pasta Sauce, salad with Ken’s Zesty Italian dressing

LID Round 3, Day 1

I survived my first day of this round of LID.

I just found out yesterday that I was scheduled for a whole body scan on March 10th and that LID was starting today. I was committed to attending a PTSO meeting and a school board meeting last night, so I had no time to plan or shop.

I decided to take today off from work and spend time shopping for LID-safe groceries to get me through the first week. The LID Life Community was a huge resource, although I found that some of the items they had listed as safe actually were not. This can be chalked up to regional differences and recipe changes. Always read ingredient lists!!

I shopped at Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s and Publix. Here are some of the groceries I got:

Since I didn’t have time to prepare or shop, I started the day with a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter, a banana, a mandarin orange, and a Coke. I am a coffee person, but I don’t like black coffee. I need cream. And lots of sugar. Finding a LID-safe coffee creamer is a challenge.

The Sopa Ranchera is becoming a LID tradition. I have made it each time. It’s nice to have a soup on hand for quick meals. It freezes well, so it can be made ahead and kept frozen in individual servings in Ziploc bags.

What I ate today:
Breakfast:  banana, 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter, mandarin orange, Coca-Cola
Lunch:  Salad of lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots with Ken’s Steakhouse Zesty Italian dressing
Dinner:  Sopa Ranchera
Snack:  2 Oreo cookies

I just found out that I have to start the low iodine diet tomorrow

I just got a call from my oncologist’s office. They are finally concerned about my thyroid antibodies and thyroglobulin numbers that have been rising for the past year and a half. They have scheduled me for a whole body scan on March 10th. I get Thyrogen shots on the 6th and 7th and the radioactive iodine tracer dose on the 8th. And surprise, LID starts tomorrow. I have two board meetings to go to tonight and no time to plan or shop for the low iodine diet. I’m a little stressed. This should be interesting.

The LID Life Community

So, I have found this amazing resource for LID, the LID Life Community. The Facebook page was started in June of 2015 and now has thousands of members. Even better, the LID Life Community has a collection of thousands of pictures of LID-safe foods. Each product has been researched and they have written confirmation from the particular food manufacturer that iodized salt is not used in the products. Furthermore, the Facebook page provides much-needed support and encouragement for those going through LID, RAI, thyroid  cancer, and/or thyroid disease.

This is a list compiled by The LID Life Community of USA Manufacturers that do not use iodized salt. How amazing is that?!

I will be going on LID at the end of February/beginning of March to prepare for a whole body scan. Each time it gets easier, but I have a feeling this time will be even better thanks to the LID Life Community.

Stewed Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

Stewed Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

This is a nice LID side dish, especially during the summer months when squash is fresh and abundant. You can use zucchini instead of yellow squash or a combination of both. You can also use fresh tomatoes instead of canned. You will just need to add a bit of water to the skillet with them so the veggies can finish stewing.

Stewed Squash and Tomatoes

Stewed Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium yellow squash, cut into bite-size chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes, with juices
non-iodized salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the squash and season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is just tender (but not mushy), about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook one minute longer. Next, add the diced tomatoes and their juices. Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has cooked out and the squash has reached the desired tenderness, approximately 5 minutes. Season to taste with more non-iodized salt and pepper.

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Southwest Chicken (Crockpot Freezer Meal) (LID)

I’m preparing for the low iodine diet (LID) which I will probably have to start tomorrow (still waiting for the confirmation from the oncologist’s office). Last week, I threw together some crockpot freezer meals to have while on LID. I expected to have been off my meds and not have the energy to cook. I’ll be getting the Thyrogen shots and won’t have to go off my thyroid hormone replacement, but I’m glad I prepared some things ahead of time.

I’ve been writing a food blog for over 8 years now. I’m reblogging a recipe for a crockpot freezer meal I put together. I plan on eating this with LID-safe tortillas and possibly adding salt-free broth to some leftover to make soup.

Update: I used Southwest Chicken leftovers to make a filling for LID enchiladas. They were really good. Find the recipe for LID Enchilada Sauce here.

Southwest Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meal (LID)

Southwest Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meal for LID

On January 30th of this year, I underwent a total thyroidectomy due to papillary thyroid cancer. The surgery went well although it left me with a 6 inch scar on the front of my neck. The next step in my treatment is to ingest radioactive iodine (RAI) to ablate any remaining thyroid/thyroid cancer cells in my body. One of the things I have to do to prepare for RAI is to go on a low iodine diet (LID) 2 weeks beforehand in order to starve any remaining thyroid cells so that they will more readily absorb the radioactive iodine.

The low iodine diet is quite restrictive. Iodized or sea salt (Kosher and non-iodized salt is ok), dairy products, soy products, seafood, sea vegetables, eggs, cured foods, foods containing certain red dyes, any foods containing the previously mentioned ingredients, and most commercial bread products are not allowed on the diet. Basically, I can only eat foods I prepare myself with allowed ingredients. Planning ahead seems like the best plan of action to ensure I make it through the diet at a time when I may be so exhausted from not having a thyroid. Crockpot freezer meals prepared with LID-allowed foods will be helpful.

This Southwest Chicken (I know I labeled my bags as Cilantro-Lime Chicken, but I think Southwest Chicken better describes the meal) recipe is based on a bunch I’ve seen on Pinterest and adapted to fit my needs and taste. It can be served with rice (basmati is best for LID and should be limited) or in a salt-free tortilla (the corn tortillas I buy do not contain salt).

Southwest Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meal (LID)

Here’s what it looks like prepared. Not super pretty, but tasty.

Southwest Chicken

Southwest Chicken (Crockpot Freezer Meal for LID)

Per freezer meal (double, triple, or quadruple the recipe to make multiple meals):
1 pound chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 15.5 ounce can unsalted black beans, drained or 1 1/2 cups black beans, drained
1 teaspoon cumin
non-iodized salt (I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt) and black pepper, to taste
juice of 1 lime

For each freezer meal, place all of the ingredients in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. It’s helpful to label the bag with a Sharpie before you add the ingredients. I write the date and cooking instructions on the bag. Remove as much as air as you can and seal the bag. Flatten out the ingredients and lay flat in the freezer. Once frozen, you can stand the freezer meals up vertically to make more space.

To cook, defrost the freezer meal in the refrigerator overnight. Pour ingredients out into the crockpot. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Right before serving, remove the chicken, shred it, and then return it to the crockpot.

Serve the Southwest Chicken in salt-free tortillas (check label for other non-allowed ingredients) for burritos or tacos or with rice for a rice bowl. Some homemade LID-safe salsa would go perfect with these meal. If you are not on the low iodine diet, you can enhance your meal with cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, etc…. The possibilities are endless.

Descending

I have been feeling pretty good post-thyroidectomy until about 3 days ago. I think I’m starting my descent into hypo Hell. I’m still on my meds, so I’m really worried about how I will feel once I get off my thyroid hormone replacement to prepare for RAI. I’m so tired. My muscles are sore and weak. I’m feeling blah. I teared up watching the Winter Olympic female figure skaters today. Uggh. I haven’t felt this tired in a while. It reminds of some periods in my life where I realize now my hypothyroidism was not being adeaquately treated. I know I will make it through, but I’m dreading it. My appointment with the oncologist is tomorrow.

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