Friday October 30th I talked to my doctor, and got the ok to start my low-iodine diet a week earlier than the plan had originally called for. So last Monday was day one: and of course I wasn't really prepared. Turns out - hey! - a whole lot of food items have iodine in them! I'm a vegetarian, so I'm used to saying no to certain types of food, but now I can't eat egg yolks, dairy, soy, sea salt, and a variety of other seemingly random food. (Potato skins are apparently a no-no, but the insides are fine. Rice is debatable.)
Fortunately I can eat fresh fruits & veggies, most grains and beans, and kosher (non-iodized) salt is perfectly fine. Thank goodness I don't have to do this on my own: ThyCa's Low Iodine Cookbook has been crazy helpful - I've included a link in the sidebar if you want to download your own copy. It's 90 pages of helpful tips & recipes that have really saved me this week. I thought I would be ok with just cooking vegan items, but there are so many potential iodine pitfalls that at least in this early stage I'm happy to rely on a book that I know is completely safe.
I've been slowly gathering food this week: the photos here are of my new giant box of kosher salt. Since you're supposed to avoid any salted items on the chance that it is iodized, I went for two days without eating any salt - my body was sooooo happy when I finally gave it some sodium!
But the key word above is "slowly" - I am remarkably bad at feeding myself. I enjoy a tasty meal, but often can't seem to plan ahead of time in order to cook for myself. I got my act together on Wednesday: read up on a few recipes and went on a little shopping spree at Whole Foods. I should be set for the next week or so.
In a way it's fun: I like a challenge, and picking out the foods I can eat has been a little bit like a game. I've gotten better at remembering to read the lables on all packages of food, tho I slipped this weekend when I used some hot sauce without checking to see if it had salt in it. Argh.
What I miss most:
Eggs, ice cream, milk, cheese, butter (etc.), crackers, salted sunflower seeds, and the ability to just grab something from the cupboard and eat it without checking first.
I can drink pretty much all sodas, juices, and alcohol! And (previous items notwithstanding) this is a pretty healthy diet, what with the fresh foods and the careful monitoring of ingredients. I'm incredibly lucky to be living in an area with so many wonderful grocery stores. I've found several items at Whole Foods that I'll probably keep on eating after all this is finished, am looking forward to spending some time at Berkeley Bowl, and have rediscovered my love for fresh-ground peanut butter.