Friday, February 18, 2011

WELCOME!!

Dealing with Thyroid Cancer is hard enough, right?  Then on top of it the doc says "oh, by the way, you need to prepare by following a low iodine diet."  Ugh.  Now what?  Well, you found the place to come!  I'll walk you through what to buy, how to cope, what to eat, and how to have some fun along the way!  If you are a caregiver, here you'll find ideas on what to cook to help support your loved one or friend.  By the way, my name is Daria Jerauld and I'm a thyroid cancer survivor - since 1996!  Welcome to my Low Iodine Diet blog!  Please tell your friends about it too! You can also check out my thyroid cancer blog and there are some recipes sprinkled in there as well:  http://dj-thyroidcancer.blogspot.com/  Another Inspire member who is supporting her husband as he tackles the low iodine diet has a blog as well with lots of menu ideas, photos, etc.  Check that out too at http://mylowiodinediet.blogspot.com/.  Remember that you can find the guidelines and a free cookbook too on www.thyca.org.  Now, let's get started!

Your LID Shopping List

It's time to go shopping.  You may be going hypo-thyroid for your scan and/or treatment with radioactive iodine.  This means you'll give up your thyroid hormone medicine and you'll feel miserably hypo-thyroid.  If so, best to do the shelf-stable items on this shopping list while you are still feeling well, or ask a friend to help.  Since you might be prepping for treatment post-surgery, you'll want a friend to help carry groceries for you.  With all items on this list, check the labels so you avoid salt, milk and milk products that can be lurking in the ingredient list.  I'm listing foods that are generally safe for the LID.  WARNING:  Ingredient lists can change...so always read to be extra sure!!

Shopping list:
  • Pasta - treat yourself to a variety of shapes and sizes.  Be wary of noodles - they contain eggs.
  • Flour - avoid self-rising flour
  • Corn meal
  • Tortilla crumbs (read ingredients - look for corn and lime as the only ingredients)
  • Matzo meal (make sure it's the salt free variety)
  • Rich's Coffee-Rich (creamer, find it frozen in pint and quart size cartons; use in strict moderation due to soy isolate protein being present in the ingredient list - less than 2%); there are other options for coffee creamer - keep reading...only use Rich's if you really have to.
  • Mimic Cream Unsweetened Creamer FOR COFFEE (be sure to use the one for coffee, other varieties have sea salt).  Learn more about Mimic Cream at http://www.mimiccreme.com/nutrition.html  - BE CAREFUL because apparently this sea-salt free variety is no longer made and if you purchase it on-line you might get an expired product.  Their other products are nice for when you are not on the LID.  I'll contact them to verify and update.
  • So-Delicious coconut milk (always verify that it does not contain carageenan or sea salt)
  • Fleischmann's salt-free, dairy-free margarine (the stick variety is hard to find these days, but the tub variety is also now safe)
  • Mother's brand sweet salt-free, dairy-free margarine (not easy to find)
  • Crisco vegetable shortening - regular or butter flavor - both are safe as spreads or for baking/cooking
  • Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread Soy Free - NOTE:  This does contain "natural salt" and several Inspire folks have talked to the manufacturer who state the salt is iodine-free. Please be aware that there are no laws and no FDA guidelines that would prevent them substituting iodized salt.  However, it's likely very safe for the LID.  Also, it MUST be the "Soy Free" variety.
  • Baking potatoes, boiling potatoes, sweet potatoes (the skins have iodine but the inside is totally safe)
  • Puffed wheat cereal (ingredient:  wheat) from the health food store or health food aisle of your super market
  • Unsalted nuts (pecans, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Kosher salt (non-iodized)
  • Hot Wheat (not instant) cereal [like "cream of wheat" but best brand I have found is Manischewitz Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal (http://www.allinkosher.com/p-56048-manischewitz-creamy-hot-wheat-cereal-12-oz-340g-kosher-for-passover-parve.aspx)]
  • Oatmeal (not the flavored packets)
  • Salt-free, sugar-free natural peanut butter (yup, the nasty stuff - don't worry, it'll be great) - buy three jars of 16 oz size - I buy mine on-line from Krema Nut Company
  • Jellies and jams (no food coloring! And no salt)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh garlic
  • Canola oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Nestle brand Choco Bake (learn more about this product at their web site http://www.verybestbaking.com/Toll-House/Products/MorselsAndBaking/Choco-Bake.aspx) - this product is hard to find - Baker's chocolate and Cocoa can be used instead
  • Sunspire brand salt-free, dairy-free dark chocolate chips, or any other brand that's LID safe
  • Dark chocolate like Lindt 70% dark or Ghiradelli 72% dark.  Avoid milk chocolate.
  • Cocoa (salt free, dairy free)
  • White sugar
  • Dried fruit - cherries, blueberries, dark raisins, etc. (watch for food coloring and salt; some say to also avoid sulfites such as sodium metabisulfite and to not use sulfured mollasses but some of us on Inspire can't figure out why this needs to be avoided)
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Agave syrup (light and amber colored)
  • Honey (plain and whipped)
  • Marshmallows (read ingredients - no salt!); works well as coffee creamer to melt one into coffee
  • Marshmallow Fluff http://www.marshmallowfluff.com/pages/homepage.html; works well as coffee creamer - put a spoonful into coffee
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water - Distilled.  A note about water:  Most tap water is safe.  If your water is softened using a salt based process, you need to call the salt manufacturer and see if the salt is iodized or not.  Reverse osmosis purified water is safe.  Watch out for water with items added back in for flavor.  Some of the popular brands of bottled water first use reverse osmosis (RO) and then add back in salts and minerals for flavor.  Watch out for those!  What do I use?  I have soft water which uses a salt pot after that my drinking water goes through a RO process.  I use that at home.  When out - I buy some distilled water gallon jugs and keep some at work and in my car.  Am I a bit anal about this?  Yup! And proud of it!
  • Do you have a Trader Joe's store nearby?  Many of the Inspire members have talked with them and they do not use iodized salt.  So if you shop there, remember to avoid sea salt and other LID no-nos like dairy, egg yolks, fish, carageenan, etc.  But they are a great source of other foods if you are not able to make things from scratch.
  • Frito-Lay corporation does not use iodized salt, so Fritos and Lays Potato Chips are safe!
  • Remember that soy is a no-no, BUT soybean oil (or soy oil) and soy lecithin are safe!
Investing in your shopping list is important because eating out and eating processed foods is not a good idea when on this diet.  Why not?  Many restaurants and food manufacturing facilities, even your local butcher counter, meat grinder and deli slicer - might be using iodine based solutions to clean their equipment. If you eliminate all processed foods from this diet - you'll be pretty hungry because that would include things like the cocoa, sugar, coffee and marshmallows listed above.  But, remember - this is a LOW iodine diet, not a NO iodine diet.  So, eat a varied diet as much as possible and try to eat things in moderation.  Now is the time to count some calories anyway - if you withdrew from Synthroid to do this diet you may gain some weight from going so hypo.  If you are using Thyrogen, you still might be stress eating (I know I did!); so try to use this time for portion control.  That will help keep your iodine levels in check as well since it's nearly impossible to remove all of it from your diet.  Now, let's get cooking!  Recommended bread-machines for those of you who want to bake your own:
Breadman TR520 2lb. Horizontal Bread Maker
Breville The Custom Loaf Bread Maker - BBM800XL
Cuisinart 2-lb Bread Maker - CBK-100
Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker With Raisin And Nut Dispenser - SD-RD250
Cuisinart 2-Pound Convection Bread Maker CBK-200

This blog does not focus on foods to avoid - you can get good comprehensive lists at the reputable links provided on the upper right hand side of this page.  However, these links won't tell you that Bromine also binds to Iodine receptors and could inhibit Iodine uptake when you have treatment.  Foods to avoid:

Preparing!

One big step in preparation is to get that shopping list done and on the shelves or in the fridge at home.  You'll need some fresh ingredients for the recipes that I'll share, but we'll get to that when we get to that!  For some of these preparation steps, I'll be mentioning using some kitchen tools such as a food processor, a bread machine and a stand mixer with a dough hook.  If you don't have these items, it's OK...you'll just use a little more elbow grease stirring and mixing.  If you have been thinking of adding to your kitchen gadget collection, now is the time!  Or ask around and see what freinds might have these gadgets that you can borrow for a bit.

OK, let's do some prep work.  Peanut butter (PB) was my go-to, save-me food during the LID.  There's so much you can do with it, as you'll see.  It's high in protein and contains healthy fats.  But, unless you happen to like the natural peanut butter (I do not) you will need to doctor it up so it tastes yummy.  Grab three jars of natural PB, your handy dandy food processor with the blade in it, your Kosher salt, your white sugar, your honey and some cocoa powder.  We are going to make three PBs for you to enjoy!

Doctored-Up Natural PB:
Dump one jar natural PB into your food processor, oil and all.  Add 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (more or less to taste or depending on your dietary needs to avoid sodium).  Add 2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste or dpending on your dietary needs to avoid sugar; or try using agave syrup if you like - use less it's sweeter than sugar).  You could substitute artificial sweetener here if you need to.  Zap away with the food processor.  It will blend so that the oil doesn't separate and the added salt and sugar will make it tasty.  Pour it back in the jar.  Grab your permanent marker and write I-free on the lid and pop it in the fridge.

Honey PB:
Follow the same directions as above, but instead of the white sugar, add three tablespoons of honey.  Grab your permanent marker and write Honey I-Free on the lid and pop it in the fridge.

Chocolate PB:
Follow the same directions as the first PB and also add two heaping tablespoons of cocoa.  Since cocoa is dry, you might want to add a teaspoon of canola oil.  Increase your sugar a bit since cocoa is not sweet.  Blend away.  This version will be darker so grab your marker and write I-free on the lid and toss into the fridge.  You'll know it's chocolate from the color!

Another preparatory step:

Salt-free, dairy-free margarine is fine in cooking but to use it as a spread on toast, I find it can benefit from some doctoring up.  Also, making some nice savory spreads with it is yummy too.  All you need here are two pounds of salt-free, dairy-free margarine (such as Fleischmann's) and some Ziploc containers (little tubs) for storage, a spoon for mixing, some Kosher salt, fresh garlic (minced finely and sauteed in some olive oil) and parsley flakes.

Yummy toast-spread:
Soften a pound of the margarine.  Stir in a heaping teaspoon of iodine free Kosher salt.  Stir.  Put into container(s) and label with your permanent marker.  Toss into the fridge.  Don't worry that as it sits in the fridge, little beads of water may form on it.  It's the salt drawing out the moisture in the margarine and it's fine to eat.

Garlic bread-spread:
Soften a pound of the margarine.  Stir in your minced and sauteed garlic and olive oil and a teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Add lots of dried parsley to taste.  If you want you can add some black pepper or red pepper flakes.  Add into the container(s), label and place in fridge.

OK, now it's time to bake some bread and get it in the freezer.  If you have a bread machine, this is easy.  If you don't, roll up your sleeves or get a friend who knows how to bake bread to bake for you or with you.

Basic white sandwich bread:

Start by peeling a small potato.  Boil it in a cup of water until soft.  Keep the water.  Mash the potato and put it back into the warm cooking water.  It will be like milky water.  Let it cool and pour 1 cup of it into the bottom of your bread machine.  Add in 3 tablespoons canold oil.  Spinkle in 3 cups flour.  On the right hand side of the bread machine add 2 tablespoons white sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.  On the left hand side of the bread machine, add 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Bake on the White Bread seetting or the basic setting.  Cool.  Wrap well and freeze.  Label it I-free!
If you don't have a bread machine, the ingredients are the same.  Start with your 1 cup of  water/potato mixture at 115 degrees F and add to a mixing bowl with the dough hook attached.   Add the yeast and sugar and let it sit for two minutes.  Add all other ingredients.  Mix until a ball forms and keep mixing to knead for five minutes.  Let rest and rise in an oiled bowl covered with a damp towel in a warm place.  It will double in size.  Punch it down and knead again by hand and form a ball and place it in a greased loaf pan.  Cover with a damp towel and let it rise again.  Bake it at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap it.
If you don't have a stand mixer, do the same as above, but mix with a wooden spoon until a ball forms and pour out onto the counter (dusted in flour) and knead by hand.  Cover and rise in an oiled bowl with a damp towel on top.  When doubled, punch it down and knead some more by hand and form a ball and place it in a greased loaf pan.  Cover with a damp towel and let it rise again.  Bake it at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap it.
I would recommend you bake four loaves of bread (two loaves per week on the diet) and freeze. 
OK, now you are all prepped and ready to go!!  Keep reading for tips on Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with fun recipes in each category!  Even desserts!!

Breakfast - The most important meal of the day!

I hear a lot of people complain about the Low Iodine Diet - especially breakfast.  Common complaints include no milk in coffee, no butter on toast.  So, when faced with a problem - we solve it!!

Breakfast beverages:

Coffee:  All decaf and regular coffee that you brew yourself at home is safe so long as it's salt free.  So brew up a cup or a pot.  Don't use instant.  Add white sugar (artificial sweetener is OK if you have a dietary need to use it) as you desire.  To lighten the coffee up - use Rich's brand Coffee-Rich or home made almond milk (see the ThyCa cookbook for that recipe).  Again, you should use Rich's in moderation so best to try melting a marshmallow in your coffee or use marshmallow fluff. Relax and enjoy!

Tea:  Try tea with honey and lemon for a treat.  Or relax with some chamomile tea.

Hot Cocoa:  Yes, you can...really you can!  Here's the recipe:  In the bottom of a nice heavy mug, place two tablespoons cocoa, one tablespoon white sugar, one teaspoon vanilla extract and two tablespoons Rich's Coffee Rich.  Stir into a paste.  Pour in boiling water and stir.  Top with marshmallows!  Add more sugar if that's not sweet enough for you.  Have this in moderation due to using the Rich's.  For a safer recipe replace the white sugar and Rich's with two heaping tablespoons of marshmallow fluff.

You can have orange juice - again - read the lables.  Buy natural fresh squeezed OJ with nothing added.

Breakfast Cereals:

Cold cereal is a challenge.  You can use plain puffed wheat that contains nothing else.  But the trouble here is the milk.  You can't have milk and the coffee creamer doesn't work well on cereal.  So my vote is to just avoid cold cereal for two weeks and indulge in other fun hot cereals!

Oatmeal:  Make oatmeal, cooking it with water, not milk!  Add a pinch of Kosher salt and a dab of salt-free, dairy-free margarine.  Top with unsalted almonds, unsalted pecans, raisins, maple syrup, sugar, dark chocolate chips (Sunspire brand), etc.  Enjoy it - have fun.  Think of other toppings that are LID safe.

Cream of Wheat:  If you buy Manischewitz Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal in the round container that you have to cook from scratch, it does not contain salt or additives.  Cook with water, not milk.  Add some Kosher salt to taste.  A dab of salt-free, dairy free margarine is nice and a spoonful of jelly or jam goes nicely stirred in as well.  Again, think of lots of different toppings that can work well on Cream of Wheat and experiment and enjoy.

Grits:  You can make grits by cooking up corn meal with water, salt and margarine until creamy.  Top with some black pepper for a kick and enjoy.

Breakfast Eggs:

Eggs are a challenge since you can only eat the egg whites.  Scramble up a veggie egg-white omelette if you desire.  Remember, no cheese!

French Toast:

Pull some of that home made bread out of the freezer.  Slice it to the desired thickness for French Toast.  Make your egg mixture as follows:  Four egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of Kosher salt, a dash of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and two tablespoons Rich's coffee rich.  Beat well and soak four slices of bread in this mixture.  Fry in a lighly greased pan, flip and cook until set.  Enjoy with warm maple syrup and melted salt-free, dairy-free margarine.  For a twist, cook your French Toast in a well greased waffle iron for French Toast Waffles!

Pancakes:

The secret to a good pancake is buttermilk.  Well, we can't have that when on the LID - so when faced with a problem...what do we do?  Solve it!!  Here's the recipe (by the way, I make these even when not on the LID):
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 4 egg whites 
  • 3 tablespoons salt-free, dairy-free margarine, melted and cooled

Mix the dry ingredients.  Pour the vinegar into the water.  Mix the water/vinegar and the margarine with the dry ingredients.  Don't overmix.  Whip your egg whites until light and fluffy.  Fold them into your batter.  Cook the pancakes on a skillet that is well oiled.  Flip when the edges are brown and the center is bubbly.  Cook until done and keep warm in an oven until all the pancakes are cooked.  Serve with warm maple syrup and melted salt-free, dairy-free margarine.
For some variations:  Add fresh blueberries.  Add Sunspire chocolate chips.  Add some finely chopped salt free pecans and cinnamon to the batter.  Come up with some creations of your own!

Hot "buttered" toast: 
This is your easy breakfast:  Use some of that home baked bread and toast it.  "Butter" it with the Yummy Toast Spread you made earlier.  Enjoy with coffee.

Cinnamon Toast:
Didn't we all learn how to make Cinnamon Toast in home-ec class years ago?  Make your toast and "butter" it.  Sprinkle on cinnamon and white sugar.  Place under the broiler until bubbly.  Enjoy!

Corn Muffins:

  • 1 cup corn meal 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 egg whites slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
Mix together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg whites, oil and water; stir to combine.  Don't over mix!  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean.  Serve "buttered" with salt-free, dairy-free margarine.

Lunch Time!!

You may be working while prepping for the RAI scan or treatment.  If this is the case, having easy lunches are essential.  Here's where that peanut butter comes in handy.

Use your home baked bread and make a good old fashioned PB&J sandwich.  Wrap that up and pack your lunch bag with a banana, an apple and your PB&J.  Enjoy!  Mix it up by changing around the types of jellies and jams.  One day use the doctored up PB and another day try the honey PB.  For a more decadent treat, try a chocolate PB and sliced banana sandwich!

Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwiches!

This was one of my favorites when on the LID.  Use your home baked bread to make a PB&J and "butter" the outside with the salt-free, dairy-free margarine.  Toss into a frying pan on medium and grill until browned.  Flip and cover until the other side is browned.  Slice and enjoy!  Have napkins handy - this is a messy lunch!  My personal favorite is a grilled PB and banana sandwich made with chcolate PB, sliced banana and about 10 or so dark chocolate chips sprinkled on.  Butter the outside and fry that up and it's lunch and dessert all together!

Snacks for your lunch bag:

When on the LID, snacking is difficult.  The best option and most healthiest option is hand fruit.  Apples, pears, oranges, bananas, clementines, etc.  Eat these as much as you desire.  Another snack idea is celery and peanut butter or carrots and peanut butter.  I'd suggest taking this along as a snack when not having a PB sandwich for lunch.  Another snack idea is a home made snack bar.

Home Made LID Snack Bar:
  • 3 Tablespoons salt-free, dairy-free margarine
  • 10 oz. marshmallows (Kraft Campfire brand is safe as of this date - always read ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup doctored up peanut butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups puffed wheat cereal (plain, no salt)
Melt the margarine and add the marshmallows and stir on low heat until melted.  Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter.  Quickly stir in the cereal to coat it.  Dump the mixture out onto a cookie sheet that is lined with waxed paper.  With another piece of waxed paper on your hand, press the mixture down.  Let it cool.  Cut into squares, wrap and take to work or store at home in a plastic container and enjoy!

Variation:  Reduce the amount of cereal by a half cup and add in a half cup of dried fruit of your choice such as cherries or blueberries.

Other lunch ideas:

If you eat peanut butter and snack bars all the time, you'll end up gaining weight on the LID - this is not a good idea.  Generally if you are going off your meds and hypo-thyroid, you'll tend to gain some weight anyway so try to eat a balanced diet and use these recipes here to jazz things up.

Other good lunch ideas include a tossed salad made with iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, celery etc.  For a dressing mix olive oil and apple cider vinegar together to taste.  Add crumbled dried herbs that you enjoy such as parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.  Add in some Kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and add to your salad.  You can top your salad with a small portion of grilled chicken breast (3 oz or less).  You need to keep your meat intake relatively low since there is iodine in the animal feed.  But remember that this is a LOW iodine diet, not an iodine-free diet.  You need your protein and it's fine to eat some chicken and other healthy meats.

You can also make sandwhiches with the home baked bread such as sliced grilled chicken with lettuce and tomato.  Condiments are difficult.  They all contain salt.  So you can not have katsup, mustard, mayo unless you are going to get creative and make things from scratch.  I find that "buttering" my home made bread with the spread you made earlier adds enough moisture to most sandwiches.  Also try using mashed up avocado as your "mayo."

If you are daring, you can make home made mayo.  Go to this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayonnaise and read about it.  My suggestion is to look for pasteurized eggs so that you are not going to make yourself sick from raw egg.  I also am of the opinion that making an entire jar of mayo (which you will NOT eat in two weeks time) using one pasteurized egg yolk is safe for the LID.  Technically egg yolks are NOT on this diet.  But think about it:  You use one pasteurized egg yolk and you'll end up consuming a smidgen of that yolk on a sandwich.  Since the LID is not an iodine-free diet, I believe you will be OK doing this - but please know that the official medical recommendation is no egg yolks!  You can make mayo without the yolk, but it's harder to do.  You are best to use some mustard powder in the receipe to add some additional lecithin.  You'll also need a food processor if you don't use the yolk.  If you do make home made mayo, you'll be able to expand your sandwich options!

Dinner time!

Dinner is probably the easiet meal to eat when on the LID.  If you use an Internet search engine and look for "Low Iodine Cookbook" you should find at least three:  Two that are free via the web and another you can buy via Amazon or any other book seller.  I'l share a few of my dinner recipes here:

LID Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Peel and boil potatoes in lightly salted water - use Kosher iodine free salt!  When soft, pour off most of the cooking water and return the pot to the stove.  Grab your potato masher!  Toss in (to taste) the garlic spread we made earlier, black pepper and two tablespoons or so of Rich's Coffee Rich.  Mash away.  These are great and you can serve then along side a small pork chop and a side of fresh steamed green beans.

Baked Potatoes

I also like to have a baked potato or baked sweet potato with dinner.  Remember to not eat the skins!  Scrub the potato as you normally would and pop into a hot oven (400 degrees F).  Bake until done (about an hour).  Top a regular potato with the garlic spread or the regular spread.  Add some Kosher salt and pepper to taste.  If eating a sweet potato, top with the regular spread and some cinnamon and sugar.  There were nights when I was on the LID when my family ate pizza and I had a huge baked sweet potato for dinner.  It's a stressful time in your life and if you want to order out for the family yet make things simple for you, this is a great option.

Pasta

In my house, we normally eat a lot of pasta.  But, an integral part of pasta is tomato sauce and grated cheese.  You may not have any commercially available sauce when on the LID, nor can you have grated cheese.  Bummer!  But, you can have pasta!!

For tomato sauce, find canned or boxed tomato products where the ingredient list is just 100% tomato.  Season it up with oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil, basil, rosemary or whatever herbs and spices you like.  Warm it through and let it simmer.  Pour over pasta and top it with my mock grated cheese:

Mock Grated Cheese:

1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin or light - whatever your taste is)
1 cup finely crushed walnuts (crush first, then measure)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Warm a large frying pan (10 inches or so) and heat up the oil.  Sprinkle on the crushed walnuts and toast them in the oil.  Remove from the heat.  Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and stir well.  Use on pasta when the walnut mixture is warm.  Put leftovers into the fridge and use on pasta as you desire.  Warm it before use.

More Pasta

I love to put something on top of my pasta to jazz it up - another grated cheese replacement:  Gremolata.  If you are not familiar with Gremolata - go here to learn more:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremolata but if you make one on your own, be sure to use LID safe ingredients.  Here's my version:

Gremolata (note, I recently fine tuned this recipe)

The zest of 3 lemons (wash the lemon well first, try to use organic ones) - minced (the zest is the colored part of the skin only...avoid the white pith, it's bitter)
1 cup of fresh parsley - minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Mix the ingredients well.  Refrigerate until use.  Warm to room temperature before using.

Lemon pasta with Gremolata

1/2 pound pasta - shape of your choice - cooked in salted and lemon infused water (use Kosher salt)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced rosemary
black pepper to taste
One lemon - the juice
Two tablespoons Gremolata

Bring your pasta water to a boil, add a teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Juice the lemon and reserve the juice.  Remove any pits and toss the lemons into the water.  I use the lemons that I have leftover from making the Gremolata when I make this dish.  When the water is boiling, add your pasta and cook until done.  Drain and return to the pot (toss the lemons into the garbage or into your garbage disposal unit to freshen it up).  Add the olive oil, rosemary, pepper and the lemon juice.  Toss until coated.  Serve up a healthy portion (half of it) and top with one tablespoon of Gremolata.  Makes enough for two people as a main dish or four people as a side dish.  Goes great with some lemon chicken and a steamed LID safe vegetable.

Tortilla Encrusted Chicken

Four 3oz. chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups tortilla crumbs (LID safe with ingredients of just corn and lime)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you want)
Juice of two lemons

Let the chicken sit in the lemon juice for a few minutes while you do the rest of the recipe.  In a Ziploc bag, combine the tortilla crumbs, salt and peppers.  Mix well.  Toss the chicken in and shake well to coat.  Pan fry in a non-stick frying pan with some canola oil in it.  Turn when golden and finish on the other side.  Cover the frying pan for the last few minutes of cooking until the chicken is cooked through.  Serves four.

LID Safe Pork Tenderloin

Four 3 oz. pork loin chops, boneless and fat trimmed.  Pound them flat
2 Tablespoons home made mayo (or use oil)
1 1/2 cups salt free matzo meal
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme

Brush the oil or mayo onto the pork.  Mix the matzo meal, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme together.  Dip the pork chops into the matzo meal mixture.  Coat on both sides.  Let them stand so they "dry" a bit.  Either bake on a greased cookie sheet or pan fry until done.  Enjoy!

Veggies

Most fresh vegetables are LID safe.  Those to eat in moderation, or limit completely, are spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and all other members of the cuciferous vegetable group.  You can eat these as a side dish (1/2 cup portion) but they should not be the focal point of any meal. I personally avoid them when I am on the LID.  Focus on other vegetables such as string beans, asparagus, carrots, cucumbers, Iceberg lettuce, zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes.  A nice side salad that is refreshing and acts as your veggie is as follows:

Side Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 carrot - shredded
1 clove of garlic - minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil or oil of your choice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or vinegar of your choice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix well and let stand refrigerated for an hour before serving.  Serve on top of iceberg lettuce to bulk it up and add more crunch.  Enjoy!


Desserts and treats!

Being on the LID is hard enough.  So, it's fun to add some treats into the mix!

LID Safe Brownies:

1 cup white sugar
4 egg whites
1/3 cup salt-free, dairy-free margarine (softened) - or you may use canola oil instead
2 envelopes (2 oz. total in the recipe, 1 oz. each) Nestle brand choco-bake unsweetened chocolate flavor (or substitute two squares of Baker's Chocolate melted, or 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil plus 6 Tablespoons of cocoa)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts


Combine sugar, egg whites, margarine (or oil), Nestle choco-bake and vanilla; stir until creamy. Add your flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Add the nuts. Spread in greased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25- 30 minutes. Cut into two inch squares.
Variations:  Add Sunpsire chcolate chips (half cup) for double chocolate brownies.  Add mini-marshmallows for some extra sweetness.  Omit the nuts if you like.

LID Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 sticks softened salt-free, dairy-free margarine (half pound)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
12 oz. Sunspire brand salt-free, dairy-free chocolate chips
Cream together the margarine and the sugar.  Add the vanilla and the egg whites.  Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until almost completely blended.  Add the chocolate chips and mix until well incorporated.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.  Enjoy!

LID Vanilla Cake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites
1/2 cup canola oil

Cream together the oil and sugar.  Add the vanilla, water and egg whites.  Mix well and set aside.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until incorporated, but don't overmix.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until done when tested with a cake tester or toothpick and it comes out clean and the cake springs back in the center.

LID Chocolate Frosting with a kick
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup salt-free, dairy-free margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 envelopes (2 oz.) Nestle's Choco-Bake
2 teaspoons Godiva chocolate liquor (or use vanilla extract)
Sift together the sugar and salt.  In the microwave, melt together the margarine and the Choco-Bake.  Add the sugar/salt mixture to the margarine/Choco-Bake mixture and stir to incorporate.  It will be thick.  Thin it with 1/3 cup boiling water.  Lastly, stir in the liquor or the vanilla.  Let stand until it cools enough to frost the cake.  Enjoy!