It’s official: I’m in love with fat. Nothing satisfies, nothing creates that warm and fuzzy feeling we get after a particularly fine meal better than saturated fat. For the next two and a half weeks I have to follow the fruit bat low-iodine diet in preparation for my one-year post thyroid cancer body scan. Even though I’ve been ultra-sounded and blood-monitored for the last twelve months with “no detectable markers, ” I still have to complete the protocol and be scanned again after downing a small dose of radioactive iodine.
So my story this week is one of lost love and conflict. My lost loves are creamy, dreamy Greek yogurt, omelets made with whole eggs’ bright yolks, oatmeal with a dribble of half & half bisecting the rivulets of honey, a fat pat of butter squatting on my toast. My conflict is my nuclear medicine doc telling me that I can cheat! And since doctors ALWAYS assume their patients are non-compliant, what EXACTLY does “cheating ” mean? Can I eat one “bad” meal a day or a week? Can I cheat intermittently for the next two weeks but be totally compliant the last week? Can I add just a splash of milk to my coffee three times a week? With all these questions and scenarios the cheating feels like more work than complying.
I reason with myself that the first three days are really the hardest. If I can get past this week then the meal planning will just become a new routine. And I’m not exactly hungry – I’m just not satisfied. I can eat as much fresh fruit and salad as I want, and this includes adding monounsaturated fat-laden avocados, which should increase my feelings of satiety. I prefer my own homemade vinaigrette dressing to the bottle so that’s not a hardship. I can bake my own bread and muffins courtesy of recipes from a terrific resource, The ThyCa Low-Iodine Cookbook. All of the recipes are submissions from folks who had to follow this crazy diet, and all of the ones I’ve tried have turned out well…..considering the only agents of moisture are applesauce and vegetable oils.
Although fresh meat is allowed on this diet, I’m not a big red meat-eater. I’m more the “large herbivore” type – which means I employ a grazing/browsing strategy to consume a lot of food to maintain my metabolism (insert image of your favorite large herbivore here). This in turn means I’m thinking about food all the time while nibbling on raisins and shredded wheat biscuits (because I can’t eat a bowl of cereal drenched in cold milk, dammit). As I write this I’m fantasizing about a black bean and pasta dish that I might try to jazz up with some roasted butternut squash for my dinner. That must be why deer have evolved to be so thin and to have such small brains. They have to eat your flowers constantly, but they blessedly have little to think about.
I try to look on the bright side: when I’m released from these restrictions I can tuck into a cheesy burro and follow it up with a nice bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Liz Lemon FroYo. On the brighter side, that meal just might be too much love to handle at one sitting, but I’m confident I can swing back to sweet moderation after the heady afterglow of fat-love dissipates.