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Fabulous Greece

Our summer trip to Greece was fabulous. We saw the country from the comfort of a 7 day Princess Mediterranean and Aegean cruise ( I know purists will criticize a cruise is not really visiting Greece. But it is what it is). We started in Rome and ended in Athens. The ship was clean and beautifully new and up to date. The variety of delicious plant based foods was sufficient to satisfy my vegan appetite. Every restaurant, the service was top notch and did their best to accommodate my dietary needs. Kudos to Princess.

Our first stop was Salerno (close to Naples), Italy. We took a private tour of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius and Naples. For 4 people, this was more economical than a group tour plus we got to see much more.

Next port was Kotor, Montenegro. In the morning, we kayaked, swam at the beach and biked back into town for lunch. Then we walked around the impressive ancient walled city of Kotor.

The next port of call was Corfu. Here we toured an Olive farm. This tour is worthy of its own blog (next month in November).

Then off to Crete where we snorkeled. It was refreshing but no comparison to Great Barrier, Belize or Hawaii. Nothing to see except a few small fish. The city of Chania was worth wandering around.

Then to island of Mykonos. Too much to do on your own for one day, so we took another tour that included the highlights of the town’s maze of blue and white buildings and across the water to the ancient ruins of Delos. Out tour guide told us some trivia that is too “cool” to forget. She said the building were painted white with lime, which is alkaline, hence making the buildings antimicrobial. This apparently helped to reduce the spread of the Plague. In addition, the white color reflects light to help keep homes cooler during hot summers. The Loulaki blue roofs because that color is abundant and inexpensive. The town was purposely built like a maze, so it allowed easy escapes for the locals from invading pirates. Invaders would get lost in the maze of all white. I can vouch for the latter!

Final destination was fabulous Athens. Friends had advised not to stay too long in Athens because of congestion, heat, and pollution. Due to time constraints and this advice, we only stayed in Athens for 2 nights but could have easily enjoyed a few more days .

We arrived in Athens in the early morning. Luckily we were able to check into our Airbnb early too. It was perfectly located on a side street off the main pedestrian walk way, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. From there we could walk to plenty of cafes that were conducive to people watching. It is a very walkable city. Close by was a lively night market. The night view of the acropolis was spectacular.

Athens Night Market

I was impressed by how the Greeks we met were so easy going: life is to be enjoyed and worries pushed aside.

On our first day we took a Segway tour of Athens (Athens Segway Tours). During our introductory lesson, we were told number one rule is: do not hit any pedestrians! That was good to know especially as we zoomed through winding paths in the busy market place weaving in-between pedestrians. It was a blast.

The next day we took a comprehensive full day tour of Athens (Keys Tours was discounted by purchasing tickets from our bank’s travel site). It included a tour of the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. Warnings: don’t leave the museum unless you have a ticket in hand – that includes going to book store or cafe. We did that and they absolutely would not let us back in. (Being part of a tour, our guide had on 1 ticket for our whole group. It was impossible for him to get more than one ticket). Also, wear pants, shorts or some very good underwear if you don’t want o expose yourself. The glass floors become glass ceilings for the floor below so if you look up, you can potentially see underwear, etc. Could have been better designed, such as installing reflective see thru glass facing the floor below. But maybe this is part of the whole experience(?).

Acropolis Museum Ceiling

As part of your full day tour with Keys Tours, we had lunch at the lovely Arcadia Restaurant. I was served a delicious plant based meal. Highly recommend this restaurant. It is within walking distance from the Acropolis Museum.

On another note, it was shocking to see how much the Greeks smoked. That was the only downside. Suppose you could bring a N99 face mask. But on average, Greeks people live longer than Americans despite the smoking. Some explanations for this are: they have fewer gun deaths, lower suicide rates, more doctors and hospital beds per capita, they are able to express their emotions better than we do hence less stress despite high unemployment and financial crisis.

Comical Store Window in Mykonos

Comments and Questions always Welcomed!

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Medicare for All: Been There

With all this talk about Medicare for All going on, I thought now is a good time present this.

It is a myth that “Medicare For All (MFA)”, will cost more. If you do the math, it would actually cost less. Gone will be high paycheck deductions and employer contributions to private insurance companies. Any additional taxes will be much less.

I have practiced medicine both in Canada and the USA. Canada has a MFA health care system. Canadian doctors enjoy much more freedom and autonomy as to how they practice medicine compared to American doctors. 

The American patients that I see are presenting with much more serious levels of illness, and the amount of time I am given to see them is less. I witnessed how high out of pocket costs to consumers and reduced access to primary care are deterrents to getting care in a timely manner. The intense workload American doctors are expected to work under is overwhelming. 

The typical American response to MFA is that “it is a form of socialism and Canadians have prolonged waitlists for this and that.” Contrary to those beliefs, the large majority of Canadian doctors are actually in private practice and self-employed. Canadian patients are not limited to which doctor they can see. There are no HMO’s in Canada. Meanwhile, in the United States, our “waitlists” are our preauthorization, appealing of denials of care, denial of care and inability to afford the deductible and/or copay. No matter how much Americans fear a Canadian-like health care system, the bottom line is Canadians live longer and are happier people than Americans.

Private health insurance companies control financial health dollars and physicians are caught in the middle between insurer and patient. This results in burned out doctors and dissatisfied patients. 

The American healthcare system feels more “socialist” than the Canadian. Millions of Americans pay into an insurance “pool” of multiple private health insurance companies. This creates an inefficient system with high overhead costs and long non productive hours to handle the unnecessary bureaucracy and administrative chaos. Corporations dictate how doctors practice medicine and what patients can and cannot receive for medical care. The spin on “it’s socialism” comes from those who gain profit from the status quo. Large corporate entities have created fear in patients and doctors that a single payer system would be catastrophic.

But data shows Medicare is our most efficient system. Americans with government plans are more satisfied than those with private plans. If anything, private health insurance companies delay care by prerequisite amounts of paperwork and creating disincentives that deter people from getting care.

Canadians spend 50% of what Americans pay for health insurance.  If we implemented a similar single payer system, the amount we would save per year would be about 1.5 trillion dollars. We are paying double and NOT covering 44 million people.

MFA has transparency. The reimbursement fees and costs are public information. The game of hidden costs can be abolished. 

Employer savings and a healthier workforce will make us more competitive in the international market. Expanding Medicare will also help it stay solvent for our current seniors and for future generations. With MFA, the substantial savings are obvious.  Yet there continues to be powerful rhetoric against the cost savings.
Let MFA compete with private, for-profit insurance companies. Let the consumers decide which option is best for them. No one will be forced to use a single payer plan, but it gives all of us more choices. Let the market place decide. Let doctors be independent and work for our patients and not private corporations. Our economy will gradually absorb the change. Change is our only constant.

References

  1. Berg, S. (2019, Jan 24). Physician burnout: Which medical specialties feel the most stress. Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/physician-burnout-which-medical-specialties-feel-most-stress?&utm_source=BulletinHealthCare&utm_medium=email&utm_term=012519&amp
  2. Gordon, S.F. (2018, Oct 25). Why Canada’s Docs Never Burn Out. Retrieved from https://opmed.doximity.com/articles/why-canada-s-docs-never-burn-out
  3. * This is evolving, something phone are reminebured by some insurance companies but not consistently 

(3)  Brody, B. Is Medicare Cost Effective? (2003, Jun13). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/Crossroads/06_13_03.html

(4)  Archer, D. (2017, Feb 8). America’s Public Medicare Program Costs Less and Is More Efficient Than Private Health Insurance. Retrieved from https://scholars.org/brief/americas-public-medicare-program-costs-less-and-more-efficient-private-health-insurance

(5) Riffkin, R. (2105, Nov 6). Americans With Government Health Plans Most Satisfied. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/186527/americans-government-health-plans-satisfied.aspx

(6)  Torrey, B.B. and Haub, C. (2004, Nov). Why Do Canadians Outlive Americans? Retrieved from https://www.prb.org/whydocanadiansoutliveamericans/

(7)  Gonzales, S. and Sawyer, B. (2017, May, 22). How does U.S. life expectancy compare to other countries? Retrieved from https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-start

(8) World Happiness Report (2019). Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2019/WHR19.pdf

(9) Farley, R. (2018, Aug 10). The Cost of ‘Medicare-for-All”. Retrieved from https://www.factcheck.org/2018/08/the-cost-of-medicare-for-all/

(10)  Remen, R.N. (2001, Jan). Recapturing the soul of medicine Physicians need to reclaim meaning in their working lives. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071213/

Healthy Blender-Free Smoothie Recipe

This is a great smoothie. Easy to make. Healthy ingredients. Sugar free. Tasty. I make it the night before, leave in fridge overnight and grab it on my way out the door in the morning. It will be my lunch. All of the ingredients are from either Costco or Amazon.

The amount of each ingredient is variable. How much you put in will be dependent on your current diet, supplements and health status. Remember to treat food as medicine. The right balance both in ingredients and amounts (calories) is important. You want to get the correct nutrients by eating foods that will prevent disease and the right amounts to prevent obesity. You don’t overdose on your medicines, so you don’t overdose on your food.

With all of these ingredients, you can check the packaging for serving sizes and nutrients.

Here is how I make mine. I start with a pinch of mushroom powder and Dulse seaweed. Then a teaspoon of beet powder. Then scoop of protein powder.

Add one frozen fruit smoothie pack, few spoons non dairy yogurt, some green drink and fill up the rest of my smoothie container with a non dairy milk (I have been avoiding the organic almond milk from Costco because it lacks calcium and protein). Shake and refrigerate.

You will need a thermo container that comes with a shaker ball. This is a must because the protein powder clumps and the shaker ball breaks it up.

Other options to add instead of fruit or green drink.

To wash my smoothie container, I put in some hot water and dish soap then shake it around. If the water is very hot be very careful when opening the top. It can be under pressure and spray all over. Need to open it gently as possible as far away from anyone and yourself as you can. Release the pressure first before you continue to open.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Mother Earth has Given Us So Much. It is Time to Take Care of Her

We have taken so much from Mother Earth. She has always provided and nurtured us. She has sustained us. It is time we take care of her.

We have used her resources. Her abundance has always been there for us. We took it for granted. We wasted and destroyed. It has caught up with us.

For example, every piece of plastic that I have ever used is likely somewhere still on the Earth. The amount garbage that we have produced has reached a critical threshold. But with our ingenuity and innovation, we can solve this.

40 Kilograms of plastic in this whales stomach. (The Leaders Online)

We need to get better at recycling, reusing, and buying products made from recycled and or compostable materials. For the most impact, let’s focus on the most common single use products found in the ocean.

National Ocean Service

The worse offenders are cigarette butts, bottle caps, straws, cups and plates, single use plastic bags, food wrappers, and beverage bottles.

Here is how we can easily reduce the use of these products:

  • Cigarette butts – the best solution is DO NOT SMOKE. But if you must, consider rolling your own or purchase brands without filters. The filter don’t provide any benefit.
  • Bottle caps – re-attach them to their original bottles and recycle them together. Avoid using plastic bottles. Bring the tops back to recycle centers.
  • Drinking straws- Many options for reusable straws (a subject of a previous blog) or switch to 100% compostable straws made from materials like cornstarch, wheat, avocado seeds, paper, bamboo, etc.
  • Cups and plates – use non plastic products that are 100% compostable made of same material as the straws above or better yet reusable dishes.
  • Single use bags – Bring your own reusable bags including those in which you put produce. Ask your grocer to use compostable bags.
  • Food wrappers – use beeswax food wraps, compostable wrappers, buy products in bulk.
  • Beverage bottles – use metal, glass or reuse your plastic one. See the links below as to how some communities are making use of the ones we already have on the planet… So innovative!

Plastic Bricks
Plastic Roads

We need to create a thriving market for products made from recycled or compostable materials. There are products like clothes, shoes, rugs, household products, feminine sanitary items, etc made from recycled or compostable materials. When ever we can, we should buy these types of products. This will make recycling financially sustainable.

We can all participate locally. Bring our own bags, useable containers, straws etc. The worse plastic offenders are starting to be banned at the municipal level. You can engage in local politics to ensure this happens in your community.

Some other Earth friendly solutions: Put solar panels in parking lots. It keeps cars cool while generating carbon free electricity.

Plant and also protect as many trees as you can.

Human over population is the core cause. More people more garbage.

To be Green is to be Cool.

Green Tea Instant Oatmeal

Thaw out berries in a covered glass container in fridge. Keeps for a few days.

Make a cup green tea with hot water. Steep for 3-4 minutes.

Put Oatmeal in a bowl. Add the hot green tea. The amount of tea you use will be determined by how thick you like your oatmeal.

Top with Berries.

Optional : Raw honey, Non Dairy Yogurt. You can use flavored oatmeal like cinnamon or apple, flax, etc

How to make “decaf” Tea

Add your tea bag to hot water. Wait 30 seconds. Pour that water out and add fresh hot water to bag. Steep for another 3 and half minutes.

When tea is steeped for more than 4 minutes total, the oxalates start to leach out. Oxalates are associated with renal stones.

Now I don’t have any proof of any of this. I learned this at a nutritional seminar years ago.

If anyone has the ability to test for caffeine or oxalates, let me know if the above formulas hold true.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Fact or Myth? “There is not enough protein in a vegan diet.

Let’s analyze this comment by doing some calculations on a vegan/plant based diet.

To get a complete protein with all your essential amino acids when eating only a plant based diet, it is best you eat two of the three of the following food groups every day :

#1 Nuts

#2 Whole grains

#3 Legumes

The one nutrient that is impossible to get enough of is Vitamin B12. So you have to supplement with Methylcobalamin supplement. This is available at Costco!

How to calculate your daily Protein needs:

  1. You need to know your ideal body weight. NOT your actual weight unless you are one of the fortunate few whose weight is between a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 19-24.9. Majority of Americans have a BMI is 25 or more (Asians that number starts at 23 or more). A BMI of >25 is in the overweight or obese categories. This would not be considered your ideal body weight. To calculate your ideal body weight use a BMI chart to figure this out. Below is a BMI chart I screen shot from internet (apologies for blurriness but you can get a better view from this link https://www.hmrprogram.com/resources/getting-started/bmi-chart ).
  2. Find your height by looking in the first column- I circled 5’4″. After you find that on chart, go across to your weight. If it is not in the Green zone, then you need to calculate your ideal weight. Go back to Green zone for you height level. Pick any of the weight from Green zone for your height. Big boned folks pick BMI of 24. Average person pick 23. For example for someone who is 5’4″ and a BMI of 21. That persons ideal body weight is 122 lbs. For BMI of 23, that 5’4″person’s ideal body weight would be 134 lbs.
  3. This will be the weight you use to calculate your daily protein needs.
BMI chart

3. Once you know your ideal body weight, you will need to multiply it by the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of protein per pound of ideal body weight. So for average adult that factor would be 0. 36.

RDA is Recommended Daily Allowance

The chart below gives you some estimations.

Estimaton of RDA of Protein based on weight in pounds for Average Adults

Back to our example. Ideal body weight 122 lbs X 0.36 = 44 gm of protein per day is the RDA. Using the weight of 134 lbs ->48 gm

4. Here is a chart of foods and the amount of protein that it contains.

Sample diet for our 5’4″ example person who needs 44gm pf protein per day.

As you can see a Vegan Diet supplies plenty of protein.

Our example person needed 44 gm of protein a day and the sample diet supplied 55-72 gm of protein per day.

Of course if you are a bigger person, you portion sizes would be larger and hence protein amounts increases accordingly. Plus for athletes, there are many varieties of protein powders and drinks to meet increase protein needs.

So there we have it. “There is not enough protein in a vegan diet.IS A MYTH

Vegan Shaming :(

I recently hosted a 12 person dinner party with the following Vegan Menu:

Appetizers– Tomato salsa, guacamole, organic blue corn chips, olives, crackers w vegan cream cheese topped with Seaweed Roe and Habanero salsa, grapes strawberries, popcorn, dark chocolate almonds

Main Dish – Homemade vegan burgers with these side dishes: Eggplant Moju, Pumpkin Curry and Kale-coconut Sambol

Dessert -Vegan Strawberry chocolate cake (Whole Foods) w coconut ice cream

So shocked to be subjected to these negative comments from some of the guests:

  1. It’s not enough protein for me
  2. I can’t live without my red meat
  3. I love red meat
  4. Who cares about getting Alzheimer, I will be comfortable in a nursing home
  5. Cows and global warming it’s fake news
  6. I have fatigue when I do not eat meat
  7. Too many pesticides in vegetables. Organic is fake
  8. No human studies to show pesticides, GMO are bad for us. So what if bad for animals
  9. Something was wrong with me (the host) bc I only ate plants

Wow. One person starts a negative comment and then others feel they have permission to join in. Herd mentality. Next thing you know everyone is making fun of people who eat a plant based diet. I felt like everyone was ganging up on me, the person who spent hours preparing a homemade meal. Rude. Is this what it is like in the school yard when a kid who is different gets bullied? Have people lost their sense of grace? Sense of appreciation? What was their intention? Lucky, I am grounded enough not to let this phase me.

I am not sure how these people were brought up, but I teach my kids this: Always be a great guest, no matter how much you disagree with something or someone. Find something positive to say. Be grateful that you were invited and thankful for friendship. Appreciate the work your host put into the dinner.  Go out of your comfort zone and try something new and different. Practice giving positive compliments. If you don’t, you might not have another chance because likely you will not be invited back.

It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green…Kermit

“Roe” from Ikea and so are the quality of these directions 😉

Step by step guide for Successful Dinner Party for 8-12 people

This blog is a step by step guide to hosting a successful 4 hour dinner party.

  • Make everyone feel special by considering your guests’ dietary needs like food allergies, intolerances, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, lactose free, gluten free, etc. You can ask this question in the invitation. You want to be inclusive of everyone’s needs at your party. Something for everyone. People gave up their time to come, so make it worth their while 🙂
  • Request an RSVP at least 1 week before the event so you can plan things properly. Always plan for an extra guest or 2.

Some preliminaries to set your foundation for success:

  • Timing is important. You want all your hot foods to be ready at the same time. Slow cookers, rice cookers, and chafing pans are very useful to keep food warm until ready to serve. The food for dinner needs to be ready all at the same time. Write down a protocol with a timeline. What you are going to do and when. It starts days before and the day of the event. Included on this list should be cleaning up your place before the party.
  • You can always get hired help to assist in clean up at beginning and end, cook and serve. Local High School may have students willing to help especially those who have studied culinary arts or worked in a restaurant.

As the host, make sure everyone is engaging in the activities or conversation.

Menu wise, I always avoid Dairy (with some exceptions ) and sugar (honey is OK). Try to keep local and seasonal and organic.

Sample Menu: Appetizers, Drinks, Main Meal, Desserts

Standard Appetizers: Purchase these 2-4 days before event or if you are really busy most groceries stores deliver.

  • Comte Cheese from French Alps made from Raw milk and fermented 8-36 months, Brie, Vegan Cashew and or coconut milk cheese. Serve with Crackers of your choice.
  • Smoked Wild Salmon decorated with thin Lemon slices, Capers and or Dill. Serve with Crackers of your choice.
cheese serving tray
  • Fresh finger fruits like grapes , strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and or blackberries
  • Olives or Olive Tapenade. Serve with Crackers of your choice.
  • Guacamole or Salsa served with Corn Chips

Drinks:

  • Red and White wine. My general rule- no red wine drinking near carpet. In a small group people generally respect this
  • Beer(s)
  • Kombucha is very popular these days
  • Iced tea
  • Water, plain and carbonated, lemon and or lime slices
  • Coffee and Teas
  • No soda, no juice

Make sure you have lots of ice on hand.

Main Dish :

Stews can be made 2-3 days before and heated up on stove or microwave and kept warm in chafing dish. Slow cookers are also handy for stews. Good to do this so you can focus on your guests during party. On the day of party, if serving rice, use a rice cooker. Set this up the night before. You can set timer so it can be ready when dinner starts or kept warm until you are ready to serve it. Some pastas can be ready in 5-10minutes. I boil some water in electric kettle and some on stove. Then combined the 2. This saves time.

Having your party catered in another option or bring in a chef. But that really adds to the cost. I have not done well with potlucks. The flavors of dishes that people bring don’t always complement each other and some people can bring some very unhealthy foods eg. Deep fried foods, processed foods, meaning they buy them because they don’t cook to have time to cook.

Easy Vegan main dish: examples Baked Tofu Bowl , Spaghetti or Fusilli with garlic marinara sauce or capellini with olive oil, chopped garlic, olives, and fresh basil (pescatarian can add chopped anchovies). I have posted other dishes on my blog, plus more to come in future. You can even have as an activity, all your guess make their own food, like rolling sushi or spring rolls. It is rather a fun thing to do together.

Toppings:

Pickled Beets*, Kim Chee and or Pickled Asian greens/veggies ( fermented food benefits) , Dulse dried Seaweed, Nutritional Yeast (latter is a vegan substitute for Parmesan Cheese).

Sides:

  • Spinach with onions can be prepared night before, then heated up and kept warm in a Chafing pan
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • Make a salad dressing night before. Buy pre-washed organic baby kale or your favorite greens. Some come as mixes with carrots, cabbage etc. Open when ready to serve and mix with dressing. You should own a large wood salad bowl for tossing (Ikea has these).

Dessert:

Prepare 1-2 days before.

Examples

  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Vegan ice cream or sorbet topped with fresh berries, sprinkle with liqueur (optional). Top with a tablespoon of almond or coconut yogurt. Then decorate with a mint leaf and or dark chocolate shaving. Skip the ice cream/sorbet if you want to keep sugar content down.
  • Offer coffee and tea (black and herbal)

Teach the practice of Hara Hachi Bu

The Japanese phrase, Hara Hachi Bu, means eat until you are 80% full. Higher caloric intake and overeating is common in USA. The Okinawans have a custom of self-imposed calorie restriction and regularly consume only 1,800 to 1,900 calories a day. This is a few hundred calories less than what the average American consumes. This is likely a major contributor to Okinawans remarkable health and long life spans.

*Beets contain Nitrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has heart, BP, cognitive and endurance benefits https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-nitrates-and-nitrites-harmful#section

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below

Baked Tofu Bowl as Main Dish

Topped with Kim Chi and Asian Pickled Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach

This recipe is for the Baked Tofu. The bowl is filled with Brown Rice, then topped with Seasoned Tommy’s Sweet Potatoes from Costco, Spinach, Pickled Veggies, Baked Tofu recipe is below. To keep it low carb, you can skip the rice and use a bed of your favorite lettuce.

Set Oven for 400 degrees.

One package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (14oz). Do not buy the super extra firm because it is so hard, it does not absorb the marinate, hence lacks flavor.

Drain fluid off Tofu. While still in box, cut Tofu into 1/2 x 2 inch pieces.

Cut Tofu in the box

Place into a medium glass dish and pour in enough marinate to cover the tofu pieces. Examples of marinates are Teriyaki, Curry or Gyoza dipping sauce. Cover. Marinate at least 2 hours to over night in refrigerator.

Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Spread out the Tofu pieces evenly onto sheet.

Bake at @ 400 degrees 15mins x 2 -> At 15min mark, flip tofu over and continue to bake for another 15mins. Although I don’t bother with flipping. It seems to turn out ok. You could use a metal rack to have the underside bake. I prefer to use Pure Convection setting on my oven. You get crispier results. For my oven, if I am using convection, I lower the temp by 25 degrees and reduce time by 10%. You need to know your oven…bon appétit.

Let me know how yours turn out in the comments.

Iodine in our Diets and Cancer Risk

Unfortunately, most Americans are not getting enough Iodine. It is important to get the correct amount because it affects your thyroid function therefore your metabolism. Plus Iodine may help reduce the risk of our most frequent cancers: breast and prostate. (1)

Prior to 1920’s, around the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Northwest were known as the “goiter belt.” People had significant iodine deficient. 30-40% of the population had goiters as a result. (2) This decreased significantly when iodine was added to table salt.

Thereafter, Americans are getting most of their dietary iodine from table salt. 1/4 teaspoon of iodized table salt contains about 71 mcg iodine along with 575mg of sodium. We now tell people to reduce/avoid salt for health reasons.(4) Plus if your salt has been sitting around, the iodine added to your salt has an expiration date of 5 years from manufacturing date.

The amount of iodine you need each day depends on your age and health circumstance. Average Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg). (3)

Life StageRecommended Amount
Birth to 6 months110 mcg
Infants 7-12 months130 mcg
Children 1-8 years90 mcg
Children 9-13 years120 mcg
Teens 14-18 years150 mcg
Adults150 mcg
Pregnant teens and women220 mcg
Breastfeeding teens and women290 mcg

Besides iodized table salt, other sources of Iodine in diet are: (mcg of iodine)(5)(6)(7)

  • Iodized salt: 1/4 tsp 71mcg
  • Kelp, 1/4 cup wet: 415 mcg or more. Amount is highly variable
  • Seaweed, dried, 1 ounce: up to 18,000 mcg. Amount is highly variable
  • Oysters (per 100gms): 160mcg
  • Canned salmon (per 100gms): 60mcg
  • Bread (except organic) (per 100gms): 46 mcg
  • Haddock, 3 ounces: 104-145 mcg
  • Cod, 3 ounces: 99 mcg
  • Shrimp, 3 ounces: 21-37 mcg
  • Processed fish sticks: 17 mcg per piece
  • Tuna, canned, 3 ounces: 17 mcg
  • Milk, 1 cup: 55-60 mcg
  • Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup: 25-75 mcg
  • Egg, 1 large: 18-29 mcg
  • Turkey breast, cooked, 3 ounces: 34 mcg
  • Ground beef, cooked, 3 ounces: 8 mcg

Other sources

  • Vitamins (prenatal, labelled content per daily serving): 75–200 μg4
  • Amiodarone (per 200 mg): 75,000 μg
  • Iodinated contrast (free iodine content, per CT scan): 13,500 μg
  • Topical iodine (povidone iodine): variable, usually 1–5%
  • Expectorants, mouthwashes, vaginal douches: variable
  • Saturated solution of potassium iodide (per drop): 50,000 μg

Not getting enough Iodine can be related to cancer. But so can too much. The Japanese have less breast and prostate cancer than Americans. (8) A possible explanation is that they consume a lot foods originating from the ocean. They consume up 10-100 times more iodine in their diet than Americans. (9)(10) Now I am not saying we should eat that much. The upper limits of Iodine ingestion is maximum 1,100 mcg of iodine per day. (3)

When you consume too little or too much, it likely will cause thyroid dysfunction and poorer health outcomes. How your thyroid is going to react is not predictable. There have been some cases of thyroid cancer in Japanese who consume too much iodine. (11)

The upper limits for iodine by age and health circumstance are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking iodine for medical reasons and or under the care of a doctor.

Life StageUpper Limit
Birth to 12 months:Not established
Children 1-3 years:200 mcg
Children 4-8 years:300 mcg
Children 9-13 years:600 mcg
Teens 14-18 years:900 mcg
Adults:1,100 mcg

When consuming natural forms of iodine from diet, the amount consumed can’t be exact because nature is not exact. For example, Dulse flakes, a 3 gram (one tablespoon) serving equals 330% RDA, meaning a one teaspoon amount is all you should take per day. Hard to know how much exposure you get to heavy metals when eating things from the sea. Consuming it with cilantro and garlic may reduce the absorption of some of these heavy metals.

How your thyroid reacts to too much iodine is not predictable. Getting the Recommended Daily Amount is important.

(1) Pearce, E.N. (2015, Winter). Is Iodine Deficiency reemerging in the United States? Retrieved from https://journals.aace.com/doi/pdf/10.4158/EP14472.CO

(2) Meletis, C.D. and Zabriskie, N. (2007, Jun 29). Iodine, a Critically Overlooked Nutrient. Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/act.2007.13309?journalCode=act

(3) NIH, (2016, Feb 17). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-Consumer/

(4) Leonard, J. (2018, Jul 30). Does pink Himalayan salt have any health benefits? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315081.php

(5) Leung, A.M. and Braverman, L.E. (2013, Dec 17). Consequences of excess iodine. Retrieved from http:// https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976240/

(6)Diet Health, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.diet.com/g/iodine

(7)Food Standards. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/nutrition/iodinefood/Pages/default.aspx

(8) Kargar, S. and Shiryazdi, S.M. et al. (2017). Urinary Iodine Concentrations in Cancer Patients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5464505/

(9)Rappaport, J. (2017, Jan 13). Changes in Dietary Iodine Explains Increasing Incidence of Breast Cancer with Distant Involvement in Young Women. Retrieved from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p0174.htm

(10) Zava, T.T. and Zava, D.T. (2011, Oct 5). Assessment of Japanese iodine intake based on seaweed consumption in Japan: A literature-based analysis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204293/

(11) Michikawa, T. et al. (2012, May). Seaweed consumption and the risk of thyroid cancer in women: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22414981

American Thyroid Association. (2013, Jun 5). ATA Statement on the Potential Risks of Excess Iodine Ingestion and Exposure. Retrieved from https://www.thyroid.org/ata-statement-on-the-potential-risks-of-excess-iodine-ingestion-and-exposure/

https://www.veggiechallenge.com/concerns/vegetarians-veganssalt-high-blood-pressure-iodine-and-soy/

Roasted Cauliflower with Vegan Aioli Dip

Ingredients:

One head of cauliflower cut into floret pieces, or buy ready cut

olive oil spray

salt and pepper

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Vegan Spread and dressing

1 tsp minced garlic

Sriracha Sauce optional

Prep:

Spray a baking sheet pan with olive oil. Put the florets in pan, spreading them out. Spray the Florets with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 deg x 25-30 mins. Until tips are golden brown. I use pure convention, adjusting the time and temperature accord to your oven.

Meanwhile to make the dipping sauce, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Serve while still warm. Use as appetizer or side dish.

Honey Tofu Chocolate Pudding

Does not require any cooking

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

5 tbsp raw honey,

1/4 tsp salt.

One squeeze of lemon,

1/2 cup Cacao powder

14 oz soft Tofu- put into a food processor or blender 

Coconut oil 2 tsp

Coconut milk  3-6 tbsp

Vanilla 1 -2 tsp

18 Raspberries and Fresh Mint leaves to decorate

Prep:

Blend all the ingredients (except Raspberries and Mint) until smooth, divide up to fill  6 ramekins. Cool in refrigerator at least 30 mins or cover tightly store overnight.

Top w fresh berries and garnish w fresh mint before serving.

Sauté Spinach and Onions

Side dish for 6

Ingredients:

1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped

1-2 tsp garlic, chopped

1 tsp ginger, grated

2 tbsp Avocado oil

1 – 16 oz bag of frozen organic spinach

1/2 cup Vegetable broth or 1 tsp Vegan Bouillon

Squeeze of lemon or sprinkle of apple cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Prep:

Heat oil in a wok. Add onions, garlic, ginger, sauté over medium heat, until onions look clear.

Add bag of spinach, broth, continue to stir until liquid evaporates. Add rest of ingredients

You have option to add 1/2 cup mushrooms in with the onions

Serve on top of brown rice, noodles or pasta along side a protein like grilled Tofu or Vegan Chili.