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Expat issues: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies.

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Hi Everyone,

I'd like to share a something I've learned the three years I've been living over-seas about changing your diet in hopes it can help others avoid similar issues.

So I've always kinda viewed myself as they typical American. Eating a mix of freshly prepared food and pre-packaged food - and quite a bit of junk food. When I moved to Egypt I thought that going to completely fresh food would improve my health significantly and did see a decent drop in weight the first year. The second year I moved out of town a little ways (far enough that walking to town wasn't feasible) to a very small settlement with very little to do. I spent a lot of time driving to town or staying at home when I wasn't at work.

Well, over 6 months I began to see a significant weight gain and figured it was simply because I wasn't exercising as much. Well, a year passed and the weight kept on coming. I was beginning to feel constant fatigue and was increasingly moody. I just figured it was being away from home for so long, maybe the heat and humidity. Normal stuff. Finally a month or so ago I was doing some research for a friend when I read something that caught my attention.

Most Egyptians (along with those living in the Middle East and SE Asia) do not consume iodized salt (regular table salt) and suffer from iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency effects your thyroid therefor you can suffer from weight gain, anxiety, reproductive issues, etc... I thought I was fine using sea salt and eating a variety of fresh meat and produce but boy was I wrong. After medical tests I found out I suffer from borderline severe iodine deficiency along with anemia.

What I learned is that sea salt, while containing natural iodine does not contain enough for the human body to function properly and none of the foods I was eating were contributing enough to help either. I also learned that making a major diet change, even if healthier, could possibly lead to health problems and should be carefully monitored.

So... My point in being, keep an eye out for weird body changes if you move outside what you're used to. I suggest following up with a "good" doctor and take multivitamins. Listen to your body. Don't be an idiot like me . ;)


"Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly and never regret anything that made you smile."

Our Story:

Tiger (Egypt) & Gaharia (USA)

10/15/2013--------Met through Mutual Friend

10/16/2013--------Engaged

11/26/2013--------My first flight/Trip to Egypt

11/28/2013--------Met in person for the first time

09/29/2014--------I return to USA :cry:

03/06/2015--------Second trip to Egypt

06/30/2016--------Mail 1-129F

07/08/2016--------NOA1 Received :dancing:

09/27/2016--------Transferred to VSC

11/08/2016--------4 months and nothing yet... So frustrated! :ranting:

11/09/2016--------Wedding date postponed :crying:

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Hi Everyone,

I'd like to share a something I've learned the three years I've been living over-seas about changing your diet in hopes it can help others avoid similar issues.

So I've always kinda viewed myself as they typical American. Eating a mix of freshly prepared food and pre-packaged food - and quite a bit of junk food. When I moved to Egypt I thought that going to completely fresh food would improve my health significantly and did see a decent drop in weight the first year. The second year I moved out of town a little ways (far enough that walking to town wasn't feasible) to a very small settlement with very little to do. I spent a lot of time driving to town or staying at home when I wasn't at work.

Well, over 6 months I began to see a significant weight gain and figured it was simply because I wasn't exercising as much. Well, a year passed and the weight kept on coming. I was beginning to feel constant fatigue and was increasingly moody. I just figured it was being away from home for so long, maybe the heat and humidity. Normal stuff. Finally a month or so ago I was doing some research for a friend when I read something that caught my attention.

Most Egyptians (along with those living in the Middle East and SE Asia) do not consume iodized salt (regular table salt) and suffer from iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency effects your thyroid therefor you can suffer from weight gain, anxiety, reproductive issues, etc... I thought I was fine using sea salt and eating a variety of fresh meat and produce but boy was I wrong. After medical tests I found out I suffer from borderline severe iodine deficiency along with anemia.

What I learned is that sea salt, while containing natural iodine does not contain enough for the human body to function properly and none of the foods I was eating were contributing enough to help either. I also learned that making a major diet change, even if healthier, could possibly lead to health problems and should be carefully monitored.

So... My point in being, keep an eye out for weird body changes if you move outside what you're used to. I suggest following up with a "good" doctor and take multivitamins. Listen to your body. Don't be an idiot like me . ;)

I can completely relate to all that you mentioned above. I've been living in Egypt now 7 years and after about two years living here I ended up with several vitamin deficiencies despite eating so much more healthy than while in the US. Thank you for bringing this up, because I think many of us foreigners who are living here in Egypt often times don't pay full attention to this.

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