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gallbladder diet
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The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ underneath your liver that stores bile and most often gives you trouble when something, like a gallstone, blocks the flow of this bile. Discuss topics including gallbladder attacks, gallbladder removal, gallstones, and inflammation.

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gallbladder diet

What can I eat? What must I avoid?

I am a mature woman awaiting surgery to remove my gallbladder. (terrified!)

I no longer know what to eat/cook. It is over 6 weeks since I have eaten properly . (Following a massive gallbladder attack - over 8h) The lack of proper nutrients is showing in my hair, skin, nails. I feel tired. Surgery is less than three weeks away.

I feel totally lost and very frightened.

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15 Comments Post a Comment
1972289 tn?1325881410
I'm sorry this is so overwhelming and scary.  You don't have much longer until your surgery - hopefully that will help you feel better!  In the meantime could you meet with a nutritionist?  Perhaps s/he could help you prepare for dietary issues after the surgery and also give you suggestions on what to eat in the meantime.

I've read that eggs cause a lot of symptoms in people, but I haven't had gallbladder issues myself so I can't say that from experience.  I think a lot of fruits and vegetables are safe - and also very healthy!  Hang in there!  It won't be long!
Avatar f tn
Hi  Thank you for your warm message.:)

Yes, I have read to avoid eggs, fats, dairy, meat, the cabbage family, oranges etc ... It doesn't seem to leave a lot to eat. >.<

It  seems to be very hard to find recipes suitable for a gallbladder condition :\

Now I am worried that I am not going to be in a good condition to cope with this op.

Where is Scottie, when you need him? *rolleyes*

Thanks again for your response :)
168348 tn?1379360675
When I passed a gallstone during my C-Section 13yrs ago they didn't want to go back in the next day to remove my gallbladder.  Hence, the docs suggested a low-fat diet which was <5.0grams of fat in any given meal and it worked to thwart off any future attacks.  But you need to talk with your doctor to see what is best for you. So sorry you are going thru this now.  Steering clear of any fats (esp fried foods and cream sauces) worked for me.

Avatar f tn
Hi :)

Thanks for your response.  The figure of less than 5g of fat per meal is very helpful.  I am pleased that you have managed to avoid further attacks. I wish that I could manage my condition on diet alone.

I did talk with my doctor, but he wasn't very helpful. He just said 'low fat diet'. That is fine, but the  'how to' and the recipes are hard to find.

Normally, I am a creative cook, but at the moment I am lost >.< Plus, I don't feel in the mood to cook. :/ No, can I find any peace in the decision that a need surgery. What I need is a miracle lol.

Thanks again for your response. :)

551343 tn?1350880995
I was ill for over 2 years with pain. At the time i was only 25 with 2 children.

I just ate as normal because i had no idea I wasnt supposed to as it was un-diagnosed. (Actually told it was anxiety). Finally unfortunately for me I had septis caused through a bad blockage as the stone was bigger then a plum.....but I survived fine.

Anyway since then my daughter had gallstones (I actually diagnosed it).

She could eat most things but one of the things she couldnt eat bizarrely was TOMATOS it would set off an attack she could drink red wine, but not white and couldnt drink coffee.

My husband has just come out of hospital with an attack of bile duct blockage and will have to have his gallbladder out in a few weeks when the infection settles.

I just have him on a low fat diet. You can eat normally but restrict the fat in your meals.  Yesterday he had low fat sausages grilled with no problems.

FISH is good, potatoes, vegetables, rice, pasta.

You can eat meat, chicken (but avoid red), pork, and even bacon as long as it is lean bacon with no fat.

NO FULL fat milk, but you can drink skimmed milk.

NO full fat cheese, but you should be able to tolerate low fat cheese, check the label for the fat content.

No one knows what will kick off an attack, everyone is different.

The only things i couldnt eat were cream, and funny enough i ate sprats which kicked of a mega attack but then I found they were high in fat lol.

So get creative and eat simple.

Have you a microwave? Why not cook a bit of salmon, some new potatoes and some vegetables. Non of this should harm you.

Grilled chicken with rice, or make kebabs. Dont deny yourself food just be careful with the fat content and how you cook it. Grilled is good. Dont cook with any fat....

Eggs well I could eat eggs and so could my daughter and my hubby had 2 yesterday with no problems BUT dietitians do recommend not to eat them although to be honest you could eat meringue because the white of the egg has no cholesterol or fat.

Really just relax and eat but dont fry anything, dont eat any real dairy with full fat but eat lots of fish, rice and veggies lol. Oh dont drink orange juice as it makes bile.

Once the bladder is removed it doesnt take long for the body to get back to normal.

The only thing I still cannot stomach even now after years is cream because i think its more psychological now as I had one of my worse attacks when I ate a cream cake not realising i had a gallstone.

Hugs it wont be long now...bliss lol.
Avatar f tn
You angel <3

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply :)

I had read that I wasn't to eat oranges, but until your response didn't understand why :/ Is it bad to make bile? Does that not help the digestion process? I know I've read to eat beetroot to 'thin down the bile?' *clueless*

Thank you so much for your meal ideas and the detailed guidelines on what to eat/avoid.

Your response has been helpful and reassuring <3

551343 tn?1350880995
Hi no problems, if you need more i can think of some lol.

The oranges well all I know is this. When i had my gallbladder out I was really sick afterwards (it was because I was septic not normal ok), and i had to have a tube down my throat to keep the bile under control for recovery or something, I cant remember exactly. Anyway after 4 days of producing too much bile so they couldnt remove the tubes they realised that they were giving me pure orange juice drinks in the morning lol, which yes does increase and stimulate the bile making process. So in essence it should be good for you, but I just wonder 3 weeks before surgery it might be worthy of a miss lol.

DONT deny yourself fats ok, because we do need fats for a healthy diet, just be a bit wary of how you are eating food now.


Things to avoid
Deep fried foods, margarine, cream and icecream
Packaged snack foods and take away foods – such as chips, pretzels, cookies, donuts, hot dogs and pizza etc
Excess sugar – use natural alternatives to sugar such as xylitol or stevia rather than aspartame based products
Excess alcohol
Cheap processed vegetable oil
Sugary soft drinks and diet sodas

DRINK PLENTY of pure water, add one tablespoon in a glass of water with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, as it aids the digestion and helps you.

Beetroot juice is brilliant for liver enzymes and will be good for you too.

Bizarrly spices are good for liver/gallbladder lol so you could add a bit of spice to your life or chicken.

Omellette with spinach and asparagus. DONT use the yolk but make an omellette by whisking the whites up and cooking them like an omellete and adding spinach, or any other vegetable you can add chicken, fresh tuna or even salmon.

BAKED POTATO with LOW FAT cottage cheese, add pineapple, fruit, or even a tin of salmon which is in spring water not salt or oil.

Oh and grilled tuna steak with spicy cous cous, yummy.

Catch you later.x

Avatar f tn
More brilliant and helpful information! ((hugs))

Especially good, as I was just reading something on the Net that freaked me out again >.<

Thank you so much! <3

Jan x
1809109 tn?1331807377
I've had gallbladder problems since August 2010. Still on the waiting list to get mine out but I've become, in my not so humble opinion, pretty awesome at making foods me friendly.

Aristotle is right- there are the common almost everyone reacts to and then the WTF? how did I react to that moment. A lot of trial and error to get it perfect. Personally I eat mainly Kangaroo/other game meat, egg whites, and white fish. I have found that kangaroo and other meats like deer can be substituted in for red meats. (Although they take a bit more tenderizing). Too much oily fish or chicken will make me sick. As will anything spicy, high acidity, or containing more than a tsp of oil. And 1/5 of an egg yolk is enough to cause severe pain. 10 grams of fat in a 3 hour period as well as over 25 grams / day is enough to make me sick too (Maybe- sometimes yes, sometimes no).

Anyway, if you ever want a dairy free, egg free, (gluten free), and/or red meatless recipe hit me up. This week so far I made pizza, chicken risotto, and tuna alfredo pasta. My main secret is really garlic, basil, and other spices.

And after you have it out, remember slowly add in the foods that make you sick. Because while some people can go back to a bacon and egg breakfast straight away, some need a bit of time before being able to handle fats, and others can never eat eggs again (like my old roommate).
Avatar f tn
Hi :)

More fabulous information! Thank you so much. I would be very grateful for any recipes you care to send me. All of the things you have mentioned sound delicious! :)

The massive attack was caused by eating Chicken Kiev. >.< Kinda obvious now huh? The funny thing is, I had never before eaten Chicken Kiev. Never liked the sound of it, nor the look of it, so what possessed me on that particular night 6 weeks ago, I do not know *shudders*.

Once they diagnosed gallstones and pressed down on my gallbladder, I recognised the pain immediately. I realised that I had been living with the pain for well over 20yrs. Thinking back, I had my first bad attack in my late 20s. I was in work. I was ceased by severe pain. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I went to the site nurse. She told me I was a 'silly girl wearing her bra too tight!' So the pain that I have suffered since, I always put down to the weight of my breasts, or the underwire in my bra. Mad to think of it now.

Maybe, if I'd been correctly diagnosed (on this and on my thyroid) I wouldn't be facing this surgery. I don't know. Maybe I could have managed things through diet. I certainly would have been healthier!

I don't particularly want to go back to the way I used to eat. There are some things that I would like back - chili, a sandwich, and a bit of roast dinner lol :D The sweet things I really don't yearn for. ( Though a doughnut was winking at me today :D)

Kinda resigned to a life without eggs :( Though I would like some milk and yoghurt back.

On the countdown now :\ My operation is on the 25th January.

Please say a prayer for me folks (or send me some positive energy) <3

Thanks. Each of your responses has helped me so much. I shall be forever grateful for the time and information you have shared with me.

<3 hugs <3
1809109 tn?1331807377
My main trick is I use spices in place of dressing or marinades. Basil or Italian mix on my salads, garlic 1:1:2 vinegar to cooking wines to water to marinade. I use garlic a lot to cover up the taste of soy. Actually I just use garlic a lot. I also broil/bake and weigh everything, typically I broil with cooking sherry and let all the alcohol cook off. If you can't do any alcohol use a 1:2 ratio of stock to water (curbs fat and sodium). Works wonders on game.

You can substitute plain soy yogurt for sour cream or -in a pinch a tbsp lemon juice/ cup of soy milk. Also I have found you can substitute soy milk for any recipe calling for milk. Cut fat in baked goods 1/2 by adding 1:1 ratio of butter/oil and applesauce. This applesauce will also sweeten the recipe so you can cut out about 25% of the sugar without too much harm. I have found that a lot of recipes also can be just cut of some oil (start with only 10-25% cut out). I also only cook recipes that can have egg whites only or a no egg substitute (for vegan and egg allergies).

Pesto sauce: 1 cup chicken stock (Low fat), 2 garlic cloves (although I use 4), 3 Tbsp fresh basil chopped finely, 1/2 tsp mint (dried), and 1/4 tsp oil. (Oil is more to keep it from sticking on the pasta than it is for taste, it can be removed if needed.) I mix it all and boil it for about 10 minutes until the mint flavor seeps through.

Alfredo: (Like making a basic white sauce) 1.5 cup soy milk (I have found evaporated works nicely, but it is a bit sweet), 1 tsp olive oil/canola, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp powdered onion, 1/4 tsp pepper, dash of salt. 1 Tbsp of soy cream cheese or 2 packaged slices of a dairy alternative cheese OR 1 tbsp avocado. 1/2 tbsp flour.  This does need to be stirred constantly though because it will stick badly to a pot.

For pizza I use no dairy, all veggies and very thin crust. The crust is really where most of the fat comes in. I got my recipe off the glutenfreegoddess, cut it in half and it still packed 300 calories for just the bread!

After your operation try adding live active -low fat, low cholesterol dairy products. I made a cheesecake yesterday using live active cream cheese and plain soy yogurt and it just made me gassy- no pain. (I've been slightly lactose intolerant since I was a kid) I did have only half a serve size, but it was fantastic and I reckon that if I had my gallbladder out I wouldn't have to worry about pains.

You may have to give up roasts, but how do you feel about game? Can you get any deer or elk where you are? You might be able to eat that now. And after your operation you might be ok with LEAN roasts like pork. Or maybe goat or buffalo. Beef and lamb are a little questionable. Just slowly is the key I think. Although honestly I'm still waiting on being called to get it done. "Yeah sometime in the next year we'll send you a letter and tell you you have 10 days before the operation." Thanks.. any clue when that might be? "Sometime in this year."

I'm sure you'll be fine. I have difficulty finding someone who doesn't know a person or isn't a person who has had to get a gallbladder removed. Very common operation. Definitely sending you prayers for a speedy recovery. Hopefully, you will be one of the many who can eat regularly again. Although, I do have to say this is the most effective diet I have ever been on! I'm very grateful for the 16 kgs I've lost, but wish it could have been done in a less painful manner. Let me know how everything goes, because I'll be honest the idea of getting mine out terrifies me.

Good luck!
Avatar f tn
Hello Ducky :o)

Yes, great way to lose weight lol, but as you say, without the pain would have been a greatly preferred option! :D

Deer/elk I would never eat on moral grounds. (yes, I know that their can be moral objections to all meats, but a girl has got to draw the line somewhere) We don't have many kangeroos in Ireland :D and game I am not wild about. (pardon the pun :D)

After the op, and when I am able to try to eat a reasonable diet again, I will try your apple sauce idea for baking - thank you. Plus, I had been wondering, if I could cook with soya milk/yoghurt, so thank you very much for confirming that I can. That is really useful to know.

Pizza I think I will try and cut out all together, I've never been that wild about it. It has always just been a 'quick & easy' meal *shrugs*.

Pasta is big in our house, so the more low/no fat recipes I can find on that score, the better. :)

I find I can roast a chicken by just rubbing a dessert spoon of olive oil into the skin, applying herbs and covering with tin foil. I can get away with that. (obviously, removing from the roasting tin, as soon as it is cooked) I can get away with eating a tiny bit of beef, though I have steered well clear of lamb.

Still really hoping I will be able to get back to a dishful of chili :D

Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me. It means a great deal. <3

Jan x

Avatar f tn
Just to say a big thank you to each of you for responding to my cry for help. Each of your responses has helped me enormously. My head is in a much better place thanks to your help. I shall be forever grateful to each of you. <3

Again, I would appreciate your positive vibes and prayers (if you believe) for the 25 Jan. (Op D-Day)

<3 hugs <3
Avatar m tn
Over the past couple of weeks I have suffered 3 gallbladder attacks. I didn't even now that I had a problem up until the first one . The pain was unthinkable!. I have been scared to eat anything just in case it triggered off another attack. Reading the comments on this page has helped me soooooooo much .

Thanks : o )
Avatar f tn
Hi pixierose100

Firstly *big hugs*

Been there, so I can relate to what you are going through!

The good news is that I have come through it all and have never felt better!  Had I known how much my gallbladder was impacting on the quality of my life, I would have had the operation done years ago! Then again, hindsight is a wonderful thing and we can only the do the best we can, with the knowledge we have at the time.

My advice is to eat a balanced, low fat diet. Avoid the main trigger foods, such as, coffee, eggs, concentrated fats, like butter, cream etc. If you can , eat little and often. A good guide for your main meal is: fish 3 times a week; vegetarian 2 times a week; and meat, preferably not red meats, once a week. Turkey is preferable to chicken, as it is lower in cholesterol.

If you search for, 'Healthy Heart' sites, you will find some good recipes and good advice that you can follow, as heart patients have to follow a low fat, low cholesterol diet too.

Learn to read food labels. Be aware that where they reduce fat, they often increase the sugar / salt content. Low fat / low sugar tends to be 5g and under. You can fudge it a little, but 20g+ of fat, or sugar is way too much. Home cooking is best, as you know exactly what you are eating.

Cinnamon is a great sweetener and has additional health benefits all of its own. Things like beetroot, tomato, cucumber will add moisture to sandwiches and salads, so they help when you are trying to get used to no butter/mayonnaise :) As others have said, herbs & spices add flavour ;)

Remember that your gallbladder, liver and pancreas all work together. If your gallbladder isn't functioning at 100% (and if you are having attacks, it isn't) then additional pressure is placed upon the other two. You need to be careful that lifestyle choices doesn't further add to the pressure on these organs, eg excess alcohol, sugar, fat etc

I paid a high price for not eating (operation and recovery-wise) so, understandable as it is to be fearful of food, (and I have since learned, it is a very common reaction) it is important that you eat *hugs*

It is wonderful that this thread has helped you too. The people who took the time to comment were certainly a godsend to me at the time.

Good Luck and please feel free to message me, if I can be of any help x

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