Living with no gallbladder: My food do’s and don’ts

Psst – below is the original post about this topic but I have posted an update – check it out!

Time for a bit of a side story on my blog. I do talk about this frequently within my bento posts, but I’ve recently been thinking that a couple of specific posts on it would help some people. When I first had my gallbladder out, it would have been such a help to me if I could have found a range of blogs and websites about specific transitions in eating after a gallbladder removal, but alas, it’s mainly medical sites out there :S

This blog post will be specific to my food do’s and don’ts; what I eat and don’t eat, why I eat or avoid those things and other tips. This may help some of you, but please excuse my rambling if it doesn’t 🙂

My food do’s:

– Do always have breakfast – as bile is constantly dripping into my digestive system, not eating for long periods of time makes it uncomfortable (like acid burn), so I always eat breakfast, even if it is just a banana.

– Do up the protein – processed carbs cause me issues and comfortableness if I eat them too often, so I make sure I eat more protein. The protein I eat includes cottage cheese, low fat natural and flavoured yogurts, edamame, fish, chicken, chickpeas (hummus), lentils and quorn.

– Do enjoy your fruit and veg – I can eat all fruit and veg, bar one or two things (although when my stomach isn’t feeling great, I avoid raw vegetables). I’m not able to eat radishes as it was one of my trigger foods, but I always get my 5-a-day in so many different ways; smoothies, soups, snack pots, dipping, baked, roasted, stir fried, steamed 😀 I especially like baked apples with a sprinkling of oats on top!

– Do snack – again, due to the bile, it is better for me to never have an empty stomach for too long, so, snack it is! I love home popped popcorn, with paprika and pepper on it, or hummus and veggies, or good old rice cakes. I even like sliced apple with a small amount of choccy spread!

– Do exercise! – exercise is a fantastic non-medical way to help with digestive problems. Running, for me is what keeps things moving (apologies for the term!). If there is anyone who has digestive problems after a gallbladder removal, then exercise!! It will solve it!! Exercise how you are able to though, so even a short walk in the fresh air or a nice swim will help.

My food don’ts:

– Don’t eat high fat items often – high fat items, for me, include peanut butter, most nuts, full fat dairy (including cream, milk, cheese and yogurt), fast food (especially battered items), fatty meats and high fat carb items (like pastries) and whole eggs. I have some of these very occasionally but if I eat them too often or eat too much of them, my digestive system does not cope so well and it isn’t comfortable.

– Don’t overeat! – no-one should overeat anyway, it’s not good for you, but having no gallbladder to control the flow of bile means that a very large meal can take a very very long time to digest, which equals the very full feeling for a very long time (for me). I do eat large meals sometimes, but I am a lot more conscious of how overeating affects me.

– Don’t worry! – Stress exacerbates a lot of conditions, and it also makes for a unhappy digestive system. By stress I mean worrying about eating the right foods or too much of the not so good foods. Don’t worry! Your main aim should always be to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I have found all the rest will balance itself out due to being full up on all the good stuff!! Exercise also helps all forms of stress, so get moving!

Overall, just be happy. I get aches and pains sometimes, that are directly to do with the scar tissue from the op. But guess what? They are small aches. Not the excruciating pain I was in when I had my silly gallbladder. I can cope with these, I can enjoy my life, and I am happy and healthy!

Have you got any food do’s and don’ts that are specific for yours or your familys needs?

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8 thoughts on “Living with no gallbladder: My food do’s and don’ts

  1. Mezasu says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea there were restrictions when having that procedure done.

    • It does depend on the individual, especially relating to the diet they had post op (I.e.: trigger foods for a gall bladder attack will likely cause digestive issues post op). I feel in no way restricted with what I eat and it encourages me to eat plenty of healthy foods and listen to how my body is feeling. The good thing (or bad thing i suppose) is that I can eats lots of chocolate and I feel fine! Hehe!

  2. I live without one too. Snacks and smaller meals are a must. I am also very careful with how much fat I eat. I also find for some reason that plant oils are far easier to handle than animal fats, one of the reasons I was vegetarian for several years after the surgery. I now incorporate meat again, but lean cuts for sure!

    Eggs can be very helpful, as they contain lecithin in the yolks. Until the body’s adjusted a bit (which will happen after a few months or so), eggs help break dietary fat up into smaller parts, making it easier to digest fats.

    • I’m not vegetarian but I don’t like a lot of meat, so I haven’t had any experience of animal fats causing a problem (although high fat dairy is a big no no for me). I can eat lots of avocado though so bring on the plants! I have lecithin tablets for when my stomach has a hard time digesting anything, but I didn’t know it was in eggs too (it is found in some choccies as well!). Eggs were one of my major trigger foods when I had my gall bladder so now I can eat the whites but not the yolks, due to the cholesterol and fat in them. I do miss my peanut butter though! How are you with nuts and nut spreads?

  3. Darlene Bird says:

    I’m really having issues lately. I’ve cut out somethings that cause acid reflux like non dairy yogurt and cottage cheese is a really bad one for me. I eat steamed fish and a lot of pumpkin. I have a swallowing problem due to a tumor removed the same time as my gallbladder. I’m not sure WHAT to eat!

  4. […] want to start with the post I made in 2014 about my lack of gallbladder and give an update on my health/diet and add some new […]

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