Yesterday I posted my story of an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy that left me reeling with the news that I have large stones in my gallbladder. I saw them on my CT scan film, and of course my surgeon didn’t help when she said, “it could rupture tomorrow, or you may not feel symtoms for some time. Either way, it needs to come out.”
As I stated yesterday, I simply don’t accept this as the solution and I’m certain there are other ways to treat it. I announced immediately that I would undergo a gallstone flush using a fast, which clearly alarmed my husband. He called and had an earful for me about how there are dangers involved with such flushes, and that my gallstones have a lot of traveling to do before they are evacuated and there is a risk of pancreatitis–something that occurred to one of his employees’ relatives when she tried a similar measure.
- Learn more about the gallbladder’s function here.
- See numerous links to clinical studies about the potential for acute pancreatitis as the result of a gallstone or liver flush
All drama aside, I do need to approach my health rationally and thoughtfully. I’m still shocked that this could even happen to me. I have finally found an MD who shares my ideals for food as medicine, alternative natural treatments before pharmaceuticals and surgery. She is as surprised as I am to hear of my condition, and when we meet next week for the first time, we’ll be discussing other causes of gallstones, besides the usual suspects: high cholestral/high fat diets, multilple pregnancies, being over the age of sixty, being obese, etc. I am entirely atypical. There is a possibility I have too much estrogen? We’ll look into it.
As I recover from my appendectomy, I am resolute about this: I don’t want to have to recover from a similar surgery in the future. I am also suddenly, for the first time in my life, afraid of food. Not in the way one might be afraid after watching Food, Inc., Supersize Me, or Fast Food Nation, but genuinely afraid my gallstone might rupture if I eat the wrong thing. (My perforated appendix didn’t exactly tickle.) If you’ve read my other blog (UnassumingFoodie), you know how tragic this is for me. (As it would be for anyone.) I’ve spent half my life eating a highly nutritious, all natural diet, so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can adopt a new eating lifestyle. The first step is going to be to learn everything I can about a gallbladder-friendly diet and begin making changes.
A good, gallbladder-friendly diet includes:
- A lacto-vegetarian diet is best: Only non- or low-fat dairy (Thank goodness I’ll be able to hold onto my favorite 0% fat Greek yogurt and non-fat frozen yogurt!). But, that means no eggs–and no other animal products, even lean chicken or pork. (If I have trouble in this area, I’ll just have to rewatch any of the movies mentioned above. That’ll crush my craving.)
- Daily consumption of fresh veggie juices, 100 ml each of carrots, cucumbers and beets. Hmm.
- Plenty of apples, pears, watercress, grapes, and oranges–YUM
- Plenty of veggies–YUM
- Nuts, lentils, beans, etc. No problem! Love it!
Things to avoid:
- No animal products: No meat, chicken, pork, high-cholestral seafood, eggs
- No high-fat dairy: butter, high fat cheeses, ice cream (may lose some tears over this)
- No refined carbohydrates: No problem! I only eat super-high-fiber/high protein breads, tortillas and cereals. And then only in moderation.
- No sugar: I don’t eat refined carbs, so this isn’t SO much of an issue… But what about birthday cakes? Christmas treats? Is anything sacred?
- Processed or de-natured foods: Yuck, good riddance!
On the fence/Needs more investigation:
- Chocolate. Well, let’s be serious now. I’ll need to talk to my doctor, but this is an area of highest importance to me. I love chocolate with 70% or more cacao, and I’m not about to wave bye-bye to it forever. I’ll have to investigate how much I can get away with, and how frequently.
- Coffee. Some of the information I’ve read say that 2-3 cups per day help patients avoid the formation of stones. Other info states that coffee causes stones. Must do more research.
- Alcohol. Same as above. Some information claims that half a glass of red daily should help. Others say that alcohol is a big no-no. I’m wondering if the “alcohol” that causes the problem is high-sugar alcoholic beverages such as white wine or mixed drinks, hard liquor, 0r malt/carb-laden beverages. Like the health properties of chocolate, red wine offers more than a complement to a good meal.