Having just spent a lovely Easter weekend with my family eating lots of delicious food made me think back to two years ago. This time two year's ago i was 32 week's pregnant with baby number two and i spent all of the Easter weekend in extreme pain in hospital. After a week in hospital and numerous tests it turned out i was suffering from gallstones.
I had no idea what gallstones were and being on a maternity ward i don't think the medical team caring for me knew very much either as i was giving no information. I had an ultrasound scan, and was told i had small gallstones in my gallbladder and not to eat anything with fat in. That was it, no advice on what food to eat or anything.
Anyone who has suffered gallstones will tell you the pain is horrendous, i have given birth three times twice were inductions and i can safely say gallstone attacks hurt a lot more then labour! You will do anything to avoid an attack. So i spent hours searching online for what foods were safe to eat and what to avoid, and there was not much information available. I become obsessed with checking food labels and i learnt what foods were classed as 'safe' foods and which foods to avoid.
I thought i would write up about what i found i could eat in case anyone else out there is suffering and has no idea what they can actually eat, that hopefully will not trigger an attack. One piece of advice i was told was not to eat anything with more then 5 % fat in, so i checked everything before i ate it to make sure It had less then 5% fat. By following this advice i never had another attack and i had my gallbladder removed when my daughter was four months old.
- Don't eat anything with more the 5 % fat in.
- Swap your normal milk to red skimmed milk
- Avoid any kind of butter or margarine.
- Avoid chocolate.
- Cut out sauces such as mayonnaise.
- Check all food labels before you eat.
- Drink lots of water
- Cut out coffee and alcohol
- Don't cook anything in any kind of oil.
- Drink apple juice as this is meant to help with gallstones.
- Try not to eat late at night, i ate at least two hours before bedtime.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Avoid red meat and eat lots of lean chicken and turkey and white fish.
- Avoid spicy food's.
- Cereal that is less then 5% fat with a dash of skimmed milk.
- Toast with jam, no butter.
- Toast with laughing cow extra light cheese spread, no butter.
- Fruit and a fat free yogurt.
- Dry fried low fat Turkey rashers & mushrooms sandwich with ketchup.
- Tinned tomatoes on dry toast.
- Turkey or chicken salad sandwich, no butter/margarine or dressing.
- Turkey or chicken salad
- Fat free super noodles
- Low fat vegetable soup, such as Heinz vegetable soup or the big soup.
- Tinned spaghetti on dry toast.
- Chicken or turkey stir fry, with stir fry sauce (check the fat content in the label first)
- Chicken or Turkey with steamed veg and a small amount of gravy.
- Turkey mince (less then 5% fat) bolognese with pasta
- Sweet and sour or lemon chicken with boiled rice.
- Mild fajitas in a reduced fat wrap or with steamed rice.
- Baked fresh white fish ( no sauce) with low fat oven chips and salad.
- Grilled lean gammon steak with a baked potatoes.
- Crab sticks
- Fat free yogurts
- Very low fat crisps ( less then 5% fat) such as the special k ones.
- Rich tea biscuits.
- Low fat cake bars (check less then 5% fat)
- Fat free jelly pot's.
- Jelly sweets, such as harribo.
- Tea with a dash of skimmed milk.
- Apple juice
- Diet coke
- Diluted squash juice.
I was so scared about eating out but i found a few things that i could eat without having any pain. I could have Subway chicken or turkey salad sub with no dressing or cheese. I could eat at carvery's i would just have turkey and then lots of steamed vegetables and a small amount of gravy and avoided the roasted vegetables, Yorkshires and stuffing. I could also eat salads and grilled chicken with plain jacket potatoes and salad if we ate out and i would ask for it with no sauces or butter. I could also eat a takeaway grilled chicken kebab with salad and pitta bread without any sauce. I found if i stuck to plain grilled meats and avoid any dressings or high fat foods eating out was okay.
So that is what i ate when i had gallstones, it is just basically eating very healthy avoiding red meat and processed foods and only eating foods that are 5% fat or less. By changing my diet and eating this way i never suffered another gallstone attack and i lost a lot of weight too as i actually weighed two stone less after my daughter was born then before i fell pregnant.
If you are suffering and you are offered the chance to get your gallbladder removed then i would say get it done. I was petrified before my operation as i had visions of dying on the operating table but i am so glad i had it done, it was a quick operation i was awake within an hour and home the same day. I was not in a lot of pain and the recovery time was quick i had my operation on the Thursday and was out and about and back to normal by the Monday. And i only have four tiny scares, i can also now eat whatever i want and the best thing is knowing i will never have that awful pain again.
* Please note these are just the foods that i found i could eat when i was suffering from gallstones, i just came up with this list of foods myself as these were my 'safe' foods. But everyone is different and what worked for me might not work for you as what you can eat with gallstones varies from person to person and is very much trial and error.