This study is about a client who suffered from gallstones and a gallbladder Infection. She came to me for advice after her doctor recommended that she have it removed.
A little over three years ago I began to experience severe pain above my stomach. I called it a stomach ache, but I didn’t really know what was causing it, and while the pain was severe, it was intermittent, so I just never got around to calling my doctor. After a YEAR of this I mentioned it to my mother who said, that sounds like the gallbladder pain I had, and reminded me that she and my grandmother had their gallbladders removed. While I had known this, it never occurred to me that it might be what was causing my pain.
When I finally made the decision to see a doctor, the pain was frequent and unbearable. I didn’t know what set it off, but I was certain it wasn’t heartburn like my husband kept insisting. Maybe don’t eat spicy food, or you should try cutting out gluten, it’s probably Celiac Disease, was the advice I received from friends and family. I knew it wasn’t heartburn. I’d had awful heartburn when I was pregnant with my first child and it was nowhere near this painful. But I jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon to see if that helped. It didn’t. The attacks were lasting longer and happening in awkward situations, like at work, where it’s typically frowned upon to leave your classroom of junior high age students without supervision while you run out of the classroom.
I made an appointment with my doctor, explained my symptoms and my family gallbladder history. She scheduled an ultra-sound and blood work and as we expected, gallstones. Everyone assumed I would just get it removed. The technician who gave me the ultra-sound said she had a gallbladder attack and went immediately to the emergency room. As soon as she learned her results, she scheduled her appointment to have it removed by the end of the week. It was the most awful pain in the world. I could never go through it again, she told me. Make your appointment right away.
Now I’ve had two natural child births, so I don’t throw around the phrase, most awful pain in the world easily, but it was severe. I would never know when it was coming and there was nothing I could do to make it go away. And while I was relieved to know what was causing the pain, I was not looking forward to the surgery.
When I was little, I was always fascinated by the huge scar my mother had across her belly. It was a long, diagonal slash that must have been six inches long. She’d had her gallbladder removed before I was born after being misdiagnosed continuously for severe stomach pains. No one expected my slim, 20-year-old mother to be suffering from gallstones. The three F’s were the indicators: fat, forty, and female.
While growing up I lived in fear that one day I would have to get my gallbladder removed and spent countless nights worrying over how they would make that horrific slash across my body and how much it would hurt. My imagination leaned more towards machete and less towards anesthesia.
I texted Tiana from the parking lot after my ultrasound. I was aware of how she was treating her Hashimoto’s through diet and was hoping she could help me.
Despite my family history, I didn’t really know what the gallbladder did, so the treatment was not what I expected. Simply put, the gallbladder stores the bile that your small intestines use to digest your food. Stones, that are made from the bile, can clog the ducts and lead to pain and inflammation.
The foods I added to my diet included things that would help create more bile. Dark leafy greens and bitter greens like dandelion and arugula. I had never eaten dandelion greens before, but it turns out they are great for your liver and gallbladder. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water every day and an apple a day. Apparently, apples are one of the best foods for the gallbladder, it’s not conclusive why, but they think it’s the pectin. I also ate and drank foods with probiotics, like kombucha and sauerkraut.
The most important food I had to remove from my diet was unhealthy fat. I cut out vegetable oil and homogenized dairy. The process of homogenization binds the fat and protein molecules together and then the body can’t dispose of the fat and keep the protein, so it has to keep both. The bile can’t break down all of the fat, the ducts get clogged, and the stones get built, which leads to the pain and inflammation.
Healthy fats I kept in my diet were coconut, olive, and avocado oil. I also had pastured lard.
While I was healing my gallbladder I also removed foods that caused inflammation. Good-bye sugar, alcohol, and wheat.
As soon as I started this diet change I noticed the results immediately. I mean within a week the pain and discomfort were totally gone. And for an added bonus, the pounds just started falling off. My unhealthy gallbladder wasn’t processing fat, so it had continued to build up in my body.
After my gallbladder healed my next step was to remove the gallstones. I used a natural procedure and was amazed at the results. So was my doctor. When I went in for my follow up, I was given a clean bill of health. No more surgery needed!
Now that I know how to care for my gallbladder I have been able to reintroduce small amounts of sugar, wheat, and alcohol. Thank goodness! I still stay away from vegetable oil and dairy, unless it’s raw. When I first tried to introduce these foods back into my diet I felt the inflammation in my gallbladder immediately. Now that I know what to look for, my body tells me what I can and cannot have. I just need to make sure and listen.
And it isn’t enough to just cut foods out. I have to keep up with the bitter, leafy greens. If I feel like my gallbladder is becoming inflamed I just eat the greens, I don’t even bother to put them in a salad anymore. I can feel the healing effects instantly. And I can’t forget to eat my apple every day.
It’s been two years since I was in my doctor’s office with some of the worst pain I’ve felt. Through Tiana’s treatment and my dedication to healing my body naturally, I have never been healthier.