How to Enjoy Bacon without a Gallbladder

I spent the entirety of my pre-pubescent life as a vegetarian. Looking back, I’m horrified by the Not Dogs, Tofu Bacon and LoveBurger I consumed. I remember being disgusted as I watched my mother make LoveBurger: a box of bird seed, a bottle of ketchup and a wish and a prayer it’d be edible after a while in the oven. I got caught hiding it in the milk carton once after lying that my slumber party friend and I had finished dinner. It was THAT bad.

Back in the late 80′s there wasn’t an entire section of your regular grocery store dedicated to vegetarian and “health foods”. My mom resorted to what I now think of as pretty gross foods in order to get my brother and I on-board and not feeling like we were “different”. I can totally relate to that approach, after all it’s what we’re doing with paleo(ish) treats and things like Meatza and Spaghetti Carbonara. Except, we’re making our foods at home and those vegetarian products are made in a factory with a bunch of ingredients I now fear.

As flawed as those vegetarian man-made genetically-modified mass-manufactured food products are, my mom genuinely thought she was offering our family optimal health. She loved animals, and after reading about and seeing CAFO videos we were convinced we didn’t want animals treated like that. My brother and I both agree, we just took it two different directions. I grew up to now support humane and sustainable farming and he is a vegan. It’s why this site is more vegan-friendly than some other paleo hot spots. I often say that vegan, vegetarianism and paleo aren’t THAT different. In my case, we’re coming from the same place – literally the same upbringing.

For my mom, that inspiration and origination came from some personal health issues. She decided eliminating meat from our diet would be the healthiest approach for our family. She and I were both overweight. Problem is, turns out those 7 years of low-fat, high-carbohydrate vegetarianism wasn’t the best thing for us after all – it would take us more than a decade to figure that out though.

Years after being on a vegetarian diet, my mother was struggling with severe gallbladder attacks. I remember her having to pull her car over on the side of the road and vomit and cry from pain. She tried everything the doctors said – eating lots of crackers and broth soups with noodles, making sure her fat intake stayed super low. But she had a gallstone blocking her common bile duct – extremely painful and impossible to eat ANY foods. Not long after, in her mid-thirties, my mother had her gallbladder removed. I personally never thought anything more of what that meant for her, since the symptoms and attacks alleviated. Little did I know, that to this day she still struggles with the repercussions of that surgery.

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, after the birth of Cole, that any of this came back to me as a memory. I myself began having gallbladder attacks. Since I have an extremely high pain tolerance, I didn’t even realize what it was when they first started. But eventually they became stronger and more frequent. One attack a month turned into one a week, turned into one or more a day. Since I was so young and had just had surgery with the birth of Cole, I was prescribed a giant bottle of Percoset and the same super stupendous and ever successful low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet as my mother. I remember popping those pills at work, like they were candy.

I tried desperately to avoid the doctor because I didn’t want surgery again. I did everything they said. But I found myself in the ER one night, screaming in agony from hours upon hours of pain I cannot begin to describe (I dare say, worse than the worst of my labor pains). An ER nurse asked me to rank the pain and I moaned, I guess a gunshot to the head might feel worse. Shortly after, I was whisked away for an ultrasound (to confirm what everyone had known all along, a metric ton of gallbladder stones) and given orders to see a surgeon to have my gallbladder removed.

Now, let’s take a moment to reflect on my mother and I’s story to this point:

  1. We were each prescribed a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet – which we followed in desperation to make the agonizing pain stop – but it never did
  2. We were told to have surgery to resolve the issue… the issue being our gallbladder making stones. No one was interested in finding out WHY our gallbladders were making stones.
  3. We were overweight women and the assumption was that we could not possibly have been following the prescribed low-fat diet, since fat was SURE to be the cause of our problems
  4. My mother and I both had had c-sections, turns out this can be a trigger for many women to “suddenly” have issues with their gallbladder – which, again, no doctor ever told us

So there I am, at the surgeon’s office. I had lost weight after giving birth to Cole and having gone dairy-free, but was still morbidly obese. I was exhibiting nearly every single possible

Oh, that’ll be no problem! You’ll have this surgery laproscopically. You’ll have a short recovery time and you’ll be back to normal in no time! You might have some issues digesting food for the first couple weeks after the surgery – but, your body doesn’t need a gallbladder. It’s just like your appendix, you won’t even know it’s gone!

BULLSH*T.

Here are the facts that he spoke:

  1. I had the surgery; it was laproscopic, and the incisions healed when he said they would (thankfully Finian was conceived shortly after I recovered on the first try, we never had fertility issues).
  2. I had discomfort alright.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me:

  1. I pooped my pants for weeks after the surgery. Literally.
  2. I had diarrhea and loose stools for years – in fact, I would have been classified as having IBS except that’s “normal” after having your gallbladder removed. I never had a normal poop again until I went Paleo and strictly grain-free after Wesley was born (4 years later).
  3. When I went back to the surgeon’s office a year and a baby later, to inform him how ill my bowels were, I was told this was “normal” and that it “might” improve years down the road if I stuck to a low-fat diet (the one I was already on and wasn’t working) NO warning of this was given.
  4. Oh yea, and that one small detail… gallbladder disease is a common symptom of gluten intolerance, and likely had nothing to do with the (lack of) fat in our diets!
  5. Your body DOES need a gallbladder. It’s not like feet in the cavity of a whale; we know what it does!

Since we’ve now removed a functioning organ, my body no longer processes foods the way my husband, my kids or yours does. It never will, because I’m missing an organ. What was I thinking? Why did I volunteer that up? Oh, right. Because I trusted a medical professional to know what he was talking about. Oops.

As a result, I can’t do a ketogenic diet. Even the 21 low-carb sugar detox gave me loose stools. My poor metabolically deranged body is so confused. It’s like Hey lady, go low carb and you’ll lose weight and feel great! Oh wait, not that low carb. You can’t because you no longer have the organ you need in order to process the high fat diet I want you to be on.

I say often that I’m likely Celiac but that I won’t ever get tested. That’s because I likely know more than most doctors on the topic of gluten. And really, it doesn’t matter because my treatment is the same: I will never eat gluten again. In order to test positive for Celiac Disease, I’d have to eat gluten non-stop for something like 6 weeks – in which case I’d be severely ill. If I know I’ll get ill eating it, why do I need a test to tell me not to? Not surprisingly, my mother has also gone gluten-free in the past year or two and has has much improved health, too. I’m still trying to get her on Paleo to help with other lingering health issues… but, I’ll get her there eventually!

Instead of sitting around, sulking about how irate I am that a doctor put me under the knife for major surgery to remove a functioning organ without even seeing if I perhaps had a food intolerance – I’ll focus on the positive. Let’s skip to when Wes was born and I found The Paleo Diet. And then I purged our pantry, and pledged down a grain-free path. And then lost an insane amount of weight in mere weeks and felt better than I had in years. And then realized…

Holy crap, my poop is normal! I don’t have to run to the bathroom after a meal! My hair, nails and skin all seem stronger and healthier! And I’m HAPPY and energetic. Am I, perhaps FINALLY, properly digesting food? Is the fat I’m now eating as part of a low carb diet improving the quality of my life as well as my health?

Of course, the answer is yes. At this point I would like to refer to you a few people who are much smarter than I. Like Diane from Balanced Bites and Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser. These people and their logical approach to nourishing humans rather than feeding them saved my life. And they can save yours too. I’ll do my best to condense what I’ve learned, but I highly encourage you to check out their sites for more on healthy fats, good digestive health and eating the foods you were evolved to eat.

I knew I was digesting better and had resolved the IBS I’d had for years with going Paleo. I knew that going grain-free had helped stabilize my mood and a variety of awesome other things as well as take away weight that had perpetually crept on for years. But for some reason, it didn’t occur to me that the fats and protein I was eating also would affect my gut health until I attended the Balanced Bites Seminar. There’s a lot of useful information in this post about what I learned that day, but most importantly was how I needed to think about my body differently because I didn’t have the same organs that most other people have.

Learning the differences between oils and fats, why they’re different and how a person’s body responds to them changed my perspective on what an important piece of the puzzle was to my health. After that day I started paying close attention to the foods that I ate, how my gut reacted, how my digestion was and ultimately if excretion was “normal” after. After months of testing, here’s what I have found to be absolutes for my body:

  1. The introduction of grains of any kind are extremely problematic. This includes:
    • Even grain based oils. Using the chart above, I never eat foods in the red (unless I plan on being on a toilet shortly after). If I want to splurge on french fries, I’ll go out of my way to visit the bunless burger joint who cooks in animal fat and olive oil.
    • CAFO animal meat. I notice when the animal I’m eating has been fed nothing but corn or soy – my body doesn’t process that protein correctly. Sometimes when we eat out, I’ll be sure I avoided gluten but still get gut wrenching pain after. I’ve been able to piece together that it’s because of the quality meat I’m being served. Now, this is not to say what we eat in the house is and has to be 100% pastured, grass-fed meat all the time. It’s a goal, but we frankly just can’t afford that (yet). We do buy mid-grade all the time and buy our fattiest cuts from awesome sources likes US Wellness Meats, Grass-Fed Traditions, Mount Vernon Farm and Polyface. Otherwise, if Matt cooks a pork shoulder or potroast from the grocery store – I’ll have loose stools after.
  2. The introduction of food after not eating for a length of time can disrupt my digestion, significantly. Because my body no longer possesses the ability to properly breakdown food, it can’t handle a huge load if it’s been turned “off” for a while. So when I intermittent fast (which is fancy talk for skipping a meal if I’m not hungry), I break the fast with a small meal eaten slowly and not too high in fat. I find a hard boiled egg or two is a perfect introduction to eating again, but a load of bacon and eggs (my usual breakfast) will have my stomach upset if it’s been more than 10-12 hours from my last meal.
  3. Adding gut healing foods to my diet is super helpful.
    • Coconut: we cook with coconut oil and palm shortening a lot. I have a coconut milk smoothie at least twice a week. I have coconut truffles once a week. I’ll snack on coconut chips. I’ll do whatever I can to get more coconut into my diet. I find that the more I eat of this gut-healthy stable fat, the more my body recovers from “bad” foods.
    • Eating more pro-biotic rich food is helpful in healing my gut too. I don’t overdo this, maybe 3-4 times a week I’ll have either kombucha (4-6 oz) or raw sauerkraut (1/3 cup).
    • Adding the super food of bone broth into my diet always alleviates any kind of problems I may have, and it’s a great preventative as well. Matt makes a batch once or twice a month of both beef and chicken from leftover bones he saves, and then he uses the broth to cook with and makes a soup. Some people drink it by the mug in the morning, but I’m just not that hardcore (yet).
  4. Carbs, I need ‘em. I don’t count the carbohydrates I consume, but if I did they’d still be on the VERY low side for mainstream America. I think I sit happily around 80 grams on a day-to-day basis. I don’t eat many dense carb sources because I’m not super active and they make me gain weight. If I don’t get enough veggies or if I eat veggies much lower in carbs, I know right away. If my carbs dip below 50g a day, my stools become loose. Logically, it would stand to reason that the carbs are aiding in digestion and helping to keep my fat at the moderate level my body needs. I listen to my body’s hunger cues and stop eating when I’m full. If I eat around 80g of carbs per day, the relative fat is processed perfectly. More carbs, I gain weight, less carbs I feel the IBS-like issues arise again. Here’s how it breaks down:
    • I have about a cup of fruits & veggies with lots of protein and fat for breakfast. (a smoothie or bacon with eggs with veggies and bacon = 10-30g)
    • I often have a salad with protein and homemade salad dressing for lunch (or leftovers) = 15-20g.
    • Sometimes I snack on raw carrots, an apple or nuts in the afternoon for a snack = 15-20g
    • And for dinner I have a large portion of meat and veggies on the side (cooked in animal fat or coconut oil). If I have a dense carb, it would be here – since this is the meal I share with the boys and they need more than me = 20-30g

I know this goes against everything you’ve read or heard about gallbladder health. Just put down the peanut butter on white bread. Say no to crackers. It’s not helping anyone – it’s not going to help you, either. Of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to through this site and in life, not a single one tells me they recovered from gallbladder disease by eating a low-fat diet. However, I’ve heard LOTS who recovered from going grain-free and low-carb .

I would hypothesize the below protocol is just as effective for preventing and curing gallbladder disease, as I would say it helps after you’ve had one removed. The reason for that is simple: it is a rare case someone’s gallbladder malfunctions without cause. Figure out the cause (grain intolerance, for example) and then the gallbladder will no longer be ill. Gallstones are a symptom something else is wrong. If you get it removed, you haven’t solved the problem – just removed the symptom. Long-term grain intolerance can cause ugly, nasty symptoms as you age.

So, what you want the TLDR version of what you should do? Although my old surgeon would tell me that I should be on a low-fat diet to aid digestion, I’ve switched to a low-carb (high fat and protein) diet. The result has been immediate and amazing results, both digestive and health wise (before you ask, I have great cholesterol – this is another “myth” for another day).

If you’re looking for an answer key, here it is (in my order of preference):

  1. Do not eat grains. Any. Yes, seriously. Yes, corn is a grain. Or legumes. Or anything that is difficult for you to digest. Your body’s been through enough, eat simple to process foods – like fat and protein. If it comes out whole in your poop (corn, peas, sesame and flax seeds), avoid it.
  2. Do not consume any oils unless they’re uncooked. Cook only with fats (solid at room temperature, the green ones in the above chart).
  3. Start introducing gut healing foods into your diet, like coconut oil, bone broth, probiotics (found in raw sauerkraut or kombucha) and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Eat the highest quality meat you can (this ties into step 1: avoid grains).
  5. If you make these changes and are still uncomfortable, try supplementing with bile. I personally find that the steps above absolutely take care of any issues I have, but you could be more sensitive. As anti-supplement as I am, my dear friend Liz from Ancestral Wellness put it best when she told me Although you’re right that you should be able to get what you need from eating, your body no longer has what it needs to get it from the normal food cycle anymore. Taking a bile supplement is only giving it back what you took away.

And to summarize the entire post up for you, I did a little test today. I ate the highest fat foods I could find in the house. I had 6 pieces of bacon for breakfast. I had a meatloaf with extra lard (and veggies) for lunch. I had a coconut milk fruit smoothie with bone broth soup for dinner. The result? One absolutely healthy and pain-free bowel movement. What would you rather have breakfast: 2 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon and veggies cooked in bacon fat or low-fat sugar-filled pasteurized yogurt from a sick cow and a handful of gut irritating sugar-laden grains thrown on top? I guarantee you the first not only tastes better, it’ll make you feel better to.

About Stacy

Stacy Toth has written 382 post in this blog.

Stacy is the matriarch of the Paleo Parents family. After beginning a paleo diet and founding PaleoParents.com in 2010, she lost 135 pounds and found health and happiness for the whole family. The following three years have been a progressive journey with a mission to educate people about nourishing their bodies by eating real foods. Stacy can be found on all forms of social media as @PaleoParents as well as the top-rated The Paleo View Podcast and her two cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon.

  • Samantha

    This is so good.
    So good.
    I started having gallbladder issues when I was 18, after a lifetime of stomach issues. I couldn’t get a doctor to diagnose me for over 5 years. I did and ate everything the doctors told me to, and just kept getting sicker. I had one large gallstone that liked to get caught in the bile duct, causing severe vomiting and cramping for anywhere from an hour to a week. After I finally had it removed, I had the same IBS-like issues you write about – and still do when I come near any sort of grains or oils (serious lightbulb moment just now about the oils causing issues when I know I haven’t had grains!). When I stick to my paleo diet, I have no issues at all. Even my husband has noticed that we don’t have to be within a few minutes of a bathroom anymore.
    And the only thing more painful than childbirth? Childbirth with a gallstone stuck in your bile duct with no drugs of any kind.
    Thank you for writing this!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      thank you! you earn rock-star of the year award for gallstone AND childbirth without drugs. wow!

  • Shelly R

    Yes, I have tears! This could be me! Though I was extremely underweight, in fact the surgeon didn’t expect to see me sitting on the table after reviewing my X-ray. They took my gallbladder and my symptoms just got worse. I eventually went to the GI and told him I thought I had celiac disease… to which he laughed. My test was negative. I had been gluten free for 3 months prior. No one knew this could affect the results. I went back on wheat because the GI said I needed the fiber because I was minus a gallbladder. Needless to say, I just got sicker, 93 lbs at my worst, only able to tolerate vegetable broth and rice. I have been gluten free for two years and still struggle with digestive issues, though better than before. I have been trying to find the balance right for me. I love this post, gives me inspiration and encouragement to keep pressing on!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Shelly, thank so you much. It’s honestly feedback like this that motivates me to take the time these kinds of posts require. I hope the suggestions are helpful in putting you back on a path to a healthy life! 

      If you think you may have Celiac’s, I’d recommend the auto-immune protocol of Paleo. Have you heard of it? It’s the same, just no nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant & peppers) or nuts. I’ve heard awesome stories of recovery from people who take that approach. Good luck!

    • GreatLakeGal

      This is my story too! 5 yrs after the gallbladder surgery I was still underweight, exhausted and constantly getting sick (pneumonia in August!??!) I tried eating many small whole food meals but it wasn’t enough. I got desperate and went to a naturopath that I had heard great things about. One year later I had gained weight 10lb, lost the IBS-like symptoms, and was healthy without a cold or flu or anything (no colds/flu for 3yrs more, but with small kids it couldn’t last forever :)).

      Looking back, I know I had not absorbed anything from the food I had eaten since months before the gallbladder surgery and then even after the surgery my digestive track wasn’t able to operate properly. Maybe it was too weak, maybe damaged by the laparoscopic surgery, or maybe it forgot how. The naturopath’s nutritional supplements provided the boost-up my body needed to get to operational levels, to work the way the human body is meant to, without any drugs or aids. I haven’t been back since!

      It is now 12 years since I had my gallbladder out and I have only 2 regrets-
      1) I wish I had known I didn’t have to have my gallbladder removed (I was out of work for a month, not 3 days),
      2) I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see a naturopath. Because even with the best diet of excellent food, if you are nutritionally in such a deep deficit that your digestive track can’t function, then you will not get the benefits from best food.

      Good Luck

  • http://twitter.com/CaveGirlEats Liz

    That Liz sounds like a smart chica! I’ve had great success so far with starting Gallbladder-less clients on a supplement including oxbile (bile salts) to help emulsify those precious, healthy fatty acids. Not having a gallbladder comes with many challenges, but it’s not a hopeless situation :)

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Not only is she smart, she’s rockin’ HAWT too! ;)
      Well, I’m glad you’re rocking that oxbile, because frankly telling me I can’t have grains OR bacon would be hopeless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/summerld1 Summer Len Davis

    *Standing up cheering & clapping*  This is absolutely fantastic.  While I have my gall bladder, I know plenty of people who are without one.  I have always been more naturalistic in my approach to health and I get irritated at people who treat the symptoms instead of the source of the symptoms.  When my doctor told me that my pain would likely go away if I eliminated grains from my diet, it was a NO BRAINER.  NOTHING trumps my pain coming back.  NOTHING.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Amazing what people can learn if someone just TELLS them, instead of handing them a pill or a surgery or insisting the grain-based diet is the way to go…

  • Audrey

    Awesome post, thanks for taking the time to explain this and share!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

       Thanks!

  • Heather

    The whole first part of this post could’ve been a bio of my life. When i first got prego at 21, had my daughter, I immediately started having gallbladder attacks. They got so severe that i couldn’t eat anything either…had my gallbladder removed by emergency laproscopic surgery 2 weeks after having my daughter. The only difference…i didn’t have her by c-section and i wasn’t overweight. But I slowly started putting weight on after that though. I was also never told to avoid any foods before or after surgery…ever. Nice surgeon right? Fastforward 11 years and i went gluten free, as i realized myself and my kids were gluten intolerant. A lot improved, but still have probs, including thyroid disease. So just recently i decided to go grain-free as i’ve done a bit of reading on Mark Sisson’s page & books and others and realized there is STILL gluten in the other grains i’ve been eating! (something the celiac community fails to realize) Though i’m not completely primal/paleo (still have dairy from time to time..but i don’t drink milk), i’m starting to lose a little weight and feel better all around. I seriously never thought about probs associated with NOT having my gallbladder til reading this post today. It seems I still have some adjusting to do to my way of eating. Thank you.  

  • http://twitter.com/neohomesteading cat morrow

    I have to admit… I did not even know what a gallbladder was until I read this. 

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Well now you know, and knowing’s half the battle! ;)

  • http://www.healthylivinghowto.com/ Vanessa

    Excellent post Stacy! I’m so sorry you had to endure all of this. If we only knew then what we know now, huh?! I recently had my first gallbladder attack and deduced it was a result of casein. I wrote a long diatribe about it here: 
    http://www.healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2011/12/casein-confession-coconut-coffee-creamer.html I have been dairy-free since and haven’t had any other issues. Interestingly enough, my sister had the same issue and went to the emergency room was given the same guidance you were. 

    • Oneminichick Chick

      Are all sources of dairy a problem, or just unfermented dairy?  All of this information is making me feel a little nervous.  It sounds like grains and dairy can be a source of gallbladder problems.  My brother had to have his gallbladder removed and he has since discovered for himself that dairy is his problem.  With my family’s gluten related autoimmune disorders (I’m not the only one; this is a severe issue in my family) and my family’s history with dairy issues (many family members, not just my brother; he’s just the only one that had his gallbladder removed), I’m worried  what this might mean for me in the future.  I don’t have any dairy related issues that I know of, but what do I know?  I rarely have straight milk; I usually eat dairy in fermented form…yogurt, cheese, etc.  I don’t mean to take over the comment section, but I’m feeling a little uneasy after reading all of this.  I feel a little lost right now, really. Ugh.

      • http://www.healthylivinghowto.com/ Vanessa

        My initial gallbladder reaction was to yogurt, grass-fed and fermented. 

        • Oneminichick Chick

          Wow, really?  Thanks for opening my eyes to this potential problem.  I remember hearing before that one has to be careful even with grass fed meat because the animals may be fed grass for the majority of their life, but be fed grains just before slaughter to fatten them up, but they can still say that it’s grass raised because for the majority of it’s life, it was grass raised….frustrating that they don’t reveal that stuff up front!

      • Oneminichick Chick

        Oh, heavens, I just realized that dairy is probably an issue because of the cows being fed a grain based diet, and that affects the milk, just like what we eat can affect our baby when breastfeeding, which is why we stay away from certain foods while breastfeeding.  Maybe this IS where my continuing problems are coming from. 

      • http://mary-sews.blogspot.com/ Mary in FL

        Since going Paleo, we’ve found it best that we use milk products in small quantities, mostly as condiments or flavorings.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Vanessa, I didn’t go into dairy because I seem to tolerate it OK now with the protocol above. However, it makes me mucusy and gives me zits, so we don’t eat it unless it’s a rare splurge.

      I wonder if it could have been the grains those cows were being fed, or if food allergies in general can cause gallbladder disease – not just grain related.

      Either way, everyone should be proud of listening to their bodies and doing self experimentation to solve problems. I wish this was the FIRST thing DOCTORS did!

  • Oneminichick Chick

    So, you have problems with any grains whatsoever, even gluten free ones?  How about those of you with gallbladders still, do you have digestive, etc. problems with all grains?  I’m trying to pinpoint some of my ongoing digestive issues, and I’m wondering if grains in general is the problem.  I feel a wee bit overwhelmed at the thought of eliminating all grains from my diet, but I also want to feel healthy and free of pain.

    • Anna

      I have severe problems with all grains.  If you have enough gut damage from wheat (undiagnosed celiac or gluten intolerance) you get “leaky gut” and your intestines can no longer tell the difference between wheat, rice, corn, etc. and you react as though it was all gluten. Textbook for undiagnosed celiac, I had gallbladder disease from the age of 13 and had it out at 26 (23 years ago).  I went Paleo 7 months ago because even being gluten free for a year didn’t help my digestion, but I had trouble at first – then found supplements that help.  I make sure I take ox bile, TMG, and magnesium with taurine with at least 2 meals.  I also take a probiotic (10 billion per cap) at least once a day.  I no longer have any digestion issues.

      • Anna

        Oh, and I have never been overweight – they couldn’t figure out why I started having gallbladder problems so young…

      • Oneminichick Chick

        “If you have enough gut damage from wheat (undiagnosed celiac or gluten intolerance) you get “leaky gut” and your intestines can no longer tell the difference between wheat, rice, corn, etc. and you react as though it was all gluten.”

        Do you know why this is?  Why doesn’t the body perceive all food passing through as “invaders”?  I’m assuming there’s something particular about the other grains (especially the gluten free grains) that the body is reacting to that it is not reacting to with other foods???

        • http://mary-sews.blogspot.com/ Mary in FL

          The seed coverings have anti-nutrients, and I wonder if removing the seed cover does not remove all of the antinutrients.  Meanwhile, when you are ready to eat for a whole month or two without any grains in your diet, only by doing that will you find your answer.

          • Oneminichick

            Oh, okay, I know what you’re talking about.  That makes sense now.  And, yes, I am ready to commit to this fully.  I want to feel better, and improve my children’s health as well, as they have some of the same issues I do.

        • Jwilliams824

          The junctions in the gut lining separate and allow similar shaped molecules through causing inflammation. Google “leaky gut” for a better explanation. I only understand bits.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Paleo is a grain-free diet for many reasons. The most compelling of which is that our bodies weren’t evolved to eat them. The hulls of grains are just like the shell of a nut – and our bodies aren’t designed to break those hulls down properly. That’s why grains have to be heavily processed before we eat them, it helps break them down for us. But, the anti-nutrients and affects it has on your body (i.e. leaky gut below) still causes issues in most people – whether they know it or not.

      Matt didn’t know he was gluten intolerant and is not likely celiac like me. However, removing the “toxins” that grains add allowed his body to process other environmental toxins rather than having to focus on grains and digestion all the time. As a result, his bodies response to pet allergies, seasonal depression, cholesterol and blood pressure are all picture perfect now!

      The links I provided to balancedbites, robbwolf, marksdailyapple and chriskresser are great places to find out more info on the science of why ALL grains are terrible for most people.

      Best of luck on your journey. It’s hard to hear everything you’ve been taught about nutrition is bogus – but once you know you can’t go back! :)

  • Agapilot

    Sometimes the universe makes itsself heard, if one decides to listen. My husband began having gallbladder attacks dec 2011. Was a bit frightening as symptoms were chest pains and he had a quintuple bypass in 2008. We avoided the ER as we were treating chest pains as prescribed for previous times. But this time I knew was different, but we had the paleo friendly cardiologist rule out cardio issues first. Our non paleo friendly GP did tests, sonograms etc and sent us to a surgeon for gallstones. Yesterdaywas the appointment. His pain has reduced once we went back to a more strict paleo as we had strayed thanks to holidays. I was informed that often seems hereditary, but maybe that is because we are being fed and continue what our parents taught us etc? Duh. One can feel doomed with such news, as several in my family all had severe gall bladder issues and removal. Husbands family less so but it’s his we’re dealing with for now. The surgeon and dr all said the same as above, but it left me skeptical as he spouted the low fat diet and should have been on it anyways blah blah. I even said we were paleo dieters. He never noticed. Thanks to this post we will further delay any surgeries and tighten up the diet more. Hubby is gluten sensitive, which now I look closer at my meats.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Best of luck, so glad it might help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfcfmomofmany Heather Wigton Laurie

    How timely! My son is going in for a gallbladder ultrasound. We are gluten intolerant and have been rely on LOTS of rice and other grains to cover the gaps in our foods because he is also soy and dairy intolerant. I will make some immediate adjustments in hopes we can heal any problems with dietary change rather than a surgery. Again thank you!
    God bless
    Heather

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Hopefully you’ll soon find that removing all grains isn’t a creating a gap – it’s just excuse to eat more of the good stuff, veggies & meat!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17300034 Kristin Jekielek

    My boyfriend’s brother just had his removed. I’m sending this to him in the hope that he follows your protocol.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      It always surprises me when I see you refer to J as your “boyfriend” – he’s so much more than that! :)

  • Lisa

    I adore you! Thank you for writing this and sharing. I’m not only gluten intolerant but don’t digest grains other than a little rice and organic corn (not often either). My poor father has suffered almost all his life with digestion issues. He had his appendix removed at a young age then had terminal cancer and survived. He’s had bleeding ulcers, emergency triple bi-pass surgery, prostate cancer and yes, his gall bladder was removed. I finally convinced him to go gluten free and give up milk and other crap. He started feeling  good but then thinks he can eat whatever again. Of course the misery comes back with the poor diet. I’m forwarding this to my mother. I think she should read it out loud to him. Grains truly are evil in people like us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13801694 Rachel A. Vanderpool Rosario

    Thanks for posting this, Stacy! Now I just need to translate it into Spanish so that I can share it with my mom.

  • Lise

    You are absolutely right. I had my gall bladder removed, and only when I changed my diet to paleo did I experience the best poops in my life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Matty

    Now, now, you can’t give away that womanly ace up your sleeve – the one where you can say to a man “harden up! i passed something the size of a watermalon through my patootie and you’re crying about a shaving cut?” ;) But I know what you mean about the pain of a gallbladder attack – urrgh! I got it in the chest.

    I’m also a bit pissed off at mainstream medicine for giving me the “it’s a redundant organ and you just need to follow a low-fat diet after your surgery, now won’t that be good?” bullshit line. Having said that, by the time those stones were jamming my CBD, it was probably too late to do anything different. I just wish I’d found paleo/ primal long before now, may have prevented all the trouble in the first place.

    Thanks for putting this up.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Playing it off as a redundant organ should be grounds for malpractice. There is clearly enough evidence (from these comments alone) that quality of life afterwards is reduced. Yet… that’s not the “pitch” I got!

    • Micah

      Yeah they same the same about Tonsils. No organs are redundant!
      Makes me just as mad.

      There were things you could of done, but you didn’t know. And its not like the medical system actually gives you ALL the options. They give you the option that puts money in their pocket.

  • Renee

    This scares me. I literally just had my gallbladder removed 2 days ago. My stomach is killing me. Now I’m in fear this is going to be my life! I’ve been gluten free for almost 3 years and grain free for almost 2. I think my gallbladder started acting up because of my past poor eating habits. Hopefully my continuing my Paleo lifestyle things will improve.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Renee, relax – let your body heal and just try to focus on the “protocol” I list above. My “hypothesis” would be that you’ll be fine if you stick to stable fats and keep avoiding grains :)

  • http://thecrunchyhousewife.com/ Beth

    I loved this article!  Thank you so much for writing this!

    I have not had gallbladder problems, but…

    Someone I know recently had her gallbladder removed last Fall (of 2011), right after she had her son via c-section.  And she eats a lot of carbs and very, very low fat.  She’s been struggling with her weight and is having a lot of other health challenges.  She believes that low fat is the answer to good health and that meat will lead to disease.  Now, I’ve got a great resource that may help to tell her otherwise and teach her how she can feel better.

    Thank you again!

    • Brickrx

       Please tell her now…I stopped grain 20 years after gallbladder removal, (mostly primal, low carb/higher fat since Nov 2011 and not even close to perfect at it yet) and the bowel issues didn’t get better until I did. I just had no idea. I wish I’d known then what I do now. 

  • Joy Dvorak

    Great post! Thank you for sharing how important is to listen to the needs of our bodies.

  • Melissa C.

    Thanks for this article! I have several friends who have had their gallbladders out, and I’ve had gallbladder issues in the past, but nothing like a full-blown attack. I’m hoping my switch to paleo will keep it from returning. I’ve been Paleo since January 1st and am still having digestive issues. This article gave me some ideas on what to try, so double thanks for that!!! 

    - Mel (friend of Patti, Libby, etc. We talked on FB once a few months ago and I decided to take the plunge!)

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Great to see you “take the plunge” – Welcome!

  • Shirley @ gfe

    Phenomenal post, Stacy. Count me as another with gall bladder issues with my gall bladder removed at age 29. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant (and later as having celiac genes and being 16x more likely to develop celiac if I’d continued eating gluten) by a functional medicine doctor (herself celiac) that the gall bladder gluten connection was made. Admittedly, I still do have some difficulty digesting some fats and will take to heart all the info you’ve shared here.

    Thanks for this one! I know it will help many. Oh, I’ve often heard that the three worst pains are childbirth, gall bladder, and kidney stones. I’ve experienced two out of three and they were pretty bad … I’m really hoping that my diet will keep that third condition away!

    Shirley

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Shirley, I’m with you on crossing my fingers on avoiding kidney problems!

      I know you’re working on “making the switch” – I think switching from oils to fats was one of the best cost/benefit things I did for my health. So easy, just something I never knew before! I know you’ve used coconut oil before… just try to wean yourself off the “red” oils and see if that helps your digestion :)

  • http://www.crowberry.org/blog Chiara

    This is an eye-opener.  Never in a million years would I think butter and lard would be easier on your body than olive oil.  This post makes me think about what my mom used to do…  When my sister was a toddler, she refused to “go potty”, so my mom would feed her spoonfuls of olive oil, which would send my sister to the toilet in no time.  In the context of this post, what my mom did was probably bad.  Oops! 

    Thanks for such an informative post. 

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Chiara, I olive oil can be healthy if it’s a quality source (in a dark bottle) and not cooked. I love it on salads with vinegar, salt, pepper and lemon juice! It’s just not a stable cooking oil and can oxidize or go rancid easily – so switching to fats has been very helpful!

  • Jesslankford

    I cried when I read this.  I’m new to paleo and I’m so grateful to be making this change.  I had my gallbladder removed just months after after my third c section in 35 months.  I, like you, fought gb removal.  I didn’t seek medical attention until I had an attack so bad I thought I was going to die.  I just didn’t want anyone cutting me open anymore.  My gb was so swollen that it had to be incised from the surrounding organs.  I also struggle with thyroid disease.  After my gb removal my TSH skyrocketed to 18.  I was also literally crapping my pants after meals and somehow still managed to gain 40lbs.  I wish I hadn’t poisoned my body for all these years.  It breaks my heart that I wasn’t offered more help, more information when I was literally crying out for help.  I have never felt so horrible in my life.  But I’m taking control now.  Two weeks into paleo I’ve lost 10 lbs and I feel better.  Not great, but I’m getting there.  And I’ve been able to stop drinking soda for the first time in my life.  Thank you so much for your site and others like it (wellnessmama and thefoodieandthefamily).

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Jess, I’m so glad you found it too! The autoimmune protocol for Paleo should help tons with your thyroid, too. Best of luck!

  • http://dancinginnutflour.blogspot.com/ Nannette

    This was an awesome post.  Thanks for sharing your story.  The fact that medical doctors really know so little and take an “eliminate the symptoms without addressing the cause” approach is very frightening to me.  My 2 daughters and I were so sick before going gluten-free (for one) and even more restrictive (SCD/Paleo for the other one and myself).  Even though we KNOW we can’t tolerate gluten and fare best with no grains, dairy, etc., some people act like we’re quacks simply because no official medical tests dictated these diet changes.  I guess being in severe pain WITH, and having the pain completely disappear WITHOUT, is not sufficient evidence for our “let the FDA think for me” world.  I’m usually a polite person who would prefer no one talk about diarrhea in public, but when someone does look at me with raised eyebrow at our “restrictive” diet, I love letting loose on them with vivid BEFORE tales of cycles of constipated impaction and explosive diarrhea.  :-)   I make them VERY glad I’ve changed my diet by the time I’m done!  Just sharing a tip, for anyone else who may be tired of being asked, “Well, did you have a TEST for Celiac Disease?”  I hope by enhancing my family’s health through proper nutrition (we’re almost there at ALL paleo) we need to experience doctors “practicing” on us as little as possible in this life.  Thanks, again!  

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Frightening, indeed! And agreed – funny, I hadn’t really heard of so many people with gallbladder problems or their bowel movements until I let the truth fly!

    • Lisa

      We didn’t test for celiac disease either. You know you’re definitely gluten intolerant when you give up wheat products and feel amazing for the first time in your life! Besides, the doctor needs to take a snippet from your small intestine to actually test for it and I’m assuming they make you drink some toxic crap before hand to send the scope through. I think it’s way smarter to go by what your body tells you over what your idiot err health care provider tells you. Yes, I dislike doctors. I’ve suffered from diverticulitis. Guess what that idiot told me? You got it, I should eat more fiber. When I was younger I had blood in my stools. That doctor told me I was too young to have any colon problems. And now we’re forced to pay for insurance. For what? Bad advice? I’ll doctor myself and find blogs like this one for information and support. Doctors are worthless when it comes to well care. 

      • http://dancinginnutflour.blogspot.com/ Nannette

        Amen, Lisa!  I’m soon going to post my daughter’s history on our blog.  She had severe constipation (14 days without a BM!) and pain, of course, and Dr’s response was to throw more fiber (starch!) on the pile of yuck that couldn’t pass through her intestines as was!  MORE pain, of course.  Thankfully, we discovered real answers and I hope I never get to such a tired “Please just rescue me!” place that I do what a doctor tells me even though it makes no sense.  I do like and respect our pediatrician and most MD’s, but it’s so sad that for them to address their patients’ HEALTH rather than just their symptoms, they have to go outside their med school training and learn how a healthy body was MEANT to work.  Those who do get it, they struggle with patients who want a quick fix–pill or surgery.  Hooray for those without medical degrees who share their stories of healing, like Stacy and Matt, so that we have the chance to figure it out for ourselves. 

  • Gini

    Wow, thank you so much for this timely article! Gallbladder issues run in my family- not necessarily stones but it gets bad enough that most everyone older than me (parents, great aunts/uncles, and at least 1 grandparent, way back in the 1930s) had theirs out. As for me, when I was a child, I assumed everyone got nauseous after eating pizza or fried chicken. I figured mine was just worse which is why I always threw up overnight. In any case, I took Donnazyme (way back in the 80s) until I got pregnant, and the Dr. took me off of it- and I didn’t have to have mine removed, thankfully! I’ve now been on low-carb/paleo type diet (I’m flexible lol) for a few years and am in good health having lost 70 lbs. the first 9 months I did low-carb. 

    I do have one question though – when you say 80g of carbs a day, is that net (minus fiber)? Apologies if I missed it up there somewhere!  Personally I can’t go that high if you’re talking net carbs, or I’ll poof up like a water balloon. lol :) I do best keeping it below 50g net, but then again, they didn’t take my gallbladder.

    And congratulations on figuring this all out! I can’t wait to send this link to my gall-bladderless mom. She has so many of the same problems you had! 

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Gini, that’s not net carbs – that’s total carbs. Regardless of fiber, my body responds to carbs – so I don’t consider it in my calculations. I estimated based on the total carbs in the food I listed above and came up with an average based on the high and low projections.

  • Jaci108

    Thank you for this post…I had my gallbladder out at 28 (2 years ago), I was fairly healthy and active at the time. Then the attacks got too intense to the point that I thought I’d have to go to the emergency room.  My Dad’s side of the family has digestive issues and numerous cousins, aunts/uncles, my dad, grandparents & great-grandparents have had their gallbladders removed.  I wasn’t too shocked until I was told that it wasn’t due to stones, a blockage or “sludge” as my dad had.  I was told that it wasn’t even functioning and releasing bile and that it would back up get infected and that I’d develop a severe infection complete with gangrene.  I was so terrified by this news and so sick of living for a year+ with immense pain that I opted for surgery (with the thoughts and hopes of being cured!)….not so much.  
    About a year ago I went paleo and couldn’t believe the change in how I felt, then I still couldn’t figure out why I still had some severe pains, thinking I was doing things right.  I’ve found out that alcohol is my biggest trigger as well as non-paleo eating.  Sick of having doctors tell me to take prilosec, nexium….etc for the rest of my life I contact Liz at ancestral wellness about a month ago and was put on some supplements (ox bile being one of them) and have never felt better!  She also recommend coconut oil which has been a lifesaver in many ways along with Fermented Cod liver oil…I have been reaping the rewards of my new found supplements and coconut oil!!
    I’m so glad that the Paleo community has so much great advice for multiple digestive/health issues. I’m always on the hunt for people that are paleo and don’t have a gallbladder to see how they have adjusted their eating/lifestyle.  Thanks for the information!!!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

       You’re welcome! I LOVE coconut!

  • http://allisonsays.com/ Allison

    This was truly awesome. I, too, had my gallbladder removed. It was about two years after having a c-section, and a year into Weight Watchers. It was, I truly believe, GOING LOW FAT that cause my gallstones. It was only when I switched to a lower carb (like you, probably 80ish a day because I still consume fruit) diet that I was able to control the IBS type symptoms.

    It’s sad to think that we know more than our MDs. I trusted them, for years, and now I scoff when I’m told what type of diet to follow. I get sick when I hear my diabetic friend of the family being told to consume “lots of whole grains.”

  • http://www.babygaps.blogspot.com/ Annie

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your story. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter started suffering these gallbladder symptoms you describe when we introduced gluten into her diet when she was about 9-10 months old. She would be up screaming all night long with her stomach violently cramping – we were besides ourselves and doctors had no advice for us (beside stop breastfeeding, which made no sense whatsoever to me). We went grain-free a year ago. It’s been a bumpy path for us, because we were following GAPS, which is very fats-focused and my daughter just couldn’t tolerate the fat, but she is overall such a healthier and happier little girl now. A couple of months ago I tried adding quinoa and buckwheat back into our diet and she went slowly downhill again. We went back off all grains four days ago and I can tell she’s on the upswing again.

    Thank you so much for all this detailed information. I thought I knew a lot about gluten, grains, fats and the gallbladder but I learned a TON from your story. As a mom managing a confusing health condition without the support of an MD, (I, like you, became so disgusted with their inability to help my daughter that I left Western medicine) it’s easy to doubt myself but this story helps me see we are doing the right thing!

    ~Annie

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Wow, how overwhelming. I’m so glad to have helped, if only a little!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12414807 Jennifer Irwin

    Amen and amen and amen.  (And also, amen.)

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this post. I have had my gallbladder removed and had “IBD” for over 20 years. I couldn’t get a diagnosis no matter which doctor I tried. I finally found a test diet for MSG, but it was my first time with any kind of elimination diet…..once I got the hang of that, I did a much larger elimination diet and found I could not tolerate even a trace of corn or soy. I have been corn-free for four years now, but have lingering issues. I know this article will give me the push to get all grains out our diet.

    I couldn’t help notice that you are having trouble going completely grass fed. Here’s a tip: find a grass fed beef farmer in your area and have the whole or half cow custom butchered. This is the only way to avoid corn in beef! I’m not even talking about the corn they eat……corn is sprayed on meat according to USDA regulations. So yes, that expensive meat you’re breaking the bank to buy from US Wellness Meat and other grass fed operations contain traces of corn. The soaker pad packaged with grocery store meat contains citric acid (product of the fermentation of corn by Aspergillus mold), but the grass fed carcasses are sprayed with lactic acid (usually) which is very similar to citric acid. This would explain why you have trouble with beef…..you most likely have never had completely corn-free beef in your life. This method requires some research and buying a freezer, but it is the only way we can have beef. BONUS: It’s even cheaper this way than corn-fed beef. http://www.localharvest.org/

    I have a deep freezer and I buy half a grass fed cow about every 9 months. It fills up my freezer and I can have it butchered using nothing but water because I own the animal. It’s an important distinction required when dealing with the USDA regs – an acidified salt solution is required in beef that is processed to be sold by the cut. You can’t buy any individual cuts of beef in the US without some corn contamination unless you find somewhere that uses apple cider vinegar (very rare because it is so expensive – but is common for Kosher for Passover beef). Another thing to consider: when you have it custom butchered, you can request all the bones (for broth), fat (to render), tongue, heart and liver…..all the really nutrient rich parts that are hard to come by otherwise. Usually no one else wants these parts so you can get the ones from the whole cow, not just your half. You might consider changing to grass fed lamb since the regulations regarding the processing allow water only even on individual cuts and you can fit a whole lamb in even a small chest freezer. The US government thinks everything is better with a little corn. As a matter of fact, if you have trouble with milk you might want to find raw milk or whole, unfortified milk – the vitamin enrichments are made from corn and usually propylene glycol (corn derivative) or corn oil is used as the vitamin carrier. This includes most ORGANIC milk, too.

    Baby carrots and bagged salads are also generally washed with citric acid and because it is a “manufacturing aid”, the FDA doesn’t require it to be listed on the package. When you start to realize that there are very few things in the grocery store that aren’t “enhanced” with GMO corn, you’ll start to realize just how much of a wrong turn we’ve taken in this country with our food supply.

    • April Weingarth Chabot

      wow! this was even more enlightening that the original article!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • http://www.audaciouslylovinglife.wordpress.com/ Allison

    I loved this post so much I linked to it in my blog. I’m just getting started with a primal lifestyle change but I’m loving it so far. Your site has been a source of invaluable info! I’ve emailed this post in particular to several friends who have gallbladder issues in hopes of steering them to a healthy way of being. Thanks!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Thanks so much – happy to hear it’s helpful!

  • Emilyethel

    Wow.  Thank you for this post!  I had to have my gallbladder over a year ago and then I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance.  At the time, I was positive that I had to have it removed because I had been eating a very gluten heavy diet but almost everyone dismissed my claims.  I had been doing the Jenny Craig diet because my doctor told me I needed to lose weight.  Before that my diet consisted mostly of salads and protein with the occasional sandwich or pizza. 

    Recently going paleo, I’ve had the opposite problem with things moving very slowly. I will definitely be taking your advice.  And again, Thank You! 

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Amazing how it affects all of our bodies in different ways. Good luck!

  • Guest

    I also had gallbladder problems during and after pregnancy. It’s not necessarily a c-section side effect, but the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy impair the functioning of the GI system and make you more prone to sludge and stones. I had mine taken out in emergency surgery when my child was less than a month old. I agree I’d rather push a child out again without drugs than have another attack! I feel really lucky to have not had any side effects from it afterwards, but I’ve always had IBS since long before pregnancy, with a gallbladder or without.  I’ve long been in denial about the impact of dairy and grains on my digestion. Now since cutting them out I feel great!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Great point about the hormones! Happy to hear you’re feeling great :)

  • Ingrydhernandez

    I was told yesterday I need my gallbladder removed after getting an ultra sound and getting chronic gastritis from taking Ibprofen for so long, and getting a stomach infection of H. Pylori since I’m a carrier (the Ibprofen threw off the bacteria balance in my stomach). None of the stones are in the bilary tube? What ever that means. I am trying frantically to figure out what is the right thing to do. I have 2 kids and a wonderful hubby and I don’t want the ultimate to happen if I get even more sick. I’ve been in pain for one and a half years. After so long, and medical professionals telling me it was a pinched nerve, I feel I finally have some answers. I started Primal eating (with a few days of cheating a little) ironically after starting to workout w a Crossfit group which was weeks before getting looked by a GI doc (divine intervention?) and I haven’t necessarily been out of discomfort but I’m on antibiotics so I get that may be the reason too. Has anyone chosen to keep their gallbladder after finding stones and been successful after going Paleo??????? I really want to make sure I’m making the right decision. Thank you for this posting. I feel so frustrated and still confused but I’m hoping for a little more divine intervention via your post.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I’m unsure and NOT a doctor… but since it’s just pain the stones are causing, and you know it’s a long term problem if you remove it – what’s the harm in trying to do some of the stone reduction techniques listed in comments (ACV etc) and see if that helps. If not, you always still have surgery. That’s what I’d do at least – avoid the surgery at ALL costs and try to solve the problem through nutrition.

      • Ingrydhernandez

        Thanks. I came to that conclusion myself after reading one of the comments where they avoided surgery. You are awesome and keep the truth coming! I’ll let you know how paleo hopefully helps!

        • Jacque

          Did you go PALEO and keep your GB? I am scheduled for surgery Monday and I am unsure….as my GB bangs at my right side as I type.

  • Ingrydhernandez

    By the way, I’ve had 2 c sections (I’m seeing a trend in the other posts so I thought I would add that). Thank you for any feedback. I cried reading this article and I’m on the edge waiting for some of your feedback. By the way, I saw a documentary called Food Matters and they made a great point that Dr.’s are well informed on medicinal solutions aka pills and cutting but have no clue about nutritional science! We need new kinds of docs pronto! Not to completely discredit them, I had life saving surgery in 5th grade when my appendix burst. Looking back, maybe my body was always trying to say to stay off grains but I never knew any better!

  • Joan

    It is all very interesting but how do you not gain weight on this plan? My husband is starting it and I also would like to try it but I absolutely do not want to gain weight. Wouldn’t mind toning the thighs a little but thats another story….. All this fat must have some effect on the body weight and the little excersize I see doesn’t look like much. Advise please!!  Thank you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaHorgan Molly Horgan

    so glad i stumbled on to this. 

  • Jess

    What a fabulous post! I had my gallbladder removed when I was 18 after years of symptoms and one solid week where I was in the ER every night being told to drink Maalox and submit to pelvic exams. I was not overweight and obviously was very young so it took a long time for anyone to listen to me and to find what was wrong. I figured out I was lactose intolerant at 30 (don’t know why it took so long) and another year later I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. Probably a lifetime of eating a ton of gluten and dairy killed my gallbladder (I was a vegetarian for 13 years who basically lived on white bread, yogurt and fruit). I just completed The Whole 30 and am now going mostly paleo as I’m starting to notice finally, after years of bowel troubles always diagnosed as that amorphous catch-all IBS, my digestion is improving, albeit slowly.

    Thank you so much for writing this and all of the wonderful links included. I will be working my way through all of them as I have time. This means a lot to me.

  • Jamie

    Wow, this is me. I’m 35 and had my gallbladder out at age 17. Without going into great detail in my travails over the years, let me just say that a VLC ketogenic diet often results in horrible diarrhea for me, especially when eating oils in the red zone, and that adding just a little bit of starch to my meals helps tremendously. Given the link between gallbladder disease and celiac, it’s no wonder I feel horrible now when I eat even a little wheat – water retention, joint pain, general achiness, stiffness and feeling of malaise follow. This is incredibly eye opening for me. Thank you for this post!

  • Pweikel

    Finally. FINALLY. I could have written all this. Your article should be sent to every freakin’ surgeon and GI dr. Spot on with everything you said. Keep up the great work. The only thing i would add would be how effective and beneficial digestive enzymes can be and that to stop the freakin’ dumping diahhrea would be take calcium carbonate-th calcium carbonate is what allowed me to turn it all around-that and kombucha and switching over to primal eating.

  • Grace

    I was in the ER yesterday. The dr. recommended me to stay overnight and have my gallbladder out in the morning. I said I wanted to leave to think about it, talk to the surgeon, etc. I’ve known that I’ve had gallstones for 1 1/2 years, symptoms for almost 3 years. This was the first time that it was inflammed though.
    I have an appt soon to talk with an ND that has experience in dissolving them (with supplements) I’m a little worried that they’ll push for a vegetarian diet. But as long as I can get them dissolved, I can choose another way of eating.
    But my attacks don’t seem to be triggered by fats.  Mostly stress, and a couple of cases of unsoaked cashews and sunflower seeds.
    I’ve been gluten-free for a little over a year. I was drinking raw milk, but the farmer I switched to was feeding his cows a lot of gmo grains, and I could feel the difference. However, I don’t feel much better since quitting the milk, either.
    Any thoughts on what I can do to reduce the inflammation in my gallbladder? 
    Thanks.

    • The Paleo Mom

      Hi Grace. Paleo Parents asked me to respond since they are on vacation. I think that you are doing a great thing by trying to save your gallbladder. An ND will likely have some really good suggestions for dissolving the the stones. What seems to work really well for many people is a very strict paleo diet with lots of veggies but being careful about high oxalate veggies (like spinach and beets) which are known to contribute to kidney stones and strongly suspected to also contribute to gallstones. I think it’s really important to pay attention to what kind of fats you are consuming. Coconut oil is absolutely the best fat for gallbladder issues. It is probably worth considering keeping other fats on the lowest side (and supplementing with coconut oil) but do make sure you are getting some omega-3 rich foods (preferably from wild-caught fish and grass-fed meat), at least until the stones are dissolved. I would also suggest avoiding nuts and seeds until the stones are dissolved since they can contribute to inflammation. I also don’t think that a vegetarian diet would serve you as well as a paleo diet. I am not a doctor, so please take this as my opinion.

  • Guest

    What are gallstones in your gallbladder a symptom of?

  • Krismays

    I have gallbladder issues, too, but have managed to keep mine.  This article has been very helpful to me.

    Might I suggest that the original cause of your gallbladder issues (and your Mom’s) was your low fat/vegetarian diet to begin with?  I am almost positive my extreme morning sickness/not being able to eat while pregnant (7 pregnancies – 6 full term) is the cause of my stones.  If you aren’t eating something that uses the bile, it gets stored in the GB and creates stones.

    Just a thought.  Thank you for this.

  • Slycris88

    I guess im glad i came across this but im in tears right now cause of pain and just wanting a cure i can affored coconut oil is $166 gezzz and the taste of coconut just makes me gag already. im just so clueless and in pain like i barley can stand it hurts so much. any advice please????

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Coconut oil is available at Trader Joe’s for $5, sorry I got to this so late – hopefully this post was helpful in some other things that could help.

  • Jess

    I had my gallbladder removed at a ridiculously young age (19!!). I suffered from stomach aches as a child, and a mother who assumed that I was allergic to all of the wrong things (chocolate was one of them).  After having my gallbladder removed, I too lived with years of discomfort, diarrhea and poor reactions to many foods.  At first, I thought my poor reaction to eating something like fettuccine alfredo was from the fat, but after cutting most grains/sugars from my diet in the last few months, I have realized that it wasn’t the fat – it was the pasta!  I lost a ton of weight when I was suffering from gallstone attacks, so following the surgery, I ate pretty much whatever tasted good, and unfortunately a lot of that was bread and pasta. 

    Needless to say, I didn’t keep the weight off, so a few months ago I started trying to change my diet and lifestyle. I tried calorie counting, but I couldn’t lose weight eating the recommended doses of carbs.  As soon as I eliminated most grains and sugars from my diet, and cut my carb intake dramatically, the weight literally FELL off.  I haven’t been eating full-paleo, but I am starting right now.  It took a while for me to make the commitment to a lifestyle/diet where I couldn’t enjoy bagels, pasta or mashed potatoes. 

    I want to thank you for your insight, and your story – I have been thinking of getting *properly* tested for food allergies for a while now, and I’m guessing that I’ll test positive for celiac disease.  I will note, though, that recently I have experienced the opposite problem when cutting carbs – far from dealing with diarrhea, I’ve been….stopped up. (As a caveat, I have never gone VERY low carb; I have always eaten at least 30g of carbs). My solution was to increase my fat intake, drop a little protein and start taking probiotic supplements.  Four days later, things are appearing to clear up.  My guess is that even though both of us are missing a vital organ, our bodies have reacted to the loss differently.  This might be because it has been almost 10 years since my surgery. 

    Thanks again for posting this – to my mother right now!!

    • Jess

       *I’m LINKING this to my mother right now

    • Kiley

      I had mine removed at 12! Now at 25 and 2 kids later i’m going to go grain free. the loose stools and almost constant stomach rumbling/cramping need to go.

    • Manuela

      This is exactly what I went through – I had mine removed at 19, too! I am 33 now, and just now realizing the connection to grains. I just went through 14 years of having lots of near accidents after eating certain meals. As a warning to the gluten antibody test, I tested negative because I’d been grain free for three months at the time of testing. So make sure if you DO get the test that you’ve been eating gluten, otherwise it’s a waste.

  • Natalie

    This brought tears to my eyes :,) Thanks for speaking up for the cholecystectomized community, the millions of us out there who keep being told to have a low-fat diet. The lies have been tearing my life apart, and I’m only 25 years old! But even though I can’t get my gallbladder back, I’m so happy to begin on the journey to recovery with no grains. And yes, I will probably need the bile supplements, but hopefully I won’t!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513503094 Francesca Schinella

    Thanks for writing this! I had my gallbladder out last year and I want to go paleo but I was concerned because I wasn’t sure if I could process the fat. This is a wonderful guide, thank you.

  • AMdreams7

    I am SO glad I read this. I had my gall bladder removed over 3 years ago and just started Paleo a month ago. I LOVE Paleo so far, but I’ve still had the symptoms you’ve listed. I usually eat a small, early dinner and then have a larger breakfast the next morning, but there’s about a 12 hour fast between those meals and I almost always have that panic moment where I have to run to the restroom. This post has really opened my eyes on what’s happening in my body and what changes I need to make. Thank you!!!

  • Lisa

    my grandmother was 95 when she died and had her gallbladder. She had attacks throughout her life but when they hit, she would rub lard, or bacon fat or castor oil on theskin at the spot of her gallbladder. I have had attacks and I do this each time and IT WORKS! Now that it is gluten, I will be avoiding at all costs.

  • reader

    Thank you sooooooo much for posting this. I didnt know what was wrong with me, now I have something to help. I had my gallbladder removed 2 years ago and haven’t felt good since. I’m going to give this a try.

  • Natascha

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I could have written this post myself. I have been so confused and frustrated with knowing that I need to follow a low carb diet but once I am following 20 carbs per day, I feel lousy. I feel so tired and spacey and I DON’T lose any weight. Your post reassures me that having some carbs is ok and is better for me. I am going to focus on food that make me feel better.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=639967040 Natascha de la Court

      I forgot to add the part about grain fed meats!! OMG! I thought I was crazy and the only person that reacts to meat that way too!

  • Amy

    I just had my gallbladder out 3 weeks ago after trying to save it for the past 6.5 years. I tried every Chinese herb, acupuncture, flush, etc. known to man the whole time. I finally couldn’t take the pain anymore, and after the HIDA scan showed a function of 6%, I was sold. When the surgeon went in I had a gallstone larger than a golf ball and it was infected. I’ve gone gluten free for a few months now (both before and after surgery), and now am eliminating grains and dairy. I’ve been experiencing reflux/heartburn symptoms occasionally. This morning I had boiled eggs and grapefruit and had a little reflux. Its rather hit or miss right now. I’m just hoping that if I keep up a Paleo diet, I can avoid medication for reflux.

  • http://twitter.com/deadvole Fernando Poo

    I’ve had no gallbladder for the last 12 years. I eat a lot of fat. I also eat a lot of psyllium seed husk, the stuff that is in Metamusal. I mean a lot. A spoonfull or two or five or six capsules and a big glass of water with each greasy meal. I think it buffers the fat/oil and gives the gut something to make poos out of. I don’t really know, but I think it helps.

  • Katie

    Hi Stacy! Even though you’ve had your gallbladder removed, do you have any specific recommendations on things other than a Paleo diet that one might try in hopes of keeping a plagued gallbladder? During my first pregnancy, I developed severe attacks, and no stones or sludge appeared on ultrasound. Of course, late in my third trimester they mysteriously disappeared so I neglected to do the additional scan that could not be done while pregnant. Fast forward to a second child & attack-free, out of nowhere I have been getting daily pangs since consuming a spoonful of my son’s Barney Butter. I am about to embark on the autoimmune protocol (hashimoto’s), but I am fearful that this will not be enough to save my gallbladder. I am willing to try anything at this point to avoid surgery, although I hope to be breastfeeding my dd for another two months. Any nuggets of wisdom would be much appreciated :) Thank you so much for sharing your story, I feel that even if I am left with no choice but to proceed with the removal, there is still reason to hope for normalcy!!!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Other than the above and taking Ox Bile/HCL it’s about all I’ve got. Sorry for the delay – I’ll be writing another post soon and we have a podcast coming up next week that might help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kim.n.zimmermann Kim Nelson Zimmermann

    Getting ready to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox and followed some links to this… Am I ever glad i did!! I have an appointment with the surgeon regarding my gall bladder on January 3!! Although I was already hesitant about having it removed. Discussed with my GP about trying the “flush” and diet changes first, which he supported, but also indicated that he would contact the surgeon anyway due to wait times… I have postponed the flush as I wanted to get test results back to confirm the diagnosis first and low and behold no wait for the surgeon YIKES

    The interesting point to all of this and why I’m so happy to discover your article and the connection is that I eliminated gluten in September, started falling off the wagon in late November and started having my first ever gall bladder attacks…. Never put the two occurrences together, although the attacks definitely coincided with övereating!

    Wondering if anyone else has tried and/or had success with a gall bladder ‘flush’?

  • MrsRexDakota

    I want to thank you profusely for this article- My husband is a liver transplant recipient. Along with the liver, they remove gallbladder as normal part of the surgery. Of late, he has been experiencing some of the issues you described- and we have been unable to find a direct cause for his digestive issues relative to his liver at all. Your post (with the exception of the c-section part- lol) sounds EXACTLY like him. He has been trying to eat a “better” diet of late – low in fats, more carbs and grain based fibers- And having more problems than ever. (while gaining weight and bloat) By reading this article, my thoughts have completely changed. He may have a gluten issue—We are now going to try a paleo plan to see if that makes a difference- Thank you SO much! invaluable read-

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad it was helpful and hope he’s feeling better soon! We now have a tag on our site for “gallbladder” and have done some more writing/podcasting on the topic :)

  • Melisa

    I’ve been saying for years that I wish I could have my gallbladder back. This story could be mine, except that I wasn’t overweight. I disagreed with the doctor when he assured me that I did not need the gallbladder. After months of not being able to eat away from my home because of the agony that always followed, I went back to him and he told me this happened “very rarely.” Later, I was diagnosed with IBS. I asked the Dr. about Celiac Disease after seeing an article in a magazine because I had every single symptom but was assured that was not my problem (not testing, he just blew it off). After more than 10 years of worsening misery, I cut out gluten on my own and it has been like a miraculous recovery. It makes me angry to think of all the years I suffered so much pain and needn’t have, if only the doctors actually knew what they were talking about.

  • Ishqa Hillman

    I have been researching Paleo for a while and truly believe it to be the best choice for my daughter and myself. Last Monday I started experiencing upper stomach pain that rivaled the gas I had after the c-section which brought my daughter into this world almost 13 years ago. I toughed it out a few days (dumb but I had my first annual review Thursday) and finally took myself to the ER at 5am on Friday to be told I have an ulcer (the cause of the pain) and while performing the ultrasound they found polyps in my gallbladder. The doctor told me it is unusual and due to the size of the multiple polyps (multiple is not good and they are 11.6mm) I need to see a surgeon and a specialist. Cancer runs in my family so my first instinct is to have them removed – ironic the lady who gave me the ultrasound and I were talking about when my daughter grows up and where I will retire to be by my grandchildren – but now after reading your article I wonder if there is another option for me. If they were just stones I wouldn’t worry but polyps has got me scared. I want to do what is right for my daughter and myself – both now and in the long run. Soooo… looking for some paleo advice – it seems to be the most sound around. :)

  • Melissa

    I’m confused…I though the liver produces bile, and the gallbladder is just a storage container to hold the extra bile produced when you eat a high fat meal? So why would a bile supplement help? I had my gallbladder removed last year after years of pain (10 years!) I have had stomach problems in general since my early teens and just recently made the connection to grains. I honestly don’t even know what “normal” would be for me.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Yes your understanding is correct. The bile supplement is actual bile that you are ingesting with meals. It performs the function the extra bile from the gallbladder would perform.

  • Brandi

    I have for that last few weeks wish that I had never had the Gall bladder removal, If had known then what I know now, I would have just told them to remove the stone blocking it and send me on my way. I had been on weight watchers and had gone on a low fat diet in the year or two before so it make sense that when I reintegrated some fat back in my diet I then had stones that would cause problems. My biggest concerns is an odd sensation I now get time from time located where the pancreas and the gallbladder met. Sometimes the twisting contracting sensation cause me to double over, not so much in pain but just surprise mixed with the uncomfortable seizing feeling. Anyone else feel this? I now only have fat digesting trouble when I try being Ketogenic. Im angry and Upset at the medical field in general for this, that and my being labeled with PCOS just because my sister has it. I was fatter than my body could handle so of course I was having messed up periods, also being 14 didn’t make it better.

  • Manuela

    Wow, this mirrored my experience so much. I have had my gallbladder out for thirteen years now. A year prior to my experiencing gallbladder “attacks” (which were so bad I thought I was having a heart attack — I was only 19 at the time), I became a vegan. I also lost gobs of weight. The doctors told me that weight loss was often accompanied with gallstones because “the cholesterol collects in your gallbladder” – is that even accurate!? I didn’t research it at the time. I went for the surgery because I honestly thought there was no other option. I received no nutritional advice, no follow ups. All was well for the first year or two, but ever since then I experience pretty severe “dumping syndrome” after particularly large and fatty meals (especially in the morning). It’s been pretty common for me that if I ever eat out for breakfast or lunch, I’ll be running for a bathroom very shortly thereafter. I always thought it was fat that triggered it, but once I had a very grainy sandwich at a train station in London that left my so gutwrenched that I began to wonder if it was also grain related. I have been on a very low carb diet for the past 7 months, and while at first I experienced a great amount of weight loss and clear skin, by month 4 I was starting to feel fatigued, my periods became insanely heavy, and my GI issues weren’t totally resolved. I’d feel relief once in a while, but sometimes I’d have very bad stomach cramping and not sure what the culprit was. I also was tested for gluten intolerance, but this was after being VLC for four months, so of course it came back negative. Now I am adding back in carbs and I feel a lot better physically. I have a lot more energy. I also take bile salts with every meal.

  • Kari

    My husband has been diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) and was told to eat a low fat high carb diet as he is continually losing weight. Could Paleo be right for him even though fats are the hardest for the pancreas to break down? I would love to learn some different options for him because he is still having pancreatitis attacks.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I don’t have experience with it, so I asked Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (thepaleomom.com) “In animal models, pancreatitis and pancreatic atrophy can be caused by
      high agglutinin consumption (like in wheat and legumes). No guarantee
      that that’s the root cause of the EPI, but I definitely think going
      grain and legume free is worth a shot. Plus, he’s probably already
      taking digestive enzymes, but that’s an obvious one to me. And then I
      would recommend seeing how he feels with different carb/fat ratios. He
      can always do higher carb with root veggies.”

  • Micah

    FYI-There are other ways to get tested for Celiac other than that ridiculous way most doctors test for it, if you “really” cared to.

    But you know what, it really doesn’t matter. Gluten and Gliadin are harmful for EVERYONE (whether you show signs for intolerance or not).

    Have you ever done a liver cleanse? (just wondering) because you can still have liver stones and left over galbladder stones.

  • Lori Shino

    I’m glad I’m not nuts!This same things happened to me but my Dr. is the one who told me to go GF and I got rid of the very very lose stool. I felt your pain too and now I’m changing to Paleo but am having the complete change in bowels so I have to eat some type of fiber every meal or I’m in trouble. I’m having trouble finding grass fed here in my little town in Colorado but I WILL find it.. :)

    Lori Shino

  • Kristen

    This post almost made me cry… I’m about 5 weeks out from gallbladder surgery and every single thing you wrote I’m experiencing. I don’t have the attacks anymore because my gallbladder and the stone are gone, but I’m still sick. :(

  • Annie Lenfest

    i feel like i found this post right when i should have .. i’ve been following you on IG for a short while, and recall you mentioning your post about gallbladder issues, but i never actually looked up the post until this morning. i wish i had found this when you wrote it, although i’d already had my gallbladder removed by then, it would have helped me avoid a lot of the heartache and disappointment i’ve experienced over the last two years. everything you said your doctor said to you, is what i heard from my doctor, and it boils me that we were fed such lies and blatant ignorance. i wish i’d known better to do my own research and find alternatives to surgery. instead i almost failed my second semester at undergrad because i had to undergo emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder and had a hell of an awful time trying to recover.

    thank you. thank you for sharing your experience with us. thank you for striving to spread knowledge and alternative methods to conventional “wisdom.” i’ve been in a downward spiral the past few months regarding my goals and attempts to lose the appx 30lbs of fat that i need to get rid of, trying and failing time and again, even with my understanding of the paleo lifestyle and its benefits. you’ve helped me overcome a great road block, and i am eternally grateful for you.

  • Michelle @ Living on The Up

    Thank you so much for this post!! My friend just emailed it over to me knowing my current gall bladder issues and I am so glad that she did! I started having gall bladder attacks this summer and was scheduled to have surgery to remove it, only to feel that it wasn’t the proper choice for me and take a step back. I’ve been working with a traditional Chinese acupuncturist and my naturopath to try and help my body holistically instead of surgically. I am going to be referring to this post a lot over the next while and am excited to feel like my healthy self again :)

  • JG

    I believe I had a gallbladder attack two days ago. The fever is gone, but I am still sore and can hardly eat anything. I am drinking an herbal tea with ACV added to it, and was able to eat a toasted multigrain round this morning (ah, grains again) I have not had the IBS or gluten intolerance symptoms you describe, so I don’t think our causes are the same, but your story IS very much like everyone I know who has suffered for years, and ended up with their GB removed, only to still feel lousy. My previous attacks ( only a few over 15 or so years) have come after really overdoing it on almonds and or cashews.
    I found your site because I searched grass fed whole milk (GFWM) and gallbladder. About three months ago I started eating GFWM yogurt or kefir smoothies daily. This is the only thing I have changed in my diet. As long as I was drinking them my pretty regular constipation (by regular, I mean very predictable based on my menstrual cycle) has not been a problem.
    I do not want to stop drinking them, but of course the tradition GB diet is low fat, and whole fat dairy certainly is not included. I realize it was completely wrong for you and countless others, but in your research, have you seen much about tolerating GFWM?
    Your advice would seem to approve of them, but I wonder if three months of dairy fat is what brought on the attack. I had no nuts at all for the few days before, and the usual whole grains that don’t bother me, and in fact also usually help with constipation.

  • Alexa Suess

    I too had my gallbladder removed. The only difference with me is that I’m 19, 5’4″, and 108 pounds. Every doctor who saw me furrowed their brow and told me that I was too young to have gall bladder problems and that I didn’t fit the general stereotype at all – I’ve never been overweight, I eat extremely healthy, and I exercise and do yoga every day. My mother had her gallbladder out two months before mine and I knew what I was walking into. It’s hereditary they said. And after agonizing pain that came back every day, a tube shoved down my throat to rule out gastritis, and a sonogram – lo and behold my gallbladder was packed with stones and sludge. I didn’t understand it. I knew my healthy lifestyle wouldn’t spare me from all illnesses but surely something like this I could avoid. I guess not.
    I resent my doctor for not the telling me the repercussions of the surgery. My enzymes and natural biotics are so screwed up that in getting more recurring yeast infections, I can’t digest anything, I bloat constantly (a problem for someone like me whose job requires me to be in front of a camera constantly. Gallbladder removal is not the ideal surgery for a model.) In a couple weeks after I okay it with my doctor I plan on starting digestive enzymes which hopefully will help but let this erg helpful article be a warning those who are getting their gallbladder out – sometimes it can’t be avoided but know the resulting changes your body will go through. Because for some reason, nobody really explains that.

    Thank you for all the tips. I’ll give them a shot!

  • http://www.thegirlinyogapants.com/ The Girl in Yoga Pants

    I realize this post is two years old, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and offering so much information about the reality of losing your gallbladder. I started the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol diet this January right before my gallbladder gave out. I had it removed on February 21st. My surgeon told me that I wouldn’t even notice it was gone and that I could eat normally. That’s almost funny, except that now I have to be even more careful about what I eat than I did before. Now I can’t even have a green smoothie without gagging. About the only things that don’t make me sick are fish and carrots.

    Right before surgery, I had an inkling that I may have become lactose intolerant and possibly have gluten sensitivity. I tested negative for Celiac disease a while back, which surprised me because I have almost all of the symptoms. I never would have known about the connection between gluten sensitivity and gallstones had I not come across your site, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your gallbladder story. I’ve been reading some of the more recent posts here, as well, and I think this is one of the most inspiring blogs on the Web.

  • Nene Bobbins

    Ahh thank goodness. I went paleo about a month ago and just havent been able to get keto at all. Then light bulb moment – is it because I dont have a gall bladder? I had one gallstone that wedged in my bileduct, thought I was having a heart attack as had never had a gall attack and they removed my gallbladder despite me wishing to keep it. Too dangerous I was told as my eyes were turning yellow from my liver . I havent lost much weight but am feeling fantastic, still experimenting with what works for me.Thanks for this blog, it has really given me food for thought.

  • Natalie

    I needed to read this. I’ve been putting off going grain-free(already GF) for a while. I had my gallbladder removed almost 10 years ago, and I’ve struggled with digestion since then. I already follow much of the protocol you outlined, but I needed an extra push to actually go grain free all together. Thanks for the great article!

  • Dana

    I too share your anger with my missing gallbladder, especially when the surgeon said once he took it out it wasn’t the problem. Here is my question, I started having these attacks after starting paleo and completing a whole30. Right now I’m on a low fat protein and veggie diet with fruit. How do I reintroduce pork, beef and fats!!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Hi Dana, Did you read this post thoroughly? I talk about the importance of non-CAFO meats to reintroduce, and how grain based anything, even the grain-fed meats, hurt me and make it difficult for me to digest them. It also sounds like you missed the part where I talked about the importance of carbs. Have you tried supplementation with ox-bile like I mentioned? If you need to read more, you can also check out all of these other posts I have written about my issues with gallbladder in the archives:http://paleoparents.com/tag/gallbladder/

  • Katy

    You might have just saved my life. After I had my beautiful baby girl 3 months ago (via c-section), I started having gallbladder pain. It was then removed. Now 2 weeks post op, I’m having severe pain in the same general area only MUCH worse. I just spent 6 hours in the hospital for them to tell me my liver enzymes are extremely elevated, they have no idea what’s wrong with me, and to eat bland non fatty foods. I told them I just want to move on with my life! I just want to say thank you and in so happy I found this on Pinterest! Thank you thank you thank you! I will definitely be researching more of this.

  • Gretchen

    I have a big gallstone – so I’ve been told and it has been three years since I had my one and only horrific attack. I opted not to have my gallbladder removed but I’d still have pain here and there until I started paleo 8 months ago and I have zero amounts of pain as long as I’m faithful to the paleo diet which I am 95% of the time. It has made a world of difference and I have no plan to get my gallbladder removed. My Grandma had her’s removed and had the same issues you described with loose stool.

  • Jessica

    I looked into this post because although I have my gallbladder, I had a gastric bypass 10 years ago and since gallbladder stones/issues can arise after, I thought this might pertain to me. I originally went from 315 pounds to 176 pounds in 10 months, but I lost so much muscle, and hair from the starvation, then down the line when I became pregnant in 2008 I became hungry ALL THE TIME. I don’t know if it was my body trying to get better nutrition or if it was due to all the relaxing causing my stomach pouch to relax and stretch more easily. From being hungry and eating more here and there, I began slowly gaining pregnancy weight, and then after the birth, I was not satisfied with what I was previously. Then I lost some weight and was holding about 205 when I got pregnant again way too soon (for my plans). My kids are now 5 and 3 and I am struggling to keep my weight at 230. I have lots of issues with back pain due to various reasons stemming from a car accident. I have interstitial cystitis (imagine having a badder infection ALL THE TIME) it causes painful urination and painful intercourse. I have medical implants for that pain. I am trying to move my family to paleo. At this point I am not focused primarily on weight-loss, I feel that will come when I get more comfortable with it. I want to be healthy. I am exhausted all the time. I started a few years ago with research about fats and learned how fat wasn’t really the enemy. So we have been unsung butter and whole milk because I didn’t want to put margarine in my kids. I was raised on low fat trans-fat margarine and while wheat bread, noodles, cream if wheat was my favorite cereal I ate that with margarine and salt almost daily as a kid. My mom thought she was feeding us right. I have recently learned about the grass fed dairy issue, so I am working on moving to butter and milk that is grass fed. My daughter loves soy milk and now I’m learning how bad that is. I just don’t know what to do. Luckily, my daughter is a very smart 5 year old and I think if I explain that mommy was wrong about it being healthy the will listen. She sometimes wants to be vegan like my mom and eats soy hot dogs at grandma’s house, so we will have to work on that. My husband eats sandwiches if processed crap

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      We highly suggest picking up a copy of Real Life Paleo! The information will be a huge help! http://amzn.to/1vJVO5U

  • Jessica

    Sorry…
    My husband eats processed lunch meat sandwiches on wheat bread 5 days a week at work, so I have a very very long way to go. I first learned about the paleo lifestyle because my sister in law has MS and started on it. Not only is she doing better, but her husband has eliminated all of his stomach issues, and she has lost about 40 pounds in 7 months which wasn’t even part of her plan. If anyone has and suggestions on how to transition small kids to paleo who are already on a standard American diet. I would be appreciative. Also if anyone has any suggestions about paleo post gastric bypass. My husband will be easy, he eats what he is given…lol, so if I make him a lunch he won’t bring sandwiches to work anymore. I have been using coconut oil for a while now, and we eat bacon and eggs almost daily for breakfast (and sometimes again for dinner), but it is full of nitrites, so I need to change that up and get better eggs. Basically I am almost starting from scratch, oh and I drink way way waaaaaaay too much diet soda. So I need to find a tea I can tolerate without sweetener (yes I also use Splenda). I do drink probably about 90 ounces of water a day, but that and the coconut oil is probably all that I do that is right. No wonder I feel terrible most of the time. I just REALLY REALLY want my kids (and me and my hubby) to be healthy and I don’t want them to have weight issues like I did. Plus, my husband has gained a little weight this last year after knee surgery, so I’d love to help him because he doesn’t like his little belly and I know it isn’t healthy for him (even though I love him no matter what). I’m 35 by the way and he’s 40, and the kids are a 5 yo girl and 3 yo boy. Any tips or suggestions to find paleo friendly foods in the Las Vegas area would be great!

  • Jessica

    Oh, and the in either healthy thing I’ve done is stat using pink Himalayan salt because I read that it has high amounts of easily absorbable minerals. I was particularly interested in the magnesium and it seems to be working.

  • Bill Sparkington

    Doctor doesn’t want to remove my gallbladder although it does have occasional stones. I was in hospital for 3 days for severe stone infection about 4 years ago. Then they sent me home stating they don’t operate on hot gallbladders. I took series of Cipro for the month. I did a gallbladder cleanse I saw that involved Epsom salts then mineral oil. One day I pooped what looked like about a dozen acorns. I went in for another ultrasound and the tech could not locate any further stones. He was very confused as he had the records from my previous session several months before when I was in the hospital and they shot pictures. He went and got the radiologist and he scanned around and couldn’t find any either. I told them about the acorns in the stool. So my physician then said I needed to still be careful about my fats intake. For the most part I have and when I go back, the doc really presses hard in the area of the liver and I never have any discomfort or pain. He is not convinced though I am free of stones.

  • Mattie

    This is an interesting post. I too had a couple of c-sections and then gallbladder surgery. My doctors all denied that the following diarrhea had anything to do with the gallbladder surgery even though that’s when it started. Over the past 10 years I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, osteoporosis, low B levels, and recurring UTI and yeast infections. I think it all has to do with not absorbing the nutrients I need to be normal. I feel better when I eat paleo, but the diarrhea isn’t 100% controlled. Working a normal job is out of the question. Finally, last week, a gastroenterologist said it is quite common to have diarrhea after gallbladder removal and he prescribed cholestyramine. I just started it today and wondered if that was ever prescribed for you, and if you quit taking it after starting the paleo diet?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      No, that isn’t something I ran into, nor was prescribed any additional medicine. Glad to hear you are finding a good doctor to work with!