Gallbladderless, part 2

There's one pretty simple rule when you're waiting to have your gallbladder out. Don't eat fat. The less fat you eat, the less likely you are to have an attack. For a lot of people, this is really difficult. Some people can reduce the amount of fat they are eating but many have to almost entirely cut it out.

The reason this is made even more difficult is that you need some amount of fat to feel full. Between my ER visit and my surgery I was eating like a pregnant woman - every couple of hours. It seemed that I couldn't stay full feeling on the amount of fat I was eating. So I just had to eat more of the low-fat foods I was eating.

Because of this sudden exclusion of fat, I initially dropped a few pounds. But, as I was eating more calories to make up for the amount of fat I wasn't eating, I evened out again. Sad, right?

So here are my big tricks for less fat that aren't really tricks at all.

1. No red meat. Red meat is, generally, really fatty. So, from diagnosis to surgery, I ate it once. And it was 90-10 ground beef for mini meatballs which I ate about 3 of. I made a lot of ground turkey meals. We do all white meat turkey. It's 97% fat free and in my opinion tastier than ground beef. I made chili, skillet lasagna (with low fat cottage cheese and no mozzarella), turkey burgers (both mini and regular sized with different flavorings) ... and mini turkey burgers are also really yummy on salad. Try this, this, and any chili recipe made with turkey. Home made corn bread would be great, of course. Just sub the oil for apple sauce and give the pan a generous coating of cooking spray.

2. Which brings me to my next point. A little bit of meat can go a long way as part of a yummy salad. I made baked spicy-sticky chicken fingers (it was in my recipe post from last week) and put it over salad. SO much more filling and the salad evens out the spice a bit.

3. Don't use oil. At all. There's no point. If you are baking, substitute apple sauce for oil in equal amounts. You can still eat baked good, just try to make them from scratch. I made super yummy banana muffins (without nuts, sadly, since nuts are very fatty) and the only significant source of fat was 1 egg ... spread over 12 muffins! Also, cooking spray can save your life. Bake anything and everything you can. Obviously avoid frying.

4. Eat beans. We ate black beans probably twice a week when we were eating low fat. It of course helps that I LOVE black beans. It did not help that my crock pot was broken. Black beans, I think, are the easiest and they are so yummy. This recipe - made with low fat tortillas and less cheese - is super yummy. I recommend using the Mcormic enchilada sauce though because it's easier and faster and really yummy. This recipe from Rachel Ray is really good too. I love fire roasted tomatoes. The jicima is totally optional, I've never made it. This recipe is what it says it is - addictive. Pay attention to the comments though and heed the advice.

5. Buy a lot of what you buy now, just minus the fat. Yoplait fat free yogurt is still super yummy. You can still have some cheese, most likely, just go light. Lucerne light cheese sticks are great for you and the kids. My kids love cheese sticks and the light ones are just as good as full fat. Also, if you still want condiments like mayo and sour cream, go light. I used light mayo in moderation and light sour cream as well. Stick to Daisy light sour cream because they're the only ones, it seems, who keep the flavor somewhat in tact. Just be smart.

6. Don't get rid of yummy things. In our house we LOVE blue bell ice cream. It's way of life. :) I obviously couldn't eat that but they make some awesome fruit bars. My favorite is peach. Other whole fruit bars are good as well. Skinny Cow make some super yummy desserts but I believe they're not fat FREE just low fat.

7. Fresh fruit! Bananas, kiwi, apples, and watermelon were always in my house while we were eating low fat. That wasn't actually a big difference from before we had to eat low fat, but I tried to vary things a little. My kids love kiwi so we ate more kiwi. Gwenna LOVES watermelon so we got 2 or 3 watermelon during the waiting period before surgery. And then apples and bananas were always in our house anyway since they're our go-tos.

The things that were hardest for me to leave alone - but that I KNEW I couldn't touch - were butter, olive oil, mayo, cheese, and peanut butter. We eat a lot of cheese in our house. Easily 4 out of 7 nights a week, we'd have something with a good amount of cheese. While gallbladder problems aren't CAUSED by fatty foods - meaning I didn't get gallstones because I ate a lot of cheese - it was an excellent chance for me to see what we should likely eat less of. Cheese and butter are my top two.

I thought it was going to be tough to eat low to no fat, but overall it just took a lot of thinking. I still used the ingredients we love but in differnt ways. For instance, we LOVE lasagna. No boil spinach lasagna with tons of ricotta cheese is probably one of our favorite family meals. Instead, we had skillet lasagna. We ate what we like but we did some meal makeovers.


Heather said...

Kelly, you are a superhero. I especially love how you manage to keep a positive attitude about pretty much everything.

And muchas gracias for the recipe links! They look easy enough, and I'm excited to try them. I just took a gander at the allrecipes one for the sweet potato burriots since I have a bunch of sweet potatoes to use. Do you use the kidney beans per the recipe or sub black beans for those? I never have kidney beans, so wondered if black would work.

Heather said...

Oh, I just remembered your advice about the comments and saw the first commenter said the black beans were better. :)

Amy said...

Ground Turkey is pretty tasty. I use it more because here I find it is cheaper than ground beef.

Wow, I got educated. I didn't know about peanut butter's fat content. Makes me want to look at the jar!

I think I have the opposite problem right now. Since I've lost some weight, I keep wondering what the best healthy things there are to eat to keep me full/weighing what I should!

Casey said...

Great tips, Kelly! So sorry to hear that you had to have surgery, but I'm glad taking it out frees you from pain. It's so strange to me that they CAN just take it out. My dad had his removed last summer and he was happy to report that he doesn't feel like anything is missing :) Hope recovery goes well.