It’s over a month since my gallbladder surgery, and I couldn’t be happier with my healing process. I previously wrote about adjusting to life after gallbladder removal and mentioned using supplements to regulate my digestive system. In this column, I share a review of my experience with those supplements.
After surgery and before discovering enzyme supplements, my diet was extremely restrictive. I had limited myself to only 3 grams of fat per meal, leaving me with few options from which to choose. Even a vegan diet contained more fat than my body could process at the time.
Thanks to videos on YouTube and a book called “The Gall Bladder Survival Guide,” I discovered a brand of digestive enzyme supplements that contains bile powder. This product has been a godsend by helping to break down fats and preventing diarrhea.
I began taking the enzymes on Oct. 17, along with my usual breakfast of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal and a sliver of a doughnut. Over the next hour, I awaited signs of oncoming diarrhea. But none appeared. Thrilled by this glimmer of hope, I continued to experiment with the enzymes.
I started by swallowing one capsule before a meal before gradually reintroducing small amounts of healthy fats into my diet. While keeping my fat intake to a minimum, the digestive enzymes made it possible to expand my range. I could spread avocado on my sandwich or have a bowl of vegetable chili at a restaurant with my boyfriend without having to worry about the location of the nearest restroom.
I rarely indulge in guilty pleasures in the form of food, but they still happen occasionally. I couldn’t go on any festive adventures at Halloween because of my slow recovery from surgery, but I had to have a piece of pumpkin pie. My boyfriend bought a decadent pumpkin cream pie with a buttery, flaky crust and brown sugar sprinkled on top. To my astonishment, my stomach handled it fine with the help of the supplement. On a separate occasion, I was even able to indulge in half of an Impossible Burger.
I have found, however, that foods such as beans and soy protein bars can prompt a particularly unhappy stomach with soft stool, gas, and bloating plaguing my day. A few unintentional bites of some jalapeño poppers had the same unfortunate and intensely embarrassing result. My formerly vegan mother has suggested that this is probably due to their deliciously fried exterior.
Nothing can motivate a person to alter their diet like a gallbladder removal surgery and the diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Overall, I’m thankful for this new drive to be healthier.
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