This is the smoothie I developed after I was diagnosed with gallstones during my 6th pregnancy. I had a horrible attack that almost required surgery, but thankfully, I was able to avoid it by following a diet full of gentle, but nourishing foods. This gallbladder-friendly smoothie is packed with nutrients but was gentle enough for my digestive system to process.
How I came up with it:
When I first returned home from the hospital, I was very overwhelmed by all the new diet restrictions I was facing. I had never experienced something like this before and was concerned about the well-being of my baby. I needed something that would nourish me, and her, and yet not irritate the gallbladder into another attack. I needed protein, but even peanut butter was out because of its fat content, which is a big no-no for those with gallbladder issues. I researched nutrient-dense ingredients based on the restrictions the hospital sent me home with.
Know Your Trigger Foods
While I was researching nutrition for my unique needs, I also kept a list of “trigger” foods so that I would not accidentally consume things that could cause another attack, also gave this to people interested in preparing meals for us. These can be different for everyone, so please consider this for yourself if you are pregnant and trying to avoid surgery like I was.
Some foods that irritated my gallbladder were eggs, anything high in fat content (Although I could consume coconut oil in small amounts), dairy (plant-based yogurts worked well for me) and certain grains. I ate SMALL amounts of chicken and fish one or two times a week, sometimes not at all. Processed or sugary foods were out too. (Seems SO unfair for a pregnant gal!) In essence, I pretty much went vegan most of the time.
Smoothies- a great way to get nutrition in
This gallbladder- friendly smoothie got me through while I came up with a workable menu plan for myself. Smoothies are always a great way to get nutrition in. I ended up loving it so much that I had one almost every day for the remainder of my pregnancy. I’m happy to report that I did NOT have to have surgery until about 3 weeks after my daughter was born. I had energy and was relatively healthy throughout my pregnancy. I truly believe that changing my diet contributed to my overall health and allowed my baby to grow until it was safe for her to come. My hope is that this will encourage mothers in the same boat and help keep their babies in a bit longer without the stress of surgery.
Things I learned from all this is; #1- prayer works. I did a LOT of it during those days. #2- Diet is powerful. #3 Sometimes, you can do all the right things and STILL have to have surgery. It stinks. But, it’s OKAY. I didn’t want to have the surgery at all. I was so hoping that they would look me over after she was born and stamp my file with a big HEALED sign. That didn’t happen, but I am grateful that my daughter got to stay in longer and was born healthy.
Let’s talk about gallbladder friendly ingredients:
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- rice, almond or oat milk ( I LOVE oat milk and do well with it, but for some people, oats and their products can cause issues) Plant milks are surprisingly good sources of vitamins such as calcium, iron, vitamins A and D, and they boost the immune system! Because they are lactose-free, they are much gentler on the digestive system.
- strawberries (berries of any kind are good for your gallbladder) Vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium make these a great additive to any smoothie.
- banana (fiber is good for gallbladder and helps to provide a thicker more fulfilling shake) Vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein.
- apple (pectin and fiber are good for gallbladder and provides sweetener!) Apples also contain Vitamin C and beneficial enzymes.
- hemp hearts (provides 11 grams of protein and a yummy nutty flavor!) You also get zinc and magnesium with this ingredient!
- golden flax seeds (pre-grind if you own a standard blender instead of a Vitamix or Blendtec) Omega 3s are the star of golden flax seeds.
A gallbladder friendly smoothie to gently provide nutrients
This smoothie provides some of each of the nutrients needed in pregnancy. I am not a licensed nutritionist, but it was enthusiastically approved by my obgyn at the time. It’s also great for nursing mamas!
I do recommend blending with a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec blender. If you don’t have one, make sure to grind up the flax seeds and hemp hearts before blending for a smoother shake. Also, this is a THICK shake, meant to fill the tummy! If you prefer a thinner shake, simply add water to thin it out. If you like a sweeter smoothie, blending a few dates provides extra sweetness.
FV Woman’s Gallbladder-Friendly Pregnancy Smoothie
1 1/4 cup plant milk
3 tablespoons hemp hearts
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
2-3 medjool dates for extra sweetness (optional)
Ice to make it frosty
In a high powered blender, blend all the ingredients together. Add ice at the end to thicken and make frosty!