1) it neutralises acid produced by the stomach
2) it emulsifies fats, i.e. breaks them up into tiny droplets for digestive enzymes to work on
It is probably not surprising that with a fucked gall bladder, I have to eat a very low-fat diet. It may scare you just how boring my diet currently is:
All I can eat without pain is the following:
- corn flakes w/ soy milk
- rice krispies w/ soy milk
- toast with jam spread directly onto the bread, no butter replacement
- toast with a very thin layer of butter replacement & Marmite
- carrot & butterbean soup w/ homemade bread, no butter
- homemade sweetcorn soup w/ homemade bread
- jacket potato w/ baked beans, no butter
- miso soup (the vegetarian high-protein replacement for chicken soup for sick people :) ).
- edamame (steamed soy beans)
- Japanese sticky white rice
- rice cooked in a little vegetable stock
- pitta bread
- tinned peaches or pears
- dried apricots
- jelly (jello), although all the vegetarian ready-made jellies now contain CORN SYRUP instead of sugar, so they are far far too sweet and have a bitter aftertaste. Lovely.
In theory I should also be able to eat pasta with tomato sauce, but I have thrown that up 3 times in the past couple of weeks, and now just the thought of it is nauseating!
Drinks are a bit more interesting - I seem to be ok with any fruit juice, including the Innocent smoothies (that have 5 portions of fruit crammed into one glass), herbal teas, and Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate w/ soya milk. I can't really complain about my list of drinks - that's the bulk of the excitement in my diet atm :)
I've calculated that I can eat about 5g of fat a day without pain, but it has to be spread over several meals. If very nauseous, I can eat a couple of ginger biscuits to ease my stomach, but they have 1.5g of fat each, so I have to be careful. I can eat 4 to 6 dark chocolate buttons a day - any more than that is pushing my luck.
It's excessively boring, but I don't really feel like going back into hospital - especially as they had trouble finding vegan food for me. I had to make a huge fuss, and constantly remind them of my need for low fat food. The standard was two meaty and one veggie option, and all of the veggie options were extremely cheesy & greasy. Even most of the meaty options were. I was pretty shocked at the hospital menu, actually, considering that we live in an ethnically diverse area with a lot of Asian people - it was almost impossible to find dairy-free food without making a huge fuss. I'd like to think that a hospital offered healthy food, but this didn't seem to be the case - apart from breakfast, everything was very high fat, and low everything else. It was like school dinner food (and I've eaten school dinners more recently than most of you) - salty, fatty, and disgusting.
I need to try to find some kind of vegetable protein that isn't also very high in fat. Tofu is very low fat, but boiled tofu has a gooey texture that nauseates me at the best of times - it's really only edible after it's been lightly fried. Most of the veggie fake sausages and mince are as high in fat as the meat versions. The only one I know of that isn't is Quorn, but I can't eat that anymore. Blah. Just eating lots of beans of various types - as well as the list above, I have some Tuscan bean soup to try as well.