90 in 9 Update: Sometimes when we set out on a course, we are suddenly required to  change direction. This is what has happened to me over the past couple of weeks. I've had to modify my approach to the  paleo diet to one that is  gallbladder friendly. My ND (Naturopathic Doctor) actually wanted  me to eat a vegan diet to give my gallbladder a rest. Vegan I cannot do, but pescatarian paleo is fine. I’m to have lots of raw cleansing foods (greens and other veggies) and no alcohol (so sad) or fat. The latter command is quite difficult to obey, I realize. So I’ve minimized my fat intake, which is always accompanied by a barrage of digestive aids (enzymes, especially lipase, betaine HCL, ox bile, …) and a number of other supplements taken throughout the day. Why the drastic modification, you may wonder? Well, I was enjoying my Eat Fat Get Thin diet and loving it—a bit too much, it appears—when I had a severe gallbladder attack. I ended up in the ER on morphine and continued to have lingering pain for seven days afterwards. I was completely dehydrated and weak for another several days and am still recovering. Aah, the monkey wrenches that are thrown in our plans!

My Gallbladder Protocol

  • Vegetable broth, water
  •  No meats, dairy, nuts, eggs, or avocado
  •  Vegan diet (we agreed on pescatarian for me, so I get to add some fish) 
  •  No fats


  •  Anti-inflammatory support – Meriva 500 (this is turmeric aka curcumin combined with phosphatidyl choline)
  • Homeopathic  remedies – Chelidonium, and Cholecynthesis
  •  With food – Betaine HCL, ox bile, digestive enzymes containing lipase
  •  Stone dissolving – Lecithin (granules or capsules) 1g 3 times a day; Mentharil (a combination of peppermint, rosemary, and thyme oils to soothe the intestines) 2 caps three times a day; D-Limonene (orange peel oil) 1 cap three times a day after a meal.

Pain Support:

  •  Topical cold vinegar pack over painful area
  •  Topical castor oil pack

Two thoughts: 

(1)    This gallbladder protocol is doable in the Caribbean. The betaine HCL, ox bile, and digestive enzymes with lipase should be available as supplements. The stone dissolving part of the protocol can be taken in the form of teas. I remember my mother keeping a stock of dried orange peel in the freezer for stomach upsets. We loved drinking it with a little bit of honey. Powdered saffron root can be used in place of the Meriva along with lecithin (phosphatidyl choline is an ingredient found in lecithin, in concentrated form). Of course, the dosing of the substitutes would not be the same, but they would still have an effect. There should also be Caribbean equivalents for the homeopathic remedies, although I don’t know what they are.

(2)    Food prep and recipes will be much simpler, a salad or some cooked veggies with fish on top.

So what does a day’s diet look like?

I start off with green juice (I juice greens with apples, lemon and ginger—watermelon is a good substitute for apples)

Mid morning, I may have a shake with watered down coconut milk, lecithin and fruit, or sardines with tomatoes and onions, or saltfish buljol (without the boiled eggs or avocado, sigh!).

Lunch is a large salad with fish on top--smoked salmon, canned salmon, tuna, anchovies, etc.

Dinner is grilled fish with a cooked vegetable or a salad. If I’m having a big dinner, I’ll skip the fish with lunch.

I may have a fruit for dessert or later in the night.

I drink lots of water (flavored with lemon, cucumber, etc.) throughout the day and herbal teas. Orange peel tea is actually quite delicious with a little honey and spice.  

Gallbladder issues or not, the 90 in 9 program is on! I’ve lost 4 lbs in two weeks and am slowly getting back on the exercise track, which I had abandoned owing to my gallbladder issues. Time to put all the exercise equipment hanging around the house to good use. Recumbent bike…check; ab machines…check; exercise CDs…check; treadmill…not yet, walking outdoors is so much better. And, when I’m back in the Caribbean, swimming at the beach. Great stuff to look forward to.

The goal of the 90 in 9 plan is to lose 10 lbs per month for the next 9 months, which breaks down to 2.5 lbs per week. This is an achievable goal and one that does not place too much stress on the gallbladder, which tends to form stones with rapid weight loss and we definitely can’t have that!

From now until the end of the year, I will be writing about my weight loss goal of losing 90 pounds in 9 months. I’ve been wanting to write a blog about nutrition for the longest while but never had the courage or self-confidence to just do it. I’m passionate about the subject and have devoured numerous tomes in this fascinating field over the years. By the end of 2015, the urge to add my voice to the chorus of health and fitness advocates was stronger than ever so, when January 2016 arrived with its New Year’s Resolutions, I finally bit the bullet and bought a domain. However, it took me another month and a half to actually go live. 

I’m a private person who is deathly afraid of being exposed on social media, I’m also very uncomfortable with being accountable to the public (or to anyone, for that matter) for achieving my goals as I dread the public humiliation if I fail. Like so many others, I have struggled unsuccessfully to lose weight for years, repeatedly losing the same 10-25 lbs then gaining them back with interest. But somehow, as spring arrives every year I feel emboldened. I’m a spring baby myself, so this is the time of year when I feel most upbeat and willing to take on new challenges. This year’s challenge is a huge step outside my comfort zone: a public blog inviting people to accompany me on a weight loss journey. 

So, what is my strategy: 
  • Commit 100% to the paleo/primal diet
  • Use different programs and tools to rev up my weight loss and keep me motivated
  • Actively seek out products to help with my weight loss
  • Exercise regularly for toning, improved mood, and sleep
  • Make sure that there is always an element of novelty to keep the process exciting and fun!

As a person of extremes, I never take the middle road. Lately, however, I’ve been an extreme couch potato and a bit of a hermit, so blogging to the world is a shift to the other extreme. After a terrible bout of the flu last week, I realized that instead of trying to suppress my extremism, which defines me in a sense, I should harness it for good.  So, I have set lofty goals: to lose 90 pounds in 9 months (affectionately called 90 in 9). I plan to reach my target weight of 130 lbs by December 31, 2016.

Through this venture I am taking charge of my destiny and asking you to be my witnesses and cheerleaders. For those who would like to join me, just fill in the form below. Participating is so much more fun than just looking on. There is nothing like a community of like-minded folk to prop us up and keep us focused. Feel free to jump in at any time, there’s no deadline. However, I’m starting the journey today to coincide with Dr. Mark Hyman’s Eat Fat Get Thin Challenge, which  I'm using as a launchpad for  my  90 in 9 Experience. On Monday, March 14, 2014, I will be off to the races!

I’m looking forward to a wild and exciting ride and to turning the weight loss into a health win for us all, for the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and for the Paleo Caribe community. Cheers!


    Charmaine Robinson is a translator and Certified Health Coach with 10+ years of exploration  in the field of nutrition. Through her blog, she brings  Caribbean style to paleo living .  

      Join the 90 in  9 Experience


    March 2016