This is a question I’ve been wanting to provide a good solution for, for a LONG time:

I’m ready to come off the elemental diet (IBD Remission Diet) but I’m not ready to be completely on solid foods yet, what should I do?

So here’s the thing: Absorb Plus is an expensive product, because it is a completely elemental shake, for which the ingredients are also expensive. There’s nothing we can do about that and it’s just the way it is.

And for the record, not everyone needs to go on an elemental diet! I have always provided options for other, cheaper ways to heal, if possible. But let’s say you are one of the severe cases where an elemental food source is the only thing your body can tolerate and absorb nutrients from, and so you have just completed 3 or 6 weeks of The IBD Remission Diet.

You are now using the Food Reintroduction chart (Ch. 5 of The IBD Remission Diet) to thoroughly test for your food allergies and intolerances and also to gradually accustom your body to eating normal foods again.

But, during the Food Reintroduction phase, you cannot get enough calories from eating (for example) carrots and squash. So what do you do?

Many people have continued with several Absorb Plus shakes per day to maintain their nutrition and protein intake whilst gradually reintroducing solid foods. And whilst this is certainly an option, we come back to the issue of price. And also to the issue of the carbohydrate content (tapioca maltodextrin) of the shakes – which is not ideal either, once you no longer need to gain weight.

Here’s the great thing: As the supplement industry has grown and opened up, we now have more high quality options available to use during this transition phase (and thereafter) – at a cheaper price per serving – than Absorb Plus. Here’s my video about it, or you can just keep reading…

Grass-Fed, Casin-Free Whey!

After two solid years of searching, I have finally found a grass-fed whey protein that is minimally pasteurized and from completely grass-fed herds. BUT it also contains less than 1% casein AND less than 10% lactose! Can you believe it? Wait, it gets better: It contains natural flavors only and is sweetened with only stevia. Seriously, I am in heaven.

For those of you who follow my stuff and know the technicalities of whey extraction, this product is technically a whey concentrate, or whole whey protein. But, not really, since most of the casein and lactose have been removed. Trust me, you can find LOTS of whey concentrate on the market and some that is grass-fed too. But this is this only one I’ve found that is minimally (flash) pasteurized, but yet also has most of the casein and lactose removed. Casein is the milk protein that most people are allergic to.

The Lactose content for this completely grass-fed whey is 1 g per 10 gram serving, which is considered below the level for people who are lactose intolerant. Lab analysis also verifies that the whey contains less than 1% non-denatured casein. Although I will bloat if I eat yoghurt, cream, or milk, I do not bloat when I eat/drink this whey.

The chocolate is my favorite flavor. We also provide an unflavored, unsweetened version – because I know that’s what many of you prefer.

Clean, Sprouted Brown Rice Protein

Now for those of you who prefer a veggie protein, or just want some variety, I have also (at last) found a vegan sprouted brown rice protein that is not only sprouted, but also free of all the usual myriad of greens, seeds, roots and other nutrients that are great for normal digestive systems; but not so good for sensitive systems. Especially when you’re just transitioning to solid foods.

So, as with the whey I’ve brought in for you guys (and my family!) this sprouted brown rice protein is completely natural with nothing added but a bit of salt. Soaking and sprouting the grain improves its digestibility. The flavored versions are also all natural with only some fairly benign thickeners used: pectic, xanthan gum, rice oligodextrin and sweetened only with stevia.

Using Protein Shakes To Transition Off An Elemental Diet

Okay, so now that you’ve got your two excellent source of clean, easily-digested protein (one vegan, one whey), how do you go about preparing them to consume along with the allowable foods at each phase of the Food Reintroduction Chart? By the way, this chart I keep referring to is the one I provide in The IBD Remission Diet book in Chapter Five.

Here are some recipes for transition-shakes that should be well-tolerated:

Transition Shake #1
1 scoop of whey or veggie protein
1 cup of water
1 tsp of Udo’s or cold-pressed flax oil
1 tsp flax seed powder or chia seed powder*

Transition Shake #2
1 scoop of whey or veggie protein
1/2 cup of coconut water, or almond milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp chia seed powder or flax seed powder*
Add regular supplements (pycnogenol, CoQ10, grapeseed extract, bioflavonoids, Bone Support)
1 tsp of Udo’s or cold-pressed flax oil

*For the ground chia or flax powders, start with 1 tsp and gradually work up to 1 – 2 tablespoons depending on what your body likes. BUT drink lots of water as chia and flax are stool softening and bulking agents – and can have the opposite effect if you don’t drink lots of water with them. Personally, I prefer chia to flax.

Combine Vegan or Whey Shakes with Regular Food

And there you have it, your easy way to transition off the elemental diet, or IBD Remission Diet.

Just use the shakes above instead of Absorb Plus, along with the foods listed in the Food Reintroduction Chart (Chapter 5 of The IBD Remission Diet).

The great news is that these shakes are really healthy for ongoing use and very affordable.

My kids have the whey shake, made with raw milk and an extra scoop of stevia before school, or before gymnastics or soccer – GREAT nutrition and super fast to prepare. For a really picky kid, add a squirt of chocolate sauce and then shake in the BlenderBottle.

I drink shake #2 as my ongoing breakfast shake. I add these supplements to it:

and then I go work with horses for 3 hours – I have lots of energy and do not feel hungry until I’m on my way home!

Easy Ways To Transition Off An Elemental Diet
12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Easy Ways To Transition Off An Elemental Diet

  • Hi Justin,

    I saw in one of the videos that coconut water can be used with the tapioca maltodextrin to make an elemental shake. Did I get that right? Michele

    1. Hi Michele,

      You can certainly do that but the “shake” won’t be equivalent to something like Absorb Plus or any of the vegan shake kits we have available at the shoppe. Coconut water is great as a hydration tool and contains a ton of potassium but it lacks a significant protein component as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re interested in making your own shakes, check out the link below to see how Jini suggests to put them together:

      http://signups2.s3.amazonaws.com/how-to-make-elemental-shake.pdf

      You can find the ingredients Jini mentions in the document above at the link below:

      http://shoppe.listentoyourgut.com/vegan-elemental-shakes/

      If you have any additional questions please let me know!

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • Love these wonderful tips! Personally, I follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (going on three months now and it’s working beautifully!), so I found the Intro Diet to be a great transition as well. The homemade soup and yogurt were very easy on my gut. Bone broths are also a great transition for those who cannot tolerate whey or any other kind of dairy, or for those who follow the SCD or another grain-free diet 🙂

    Thank you SO much for all of your healing tips! So far, they’ve all been very helpful to me, especially the Absorb Plus shakes that I was on at the beginning of the summer, and the DMSO treatments!

    1. Hi Brittanee,

      Thanks for the feedback! It’s great to hear that you’re finding the information useful. If you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to email us or visit the live chat at the little blue tab on the bottom right part of your screen.

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • I have a question concerning rice. The elemental diet has worked wonderfully for me. I followed the suggestions in the IBD Remission Diet for vegan elemental shakes. Now I am transitioning to foods. I am so excited. But I am confused about which rice to start with. I never realized this but there are many kinds of rice. Phase one says that we are to begin with white rice. Phase two allows other kinds of rice. When I go shopping, how do I distinguish “white rice” from jasmine or basmati rice? Is there a particular brand or way of picking out white rice that you recommend? I am excited to being bring in foods according to the chart in the book.

    1. Both Jasmine and Basmati are types of white rice. Basically, if the color is ‘white’ the harder to digest parts have been removed and they’re easier to digest when you’re adjusting to solid foods again. Of course, you can also get Brown Basmati Rice – but it will be browny/beige in color and say that on the packet. Also, use this blog post for easily tolerated foods you can use as well:
      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/use-common-foods-to-heal-inflammatory-bowel-disease/

  • I did the elemental diet back in May, and I only had to do it for 3 weeks before my symptoms cleared up and I was able to begin eating solid foods again. I have been following the food re-introduction chart, and from my experimentation so far, only the most gentle foods from the first 2 phases of the chart are working for me.
    I am experiencing some wonderful stability relatively speaking, but I am trying to get to the next level of bowel and overall health. I feel that I have been “transitioning” for months. Sometimes I get a little constipated, or have diarrhea for a day or two. At this point, I am able to use the protocols to get balanced back out, but I am hoping that I can get to a place where I am feeling “healthy” rather than merely “stable.” Sometimes, even though I may only go once a day or even skip some days, but when I do go, my bowel movements are still loose/watery.
    Is there anything you can recommend to get to that next level of healthy bowel movements? Maybe I need to try one of the bulking agents like flax, or chia seed. Any suggestions are welcomed. Another thing–I have been using the healthy trinity probiotics and they seem to help a lot. But maybe I should do a round of the powdered Natren probiotics? Thanks for your help! 🙂

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Jini is very happy to hear that the elemental diet seemed to work well for you! If you are using the Healthy Trinity without any issues then there’s really no reason to do a round of the powders unless you plan on doing a probiotic retention enema or simply want to save money per serving (capsule versions are generally more expensive).

      You didn’t mention wild oregano oil so, if you aren’t using it already, you’ll definitely want to start because that will maximize the effect of your probiotics and help them populate your gut with good flora more quickly. For more details, check out the wild oregano protocol in Jini’s Listen to Your Gut book.

      For loose stools, bulking agents are definitely one option but Jini also talks about a few others here:
      http://www.listentoyourgut.com/symptoms/16/diarrhea.html

      For some additional food options, check out this post:
      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/use-common-foods-to-heal-inflammatory-bowel-disease/

      Thanks for taking the time to write in – we’d love to hear more once you’ve decided what to do.

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • Thanks for the reply! I am going to try the wild oregano oil. I have used it a few times in dealing with colds and sinus issues, but I am going to give it a good college try for the gut. I have a few bottles in the cupboard. If it doesn’t help, then I can always try something else; I have nothing to lose at this point! Do you think it is best to use it once diarrhea has stopped? Or would you recommend getting started on it while still having diarrhea?

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Jini recommends using wild oregano oil concurrently with probiotics if you are experiencing any IBD symptoms at all (diarrhea included). Make sure to take your probiotics at least 2 hours after your last dose of wild oregano oil. Otherwise, your probiotics won’t have a chance to propogate as much and will have to contend with the oil. She mentions using the powders if you are experiencing diarrhea so you may want to consider switching if the trinity + wild oregano oil doesn’t do the trick. For specific details, check out the full Wild Oregano Protocol instructions on page 152 of Jini’s Listen to Your Gut book.

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

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