Must I do an Exclusive Elemental Diet?

This is Part 3 of my Elemental Diet Series. I outline your options for the different ways you can use an elemental diet to facilitate bowel rest, gut healing, and a microbiome reset. I tell you when it’s best to go on a 100% exclusively elemental diet (pre-digested liquids ONLY). And when you might do well on only a half elemental diet (cheaper and easier!) where the other half of your foods are well-tolerated or low residue foods. I also share stories of ways my readers use Absorb Plus elemental shakes to head off a flare or deal with stress.

  • For Part 1, click here, where I answer questions about the body’s Intolerance vs Herxheimer reaction to an Elemental Diet.
  • For Part 2, click here, where I talk about the purpose, effectiveness and applications of an elemental diet in restoring a damaged gut to good health.

Check out the video below:

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Elemental Diet Options

Q: Is an exclusively elemental diet necessary for good results?

A: No, times have changed! In the past, we believed in a complete gut break for three to six weeks. My first attempt? A full six weeks – no way was I doing three, restarting, and then another six.

vegan protein banana shake in a tall glass. Top view.

But a study from Japan changed everything. It introduced the “half elemental diet.” It’s simple – half shakes, half easy foods. Surprisingly, it worked almost as well and was much easier to handle. No need for strict rules anymore!

Q: Half Elemental Diet – What is it and When can you do it?

A: From my own experience and interactions with readers, many of them, sensing a potential flare or just not feeling their best, swiftly make a move – bam! They switch to elemental shakes for a few days, maybe three, to proactively ward off that impending flare. Afterwards, it’s a seamless transition back to low-residue, easily tolerated foods. Another approach involves considering the time of day when your digestive system tends to be more sensitive.

stack of 3 Absorb Plus shake poweder bottles

For some, it’s dinner. Mornings and afternoons often come with more resilience and tolerance, possibly due to higher energy levels. As evening approaches and tiredness sets in, the digestive system becomes more sensitive. In such cases, opting for an elemental shake, like an Absorb Plus shake every night for dinner, becomes a preventive measure. This prevents potential issues from arising. There’s room for various strategies.

For instance, some readers blend Absorb Plus shakes with fruits like bananas, peaches, or pears – mangoes are also a popular choice. Mixing the unsweetened vanilla shake with the fruit of their choice, and perhaps adding a dash of chia seed or hemp seed, creates an easily tolerated meal.

Additional ingredients are chosen based on what works well for their unique bodies and what their bodies tolerate. Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

Exclusive Elemental Diet for Microbiome Reset

If your goal is to reset the microbiome for conditions like SIBO, Crohn’s, or colitis flare, the recommendation is clear – stick to an exclusively elemental diet. This ensures a focused approach for optimal results.

For SIBO, an exclusive elemental diet is recommended but the duration is shorter – only two weeks.

Listen to Your Body and Gut

In the end, the key is to adapt based on what works for your body and aligns with your goals. Listening to your gut becomes crucial, as it will guide you toward the best approach. Flexibility is essential, offering you freedom in choosing the path that suits you.

Explore More Resources on the Blog

Budget-Friendly Alternatives

If the cost of elemental diet shake products is a concern, there’s a resource for you. Check out my blog post titled Common Foods to Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It provides alternatives – a variety of whole foods that can be blended into well-tolerated shakes. Practical solutions for those on a budget.

Explore my blog for an array of resources – from gut-friendly recipes to a list of low-residue foods. Whether you’re looking for diverse recipes or seeking information on gut-friendly foods, there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips.

Reach Out for Personalized Assistance

If you find yourself needing more guidance or specific information, don’t hesitate to reach out. Comment below and we’ll point you in the right direction.


I hope these videos and insights have proven valuable to you. If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. We’re here to assist you on your elemental diet journey.