There are a few different ways to gain weight using Absorb Plus elemental diet shakes – and the methods differ depending on whether you need to keep the shakes elemental (enteral diet) or whether you can add regular foods and liquids to the shakes (half elemental diet, or just using as a supplement to regular food).

Gaining Weight with Elemental Liquid Diet Shakes

If you are using Absorb Plus as your elemental liquid diet shake, then you can increase the calories per shake by just adding as much flax or Udo’s oil as you can tolerate (up to 1.5 tbsp per shake). This keeps the shake elemental (pre-digested) but increases the amount of calories per shake to 540 per shake. Then you just drink as many shakes per day as you can cram in (up to a maximum of 12). When I was on The IBD Remission Diet, I drank 8 – 9 shakes per day and went from 99 lbs to 135 lbs (of muscle – working out at the gym and riding my bike) in 6 weeks. So the quick way to figure out how many shakes you need to drink each day to gain weight, is to just start at 6 shakes a day and keep increasing until you see weight gain (the more shakes you drink, the faster you gain the weight).

Gaining Weight on a Half Elemental Diet or Using Supplement Shakes

Now, if you don’t need to be on a strictly elemental diet, then you can mix Absorb Plus with other liquids and thereby increase the calorie count of each shake even further. I don’t like to use soy milk (too much estrogen, depresses thyroid function and inhibits mineral absorption) or rice milk (high glycemic index). But there are several other great options you can use:

1. Raw cow, camel, or goat milk – unpasteurized milk from pasture-fed (not grain fed) cows, goats or camels. Raw milk from goats or camels seems to be better tolerated than raw milk from cows. But often raw milk from cows made into yoghurt is tolerated well.

2. Almond milk – if using store-bought, try to find a brand without carrageenan (large amounts cause colitis in rats) as a thickening agent, and make sure it’s organic. Best is if you can make your own almond milk though and then you can even add some of the leftover almond pulp to your Absorb Plus shake to add even more healthy protein and fiber.

3. Coconut milk – there are several great options in stores now for organic coconut milk in a number of flavors. Or, you can make your own using this recipe from one of my readers (Jonathan F.):

“What you will need is a high powered blender (I have a Vitamix), and a cotton drip bag. I place 3 cups of filtered water into the blender, then add 1.5 cups of coconut flakes or shredded coconut, preferably organic. I blend for three to four minutes on high, pour it into my cheesecloth bag, and squeeze the coconut milk out. Once in a container, I keep it in my fridge, and it makes about four shakes for me. The coconut milk will separate, but it can be shaken or stirred back to a more homogenized fluid. Because it’s rich, I use abut 1/2 a cup of the milk with water to get the required 8 oz., and then follow the directions Jini has for the AbsorbPlus.”

Jonathan says when he uses this homemade coconut milk, along with Udo’s oil, he gets about 650 calories per shake:

“I have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease the past 16 years. My symptoms follow the normal routine, of cycles of normal health and horrible disease, with everything in between. I’m entering a phase of healing now, and one of the products I’ve been using is the Absorb Plus, with the predominate objective to gain weight. I was gifted 5 tubs around the Christmas holidays by different members of my family, all contributing their share to help me out. I’ve gained about 15 pounds since I’ve started using the shakes, and as anyone with Crohn’s knows, there is this small feeling of triumph every time you get on the scale and the needle has gone up.

One thing I think us Crohn’s people are obsessed with are calories, but we have to make sure the calories we take in are NUTRITIONALLY DENSE calories. A way I’ve been able to increase the calories for myself, is absolutely using the Udo’s oil as a supplement, but also blending my own homemade coconut milk to use as the ‘medium’. After doing a little research, I’ve calculated that my single serving shakes hover around 650 calories. Obviously, this helps with weight gain, but I also know that the shake has a wonderful balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Thanks for the product, I really do love the taste.

Though it appears these are expensive, once you add the oil, you’re getting a substantial nutritional kick. My weight gain has been a blessing, and now my wife is teaching me yoga. I look forward to more health to come.”

4. Coconut water – did you know coconut water is so similar in composition to our blood plasma that it can be used intravenously when the correct blood type is not available for a transfusion? Common sense tells you that it’s just got to be healthy for us when we drink it too! I’ve recently tested about 7 different brands of coconut water and my favorite one (for taste, healthy packaging, flash pasteurization) is Zico.

Now, of course it would be ideal if you could get your own green coconuts, slice off the top and drink the water raw – and I will be doing this every day for 2 weeks when I go to Mexico next week! But ANY juice once removed from the plant has a maximum live enzyme time of 3 days. So anything sold in a store (unless it’s frozen) is going to be pasteurized in some manner, and flash pasteurization (heated and cooled in seconds, rather than for any extended period of time, and then poured cool into the containers) seems to be the best option at this time.

Unfortunately coconut water will not raise your calorie count by much (only 43 calories per 8 ounce serving) but if you mixed it half and half with coconut milk, almond milk, or raw milk, you can get the benefits of both and mixing it also works well for those who can’t yet tolerate the heaviness of the milks. Of course, don’t forget to also add the Udo’s or flax oil.

5. Add fruit – many of my readers enjoy adding a banana to their Absorb Plus shake, along with one of the healthy milks outlined above and Udo’s or flax oil. This also gets the calorie count per shake well over 650 for each shake.

Remember, the clinical trial that showed a half-elemental diet kept 65% of testers free of flares for two years? So if you cannot afford to drink enough Absorb Plus shakes per day to constitute a purely elemental diet, you will likely still see good results by drinking some shakes elemental and mixing with other nutrients for the rest to raise the calorie count (so that will mean less total shakes needed per day = cheaper cost).

If you have discovered any other tricks or have shake recipes you’d like to share, please post them below!

How To Gain Weight Using Absorb Plus

20 thoughts on “How To Gain Weight Using Absorb Plus

  • Another good option for the base (similar to almond milk) is hemp milk. I miss it – as they don’t have it readily available where I am now in Europe – and I used to use it to make my oatmeal back home (Vancouver).
    Although Udo’s oil and all the nut butters have a lot of calories, they aren’t readily available as “storage” fats (so technically they won’t really contribue directly for calories used to gain real weight) – but they are, of course, vital to making healthy cells, nerves and all else – and calming inflammation. I figured this out in my early twenties when I decided that it wouldn’t hurt if I had more meat on my ectomorphic body – and went crazy with nuts (as that is what all the nutrition books tell you to eat when you want to gain weight a little weight in a healty manner). Of course, I ate the raw unsalted variety (especially the pistachios! can’t keep a bag in the house for very long). To my surprise, eating an additional 500 calories of nuts and/or seeds per day had no influence on my weight, but it did distribute what I did have in a much more pleasing manner (less around my middle where I tend to store fat and moved it to my rear and hips – wunderbar!). However, when mixed with things such as coconut milk and the Absorb shake – you have yourself a sure fire way to gain what you need and get a healthy glow to boot.

  • I have developed multiple dietary intolerances as a result of GI inflammation and dairy is one of them. I react pretty severely to whey protein. Are there elemental shakes that are made without it? Basically, a “hypoallergenic” one?

  • ERICA – you can get elemental shakes that are free form amino acids only (like Alpha ENF), but you will not gain weight on them – for that, the aminos need to piggyback on at least a di-pepetide bond protein. I am currently in development for a Vegan version of Absorb Plus. If you subscribe to this blog or my newsletter, you will be notified when it is available.

  • Soooo glad I found your site. I think I’m at the stage where I need something like absorb plus. But I was just looking at the cost and ingredients of Absorb Plus and thinking it would be pretty expensive for a 2,000 calorie/day supply. Could I just buy vanilla whey isolate or hydrolyzed whey, then add tapioca/corn maltodextrin, and MCT oil or Udo’s oil?

  • Yes, but you’d be missing the amino acids and the vit/minerals – which are very important. And the flavoring. If you have my IBD Remission Diet book, I give instructions in there for how to mix up your own shakes:

    BUT, if your system is not too sensitive, you may be okay with a combination of whey protein shakes and Low Residue Diet:

  • Hi Jinnie

    A friend of mine purchased your book and some elemental product for me a while back. I am ready to give it a go. I have tried elemental in the past, but did not have success introducing foods. I was wondering if perhaps it would be a good idea to start with the intro of yogurt? I do make my own. Wondering if you know of anyone who has had more success that way. I’ve tried to start with veggies, white rice, and lean meats in the past, and wind up flaring. Especially if it is sugar laden yogurt involved in the hospital. Thanks, and here’s hoping it works. I am dropping weight too fast right now, and hoping with your program I can regain health.

    1. Hi Casey,

      If you’re able to tolerate the yogurt without issue then go for it. Otherwise, you may want to check out chapter 3 of Listen to Your Gut for more information about what to eat based on your specific condition/symptoms. It sounds like you have already seen the table but, just in case you haven’t, there’s a food reintroduction chart on page 251 as well. We wish you all the best on your healing journey!

      Kind regards,
      Customer Care

  • Hi,
    I have had ulcerative colitis for 2 & 1/2 years. I somehow this year in late February/early March became infected with giardiasis. And as a result I have lost almost 40 pounds since then. I am 5’5″ and now weigh 180 pounds. You can see that I could afford to lose the weight and would like to lose more, but in a healthier way. Can the absorb plus work to help my colitis and lose weight?

    1. Hi Theresa,

      Yes, Absorb Plus is designed for people with IBD/IBS to gain healthy weight but it can be used to lose weight as well. Each serving contains 360 healthy calories so it all comes down to calorie intake. For more information, check out the link below:

      If you purchase a 2-flavor sample pack at the shoppe, you’ll receive a free eBook copy of Jini’s book, The IBD Remission Diet which has a detailed section about how many shakes to use relative to your lifestyle and body weight. You can take a look at the sample pack here:

      Kind regards,
      Customer Care

  • I am about to try the ememental diet, as much to 100% as I can afford. If not supplement intermittently with ensure plus. My question; I have suffered for 15 yrs w Crohn’s disease but systematically failed medicinal therapies, am currently on Entyvio infusions, methotrexate 15 mg/ wk, and apriso . In addition I have taken supplements in the form of lactobacillus GG, flora stir, vitamins consisting of b6 b12 folic acid vit c extra vit d, biotin. Do I continue to take all of these while implementing elemental? If elemental causes bacterial die off how are they replaced since that is not accomplished over night? Is it safe to take florastor and lactobacillus at the same time? I am a health care professional and still grapple with the concepts! I will be purchasing your book and have two jugs of the absorb plus I plan on starting today … Along with the suggested oil to supplement!
    Thankyou so much for listening,
    Gail e Hollingsworth

  • I’m on my second week of doing the elemental diet. I’m up to 4 shakes per day. In order to increase calories per shake, I’m adding 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil and 2 tablespoons of virgin/cold-pressed coconut oil per shake. However, ever since I’ve started this, I’ve been feeling sudden abdominal cramps throughout the day. The cramps are mild and only last a few seconds; nothing debilitating. Do you think this is from the lauric/caprylic acid in the coconut oil? Or am I putting too much fat in these shakes that my gallbladder can’t handle?

    1. Hello Pat,

      Thank you for the inquiry. There is a good chance your body is not processing all of the added oil. Jini recommends 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per shake, so 4 tablespoon could definitely be too much for your body to process at once. Jini recommends not having more than 8-10 tablespoons of the oils in a day. So I recommend trying 1 tablespoon or less of each oil in each shake and see if you do better with that. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      Kind Regards,
      Customer Care

  • I have extremely slow transit constipation, in which fluids barely move through my large intestine. Even a colonoscopy prep took forever and had to use stimulant laxatives. Most of the time fiber supplements make things worse, even when drinking extra water. I am trying to wean off stimulant laxatives, but feel like they are the only things that help with motility. Do you have any suggestions? Would the elemental diet help my bowel rest AND get bowels moving normally?

    1. Hello Chris,

      The bowel rest and elemental diet can be really great to help constipation. You may also want to look into these suggestions as well:
      We also have this book on more details with treating constipation:
      As well as this one with more detailed information on doing the elemental diet, as well as food re-introduction after:
      If you have any questions on any of this, please let us know.

      Kind Regards,
      Customer Care

  • Measurement question

    I underestand blending 1 cup of water, with a table spoon of Udo oil along with the asorb plus is approx 485 cal.
    What if i poured 4 cups of water in the blender 1 table of Udo oil along with the 4 scoops of the absorb plus, this will be able to fill four separate cups, would this be equivalent to 485* 4 or would this be 485 cal still, just divided in 4 cups. I’m curious

    1. Hello Adrian,

      Water does not have any calories, so no matter how much water you put in the shake all the same amount of the Absorb Plus and Udo oil would still be the same amount of calories. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      Kind Regards,
      Customer Care

    1. Hello Celeste,

      Thank you for the question. There is technically no amount of time that the diet is not safe up to a certain time period. We mostly recommend listening to your body on how long it is needed for you. However, if you are not seeing good results on it by six weeks it might be a sign that your body isn’t responding to it well and need to work on further things for your healing. If you just enjoy doing the diet and are feeling great on it we would just recommend to be sure you are doing enough shakes and broths to get enough calories, nutrients and vitamins in you. Hope you continue to heal well and feel great! If you have any other questions, please let us know.

      Kind Regards,
      Customer Care

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