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!