Occasionally I get an email from a reader with extreme sensitivities, allergies, or intolerances who wants to know HOW to customize an elemental shake for bowel rest.
For example this one:
“Is there a way to make a gluten-free version of Absorb Plus? I seem to have severe neurological side effects from carob, tapioca, and vanilla … flavors that I seem to be fine with are mango, blackberry, and apple. I also have MCAD and histamine intolerance. I know you can’t change everything for everyone, that would be ridiculous. I just hope there is a solution. Thanks for your time. (I can’t take banana either, otherwise I would have tried the DIY Elemental on the blog). Thank you for all of the resources you are providing, you have helped me not to feel alone. All the best!”
Okay, first of all, the “DIY elemental” banana shake that she refers to is not elemental. It is a very well-tolerated shake and makes digestion / absorption easier for the intestines (this recipe and more can be found here), but it is not completely predigested. Again, here are the ONLY parameters of an elementary shake – according to clinical studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of elementary diets in inducing remission in Crohn’s disease:
protein only as free amino acids and / or dipeptide binding proteins
Fats B. MCT, cold-pressed flax, Udo’s, coconut etc. (MUST be cold-pressed)
carbohydrates only as monosaccharide sugar (glucose, natural fructose, dextrose). The only exception to this rule is maltodextrin (a glucose polymer)
As you can see, you CANNOT add normal / normal foods to your shakes and still classify them as “elemental” or polymer.
What you can do is buy an unflavored whey isolate (must be an isolate, not a whey concentrate) or an unflavored rice protein isolate and mix it with the maltodextrin you can tolerate. Tapioca maltodextrin is a great option, or you can use corn maltodextrin as well. However, it’s very hard to find GM-free corn maltodextrin in North America – and corn is a common allergen. If you’ve ordered from a European supplier, you will likely find an organic, GMO-free version there.
Rice maltodextrin is another option and is likely to be well tolerated. Do a web search for “buy rice maltodextrin” and it will bring you up on suppliers like these near you.
Once you have your protein and maltodextrin, you can use this guide to mix your shakes in the right proportions. Of course, you can always use less and less maltodextrin if you are not malnourished and do not need to gain a healthy weight.
If you want to add flavors to your DIY elemental shakes, use these organic flavor concentrates from Nature’s Flavors – they’re compatible with an elemental diet and instructions on how to use / mix the flavors in your shakes can be found here.
And if you want to know what other supplements we add to the shakes during the IBD remission diet, check out our weekly supply kit we carry (original and vegan versions of Absorb Plus available).
Hope this helps and if you have any questions just leave them below!
Last updated in November 2020.
Jini Patel Thompson is an internationally recognized expert in naturopathic treatments for digestive diseases. She healed herself from the widespread Crohn’s disease and has been drug and surgery free for over 20 years. Appeared on numerous podcast, television and radio shows in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, Jini gives people hope and visions on how to cure colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in all natural methods. Her books on natural digestive disease cures have been sold in over 80 countries around the world.