As part of her books ‘listen to your gut’ and ‘The IBD Remission Diet’, Jini Patel Thompson has put together a full-spectrum shake that can be used as an elemental diet, or to build weight during or after a IBD/Crohn’s flare-up. There are many reports of people going into remission when taking nothing but these shakes for 2-6 weeks.
When you have 6 to 8 of these a day, or use them to supplement your normal meals, they provide a great, IBD- safe way to gain weight. The kick here for this Englishman is that they don’t have a UK distributor, and because the product contains a whey, I actually need to apply for a Defra IV58 animal product import license to purchase more than 2 tubs and get them posted to England. I’ll need 12 tubs to do the elemental diet, so that’s a bit of a bind, and two tubs is only 20 servings, so won’t last me long.
Jini Patel Thompson has described the contents, roughly, of Absorb Plus, so yesterday Jeannie and I decided to order the individual ingredients as close as we could find them, and mix our own.
Here are the main ingredients:
Hydrolyzed whey protein isolate derived from an ion-exchange, cold, cross-flow membrane extraction method.
After a long search, we settled on The Organic Protein Company down in Brighton for our Whey, as it’s important to us that it’s Organic, and they appear to extract the Whey from grass-fed organic raw milk in a way that doesn’t denature the product, which is vital.
A broad-spectrum selection of Amino acids is essential for bodily repair and healing. We’ve found a great-looking company which specialises in Pure, high quality supplements called Viridian – they have a balanced amino acid formula here.
56g Maltodextrin. Quoting from Thompson’s description of the Absorb Plus ingredients:
The carbohydrate mix is composed mostly of maltodextrin, which has a slower uptake into the bloodstream than glucose or fructose. This helps you avoid getting a ‘sugar rush’ with the resultant high-low mood cycle. This also reduces osmotic pressure and provides for variable absorption rates of glucose. If a large amount of glucose hits the bloodstream all at once, it produces a spike in blood sugar, which results in an energy ‘high’ followed by a crash. Having the highest proportion of carbohydrate as maltodextrin helps avoid this problem.
I think that this is where the bulk of the calories come from. You can find pure Maltodextrin pretty easily, as its used a lot by power lifters and other athletes.
We bought ours from bulkpowders.com because it ticks all the ‘additive and filler-free’ boxes for us. However, my stomach didn’t feel right after a couple of the shakes at all, so we did some more research into Maltodextrin. It turns out that the almost all Maltodextrin is made from GMO Corn starch, so is basically toxic. Not good when your intention is to heal your gut. We did some further digging around and discovered that Absorb Plus uses Tapioca Maltodextrin instead of corn. I could only find one manufacturer on the whole Internet that makes Organic Tapioca Maltodextrin. It turned out to be the same supplier for Absorb plus, too: Naturesflavors.com. Unfortunately for us on the this side of the pond, the shipping costs are astronomical – I bought 2 x 5lb bags (I don’t want to have to make lots of repeat orders) for $55, and the shipping was $96, so I paid about £100 for the organic tapioca, compared to a paltry £19 all-in for the toxic corn version. But of course the corn version isn’t helping anything, and the make-our-own mixture still words out hundreds of pounds cheaper than the actual Absorb Plus by our reckoning if I’m to follow a two or three week Elemental protocol.
Natural Sweetener and flavourings
15g Fructose. You can buy this from bulk powders.com as well if you like. We prefer the idea of cold-pressing our own fruit and using that juice as a sweetener if we feel it’s necessary. For your information if you want to stay natural instead of buying powdered fructose, a single banana contains roughly 5.72g of fructose; one cup of blueberries or watermelon is about the same; I don’t know if adding the fruit to the shake is doing you any good unless you’re looking to up your weight – as I am – but I do quite like the fun idea of cold-pressing some apples or strawberries and adding the to our home-version of this shake. If you’d like to get your 15g just right, this page contains a chart of loads of fruits, with the amount of fructose per 100g listed, so it should be simple enough to work out.
So, we may add some vanilla extract to taste if we need to, or maybe a banana, but it doesn’t feel like an essential ingredient at the moment!
Absorb Plus contains a full spectrum of vitamins which keep the body working and healing nicely during the diet. We’re supplementing my diet with our own, broad spectrum of vitamins already, so I don’t consider this an essential part of my own shake at this point.
Between 1tsp and 1tbsp per shake.
So there you have it on the absorb plus. It brings up a couple of points of mild concern; the proteins in the whey powder might trigger inflammation if I have an intolerance of dairy, which I don’t think I have, but don’t know for sure. Lab tests are next on the list. Secondly, when I chatted with a nutritional therapist earlier, she wasn’t sure about the Maltodextrin, as it does something with sugars that I didn’t quite understand that creates a disaccharide, which the body has trouble digesting.
However, considering the number of people who seem to have greatly benefitted from Absorb Plus, I’m certainly feeling like I’d like to give my version a go. I’ll update this post as I do.
I’m also, in the meantime, very much enjoying Jeannie’s all-natural version, which is based on another Jini Patel Thompson recipe, which you can read about here.