Malnutrition after a flare-up – Healthy weight gain

On the second day back from hospital, we have our first real challenge presented: my continued weight loss.

My ‘normal’, skinny-fat, not-working-out weight is 10 stone, sometimes a little more. Over the course of the three months of chronic diarrhoea I experience, my weight dropped to 8.9 stone. On the day before my release from hospital, I was at 8.5 stone. Today, I’m at 8 stone exactly, despite eating small healthy meals every two hours. Now there’s a good chance our bathroom scales aren’t very accurate – I don’t feel like I’ve lost half a stone in two days, but the fact is that I’m not putting on weight again, and I seriously need to.

I’ll need to check this online, but my recollection is that a normal male needs about 1600 calories a day to maintain weight, and 2-3000 calories to gain weight. We decided yesterday that I’ve been eating my Low-residue diet at a weight-maintenance level, and need to up the calorie intake dramatically. But it’s not that easy to eat that many calories – it’s much easier to drink them.

Bring on the shakes.

The hospital sent me away with a box of 20 nasty-looking meal-replacement shakes to help me bulk up, but I’d been reluctant to take them, as they have many added artificial flavourings and sugars – that doesn’t seem like a healthy way to treat someone with a Crohn’s flare-up. But, in a mild panic about bringing on those extra calories yesterday, I did drink a couple, in addition to my normal meals of white basmati rice with low-res veg, and soups. But we need a good healthy option for long term, healthy weight gain and healing.

Jini Patel Thompson comes to the rescue in several ways here, once again. She’s developed a shake called Absorb Plus which is a complete, balanced combination of protein, carbs, and amino acids. It’s so balanced, it is the sole ingredient in her Elemental diet – a liquid-only diet taken to give the bowel complete rest to induce remission from a flare-up; something I intend to do once I’m off the steroids.

Alternatively, Jeannie has been making a fantastic shake with all-natural ingredients, based on a recipe again by Jini Patel Thompson. Check that out here.

I’ve been taking a few of Jeannie’s shakes over the day that I’ve been putting together these posts, and had one last night too, and have already noticed that might weight has gone up a couple of pounds; that’s quite a relief after all this time, and very encouraging indeed.

After a fantastic session with Chinese Herbalist Simon Jones today, we’ve also go the thumbs-up on various foods that are low-residue and will help put on the pounds; happily for us, these are the kind of foods I’ve been having anyway:

  • White Basmati rice
  • Raw, unpasteurised milk, preferably Goat’s or Sheeps
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Aubergine
  • Honey
  • Refined white pasta (we’re using spelt, as its supposed to be easier on the digestive system)
  • Coconut milk
  • Avocado
  • Black bananas (pre-digested)

However, I must say that this does fly in the face of Specific Carbohydrate Diet thinking, as those grains, and the dairy, are known to produce flare-ups in those with an intolerance. The nutritional Therapist that I spoke with today certainly didn’t approve.

My intuition tells me that I don’t have those intolerances, as I was following the scd very strictly on the run-up to my crash, with very little success.

All the more reason to get those lab tests done quickly.

I have to go with my intuition on this journey, I need to really listen, for better or for worse. 

That feels right, so we’ll see how we get on, and will constantly adjust accordingly…

2 thoughts on “Malnutrition after a flare-up – Healthy weight gain

  1. Jo Dean says:

    hey Paul,
    I’ve not read all of your posts in detail so you might have mentioned this again elsewhere but a normal weight woman needs around 2000 calories to maintain, a man more than this but you can find out on-line based on your weight height and activity level. Also to gain 0.5kg a week you’ll need 500 calories a day more than your maintenance diet.
    wishing you lots of luck and love on your journey!

    • Thanks loads Jo! I’m working with a nutritional therapist, and she agrees – we’re aiming for 3000 calories a day – it’s not easy! I’m very slowly gaining a little weight, but trying not to worry too much about it at this point, as I want to remove as much stress as possible, and I realised that my weight was worrying me a bit. As I see it, as long as I gradually pick up weight again over the next few months, I should be ok – fingers crossed!

Comments are closed.