Switching to a liquid diet was life saving for me.
Lyme disease partially paralyzed my small intestine, which made digesting and absorbing food extremely difficult, not to mention uncomfortable. The result was steady and distressing weight loss over a number of years. I started at 118, and bottomed out at 81 pounds. For reference, I am 5’6″, so you can do the math on how devastating that was.
I finally had to accept it was not humanly possible to process enough food to maintain life, so I switched to a mainly liquid diet in the summer of 2016. Prior to that, I had tried many protein powders, and did not tolerate any of them. However, my nutritionist recommended a different kind of protein powder called elemental protein powder. Elemental protein powder is broken down as far as food can be broken down, which leaves very little work for my distressed intestines. Thankfully, I tolerated it very well, and over the course of two and a half years gained a whopping 30 pounds.
I am not ready to completely give up on the idea of eating actual food, so my strategy is to eat real food for dinner, and a liquid diet for everything else. My day looks like this:
- Full shake for breakfast (500 calories)
- Full shake for lunch
- 1/2 shake for afternoon snack
- Real food for dinner
- 1/2 shake for “dessert”
I have been near religious in sticking to this schedule, and the results speak for themselves, which keeps me motivated.
Was it easy to move to a mostly liquid diet? Absolutely not. But weighing 81 pounds and enduring 24/7 stomach pain was not easy either. Given the choice, I’ll take the liquid diet.
Here is the scoop on my shake.
The protein powder I use is called Absorb Plus. I do the unsweetened vanilla, as I avoid sugar since it is inflammatory and it feeds the bad bacteria that are prone to gathering in my gut.
However, the unsweetened vanilla doesn’t taste so great, so I add flavoring powders. I use several different flavors to keep things from getting boring.
I add 1 Tablespoon of MCT coconut oil (easy to digest) to each shake to add calories.
Here is a breakdown on the specifics of my shake and where to buy them:
Click here to purchase Absorb Plus. It costs around $60 per tub, but you can buy a single serving sample if you want to give it a try prior to committing to a full tub. If you are ready to go all in, they have a deal where you can buy 6 tubs and get the 7th free. That’s what I do. It’s not cheap, but my life is precious, so what’s the alternative, really?
I buy the flavoring powder from a site called True Nutrition. This is the most natural flavoring powder I could find, and I tolerate it well. My favorite flavors are French Vanilla, Cafe Moca, Banana Smoothie, Lemon Cake and Cookies and Cream. Click here for purchasing information.
Oil adds essential calories and healthy fat. You can use any kind of oil you tolerate. I use organic MCT coconut oil because it is easy to digest. I switch up brands and buy it on Amazon. Currently, I am using Garden of Life brand, which you can purchase here. Note, check to be sure the ingredients are 100% coconut MCT oil. Some brands sneak other oils in.
Shake Prep Tips
I have this down to a science, so here’s what I do for the best tasting shake.
- For starters, a full shake consists of 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon oil, and 4 scoops Absorb Plus. I add 1/4 teaspoon of flavoring powder, but you can adjust to your personal preference. This shake is 500 beautiful, easily digestible calories.
- The package directions say to serve the shake over ice, but I don’t do that because I think it will water down the taste.
- However, the shake tastes best cold, so I pre-chill the water in a glass measuring cup in the fridge. I also pre-chill the glass in the freezer to help keep the shake cold once I start drinking it.
- Speaking of drinking, I go very slowly. First, I have slow digestion, so I need to do that anyway. Second, the shake is very calorically dense, so it’s best to ease it on down vs. chugging it. I typically take 45 minutes to an hour to get it down, but somebody with less compromised digestion could probably go faster.
- Another reason to take it slowly — this is my meal. So, I try to make the experience as pleasant as possible and the same kind of time out I’d have if I were sitting down to food.
- I use a small blender like this one, and it works great. Mixes perfectly, very easy clean up and small enough to take on the road.
And there you have it. Cheers.
P.S. I am not affiliated with any of the products I mention in any way.