This is still in draft form but I'm putting it up because I know people need this information...will add more science, sources and will find links to products outside the US soon.
Two years ago I set out to make a blog, I was still unsure at the time, I also had been hit with a new health issue and discovered blogging about it in real time wasn't realistic. However this last week I found MANY people actually needing help with this and it could truly benefit them so thank you for motivating me to actually at least start this. Below is a protocol for a home-made elemental diet - that is a TRUE elemental diet. I have maintained control over crohn's disease for years with the Simple Carbohydrate diet, along with some other things - and here are the other things. For me BTVC/SCD was definitely the most effective thing (all described in the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall - if you have any digestive issues please read this book), but for a very bad flare I did these first, and down the road due to a stricture I had issues with SIBO. If you have a bad flare of crohn's, colitis, SIBO, or other digestive illnesses, this is not for the faint of heart, it's intense but for me I felt that the pleasures of food and eating could wait - my first priority was no pain, energy, and healing. I am a dancer and this illness stopped me from dancing - it motivated me to do extreme thing just to feel good and ok and strong again. My gut was wrecked and I felt like i basically had to start from zero and build back up.
Note: this is not medical advice - I am not a doctor -this is what has helped me and others i've passed it onto.
PHASE ONE: WATER FAST
When I was in pain and having terrible symptoms the first thing I will do is just water fast, simply water fast for two to three days. Yes this may be scary if you're already depleated - and if you've been having a lot of diarrhea you may need to get IV fluids first - make sure you're ok to do this. if you're weak, dizzy, haave a headache, see a doctor or the ER. However if you' just have been in a very bad way like this for weeks on end or months, then try this. be sure not to be active, you aren't taking calories so don't expend any.
In order to stay hydrated you need to drink about 8 ounces of water every hour. If nauseated add a splash of lemon,.
NOTE: I back then and to this day only drink bottled mineral water - if I drink tap water it runs risk of giving me food poisoning like symptoms - you can't control what chemicals are in there. Either that or an excellent water filter - I just went to cuba and was FINE the whole time - I used this purifier which is supposed to purify lake and stream water but when I'm home I buy bottled mineral water. Either way even my western doctor told me not to drink tap water even locally.
This GRAYL filter below is expensive, but it was so worth it when traveling - I've thought about just using it at home too - might actually save on money in the long run vs buying bottled mineral water all of the time. i also stick to glass bottles but that's for hormone not gut issues.
If you've had diarrhea, I would also add sea salt. that way you get potassium, minderals and sodium. I usually
feel much better by day two or three at which stage I would go into:
PHASE TWO: CLEAR ELECTROLYTES
I would start adding a little sustenance in the form of coconut water, not from concentrate (note if you are already on SCD this is NOT legal - you can also omit this and use pharmeceutical grade potassium carbonate, it must be absolutely pure, no additives, no natural flavours nothing added, and a trusted source, or get coconuts and cut them open, and if you want to really be careful boil it then put some water in. I would mix into this a pinch of sea salt which provide electrolytes. Always whether you get it from a coconut or a bottle, cut it 50/50 with plain water to cut how much sugar it is in one go.
If you have already started SCD: the above was how I originally started years ago before SCD. you can do the same using the following, which when I've had any issues since I used this home-made electrolyte formula:
1 tsp honey or the dextrose I mentioned below in Phase III - this is the ONLY dextrose I trust for purity so unless you check with the facility that makes the dextrose, I would not trust it - this one is pure of allergens or anything else and NOW prides themselves on manufacturing processes. I've had a note of purity from them and have verified with them directly as well. (outside of us, I'm sorry - I don't know yet what you can trust I'll do research on this eventually or if someone wants to let me know if they have a verified pure source that is pure and free from any other sugars or substances).
1/8 tsp Pure Organic potassium bicarbonate pharmaceutical/food grade (I trust this brand )
1/8 tsp magnesium citrate powder or just take the recommended dose of Magnesium Glycinate (this form is less likely to have laxative effects) (I trust GI pro health )
pinch of sea salt. I am writing up something for salt but the one I like the best is this:
It is completely unprocessed - other salts back when I was more sick used to make me sick and this doesn't and it also doesn't make me retain water like other ones. If you start feeling hungry and have no pain or
vomiting before that then you can start Phase 3, if after 3 days you're still the same you may need to talk to your dr but still move on phase 3
PHASE 3: ELEMENTAL DIET
The elemental diet: this is all of the basic nutritional elements already broken down in their elemental form so absolutely nothing goes through the intestines - (coconut water above is not purely elemental) but you get macro nutrients which are fats, carbohydrates and protein for
amino acids. The basis is somewhat similar to SCD but goes further to eliminate anything at all entering into the gut as it is already in its simplest form and needs no breakdown by the body.
The first thing is glucose, you want to have glucose NOT sucrose. It must be a simple sugar or simple carbohydrate, but fructose or any others are not the ones we use metabolically. Glucose is the sugar our bodies use for energy, there are no chemical changes that have to be undergone, so it needs absolutely no metabolic processing. Commercially Glucose is known as Dextrose.
When sold commercially this is typically labelled as dextrose powder. One usually has to try to find this on line. Again the dextrose should be pure or pharmaceutical grade, no additives or allergens. Some dextrose is for gym work outs and is processed in a facility which also processes allergens so one must be careful. I personally trust and suggest NOW's non-gmo one here: Dextrose
Mix a spoonful of the dextrose
in water several times a day (this is your carbohydrate energy source.)
2.) Fats: Medium Chain Triglycerides
The next element is your fats, the most easily digested fat is MCT oil which is absorbed through the liver and digestive tract and goes right into your system. It also has a lot of calories (100 u.s. CAL per tablespoon.) When you first start your body may not be used to these oils. The whole point of elemental diet is to absorb things in their elemental form so that they don't traverse into the small or large intestines, but MCT oil if not absorbed will pass to on to your lower GI tract and the result is laxative, so try a small amount (perhaps a teaspoon, or even half) at first and see how you do for a couple of hours, I repeat - it can be a laxative at first!!! If a teaspoon is ok and you feel ok in a couple of hours try two teaspoons. If this is ok in two to three hours try a tablespoon. This also can go down a bit easier with the amino acid powder which I will tell you about below. Again you want as pure as possible - for purity I trust MCT-Lean I also prefer glass bottle vs plastic, mostly due to hormone concerns (for another article in the future).
Or if you want one that is coconut based (chemicaly if pure it shouldn't matter which - this is really more of an environmental issue but I also prefer coconut based, but the issue is I haven't yet found one in glass in the US but Sports Research brand is BPA free.
3) Proteins: Free Form Amino Acids - the essentials
The third and final part of the elemental diet is amino acids which are the building blocks for protein . There are 9 amino acids that our body must have from external sources which we cannot make on our own. Proteins broken down into their elemental form are amino acids.
If you take amino acid powder it goes straight into your blood stream without any need for digestion beyond the stomach. With some searching you can find amino acid powder which contains all the essential amino acids. This powder is not very water soluble and very bitter so it is best is to mix it with the MCT oil mentioned above, (this makes it both more palatable and makes the MCT oil less laxative.) NOW Amino-9 Essentials is the only one I've found that is free form amino acids and the essential aminos without complex peptides and is a trustworthy brand.
Warning this is BITTER - it tastes gross (not going to lie - it's not palatable!) and is hydrophobic. Make a thick paste with a lot of this and a little MCT oil and it will help the MCT absorb easier.
4) Vitamins & Minerals
Here take an SCD legal vitamin/mineral supplement withOUT iron.
5) Water Water Water
still make sure to drink LOTS of water (same amount as when water fasting) whn
The above all sounds very extreme but I can tell you I healed a fistula by staying on this diet for six weeks so it is well worth persevering with it
Calculating your nutrients -
This is the hardest part. You have to get enough calories either from the dextrose or the MCT oil - the amino acids give you building blocks but really have little calories for energy. Take your body weight in pounds and multiply by 10. The result is the minimum calories needed to sustain your weight, and the minimum you should have here using the dextrose or mct oil (that said the mct oil WILL need to be added gradually, and note the amino acid powder does help keep it less laxative or bitter.
You must make sure you get enough calories either through the dextrose or through the MCT oil.
I did the above for 6 weeks - so it can be done. I did get thin but at the same time I got stronger and healthier - my skin developed a glow, and I actually as it went on had more energy. I had to stop dancing while doing this - you have to be very gentle with yourself and rest a lot. Again, it's extreme but I avoided surgery this way - even the doctors couldn't believe it and they've told me I should write about this. No mesh, no incisions, just willpower rest and diligence. I felt amazing for about a year afterwards - I have a stricture from the severe crohn's I had as a child and I get sibo so now I do this once a year for 3 weeks and its a bit like a cleanse - it really helps - I feel much better afterwards and fora long time after as well. In the United States we are used to eating plenty and as much as we want whenever we want but when you are ill you may need to fast so the body can concentrate on healing. there are some other things I did concomitantly to this which I will write about soon and link below.
For now, if you are needing this asap, Next after the above I added BCAA's (branched chain amino acids), collagen peptides, omega 3 oils very slowly with digestive enzymes, other oils (like black seed oil, avocado oil) and then chicken soup broth (from local organic pasture raised chickens),these are all more complex proteins and fat components but no fiber and easy to absorb - t hen a honey from a local farmer that I could speak to face to face - sugar was a trigger for me even scd legal so I had to do this in very small amounts - then I basically did a no fiber version of SCD healing diet (see below, Phase 4...this is very extreme. Alternatively one can try just doing the liquid components for SCD healing diet - when I first committed fully to SCD, if I was in a flare or having symptoms, I would water fast for a few days then just do strained chicken soup (strained with a fine filter), then would juice carrots and put the juice in the soup (this isn't the most palatable but it's natural carbs but no fiber),
PHASE 4: Liquids and purees
This is when I began strict SCD (see and read the book) but SCD is based on reducing the amount of fermentation in the gut and reducing the proliferation of agitating microbiota in the gut - so only simple carbohydrates. One can start with the phase 2 or phase 3 into this or straight into this but one thing I found with SCD is it has too much fiber too fast if your intestines are very inflamed or damaged or if you have strictures - imagine if your mouth had a big burn on it, or you bit your lip a bunch of times - having rough stuff pass over it is still agitating - SCD takes care of the micro level but some are damaged on the macro level as I was. I did the following:
Strained chicken soup
then I started juicing vegetables then cooking it - it isn't the most palatable but I didn't want raw foods or any microbial contaminants from anything at first so I didn't drink it raw - I put it in my soup and boiled it - it would fall to the bottom as sediment but this is natural sugar and nutrients all the same. Again I did this in an extreme way because I wanted to get back to my active lifestyle so that's what motivated me.
Note: I DID NOT BUY PRE-MADE JUICES I JUICED THEM MYSELF
to this day I still juice veggies and then heat them slightly so like a tea - if you don't cook the juic too long they keep together and keep their flavor
slowly I added homemade SCD yogurt - when you're in a flare even scd safe microbes can be perceived as an attack from invaders when your body is in inflammatory attack mode -however if you did phase 1 and 2 above that really calms that down fast - especially phase 1 (water fasting for a few days - this helps so well when things are bad - obviously little kids and pregnant women can't do this but I did do this when I was as young as 13) early on I did dairy but later I found I didn't tolerate this well
I would do this for a long time - until I would pass food comfortably and no pain and no symptoms and a healthy appetite, then I'd add purees - basically babyfood - so a really smooth puree - these days a vitamix or nutribullet will do the trick. (maybe an inversion blender, although I use the latter so can't attest to this).
I would blend in a food processor all the scd legal stuff - i started with the simplest things - veggies like carrots, squash, a little of the chicken meat and put with a little water and puree. After I started passing this ok - your body will actually when it's health make this mush solid, if you know waht I mean...if you flare is calm - I'd add one food every couple of days and see how I was...it was a slow process, Egg yolks, not the egg whites tend to be tolerated better so you could try this after feeling ok - I only used antibiotic range free eggs from local farmers - but I had the luxury of farmer's markets. then after having a nice variety of foods and feeling good I'd try things a little less mooshy - like stewed chicken for example. from there, things like very soft carrots, but actually not purreed - like the sort in the soup, zucchini, things like that...I didn't do hard things for months but back then I was really sick. After the first couple of years I'd get hints of a flare - more like IBS vs IBD, and I'd go back to the above protocol but would go through each much much faster.