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Liquid Nutrition Club

I've been on Ensure Plus and water for a week now. My flare has stopped getting worse and I'm starting to return to normal. If this keeps up I'll try lowering my prednisone in another week!

... But I saw a commercial for a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito from Taco bell a few days ago and its all I can think about! I'm going crazy! I don't even like Taco Bell! But I can't give in, its got every ingredient I have to stay away from. Maybe I'll buy one and just lick it...

How do you handle the cravings?

How do you handle watching the rest of your family and friends eat good food while you're on a liquid diet?

What do you snack on while watching TV? Ice chips? Ensure pudding?



Hi Chuck2008,

I am a former member of the LNC (I chose not to renew my membership... they have increased the fees since I first joined!) so I can share with you my personal experiences. I was on a liquid only diet for about 4 months (ensure/boost, soups, juiced vegetables/fruits) so I know what it is like to have cravings and have to "eat" with others.

I was somewhat obsessed with food the entire period, however I found it easy to not want to eat anything solid. My obsession came out through watching the food network every single night for a couple of hours after dinner. This may not sound too strange, but never in my life have I had interest in any of the food network shows and now all of a sudden I could not stop watching!

For me I saw solid food as the equivalent of poison/an allergy. I knew that I had to stay on a liquid food diet and the thought of the pain I would have to go through if I did cheat and eat solid food was enough for me to stick with the liquids.

Do whatever you can to make taking the Ensure more tolerable (I found it best when it was colder) and if you have access to different flavors try them all and rotate taking different flavors to keep your daily intake more interesting. I personally would have the same breakfast every day and a similar lunch/dinner but would change things up as desired.

When eating with family, I once again went with the idea that solid food was like something I was allergic to and was ok to "eat" with others knowing that the dinner I had was at least of my choosing (in terms of flavor). Over time while my food network obsession remained I became less focused on desiring to eat solid food and the very thought of eating such food was very uninteresting to me.

The hardest thing for me was that I used to be a night snacker, and I did not find anything to replace that desire (well I guess that is why I watched the food network at this time). After some time though the desire remained, but was greatly diminished. When I did return to eating solid food I even stopped night time snacking after the experience, which was a positive thing for me (as my snacking would have been junk food).

Overall, the main lesson I think I can give is that your cravings will diminish over time. Don't consider your liquid diet as a choice but rather as a requirement that you have to follow. Soon you will be able to give back your liquid nutrition membership yourself so don't worry too much about this in the short-term and good luck trying all the flavors (I counted 5 Ensure Plus flavors on the website... hopefully you have access to them all).

Good idea about the different flavours! It would give me something to look forward to if I had a color coded meal. Red for breakfast, Brown for lunch, and white for supper :). I'll get some assorted ones next time, I just bought a whole months supply of chocolate and am 2 weeks in.

Funny thing that you mention the food network because I do the exact same thing! If I can't eat anything, at least I can enjoy looking at it. My favourite shows are Iron Chef (not so much the american version), and all of the chef Ramsay shows, but I watch a lot of them.

Anyway, so far so good, my Crohns flare up is gone but I'm not sure if its because the increased prednisone (10mg/day now) kicked in, or the liquid nutrition. But I'm going to start to move my prednisone back down to where it was at 5mg over the next month or so and see what happens.
Just a quite update... Drinking Ensure put me in complete remissions with no symptoms for several months now, which is why I haven't been on this forum for a long time. Drinking them is part of my lifestyle now and I'm completely used to it, in fact they're delicious! But I go out for dinner once a week and have an extra large coffee once a day too..

Just in case anyone out there is considering trying liquid nutrition, I wanted to come back and say that it might work for you too (but we all know what works for one person doesn't always work for others). However, research shows that liquid nutritions is as effective as prednisone in inducing remissions.

Over and out! See everyone when my next flare starts in the future. In the meantime I'm enjoying life! :)
Glad to hear LNC worked for you! Right now, I've got one foot in the door. Debating if I want to pay the fee or not though. :) I have to agree that Ensure has become part of my lifestyle. Actually, they are my breakfast every morning. If anyone ever has a problem with their tastes, I tell them to use a straw. Everything is always more tolerable with straws. I learned this with colonoscopy preps!

Again, glad yo're doing much better. Enjoy life! :D <3
I tried ensure only diet for 8 days and I ended up in way worse condition than I was before. Of course, all of my inflammation is in my colon so that could've been the problem.
Thanks Jessica! Yes these ensures started out being pretty good tasting (ensure plus chocolate), but after a few days of drinking them, they become delicious. I don't mean delicious in an insincere marketing slogan kind of way, I mean honestly delicious- like I wish I was able to drink 3 times as many of them in a day just because they taste so good. Its like having a chocolate milkshake but only being allowed to drink a 3rd of it to avoid getting too many calories. So I have no problem living on them. The trick is getting them cheap, which I do by making special orders through my local pharmacy ($8.99 for 6 bottles). I drink about 8 of them a day. A woman could probably get away with 6 a day, they're 355 calories each..
Hi Poppysocks: From what I've read it takes 6 weeks of drinking nothing but ensure and water to put you in remission. But if you stick it out, it is shown in studies to be almost as effective as prednisone. I don't think 8 days is long enough, I was feeling better after a couple weeks but the symptoms didn't completely go away until at least a month went by. Not sure why it takes so long, but for me it definately worked as promised.

Its also important that you never cheat during this time and eat any of your favourite foods, even once. Because if crohn's is caused by dietary triggers (nobody knows for sure yet), and you eat that even once, you would undo all the benefits of the liquid nutrition that you spent so much money on, and be back at square one with inflammation.

I'm just starting to introduce solid foods again, trying to see what I can and can't get away with. But nothing is really triggering a flareup so far.. but just to be safe I'm still using ensure regularly and hey, they taste great, they're convenient, and I know I'm getting complete nutrition every day so why not :)

Hope it starts to work for you!


Hiya for Meg it was a necessity! Her bowel had closed up and Ensure was keeping her alive!!!! This was for 12 weeks before her bowel resection. Any food made her vomit. She could have sprite or 7 up as a drink. As a 16 year she just accepted it!!! And never complained!!!
Good luck stick with it xxx
No they are 355 calories but they are perfectly balanced calories (carbs/protein/fats) in the correct percentages of ideal daily nutrition. If they had an unhealthy amount of carbs in them I'd probably be overweight now after drinking them for 3+ months every day, but I'm in great shape (I'm 40 years old, so it doesn't take much to get me out of shape) :)

They also have the high protein version which have less calories, but I would have to drink several more per day to get my calories and that means a lot more money.
I have to avoid fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods which makes my symptoms worse. Glad its working for you though, you are right it would save a ton of money. I spend $400/month on ensure...
I have to avoid fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods which makes my symptoms worse. Glad its working for you though, you are right it would save a ton of money. I spend $400/month on ensure...
Right there with ya, Chuck. It's not just breaking down the veggies for me. It's something in them. I can do the Ensure's just fine. Too much fruit juice or v8's and I'm screwed.
I am 100% in remission and feeling great. Zero symptoms. Single normal bowel movement every morning, no stomach aches, nothing. I hope it lasts! Usually the fall/winter is when I get a flare-up.

I just saw my gastroenterologist this morning and made a follow up appointment for next summer.