Please consult your doctor and dietitian before using information on this page. This is a medically supervised diet and should be done in conjunction with your healthcare team to ensure adequate nutrition for health and healing. Never attempt these diets without the support of your medical team.
Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is a nutritional therapy where 100% of the person’s nutrition needs are met via a formula alone. No other foods or beverages (other than water) are allowed. Many of my patients ask about diets to help reduce IBD inflammation, and EEN is an option that has the most published evidence behind it. Studies show that it helps to reduce inflammation in active Crohn’s disease at a rate equivalent to steroids. How does it do this? There are many hypotheses: via modulation of the microbiota to a less inflammatory state, via reducing dietary antigens, via reducing production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. We know it works. And it tends to work better in children… because they are compliant with it! Research shows that adults are less likely to complete an EEN trial either due to formula intolerance, lack of motivation to continue, lack of provider support, or other reasons.
An EEN trial can vary depending on disease severity, response to the EEN trial, tolerance, and other factors. A period of 4-12 weeks is recommended for EEN. I have decided to go on an EEN trial as a way to support my patients! I know this won’t be easy, but I feel like I should experience at least some of what it’s like to give up food for a month. Several formulas are available for EEN (whole protein, low fat, pre-digested), but the more “intact” or whole the protein is in the formula, the better the taste, and the cheaper the formula. I tried several different formulas before deciding on Orgain for my EEN trial. I liked the taste of Orgain, I tolerated it better than the others I tried, and I liked the ingredients (organic fruit+veggie blend, less sugar than other brands, no maltodextrin or carrageenan, and whey protein sourced from grass fed cows). Full disclosure, Orgain is supporting my EEN trial, but I am keeping my reported experiences as unbiased and honest as possible.
This is week ONE on my Orgain EEN trial. The first day was the hardest — I had to fast in the morning for a procedure, and that resulted in me having to drink all of my shakes within a shorter time frame. I felt full, bloated, uncomfortable. The second day was easier — I spaced my shakes out to regular “meal” periods: 2 for breakfast, 2 for lunch, 2 for dinner. This was much easier to tolerate. I had some gurgling. I also noticed a change in my stool color (much like the chocolate/strawberry Orgain color), kind of tan/orange, and consistency (like baby poop!). The formulas also leave a sort of film in the mouth, and I learned early on to carry a toothbrush around work to help get rid of this after my meals. Food cravings were more intense on days 2-6, and now by day 7 I am feeling more “normal” on the EEN. It’s still hard to smell other’s meals at work or home, but the formula is satisfying my hunger. I am missing texture and decided to celebrate the end of my first week on EEN by making ice pops from the Orgain, and I loved the change in routine and flavor! I am drinking enough to maintain my weight (my goal). Week ONE is DONE! And now on to week two…