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 Post subject: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:24 pm 
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My Gastro dr wants me to start taking Ensure while we are figuring out why my digestive tract hates me so much. I am unintentionally losing weight and I think it is causing my hair to fall out and my nails to break all the time.

Is there like a vegan version of Ensure? Or a way to make it? I was wondering if the Silk Fruit and Protein drink would help. I don't know though since it seems like it would just replace the room I have to eat food.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:33 pm 
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I think, besides the milk, Ensure is really just all about the vitamins, right? And simple sugars. I think that making a fruit/veggie smoothie blended up in a almond milk or some other milk base and with a vegan rice protein powder with some ice cubes would be a good place to start, anyways.
And i'm sure there is in existense somewhere on the internet a bottled, ready-to drink ensure type takeoff. It just may take some scouring to find it and some $$ to get it! I think the only things I've seen that are are prebottled are by Bolthouse Farms, they have a soy chai-something, so look for that?
eta: the Bolthouse Farms product is called Vanilla Chai Tea, and it is from their "cafes" line. It has soy protein though, and looks like brewed tea? so if tea would upset the stomach, or soy is possible allergenic to you, not so good. It's a yummy drink, though, and lots of protein. I like the Bolthouse farms drinks in general, and they do have a "juices" line, too, with lots of nutritious vitamins, but you may have to add your own protein to them.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:19 pm 
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I've never had Ensure, but it's like a meal-replacement drink, right? Svelte drinks are meal-replacement-type vegan drinks that have a bunch of added vitamins/minerals.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:46 pm 
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What about a nutritional shake mix that you could add into smoothies? They have loads of prepared protein vitamin drink mixes out there that are vegan. Vega One, Raw Life, Plant Fusion and a few others I've seen.

http://store.veganessentials.com/protei ... -c112.aspx

I know Vega One has probiotics and I think Plant Fusion does as well. (which would help the digestive health)

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:16 pm 
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enmommy wrote:
I don't know though since it seems like it would just replace the room I have to eat food.


I think the deal with Ensure is that it is easier to get calories in that way than with regular food, so for those that aren't eating well, using Ensure gets them more nutrition. If it replaced the room to eat food, it would hopefully be more calories via the liquid anyway, so helpful. I wish I knew what to substitute for it. I don't really. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:33 am 
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Maybe I will check out some of those powders. The reason I believe is just to get in more calories in hopes that I don't lose more weight. I guess I could try and eat more too, but that often leads to problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:57 am 
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kimba wrote:
enmommy wrote:
I don't know though since it seems like it would just replace the room I have to eat food.


I think the deal with Ensure is that it is easier to get calories in that way than with regular food, so for those that aren't eating well, using Ensure gets them more nutrition. If it replaced the room to eat food, it would hopefully be more calories via the liquid anyway, so helpful. I wish I knew what to substitute for it. I don't really. Good luck.


Isn't it also that the nutrients in Ensure are easier to digest? It sounds like you have gastric issues that are impeding your effective digestion of regular food perhaps? If you have questions, you might want to ask your GI specialist and figure out why Ensure and if s/he knows of a vegan substitute. And if you have an RD nearby you could work with that might help as well, esp because MDs have so little nutritional training.

If your hair is falling out and your nails are breaking, it sounds like there may be more deficiencies at play than just calories - it might be worth asking about adding flax or other Omega oils into your diet in a bio-available form.

Wishing you lots of good luck. It sounds like a difficult situation and I hope you get a solution soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:43 am 
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I second Vega. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:02 pm 
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Yikes some of this stuff is expensive. The dr told me to try it to make sure I didn't lose any more weight, while we are figuring out what is wrong. For the time being I bought some Cliff protein bars, because they are just under 300 calories each and didn't contain milk or animal products that I know of and I read the ingredients. There is a soy protein powder at my grocery store with similar nutrients, but I have to weight until grocery day when I have some money to spend.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:42 pm 
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In the mean time, are you taking a multi-vitamin? That could help.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:47 am 
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When I was in my coma my Mum made sure that the junk in my feeding tube was vegan....so it must exist!

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:09 am 
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As this situation is hopefully temporary and it is proving difficult to find a reasonably priced replacement, perhaps you could compromise on this issue for now and get the Ensure. Just wanted to put that out there - I don't think you should go broke on special vegan meal replacement drinks. Consider this a medical necessity.

If you are able to see a dietitian, you might be able to determine if a soymilk shake or something else would be a suitable alternative. From what I can tell, soymilk does not contain all of the vitamins and mineral that Ensure contains, but it's hard to say what would be most important for you. If you can't see a dietitian in real life, you might try asking Ginny Messina at theveganRD.com


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:50 am 
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My brother had to drink a ton of ensure while he was in the hospital several years ago. I just want to second that since your health seems to be at risk, if you need to drink a non vegan meal replacement, go for it. Don't compromise your health or your pocketbook to remain vegan during this difficult time. It is better for you to get the nutrition you need.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:22 am 
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Rowan wrote:
When I was in my coma my Mum made sure that the junk in my feeding tube was vegan....so it must exist!


Tube feeding mixtures are likely to be much more expensive than Ensure - possibly orders of magnitude more, although I'm not sure of the actual cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Yeah, you guys are probably right. I did see they had a lactose free Ensure, even though it contains milk. I could maybe get that. I did have a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis and get the results on Tuesday.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Beanitarian wrote:
Rowan wrote:
When I was in my coma my Mum made sure that the junk in my feeding tube was vegan....so it must exist!


Tube feeding mixtures are likely to be much more expensive than Ensure - possibly orders of magnitude more, although I'm not sure of the actual cost.


Um, ok- sorry? I was merely saying it existed. I shall cease any discussion of my bourgeois NG tube dining.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Rowan wrote:
Beanitarian wrote:
Rowan wrote:
When I was in my coma my Mum made sure that the junk in my feeding tube was vegan....so it must exist!


Tube feeding mixtures are likely to be much more expensive than Ensure - possibly orders of magnitude more, although I'm not sure of the actual cost.


Um, ok- sorry? I was merely saying it existed. I shall cease any discussion of my bourgeois NG tube dining.


Sorry, didn't mean to sound snippy, but the OP did mention cost was an issue. I definitely wasn't trying to say anything about the cost of tube feeding being inappropriate - those tube feed mixtures are often made from mixes of purified or synthetically made nutrients - amino acids, specific types of fats, sugars, vitamins, etc. Definitely necessary for people in comas and people who get 100% of their nutrition from tube feeds, but I know they are pretty expensive. People who require only supplemental tube feeding long term will use Ensure or a similar product because they are cheaper.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Thank you for letting me know that vegan ensure does exist :) Scary why you know that though.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:07 am 
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The Bolthouse Farm Vanilla Tea thing is way yummy - I drank a lot of it as a meal replacement after my gum surgeries when I needed to keep my protein level up, but couldn't chew much of anything.

At one point several years ago SlimFast had a vegan pre-made shake, I don't know if they still do, but it's possible their powdered stuff is vegan and you can mix it with soy milk. Even though SlimFast is marketed toward people trying to lose weight and Ensure is toward people trying to maintain/gain, the goal of a nutritious meal replacement is basically the same. That or another marketed toward weight loss kind of shake might be worth looking into. There are also tons of vegan meal replacement shake mixes on the market, although they are pricey. Vega is one brand I know of.

My first line of defense if I were trying to pack on weight would be soy ice cream shakes with powdered vitamins and protein powder added in, but your mileage may vary (by the way, if you look at the Ensure ingredients, that's basically what it is - sugar, oil, protein, and added vitamins and minerals).

Clif bars are great, but might be a bit filling which is a problem if you're having a hard time getting enough calories in. You can also make your own energy bars at home (do a google search, there are lots of recipes out there). Ones that contain peanut butter and/or dried fruit will give you the most calories per bite.

Another kind of crazy thought is infant formula. There aren't any truly vegan infant formulas out there (even the soy ones have animal-derived Vitamin D in them), but they come close, and besides the protein content, their ingredients look nearly identical to Ensure. If you could mix up powdered soy formula with a good-tasting vegan protein powder, you'd be pretty close to replicating Ensure. I'd also take a multivitamin on the side, as their vitamin content is geared toward infants, not adults.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:17 am 
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I think my grocery store has Bolthouse drinks, I have seen them somewhere. I agree with the Cliff bars, after I eat one, I can't eat anything else. Thanks for the slimfast idea, I am going to check those because they come in store brand too. I hate to say it but money is a big thing. Part of the reason I haven't been to the dr until now and I do have insurance. Co pays add up fast, along with meds. I wish I had a money tree in the backyard :)


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:58 am 
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I don't know if this will help if you have digestive issues, but Chocolate Covered Katie wrote a blog post about healthy foods for weight gain:

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/0 ... orie-diet/

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:37 pm 
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That is a good blog, and I am actually familiar with a lot of those ideas because my first born was a wee little 5lb-er who to this day is still a very petite little girl. She only gets heathly higher calorie higher fat foods from me. I try to eat like that myself but sometimes I just can't eat that stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Have you seen the Ensure brand juice? It's called Enlive. I have a feeling that most meal replacements, even if they didn't have dairy, would probably have non vegan vitamins in them. Most that I have seen have vitamin D3.
in regards to tube feeding formulas, yeah they'd be expensive, but also, they don't taste good because they aren't meant to be taken by mouth. some of them are vanilla flavored, but i've heard they taste really awful. If you'd be drinking the ensure to try to supplement calories, i'm sure you could do it other ways. If you can get a consult with a dietitian that would definitely be the best thing. Ensure is just the easiest way to do it, but if the only reason your doc is asking you to drink it is to add calories, you can find better vegan ways. cliff builder bars don't have as many calories, but they have more protein than an ensure.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:25 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
they don't taste good because they aren't meant to be taken by mouth.


They don't. And yeah- sorry if I got defensive- just saying I know something of the sort must be out there.

Maybe this is a stupid question and forgive me if it was already answered, but are you able to see a dietician? They should at least know i there's something out there.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan "Ensure"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:32 am 
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I am sure I could see a dietician if this is going to be a long term issue. I have another dr appt tomorrow to discuss some test results, so I can ask him then. I bet if he referred me, it might even be covered by insurance. The lady I saw when I had gestational diabetes was covered.


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