Saturday, 25 August 2012 10:10

How To Gain Weight on the Vegan Diet

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It might seem strange to do an article on gaining weight when most people are concerned with losing it, but I've received several questions from women and men who are struggling to keep weight on the plant-based diet. I don't have any experience with this personally (aside from writing this article for veg men), so I turned to my friend for advice because she dealt with and overcome this challenge. She wrote up a great piece entitled, "Gaining My Health Back to Life The Vegan Way":

The question was,

I was wondering if you may have any advice on gaining weight. I am not a vegan but I rarely eat eggs or milk products. I have high metabolism and it is hard for me. I eat constantly and still won't gain. People always assume I am anorexic and I hate it. So any advice would be greatly appreciated."

Here is my friend's advice:

1. Eat foods that are higher in calories. (not junk food and fast food)
In order to gain weight, you need to eat more than you burn. This was hard for me because I get full very quickly. So, I chose foods that are dense. These include nuts, nut butter, avocados, oils, granola, high-calorie condiments (vegan mayo, oil-based dressings), and dense food bars. Add these to all your meals. Add one tbsp more oil than you are used to. If you ate only one-fourth of an avocado, trying eating half in the morning and the rest in the evening. Important thing is that it's not just about the calories but nutrients as well. So try not to choose empty calories.

2. Eat and snack often:
I snacked every two hours when I was trying to gain health. Even if I wasn't hungry, I ate. Rather than thinking 'OMG, I have to eat again?', I focused on enjoying the flavors and textures.

3. Have balanced meals:
I didn't focus too much on the serving amount but I always had a combination of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in my meals.

4. Eat more dried fruits than fresh:
Dried fruits are higher in calories and less in water content, meaning you don't get full as fast. For example, choose raisins over grapes and dried mango slices over fresh mangos. Fresh fruits have high water content, which can lead to fullness quicker.

5. Drink your food:
Fresh fruit juices are high in calories and also in vitamins. Meal replacement drinks and smoothies work too. You can add in fruits, protein powders, and even organic silken tofu!

6. Have a snack before bedtime:
My favorites were banana almond butter sandwich and protein shake (when I didn't have much time to prepare).

7. Cut back on cardio/workin out:
I used to be addicted to working out. This isn't healthy because too much of anything is bad. So I cut back drastically on running and other forms of working out. This helped me to not burn as much calories and focus on gaining my health. After I gained some weight, I started weight training to gain muscle mass (but not from the start).

We hope this helps those who need it and would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!

Header photo by Janine on Flickr

Read 123779 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 March 2021 23:25