People who have traded-in animal products in favor of vegetables often wonder how to gain weight as a vegan.
And if you are a vegan, you may have asked yourself the same question at some point.
Whenever the topic of weight comes up, more focus falls on those looking to reduce a pound or two. But the least-represented group are people trying to gain weight. Here are numerous reasons why vegans would want to put on weight. That is:
- Having a high metabolism which affects your ability to retain fat.
- Suffering from a debilitating physical or mental condition that causes you to lose weight rapidly.
- Personal preference – You may want to be curvy with a Beyoncé-like posterior or be buffed like Bruce Wayne.
- Career requirements – Professional athletes and weightlifters, may have to meet a minimum weight industrial parameter to be featured in competitive games. For instance, heavyweight boxers have to be a certain weight to qualify for the category.
The resources allocated to developing strategies and solutions to promote weight-gain are scarce. But it is an actual issue that affects some people’s quality of life.
As you delve deeper into the topic, you will explore a couple of ways through which vegans can put on weight. However, can you first understand why vegans find it challenging to add extra pounds?
Why Is It Difficult To Gain Weight As A Vegan?
Like all strategies for losing weight, one often has to change their lifestyle and eating habits to achieve the contrary, whether vegetarian or not.
There are numerous reasons why one would want to gain weight. The situation becomes direr if you are vegan and clinically underweight.
If your BMI falls below the normal range, you are susceptible to various illnesses like fertility issues, loss of bone mass, or a weakened immune system. But it takes more than just stacking up on calories.
You will gain bodily mass from stuffing yourself with potato chips, fast food shakes, and candy bars, but your health will be no better. You will be prone to more weight-related conditions and disorders like high cholesterol and obesity.
If your metabolism rate is higher than average, you will find yourself losing body mass faster than you are gaining.
Your metabolic rate may be rapid due to genetics or a pre-existing medical condition like a thyroid imbalance. Or your meal plan may include vegan meals whose calorific value does not encourage mass buildup.
However, this is no reason to lick a whole bag of sugar or drink store-bought shakes. There is no valid reason to compromise a healthy diet just because you want to know how to gain weight as a vegan. It is possible to adhere to your lifestyle, eat more calories, and remain fit.
Some proven solutions for vegans include eating protein-rich foods, high-fiber carbs, and whole foods. Add a workout plan to the mix, and you have the perfect combination. Come up with a plan to guide your weight-gain journey.
The Internet is awash with vegan-inspired recipes that you can try at home.
If you have the resources, you can consult a nutritionist for a thorough assessment. They will look at your medical history, genetics, and blood work before recommending a plant-based meal plan that’s suited for your specific case.
Understanding Muscle Growth and Fat Growth
You may have seen images or videos of buff people on TV, in magazines, and online; but your plant-based diet has you asking how to gain weight as a vegan.
Not to worry, even vegan athletes face the same issue. There are hundreds of runners, MMA fighters, NFL players, and even weightlifters on a plant-based diet.
Take a look at a 76-year old former bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He is transitioning from a meat-based diet and currently has an almost vegan regime (he sometimes puts an egg into his shakes). It is indisputable that he is in excellent shape, as you can still see the muscle mass on him.
A common misconception is that one requires a diet high in animal protein to build muscle. We beg to differ.
You can still get ripped on plant proteins. And the same applies to women who are afraid of losing their butt or wish to be curvy after they forgo meat. The process is the same for both vegans and non-vegans. Below is how you do it:
- Begin exercising – Muscle mass and curves will not sprout out of thin air. You have to put in work. Have a workout routine and adhere to it. Remember to rest after completed sessions to avoid burning out. Never overlook the importance of sleep and rest.
- Introduce healthy carbs to your diet – And we’re not talking of processed sugars; instead, opt for simple and complex carbohydrates of whole foods like grains, pulses, and tubers.
- Eat more plant-based protein like legumes, nuts, cereals, and protein shakes.
- Incorporate foods that are high in calories. You can opt to reduce the quantity you consume per sitting to help stay within your limits.
- Increase the portion of your main meals – Have an extra serving onto your plate so your body can stack up on proteins and carbs, which help you gain weight quicker. Perhaps, adding a snack like chia seeds pudding whenever you have the main meal would do the trick.
- And finally, have the right mindset– Where there is a will, there’s a way. Once you believe you can build muscle mass and retain fat without animal products, it is easier to adhere to diet and exercise.
Therefore, exercise patience and maintain consistency for successful healthy weight gain.
What Products or Supplements Should You Include In Your Diet?
Protein-Rich Vegan Foods
For healthy weight gain without animal products, make use of plant-based proteins that are high in calories, such as:
Peanuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and more are excellent high-quality protein sources. The best thing is because you aim to put on extra pounds, you don’t have to be mindful of the quantity you consume.
You can have them roasted or raw, whole, crushed, or ground-up. Eat these proteins as a snack, put them in your salads and food, or infuse them with your favorite shake. Nuts are versatile products in our kitchens.
Also, you get to benefit from other properties in some nut varieties. For instance, Brazil nuts are super food favored for their ability to fight cancer.
Fatty fruits and nutritious veggies
Fruits like creamy avocados are high in fat and fiber. They feature prominently in meal plans of vegetarians looking to gain weight but stay healthy. Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and edamame are viable sources of plant protein.
An excellent way to introduce fruits and vegetables is through salads and smoothies. You have more leeway to make them as tasty as you like without compromising on quality. When you cook veggies, ensure you use organic oils that promote healthy weight gains like coconut, peanut, and olive oil.
Milk from plants
Thanks to technological innovation in the food production industry, numerous non-dairy types are derived from different plants. There is milk from almonds, hemp seeds, peas, amaranth, coconut, and soy, to name a few.
Whether you are still not accustomed to the plant-based diet plan or want to take the fastest route to your goals, supplements are the industries hack to these problems.
There are multiple vegan protein powder shakes you can access in the market. These products help you achieve your daily calorie intake without drastic changes to your diet. Most of them are derived from a blended mix of protein-rich superfoods and pseudo-grains like soy, spinach, quinoa, and flax seeds.
The majority of these powdered supplements are store-bought. You can utilize the Internet to establish which the best mass gainer is for you. A significant downside is that some brands are costly. They may set you back a few hundred dollars each month.
If you have a limited budget, opt for DIY recipes. All you need are the necessary ingredients and a blender to make protein shakes at home. Ask a dietitian, friends, and family for weight-gain recipes they can recommend. Or create your own to suit your tastes.
Are you thinking of adding a few pounds or kilos while on a plant-based diet?
Just because vegans choose to indulge in carrots, quinoa, and tofu does not mean they cannot gain weight. All you are required to do is watch what you eat, have a regular exercise régime, and have patience.
The tips mentioned above may help you achieve your goals. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.