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Blog - women's health

How to Gain Weight on a Raw Vegan Diet

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Despite the raw vegan diet's reputation for creating slimmer physiques, one can easily gain and maintain a higher weight on a raw vegan diet. And when one gains weight on a raw vegan plan they can do it far more healthfully than on any other type of diet, including vegetarian. In order to gain weight on a raw vegan diet one must focus on adding more calorie and fat dense foods to their menu. Fortunately, fat dense raw whole foods contain only “good” fats, which benefit the body in myriad ways. So, while one puts on extra weight, they can be secure in the knowledge that their heart and other organs won't suffer for it.

Calories and Fat

To gain weight one must, obviously, consume more calories. A raw vegan diet is, by its very nature, lower in calories and fat than most others. So, one must eat more of the high calorie whole foods to rack up the pounds, which are usually the most fatty whole foods as well.

One of the best things about a raw vegan diet is its fat profile. Even the most fattening raw whole foods contain only “good fats”, heart healthy fats. Even the saturated fats found in raw whole foods are good for you. The fats in fresh, raw whole foods have not been subjected to heat, so they will not be rancid nor go rancid anytime soon; they have a long shelf-life, which saves money when purchasing in bulk.

Below, I have listed the most calorie dense raw whole foods that can be easily found in the average grocery store and farmer's market across America. And these foods are not just higher in calories than the average whole food, they contain quite a bit of fat as well. Exactly what one needs when trying to pack on the pounds and maintain them.

Calorie Dense Raw Whole Foods

  • Sunflower seeds 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Hemps seeds 
  • Pumpkin seeds 
  • Pecans 
  • Pine nuts 
  • Brazil nuts 
  • Walnuts 
  • Coconuts 
  • Avocados 
  • Bananas 
  • Mangoes 
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Dried fruits: figs, apricots, cranberries, prunes and grapes

Seeds and nuts are great on their own, as a snack, or added to fruit salads and vegetable dishes to make them taste better and add texture. The fruits and vegetable I listed can be eaten alone and/or mixed with any other foods. I have taken care to only list foods which will be the most effective for a weight gain regimen, are relatively inexpensive and can be eaten raw and untreated. Their calories per servings, fat, protein and fiber content are enumerated below.

Just one cup of sunflower seeds contains 818 calories, 72 grams of fat (6g saturated, 32g polyunsaturated, 26g monounsaturated), 29g protein and 12g fiber. One needn't eat an entire cup, but one could. They are delicious.

One ounce of chia seeds contains 138 calories, 9 grams of fat (0.9g saturated, 7g polyunsaturated, 0.7g monounsaturated), 4g protein and 11g fiber.

One ounce of hemp seeds contains 162 calories, 13 grams of fat (1g saturated, 12g unsaturated), 10g protein and 1g fiber.

One cup pumpkin seeds contains 285 calories, 12 grams of fat (2.3g saturated, 6g polyunsaturated, 3.7g monounsaturated), 12g protein and 12 g fiber.

One ounce of pecans contains 196 calories, 20 grams of fat (1.8g saturated, 6g polyunsaturated, 12g monounsaturated), 2.6g protein and 2.7g fiber.

One cup of pine nuts contain 909 calories, 92 grams of fat (7g saturated, 46g polyunsaturated, 25g monounsaturated), 18g protein and 5g fiber. Just avoid buying pine nuts imported from China, as they have been linked to “pine mouth”, a condition that lead to a bitter taste in one's mouth and a powerful feeling of disgust when one eats anything following the consumption of affected pine nuts.

One ounce of Brazil nuts contains 184 calories, 19 grams of fat (4.3 saturated, 6g polyunsaturated, 7g monounsaturated), 4g protein and 2g fiber. Do not eat more than a one ounce serving of Brazil nuts, and no more than a few times per week. Brazil nuts are extremely rich in the mineral selenium, which is essential to immune system functioning but can cause toxicity when consumed in high quantities over a long period of time.

One ounce (or 14 halves) of walnuts contain 185 calories, 18 grams of fat (1.7g saturated, 13g polyunsaturated, 2.5g monounsaturated), 4.3g protein and 1.9g fiber.

One medium coconut contains a whopping 1405 calories, 133 grams of fat (118g saturated, 1.5g polyunsaturated, 6g monounsaturated), 13g protein and 36g fiber. Needless to say, if one eats just one medium sized coconut each week they will pack on a significant number of pounds in no time.

One cup sliced avocado contains 234 calories, 21 grams of fat (3.1g saturated, 2.7g polyunsaturated, 14g monounsaturated), 2.9g protein and 10g fiber.

One medium banana contains 105 calories, 0.4 grams of fat (0.1g saturated and 0.1g polyunsaturated), 1.3g protein and 3.1g fiber. Bananas are the lowest calorie and second lowest fat item on the list, but they can still get the job done. And because bananas are so sweet and have such great texture, they combine well with other foods, both as smoothies and as a solid.

One medium (336 grams) mango contains 201 calories, 1.3 grams of fat (0.3g saturated, 0.2g polyunsaturated, 0.5g monounsaturated), 2.8g protein and 5g fiber. Mangoes also contain a huge supply of vitamin C – more than twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

One cup of cubed sweet potato contains 114 calories, 0.1 gram of fat, 2.1g protein and 4g fiber.

Dried fruits are very high in calories when eaten by the cupful. They are devoid of water and are less filling, so you can eat more of them. Ordinarily, I would never recommend dried fruit, I believe fresh is best, but if one wishes to gain weight dried fruit are a quick and easy way to make that happen. And you needn't settle for what is available in your local market, you can dry fruits like bananas, mangoes and more, in your own home.

As you can see, there are many raw whole foods that can assist one in gaining and maintaining a higher weight. In fact, overeating some of these foods could lead to obesity. But this just goes to show how balanced nature and raw whole foods truly are, and how easy it is to gain weight and maintain that weight gain on a raw vegan diet, and without breaking the bank. It's all in what you choose and how much you consume. 


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