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How to Gain Weight as a Vegan

Vegetarianism has become extremely mainstream over the last decade, and it is extremely normal to see restaurants catering purely to non-meat eaters these days.

A selection of vegan foods on a dark background.

Photo by Ruth Georgiev on Unsplash

Veganism, however, has been a little slower to catch on. Nevertheless, in the UK, Veganuary 2022 was the most popular it has been. Over 600,000 people chose to live with a vegan diet for one month.

As more people become aware of how lifestyle choices can improve their health, and also their mental wellness, veganism is catching on. 

Veganism is more than a diet though, it is a lifestyle. And it is the commitment it takes that perhaps stops some people from fully embracing veganism. 

There are a few other concerns with veganism too. One of these is putting on weight. This can be particularly problematic for anyone looking to put on muscle mass while avoiding meat.

How popular is veganism today?

Compared to vegetarianism, veganism is almost in its infancy. It is said that there are around 80 million vegans in the world. Accurate figures for vegetarians are hard to nail down, but it would appear that perhaps 15% of the world’s population are vegetarian.

According to the Vegan Society, India has the most non-meat eaters in the world. Africa by contrast has the fewest vegans and vegetarians, especially if you remove South Africa from the equation.

In many countries such as India, vegetarianism is more of a religious choice than it is done for lifestyle or health.

Yet, it is becoming clear just by following the media that veganism is a growing movement, and retailers and restaurants are having to ensure they cater to this group.

What are the concerns about becoming a vegan?

Making the step to becoming a vegan can be daunting. This is real even for a person who has been a full-time vegetarian for many years.

The initial worry may be that food choices will be limited. However, the catering industry is working hard at developing intriguing and tasty vegan options. Indeed, there are many vegan recipes that will blow your mind

Then there are the non-food animal products to consider. Out with leather shoes, belts, and anything that has wool or fur.

Social aspects are another concern for someone turning vegan. When someone changes their lifestyle there always comes the inevitable questioning. And someone adopting a vegan lifestyle might start to wonder if there will be fewer invites to dinner.

Eating a whole plant-based diet can lead to concerns about nutrients and weight loss. It can be easy to drop weight when becoming a vegan. This will be of concern for any regular gym-goer who doesn’t want to lose any muscle mass. 

How can you gain weight as a vegan?

If you simply feel that you are underweight and need to add a few pounds, then you can look at high-calorie vegan food. 

It may seem surprising but being a vegan doesn’t mean that your food will always be low in calories or fat. 

Some high-calorie options for vegans include these: 

Avocados

Coconut

Olive oil

Sweet potatoes

Nuts

Beans

Rice

Chickpeas 

You can also use dried fruit as snacks, and these are also packed with vitamins and other goodness. You can try making your own smoothies too as an easy but tasty way to cram in some extra calories.

What if you need to gain real weight though? Someone into bodybuilding or looking to bulk up may need more than a few avocados.

Can you gain real mass as a vegan?

Becoming a vegan should be a way to improve your lifestyle. If it, then encroaches on areas such as exercise you might not gain all the benefits that you should. There is also the risk that you will turn away from veganism. 

As a vegan, you may not be a stranger to taking supplements. A carefully planned vegan diet should provide all the nutrients and vitamins that a person needs to live a healthy life. Some minerals such as zinc may be harder to come by, so some vegans will take a multivitamin with minerals to help. 

Adding muscle mass though means being able to consume up to 500 calories a day more than you burn off. On a vegan diet, this can be challenging.

Just as there are supplements for vitamin deficiencies, there are also supplements for mass gain. The best vegan mass gainer will contain high-quality proteins, whole grains, and organic greens.

Is taking a mass gainer safe?

Veganism is supposed to be a healthy lifestyle, so adding supplements to the diet may appear to go against the grain.

However, it is all about how you choose your supplements. A health professional or nutritionist can advise on whether your diet is lacking in any minerals or vitamins.

You can then adjust your diet as appropriate or look for quality supplements. The same is to be said for mass gainers.

When choosing a quality mass gainer, you don’t want something that is simply going to pump you full of calories. Consuming a product with low-grade proteins and fats will undermine your vegan diet.

Instead, look for whole grains and organic ingredients. You should use mass gainers that use non-GMO vegetables and are low in sugar.

Is veganism a healthy lifestyle?

As veganism is still very much a newly adopted lifestyle, there is little research on how it may affect long-term health.

However, there are clear benefits to reducing or removing meat from a diet. A plant-based diet is likely to reduce the risks of obesity, heart disease, and lower cholesterol.

Vegans believe that their diets help to improve their gut health. Diabetes becomes less of a risk, cholesterol levels can lower, and there may be less risk of dementia in later life.

What about the planet? Can veganism help the environment?

According to Statista, the value of the global food market is expected to grow to $22.27 billion by 2025. This is something that many in the meat industry are concerned about.

As less meat is consumed it could be presumed that the planet will benefit in several ways. Firstly, huge areas of the world have been deforested to make way for cattle farming.

Meat production means greenhouse gas emissions, the destruction of habitats, soil degradation, and sometimes the use of toxic chemicals such as pesticides. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole world should turn vegan though. Poorer countries rely on a mixed diet to receive enough nutrients and may not be able to adapt to veganism as the west can.

Nevertheless, in many countries, and certainly in any developed nation, reducing meat would help with health for the individual and the planet.

Summary

Switching to a plant-based diet can seem very appealing, but it comes with some difficulties. Speaking to a nutritionist will make the transition easier as they can advise on how you can receive all the nutrients your body needs.

Searching out websites such as this can reveal excellent vegan recipes which will certainly help the transition when you are craving your old treats.

If you find that you are suddenly losing weight, then choose the more calorific vegan food or look for a mass gainer. Just ensure that it contains quality proteins, whole grains, and non-GMO veggies.

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