Gaining Weight on a Paleo Diet

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Yesterday I listened to Chris Kresser’s podcast on how to gain weight on a Paleo diet. If you don’t have 36 minutes, I’ll summarize it quickly and then give you my thoughts.

  • Show starts with a recorded message from a man who wishes to gain weight on a Paleo diet, but he is also concerned about carbs. (oh dear)
  • The first half the show Chris goes into all kinds of ailments one could have that would prevent weight gain. If you are sick this section is worth listening to. Otherwise you’ll be a ball of stress.
  • The second half was valuable as it had all the dietary tricks. The main ones being don’t fear the carbs, eat starchy veggies and dairy if you can. Chris also likes high calorie smoothies.

At one point Chris advises to eat liberally from all the macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat. This is where my advice would deviate slightly. I would advise reducing protein. Protein reduces appetite. I cover this in the post Just Count Protein For Fat Loss.

The typical paleo diet is high in protein and low in carbs. That combo can result in lower appetite, lowered calorie intake and lowered body weight. Add in a newly found active lifestyle and you could really be in a caloric deficit. Fine if you need to lose weight, but not good if you are underweight.

Forget Paleo, Bring on the Ice Cream!

Chris didn’t say it but I will. Ice cream is the best food you can eat to gain weight. High flavor signal, low in protein and calorie dense. Oh nooz, what about the sugarz? Stop thinking about food as either good or bad. You can use “bad foods” as a tool to solve a bigger problem. If you are an over exercising, bacon eating, carb avoider stressed and unable to build an ounce of muscle on your scrawny body, ice cream is a godsend.

I’ve been there. A few years ago my super clean Paleo/WAPF diet became effortless. I was beyond lean. Thankfully I wasn’t over-exercising. My abs looked amazing, but my face looked gaunt, almost meth like. So I needed to find the best food that would upregulate my appetite. That research lead to my post Why Ice Cream is Better than Protein Powder.

It worked. I gained weight. My gaunt face is gone. My body temperature is higher. My sleep is deeper and I eat wonderful ice cream. 🙂

Chris did mention dairy kefir, which I also recommend if you are willing to make it on a regular basis. The store bought stuff is over priced and tends to be low-fat. If you can’t handle dairy, a single can of coconut milk packs 840 calories.

MAS at Molly Moon's Ice Cream

5 thoughts on “Gaining Weight on a Paleo Diet

  1. dhammy

    Love Chris Kresser. He’s about as common sense as they come in the whole dietary blogosphere. We need more of that.

  2. Brock in HK

    I have a different take on Kefir. Kefir just makes itself if you take care of it. 10-15 minutes to strain the grains and pour fresh milk in the jar with the grains. The main issue with Kefir is actually consuming what you make. I found myself well overstocked with jars of Kefir and was without much help to consume it. Maybe I was doing it wrong with jars that were too big, but I found Kefir was like tribbles, once you get it going.

    On the other hand, it does make a good, tangy base for home made ice cream, in case you haven’t tried that yet.

  3. @Brock – I had the same issue. I ended up with too much kefir. Being one not to waste food, I ended up consuming too many calories. Because I became overwhelmed with my kefir (tribbles), I eventually stopped making it. My grains died from neglect. Shame on me. My commitment to make kefir lasted for a little over a year.

    With ice cream I could limit the # of pints I purchased – well in theory. 🙂

  4. garymar

    I’ve been making and consuming kefir for well over a year now. Only make a liter at a time. I skim the top of the kefir for my next starter and put in the fridge with a little milk. There’s no problem with leaving the starter in for 3, 4 or 5 days, but usually the kefir is long gone before that so the process starts again.

    Well, my wife has grown to like it so we consume pretty fast, still, only a small cup each once or twice a day.

    Everybody talks about ‘grains’ but I only ever see clumps of milk solids, which seem to work fine. I probably ferment longer than most, so that after refrigerating the solids and the whey separate completely.

  5. James Steele

    With kefir I have two kilner jars going at once – one in the cupboard, one in the fridge.

    The grains are in the one in the cupboard. Each evening I strain it into the jar I keep in the fridge (which I empty first into my glass to drink or into the smoothie maker) and then add one pint of milk back to the jar I keep in the cupboard along with the grains. Takes all of 5 minutes and each day I have a one pint of kefir I can drink on its own, in a smoothie or with some OJ.

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