I am vegan and really want to gain weight. How do I get bigger in a healthy way while on a vegan diet? What should I eat, how should I work out?
By just plugging your title into Google, I got the following resources:
- How to gain weight on a vegetarian diet
- Protein in the Vegan Diet (important for muscle mass)
- High Calorie Vegan Foods?
- What are some high-calorie vegetarian meals?
- High Calorie diet for a vegan
You'd be surprised how easy this is. In fact many grocery stores have convenience vegan meals and many of the prepared meals have over 500 calories.
Legumes like lentils are carb and protein rich and can provide a good building block for increasing body weight. Another trick that high-calorie vegans can do is to add a lot of sugars and fats. I'd still keep your required protein, because muscle weighs more than fat, but you just need to eat a lot more than you burn.
Manipulating the pancreas to work with more carbs/sugars will increase the amount of time it is secreting insulin which traps excess sugar as fat. This is in contrast to carb cutting which increases the amount of time the pancreas secretes glucogon which burns fat. You still want the pancreas to have healthy cycles of each, but more carbs will help you pack on weight more quickly.
In general, if you increase your calories by 500 a day, you will gain about a pound a week. The general idea is that the Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories your body burns just being alive. Every 3500 calories in excess of the BMR will add a pound of fat. If your body burns 1500 calories a day, you will need to eat more than this to gain weight.
A good exercise program will help shape that weight. I do recommend setting a target weight, and adjusting your diet as you get close. I.e. keeping protein constant, balance the carbs in proportion and eat the appropriate amount of calories for your BMR. It's easier to put weight on than to take it off.
While it is not a vegan diet, this page has some practical advice for gaining weight:
It is just as hard to gain and keep weight on, as it is to lose it. See this study http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC292021 (discussed in detail here http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/10/first-law-of-thermodynamics-in-real.html) where lean people tried to gain as much weight as possible, tripling their calories and becoming sedentary. They had a hugely difficult time gaining, and lost it all quickly when the study ended.
The 500 calories per day = 1 pound per week fallacy has been debunked so many times it is laughable. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC506782/ The laws of thermodynamics which this type of logic relies on depends on a closed system, which the body definitely is not.
Don't let anyone tell you they know how to gain weight and keep it on. There are no clinical studies to support them. Following suggestions like "increase your sugar and carb intake" are completely unproven and possibly damaging to your health.
One food that you may want to consider adding or increasing the amount you have in your diet are Avocados. They are very nutrient dense and would most likely assist you in gaining weight.