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Adding calories without supplements????

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:00 pm
by yevlar2
I have a rather unique problem. Like many others, I'm grossly underweight (28 years old, 6' 4" tall, 135 lbs) and looking to pack on a few pounds and ascend to the legions of the Healthy. I managed to gain 20 pounds over a three year period thanks to mild weight training and lots of milk (yeah, I was THAT thin). However, this was while I ignored the fact that I was lactose intolerant. Due largely to this ignorance, and drinking 2 gallons of milk per week for 2 years solid, I wound up with glorious lower digestive problems that now prevent me from eating ANY dairy whatsoever (including lactose-free milk and whey-containing margarines.) These issues now also extend to greasy, fatty foods, eggs, and I must limit my intake of red meat considerably (no more than once per week), in addition to a laundry-list of pre-existing food allergies (chocolate, nuts, all citrus fruits, processed meats, tomatoes, onions, vinegar, the list goes on-and-on.)

I've been dairy-free and on an extremely healthy diet for about a year now, and am successfully keeping many of my lower-GI problems at bay. However, I am presently eating just enough calories per day to maintain my current weight (down 10 pounds since this whole ordeal began.) I do eat 5 times per day (the 3 sensible meals and 2 snacks thing), evenly spaced every three hours, but I'm looking to add some calories to those snack times so that I can start gaining again.

I know that the stock answer would just be "eat more," but for me things just aren't that simple. I need something quick and portable that will have a minimal effect on my various issues. Since I don't have any issue with standard fruit (apples, pears, peaches) or veggies, I figure a homemade, mid-calorie fruit shake is the way to go. Just a simple blend of fresh fruits, a couple veggies, and ice, but I'd like to be able to add calories to this concoction to help push me over that proverbial gap. And due to the various issues, I cannot use whey or egg proteins (even lactose-free whey will likely cause issues,) and I always hear conflicting things about soy (not necessarily the man-boobs thing, but heart-related issues I hear about.)

Are there any potential possibilities that can add extra calories to this idea without the benefit of a protein supplement? Like, dumping in a bunch of oats or something? Or, considering all these limitations, is soy really the safest way to go?

Thanks in advance.

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:10 pm
by Matt Z
Seem like your pretty limited for protein, so I'd go with lots of grilled chicken, turkey and fish. Also, peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of extra calories provided your only allergic to tree nuts. Also, you should be eating vegetables and some whole grains.

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:40 pm
by pdellorto
Yowch, that's think. I'm also 6'4" and I know I'm think at about 188#.

Chicken, turkey, and fish are the way to go. Eat them along with a lot of green vegetables. How are you with olive oil? A salad with sliced chicken breast over spinach with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled over it is a good meal and pretty healthy, too. Worse comes to worst, you can just *drink* the olive oil for extra calories.

Keep lifting weights for strength, eat lots of those foods I just mentioned, and you'll grow without getting fat. But you've got a lot of restrictions...but it's doable. One NHL player, Tom Poti, has a short list of food...I remember grilled chicken and white bread being something he ate every day, and packed with him on road trips to ensure he'd have food. He's a big, muscled professional athlete, so it's doable - he's 6'3" and 202#.


Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:45 am
by stuward
There are many sources of protein that you should look at. Fish and poultry are probably your most important sources.

There are many veg sources of protein: Spinach, mustard greens, romaine, mushrooms, parsley, swiss chard, oats, quinoa, beans, etc. Many of these are incomplete proteins so you need to mix them up but that's not hard. Just mix from different sources of protein throughout the day.

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:05 pm
by yevlar2

Right now the primary staples in my diet are pretty much grilled chicken, pasta, broccoli, and carrots, so I guess I'm pretty much on the right track (though I should probably tone down the pasta a bit - sure, it's whole-grain pasta, but I'm not sure how much of all that starch is a benefit or detriment.)

Unfortunately peanuts and all derivatives are on the "no-no" list (though I don't have the typical peanut allergy that causes death - I just get migraines from them.)

As far as adding items to a home-made protein shake to boost calorie content, would I simply just toss in a bunch of spinach and other, complimentary proteins, or are there some other easy, non-supplement options beyond that (except, say tossing a bunch of chicken into a peach smoothie - somehow I doubt I could stomach something like that. ;-)

Thanks again for all the help!

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:53 pm
by stuward
That would work but it sounds gross. Maybe some soup would be better.

For a change of pace, try miso or tempreh. They're fermented soy or other grains and have a good nutritional profile. I can speak for the taste butthey are major sources of protein in other cultures.

Mixing grains with either beans or veg gives a complete protein. Of course fish and meats are already complete.

This link may help you out.


Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:22 am
by pdellorto
stuward wrote:For a change of pace, try miso or tempreh.
Tempeh, right?

Speaking of fermented soy, if you've a Japanese or Asain supermarket near you, try natto. It's fermented soybeans. You open the pack, put in hot mustard, and stir them up until it looks like a sticky, nasty, caramel-colored stringy mess. It's an acquired taste, but you can flavor it enough to mask the taste if you don't like it. It's also pretty balanced in nutrients. I have a pack here:

Protein 7.7g
Fat 4.6g (Japan doesn't separate fat types sat/unsat)
Carbs 6.2g
Nitrium 208mg

They vary by maker, but they balance of nutrients is almost identical.

Not sure how you are with soy products, but you can give it a go. I know they sold it frozen in the states. FWIW, I used Trader Joe's Soy Protein Powder for years with no bad effects; certainly I noticed no systematic changes when I switched over to Whey protein here in Japan. I didn't get huge, but I wasn't eating enough...I didn't get huge on whey protein either. :D