Vegan Weight Gainer revision, and more

As I had mentioned I’ve been playing around with the weight gainer shake we made up to aid in my calorie surplus. Through trial and error I have whittled away some unnecessary ingredients to make it easier to make and/or shop for. I found that it tastes fine without the agave nectar or the vanilla, so I’ve cut them out, and by removing TVP the shake is simultaneously less processed and less chunky, a trade I have found reasonable for the loss in protein.

In addition to these removals I have come across a superfood I really should have known about before now. While searching for seeds lower in fat than sunflower seeds, I discovered Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds).


Pepitas have more protein and less fat per calorie than any other seeds I’ve come across, have an excellent amino acid profile (which means they have all the amino acids your body needs) and they are rich in minerals (Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, and Phosphorus). A detailed nutritional analysis on Nutritiondata.com even rated their protein score as higher than eggs! (and instead of the whopping amount of cholesterol and nutrient void they have minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals).

Check out all their stats here. The only precaution I will add before anyone goes on an all pumpkin seed diet is that being a seed they are high in fat, so eating too many will make losing bodyfat difficult if that is your goal.

INGREDIENTS
(Calories/Carbs/Protein/Fat/Fiber):

  • 1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (153/5/7/13/1)
  • 1 scoop NitroFusion, or similar protein powder (190/9/25/2/2)
  • 1 cup soymilk (90/7/7/3.5/1)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana (121/31/1/0/4)
  • 1 can canellini beans, rinsed [aka white kidney beans] (420/73/28/0/35)
  • [optional] cocoa powder to taste

Directions: Blend all ingredients to desired consistency

Total stats: 974 calories, 125g carbs, 68g protein, 18.5g fat, 43g fiber

Or, for an all whole foods shake omit the protein powder for stats like:
784 calories, 116g carbs, 43g protein, 16.5g fat, and 41g fiber

Either way, a great and highly nutritious shake with stats to match. I would even recommend a half serving of the whole food version to those looking for a meal replacement shake that would help weight loss or maintenance.

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20 thoughts on “Vegan Weight Gainer revision, and more

  • About the pumpkin seeds being too hard on the blender. Pre-blend the seeds in a coffiemill before adding the to the blender, should take care of this problem. Also it will cut the seeds better than the blender, making absorbtion of the nutrition in these easier

  • I gotta say, this recipe has helped me SO MUCH. A few months back I found out about it while I was looking for ways to gain weight on a milk/soy/egg free diet. I have multiple food allergies that seem to attack my intestines so I have to be super careful. I was stuck at just a mere 93 lbs (5’5) for 2 years because of my tummy and food restrictions. After incorporating this into my every day meal plan (with a few changes) I can happily say I’m up to 103 and growing. I wish more companies would make vegan mass gainers. The best I’ve found is Vega all in one and Vegan shakeology.
    For this shake I subbed the soy milk with almond milk. I changed out the protein powder for a meal substitute (vega all in one) and used pumpkin seed protein powder instead of the nuts. I LOVED adding the beans and hardly noticed them in the shake, such an amazing way to get fiber into the diet without having your system breaking down hard fiber foods. I’ve been telling everyone about the beans, they seem weirded out at first but don’t even notice it in the shake. It’s awesome. Another thing I was adding for awhile to bump up the fat was a tsp of pumpkin seed butter (natural) and macadamia nut butter (natural) this helped too.
    Thank you so much for putting this up, it has helped me so much and will always be a staple for me.

    • Awesome! I’m so happy to hear how much this has helped you! I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people on how much it has helped them gain weight, but I think yours is the best yet! Keep spreading the word and representing!

  • I recently found and Love this->>Omega Nutrition Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder
    it’s organic, smooth and a lot easier on the blender

  • I’m on a non-legume diet, so the beans are out… a suggested substitution? I’m dairy-, wheat- and legume-free. Will substitute rice milk for soy, but the beans are pretty key..

    • The easiest high calorie/protein substitute for legumes is nuts/seeds, but you’ll need to be careful not to eat too much fat. You can use almond milk and almond butter in this to get the same amount of calories, but it will have a much higher %cal from fat. The lowest fat non-legume sources of protein are whole grains and leafy greens, so be sure you eat plenty!

  • Hi Derek,
    Great website! I’m just exploring the world of vegans and want to do a whole food, plant based diet for couple weeks to know what it feels like. Forks over Knives inspired me to do it.
    I have a question in regard to canned food though. I’m a bit confused as I’ve heard that canned food is bad and should be avoided. However, I see that your recipe uses canned beans. What’s your take here?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Mario,
      Awesome! FOK is a fantastic film and I’m sure you’ll love the way you feel on a whole foods plant-based diet. I actually have been cooking my own dry beans for almost 2 yeas now to avoid the industrial additives and residues that contaminate canned foods. So if you’d like to do the same, just use about one cup of cooked beans instead of a can.

  • Hey Derek! Thanks for the recipe and all inspiring things what are you doing. Your example helped me finally to choose Vegan lifestyle.
    English is not my native language. So can you explain what are you doing with beans before you blend them? I understand what is “rinsing” but is it enough? Are beans soft enough after rinsing? can you describe the process? Sorry for my silly question.

    • Sure! I will either use canned beans, which I rinse, or I usually cook my own beans in a pressure cooker until they are soft. I always have a big Tupperware of cooked beans in the fridge just for these shakes!

  • Hi Andrew,

    I'm glad you're seeing results with it! The can volume varies a little depending on which store we shop at that week. I am currently using a 16oz can that totals 350 calories, so my above numbers are a little off. Also, I have recently been using half a can per shake instead of a full can to cut the fiber a little (makes it easier on the stomach) and I have been making up the calories with 2 tbps peanut butter. This takes the fat content up a bit, but it has been working well for me. Hope this helps!

  • hey derek, my name is Andrew. Ive been trying your beanshake recipe for a week now and have been noticing good results in weight gain. however, the white kidney beans are only 220 calories per can instead of 440. Just out of curiousity how much beans do u have in each of ur cans? mL? grams?

  • Hi Logan. I do think there is a limit to how much protein one can absorb in a single sitting, but I can't wager a guess because so many factors come into play. I imagine it depends greatly on the source of protein, how processed it is, what it is consumed with, the body's individual needs at the time it is eaten, and of course that person's metabolism/genetics.

    That said, I would say you will probably absorb the most first thing in the morning since you've been fasting while you slept, and right after weight training. It would also make sense that you absorb more from a processed source eaten with carbs than any other way of eating it due to the easier digestion and insulin response, but that information comes straight out of the magazines and therefore may not be true.

    In any case, I always try to err on the side of too much (though anything you don't need stresses the kidneys which have to excrete it) and I try to make the majority of my whole-food sources very high quality protein such as that found in soy, pepitas, and quinoa.

    You're very welcome and thanks for reading!

  • Hi 5'10" 150. I see the dilemma you face. This weight-gainer is a great whole food way to up your calories and protein on a vegan diet, but there is no one easy answer if you have a really hard time gaining weight. That is unfortunate about the squats as they would help, but there are many other options available to you.

    With anyone looking to gain weight, you have to create a calorie surplus, eat a lot of protein, and create a large demand on your muscles with heavy weight lifting. I emphasize heavy because calisthenics probably won't cut it. If you have access to a gym I would highly recommend utilizing machine multi-joint exercises you can use to safely max out your large muscle groups (legs, chest, back) with as much weight as you can handle for 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets plus a warm up. Doing this even 2-3 days per week will help create the demand you need to for your body to adapt.

    As for calories, even the hardest gainer can gain weight if they eat enough calories. The trick is eating quality calories so you don't gain fat, and making sure you are consistent. A couple days a week for two weeks won't do much. I'd use our spreadsheet tool with bodybuilding selected, and enter the weight you want to be rather than where you are to get a starting point, try it for a couple weeks, and if that doesn't work increase from there. Hope this helps!

  • hey Derek, I was wondering what your thoughts on protein absorption are. I mean that in a per-meal sense. Do you think there is any limit to the amount of protein one should consume in a single meal? thanks for the awesome blog posts!!

  • I'm on attempt #2 at a vegan diet. (Well, kinda – I continue to eat honey and recently decided to incorporate occasional seafood if it appears to be that the item in question was sourced in an environmentally sustainable fashion.)

    Why attempt #2? I tried and quit once before. I'm a classic hard-gainer. I'm 5'10", currently 150 lbs. Pre-fitness/workout enthusiasm, I was literally only 120 lbs at this height. A nose on a stick, basically. I made it to 165 lbs as a carnivore and it took a long while to get there – a half-gallon of milk daily and a workout plan with an emphasis on 20-rep squats.

    My conscience and knowledge of meat/dairy/egg production standards dictates that I stay firm about eating this way, but I immediately lose weight and I really, really dislike being thin. I eat a lot, but have a hummingbird's metabolism.

    I'm 41 and recently sold the squat cage, as my back and knees no longer wish to cooperate. This shake is my latest experiment (paired with more bodyweight-resistance stuff). Just did an AM chest workout and now… I'm trying to choke down… a big glass of f-ing kidney beans and pumpkin seeds? Really? It's come to this?

  • Thanks for the recipe – I just made a post-workout shake with chocolate soy milk – everything else is the same – pretty good so far, maybe a bit too watery. My blender broke so I used my food processor which could not blend up the pumpkin seeds so much but it tastes ok and is definitely drinkable. Hopefully I'm on my way to great gains!

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