Gaining weight in a healthy way
March 28, 2012 2:21 PM   Subscribe

How can I gain weight with a sensitive gut?

I'm coming off an illness (a parasite) and lost fifteen pounds. I'm naturally slender anyway, and so am now looking--and feeling--on the verge of frail. Any advice on how to put the weight back on in a healthy way?

Other things to consider:

- I'm on a pretty strict food budget, so cheaper is better.

- The parasite left my guts tender, so hard to digest foods (e.g. cheeses) can be an issue. Also, meals that are too big can sometimes cause problems, so pounds of rice and beans probably would be bad.

Thanks in advance. If anybody has specifically been through this with parasites, any words of recovery wisdom would be totally appreciated.
posted by vecchio to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Protein/fat shakes may help build up bulk. You could go to a GNC or similar for mixes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 PM on March 28, 2012 These are really tasty and dense
posted by MangyCarface at 2:29 PM on March 28, 2012

Complan. I was on it as a child, when for some reason I was appallingly bad at gaining weight (ribs showing through the skin and everything).
posted by Fen at 2:32 PM on March 28, 2012

Did your docs recommend probiotics? If they didn't, but didn't specifically recommend against them, I would check in to see what they do recommend.

Bananas are a great, low-priced, easily digestible, bland weight-maker.

Agree with Blazecock Pileon's good suggestion of shakes designed for body builders and others looking to add weight. Ensure/Boost/generic equivalent premade shakes can be a bit pricey, but if you can find them affordably they can help a lot.

Eggs are generally quite affordable and, though not so super high in calories, are a great source of easily digestible (for most people) protein.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:33 PM on March 28, 2012

How do you do with yogurt? Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt (and the full-fat stuff will have more calories than the nonfat or 2% versions).
posted by scody at 2:34 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just posted a link to my Craptastic Bar recipe for another question, but it can apply here too. Basically it's a mixture of nut butter, dried fruit, cereal, honey, nuts, and whatever made into bars. Easily customizable to fit your tastes.
posted by cross_impact at 3:32 PM on March 28, 2012

I'm pregnant, have lost a little weight and need to gain a few pounds. My doctor and WebMD told me to:

- Eat five to six small, frequent meals every day.

- Keep quick, easy snacks on hand, such as nuts, raisins, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, and ice cream/yogurt.

- Spread peanut butter on toast, crackers, apples, bananas, or celery. One tablespoon of creamy peanut butter will provide about 100 calories and seven grams of protein.

- Add nonfat powdered milk to foods such as mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and hot cereal.

- Add condiments to your meal, such as butter or margarine, cream cheese, gravy, sour cream, and cheese.
posted by Specklet at 4:07 PM on March 28, 2012

I had lost about 35 pounds in two weeks after a pretty bad bout of enteritis. I found that Boost Plus helped me gain back a lot of this and it was a lot cheaper in quantity than equivalent Ensure with extra protein, and it didn't upset my insides as much as the Ensure. Premade shakes are kind of expensive and not something I'd recommend long-term, but on a short-term basis, it might at least get you started until your insides settle down enough to get to more complex and less expensive/less processed foods.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:19 PM on March 28, 2012

If you were happy with how you looked before the parasite you'll get back to that level by just living as you were previously.

If you don't gain some weight in 2-3 weeks then start thinking about TRYING to gain it back.

I think that's a healthier way.
posted by zephyr_words at 4:30 PM on March 28, 2012

If you were happy with how you looked before the parasite you'll get back to that level by just living as you were previously.

For someone whose body-weight setpoint is on the low side, it is at least as difficult to gain 15 pounds intentionally as it is for someone whose body-weight setpoint is on the high side to lose 15 pounds intentionally.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:26 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Add avocados/guacamole to everything! Avocados are high in fat but loaded with all kinds of vitamins. Two avocados mashed up with a pouch of guacamole seasoning should last you a couple of days and make everything you eat more delicious.
posted by jabes at 5:39 PM on March 28, 2012

Milk is what developing mammals drink in order to gain weight. If you can drink milk, I would really suggest it.

Drinking calories tends to be easier than eating them.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:58 PM on March 28, 2012

Thanks all! I'm going to shop protein shake prices. That seems like an easy way to begin.
posted by vecchio at 8:04 AM on March 29, 2012

Digestive enzymes by Enzymedica will stop lots of digestive stress and help you get more calories out of food by digesting it better.
posted by blargerz at 8:13 AM on March 29, 2012

If you have a tender stomach then at the very least buy some yogurt. Probiotics are not hokey, if you get some that are quality then it should be very helpful. Glutamine is is another option and will be helpful.
Protein shakes vary in quality and someone with even a normal GI tract can sometimes end up with less than acceptable going-ons with their backside. Probiotics or enzymes can be pricey, but yogurt and glutamine are cheap and good ingredients to protein shakes in any case.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:06 PM on March 30, 2012

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