Increasing Calories – How to Gain Weight on the Paddison Program
After following the Paddison Program, some people report an unwanted weight loss and are at a loss as to how to put the weight back on without ‘panicking’ and eating everything in sight that goes against the hard work that they have put in.
I understand this problem because I tried all sorts of things over the years and most of them caused weight loss! Personally, I suffered my greatest weight loss when I underwent intermittent fasting and a raw-food diet for 8 months. Although this aggressive approach helped reduce pain, my weight fell off a cliff and I lost 14 kilograms (approximately 32 pounds) – and I was skinny even before I began this process!
I tried a lot of different things to gain the weight back but most of them triggered my pain and swelling once again. Eventually, after a lot of experimentation, I found the following approaches to work best for gaining the weight back. I used the following procedure to help me gain back 9 kilograms (21 pounds) of 100% muscle. Also, I was able to gain this weight whilst in keeping with the Paddison Program protocol of low low-fat and low-protein plant-based foods so I did not trigger inflammation back in my body.
Basically, there are two things that need to be done.
1. Increase Calories without increasing pain
2. The appropriate and safe exercises for RA to grow muscle and strengthen ligaments and tendons
In this blog post I want to concentrate on the first of these, which is adding calories. By doing so you can prevent existing weight loss and then consider step 2 in parallel depending on your own problem areas. RA in the hands and feet should not prevent you from being able to work out the other 95% of your body and gain the tremendous benefits that come from this.
Now, please keep in mind that during the re-introduction process each food must be tested carefully for it’s reaction to your body. With that in mind, here are some good meal options that I used to dramatically increase my caloric intake:
- Mega Miso Soup – switch from the buckwheat and quinoa (which are low calorie/serving) to white basmati rice (higher calorie/serving). A staple weight gain meal I used was basmati rice + brown rice miso paste + dulse seaweed. When mixed together, these create a very hearty and nutrious Mega Miso soup which can quickly get high in calories. Brown rice is more nutrient-dense, but if weight-gain is your number 1 concern then you can probably consume more calories with the basmati since it’s less chewy and faster to consume.
- Beans or lentils on basmati rice is hearty and filling and provides ample energy intake. Because both beans and lentils are high in protein they are slightly acidifying, so there is the bit of a trade off there. The way I found around this was to make the beans/lentils ‘go further’ with each meal by eating them more sparingly and concentrating the bulk of the meal on the rice. This works well because you can still enjoy the flavour of the beans/lentils. See recipes for each of these in the Paddison Program Recipe Book.
- Drink a glass of orange juice with every meal. The orange juice also acts to increase stomach acid to aid digestion, particularly of proteins. It is also high in potassium, which is a big bonus. However, be extra careful when trying this in the first few weeks since candida (fungus overgrowth in your digestive tract) love sugar and take a long time to die off. So if your inflammation is triggered by drinking orange juice with meals it might be too soon to be re-introducing this much sugar.
- Make the foods tastier so that you are inclined to consume more. Try adding a few spices or some additional celtic sea salt or some mixed herbs. Find what your taste buds like and give them something to be happy about. If you are having oatmeal in the morning, for instance, then why not try adding a little brown sugar and seeing if you can eat more without triggering any additonal pain? Even better, you could try adding raw (unheated) honey to oatmeal. Raw honey is very rich in enzymes that break down carbohydrates – thus, since the Paddison Program is high in carbohydrates it’s nice to get some free help from some tasty honey. I’ve always found that I can tolerate an increase in sugar a lot better than I can tolerate an increase in fat or protein. And since carbohydrates like oatmeal are predominately complex carbohydrates, which are a clean fuel and easy for the body to break down, this could be a strategy that works.
- Eat large portions. Once you find your basic ‘portfolio’ of meals that don’t trigger inflammation you might be surpised just how much you can eat of these meals and keep your pain levels at bay. Experiment for one day. Gorge yourself on these low-fat, low-protein carbs and see what happens. If you do fine, then you’ll be able to gain weight easily and steadily once you start exercising for pain relief and muscle growth.
- Try eating bread. Typically higher in calories, the bread can be a another good way to resolve weight-loss issues. Of the above recommendations, eating bread is the most ‘advanced’ or risky on the body since it’s the most processed – but you could try it and see how you go. Always aim for organic breads. I eat some organic oat sour dough toast occasionally and when I do I eat it with raw honey. Delicious.
- Ease off with the water drinking around meals since it takes up space and makes the stomach feel full. We get signals to the brain when the space in our stomach is reaching capacity. If you are full of water then it’s hard to add more food to that space. Note, water consumption should not be reduced, just shifted to times away from the meals (immediately upon rising in the morning is a good time for consuming water, while the stomach is empty).
Shifting to a diet that was founded on several of the changes above I was able to easily meet my daily caloric intake to avoid weight loss. By eating like this to this day I do not have an issue with maintaining my weight, even though I’ve always been a naturally lean person. I also have good energy levels and find that these changes worked very well for me.
I hope some of these will work for you also.
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor so please consult your primary care physician before making changes to your diet/lifestyle/exercise program – thanks.