It’s not uncommon for me to hear from people who have lost weight on a raw food diet and beg for help to put back on a few pounds.

Jan writes:

“Hey Ariel,

I would like to work with someone who has experience helping someone gain weight. Is there someone you could recommend, or is there a program that you offer that could help? Thanks!”

My answer to this question may surprise some of you, as the recommendations I give out in order to gain weight are similar to those I recommend in order to lose weight.

Confused?

Let me explain.

An easy way to gain weight on a raw vegan is to eat more calories than your body burns, which you need to do anyway, though the other important question is: what type of calories should you consume?

It’s easy to stuff yourself with high fat junk food, whether raw or cooked, which will surely help you gain weight, but you will not gain health.

Whether you eat raw, vegan, vegetarian, or even S.A.D, you should always remember this:

– Whether you wish to gain or lose weight, you need to consume high water content food!

Water is one of the most vital nutrients on earth. Every system in our bodies depends on it.

Water regulates body temperature, eliminates toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and provides a moist environment to lubricate body tissues and joints.

Water is also our greatest nutrient in terms of volume – second only to oxygen.

The human body is made up of around 70% water. Common sense therefore tells us that we should consume a diet containing at least 70% water. Interestingly, 70% of the planet is also covered in water.

Our digestive system prefers food with a high water content, as nutrients are more easily extracted and waste eliminated.

When food is cooked or processed, it loses its natural water content and most of its nutritional value.

And in case you’re wondering, consuming extra liquid in the form of tap or mineral water does not restore the natural nutrients lost in foods.

The easiest way to gain or lose weight on a healthy raw vegan diet is simple: Eat more fruit!

Bananas are a great source of calories, but there are many other high-calorie fruits you can eat to help you gain weight, including:

  • Mangoes
  • Durian
  • Dates
  • Oranges (sweet varieties)
  • Persimmon
  • Figs
  • Peach or white nectarine
  • As well as many tropical fruits such as: soursop, sapodilla, jackfruit, and mamey sapote.

Fresh fruit and vegetables contain the purest water and the exact nutrients you need in order to gain healthy weight, or as otherwise you take the risk of winding up skinny fat.

“Skinny fat” is a term used to describe folks who are not overweight, but still have a high percentage of fat in their bodies and low muscle mass. The medical term for this condition is metabolically obese normal weight.

This condition typically afflicts lightly built men in their late twenties and early thirties who don’t eat a particularly healthy diet, but don’t look obese, and limit their workouts to casual cardio. It also affects slender women of similar ages.

Fat is stored in our bodies and while it may not be visible from the outside; it is damaging your insides.

You must be aware that some people may look healthy on the outside, but they can still be a wreck on the inside.

Evidence has shown that for the majority of people who limit their weight loss, “too skinny” still needs to lose fat.

The same goes for thin people who have a desire to gain weight: they usually fail to recognize that they are under muscled, and they need to gain muscle, not fat.

The solution for gaining weight or more correctly: “balancing your weight” is eating a high fibre/ water diet and keeping fit.

Should you worry about losing too much weight?

Initially, when you adopt a raw vegan diet, you will probably lose a bit of weight as you stop eating calorie dense processed foods. At the same time, it may take you a few days (or even weeks) until you get into the habit of eating enough fresh raw fruit and vegetables in order to compensate.

Remember that most fresh fruit and vegetables supply fewer calories per bite than the majority of cooked/processed foods; hence you need to eat raw meals in larger volumes.

When most people adopt a raw food diet for the first time, and if you are on the slender side to begin with, you may break down tissue faster than you build it up, and you may lose a few pounds as a result.

Some of the nutrients may not be properly absorbed by your body until your body fully cleanses itself and adapts to the new diet. This should not be a reason for concern as long as you keep eating enough of the right type of nutrients (fruit and vegetables).

Going through a supervised juice or water fast may indeed aid the detoxification process during the transition period to a raw food diet, though I believe fasting isn’t absolutely necessary at this point.

During my own transition to raw foods, I remembered my weight getting down to 65.5 kilos (10.3 stones), but I soon gained muscle mass and reached my natural weight of 67 kilos (10.5 stones) without any complications, and I stayed there ever since.

I didn’t fast during my switch to raw foods, but I made sure I got plenty of rest and applied food combining rules, coupled with other important Natural Hygiene measures, in order to smooth the transition process.

Everyone is unique and many things can affect our digestion and absorption of nutrients. You may suffer from adrenal disorder or you may not able to synthesize enough enzymes to break down the food.

You may have issues with your pancreas or liver, or you may not able to handle fruit well and may need supplementation.

If you are worried about losing too much weight, you should see your doctor and go through a full check out, which may include getting a Spectracell test (micronutrient testing), though I will leave this as a last resort.

Last but not least, make sure you get sufficient sleep. Eating the correct diet will result in improved health, but I should emphasize that it is the body, not the food, that creates health.

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Ariel Belloso

Ariel Belloso is an author and writer who transformed his health using the power of raw food. The former DJ and music producer’s life changed in 2001 when his mother was diagnosed with leukaemia. Already a keen student of nutrition, Ariel calculated that eating the correct raw diet could help his mother overcome her cancer. This became his motivation to learn more about natural health and the raw food lifestyle. Following her son's advice, not only did Ariel’s mother beat her cancer, she recently celebrated her 81st birthday! Using the knowledge gained from his years of ongoing study into natural health, Ariel has also managed to overcome some serious issues himself, as well as helping many others to regain their health and improve their quality of life. Ariel has written 4 books on the subject of natural health, nutrition and fitness.

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