5 Real Food Weight Gain Shakes (Paleo & SCD)

by Steven Wright


“How do I get more calories?” is a common asked question on this site. Eating more meat and more fat containing foods high in calories is the first step. The second easy change to make is to eat more meals each day; start eating 4, 5 or 6 meals if you are already eating 3. And yes, it’s likely you’ll eat the same meal several times each day. But the point is getting more calories and gaining weight.

When you’re losing mass, the first thing to do is to halt it and begin to reverse it is to eat more calories. Taste should be the last thing you consider. Many times, people are fighting to stay out of the hospital or to avoid public embarrassment. So, while these 3 steps might be uncomfortable they are better than the alternative.

When you reach the point of not being able to chew any more food, the next step is to go to liquid calories. Trust me, focus on steps 1 and 2 first because step 3 might sound easy but has its own learning curves and pain. The rewards, however, can be amazing.

In one summer I gained 20 lbs of mass. I would chug down a 1600 calorie real food weight gainer shake every day. At first it was fun, then it quickly got old. But I needed to get the calories.

Shakes Are Used When You Need More Calories

I hear it all the time from personal clients. I can’t eat any more food! After they’ve tried squeezing in 5 or more meals a day and tried some of my other tricks, inevitably we get to a conversation that comes down to this problem.

The easiest solution, which is used in hospitals around the world, is to create a liquid caloric load. Most of the time I hear stories about well-meaning doctors encouraging the use of chemically-laced, sugar-bomb loads like the drink Ensure. Just look at these ingredients for the chocolate kind:

“Water, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Pea Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Corn Oil, Magnesium Phosphate, Cellulose Gel, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Phylloquinone, Cyanocobalamin, and Vitamin D3.
Contains milk and soy ingredients.;  Contains Milk Ingredients;  Contains Soy Ingredients;  Gluten-Free;  Halal;  Kosher Dairy;  Low-Residue;  Not for patients with galactosemia;  Suitable for Lactose Intolerance; “

I would never put this in my body. And would hope you don’t consider it an option either.

Real Food-Based Weight Gainer Shakes

Let’s create some real-food based options for those who want more calories but seem to be out of ideas.

Before we begin, I must add a couple of important notes:

  • The easiest way to get more calories is to consume more fat as it is 9 calories per gram vs carbohydrate and protein which are 4 calories per gram
  • If you’re dealing with fat malabsorption, try the avocado-based or starch-based shake first
  • Understand the risks of eating raw eggs (read this). It’s not for everyone but if you do choose to eat them, get them from pasture-raised chickens, wash them, and supplement.
  • Start by first drinking half of one of these shakes for 4 days then begin drinking the whole amount
  • Don’t sip on these shakes all day. Drink them as fast as possible. We don’t want the eggs, dairy or other ingredients beginning to ferment or spoil
  • Feel free to add things like vanilla extract, almond extract and cinnamon to all of these to help with flavoring

Okay, let’s get started. Now, this seems simple but we need to cover it. First, I give you permission to change these recipes to suit your kitchen or health. These will work by themselves but are meant to also give you a base of ideas so you can create something that works for you. Second, if you don’t eat a certain ingredient don’t eat it because I put it in the recipes below. Instead just pull out the offending food category and try to think of a substitute.

Simple and Easy SCD Weight Gainer Shake

1 Medium to Large Avocado (Approx. 1 Cup) = 384 Calories, 35g Fat, 20g Carb, 5g Protein

2 Medium Ripe Bananas = 205 Calories, 54g Carb, 2g Protein

4 Large Raw Eggs = 284 Calories, 20g Fat, 24g Protein

1 Cup of SCD Yogurt From Whole Milk = 149 Calories, 8g Fat, 11g Carb, 9g Protein

Totals = 1022 Calories, 63g Fat, 85g Carb, 40g Protein

Blend everything up in a blender and add ice or water as needed to form the consistency you’d like to drink. Also feel free to add vanilla extract or other natural SCD legal spices for flavoring.

If you wanted even more calories and could handle it, add more eggs, yogurt and/or avocado.

No Dairy SCD Mass Gain Shake

1 Cup of Coconut Milk – 445 Calories, 48g Fat, 6g Carb, 5g Protein

2 Medium Ripe Bananas – 205 Calories, 54g Carb, 2g Protein

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries – 71 Calories, 19g Carb

4 Large Raw Eggs – 284 Calories, 20g Fat, 24g Protein

Totals = 1005 Calories, 68g Fat, 79g Carb, 31g Protein

Not everyone can handle dairy, whether it’s due to a lactose or casein problem, so I wanted to show you how to use coconut milk as a base for these shakes. Please choose one that doesn’t contain added Gums. The brands I often use are Aroy-D and Chaokoh.

Paleo Autoimmune Mass Gain Shake

1 Medium to Large Avocado (Approx. 1 Cup) = 384 Calories, 35g Fat, 20g Carb, 5g Protein

1 Cup of Coconut Milk = 445 Calories, 48g Fat, 6g Carb, 5g Protein

2 Medium Ripe Bananas – 205 Calories, 54g Carb, 2g Protein

1 Cup Sweet Potato Cooked – 249 Calories, 58g Carb, 4g Protein

Totals = 1283 Calories, 83g Fat, 138g Carb, 16g Protein

Lots of people are following a Dairy-, Nut-, Egg-Free SCD diet. The Paleo Autoimmune protocol also takes out nightshades as well. For those who are very reactive and need some calorie help, try this shake first.

Fat Malabsorption Mass Gainer Shake

1 Cup Sweet Potato Cooked – 249 Calories, 58g Carb, 4g Protein

3 Tablespoons Honey – 192 Calories, 51g Carb

6 Tablespoons of Whey Protein -180 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 3g Carb, 30g Protein

4 Large Raw Eggs – 284 Calories, 20g Fat, 24g Protein

Totals = 905 Calories, 24.5g Fat, 112g Carb, 58g Protein

Some of you are struggling with fat malabsorption, so until you make some progress healing and can handle fats better this shake is your best option. Yes, it contains sweet potato, which is not SCD legal. But sometimes we need to make compromises to heal.

The Mother Lode Mass Gain Shake

1 Cup of SCD Yogurt From Whole Milk = 149 Calories, 8g Fat, 11g Carb, 9g Protein

1 Cup of Coconut Milk – 445 Calories, 48g Fat, 6g Carb, 5g Protein

6 Tablespoons of Whey Protein -180 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 3g Carb 30g Protein

3 Tablespoons Honey – 192 Calories, 51g Carb

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries – 71 Calories, 19g Carb

6 Raw Eggs – 538 Calories, 30g Fat, 36g Protein

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Totals = 1575 Calories, 90.5g Fat, 90g Carb, 80g Protein

This has the most balanced macronutrient profile of all the shakes. It’s the highest calorie load and would be a great addition to someone’s daily life if they wanted to add lots of calories fast.

Note: all calorie info was taken from nutritiondata.com.

Are You Still Struggling to Gain Weight?

Start with calories using the three steps outlined in this post. Don’t forget to reduce stress as much as possible and improve your sleep.

If you do want more help in this area, we covered all the most important aspects from calories, supplements, hormones, workouts and lifestyle changes that helped Jordan add 30+ pounds back to his frame after becoming extremely malnourished from Celiac Disease.

Get the Weight Gaining Training here.

Do you have a favorite high calorie shake?   

If so, help those who read this article and post the recipe in the comments section below.

Your feedback and the community we build here will help people around the world for years to come.


Note: We earn a small commission if you use the product links on this page to purchase the products we mention. We only recommend products we would use or have used in the past. Your purchase helps support our site and ongoing research.

About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah April 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks for this great article! My husband has a j-pouch and SIBO right now, and he seriously needs to gain weight. One question: is it okay to eat raw eggs? We’re concerned about salmonella and wondered if there’s a certain kind of egg that is safer than others.


Steven Wright April 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Hi Leah – Please read the link above in the raw egg bullet point.


Leah April 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Oh thanks! I don’t know how I missed that the first time. :)


Brittany April 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Please explain why Whey is Legal?


Steven Wright April 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

Whey is legal for those doing Dairy on Paleo. Not legal for SCD. But if the choice is staying legal or going into the hospital. I know what I would choose.


Dolly December 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I have been taking hydrolyzed lactalbumin protein for 2 months as I have been unable to digest protein in any form. This is a predigested protein that goes immediately to the blood stream without requiring the stomach to digest anything. I have seen great improvement in how I feel.


Lucie Sklar April 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Having my first 1/2 weight gainer shake. Very good tasting but I am finding it difficult to drink that much ( even cutting the recipe in half made a 16 oz drink ) you say to drink it fairly quickly. How long should it take for 16 oz?

Thank you



Steven Wright April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

I would try to drink it 30-45 minutes if you can. Think of it like a meal.


MB April 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

SCD Yogurt made with half and half, frozen strawberries, a tiny amount of orange juice and honey to sweeten
Also tastes good with banana added


Tom April 15, 2013 at 4:47 am

Really useful article, thanks Steve.
I’m not so tolerant with dairy so I’m concerned Whey might react – would you recommend Pea/Hemp protein powder for gaining weight? There’s a company in the UK which does these powders and they seem free of most nasties:


scooter April 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

Yeah, shakes would be great….but I’m terrified to eat this much of any one thing. Two whole bananas in a single day? Four eggs? A whole cup of coconut milk? That’s how I’ve become allergic to stuff in the past, eating too much of the same thing. “Highly reactive”, my doc calls it.

Maybe it’s more in my head now, I don’t know, but it’s really difficult for me to try new things, and makes me super-stressed, which probably doesn’t help the whole reactive thing.

I make do with a batch of pumpkin-coconut milk custard every three weeks. For others who aren’t so…weird, it’s an excellent source of calories and also, absolutely delicious. I halve the sweetener and change it to honey.



joe May 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Kyle May 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

He said it (sweet potato) is SCD illegal in the article, he never claimed it was legal. The first two shakes are SCD legal which is why they are labeled as SCD shakes, the other three are not.


Eileen @ Phoenix Helix May 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I love this article, especially how you cover so many diet options. I’m a new fan. I was under the mistaken impression you were SCD only, but there’s so much crossover in the healing diets, you obviously have a wealth of knowledge to share. I’m a blogger newbie (started in January). I have rheumatoid arthritis which I’m healing through a GAPS/Paleo AIP blend. My website focuses on healing autoimmune disease through diet and lifestyle. Thanks for being an inspiration.


elizabeth November 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

please is there any natural medicine that one can use for pituitary gland situation and how to gain weight Elizabeth


Lori Jo Berg November 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Hi Elizabeth, thank you for reaching out. You may need the help of a trusted practitioner, and if you are in need of one you can find one here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


joanna June 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

wow these shakes look so delicious. I can’t eat eggs due to an intolerance, but my shakes are pretty similar to this- bananas, yogurt, kefir, vanilla, gelatin, and other berries. I’ve put on 16 lbs since I started SCD and don’t think I would’ve without the diet.


amanda June 23, 2013 at 6:06 am

hi, can you email me your shakes, I am losing to much weight and I am gathering tips and yours sounds good tried and tested.
Amanda from Holland


Matthew July 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Great recipes! However my coconut milk contains 28 calories per 100ml. So one cup (250ml) is about 72 calories not 445 as above?


Susan March 7, 2015 at 11:20 am

Check out the canned coconut milk in the baking section. I found a brand which is pure coconut with the fat and liquid. It is so creamy and pleasing taste. I made an AIP avocado ran h dressing with it and it was great. Check it out, but read the labels to make sure no Guar gum or other additives are in it.


Matthew July 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Never mind my last post. I just read my coconut milk ingredients, its a lie. It’s mostly water, iv been had.


Nan August 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

This article is so great! Thank you! Is Whey protein powder SCD legal? I am a newbie.


Sam August 26, 2013 at 7:01 am

I would expect that drinking raw eggs would taste quite bad. What does the motherload shake taste like, (sweet, sour, tangy, etc.) and what is the texture like (lumpy, gluggy, smooth, thick watery)?


Omne November 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I’ve been on chemotherapy since late June, have a number of times where I’ve been “hungry but with no urge to actually eat”. Then a day later I’d be unable to stuff enough down my face. When I can eat, I’d not have the capacity to eat “enough”.

(Far from “real food” I used to be able to eat a 14 inch pizza in under 5 minutes, that was 15 years ago, now I’d be hard pressed to manage two slices.)

The next step will be to acquire/assemble one of the above…


Gayle Hubbard November 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

How do I order your hard covered books? I prefer those instead. Of the e-books.
Thank you.


Elizabeth Sales November 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hi! I am trying to gain weight as I have lost too much eating paleo. However, I can’t find an acceptable coconut milk and have a question about you recommendations. The Chaokoh cocnut milk has no gums but has sodium metabisulfite and citric acid. My concern is more a out the sodium metabisulfite. I have not read good things about it. Why is this okay and gums are not?


Kyle February 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Hi Elizabeth,

Check out Natural Valley (I think it’s Valley- greenish and red). They are good and SCD legal.


Chris January 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I do weight training four days a week and recently started up on SCD. I’ve always relied on whey protein (isolates) for that all-important post-workout protein intake; however, that is no longer an option with SCD. Can you recommend any good SCD-legal alternatives that will serve the same purpose? Thanks!


Kyle February 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm


I’ve been looking into this too… I’ve been looking at the hydrolyzed whey protein. It’s predigested so it is absorbed quickly. I’m thinking that means nothing will reach the bad bacteria…? Obviously you have to find one that is SCD in terms of other ingredients. I’m still researching but NutraBio unflavored has been the only one so far that looks somewhat compliant.

Steve, what are you thoughts on hydrolzed whey proteins???

Thank you!


Yuri March 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

hi Steve.

question regarding the coconut milk. which coconut milk has 480 calories per cup?
I have an almond coconut milk but it only has 80 calories per 250ml.



katie June 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm

You have to get coconut from the can not from the carton. HUGE difference. The one in the can is high in calories and fat.


james mullaney March 18, 2014 at 5:27 am

guys what is SCD.



james mullaney March 18, 2014 at 5:32 am

Just done quick, search and feel extremely silly.lol, no grains alllowed in SCD diet. sorry
i am just looking to gain weight which i have always struggled with, and as such i am making my own high calorie shakes.


LisaM April 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm

SCD is Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It’s used by many people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.


NinaC May 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Hi, I am wondering if there is shake that is good for the first stage of the SCD / leaky gut “tough case” diet. I have been using a wonderful rice based protein for shakes that my Naturopath recommended, but that won’t work on SCD. Same goes with pea protein. I have trouble eating first thing in the morning so shakes are really the only thing I can tolerate – I just don’t see the suggested Phase One breakfast of ham and cooked veg working for me. Thanks for any ideas!!!


Sonya July 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hello – can any help provide a substitute for bananas. I have a food intolerance to them.

Also do you make your own coconut milk? OR do you purchase from the store?



Sonya July 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Sorry will it also be okay to use butternut squash as a sub for sweet potato?

Thank you!


Lori Jo Berg July 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Hi Sonya,

Thank you for reaching out today! Butternut squash is a great substitute for sweet potatoes, as it has the same consistency and similar taste. The calories in that particular shake may vary with this substitution, but in regards to digestion, it is okay. You can substitute more avocado for banana, or anything SCD legal that has the same sort of consistency.


John e. Polko July 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Is your book available in bookstores or is it available only online? when ordering can I send a bank draft rather than pay thru paypal (I have had bad experiences). please send your company name and address to my email address, and I will send you a draft to pay for the books.
Thank you kindly.
John e. Polko.


Lori Jo Berg July 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Hi John, thanks for reaching out! Our book is only available in eBook format and we do ask that you pay with pay pal or a credit/debit card of your choice.


Trina August 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I know nothing about Paleo, but after having esophagitis causing me to lose weight I’ve made more ‘natural’, homemade Ensure drinks without the chemicals and high fructose corn syrup that makes me feel sick when I drink it.

I use:

1 cup whole milk (150 calories)
1 banana (80-100 calories)
1/4th cup of oats (75 calories)
1 tablespoon of flax oil (120 calories)
1/2 scoop of protein powder (50 calories)

This usually gives me around 500 calories and goes down easy and tastes great. Add a dash of cinnamon if you want. You can add water if you need to thin it out in order to take it down even quicker. Adjust the portions as needed. You could easily double this recipe.

Coconut oil and peanut butter help too, but recently allergy testing told me I’m supposedly allergic to these things (even with no symptoms). Hope this helps.

If you want to avoid dairy, try almond, coconut, or soy milk. They have fewer calories, though.


Logan August 10, 2014 at 7:33 am

How many times per day would you suggest eating if trying to gain weight on this diet? I am struggling finding room to fit in all the meals/snacks needed to get in the calories….Do you have any sample days/meal plans that you could share?? I just need some ideas! Thanks for the suggestions!!


Brent Kovacs August 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Hi Logan, sometimes people need to eat 4 to 6 times per day but it all depends on the individual. A good way to add calories is to focus on adding in healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, avocados. The meal plans we offer are here. Feel free to give them out a try and if you don’t like them within 30-days let us know: http://scdlifestyle.com/meal-plans/


michi ommo August 31, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I eat daily two large banana twice a day and two dried of egg ,one cup of milk.I want to know is it good or bad for muscle or wheight gainer please tell me because i can’t affored other costly food,plz plz help me iam 55kg but need 65or 70 kg !!#!!


Lori Jo Berg September 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Hi Michi, thank you for reaching out! There are many factors that play a part in gaining weight and one of them is a healthy gut. We suggest taking care of any digestive issues you may have and then implementing the weight gaining tips found in the article. Also, you can work on adding in some healthy fat such as coconut oil to get more calories.


Sharon September 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

Love the recipe for mass gain shake/1283 calories. My son is 17 6ft tall and weighs 125. He has allergy to cow/goat milk, soy, coconut, pea, egg. What other types of weight gain shakes can I give him that has lots of calories, sans the coconut and egg?


Lori Jo Berg September 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Hi Sharon, thank you for reaching out! First and foremost, we recommend he heals his gut so he can absorb nutrients and gain healthy weight. Secondly, here is a great article on this subject: http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/09/gain-weight-and-heal-faster-on-


Perry January 13, 2015 at 5:04 am

There are a couple things I do to increase digestion of the food I eat so that i get more out of it, instead of having to eat more. Absorbing 50% of one meal is better than 10% of 3 meals. Things I do are many, but related to this page that I didn’t see mentioned are:

1) I follow proper FODD COMBINING. That means that I never mix a banana (sweet fruit) in with eggs (protein) or coconut milk (fat). I eat blueberries, pineapple, etc instead (acidic fruit), and 30 mins before the eggs, and then limit the fat I add so as help increase the break-down of the proteins. Fat is often better by itself (coconut milk drink with the spices, tea, etc…just not the eggs or fruit) or with non-starchy veggies.

2) HCl with Betaine to help digest the proteins and fats (not carbs like fruit or veggies).

Hope it helps,


Tim February 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Hi there,
Good article. My brother and I are looking at trying the recipe’s above from a fitness perspective to help get the extra calories and muscle gains. The most suitable to me seems to be ‘the mother lode’ as it’s quite balanced. Would this suit this purpose?
Also, 6 whole eggs, there is a stigma about having too many egg yellows so alot of recipes have say 2 whole eggs and top up with egg whites. Any thoughts on which way is best or recommended for what we want to achieve?
And lastly, coconut milk, I have little knowledge about the nutritional benefits of this? Seems very high in saturated fats. Would this be recommended for what we are wanting to achieve.
Many thanks for your time.


Lori Jo Berg February 11, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Hi Tim, thanks for reaching out! Eating extra healthy fats like coconut oil and coconut milk is one of the most effective ways to gain weight, but there is a lot that goes into gaining muscle. Types of workouts, when you eat, what you eat, how much of your food you are actually absorbing (gut health) all play a role in gaining muscle. eggs are a great health food and are an awesome source of calories and protein, but if your gut is impaired you may not be able to tolerate them. From our perspective, we suggest getting control of your gut health if you haven’t already by eating a paleo or SCD type diet.


Loretta March 8, 2015 at 11:25 pm

These shakes look delicious but how in the world would a pre-diabetic be able to tolerate these? I have not been able to gain weight and when added more carbs like this my blood sugar went up. There doesn’t seem to be any way to gain weight for people like myself without adding tons of carbs which then elevates blood sugar. Thanks.


Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Hi Loretta, thanks for reaching out. These shakes are certainly not for everyone, as each person is unique with their own specific needs. Adding in more healthy fat, like coconut oil, is a great way to add in extra calories. Also, as your gut begins to heal and absorb more, most find they naturally will start to gain some weight.


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