A Healthy GOMAD Alternative
Drinking a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD) is a weight-gain diet that was popularized by Mark Rippetoe in his famous book, Starting Strength. The idea is that along with your regular diet, you drink a gallon of milk each day to ensure that you get enough calories and protein to gain strength, muscle and weight. The GOMAD diet is meant to be used by under-weight beginners who are also combining it with a heavy weight lifting program.
Eating enough calories for skinny and underweight individuals can be difficult. Drinking calories is a good solution to this problem. Liquid does not satiate hunger as well as solid foods, allowing those who are serious about gaining weight to consume more calories in a day.
Whole milk was chosen for a number of reasons as the liquid for this weight gain diet. A gallon of milk includes:
- 2400 calories
- 120g of protein
- 120g of fat
- 200g of carbs
- Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Calcium and Phosphorus
- Saturated fat
If you can find it, whole goat milk might be an even better drink to use than whole cow milk.
A gallon of milk a day is not a healthy diet. But it is effective in gaining weight and effective in gaining muscle when combined with a good weight lifting program such as Starting Strength. Even GOMAD’s strongest opponents have to agree that it does what it says it will do.
Drinking your calories is faster and easier than eating them. Drinking extra calories will also keep your stomach from feeling as full as when you eat solid foods. Here at SmoothieGains.com we are a strong proponent of drinking your calories through smoothie form.
Milk has enough protein to make sure that your muscles are getting the nutrition they need to grow. The nutrition in the gallon of milk is enough to allow muscles to grow. An individual on GOMAD does not have to think very hard about the rest of their diet, because they know that their protein and calorie needs are already met through all the milk they drink.
The main reason GOMAD works is that it adds an additional 2400 calories to your diet. Anyone who is eating and drinking a total of 5000+ calories every day is going to see weight gain. Instead of forcing someone to make a meal plan, GOMAD allows people to consume one bottle of milk and be done with it. That’s a lot easier than eating a balanced diet and counting calories.
Along with the nutritional data, milk is cheap and available at all grocery stores. You won’t break the bank if you add a gallon of milk to your diet.
Milk’s Health Risks
However, anything in excess is not good. getting 2400 daily calories from a single source is always going to be problematic. Your diet should be rounded and well balanced and having one single source be such a large part of your diet is not a good idea.
Milk is high in calcium. Calcium is an important mineral for your body, however, too much calcium can be hard for your kidneys to digest. Calcium can form deposits in your kidneys, leading to painful kidney stones. A gallon of milk has far more calcium than your body needs or is able to use.
Too much calcium can also lead to milk-alkali syndrome. The symptoms for milk-alkali syndrome include pain in your core/lower back, pain in your kidneys, mental imbalances, vomiting, fatigue and irregular heartbeat. If not treated it could result in kidney failure. Milk-alkali syndrome is made worse by consuming large amounts of Vitamin D, which is found in milk. The good news is that milk-alkali syndrome is usually treatable.
There is also a strong body of evidence showing a link between milk consumption and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. There is also a link between ovarian cancer and women who drink large amounts of milk.
Milk also has a large amount of saturated fat. In the past saturated fat has been believed to be bad for the human body. Today, scientists are taking a second look at saturated fat. Many scientists now believe that saturated fat is not as bad as we once believed it to be. They are not saying saturated fat is good for us, it’s just that the negative aspects of saturated fat have been exaggerated.
The health risks or benefits of saturated fat are currently in discussion within the scientific community. Many weight lifters now embrace saturated fat as something that is actually good for their body. At the same time, there are a lot of respected medical organizations that still recommend avoiding saturated fat. The American Heart Association is one such organization. Whole milk has a lot of saturated fat. If you are in doubt, it may be best to talk to a nutritionist or doctor.
Obviously, anyone who is lactose intolerant should avoid drinking cow milk.
Acne and Farts
Consuming a lot of milk will increase acne. Along with the increased acne, many GOMAD users report an increase in farts. These farts smell putrid. Way worse than their regular farts.
Finally, many people who do GOMAD report bouts of constipation and painful poops. Others report bouts of explosive diarrhea. All that saturated fat and no fiber lead to a difficult time digesting things. This is not true for everyone, but be aware, it can happen.
Drinking that much milk for a month or two at a time is not good for your body. Working out should lead to a healthy body, not one that has kidney problems. It is very possible to maintain a balanced, healthy diet while eating an extra 2000+ calories per day.
The whole point of GOMAD is to make consuming a lot of extra calories easy for someone who is just starting out with gaining weight. You should consider the following alternatives to drinking all that milk. You can also use and combine these GOMAD alternatives with each other or with GOMAD. You can drink a gallon of milk one day, and then use one of these alternatives the next day, and then use yet another of these alternatives the third day, etc.
High Calorie Smoothies
High calorie smoothies and shakes are a great alternative to GOMAD. They provide you with many of the benefits of pure milk, such as being liquid, but without the monotony of drinking the same thing over and over again for a month at a time.
High calorie smoothies allow you to balance your diet. You can easily drink 2000+ calories using smoothies, while still managing your macro nutrients. You can create smoothie recipes which will have just the amount of protein, fats and carbs that you desire. You are also going to get a much larger amount of micro nutrients, such as different types of vitamins and minerals.
Finally, most smoothies include fruits and veggies of some kind. These all contain dietary fiber, which is essential to good health and a well working digestive system. You can avoid the digestive problems many people have when doing GOMAD by making sure you are getting a good amount of dietary fiber.
You can easily get all the protein and calories your body needs to gain weight with some oats, milk, bananas, peanut butter and protein powder. Put these in a blender and you have a healthy, homemade protein gainer shake.
To start, check out our listing of 1000+ calorie smoothie recipes. Drink a couple of these daily and you will gain just as much weight and muscle as you would with GOMAD, but your body will be much healthier.
A Dozen Eggs A Day
If you like the idea of GOMAD because it does not require a lot of thinking or calories counting, try eating a dozen eggs. The trick here is to cook the eggs using butter or oil. The eggs alone have a good amount of protein and nutritional value, but they do not have as much calories as milk does. The good news is that a single tablespoon of butter has over 100 calories, and olive oil has even more calories. Cooking a dozen scrambled eggs over some oil will do a lot in reaching your calorie goals.
Eggs are also cheap and easily available at all super markets. Eggs contain 13 vitamins and minerals and are have a good amount of fat. And you can prepare them in a lot of different ways. They also combine with other foods really well to make a whole meal. Eggs, toast and orange juice, for example. Or even just French toast. A dozen eggs a day is a nice alternative for those who do not want to drink a gallon of milk a day.
Jar Of Peanut Butter A Day
Peanut butter is a great source of calories. It’s got a lot of protein and a lot of fats. A typical jar of peanut butter will have about the same amount of calories as a gallon of whole milk. Peanut butter can be put on sandwiches, or eaten with celery or bananas. You can throw it into smoothies or bake cookies with it.
Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E and vitamin B-3. It’s also high in magnesium and copper.
Peanut butter is cheap and easy to find. However, if you have a quality grocery store near you, you can also try different types of nut butters, such as almond butter or tahini. There’s a lot of different brands of peanut butter, so check the labels to see the nutritional value of the peanut butter you are buying.
You can even combine peanut butter with milk and make a peanut butter and milk smoothie. Just add a few table spoons of peanut butter with some milk into a blender and blend. I would add at least one banana before adding in the peanut butter. This will help the peanut butter mix and also will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the blender.
Just Eat More
Seriously. Drink milk in moderation and just add more whole foods into your diet. Add two or three additional meals to your diet instead of drinking a gallon of milk. I realize that one of the main benefits of GOMAD is how simple the diet is. But eating additional meals every day is what you are striving for anyway. You are going to have to learn how to create a balanced, high calorie diet if you are serious about gaining muscle.
GOMAD is meant to be done for a month or two at most. The idea is that your body will be used to consuming more calories, and you will be able to simple eat more food when done with GOMAD. During GOMAD you will likely feel bloated and terrible. This is because you are adding a huge amount of calories into your diet all of the sudden. Instead, why not slowly add more meals into your diet. That’s what you are going to be doing when you are done with GOMAD anyway.
Whole foods offer a balanced diet. They can be just as cheap as GOMAD (think chicken and rice) and are not that much more difficult to prepare, especially if you cook a lot and then eat leftovers.
If you are absolutely clueless about counting calories, buying groceries and preparing food, a simple diet like GOMAD is going to help. For those of you who are able to function at a reasonable level, eating a well balanced diet is a smarter way to go.