clean mass gain

Clean Mass Gain

Dallas’ highly anticipated Clean Mass Gain article is coming out today in the September 2011 edition of Performance Menu.  You can purchase the article here for $2.50, but we highly recommend that you instead get a subscription to their annual journal and devour everything they have to say. Wondering what Performance Menu all about?

For just under $30 a year, you could be reading original fitness, health, performance and nutrition articles written by smart folks like Greg Everett, Robb Wolf, Scott Hagnas, Yael Grauer and Jim Bathurst.    This ain’t your Momma’s functional fitness journal – you’ll fine unique perspectives, refreshing topics and tons of practical application in each issue.  (I’m pretty sure we went through all this when Dallas’ sleep article came out a few months ago… so why don’t you already have a subscription?)

Clean Mass Gain Recipes

To accompany the Performance Menu CMG article, we’re posting four between-meal recipes Dallas used throughout the course of his clean mass gain journey.  They’re all designed to go down easy (read: beat the satiety signal your stomach sends to your brain), and pack in as many calories as possible.  And the best part?  They’re all grain, dairy and legume-free.

Happy eating!

Tons of Tapioca

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups of small pearl tapioca – 960 calories
  • 1 -13.5 oz. can of coconut milk  – 720 calories
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 envelopes of unflavored Knox gelatin (optional) – 40 calories

Bring the water to a boil.  Add the tapioca and cook for approximately 18 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add coconut milk and seasonings.  (Optionally, if you like a thicker tapioca, add Knox gelatin.)  Cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Total estimated calories:  1,720

Soup on Steroids

  • Butternut squash soup (either make your own, or use the 32 oz. Imagine Brand) – 360 calories
  • 1 -13.5 oz. can of coconut milk  – 720 calories
  • 1 – 15 oz. can of Farmer’s Market organic sweet potato – 455 calories

Make soup.  Add a can of coconut milk.  Add can of sweet potato.  Mix.  Eat.

Total estimated calories:  1,535

Food in a Blender

  • 1-13.5 oz. can of coconut milk  –  720 calories
  • 2 avocado – 450 calories
  • 1 banana – 105 calories
  • 1 pint of frozen blackberries – 260 calories
  • 1 bunch watercress or spinach – 12 calories
  • 3 carrots – 120 calories
  • 6 eggs – 360 calories

Throw it all in (feel free to mix and match your ingredients).  Blend.  Slurp straight from the blender.

Total estimated calories:  2,027

An On-the-Go “Light Snack”

  • 1-13.5 oz. can of coconut milk  –  720 calories
  • 1 – 15 oz. can of Farmer’s Market organic sweet potato – 455 calories
  • 2 scoops of 100% egg white protein powder – 240 calories

Mix by hand or in a blender.  Season with cinnamon, nutmeg and Allspice if desired.  Pretend it’s pudding.

Total estimated calories:  1,415

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  1. Kevin G says

    This may be a silly question but I remember some of your facebook posts about Dallas being a professional eater. Are these single servings or made up to eat a smaller portions whenever the mood strikes or the alarm rings, which ever comes first?


  2. Mark says

    Given the effect of the body’s ‘set point’ I wondered about the interplay between the overfeeding, strength gains and mass gains. Do you think the size gains were needed in order to get the strength gains?

    Does the overfeeding just mean you don’t have a deficit of anything so you could theoretically still grain strength without packing on quite so much weight?

  3. Chris says


    I’m interested in how you prepared the bone marrow. I recently purchased a quarter of a grass-fed/finished cow and had the butcher throw in the choice bones. Now I just need to figure out the best way to use them.

  4. says


    While I do like to eat, I’d not claim to be a “professional eater”. These were generally single servings, though because of the volume, they’re usually take me 15-45 minutes to get down. Basically, it was all done as tolerated. And I set no alarms to eat. I just ate all the time, until it wouldn’t go down anymore. Not fun, but effective.


    Nope, no pics. IMO, irrelevant. You shouldn’t care what I look like. I didn’t do the CMG for aesthetics, and (again, IMO) neither should you.


    Excellent question. That’s a highly individual answer, but for me, the answer is generally yes. I have almost 15 years of training history, and know how closely my strength and muscle mass are correlated at this point. Remember, though, this was not a pure strength program – the training would have been different (and, potentially, the food, too).

    As far as the set point and overfeeding, again, that’s highly individual. I had been at a effortless, homeostatic set point for me for a while (3+ years), and in order for me to (sustainably) move that set point at a higher (sustainable) “normal”, I’d have to maintain consistent overfeeding AND send the continue to send the message to my body to grow via training, recovery, and tons of sleep/rest. So the overfeeding was a way to provide nutrition for the hypothetical higher set point (i.e. “eat for the man/woman you want to be”), even though it overrode my regulatory responses to food (leptin, PYY, ghrelin, etc.) in the short term. Is this sustainable? Not with my life and goals, but maybe if I’d kept it up for 3-6 months, my body would get the message and recalibrate. But that is HIGHLY individual. The overfeeding is an effort to recalibrate at a higher set point, which for ME meant more muscle mass to produce force. That might not be the case for other folks with less or different training history, and the requirement for more neurological refining. Hope this makes sense and is somewhat helpful.


    Have your butcher cut the marrow bones into sections, either lengthwise or cross-sections (about 3 inches long). They’ll be frozen, so let them thaw in the fridge or on the counter for a couple hours, then preheat the oven to 350. Place the sections upright in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake uncovered for 20 or so minutes. Some of the fat will leak out the bottom into the foil, but save it and use it either as cooking fat, or mix it into stuff (it’s awesome in sweet potato mash). Eat the marrow hot with a small spoon – it’s great with chimichurri or dairy-free pesto (you can easily make your own). Enjoy!

  5. Chris Burns says

    Pictures (or perhaps just BF%/tape measure stats?) are pretty important… I can write my own mass gain program to put on 20lbs in 6 weeks… but my body won’t look pretty for it!

    Have you already posted your results? Strength changes/inches/bf% etc?

  6. Jeremy Preacher says

    This is super handy for an unexpected reason. I’m not trying to gain mass, but I will be getting my wisdom teeth out next week and was looking for some tasty, Paleo liquid food recipes :)

  7. Kellan says

    Overfeeding in any situation/for any purpose is unhealthy and counter-productive to sarcoplasmic and/or myofibrillar growth. Dallas, you would make gains at a higher rate if you move away from the overfeeding fallacy. Overfeeding=insulin overload=inflammation/fat gain=impaired recovery/chronic damage. Calories/protein do not dictate muscle size or strength (only reps/weight lifted do). What they do dictate is BODY FAT, though…if that’s your goal. “Mass gain” is ridiculous and doesn’t work…not to mention it’s unsightly and unhealthy. By the way, fat gain is fat gain…so there is no “clean” mass gain because you’re gaining fat (hurting yourself) and looking puffy either way.

  8. Mr Smith says

    I always wondered about raw eggs… I’m assuming that the blender recipe calls for raw eggs, I’ve heard that raw eggs can be bad for you and also that not all of the good stuff can be absorbed by the body when not cooked. Also what is your thoughts on ‘all egg whites’ ?

    Love the info

  9. says

    Chris Burns,

    I talk about why I don’t really care about BF% in the article, but the short story is that I (personally) don’t gain fat, even with a monster caloric intake (obviously not true for everyone). So the measurements of “inches” or body comp are not important for me – I was demonstrating that even lean “hardgainers” can gain considerable strength and muscle mass without resorting to eating french fries and ice cream just to get the calories in. As an example, I put 30 pounds on my DL in the last couple months (including CMG period of time). So yes, it works. :)

    John A,

    Yes. Some folks are nervous about the raw part due to the salmonella risk, which is a risk, yes, but with a small-time, local egg source, I’m minimally concerned about contamination. However, if you’re not willing to take that risk, you could use a unsweetened, soy lecithin-free egg white powder in place of the eggs, or just eat some (cooked) eggs on the side with your shake. Good luck!


    Sorry to hear that, but good luck!

    Mr Smith,

    I’m not encouraging everyone to eat more raw eggs – it’s just an example. The liquid egg whites are fine, though I’ve never seen them from an organic, pastured source, which we think is important. They’re pasteurized, but not perfect. I’d prefer if you ate better quality eggs cooked than factory-farmed liquid egg whites. Hope this helps.

  10. says


    I don’t even know where to start with your comment. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that you have not actually read my article, considering your comment. I’m resisting the urge to post a picture of my fat, “puffy” look that you’re assuming (I’m about 6% bodyfat). Maybe you’d be better served by actually doing some work of your own instead of trolling websites.

  11. Kellan says


    I’m 19 years old, 6’0, 155 lbs and currently bench 300 lbs. I certainly know what I’m doing (and am an example of the gains that can be made without caloric overload). I’m sticking to my previous comment (which is firmly rooted in scientific fact). The issue at hand is that “mass gaining” is unhealthy. That is all.

  12. Giovanni says

    @Kellan, 6’0 and 155 lbs, that’s awfully skinny. Nobody cares about how much you can bench or how many bicep curls you can do. You stated “I’m sticking to my previous comment which is firmly rooted in scientific fact.” You’re 19 years old and you have all the answers don’t you?

  13. Tom R. says

    I knew it all at 19 too. Now that I’m 35, I know far less than I did then. Being 19 and ignorant was great.

  14. Mark says


    Nice article in the Performance Menu. I’d also like to read the quality-plus-quantity approach articles you mention towards the end of your piece. Can you provide me the references? Thanks.

  15. Joe G says


    You mentioned you used a clean creatine. What did/do you use? I’ve been looking to reintroduce but wasn’t sure what’s the best. Also, what’s your optimal time for taking?

  16. Brian says


    How does the “food in a blender” shake honestly taste? I love all the ingredients just not quite sure how well it mixes blended up?

    I have read that the guar gum found in most coconut milk cans can be fairl harmful. How much of a concern is it really or should I just ignore it and continue using it on a regular basis for drinks/ cooking? Thanks man and appreciate what you guys are doing!

  17. says

    Hi Dallas,

    Sorry for the uber-late reply to this post, but I noticed that the Imagine brand of butternut squash soup was listed as okay in the Soup On Steroids recipe. Are brown rice syrup and brown rice flour okay on the Whole30? You specifically mention that rice is a no-no, so I’m wondering how far one can go with derivatives, especially since brown rice syrup is used as a sweetener.

    Thanks for any insight!


  18. says


    Unfortunately, those ingredients for that particular soup make it off plan for the Whole30. (The program is a “clean” mass gain – not specifically a Whole30 mass gain!) You could still do the program while on the Whole30, but it probably won’t be as convenient – make your own butternut squash soup, for example, from scratch.

    Hope that helps,

  19. Michael says

    Just wondering on the recipes – if I have digestive trouble with FODMAPS, then do you have any other liquid recommendations besides coconut milk? Or, what is a good calorie substitute for it? I have lost almost 30 lbs in three or so months since eating paleo and didn’t really want or need to lose much, if any, weight (5’9″ started at around 165, now at 137.). I was OK with some but think I have lost too much now and want to try and keep from losing any more.

  20. says

    Michael, unfortunately some other alternative milks (like almond milk) won’t have anywhere near the caloric punch of coconut milk. You could try butter in the soup, maybe a nut butter plus some almond milk in the shake (although it may be gross), and just mix the sweet potato with the eggs and add your own fat source on the last recipe.