The Vertical Diet: What It Is And 3 Delicious Recipes to Try

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If you’re searching for an effective high-calorie diet, you’ve just struck gold!

As humans, we have the unique ability to alter our bodies by changing what we do. We can lose weight by slightly eating less, burn fat while building muscle to become leaner, and increase our strength and durability with harsh exercise. If the goal is to grow and strengthen our muscles working out is the answer. But when it comes to gaining mass, it’s all about fuel!

The Vertical diet is a high-calorie dietary plan created by world-renowned powerlifter Stan Efferding. And while this diet isn’t backed by science, its effectiveness is admired by all kinds of athletes.

In four minutes, you’ll understand how this diet works and if it aligns with your fitness goals.

What is The Vertical Diet?

The Vertical Diet

This diet is popular among athletes and bodybuilders for its high protein and calories. This diet will seem restrictive to some, but athletes see a simple and effective way to get through a bulking season. Food options are limited, and the primary food sources are red meat and rice.

Since you can’t entirely depend on meat and rice to get all your nutrients, you’ll supplement the diet with grains, fruits, vegetables, and fats. Adding these foods in will provide your body with all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals it needs for a healthy bulk.

Vertical Diet Foods List:

Animal protein sources: beef, chicken, fish, pork, turkey, eggs
Carbohydrate sources: white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, fruit
Vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms
Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee
Dairy: yogurt, cheese
Fruits: berries, citrus fruits, melons, apples, bananas, etc.
Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Grains and legumes: oats, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
Beverages: water, tea, coffee, bone broth, electrolyte drinks, etc.

Benefits of the Vertical Diet

1) Increased muscle mass and energy

The vertical diet is popular amongst weightlifters for a reason. By eating meals of mostly red meat and rice, you’ll be consuming a higher amount of protein and calories. Your energy levels and muscle mass increase and boost athletic performance.

If the goal is to put on mass, this diet will take you there with less stomach pain.

2) Improved Digestion

Since this diet focuses on easy-to-digest nutrient-dense foods, it reduces bloating and gas build-up.

3) Simplicity

This diet’s restrictive nature can be a gift through the correct lens. Since this diet is designed for bulking, a limited palette will make meal prepping and sticking to your diet easier.

Downsides of the Vertical Diet

1) Not sustainable

If you’re looking for a healthy diet you can follow forever, this is not it. As stated above, this diet is very restrictive and does not give your body all nutrients it needs to survive. You won’t be at death’s door after six months, but speaking with a dietitian before or during the experience is best.

2) It’s expensive

Meat is expensive! And vertical diet meals mainly consisting of red meat is bound to run up the bill. This is yet another reason to rely on this diet temporarily and plan.

3) Animal Products

This diet focuses on red meat and other animal products such as eggs and yogurt. So any vegans or plant-based dieters will, sadly, have to look elsewhere.

3 Amazing Vertical Diet Recipes!

Beef and Sweet Potato Hash


  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Heat a large pan on medium or high and throw in a tablespoon of olive oil. Thoroughly cook the meat of your choice while cooking the potatoes, bell peppers, garlic, and onions until soft. Once finished, season to taste with salt and pepper before topping with chopped parsley.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Skewers


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 zucchinis cubed
  • 2 red onions sliced
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 8 skewers
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Oil

Soak skewers for 30 minutes and preheat the grill on a medium to high setting. When your skewers are done soaking, begin threading chicken and vegetables onto them. Brush with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Throw them on the grill and rotate periodically for 12-15 minutes. Cook until your delicious vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through.

Salmon and Quinoa Salad


  • 8 oz. fillet of wild-caught salmon
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup fresh mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Heat a grill (or pan) at medium to high temperatures. Grill each side of the salmon for 3-4 minutes. After, season with salt and pepper, then hold the salmon on heat until it’s cooked through. Add cooked quinoa, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and sliced almonds in a large mixing dish. When the salmon is done, flake it and combine it with the other ingredients. Drizzle with a dressing of your choice, and enjoy!

Why Follow the Vertical Diet?

The Vertical Diet is a dietary regimen meant to help athletes, bodybuilders, and weightlifters improve their health and performance. Here are some of the reasons for someone to adopt the Vertical Diet:

  • Foods are high in nutrients: The Vertical Diet prioritizes nutrient-dense foods such as red meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, which may give a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
  • Improved digestive health: The Vertical Diet also emphasizes easy-to-digest foods that are not likely to cause digestive discomfort.
  • Increased energy and athletic performance: The Vertical Diet may help enhance energy levels and athletic performance. It provides the body with a continuous supply of energy through carbs and healthy fats, as well as appropriate protein for muscle repair and development.

While the Vertical Diet emphasizes particular foods, it is nevertheless a flexible and sustainable nutrition plan that also promotes diversity and taste.


The vertical diet is a great way to gain some extra muscle. And while it can be considered restrictive, its simplicity makes it reliable and effective. The vertical diet will make you feel more energized, help with digestion, and add extra muscle to your body. As for those struggling to eat more in a day, this diet’s focus on nutrient density will allow you to eat less food while consuming more calories.

However, this dietary plan comes with drawbacks, as it doesn’t contain all the nutrients your body needs meaning it’s not sustainable long-term, and it’s reliance on red meat as a primary food source makes it expensive.

By |2023-11-04T19:15:25+01:00November 5th, 2023|0 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Anthony Manuel, and I am a full time writer, blogger and health enthusiast. Away from the keyboard, I also enjoys many other activities such as music, meditation, reading, and many more.
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