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Weekend Reading: Thrive Diet

When I flirted with being a vegetarian in college, my parents told me tales of a collegiate basketball player from their co-ed days. The athlete decided to eat a plant-based diet and subsequently was injured all the time. My parents seemed to think that meat was a form of injury prevention. They would be amazed by the whole food, plant based, vegan, almost raw diet that professional Iron Man athlete Brendan Brazier cooked dreamed up and promotes in his book The Thrive Diet ($16.32).

The first third of the book lays out a very convincing argument for a plant based diet. It decreases stress, decreases over all body acidity (which is cause for inflammation), and provides more nutrients per calorie. His food philosophy is to eat plenty of small meals a day, drink nutritious smoothies daily (some recipes contain kale), eat raw greens daily, and to partake of an afternoon snack. Brazier also believes we should all be eating a raw energy bar daily concocted out of ingredients like dried dates, quinoa, and ground flax seeds. All that sounds healthy, but for me to follow this diet I would have to completely change how I eat and approach food. Brazier definitely sees food as fuel to power his extreme workout schedule. Food for me is also about taste, texture and pleasure. Not to mention food provides a social forum for family and friends.

To see how to start the diet, just

Brazier is clear that you need to take on the Thrive Diet one step at a time. It is not about perfection but about progress. Since change can create stress, you need to ease into the Thrive Diet by adding nutrient dense foods and weaning yourself off of coffee and refined carbs.

If you are vegan, especially if you are into endurance sports (he has recipes for raw vegan sports gels!), and looking for some super healthy recipes, this is the book for you. It contains a lot of recipes for meals, snacks and sports drinks. If you are looking to thrive, buy the book at Amazon. I bet Brazier would prefer that you walk or bike to your local bookstore to pick up your copy.


Join The Conversation
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Humans do not NEED meat. In this day & age, food is very political, so I don't think you can discredit him from getting funding from PETA or PCRM. It's a valid point about his lacking of nutrition credentials, but PCRM does have doctors and dietitians on staff and I don't think their studies are any less solid than the studies done by doctors and dietitians employed by the meat & dairy industries. Not that I will buy this book (even as a veg marathon runner) because I feel like I already know what and how to eat, but it's nice to have a role models like Brendan.
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
These hands will never touch another diet or food lifestyle book. I've tried every dietary lifestyle, even raw foodist sometime around 2005ish, and the one thing I learned is to listen to my body. You will crave certain foods and that's your body telling you that it needs the nutrients, so I do not subscribe to any particular diet, but allow my body to guide me in what it needs. Whether that be, tea, chocolate, or, broccolini and raisins... which I ate everyday for two weeks. :D
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Not for me. I was indeliberately vegetarian for a while (it was easier for me to get my protein from plant sources than animal sources). I ate tofu, beans, and nuts. Healthy, right?? Well, it impaired my immune system. For the first time in 10 years, my immune system had some problems, per my doctor. The only difference in my lifestyle was my vegetarian diet. Everything else was the same. So I went back to eating ONE serving of chicken or fish a day. For the additional two protein servings that day, I would get them from plants sources, like how I was eating before. I did this for a month. My doctor re-tested me, and my immune system was back to normal. Oh. Incidently, I also ate whole foods (whole grains, flax seed, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, etc), dairy, and took supplements. My immune system was still disabled. Vegetarianism is not for everybody. It certainly wasn't for me. I need a minimal amount of animal protein (one serving a day) to have optimal health.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
And aside from being an Ironman athlete Brendan's credentials for advocating such a radical diet and nutritional plan are what? It hasn't killed him yet? Nah...when he becomes an registered dietitian or physiologist and Ironman athlete than he can try advocating a particular nutritional plan as safe balanced and healthy. yes we humans are omnivores we can adapt and remain healthy to any diet for a time. No one knows how long that period is however we can do it at will now rather than because of environmental circumstances. There are too many non-experts cranking out books on diet and nutrition from the Skinny Bitch Books (written by a former model and former modeling agent both obsessed with weight not health) to the Omnivore Dilemma (written by a journalist/brother-in-law of Michael J Fox who freely admits he knows nothing personally of nutrition only what he learns during the course of writing a book on a subject but no the less was attempting to be objective). None of the authors has the education in the field on which they are writing. They are simply capitalizing on a trend and seeking simple solutions to complex issues and one-sided advice from "professionals" who will support their position rather than doing the legwork themselves beyond "I tried it and I'm not dead...yet." Every time I look at one of those books in the bookstore and read about the author, I look at the educational background did they do the clinical research or participate in it - what is their knowledge base - and surprisingly most have done nothing to back up their claims/statements other than to say "I haven't keeled over dead yet from doing this!" They've had to seek endorsements from actual medical personnel or Ph.Ds willing to take a buck in exchange for a book credit and endorsing the claims in a book they may or may not have read. If I don't see that the authors are educated on the field in which they are going to try to educate me on - I put the book right back on the shelf and move along. Especially when it pertains to my health and well-being. Quick search of Brendan reveals that he has no educational background whatsoever in what he has written about, seemingly no education beyond high school - he works for PETA and the PETA created and financed organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who's membership is less than 5% actual practicing Physicians and more than 95% PETA and ALF staff members, and he is a active member of the violent organization ALF. His position is suspect at best and the fact that he doesn't clearly state who he works for much like the Skinny Bitch authors is distrubing. There are other fair better books on alternative diets for athletes written by qualified authors with data to backup their claims. Objective data not social or personal agendas.
magickalrealism magickalrealism 9 years
I've heard similar horror stories from my parents. My guess is that when vegetarianism first became popular in the 60s, a lot of people tried it without really knowing what they were doing, and did end up hurting themselves. Nowadays it's still easy to be a sloppy vegetarian, but more people are learning about foods they wouldn't seek out if they were still eating meat, and it makes a huge nutritional and lifestyle difference.
caryatid caryatid 9 years
beans provide a lot of the same benefits as meats and then some. i might need some black bean soup right about now...
Spectra Spectra 9 years
It's definitely possible to get all your nutritional needs from plant/non-animal sources, you just have to know what to eat. I could see this book being a good resource for vegetarian athletes. I'm not sure if I'm so gung-ho about making sure everything I eat is so uber-healthy that I'd personally buy this book, but having some good energy-providing recipes would be kinda nice.
filmgirl81 filmgirl81 9 years
I've actually been much healthier and feel better since I've become a vegetarian. I was always ill when I ate meat, and I only stuck to white meat and fish. Plus meat has tons of chemicals in it unless it's organic. And I do get offended when people say humans need meat. I don't tell meat eaters to go veg, and I expect the same courtesy in return.
JessBear JessBear 9 years
You are a bigger woman than me, HushYuppie. I get horribly offended when people try to tell me I have to eat meat to be healthy.
HushYuppie HushYuppie 9 years
For every publication advocating a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, there will be another dismissive one claiming the contrary. When a well-intentioned person lectures me about how I (as a flip-flopping vegan/vegetarian) could really use a steak, I don't take it any differently than someone opposing my political stance. Just the way the cookie crumbles, eggs/milk/butter optional :)
Greentea1203 Greentea1203 9 years
I was vegan for a year just to see if I could stick to a strict diet, but in the end I didn't like restricting myself from certain food. I even passed on crab and lobster one Xmas eve--a family tradition, and after that I said no more.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
I'm sorry, but human beings need meat. Humans have been omnivores for thousands and thousands of years and thus survived. There's a reason for that.
marygrace marygrace 9 years
This looks great. I've been vegan for a couple of years, and have just recently started to cut out the refined carbs and sugars. I've also started getting involved with strength training, and am looking to incorporate more food into my diet that will pack a lot of nutrition, and hopefully protein.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
I definitely will check this out!
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