The Thrive Diet: Whole Foods to Thrive
By Brendan Brazier
Published 2011, Penguin Canada
Paperback, 343 pages
What impact do food choices have on your health? Have you ever been curious as to where your food came from, who grew it, and the path it took to get to your table? Have you every wondered how much of each natural resource was used to produce your food—in other words, the soil-to-table environmental cost? In Whole Foods to Thrive, Brendan Brazier clearly explains how nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are the best choice, not only for your health but also for the health and sustainability of the planet.
Versatile and packed with flavor, whole foods have an abundance of health benefits for those who want sustainable energy, high-quality sleep, physical strength, and mental sharpness. Whole Foods to Thrive builds upon Brendan’s stress-busting, energy-boosting approach to nutrition and food introduced in his acclaimed bestseller The Thrive Diet, and includes 200 delicious, easy-to-make, plant based recipes that are all allergen-free and contain no wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, or corn.
• Breakfast Cereals • Salads • Dressings, Dips, and Sauces • Soups and Sides • Burgers, Wraps, Pizza, and Rice Bowls• Cookies, Ice Cream, and Pies • Kale Chips and Nori Crisps• Energy Bars and Gels
Features recipes for dishes such as • Gorilla Food Green Tacos • Quinoa Falafels • Indian-Spiced Lentil Hemp Burgers • Maple Crispy Rice Treats.
Rich in protein and omega-3, this smoothie will keep you going for hours with
sustainable, non-stimulating energy.
Time: 5 minutes • Makes about 3 ½ cups (2 large servings)
2 fresh or presoaked dried dates
1 cup water
1 cup Sacha Inchi Milk (or chocolate variation) (see p. 126)
¼ cup almonds (or 2 tbsp raw almond butter)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 tbsp roasted carob powder
• In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
The face of Brendan Brazier blazes across the opening page of the book, along with a full body shot of him again at the beginning of the introduction. He certainly has an intimidating litany of accomplishments, from a former profession as an Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50 km Ultra Marathon champion to designing the Vega product line to supplement the plant-based diet taught in his previous books, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life and Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness. The list goes on, and this is only on the first page of the book.
The Introduction explains what drove Brazier to write this book, namely an avid curiosity about the source of a food's nutritional quality as well as the environmental cost of these sources. He then describes what each of the first five chapters focus on, followed by 200 recipes created with the help of top chefs, "all made with nutriet-dense, plant-based whole foods that are both health-boosting and easy on the environment." The contributing chefs are Julie Morris, Amanda Cohen, Matthew Kenney, Chad Sarno, and Tal Ronnen; and many recipes are also pulled from Brazier's favorite restaurants across Canada and the United States.
In the first chapter, Brazier discusses the hurdles he overcame in becoming an Ironman triathlete in regards to proper nutrition and how this drove him to study nutrition in-depth and formulate his own conclusions about how to achieve a proper diet. Chapter Two takes proper nutrition one step further by exploring the environmental impact of all aspects of the food industry with both high nutrient-dense foods and low nutrient-dense foods. Chapter Three investigates the various solutions offered for both the environmental toll of the food industry and the initiatives to achieve higher nutrient density in food, as well as compares the ratios of nutrients to environmental toll in various foods. Chapter Four lists the eight components of healthy food with its purpose, best sources, and specific benefits. Chapter Five uses the information from the previous chapter to list and discuss the most nutrient-dense foods available. In addition, each of the chapters have a quick summary of that chapter in "Thrive at a Glance" for quick reference.
The end of the book has a detailed Guide to Nutrients, which covers phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, followed by a list of Brazier's favorite restaurants and cafes, complete with addresses and short blurbs. The book concludes with a list of calculations that compare the emissions of a variety of foods to nutrient density that are discussed in chapter three, as well as a glossary and list of resources.
I was incredibly impressed with the knowledge that Brazier provides between the pages of this book, and how well he illustrates the knowledge so that anyone can understand it. While I do not completely agree with everything that Brazier is preaching with his"Thrive" diet, most of it does make sense and with the right amount of dedication I think that it could work for most people - and you don't have to be a triathlete to do it.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*
Read For: Foodie Challenge, Off the Shelf Challenge