Book Review: Thrive (a vegan nutrition guide for athletes!)

The first and only comprehensive nutrition book written for the vegan athlete. Thrive is a long-term eating plan that will help you develop a lean body, sharp mind, and everlasting energy, whether you’re a professional athlete or simply looking to boost your physical and mental health.

One of the few professional athletes on an entirely plant-based diet, Brendan researched and developed this easy-to-follow program to enhance his performance as an elite endurance athlete. Brendan clearly describes why it’s easier for the body to utilize nutrient-rich foods in their natural state than refined, processed foods and how to choose nutritionally efficient, stress-busting whole foods to maximize energy and health. And because plant-based foods are more environmentally friendly to produce, you’ll also help the planet while improving your personal health.

Title:  Thrive

Subtitle: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life

Author: Brendan Brazier

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (December 23, 2008)

ISBN: 978-0738212548

Pages: 320 pages (paperback) 

 About the Author: Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100 percent plant-based. He’s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author of The Thrive Diet (Penguin, 2007), and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega. He is also a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.  Brendan is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition. He is a guest lecturer at Cornell University and teaches an eCornell course called “The Plant-Based Diet and Elite Athleticism.”

Brendan was chosen as one of the 25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians by VegNews Magazine, the Top 40 Under 40 most influential people in the health industry by Natural Food Merchandiser and has been nominated for the prestigious Manning Innovation Award twice for creating Vega.  See Brendan’s complete bio for more information!  My Review:Let me first state (just for the record!) that I am neither vegan nor am I a competitive athlete. I am, however, concerned about my health, get a moderate amount of exercise, and try to limit my meat consumption for a number of reasons. Brandan Brazier has managed to find optimal health with no animal products at all and I find that truly amazing!

The early pages of this book discuss the author’s journey into professional sports and some of his eye opening moments regarding the typical athlete diet. I enjoyed the discussion of stress and action versus rest and recovery. My husband runs half marathons and is always discussing proper POST run nutrition! The author stresses that recovering from an intense workout requires certain nutrients and the faster you can recover, the faster  you can train again.

Brendan discusses several aspects of optimum nutrition including the benefits of raw foods, maintaining proper pH, eating whole foods, and staying hydrated. These are all diet tips that people from all walks of life should listen to! No one should be eating highly processed, greasy foods if they expect to stay healthy and feel energetic!

I was glad to see a chapter on how this diet will benefit the environment as a whole. There are discussions on energy requirements of food production, degradation of soil quality, etc. While I, myself, choose to eat meat I am adamantly opposed to the way our country currently handles meat production.

There is a very detailed section on staples for the thrive diet. These are items you should find in any healthy kitchen such as vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, oils, etc. There are a few unique items that I certainly have never tried like chlorella and maca but there is a great discussion under each item as to why it should be included in your diet.

There is a 12 week meal plan with recipes and a shopping list. I am sure if you are actively training for an Ironman Triathlon like the author does, you would need to be rigid about your diet, calories, combination of nutrients, etc. That is part of training, muscle building, and improving endurance. I, myself, know that I could not follow such a structured diet successfully. While I love the recipes, I think I will skip the meal plan idea!

Then last section of the book is a glossary of terms you will need to be aware of and a discussion of vitamins and nutrients that are vital for proper health. This book will benefit anyone who is trying to get healthier through diet and exercise.

It will help you understand the  physiological requirements of your body and how to incorporate better nutrition into your life. Whether you are a professional athlete or not!
If you would like to learn more about the Thrive diet you can check out the Thrive website or purchase the book on Amazon at the link below.

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