Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, the creator of an award-winning line of whole food plant based nutritional products called VEGA, and the bestselling author of Thrive.
He was named one of the “25 most fascinating vegetarians” in 2007 by VegNews magazine,
We talked about some of his latest endeavors including the new book Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health and THRIVE FOODS Direct, a plant-based, whole food delivery service based on Brendan’s nutritional philosophy, which is from his Thrive book series. It launched in December of 2011.
Brendan talks about Nutrient to Resource ratio in the book, which simply means to get as high a level of health-boosting micronutrients from food, while expending the smallest amount of each natural resource to do so. (Essentially, it’s a mathematical way of saying plant-based whole foods make a lot of sense).
Whole plant based foods also help reduce nutrition stress. The body has an incredibly hard time turning processed food into usable fuel. It is trying to digest something so artificial that the body doesn’t even recognize it as a nutrient type of food. There are also 200 recipes, including a few from Brendan’s favorite North American restaurants, as well as a few from his favorite chefs.
I got this wonderful opportunity to talk to Brendan Brazier about so many things. via OpenSky. OpenSky is a social network for shopping where experts and trendsetters in health, food, style and design share insider advice, tips and their favorite things for you.
You can find Brendan’s favorite nutritional, fitness, and enviro-friendly products on his OpenSky page here.
Thank you Brendan and Open Sky for this interview! What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to try use as little Natural resources as possible.
Giveaway!!. Opensky is offering a signed copy of Thrive Foods book to one reader!(Shipping within US). Enter by Wednesday April 25th midnight PST. To enter.
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1. Why Vegan? The most asked question:)
It started off when I was 15, I just wanted to be a better athlete. I wanted to see if I could boost my performance, through understanding nutrition properly and I found that it made a big difference. So I turned to a plant based diet for performance reasons.
2. How did you think about using plant based diet for performance.
I saw the top athletes in the world were really not training very different from the average athletes, So I thought, If we are training the same and getting different results, then why is that. I figured that it was the Rate of recovery, after all that training and exercise. how fast could the body renew and regenerate itself. I learned that the rate of recovery has to do with nutrition. upto 80%. So I knew I had to focus on nutrition to speed up my rate of recovery.
3. What does your current average day look like in terms of food.
I graze thoughout the whole day. I have a Vega One smoothie in the morning. It has protein , fibre, greens, omega 3s, enzymes, probiotics, chlorella, minerals, all that gets me the nutrition right away. After that I graze fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted bread, avocado, quinoa, green vegetables, a big salad to keep alkaline with lots of leafy greens.
4. How do you keep up while travelling, eating out, during the holidays.
I am pretty lucky, that most of my events are in cities with good food. I have lots of events at whole foods. They have a great Salad bar and a great produce section, so there is always something for me to eat. This is also one of the reasons I developed Thrive Foods Direct, so people can order meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, to anywhere they want. If they are on the road, they can get them to their hotel. The recipes are from Thrive Foods book and the other Thrive books.
5. That sounds like a great solution to help people transition into a healthy diet.
It helps with some of the main complaints of time and travel. there is also a promotion going on at Thrive foods Direct. With the coupon code BB1 , you can get 20% off your order. (Read more about it on the note below the interview.)
6. Some interesting nutrition facts esp about Indian food.
I like cumin, as it helps reduce inflammation, it is really good for speedy recovery. I like chickpeas, but dont really eat much authentic Indian food.
(Note to self: Send Brendan some nutrient dense whole food Indian food recipes!:)
7. Three things that you would absolutely not go without during the day.
The Vega One Smoothie, as it covers so many bases and nutrition.
Also Leafy Greens, Vegetables, Spinach Kale, Broccoli, things like that really help reduce inflammation. I also like hemp a lot, a great source of protein and essential fats and an all around nutrient dense option.
8. Lets Talk about the Thrive Foods Book. How is it different from the earlier books.
My first book Thrive is about my whole nutrition philosophy
Thrive fitness- is more a training book, more about fitness and working out
This book is a follow up of my first book, 2/3 of the book is 200 recipes based on my nutritional philosophy and the other third is about environmental resources. Land water, fossil fuel, emissions created during food production. I tie in some environmental concerns around food production and what foods are the most efficient to produce, which of course are all plant based foods.
9. The book talks about Nutrient to Resource ratio. What is it and how does someone choose the right nutrient to ratio foods without necessarily knowing all the details.
Nutrient to Resource ratio considers the amount of each natural resource that goes into food production in exchange for the amount of nutrients that food offers. Based on these findings, I make suggestions as to what foods are most beneficial to personal health as well as environmental preservation. There is a list in the book. Some good options, greens are good, they have a lot of minerals, are very nutrient dense, yet they do not take a lot of land to produce. hemp and almonds are really good, and pseudo-grains like buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice.
10. You dont use Soy in this book. Some people might find it difficult to not be able to use soy, fake meat substitutes etc while transitioning into a plant based diet. What would you like to say about Soy.
Its fine for transition. If people want to substitute hot dogs and ham burgers with their tofu counter parts, that is a great start but I want them to know that it is not the greatest food. It is highly processed and acid forming, harsh to digest.
I dont want people to think that it is a good diet, They eventually dont feel good on it and they go back to what they ate before. It is great for tranistion but not something to continue once you have transitioned. Whole foods like Tempeh and edamame are much better than processed soy and fake meat options.
11. What are some of your favorite recipes from the book
I like Kabocha Squash and rice
the Chia puddings
The bars and Cereal.
(A recipe for you all below the interview.)
12. What would you suggest as the First few steps to take this Earth Day.
Take it slow. Think of adding good foods instead of removing bad foods. Start off with juices and Smoothies. On open sky I have some great options. Get the Manual juicer from Opensky which is really good for making green juice, the Kombucha home brewing starter kit, and Vega One are great to get you started.
13. Some other suggestions to reduce our footprint.
Be conscious of where energy is spent and where it comes from. Of course, Not driving as much, Not consuming wasteful products. The big thing is a Shift in diet. Shift to eat more sustainable foods which take the least to produce.
14. What have you found motivates people to take that first step.
Starting slow. Dont change overnight. A gradual whole foods Transition. Add good new things in. More vegetables and fruits, nuts and so on.
About THRIVE FOODS Direct
From the site- “ If only someone could do the grocery shopping, prepare nutrient-dense, plant-based meals – and deliver them to you!. Welcome to THRIVE FOODS Direct. Whether you are a hard-core athlete, too busy to cook, or simply want to reap the benefits of complete plant-based nutrition,
All dishes are prepared according to the nutritional principals in the Thrive book series: high net gain, alkaline-forming, plant-based, whole food. And always made entirely from fresh, certified organic ingredients. The menu changes frequently – variety is emphasized – for both enjoyment and optimally nutritional benefit.”
Coupon code BB1 for 20% off your Order on THRIVE FOODS Direct. One of the recipes from Thrive Foods book below.
Wild Rice with Kabocha Squash and Sage Butter: Reproduced by permission
To save time, make the rice and butter while the squash is cooking. Yams may also be used in place of the kabocha.
Time: 1 hour prep; 30–45 minutes for the rice
Makes 4 servings
1 pound kabocha squash (about 1⁄2 medium squash)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil + 1 tbsp, divided
1⁄2 cup wild rice
1⁄2 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1⁄2 tbsp chopped fresh sage, packed
1 tbsp minced shallots
1⁄2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds.
Use 1 tbsp coconut oil to lightly brush the cut areas of the squash, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch chunks (skin may be left on for extra flavor and nutrition or disposed of). Keep warm.
To make the rice, combine the rices and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer, covered, until done.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend 3 tbsp coconut oil, sage, shallots, and salt until smooth.
In a large pan, heat the sage butter mixture over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add the rice and toss to combine, and cook for 1 minute longer while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and carefully fold in the squash.