The Thrive Diet
As I’ve started to learn more about vegetarian endurance athletes and their diets, I’ve noticed something interesting. First, there is a disproportionate number of them; that is, the percentage of well-known endurance athletes who are vegetarian is much higher than the percentage of vegetarians in the general population. While there could be other factors at work (perhaps being vegetarian makes one’s story more interesting and fame more likely), I tend to count this as evidence that this type of diet offers significant advantages to athletes. What’s more, almost all of the vegetarian athletes are in fact vegan.
Brendan Brazier is one such example. When I found about his book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, I knew it was one that I wanted to read, even though I have no intention of becoming a full-blown vegan. My “to-read” list, however, is extremely difficult to tame, and it probably would have been a while before I got around to reading it, had Kelly from Sequel Naturals not sent me a copy to review. Thanks Kelly!
(Update: I wrote this post when I first received Brendan’s products to review. See my later complete review of Thrive, with sample recipes here.)
So far I’ve read only the introduction, but it’s gotten me so excited to read the rest. Here’s what I love about it: the whole premise is that by eating plant-based, raw, alkalizing foods, you drastically reduce the emotional and physical stress that hinders your body’s ability to recover from exercise. According to the intro, this way of eating can reduce stress levels by 40 percent! Ever since learning at Tony Robbins’ seminar that what we eat plays an enormous role in our emotional state, I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of eating foods that reduce acid in the body to maximize energy, reduce stress, and improve mood.
When I think about this stuff, I become completely inspired by this vision of myself taking in only the food that energizes me and totally supports an active lifestyle. Lots of raw food, almost no dairy, little or no alcohol and caffeine. This is truly an ideal, another level of healthy eating to be attained. I also realize, however, that if one thinks of life as a web, then pulling too hard on one string throws the rest out of whack. And I know that if I were to try to become vegan right now or make no-drinking rules, the strings labeled “social life” and “love of cooking” would be made very crooked. As an immediately at-hand example, I’m pretty sure that going to Atlantic City, starting the night with shots, and carousing ’til the second cock (Shakespeare’s words, I swear) only serve to increase the stress on my body, but that kind of fun with friends is something that I’m not yet willing to give up.
Nonetheless, I can’t wait to learn more about the Thrive diet, and the book is absolutely going to be my beach read during my upcoming vacation. My hope is to introduce many more raw and vegan meals into my diet but stay flexible in my approach to eating and cooking. This is sounds dangerously close to moderation, something that doesn’t tend to work for me, so only time will tell if I can make this strategy work.
Vega Smoothie Infusion
Kelly also sent me a few packets of Smoothie Infusion from Brendan’s Vega product line, plus a sweet Vega reusable bag that Erin is totally digging on. Check her out using it at the farmers market this morning!
What’s great about Smoothie Infusion is that in addition to containing greens, organic superfoods, fiber, and Omega-3’s, it’s mainly a protein powder that is made from neither soy nor dairy (whey). I’ve been having some trouble deciding which of these two is less evil as a daily supplement, and Smoothie Infusion eliminates the need to choose one, instead deriving its protein from yellow peas, hemp, and brown rice.
The instructions on the package say to add Smoothie Infusion to your basic smoothie or to make the Basic Vega Smoothie. We tried it both ways. We didn’t really love the Basic Vega Smoothie because it was just too watery compared to what we’re used to. Its only ingredients besides Smoothie Infusion are a banana, frozen blueberries, orange juice, water, and ice, so there’s really nothing to thicken it. Still, the taste was good.
Today we went back to our regular smoothie (which has yogurt, so of course it’s non-vegan), and replaced the protein powder with Smoothie Infusion. This one was a big hit! We both really liked the taste, and it’s nice that with Smoothie Infusion you don’t have to add flaxseed or greens. Here’s Erin again, this time with the smoothie and the bag:
Look forward to lots of updates about Thrive as I read more of it!