The author of Thrive Foods knows about getting the most out of his meals. Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman tri-athlete, who turned to a vegan diet to help him reach new levels of performance.
Thrive is a book of vegan recipes designed to pack maximum nutrition into every meal. Brendan uses this approach to eating in order to give his body the best possible support in training and recovery.
The thing I like about Brendan Brazier's approach is that instead of turning to some spiffy supplement, he incorporates favorite super-foods and better known nutritional heavy hitters into his everyday meals.
Everything he puts into his mouth contributes to his over all well being. That's some serious focus.
For all athletes, this is a great cookbook. The section on nutrition and nutrition rich foods is very informative. Did you know you lose iron when you sweat? I didn't. Brendan explains the benefits of his favorite foods, which was nice when I was reading through the recipes and wondering if I really wanted to hunt down all those ingredients.
Even the armchair athletes could add a few meals from Thrive to their menus. Feeling a bit washed out? A little power nutrition ought to straighten you up. You could even have it for dessert. Brendan's got every menu item covered - drinks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert. I noticed some tasty looking smoothie recipes too...mmm, smoothies!
I was especially interested in the energy bars, which I made for my husband to take on bike rides. I thought they were tasty, and he said he'd rather eat one of these than any candy bar.
For his 15 mile ride, he felt he had more sustained energy during the ride, and we both noticed he didn't crash afterward or have to dive immediately into the fridge. All this, and he only ate two of them! I was impressed.
The energy bars are ridiculously easy to make, as long as you have a food processor. You can store them in the freezer and they are chewy right away - no thaw time. I'm looking forward to trying the Lemon-Lime sports drink too.
I do think the section on the environmental impact of food choices was about 30 pages too long.
Brendan Brazier makes some very strong points about vegan nutrition having much less environmental impact than meat, but he makes the same points multiple times, and I started to wonder if there would be a test later.
It was kind of horrifying to learn that the average American eats 260.95 lb of meat a year. Gack! That's 0.71 lb per day! It was also neat to see how the energy cost of vegan foods compares to the nutritional equivalents in meat.
Overall, if you already agree that eating meat is the worst idea the environment ever met, you can skip this section and head straight for the recipes, which is what we're really looking for in a cookbook.
If I were an athlete of any type, or just wanted to better understand how my food choices affect my sleep and energy levels, I would feel well served parting with $20 bucks and putting Thrive at the top of my reading list.