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

Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life - Brendan Brazier, Hugh Jackman I have Brazier to thank for reminding me of something I already knew. I feel better when I eat the weird-crazy-vegan diet where I cook with coconut oil and drink smoothies made with hemp protein and ground flax seed. Better not just physically, but emotionally. I have Brazier's book to thank for finally pulling myself out of a several-years-long low grade depression. Brazier's philosophy is simple. If you have foods with the same number of calories, but some of them has more minerals and nutrients, which is going to give you more energy and make you feel better? The Thrive diet emphasizes whole foods, an avoidance of (though not a ban on) the sensitivity-causing wheat/gluten, corn, dairy, soy and active yeast, and is heavy on raw foods, though Brazier provides non-raw options for many recipes. Less than two days on the diet and the results were like night and day. Yes, I'll freely admit the taste of the recipes takes some getting used to, but I quickly fell in love with the Creamy Ginger Dressing, even if the hemp oil turns it an odd shade of green. Brazier also points out that the human palate is very habit forming. Easing into the Thrive diet will ease out the cravings for refined sugars, salt and caffeine. My own experience certainly agrees. But the best thing I've taken from this book is a metaphor. Consuming bad foods, like refined sugar or caffeine, is like charging up an "energy credit card". It works for the moment, but when you get that bill at the end of the cycle...So where does my emotional recovery come in? Brazier talks of nutritionally deficient foods as the cause of "nutritional stress". Our bodies spend energy in digesting processed food, but then get reduced-or-no nutritional value from the effort, just the calories. The lack of real nutrition causes our bodies to assume we are in a state close to famine and send out the signal to shut down accordingly. Take away that nutritional-stress and life suddenly looks different. Brazier's book is low on the references scale, which is regrettable. I admit that if I had not already read up on vegan nutrition, I would have much skepticism regarding the claims he puts forward and I know others will feel the same. But since I've experienced the benefits myself when I first went vegan, I can read them knowing I just need to get back on the wheel.