Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brendan Brazier visits Ottawa this week!

Who? Brendan Brazier is the man behind my not-so-secret-secret-weapon: the Thrive Diet, and the mad scientist behind the Vega line of products from Sequel. Brendan is a professional triathlete from the West coast, and he is touring to promote his latest book, Thrive Fitness. The Thrive Diet is not a diet in the common sense, i.e., a temporary program designed to shed fat. No, the Thrive Diet is about long term eating for overall health. In a nutshell, eating the thrive way, as I like to say, is really about eating whole, mostly alkalizing foods, and we're talking about a plant-based diet, i.e., vegan.

Whoa, whoa, whoa...vegan you say, like, as in vegetarian and then some? Correct. But what about protein? Not a problem. I transitioned from a standard omnivorous diet to vegetarian (lacto-ovo) about 8 years ago. I noticed improvements in my overall energy level and lost a bit of weight. After becoming vegan a couple years later, I noticed significant improvements in my fitness, and I lost more weight. Each year I have improved, and I now perform at a level I never would have though possible when I transitioned away from animal products. Sure, I look skinny with pants on, but I don't think anyone who has seen me in riding kit would worry that I was lacking protein. Ethics aside, I would never revert to eating animal products. I couldn't justify the health and fitness costs. I wholeheartedly believe the vegan diet is a secret weapon; but its not a secret I'm willing to keep!

I'm not going to steal Brendan's thunder and blather on about the principles of the Thrive Diet. He'll deliver the key ideas far better than I can during his talks this week. I'll simply offer a nutshell version of the Thrive approach: the diet reduces nutritional stress so that your body/you are better able to cope with the other forms of stress in your life. Reduced stress translates into better overall health and better athletic performance. An added bonus is that an alkalizing diet creates an environment in the body that is not hospitable to disease. This is a massive long-term advantage.

I have a copy of Thrive Fitness, along with the earlier Thrive Diet publication. The latest work is tailored specifically for fitness seekers, which means a lot of the background science behind the diet is left out to make room for the fitness specific content, such as work out routines and sport specific recipes. I have used recipes from the Thrive Diet book, and find them excellent. The new book updates many of these, incorporating ingredients that have since come onto the market, or proven superior to others used previously. For example, buckwheat figures prominently, as does Salba. I've used the energy bars, energy and recovery drinks, energy and recovery puddings, gel, granola, and other main course recipes with outstanding results. The Salba granola from the new book is without a doubt the best pre-ride or race breakfast I've ever consumed. This book takes the guess work out of eating for endurance sport. I'd flounder without these resources. For endurance athletes new to the Brendan's writing, and Vega products, I recommend starting with the Thrive Fitness book, and adding the Thrive Diet book when you can. The two books compliment each other well, and it really is beneficial to understand the science underlying the approach. Its much easier to remember the "how" when you understand the "why."

If you can't make it out, go here for a series of videos that lay it all out really well. Plus, you'll get to see Brendan riding his cross bike up a beautiful dirt road. I intend on inviting him out for a ride with us, perhaps we can pull him into the Mufferaw Joe on Sunday! He's a busy guy, I'm not holding my breath.

Ottawa Tour Dates

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