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 nutritional products called VEGA, and the bestselling author of Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Health and Performance in Sports and Life. He is also the creator of a national plant-based, whole food meal delivery service called Thrive Foods Direct. Brendan’s most recent book (September, 2011) is called Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health. To learn about Brendan’s favorite nutritional, fitness, and eco products, you may “follow” him on Open Sky.
Drawing from concepts in my first book, Thrive (The Thrive Diet in Canada), and from my latest book, Thrive Foods (Whole Foods to Thrive in Canada), there are four elements of my overall plant-based, whole food nutritional philosophy: High net gain foods, alkaline forming foods, nourishment not stimulation, avoid allergens.
Areas of Expertise: Endurance, Nutrition, Toning, Weight Loss
Services: Consulting, Meal Planning, Personal Training, Coaching
Availability: No vegan health and fitness services available.
When I was 15 I wanted to be a professional Ironman triathlete (swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, run a marathon, 26.2 miles). Clearly, to be able to do this at a high level, I’d have pack on the training. When I looked at what the top PROs in the sport were doing for trained, it surprised me. It differed very little from what the average athletes were doing. It became clear that training was not the sole reason for athletic success. I found it had to do with rate of recovery recovery, the rate at which muscles and cell regenerate after exercise. If athletes are able to recover more quickly, obviously they can fit more training into less time, therefore they, improve at a faster rate. I found that nutrition played a huge part of the recovery process, so that’s where my focus went. I tried several different types of “diets.” But once I got it right – over the course of about a year – I found that plant-based, whole food nutrition was the best for recovery as well as the best for overall energy and ability to train efficiently.
Just getting used to it at first was a little difficult, but once my body adapted and my pallet started to change, it became easy. Second nature.
I had never seen myself as that involved in the animal rights movement per se. As mentioned, I came to eating a vegan diet for selfish reasons (too be a better athlete), but have since learned that eating this way benefits me as well as others. Personally, I just see it as logic: if making a nutrition change will benefit performance, health in general, the environment, and animals, why would you not do it? Animal rights or not, eating animals is simply not a sensible thing to do. There are many animal advocacy organizations I like though; HSUS has done a lot of good by reaching the masses through cats and dogs, and then drawing the parallels between them and animals that many consider to be for food. I got to know them better when I spoke at their gala in Washington a few years ago. PETA has of course grabbed a lot of media attention and brought a younger crowd and helped make them aware of the issues.
If someone is considering transitioning to veganism I say start slow, and ease into it. even if it’s just one meal or snack every couple of days.