Contributing Monkie Brendan Brazier
Published on February 28, 2008
Photographer: G Monkie (CC)
G Living’s Brendan Brazier is one the world’s few professional athletes whose diet is 100 percent plant based. He’s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author on performance nutrition, and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega.
The following is our second excerpt from Brendan’s new book “The Thrive Diet”, on sale now in Canada and and in the U.S. in January.
Ever have difficulty waking up in the morning or find that you have low energy all day long? Are you unable to concentrate at work? Do you feel sluggish and depressed? If so, you could be a good candidate for a cleanse. Cleansing your body of accumulated toxins can help you gain energy and improve overall health. Many people report more clarity, greater alertness, overwhelming joy and even incredible insight after a cleanse.
A simple test you can do to determine whether or not you’re in need is to eat a few leaves of a dark leafy green vegetable, such as kale, or down a couple of shots of fresh wheat grass juice. If you can get it down without cringing — chances are, your system is already alkaline. However, if these foods taste horribly bitter and nearly cause a gag reflex, you will certainly benefit from a cleanse.
There are many excellent articles and books dedicated to cleansing, so I won’t get too lost in the details here. What’s interesting to note, however, is that all of them prescribe complete abstinence from animal based foods and focus solely on plant-based nutrition during the cleansing process. My take on this is that if you feel so good after a cleanse, why not adopt a “continually cleansing” type of diet? That’s what I call The Thrive Diet — a common-sense, simple approach to eating that is based on plant-based whole foods.
Once you have completed your cleanse of choice, you’ll likely feel much better and won’t want that great feeling to go away. So, how to you extend and expand upon these cleansing benefits for long term optimal health and vitality? Start by consuming lots of raw, alkaline forming fruits and vegetables. Eaten on a regular basis, these foods will start the natural transition process away from processed foods that cause the body to become acidic.
At first, however, the body will not naturally crave green foods if it is accustomed to the processed and refined variety. You have to simply begin adding more raw natural plant-based foods to your diet. In the beginning, add the green foods, but don’t subtract anything. Over time, you will naturally and painlessly have less interest in eating processed foods. At this point you can simply fill up on more foods that you desire. I know this sounds overly simplistic but it’s a scientific fact that when the body has all its nutritional needs fulfilled, cravings decline dramatically.
To get to the point where you no longer have to restrain yourself from eating unhealthy food is a great feeling and a telltale sign that your body is cleansing itself and making a smooth transition to a much healthier lifestyle that takes considerably less willpower than you could possibly imagine. Constantly fighting cravings is not a mentally healthy way to live, so changing the perception of what your body desires is fundamental to breaking cravings permanently.
A good way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet is by making smoothies at home and drinking them as snacks or meals. Beginning your day with a smoothie made from alkaline forming, plant-based whole food ingredients is one of the best ways to get the body going and provide it with clean burning, easy-to-use fuel to jumpstart your day.
Smoothies are easy and convenient to prepare and can pack a lot of nutrition into a glass – plus their great taste appeals to almost all palates. It is important to note that though there are umpteen yummy smoothie recipes out there, some are much healthier than others. Whereas many smoothies contain mostly carbohydrates, I like mine to include all the elements of a complete meal, including protein and EFAs. Try following my basic guidelines for an ideal smoothie:
In my new book The Thrive Diet, I include several recipes for chlorophyll rich cleansing smoothies. Ones that can be made from scratch, or ones that can have Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion as the main ingredient.
The US version of The Thrive Diet is now available in bookstores across the United States. Published by Perseus in hardcover, the content is exactly the same as the paperback version published last year in Canada by Penguin (even though the cover is different). To find a store near you that carries The Thrive Diet or to order on-line, visit the publisher’s website or Amazon.