Contributing Monkie Brendan Brazier
Published on September 10, 2009
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 an excerpt from Brendan’s new book “The Thrive Diet”, on sale now in Canada and and in the U.S. in January.
Raw and low-temperature cooked foods | Enzyme Enhancement
High-temperature cooking and processing of food destroys the enzymes and nutrients that allow the food to be efficiently digested. Therefore, before the body can make use of cooked food, it must produce enzymes to aid in the digestion process. That takes work.
One of the least appreciated yet most important components of our diet, enzymes are vital to achieving optimal health. An absence of enzymes in your diet can result in the same sickness and disease associated with malnutrition, even if your diet is otherwise healthy. Without enzymes, food cannot be turned into usable fuel for the body. As with hormones, enzyme production in the body diminishes with age, leaving us reliant on diet to provide them. In the distant past, that was of little concern, as enzymes were plentiful in food. But today enzymes are not so abundant in our foods. As our fresh whole-food choices dwindle, making way for highly refined, processed options, enzymes in our foods diminish.
Meanwhile, our ailments are on the rise. Coincidence? Probably not.
Plant foods have several advantages, including easy digestibility and bioavailability (the rate at which the food is absorbed by the body and exerts an effect). The quicker nutrients are extracted from the food, the sooner the food can be eliminated — a key factor in optimal health.
There is some evidence to suggest that consuming too many processed, cooked foods for several years exhausts the body’s enzyme-producing glands, resulting in poor digestion and assimilation of food later in life. This is one possible reason for the rapidity of signs of aging and disease—food is no longer nourishing the body the way it once did, simply because it’s not being digested the way it once was.
For enzyme health, it would ideal for all of us to eat only raw, organic food the day it’s harvested, not be exposed to any environmental pollutants, and to live a stress-free life. Obviously, this is not realistic. But we can enhance our enzyme intake and production. Since raw foods have enzymes still intact, they are a vital component of a healthy diet. The Thrive Diet is built on a platform of enzyme-rich foods. Those who follow the diet will simply build and maintain healthy levels of enzymes with no additional effort.
Visit Brendan’s personal site