Contributing Monkie Brendan Brazier
Published on April 1, 2010
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.
One-step nutrition is the term I use to describe food containing nutrients already in a form usable by the body, with no breaking down required. The nutrients get into the body and go straight to work. Nutrients in foods in a typical North American diet are in a form that the body must first break down and convert before it can utilize them.
By consuming one-step foods, the body is fueled and able to rebuild efficiently. Requiring minimal energy to become usable and assimilated, foods containing one-step nutrients in effect provide the body with more energy by helping conserve energy. Gaining the greatest amount of energy from the least amount of food is the goal of the Thrive Diet.
Food has three main components: carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
Carbohydrate, accounting for most of the food we eat, consists of sugar, starch, and fiber. The ratio of each in any given food varies. Generally, fruits have high sugar levels; bread, pasta, and rice have large amounts of starch, also known as complex carbohydrate; and vegetables are fiber-rich.>
Foods Rich in Simple Carbohydrate
Protein, which reconstructs body tissue, is the body’s building nutrient. Regeneration is an ongoing process: In the course of the day, through normal wear and tear, body tissue is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. From the food we eat, the body converts protein into amino acids for use; it cannot utilize protein directly.We can help our body speed the regeneration process and be more efficient in the fabrication of new cells by eating foods rich in amino acid — one-step foods. This way, the body does not have to expend energy to convert protein into amino acids. Greens have the highest percentage of amino acids per ounce of any food. However, since greens do not weigh much, they need to be eaten daily to reap the full benefits that their amino acid profile offer. Eating a large green salad each day is part of the Thrive Diet.
Foods Rich in Amino Acids
Sprouts: legumes, pseudograins,
Dietary fat is necessary for the lubrication of joints and for the activation of fat-soluble vitamins. It is also drawn on as an energy source when the body’s carbohydrate supply is low.As with carbohydrate and protein, dietary fat must be broken down into a form the body can utilize. The body breaks fat into fatty acids—nutrients it can assimilate and put to work. Consuming fat sources that are directly made up of fatty acids is advantageous since the body will be able to make instant use of them.
Foods Rich in Fatty Acids
Seeds and oil:
The most complete, balanced form of one-step nutrition is sprouted foods. Raw, enzyme-rich sprouts are plentiful in all three food components: simple carbohydrate, amino acids, and fatty acids. They are predigested (as some describe it) so the body does not have to produce its own enzymes, plus the nutrients are in a usable form—a considerable net gain in total energy supplied by the food. (Contrast this to processed, cooked proteins that the body must break down before they can be utilized, creating a significant loss in energy efficacy.) Sprouted legumes such as garbanzo beans, lentils, and mung beans are excellent. The sprouting process converts the complex carbohydrate in legumes into simple carbohydrate, the protein into usable amino acids, and the fat into fatty acids, requiring no extra work on the body’s part and therefore raising the net gain. Foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as flaxseed, can be sprouted as well for a premium, usable fuel source. Indeed, essential fatty acids are a superior source of healthy energy.
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