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Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life

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4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  2,410 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
The thrive diet is a long-term eating plan to help all athletes (professional or not) develop a lean body, sharp mind, and everlasting energy. As one of the few professional athletes on a plant-based diet, Brendan Brazier researched and developed this easy-to-follow program to enhance his performance as an elite endurance competitor.Brazier clearly describes the benefits o ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Lauren
Jul 28, 2009 Lauren rated it liked it
I was back and forth between 4 and 5 stars, and rounded up in the end.

Brazier is a professional athlete - he does IronMan triathlons and many other amazing feats of human strength and endurance - but the most interesting thing to me is that he does it all on a 100% plant-based diet. And he totally knows his stuff. Like every single detail with pie charts and graphs. I was blown away with the sheer scientific research on why a vegan diet is truly the best for stress reduction, training, and recov
...more
Annie Smidt
Jul 09, 2013 Annie Smidt rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
On the one hand, yes! Totally agree. Eat a nutrient-rich, varied vegan diet. Keep it unprocessed, veer toward raw. Add some superfoods like chlorella. Yup, I like it a lot.

On the other hand, it's a very simplistic take on nutrition, and documented chiefly anecdotally. I think I'm looking for evidence that this kind of diet (as above) is the right way to go (as opposed to the low-carb, high-protein variation my nutritionist advocates) and this book didn't really provide any evidence. Except that
...more
Kate
Sep 18, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough great things about this book. I was already interested in the interplay between health and nutrition before reading this book, but I think that interest has now grown into a full-fledged hobby--with much more science behind it.

I will likely be going mostly vegan now (exceptions may include humanely-made eggs or wild coldwater fish). I am also already making other changes to my diet, making sure I get enough of certain nutrients--not just the obvious B vitamins that vegetarian
...more
Emily
Feb 24, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying, I am not vegan, nor do I want to be vegan. I saw this book recommended on a number of sites, so I decided to pick it up at the library, and I was very pleasantly surprised. First, while the author is vegan and his ideas are based on vegan principles, there is no mention of "veganism" in this book. I expected it to push for a vegan lifestyle, but it didn't. This book is a discussion of nutrition and fitness, and it's one of the best books I've read on this subject. It desc ...more
Al
Dec 29, 2011 Al rated it liked it
This book was interesting, but it wasn’t new. Oh, reduce stress and eat real whole foods and you’ll feel and perform better? Fancy that. Brazier presents a lot of “facts” and “scientific information,” but I would have liked to see more/better sources. There is a reference list in the back, but it is not connected to any specific statements made throughout the book. Additionally a lot of his information is geared towards endurance athletes (yes, I do realize he is an triathlete), as revealed when ...more
Kate
Apr 30, 2012 Kate added it
Shelves: 2012
I am giving myself credit for reading this even though I didn't read every single word. I read most of the running text. This is pretty interesting. Why aren't there more vegan/vegetarian diet guides for athletes? When I started lifting I wanted something that didn't recommend a chicken breast and oatz for every meal.

The only criticism I have is that some of this stuff is pretty complicated to make (like oh no big deal just making some pancakes HOLD ON 40 MINUTES WHILE I POP SOME AMARANTH LOL)
...more
Karole
Feb 25, 2012 Karole rated it did not like it
The author spouts a lot of pseudo-science in an effort to back up some pretty strong claims about "stress" and diet, but cites no evidence to support any of his assertions (I think there's one citation in the whole book!). I'm a vegan and a runner, and I could barely get through this book. Some of the things he says are true, but many are just so clearly made up it's ridiculous.
Magda
Jun 06, 2017 Magda rated it really liked it
Osoby które mnie znają wiedzą, że od lat interesuję się zdrowym żywieniem. Chociaż nie, nie interesuję się. Mam tym punkcie kompletnego fioła. Moja współlokatorka ma serdecznie dość mojego wymądrzania się i krytykowania jej nawyków żywieniowych. Setki przeczytanych artykułów, dziesiątki książek wszystko tylko po to, by znaleźć ten jedzeniowy złoty środek. Nic więc dziwnego, że coraz częściej zastanawiałam się nad ideą weganizmu. Społeczeństwo w tej kwestii jest skrajnie podzielone. Jedni twierdz ...more
Deb
Mar 09, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
*From surviving to thriving *

Although Brendan Brazier's _Thrive_ could easily be the Bible for the vegan athlete, it's also undeniably a great resource for anyone committed to living a healthier lifestyle.

If I was a salesperson, I think I'd find this book quite easy to sell. First, it provides clear and convincing evidence for the key role that nutrition plays in long-term health. Specifically, it outlines how a nutrient-dense, whole foods nutrition plan, i.e, the "Thrive Diet," not only reduces
...more
Renée
Oct 17, 2013 Renée rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: athletes, vegans, mothers, parents
Athletes and other folks who have food sensitivities or allergies (wheat, gluten, corn, and soy), energy problems, or chronic immune system issues would do well to consult this book. Some of the minor variations between this diet and the plant-based doctor's books ought to fill a few gaps for you.

For some of the population, the fat and protein is higher than necessary - if you have a history of SAD eating or chronic disease or heart disease this diet might be too rich for your recovery... but y
...more
Hanako
Jun 30, 2013 Hanako rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, cookbooks
I am really kind of surprised at how many great ratings this book has received. In a lot of places it read like he had been doing all of his research online - and trusting all kinds of crazy sites as factual. He doesn't site any of his information and even in the resource list at the end - he has sources from the 70s and 80s...the book came out in 2007, and there were only a handful of sources from 2003. One in 2006 was Michael Pollen, which, while a great book, is not exactly a primary source. ...more
Lesley Miller
Apr 03, 2014 Lesley Miller rated it really liked it
Great book and introduction to training on a vegan diet. I have been vegetarian for 8+ years and vegan for 2. I have never had a problem with getting enough nutrients nor with feeling sluggish. However, I wanted to learn more of what to eat regarding training. I am currently training for my first half marathon and would like to increase performance and muscle production without resorting to unhealthy, processed foods. This book was a great introduction. The science is there, but it would have be ...more
Carla
Pros: I learned about nutritional stress & found encouragement to try some new foods based on their nutritional value.
Cons: Some information was redundant at times and most of the recipes require many ingredients (and specialty ingredients, at that).

While I generally will not even finish reading a recipe that requires a food processor and/or hard to find items, I actually might try making the energy bars and soups (after I get a food processor, that is, and assuming Amazon ships ground flaxs
...more
Jo * Smut-Dickted *
I think this is my most fave of all my vegan books that are really designed for athlete's. The explanations were superb and I really could not stop reading. Loved how the different parts were explained and the fact there is recognition that no one is perfect. I'm excited to try some recipes and I feel like here is the info I need on how to fuel nutritiously on a vegan diet while pursuing endurance sports!
VBergen
Jul 12, 2012 VBergen rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
this book explains very well about nutrition. Too bad that Brazier did not include the international equivalences of the measurement units (celsius degrees, Kg, etc.) and that the ingredients are not so easy to get. He should include some substitutes or alternative ingredients.
Katlyn
Nov 27, 2010 Katlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was transitioning to veganism in the middle of training for a marathon and, honestly, I doubt I could have done it without this book. I finished the race feeling wonderful and energetic thanks to a variety of homemade bars and drinks based on his recipes.
Anastasia
May 09, 2011 Anastasia added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anastasia by: a vegan marathon runner at a hippie earth day fair - shocking
For the vegan endurance athlete hiding deep, deep inside of what i aspire to be! YEAH!! But seriously, the recipes in this thing are borderline crazy-pants.
Kerstinchen
May 30, 2017 Kerstinchen rated it did not like it
Questionable "scientific" conclusions and downright false information on body functions.
Dan Wool
Nov 23, 2013 Dan Wool rated it really liked it
This title jumped out at me at the market.

I have been looking for a good vegan diet plan. I have been on a paleo diet for the past three years and while very effective, I believe I eat entirely too much meat, lean and local as it often is. In fact with my various food sensitivities (gluten, eggs, dairy), I call myself a "vegan who eats meat". I am always on the lookout for ways to shift more toward the vegan side of that statement both for my health and for the environment.

"Thrive" was a compe
...more
Sophia
Feb 25, 2017 Sophia rated it it was amazing
super, super helpful with clear guides and pretty solid recipes. will definitely be referring back to this book a lot
Nikoleta Kováč
Dec 09, 2016 Nikoleta Kováč rated it did not like it
Shelves: veg
Knihu nemôžem hodnotiť ako športovec, tobôž vytrvalostný, len ako vegán. Na knihu som čítala odporúčania, že stojí za prečítanie, aj keď človek nejde trénovať na triatlon. Možno ak by to bol môj prvý kontakt s vegánstvom, tak by som to autorovi zjedla celé a bola tiež spokojná... Ale už som čo to prečítala a zostala teraz sklamaná, je to proste dieta.

Čo vidím ako mínus:
- chýbajúce zdroje k vedeckým tvrdeniam, kniha nevzbudila dôveru
- rozoberanie kontroverzných tém ako prekyslenie, čo tiež pri dô
...more
Jacquelyn
Aug 16, 2014 Jacquelyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
After reading more science-heavy books like Eat to Live, The China Study, and Whole, I felt like Thrive had the tone of a friend explaining the concepts of nutrition in a way that was easy to understand, but it was still clear that the author was passionate about it and had dedicated decades to figuring this out for himself. If the four dense pages of references isn't enough to convince you that he's not making stuff up, read the books mentioned above.

What I liked the most was that he didn't se
...more
Adam Miller
Nov 16, 2013 Adam Miller rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to improve nutrition
Recommended to Adam by: I found it online years ago and finally made it to this one
Brendan Brazier has put years worth of his own experimenting with nutrition and explains how he has been able to stay lean, healthy, strong, young, and how to get sufficient sleep with his long-term eating plan. I especially found his section on nutritional stress useful for me as most of that information was new and very insightful. He covers the causes and solutions to cravings in a way I never thought of and covers nutrition and its relation to cognitive function as well. He recommends eating ...more
Sara
Oct 24, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food
This was great for me and hit on all the problems I've been running into with my training lately. I don't recommend this book for people just looking to get into veganism- I think this is more for people who have already made the switch and read at least a few other books. It's not that he doesn't include information targeted at those who haven't yet changed their lifestyle, as he does, but the lack of footnotes concerns me for the new vegan. While I know that a lot of this information is repeat ...more
AJ
This book has some pretty good ideas, but as a vegan who doesn't really train super hard-core, I don't feel like much of what the author says applies. I don't really buy the idea that the food I eat is less nutritional because it's cooked, I've had my blood taken and my vitamin levels are all right where they should be even without supplements, without eating a raw diet. I already eat whole foods that are nutritionally sound, and they work for me as a half (and sometimes full) marathoner, so tha ...more
Henry
However crazy the ideas or recipes may sound, you have to give weight to someone how has spent the better part of 2 decades maniacally focused on optimizing performance. For that reason alone, I encourage anyone interested in food science or the impact of food on your body to read this book.

That said, I give Brazier a 2 on writing style and a 5+ on content. Although the book has a logical beginning (Brazier's story), middle (the nutritional theory he developed), and end (recipes and resources),
...more
Lisa
Feb 21, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in nutrition and fitness/athletic performance
Shelves: food, fitness
I'm not vegan, nor do I plan on becoming one but still this book was a good read. I originally bought this book for the simple reason that it contained homemade energy bar and energy gel recipes. Although I have not tried these out yet, or any of the recipes I am giving this book 5 stars (probably would have given it 4.5 stars if able to) because it changed the way I view nutrition, food, and eating. In essence, it had an impact.

One thing to note that I didn't know or expect is that Brazier is m
...more
Marina
Jul 21, 2016 Marina rated it really liked it
While I agree with almost everything Brendan Brazier states, there were some things that bothered me, not content-wise, but how the book is written.
What I noticed immediately is that he often writes "I combined fats and carbs in my blabla recipe on page blabla', and this is just unnecessary information.
Also, instead of explaining ONCE what essential aminoacids are, he does it everytime a certain food contains those (unnecessary repetions). And though it might seem like "little things" they were
...more
Aaron Maurer
Jul 21, 2012 Aaron Maurer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I read this book way back in the summer. I used this book all summer while training for Ironman Racine. I found the information to be quite helpful and really exposed me to some new foods and powders to enhance my health.

To be honest I am a meat and potatoes guy. Nothing is better than a big juicy burger or steak. This book is obviously not supporting meat consumption. With that being said, I found the information and food choice to be good.

I could not eat it all. He has a recipe book that has g
...more
Michele
Jan 06, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, sports, nutrition
I came across this book in my search for a good, up to date vegetarian meal plan for the endurance athlete. 10 pages in, I was already convinced that this would be a great meal plan. Brazier explains the effects of nutrition on the body in a way I had never heard before. Before even finished the book I started implementing some of the aspects of the Thrive diet into my life. The first big "holy crap, this is all true!" moment for me was following a 3 hour bike ride. Normally, after a workout lik ...more
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Who has tried which recipe? Successful and unsuccessful? 6 9 Feb 14, 2013 02:34PM  
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Best-selling author (The Thrive Diet, Penguin 2007) and professional Ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier is the founder and creator of a raw, organic, whole food health optimizer nutritional porduct called Vega.

As one of the only professional athletes in the world with a solely plant-based diet, Brendan advocates the benefits of plant-based foods for both environmental and physical wellbeing. He
...more
More about Brendan Brazier...

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“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). Fatigue, bloating, cramping, and an upset stomach can often be attributed to poor digestion. Many whole plant foods have enzymes that facilitate quick and efficient digestion. The quicker nutrients are extracted from the food, the sooner the food can be eliminated—a key factor in optimal health. As well, insoluble fibrous plant matter (discussed in Chapter 5) speeds waste through our system, reducing the risk of toxins settling in the colon and then spreading throughout the body. Enzyme-rich foods help ensure the body makes use of the nutrients in the food.” 1 likes
“Exercise is a form of complementary stress. Essentially nothing more than breaking down muscle tissue, exercise is the best way to stimulate regeneration of the cells.” 0 likes
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