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

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,165 Ratings  ·  136 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
ebook, 307 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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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
Annie Smidt
Jul 10, 2013 Annie Smidt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 27, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2012 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2012 Kate added it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Dec 14, 2012 Karole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lesley Miller
Apr 06, 2014 Lesley Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2014 Hanako rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2016 Renée rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 09, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*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
Sara Murphy
Aug 06, 2014 Sara Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the nutrition and fitness books I have come across through the years, this is the most comprehensive and thorough of them all. Every detail of this book is perfect: the way it is organized, how easy it is to comprehend the information given, and the delicious recipes are relatively simple. There is a lot of useful information in here for anyone needing to fuel an active lifestyle. From marathon/triathlon athletes right down to the person beginning to get healthy and needing some point ...more
May 23, 2014 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in search of "better stuff to put in my belly to not tank on 11 miles of bike commute a day" after seeing his latest recipe book which has a delicious bunch of greens on the front. I should probably have just stuck with the recipe book?

Heavy on supplements but also steeped in common sense, rest, and whole foods, this seemed at times mostly a promotion for Brazier's supplement line. I wasn't convinced by the discussion of getting enough nutrients and keeping hormones & good cholest
Aug 20, 2014 Jacquelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick Kelly
Apr 22, 2014 Patrick Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vegan-fitness
Enlightening, wonderful, and just what I needed to read. Thrive is the perfect impetus to kick my health up a level, from "eating healthy" to eating smart, focused on net gain and selection of healthy whole foods that are balanced and alkaline-forming. Brendan's comprehensive look at performance-building eating habits here is balanced by equal parts anecdote and science. His experience as a professional athelete, experimentation in these food categories, and deep knowledge of food science provid ...more
Guillaume Belanger
Brandon Brazier was a professional ironman triathlete. He experimented with nutrition for several decades, searching for the optimal way to eat in order to allow him to perform at the very best of his potential. He developed an entirely plant-based dietary system to provide him with maximum nutrition, maximum digestibility and absorption, minimum stress, minimum acidosis and minimum recovery times. His performance over more than 15 years of professional carrier at one, if not the most demanding ...more
Jul 18, 2012 VBergen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 27, 2010 Katlyn rated it really liked it
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.
Jesus Rodriguez
May 02, 2014 Jesus Rodriguez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
This is the best book I've read on healthy eating since I read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat To Live" book a few years back.

Brazier does an excellent job of driving home the importance of alkaline-forming, nutrient dense foods.

For me, this book sets the bar on what it means to not just eat healthy, but to eat in a very smart way. I can say that being more alkaline in my diet has improved my sleep and reduced my stress, not to mention the losing of a few pounds. While doing the whole 12-week meal plan
May 28, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a vegan distance runner before reading this book and Caldwell Esselstyn's recommendations are still my North Star. That said, I will be adding more vegetables to replace some of the many cooked grains in my diet after reading this book. I also appreciated the simple quick energy (date and banana) recipes for mid-long-runs (maltodextrin gels are really unappealing to me for a number of reasons). The detailed information on vitamins and different types of foods that might not be familiar to ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Anastasia added it
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.
Marshall Phares
Very fast read. Provides a lot to think about as far as nutrition and the impact of unnatural (processed/refined etc.) foods on the body. I've been considering switching to a whole food, plant based diet for some time now.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brazier's book lacks scientific evidence (or at least references to studies performed). A s result, there is a lack of authority here. Most of his experiences are based on his own life experiences. While I believe Mr. Brazier and I think that this would have
Sep 05, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aaron Maurer
Oct 04, 2012 Aaron Maurer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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),
Oct 25, 2012 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved the first chapter on stress and the explanation about eating unhealthy food as a major stressor. Brazier says 40% of the average North American stress can be attributed to diet, therefore, improving your diet will reduce stress, eliminating food cravings and mental cluttering. He talks about how very restrictive diets or overexercising can be stress factors as well, causing the arrenal glands to segregate cortisol into the bloodstream. If stress, and therefore cortisol, remains elevated
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
Adam Miller
Nov 29, 2013 Adam Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 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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