So yesterday I had the day off and I have to say it was amazing! I had to get up early (*sigh*) but it was completely worth it. Mainly because I got to hear a talk by, and meet this guy!
That’s right, I got to meet Brendan Brazier! I’ve been interested in his work for a long time now, so when my friend informed me he was giving a talk at her yoga studio, and it just happened to be on the day I had off, I knew I HAD to go! He gave a really good talk, pretty informal, not too much new information since I am pretty familiar with his book The Thrive Diet. But it did serve to remind me of some important points I had forgotten about, or had at least failed to recognize the significance of. He’s also super nice and really genuine! He answered everyone’s questions and took the time to chat with everyone who wanted, signed books and took pictures :). It was really cool to meet someone I respect so much in the health and fitness community! I can honestly say I have never been more excited for any lecture I have attended EVER.
His talk basically centered on some of the key aspects of the “Thrive Diet” and how it can help anyone, not only athletes, have more energy, lose body fat and nourish our bodies in the best way possible to deal with and adapt to stress. In essence his eating-plan seeks to achieve peak-health so we can thrive! For average North Americans 40% of total stress comes from poor nutrition (nutritional stress) through eating highly processed, refined, acid-forming foods. These foods take a lot of digestive energy to break down, so even though someone might be taking in a lot of calories, much of it is wasted on simply breaking down food instead of going into energizing other bodily processes such as recovery from exercise and our immune systems. Because these foods require so much energy to break down, they are seen as a nutritional stress, causing the body to release cortisol which is responsible for lots of not-so-nice things in the body like fat-gain and reduced (or absent) delta-phase sleep, which is that really deep sleep that allows up to feel rested and energized when we awake. When we don’t get enough delta-phase sleep we don’t recover from stress well, fatigue sets in an we reach for stimulants like caffeine and sugar, which then increase nutritional stress, further increasing cortisol.
Brendan recommoned foods that give “high-net gain nutrition”, basically foods that have an alkalizing affect (decrease aciditiy), give you lots of micronutrients like minerals, vitamins and anxtioxidants and require little digestive energy to assimilate those nutrients- essentially whole, plant-based foods! Raw food is a large emphasis as well since their enzymes have not been destroyed through cooking, allowing them to be better digested.
So basically, by eating alkalizing, whole plant-based foods we reduce nutritional stress, providing our bodies with more energy to do everything else! Foods he emphasizes specifically are things like leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard…), fruits, fibrous veg (beets, green beans, carrots…), pseudograins (quinoa, buckwheat, millet…), legumes, sea vegetables, seeds, nuts and superfoods like hemp, sacha inchi and chlorella. While I already eat many of these foods, I think I am going to try and eat more raw- so smoothies, soaked and sprouted seeds, nuts and legumes, and less cooked and focus on getting all micronutrients from food and not rely on vitamins (I currently take iron). His talk really motivated me to take control of my eating habits to improve my energy, something which I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. I will definitely post progress here on the blog :). I already started today with a big green smoothie for breakfast with Brendan’s new Vega One Nutritional Shake.
This smoothie had a frozen banana, half a frozen mango, 1 cup of almond milk, a huuuuge handful of spinach and 1/2 a scoop of Vega One. It was so energizing, I loved how great I felt heading to work at 6 am!
I highly recomment this product. It blended in well to my smoothie and gave me a great energy boost! The ingredients list is really impressive and includes things like: hemp, pea, savi seed and brown rice proteins, flax and chia seeds, cholorella, spinach and broccoli, acai and goji berries, probiotics, digestive enzymes and loooads of vitamins and minerals. There is really no need to be taking any kind of vitamins when you have something this good. I love how it has probiotics and digestive enzymes to help make sure you absorb all the goodness possible!
I also got Brendan’s new book “Whole foods to Thrive”. It contains a lot of the same information on nutrition as “The Thrive Diet” but I love how it goes into a lot more detail on how our food choices affect the environment and he even comes up with a method of determining which foods have both the MOST nutritional gain and the LEAST amount of impact on the environment, what he calls the “nutrient-to-resource ratio”. He really sums up nicely all the resons I choose to eat the way I do- It’s good for our own health and the health of the whole planet! He also includes loads of new recipes that use the Thrive diet foods, many of which have been developed by professional chefs. I HIGHLY recommend this book- I’ve already read about half of it and plan to read more tonight.
The rest of my day in Toronto included other notable highlights. I went to Fresh on Bloor with a friend for some brunch/lunch that was complete with vegan, gluten-free pancakes, tempeh bacon, tofu scramble and a matcha green tea latte with almond milk. I then went to Noah’s natural foods and stocked up on some goodies:
Tried one of Vega’s new Recovery protein bars from the Vega Sport Line. This was the chocolate coconut flavour- it seriously tasted like a chocolate bar and as you can see, it didn’t last long!
Also got a chocolate bar from MacaSure that has maca powder in it. Maca is great for hormone regulation, especially your adrenals (!) and is an adaptogen so will work to correct an imbalance whether your hormone levels are too high or low!. It has a bit of a malty taste so the chocolate bar did as well, but I really enjoyed it. Not one I would recommend non-health-foodies though ;)
Also stocked up on some raw nut butters- Brendan was talking about how the digestibility of raw nuts/butters was much better and they retained more nutrients so I got myself a bunch of Artisana single-serve packets including pecan, cashew and macadamia butters and some coconut butter and cacao bliss (chocolate coconut butter!). Also got a bigger jar of raw almond butter to use in smoothies and some raw honey which provides antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients absent in normal, pasteurized honey. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some more for a while!
The day concluded with meeting up with one of my best friends for coffee on her break at work. It was so nice to see her, because it really doesn’t happen often enough. Then I grabbed a green tea from Starbuck and caught my bus back to Kingston.
I’m still riding a serious high from this weekend even though I had to work at 6:30 am this morning. I can wait to delve into some more of the Thrive Diet foods and principles and see how it impacts my energy and just general well-being!
Hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing Sunday evening :)