The Thrive Diet: The Whole Food Way to Lose Weight, Reduce Stress, and Stay Healthy for Life By Brendan Brazier
2007 | 320 Pages | ISBN: 1600940609 | PDF | 2 MB
I bought this book because I wanted to go from longtime pescatarian to a full-fledged vegan, but was worried about what I heard of vegans with iron and protein deficiencies. This book not only showed me that you can be a vegan athlete, but that it's actually desirable for a lot of reasons. The Thrive Diet had just been released when I took the plunge, so I didn't have all of these positive reviews - I just went with the only vegan cookbook directed towards an active lifestyle. The effect that the recipes in this book have had on my life has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of the foods described in here have become an everyday part of my life, such as the buckwheat pancakes and the nut "burgers". Other foods have inspired me to eat newfound staples such as nutritional yeast, dulse and hemp. While it took an initial investment to get many of the general use ingredients (coconut oil, hemp protein, bags of walnuts, etc) as well as a good spice grinder, food processor and blender, I have found that my monthly food bills have dropped since. All it takes is a few hours on one afternoon per week and I can set myself up with enough food to get me through the week. The key to this diet seems to be eating less in general. Of course, there's (almost) nothing "bad" in this book, so you can eat as much of anything as you want. However, if weight loss is your goal, you will still have to take in less calories than you burn daily. This was a hurdle for me as I love eating food, especially some of the recipes in this book! Since I've gained control of my intake, the fat has been melting off of me. There are some significant issues that I feel I should bring up. First - and this bugged me as I read through the book - Mr. Brazier does not cite his sources. There is an extensive bibliography in the back of the book, but you're left to discover for yourself which of those sources he used for which bit of information. Second, he does not point out that agave nectar is not very good for you and will actually pack on the pounds. To anyone who can read a food label, this shouldn't be a surprise. Agave nectar is very, very tasty, but also very, very sugary. I don't blame the author for this, but he does make a point in the book to say that you can eat as much of anything he lists as you like. Again, this is true, but you should always be wary of your caloric balancing act if you're looking to lose weight. Third, and lastly, I must issue a health warning. If you have an ulcer, acid reflux disease or both, be VERY careful when increasing the amount of raw food you eat. Raw foods are harder to digest and if you don't monitor yourself you may end up with a nasty case of gastritus that leaves you vomiting all over your front lawn. Coconut oil will also relax the various muscles that control digestion, causing heartburn and other issues. The best thing to learn from this book is mindful consumption, and if you have a sensitive digestive system, this is something to be very mindful of. In short, this book has changed my life, mostly for the better. I find some of the recipes unappealing (the soups) and others indispensable (pancakes, burgers, pizzas) and some I've yet to try (anything with popped amaranth - I can't get it to pop!), but all of it is interesting. One star was left off for the citation issue, as it seems such a shame to have extensively researched a book and then not cited specific claims. This matters very little since the food is all about 1) how you feel and 2) how it tastes. A resounding win on both counts!Here are some things I've found to help utilize the book:*Keep a stock of coconut oil, nutritional yeast, brown meso paste, hemp oil and hemp seeds. Even if you're just starting out, these will enable you to make the more interesting dishes in the book.*You can generally replace one kind of bean, nut or seed for whatever the recipe calls for if you've only got one kind and don't want to go to the store. *Get a coffee/spice grinder that has a removable blade, such as the Hamilton Beach 80365 Custom Grind Hands-Free Coffee Grinder, Platinum.*Spend at least one day a week preparing some food that's easy to chow for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. I like to have buckwheat pancake batter (eat with applesauce!), as well as nut burger for salads and bean salsa for topping. Even one or two thrive diet meals a day will make you feel better.*Eat less total food. I found the best benefits came from eating less food overall and focusing more on eating the fulfilling and nutritious foods as described in the book. Forget store-bought veggie burgers, eat a nut burger and salad with some black bean salsa and finish it off with a couple of clementines or a banana. Pick your portions before you eat and you'll feel better afterwards.