Friday, 3 June 2011

Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-Dense, Plant-based Recipes for Peak Health by Brendan Brazier

Thrive Blog Tour - A visit to the Thrive Juice Bar - Contest

Welcome to today's stop on the Thrive blog tour.  For a complete list of the stops on the tour, scroll to the bottom of this post.

For the past several summers, I have  volunteered at a series  of running races, The ENDURrun, which is attended by a variety of elite runners.  During the course of the week, they run seven races over some very challenging terrain, covering a total distance of 160 kms.

The greatest challenge of the week is feeding these runners in such a manner that they can recover quickly and run again the next day.  Add to this task that at least several of the runners have dietary restrictions such as vegetarian/vegan, lactose intolerance etc.

Author Brendan Brazier is himself a vegan who mostly relies on a raw food diet to supply his nutritional needs.  He is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on plant based nutrition.

 I first heard about raw food cooking for a race participant last summer.  While reading this book, I was fascinated to learn that in almost every incidence, raw vegetables are much easier to digest than cooked food (exception starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes). 

In the first chapter, Mr. Brazier clearly explains why eating nutrient dense foods, such as vegetables, are important to our overall health.  It's not the number of calories we eat, but whether we are eating foods that are packed with the micro-nutrients that our bodies crave.

For the past few weeks I have been discussing this book with my teenage son who is an amateur body builder.  Food and protein is very important to him.  I am a runner and fencer and have different energy demands.  We are looking forward to trying a number of recipes that are directly aimed at the sports minded reader.

Lemon-Lime Sports Drink - contains coconut water which is perfect for electrolyte replacement
Sunflower Seed Hemp Milk - This was easy to make and tasted great.
Ginger Pear Smoothie - daughter and I enjoyed sharing this.  More ginger next time.
Green Energy Bars -  Looking forward to trying both these bars and hope they will replace the store bought bars that are usually less than appealing.
Walnut Cranberry Energy Bars -

As for the upcoming running races, I am planning on having ground flax seeds and hemp seeds on hand for inclusion in the post race smoothies. 

This book is jam packed full of nutritional information that is relevant even to non-vegetarians.  To learn more about this approach to eating, check out Brendan earlier books The Thrive Diet and Thrive Fitness.  You can also sign up for Brendan's free Thrive in 30 .

While browsing through the many delectable recipes I noticed that one of the contributorswas the Thrive Juicebar in Waterloo, Ontario.  The juice bar was named after Brendan's first book, Thrive Diet.  Since that is near to home, I decided that a field trip would be required.  Neither of us are vegetarians, though that didn't stop me from wanting to  visit this locale.

Vegetarian, vegan and other non-allergenic options rule the menu here.
 While waiting for our orders to arrive, we were surprised when these dainty looking drinks were placed on our table.  It's water with blueberries. 
Being a juice bar, we had to order from the extensive drink menu.  On the left is the Acai berry, pomegranate raspberry smoothie for hubby.  On the right is the blueberry, lavender, vanilla smoothie for myself.  They were both amazing.

For dinner, I opted for the vegan pad thai: rice noodles and mounds of fresh raw veggies, spicy peanuts and cashew with a topping of almond chili oil and mint lime vinaigrette.
Hubby choose a more meaty seeming dish of grilled portobello, tempeh and spinach sandwich.
The next two photos show the smoothie and drink preparation area.

I am definitely planning a return visit to the Thrive Juice bar.  Those sandwiches looked so good and there are many more juice combinations to try.

I hope that you have enjoyed my review and comments about Brendan Brazier's new book Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-dense, Plant-based Recipes for Peak Health. Now is your chance to win a package of his drink products.  The winner will receive either an assortment of Vega Smoothie or Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer. 
To enter, leave a comment telling me your favourite smoothie combination. Be sure to leave an email contact and stat that you are Canadian. Contest open to Canadian residents only.  Prizes will be mailed directly by the publisher, Penguin Books.  Contest closes June 10, 2011.

Update: June 3, 2011 10pm - I have decided to add a prize for my American and international readers.  I am hoping to find some sort of smoothie recipe magazine.  Same rules apply, leave a comment and tell my your fav smoothie combination and you'll be entered.

Blog Tour Participants

May 24 Jacob’s Beloved  
May 25 In the Next Room
May 26 Tales of a Ranting Ginger  
May 27 Library of Clean Reads  
May 30 Lavender Lines  
May 31 A Bookworm’s World  
June 1 Rowangarth Farm
June 3 Books and Quilts 
June 6 Book Blab  
June 7 Jennifer’s Story  
June 8 Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea  
June 9 Simple Stacie
June 10 Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings
note: I will continue to update links as they become available.

Thanks to Vega  and  for my review copy and for sponsoring the contest.


Joanne Bink said...

My FAVOURITE smoothie recipe: This is a drink I have for a breakfast - after some fresh fruit. It is PACKED with nutrients and delicious!!

Vega Health Optimizer Berry flavour (1.5 - 2 scoops)
400 ml water (or combo of water and organic fruit juice)
1 banana
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. peanut butter (organic)
1 tbsp. raw honey
2 tbsp cacoa nibs or 1 tbsp. cacoa powder
(I sometimes add a 1/2 avocado if I want a thicker smoothie)

Blended in a blender, it makes an easy to digest 'meal' and perfect breakfast. Making it the day before and storing it in the fridge overnight will make it thicker, and can be 'eaten' like a pudding. YUM!!

Julian said...

Nice site. Hey I think you maybe in my neck of the woods. I would love to connect. I have a raw food meet up that you maybe interested in. Love your reviews.

Awesome Aud said...

The ginger pear smoothie you describe sounds delicious! And I'm always in favour of more ginger!

Yoshi said...

I had held some misunderstandings about vegan food for years,that is,vegetables are healthy to be sure,but they don't supply us with enough nutrition for our body to function to the full,so vegetables can't be our main source of nutrition. This post will help change my perception.

Beth F said...

What an informative post and book. We aren't vegans but we do eat vegetarian often. Raw foods are a plus in summer heat!

The salad, sandwich and smoothies look fantastic. Because I need to stay away from soy and peanuts, I'm not going to enter your wonderful giveaway.

Anything fruity makes a good smoothie and we generally use rice milk for our dairy base.

Kaye said...

I'd be interested in the ginger pear smoothie recipe. Pears are one of my favorite fruits and ginger is good for vertigo. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Rikki said...

Very interesting post, Heather! I'm all for vegetarian, but vegan is not really for me. But I wouldn't say no to a smoothie, :).

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather
Great review. I'd love to try that lemon-lime sports drink. It sounds so refreshing after a row. I've shared this post with another runner friend too.
Stay inspired!
Brain Angles - Invisible Ink

Margot said...

Very interesting post. I'd like to try a wider variety of raw foods in my diet. My favorite smoothy is any thing with berries it. I usually add a banana and protein powder as well.

TheBookGirl said...

I would never have thought that digesting raw vegetables is easier than digesting cooked ones...although I do understand how you would get more of a nutrient benefit from raw.

This sounds like a very interesting book!

JoAnn said...

What a fascinating post! Would love to visit a restaurant like the Thrive juice bar, too. We've been incorporating more vegetarian meals into our weekly menus.

Louise said...

Thanks for a really interesting post Heather. And how fantastic that you got to discover a new local gem! Those smoothies look delicious. I don't drink smoothies all that often. Not sure why I guess. The vegan pad thai looks pretty good too. The book sounds very interesting too. I'm always for diets that get us eating more fruit and vegetables I think that's really important. Do the raw food folks not eat potatoes and legumes then? I know that they can be imaginative, but I'm actually cooking up some chick peas- they're pretty awful when not fully cooked, I don't know that there's any way to eat them raw. Or that I'd want to!

Hannah said...

My favourite right now is frozen cherries and blueberries, vanilla Sunwarrior powder, spinach, and sometimes sunflower seed butter :)

Nan said...

It raises my hopes when I hear of a book/movement like this because it seems to me that people are eating more and more meat, junk food, processed food, and food away from home.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I love grilled portabella! That looks amazing!

Heather said...

Hannah mentioned that she includes SunWarrior powder, you can find out details about that product at the following link

Heather said...

Louise, I don't know much about raw food, but Brendan said in his book that he eats about 80% raw. I would think that each person following this eating style would make their own choice. Eating raw potatos wouldn't work, neither would the raw legumes.

Geri said...

My fave smoothie is the Acai berry, pomegranate raspberry smoothie although I'd like to try some new ones also.

That Vegan Pad Thai looks scrumptious.

Alix said...

Spinach, banana, frozen fruit of any sort, and chia seeds. I live in Waterloo and was at Thrive on Saturday when Brendan was there talking about his new book.

Heather said...

Contest is closed and winners have been contacted. Thank-you to those who have shared their favourite smoothie recipes with me.