Former Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier has been following a vegan diet for the past 24 years and credits it for his incredible health and energy.
Brazier, a best-selling author, nutrition consultant and advocate for plant-based living, has coached actor Hugh Jackman and singer Moby on the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Numerous studies have shown that in addition to being more humane and better for the environment, a vegetarian or vegan diet promotes easy weight loss, sustained energy, improved sleep, and better athletic performance.
In an exclusive interview March 14, Brazier, author of the Thrive Energy Cookbook, discussed how you can use a plant-based diet to reduce inflammation and look your best.
Question: What are the health benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet?
A plant-based diet sets out to conquer three overarching nutritional objectives: high-net-gain nutrition, alkaline-forming foods, elimination of biological debt. We gain more usable energy when we eat foods that are in a natural, whole state. I go into greater detail about this in my new book, Thrive Energy Cookbook, providing you recipes and foods that have the proper nutrients you can use for maximum energy.
There is no right or wrong way to start eating clean and I give readers the tools beneficial for anyone seeking to improve their overall wellness. Clean eating is predominately plant-based, utilizes whole, unprocessed foods, is free of artificial ingredients, and opts for organic whenever possible."
Question: As a former pro triathlete, what struggles or frustrations led you to the path of pursuing more plant-based foods?
I realized that I wanted to gain something (or get something in return) from everything I ate — whether it was more energy, inflammation reduction, greater recovery rate, a deep sleep, or building lean, functional muscle. Eating with purpose and mindfulness thus became an integral part of my training, and therefore my daily life."
Question: Not everyone is ready for veganism. What are some baby steps for moving to a more plant-based diet?
Start slow and easy into it, don’t give up everything you normally eat all at once. Eliminate certain factors one by one, like dairy, meat, processed foods, etc. Nutrient-dense smoothies are also a good starting point to incorporate more veggies and fruits into your diet. Start with your favorite smoothie filled with veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds with fruit, vegetables, Vega bars and home-made energy bars packed with nutrient dense ingredients."
Question: What will I notice when I switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet?
Some immediate effects from shifting to a plant based diet and the recipes in the book will give you more energy without stimulants such as sugar and caffeine, better sleep quality, faster recovery time, better digestion, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of injury, and longer endurance."
Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman tri-athlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. Brendan, author of the bestseller, Thrive Fitness, is the formulator of the award-winning line of plant-based Vega nutritional products and creator of Thrive Forward, an online video series designed to inspire and educate people about plant-based nutrition.