Friday, September 2, 2011

Review - Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier

I was recently invited to review the new book, Thrive Foods, by Brendan Brazier. If you've followed my blog for any length of time then you know that I've never done a review and I don't typically promote products or services. But when I learned that Thrive Foods is about nutrient-rich foods which promote health and environmental sustainability ... well, I couldn't resist.

Let me first give you a little background on the author of this book. Brendan Brazier is a professional Ironman triathlete and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is the creator of VEGA (an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products) and is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition.

Thrive Foods begins with a wonderful discussion about nutrition and the environmental toll of food production. One will find out what nutrient density is and why it matters as well as learn how food production affects the environment.

Later in the book, the author talks about the key components of good nutrition and which foods will give us those elements. He uses icons to help us easily identify such things as calcium, iron and essential fats. Brendan shares 200 delicious recipes using the most nutrient-rich foods we can eat. We tried the recipe for Eggplant Rollatini ... it was easy to make and tasted wonderful!

But it is Chapter 3 that I found most interesting. It is entitled "An Appetite For Change: Environmental and Health Solutions Through Food". In this section, Brendan shares a unique concept in how we look at food and how we measure it's value ... the Nutrient-To-Resource Ratio. In other words, he's measuring how much nutrient gain we receive from a food versus the resources spent to produce it. He looks at resources such as arable land (land fit for the growing of food and which is in a climate conducive for agriculture with soil containing sufficient nutrients to sustain crops), water, fossil fuel and emissions. All of his calculations are presented for the reader to check and double check. You might be surprised to learn how some of your favorite foods fare in this scenario. For example, in the nutient-to-arable-land ratio he compares kale and beef. Remember, this ratio only takes into consideration the arable land and doesn't consider water, emissions, etc. From the book "To gain an equal amount of micronutrients from beef as from kale, 2900 times more arable land would be needed." Wow! Factor in the other natural resources and you'll see that the cost of beef, in natural resources, is huge!

So why are hamburgers, meat products and processed foods so cheap in the store if they take so many resources to produce? Brendan explains it to us and talks about government subsidies and how the price of food in the grocery store doesn't really reflect it's value ... if it did, most of us probably couldn't afford those items. In fact, if the grocery store reflected the true cost of a food, we'd probably all eat healthier. I quickly realized that there are hidden costs to food ... costs which affect our taxes, our health and the environment. The chapter finishes up with a chart ... it shows how many equivalent miles driven one would save by switching to a whole-food, plant-based, nutrient-rich diet. If you thought driving less was good for the environment, you'll be amazed at how much good you'll do by changing your diet.

Thrive Foods is sure to be a great resource for anyone who cares about their health and about the environment. I know that I'll be referring to it often!

I'd like to thank Brendan Brazier and Sequel Naturals for giving me the opportunity to review this book. You can pre-order Thrive Foods (sales begin on September 6th), as well as order Brendan's other books, from his site HERE.

Now for some exciting news: Would you like a chance to win a trip for two to meet Brendan at the Alive! Green Expo Lounge, surrounding the 63 Annual Emmy's? Just click on Brendan's Facebook Fan page for your chance to win an amazing trip. And while you're there, sign up for a free PDF download of the intro and 3 recipes from Thrive Foods.

Brendan Brazier Facebook Fan Page

You can learn more about Brendan Brazier and VEGA using the following links:
Vega Facebook Fan Page
Vega Twitter

I received a copy of "Thrive Foods" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.