Brendan's previous two books, Thrive and Thrive Fitness, were groundbreaking, must-reads for plant-based athletes who wanted to maximize energy from their diets. But what these books were missing, as far as the less-serious athlete is concerned, was approachable food -- food you could cook for your family, or meals that a reluctant or tentative new vegetarian or vegan would be likely to enjoy.
But right in the introduction of Thrive Foods, Brendan explains how this book is different: he enlisted the help of his favorite chefs (some of them very well-known among vegetarians and vegans) to come up with recipes far more flavorful and approachable than those in Thrive and Thrive Fitness, while still focusing on foods that provide the maximum amount energy at the lowest digestive cost. As a result, this book will appeal to massively wider audience. (This includes my 16-month old son, who I was shocked to discover actually enjoyed the Shanghai rice bowl recipe last night for dinner.)
The first few chapters of Thrive Foods explain Brendan's philosophy on food, and why he believes a plant-based diet is the best possible diet both for our bodies and our planet. Where he improves again on the previous books is in including several graphics and charts that make this information easy to assimilate, even to those just skimming through it.
The rest of the book comprises 200 vegan recipes. The handful that I've tried have been delicious, and as a non-raw-foodist, I was happy to find that hot, traditionally-cooked dishes like red lentil dal were included. But there are still many raw meals, with most of the non-raw dishes featuring raw components, in a nice compromise between health food and hot, comforting meals. And I was happy to see that the "athlete" recipes, like energy bars and gels, still made it into the book, right alongside recipes for vegan ice cream and pie!
For anyone but the most hardcore athlete, this will be Brendan's best book yet, and I have no doubt it'll bring the benefits of a plant-based diet to a whole new crowd of people, those whose main concern with their new healthy diet is that their food still tastes the way real food should. When people ask me to suggest an introduction to healthy plant-based cooking, or simply a cookbook to help them overhaul their diets and get healthy without eating rabbit food, Thrive Foods is the one I'll recommend.