Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
136 of 137 people found the following review helpful
The best cookbook for an approachable, high-energy plant-based diet.Sept. 1 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Game-ChangerAug. 27 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Brazier is an innovator: he formulated his now famous Vega plant-based protein shake at age 15; reinvented himself from a champion elite athlete to a nutrition and fitness expert; and then a best-selling author and public speaker. And this 3rd book in the Thrive Series does not disappoint and shows why he is a game-changer.
He introduces a breakthrough concept called Nutrient-to-Resource Ratio which ties nutrition, fitness and the environment together (you read it here first), and clearly illustrates how one seemingly small buying decision can have an industry changing effect, and potentially tip our food habits in a massive way.
Imagine you are in your favorite grocery store and as you check out food labels, you do not only see the amount of calories, but also the amount of nutrients and the environment resources used to produce that food. What a shock to find out that it takes 2900 times MORE land to produce the EQUAL amount of micronutrients from a pound of beef than from kale! Wouldn't you think twice about having steak for dinner? To take it a step further, as we start comparing brands to see which are more responsible than others, companies will start changing the way they do their business to meet the needs of the market place, and it is our buying power that will drive what they offer moving forward.
Even if you have not gotten into the plant-based lifestyle yet, are curious about it or in the process of transitioning, you will find that this is not one of those highly theoretical and abstract books - it is a very practical one infused with humor and fun examples which make the ideas come to life.
What's more, there's an entire section dedicated to delish thrive foods recipes that some of the most cultured and pickiest palets have concocted - a great toolkit to whip up Zagat-worthy menus we can impress our family and friends with. And they will never look at plant-based foods the same way again!
Who says we can't have it all? Being green inside and out has never been this empowering and exciting!
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Thrive deliciously!Aug. 31 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I love this book! Great information, great recipes all in one book!I really appreciate the way Brendan explains how our food choices affect our environment in such a clear way. It was interesting to see how plant based foods vs animal based foods have such a different impact.Then on to the food....you will not be disappointed! My favorites so far have been Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding, Eggplant Rollatini, and the Cool Coconut Orange Squares. Some people may have a harder time than other finding things like Maca or Yacon powder and Sacha Inchi seeds which I haven't even heard of, but most things can be found at a well stocked health food market or co-op. Also so far it seems none of the recipes require a dehydrator so the recipes don't take hours to prepare. I also like that you don't need to be 100% raw to enjoy this book, as it also contains some cooked recipes for those that like to include them in their diet.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A Must Have!Sept. 7 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Brendan's writing style is easy to read, even for those who don't love reading. The book is packed with information and illustrations, which help readers, who love visuals, to further comprehend the topics discussed.
I found the book intriguing and important for my personal growth. Every other line that I read, I wanted to share with everyone I know... but it is better to actually buy the book instead. However, there are a few things worth highlighting.
Brendan's background in sports pushed him to look into not only quality of foods to improve his performance, but foods' nutrient density-getting most out of each meal. Brendan dissects the topic of foods' Nutrient Density importance, which will lead the reader to understand why organic foods are so much more superior to their counterparts. I eat 99% organic already, but having read the book, I appreciate it so much more--I am getting higher return on my investment nutritionally by going all organic.
Organics deliver MORE for each penny we spend on them-they are nutritionally dense, filled with minerals, and natural bacterial fighters, which won't be found in conventionally grown foods.
Brendan show how the "self-protecting compounds plants would have naturally produced to make them undesirable to the insects are in fact powerful phytonutrients." In addition to that, conventionally produced foods lead to poverty of micronutrients. If we lack micronutrients "our hunger signal remains active; overconsumption and weight gain are likely to result."
I love the Five Thrive Guiding Principles, laid out by Brendan:
1. Eliminating biological debt: acquire energy through nourishment not stimulation. 2. Go for high-net-gain foods: make a small investment for a big return. 3. Aim for high percentage of raw and low-temperature-cooked foods. 4. Choose alkaline foods. 5. Avoid common allergens.
So simple and common sense--anyone can follow.
Brendan also talks about the importance of preserving our land--after all, our food is only as good as the soil it is grown on. You cannot grow a nutrient dense food on a mineral depleted soil! The the more junk we put in our soil [should I start naming all the "-cides" to you: pesticides, herbicides, etc.?] the less nutritious our foods are, so in the end, you are wasting your money for the foods that look good, but are nutritionally void.
Here is a simple way Brendan demonstrates this problem.
Lack of minerals in the soil-> Micronutrient deficiency in our food-> Chronic hunger: tendency to overeat-> Weight gain and risk factors increased for: diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Brendan further highlights the uneven land consumption distribution and comparison between animal based and plant based foods. "Livestock production uses 70% of all arable land and 30% of the land surface of the planet." The plants grown for livestock consumption are mostly: corn, soy, wheat-things that would help livestock gain weight quickly so more of it can be sold, and more money can be made. So, if you had the illusion [if you are a meat eater] that you are getting nutrients from meat which you cannot obtain yourself otherwise, it is time to wake up-you are eating mostly corn, soy and wheat, along with some other junk that would make livestock grow exponentially faster. Production of these grains, in such huge amounts, is subsidized! Yes, you are paying for it! [and unfortunately so am I, through my taxes]. The organic produce production, is not subsidized, however, so those of us who care about our health, are stuck with a bigger sticker price. If livestock industry were not subsidized, meat eaters and milk drinkers, would be paying $25-$300/lb of meat. Would not that make a fairer world for all of us?! However, Brendan's point in the end is that we still get a great return on our money if we spend it on plant-based, nutrient dense foods, and I cannot help but agree.
Brendan talks about resource consumption needed to raise livestock vs. plant foods. Being that I am mindful how I treat the planet, not only for myself but for the future generations, I was ecstatic to have learned the difference between carbon footprint of a carnivore vs. herbivore. A person eating SAD [Standard American Diet] would create emissions [equivalent to miles driven] equal to: 13,549 miles in a year [that's just from eating food and does not include other source of emission for the person!], whereas a herbivore [i.e. vegan] would create only 1,928 miles/year-that's a staggering 11,621 mile difference worth of carbon emissions!
To make it more clear, if a person would switch to a nutrient dense, plant-based diet, it would be equivalent of him quitting driving his car for ONE FULL YEAR in one year's time! Multiply that number by millions of Americans, and we would no longer have to worry about Global Warming!
Brendan then dedicates a couple of chapters discussing 8 Key Components of Good Nutrition & Nutrient-Dense Foods. The whole two chapters in Thrive Foods are dedicated to the conversation of the principles of what makes a good, nutrient-dense diet, and then gives you a list of must-have staples for every kitchen--you can easily create a grocery list from it or take the book with you when you go grocery shopping. It's like having a mini nutrition bible on your book shelf. I made a ton of notes in the book to add foods that I might have been previously missing in my diet, and learned a thing or two about foods I never head of before.
The rest of the book is dedicated to 200 delicious plant based, scrumptious recipes, created by some of the best chefs in America.
To sum it up: You HAVE TO GET THE BOOK! It is great not only for athletes, vegans [i.e. herbivores], but for anyone who cares to improve their health through a properly structured diet.
103 of 119 people found the following review helpful
A bit disappointedDec 11 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
A lot of my "meatarian" friends have wondered why veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, veggie crumbles, etc are so popular among those of us who don't eat meat. The answer is convenience and habit.
This book builds on that need to convert "normal" food into vegan food. Sure the end result is healthful, plant-based food but the ingredients are replete with vegan substitutions for animal-derived food. I was hoping for something else: original foods built from plants not old foods re-conceived in a healthy way.
Maybe this won't affect your decision to buy the book, but I was a bit disappointed. There is good information, and it's nicely laid out. Simply not what I wanted.