Thrive Energy Cookbook

150 Plant-Based Whole Food Recipes


By Brendan Brazier

Formats and Prices





  1. ebook $13.99
  2. Trade Paperback $24.99

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 4, 2014. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Packed with 150 plant-based, nutrient-dense, whole food recipes developed within the Thrive nutritional philosophy, Thrive Energy Cookbook brings concepts that started the functional, plant-based nutrition revolution to life. Recipes are all vegan and allergen-free (or with gluten-free options) to eliminate wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, refined sugar, and dairy from your diet.

Easy-to-make and performance-enhancing, these chef-created recipes merge purpose driven functionality (every ingredient has a nutritional purpose) with mouth-watering appeal. From the alkaline-forming, plant protein-packed Vanilla-Almond-Mocha Motivator Smoothie to Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup, Thai Green Curry Rice Bowl, and desserts such as Raspberry Chocolate Pomegranate Tart, Thrive Energy Cookbook will have you quickly preparing nutrient-packed and delicious dishes.



Thrive Energy Cookbook is a must-have for gourmets and athletes alike.”

—Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines

“When world-class athletes want to get even better, Brendan is the man who gets the call.”

—Brendon Burchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Charge

“As our head of nutrition, Brendan’s implementation of purpose-driven nutrition has allowed our pro cycling team to meet the demands of grueling training better than ever before.”

—Matt Johnson, President of Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling Team and founder of The Feed

“Brendan’s commitment to the study of plant-based nutrition and research makes for a wonderful cookbook.”

—Joe Hogarty, Baltimore Orioles strength and conditioning coach

“Brendan’s systematic approach to performance plant-based nutrition has helped me to reduce inflammation, speed my recovery, and has boosted my overall performance. The recipes are delicious!”

—Mike Zigomanis, NHL player and member of the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins

“This guide is what your plant-based kitchen is missing. You’re going to feel better, and you’re going to enjoy every bite. Oh, and in case you were wondering: You’re not going to miss the meat.”

—Angela Haupt, senior editor, U.S. News & World Report

Thrive Foods offers a diet that’s good for you and the planet.”

—The Washington Post

Thrive focuses on vegan foods that help fuel your way to uber athleticism.”



Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health

Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness

Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life

My Thrive Journey: Purpose-driven, clean, plant-based nutrition

What follows is a brief overview of my approach to clean, plant-based nutrition that I introduced in my first book, The Thrive Diet. I intend it to serve as a quick refresher if you are already eating the Thrive way. However, if you are eating a traditional North American diet and aim to revamp it, or even just fine-tune your already solid nutrition plan, this section can serve as your introduction to my Thrive philosophy: plant-based, whole food, high-net-gain, and alkaline-forming, without creating biological debt. If you’d like to delve deeper into these topics, you may want to consider reading The Thrive Diet. It expands on these subjects in great detail.

When I was fifteen and beginning to train for triathlon, it took hundreds of thousands of swim strokes, pedal rotations, and running strides before I could even begin to race Ironman. I didn’t put in much mental effort. I simply went out and swam, cycled, and ran. It was a basic, haphazard approach, but it worked—I got better. Yet I noticed that as I continued to improve over the years, my rate of improvement slowed. It became clear to me that my workouts needed to be better targeted to what I was trying to achieve. They had to have purpose.

So I developed a systematic training program. I approached my workouts with purpose and intent for each session. I had a specific goal for every workout, with regard to both what I intended to put into it and what I wanted to get in return. And it worked. My routines yielded quicker gains. I continued to improve, but this time, the rate at which the gains came stayed steady. This was a breakthrough for me. I realized that purpose and intent in all energy expended return a greater level of fitness than I could ever have imagined.

I began looking at other aspects of my program with the same critical eye. Was there purpose and intent in all aspects of my training? I saw clearly that there wasn’t. And, as I now shrewdly realized, that lack directly translated into a loss of potential. With this purpose-and-intent mindset now firmly ingrained, I began evaluating what I ate. I considered how my diet affected my training and whether it was mindful eating. When I ate something, what did I hope to get in return? Was it more energy? Was it inflammation reduction? Was it greater rate of recovery? Was it going to affect my ability to get a deep, restorative sleep? Was it going to help me build lean, functional muscle? If I didn’t know why I was eating—other than because I was hungry—I asked myself, what gain is this going to give me, and is that what I need right now? Could I make a better choice that would further my progress more quickly?

For example, some foods are best eaten as fuel, before a workout, while others are ideally consumed immediately after a workout to help along the recovery process and rebuild what the exercise broke down. In the competitive sport world, knowing the difference and eating accordingly can mean the difference between success and failure. For that reason, in this book I include a sport-specific section with recipes I formulated specifically to help you prepare for, sustain, and recover from a workout.

Eating with purpose and mindfulness became an integral part of my training and therefore of my daily life. And, as with purposeful training, intentioned eating advanced my rate of improvement in leaps and bounds. And it wasn’t just training that this purpose-driven nutrition benefited. Every aspect of life became easier. The quality of my sleep improved, my mental clarity increased, my ability to handle stress and not get sick kicked in. This was far-reaching holistic progress.

Thrive Energy recipes are built with intent, and therefore function is the result. They are purpose driven to give you the nutritional building blocks you need to fuel performance—mental and physical—and reap the rewards of mindful eating. The positive impact for me has been immense.

Like me, many people when they are starting out don’t know what foods to eat, how to combine them synergistically, or when to eat them. But it’s not complicated. Eat a plant-based whole foods diet—that’s essentially it. With a few small tweaks, that diet can bolster results above and beyond.

To help me make informed food choices, I keep in mind three overarching nutritional objectives. These form the core of the Thrive Energy philosophy.

  High-net-gain nutrition

  Alkaline-forming foods

  Elimination of biological debt

Go for High-Net-Gain Foods: Make a small investment for a big return

High-net-gain foods, such as leafy greens and colorful vegetables, deliver energy by way of conservation rather than consumption. Here’s what I mean by that. The digestive and assimilation process is an energy-intensive one. As soon as we start eating, we begin spending digestive energy to convert the energy stored within food—also known as calories—into usable sustenance to meet our biological requirements. Whenever energy is transferred from one form to another, there’s some loss of energy. However, the amount of energy lost in this process varies greatly depending on the foods eaten.

Highly processed, refined, denatured food requires that significantly more digestive energy be spent to break it down in the process of transferring its caloric energy to us:

net energy gain = energy remaining once digestive energy has been spent

While it’s true that a calorie is a measure of food energy, simply eating more calories does not necessarily ensure more energy for the consumer. If there were such a calorie guarantee, people who subsisted on fast food and other such calorie-laden fare would have abundant energy. And of course they don’t. And that just points to the excessive amount of digestive energy required to convert such food into usable fuel. (Digestion is tiring. It’s no coincidence that the cultures that have their largest, heaviest meals at lunch are the same ones that have afternoon siestas.)

“The less energy spent on digestion, the more energy you’ll have.”

In contrast, natural, unrefined whole food requires considerably less energy to digest. Therefore, we gain more usable energy when we eat foods that are in a more natural whole state, even if they have fewer calories.

Once I grasped this concept, I began viewing my food consumption as though it were an investment. My goal became to spend, or invest, as little digestive energy as possible to acquire the greatest amount of micronutrients and maximize the return on my investment. For this reason, I refer to foods that require little digestive energy but yield a healthy dose of micronutrients as high-net-gain foods:

high net gain = little digestive energy spent, substantial level of micronutrients gained

With this principle in mind, I suggest shifting carbohydrate sources from processed and refined carbs such as pasta and bread to fruits and pseudograins instead. Fruits and pseudograins are packed with carbohydrates in the form of easily assimilated carbs, and they are considerably easier to digest than refined grain flour. As well, both provide a higher micronutrient level than processed, refined carb sources.

Choose Alkaline-Forming Foods

The measure of acidity or alkalinity is called pH, and maintaining a balanced pH within the body is an important part of achieving and sustaining peak health. If our pH drops, our body becomes too acidic, adversely affecting health at the cellular level. People with low pH are prone to many ailments and to fatigue.

The body can become more acidic because of diet and, to a lesser extent, stress. Since our body has buffering capabilities, our blood pH will generally vary only a small degree, regardless of poor diet or other types of stress. But the other systems recruited to aid with this buffering use energy and can become strained. Over time, the result of this buffering is significant stress on the system, which causes immune function to falter, effectively opening the door to a host of illnesses.

Low body pH can lead to the development of kidney stones, the loss of bone mass, and a reduction of growth hormone. And since a decline in growth hormone directly results in loss of lean muscle tissue and increased body fat, the overconsumption of acid-forming foods plays a significant role in North America’s largest health crisis. However, food is not the only thing we put in our bodies that is acid-forming. Most prescription drugs, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements are extremely acid-forming.

Low body pH is also responsible for an increase in the fabrication of cell-damaging free radicals and a loss in cellular energy production. Free radicals alter cell membranes and can adversely affect our DNA.

So what can we do to prevent all this? The answer is to consume more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming ones. Minerals are exceptionally alkaline-forming, so foods with a greater concentration of micronutrients—those with greater nutrient density—will inherently have a greater alkaline-forming effect.

Another factor that significantly raises the pH of food and, in turn, the body is chlorophyll content. Responsible for giving plants their green pigment, chlorophyll is often referred to as the blood of plants. The botanical equivalent of hemoglobin in human blood, chlorophyll synthesizes energy. Chlorophyll converts the sun’s energy that is absorbed by the plant into carbohydrate. This process, known as photosynthesis, is responsible for life on Earth. Since animals and humans eat plants, we too get our energy from the sun, plants being the conduit. Chlorophyll is prized for its ability to cleanse our blood by helping remove toxins deposited from dietary and environmental sources. Chlorophyll is also linked to the body’s production of red blood cells, making daily consumption of chlorophyll-rich foods important for ensuring our body’s constant cell regeneration and for improving oxygen transport in the body and, therefore, energy levels. By optimizing the body’s regeneration of blood cells, chlorophyll also contributes to peak athletic performance.

pH Effect of Selected Thrive Diet Foods

Eliminate Biological Debt: Acquire energy through nourishment, not stimulation

“Biological debt” is the term I use to describe the unfortunate energy-depleted state that North Americans frequently find themselves in. Often brought about by eating refined sugar or drinking coffee to gain short-term energy, biological debt is the ensuing energy crash.

There are two types of energy: one obtained from stimulation, the other obtained from nourishment. The difference between the two is clear cut. Stimulation is short-term energy and simply treats the symptom of fatigue. Being well nourished, in contrast, eliminates the need for stimulation, because a steady supply of energy is available to those whose nutritional needs have been met. In effect, sound nutrition is a pre-emptive strike against fatigue and the ensuing desire for stimulants. With nutrient-dense whole food as the foundation of your diet, there’s no need to ever get into biological debt.

Generally speaking, the more a food is fractionalized (the term used to describe a once-whole food that has had nutritional components removed), the more stimulating its effect on the nervous system. And of course there’s also caffeine, North Americans’ second-favorite drug next to refined sugar. By way of stimulation, fractionalized foods and caffeinated beverages boost energy nearly immediately. But within only a few hours, that energy will be gone. It is a short-term, unsustainable solution to the symptom of our energy debt. Obtaining energy by way of stimulation is like shopping with a credit card. You get something you desire now, but you will still have to pay eventually. The bill will come. And with that bill comes incurred biological interest: fatigue. Again.

To deal with this second wave of weariness, we tend to rely on additional stimulation, which in turn delays the moment when we pay off our tab. But the longer we put off payment, the greater the debt we accumulate. To continue our credit card analogy, to simply continue to summon energy by way of stimulation is like paying off one credit card with another. All the while, the interest is mounting.

Stimulation is a bad substitute for nourishment for another reason: it prompts the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol is linked to inflammation, which is a concern for the athlete (and for anyone who appreciates fluid movement). Higher levels of cortisol also weaken cellular tissue, lower immune response, increase the risk of disease, cause degeneration of body tissue, reduce sleep quality, and are a catalyst for the accumulation of body fat. As if that weren’t enough, chronic elevated levels of cortisol reduce the effectiveness of exercise, activity that normally helps to keep cortisol in check. Excessive cortisol levels can actually break down muscle tissue, as well as prevent the action of other hormones that build muscle. As a result, not only do muscles become more difficult to tone but strength is likely to decline rather than increase.

Not surprisingly, if we keep on overstimulating our overstressed body without addressing the real problem behind our fatigue, things only get worse. The severity of the symptoms of stress increase so that our health declines little by little. We put ourselves at greater risk for serious disease.

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are increased appetite, followed by cravings, commonly for starchy, refined foods; difficulty sleeping; irritability; mental fog; lack of motivation; body fat gain; lean muscle loss; visible signs of premature aging; and sickness. If this cycle of chronically elevated cortisol levels is allowed to continue, tissue degeneration, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even diseases such as cancer can develop.

In contrast, when we use nutrient-dense whole food rather than fleeting pick-me-ups as our source of energy, our adrenals will not be stimulated, and, simultaneously, our sustainable energy level will rise because of the acquired nutrients. Energy derived from good nutrition—cost-free energy—does not take a toll on the adrenal glands and so doesn’t need to be stoked with stimulating substances. In fact, one characteristic of wellness is a ready supply of natural energy that doesn’t rely on adrenal stimulation. People who are truly well have boundless energy with no need for stimulants such as caffeine or refined sugar.

“Energy derived from good nutrition—cost-free energy—does not take a toll on the adrenal glands and so doesn’t need to be stoked with stimulating substances.”

A cornerstone of my dietary philosophy is to break dependency on adrenal stimulation. As you might expect, we accomplish this by basing our diet on—not just supplementing with—nutrient-dense whole foods. This diet, along with proper rest through efficient sleep (efficient because of our reduced stress, thanks to nutrient-dense food), will address the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms of nutritional shortfalls.

Here’s a rough visual representation of how most of the recipes will combine to round out a day’s worth of eating, Thrive Diet style.

Thrive Energy Lab

Five years ago, I received an email from a fellow named Jonnie Karan, who lives in Waterloo, Ontario. Over the course of several heartfelt and chilling paragraphs, he recounted his extremely personal struggle with debilitating sickness. Jonnie told me that he had conquered his health issue and was now not only over his illness but in fact “Thriving.” He credited my book The Thrive Diet with helping him to view and consume food in a completely different way, a shift that had resulted in his remarkable health turnaround. He concluded by saying that he needed to talk with me. He didn’t say why, but insisted it was important. He included his number. I made the call.

In a shaky voice, as though he hadn’t spoken in days, he said, “You have no idea how much your book has changed my life, mate. I hope you don’t mind, but I had to share with others what your book has done for me. I’m a chef and thought I knew about food. But what I learned about food from your book—I’d feel selfish having this knowledge and not passing it on to others, to help them as it’s helped me. So I designed and created a juice bar, modeled after your book. Naturally, I called it Thrive.” There was a pause. “I built it in honor of your work and the impact it’s had on my life. I hope you don’t mind. Would you like to see it? I’d love to show you what we’ve done. I think you’d be very proud.”

Wow. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear of the positive effect that clean, plant-based nutrition had had on Jonnie. But for him to have opened a juice bar so others could benefit in the same way he did? I had to meet this guy.

So I flew from one side of the country to the other, where I met Jonnie, who served me an amazing feast. Jonnie’s Thrive Juice Bar was definitely built in line with my vision. Trying his food, I was truly shocked not only by his breadth of recipe creation but also by how innovatively he incorporated all the Thrive Diet principles. The flavors and textures of his food were remarkable. I’d always developed recipes with purpose—to serve a function—but Jonnie had added his culinary expertise while maintaining the nutritional intention of the food. In addition, Jonnie created some of the best Vega smoothies I’ve ever tried. It was truly a case of function meets culinary wizardry.

That was all it took. Jonnie and I became partners, along with others, to create the Thrive Energy Lab. The team at Thrive Energy Lab truly believes that, in tandem with education, there needs to be ease of accessibility. Eating well should never be hard. Our intention is to make mindful, purpose-driven food accessible to all. From day one we shared this common vision, and we would achieve our goal by spreading Thrive Energy Lab restaurants across Canada and eventually into the United States. And that naturally led me to the idea of writing the Thrive Energy Cookbook that would allow anyone to reap the benefits of functional, plant-based nutrition.

Thrive Energy Cookbook

Inside you’ll find 150 Thrive Energy chef-created recipes that are based on the Thrive Diet philosophy and were incubated and tested at Thrive Energy Lab. Complementary flavors and textures have been combined with functional, health-boosting clean, plant-based ingredients to deliver premium recipes that taste as good as they will make you feel and perform. The recipes vary from those that are easy to make at home to those that will require slightly more time and effort, but cooking them is enjoyable, and the flavor and functional benefits make the extra investment well worth it.

From the simplicity of the make-in-minutes, nutrient-packed smoothies and the On-the-Go Breakfast (page 44) with its sprouted bagel, tomato, avocado, and sprouts, to the more complex homemade Cheddar Cashew Cheese (page 24) that needs time to age, you will find plenty of variety in these recipes. Most ingredients can easily be found in your local grocery store, including quinoa and non-dairy milk and cheese. Whenever possible, I’ve included basic substitutions, but if you’re having trouble finding an ingredient, try your local health food or bulk food stores, Whole Foods or Nutshell (in Canada only), or online retailers such as Bob’s Red Mill.

Thrive Energy Recipes

The recipes in Thrive Energy Cookbook are functional, which means that each ingredient has a nutritional purpose. That’s first and foremost. But I’ve also included some transitional recipes to help those new to this way of eating make the switch as seamlessly as possible. Recipes that I consider to be transitional usually contain a few more traditional ingredients. For example, instead of sweetening with a date, a transition recipe may call for cane sugar. The transition to cleaner ingredients will take a bit of time. But that’s okay, because allowing for that transition period means that a new way of eating is much more likely to become habit. These recipes are the ideal starting point.

You’ll notice that I don’t specify organic ingredients in the recipes. This is simply because, when given the choice, organically grown is the preference for all ingredients. Grown without the use of synthetically produced herbicides or pesticides, organic food by definition cannot have been genetically modified either.

In recipes that call for Medjool dates, you can use either dried or fresh, unless otherwise specified.

In recipes that call for nut milks such as almond milk, you can use rice milk if you have a nut allergy. In recipes that call for filtered water, feel free to use purified water.

I’ve included the following icons to give more health and nutritional information about each recipe:

  Transition ................................................................................................

        Indicates recipes designed for those who are accustomed to a more traditional way of eating. These recipes serve as the bridge, helping less healthy eaters transition to the Thrive Diet. The taste profile is in between standard and healthier, allowing the transition to take place without a sudden change. Since this approach eases you into the Thrive way of eating, it dramatically increases the chances of Thrive becoming a lifestyle as opposed to a short-term diet. If you are already a clean eater and accustomed to plant-based whole foods, you may choose to skip these recipes.


  • Praise for Brendan Brazier:

    "Brendan gets it! His nutritional approach is what supercharges results."
    —Tony Horton, creator of P90X, the world's bestselling workout program

    "Thrive Energy Cookbook is a must-have for gourmets and athletes alike."
    —Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Men's Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines

    "When world-class athletes want to get even better, Brendan is the man who gets the call."
    —Brendon Burchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Charge

    "As our head of nutrition, Brendan's implementation of purpose-driven nutrition has allowed our pro cycling team to meet the demands of grueling training better than ever before."
    —Matt Johnson, President of Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling Team and founder of The Feed

    "Brendan's commitment to the study of plant-based nutrition and research makes for a wonderful cookbook."
    —Joe Hogarty, Baltimore Orioles strength and conditioning coach

    "Brendan's systematic approach to performance plant-based nutrition has helped me to reduce inflammation, speed my recovery, and has boosted my overall performance. The recipes are delicious!"
    —Mike Zigomanis, NHL player and member of the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins

  • "Former Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier is nothing short of a phenomenon. Not only did he show the world that professional athletes can excel on a vegan diet, he is the creator of the Vega line of plant-based nutrition products. When thumbing through his brand-new Thrive Energy Cookbook (Brazier's fourth book), I was astounded by the quality of his 150 whole-food recipes--which include a delightful chia seed blueberry pudding, a sumptuous yellow peanut curry rice bowl, and a mouthwatering strawberry-goji berry dark chocolate cheesecake. I want it all."—VegNews (Cofounder Coleen Holland)
  • "From the bestselling author of the Thrive series comes 150 plant-based, nutrient dense recipes. Athletes or anyone in need of an energy boost will enjoy dishes like kale chips with edamame hummus; avocado, black bean, and chipotle burger; and even the decadent cashew chocolate mousse layer cake."—New You

On Sale
Mar 4, 2014
Page Count
320 pages

Brendan Brazier

About the Author

Brendan Brazier is the international bestselling author of Thrive, Thrive Foods, and Thrive Fitness. Brendan is head of nutrition for the Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling Team and nutrition consultant to several NHL, MLB, NFL, MLS, UFC, and Olympic athletes. He is a former professional Ironman triathlete, two-time Canadian ultramarathon champion, and creator of Vega, the award-winning line of whole food nutritional products.

Learn more about this author