Thrive Foods

200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health


By Brendan Brazier

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  1. ebook $12.99
  2. Trade Paperback $20.00

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 6, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Focusing on an environmentally friendly diet, Brendan Brazier’s new book builds on the stress-reducing, health-boosting nutritional philosophy introduced in Thrive. Finding creative ways to use basic ingredients such as kale, blueberries, and wild rice, Thrive Foods recipes are plant-based and nutritionally complete. They utilize the power of superfoods such asmaca, chia, hemp, and chlorella and avoid ingredients like wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, and corn.

If you’re looking for sustainable energy, high-quality sleep, physical strength, and mental sharpness to meet modern-day demands, Thrive Foods is your go-to recipe source.


Praise for Thrive Foods

“Drawing from studies preformed by top international organizations, Brendan Brazier cuts through the clutter. Putting the information into clear and relatable terms, he effectively illustrates the easiest, most immediate, and most dramatic form of activism we can all participate in: choosing our food. Thrive Foods is the definitive guide to nourishing ourselves, while deliciously saving our world. It’s time to Thrive!”

—Elizabeth J. Kucinich, director of public and government affairs, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Thrive Foods makes the art of healthy eating and the concept of a nutrient dense diet easy to understand and compelling to follow. A must read for anyone who wants to be healthy, live longer, and eat the best foods our planet has to offer.”

—Terry Tamminen, former chief policy advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger, president of Seventh Generation Advisors

“The world needs to move away from meat. As Brendan Brazier so convincingly shows, a plant-based diet is better for the planet and better for human health. His wonderfully inventive vegan recipes give us food that is both nutritious and inviting.”

—Chris Goodall, bestselling author of How to Live a Low Carbon Life

“Brendan Brazier has helped top athletes achieve a whole new level of performance through optimal nutrition, and now he’s helping readers everywhere reach peak health. Brendan Brazier is your guide to getting healthy and fit through optimal nutrition. I have long relied on Brendan’s expertise, and you will, too. And the recipes are almost as fast as Brendan is! Each one is quick, easy, and delicious, so you’ll be off and running in no time!”

—Neal Barnard, M.D., president,
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Praise for Thrive and Thrive Fitness

“Brendan’s knowledge is second to none.”

—Simon Whitfield, Olympic gold medalist (triathlon, Sydney 2000)

Thrive is an eye-opening and a life-changing book. It should replace bibles in hotels.”

—Dave Zabriskie, professional cyclist, Tour de France stage winner, and record holder of the fastest time trial in Tour de France history

Thrive has revolutionized the way I go about fueling my body and helped push me to a higher level of performance and workout recovery. There’s no other resource like it out there.”

—Mac Danzig, Ultimate Fighter 6 champion

Thrive is a life-changing book!”

—Jon Hinds, former LA Clippers strength-training coach and advisor to MLB and NFL teams

Thrive is an authoritative guide to outstanding performance, not just in top-level athletics but in day-to-day life.”

—Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

“Brendan Brazier’s Thrive will increase the micronutrient density of your eating style and enable you to live longer, live healthier, and thrive.”

—Joel Fuhrman, M.D., bestselling author of Eat to Live and Eat for Health

Thrive is a must read.”

—T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The China Study

“Quite possibly the most life-changing book you’ll ever read. For maximizing fitness and vitality, Thrive has no equal.”

—Erik Marcus, publisher of

“Quite simply, Thrive is the most comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle program we’ve ever seen.”

—The G Living Network


A former professional Ironman triathlete, and a two-time Canadian 50 km Ultra Marathon champion, BRENDAN BRAZIER is the author of Thrive and Thrive Fitness, as well as the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition, Brendan is a guest lecturer at Cornell University and presents an eCornell module entitled “The Plant-Based Diet and Elite Athleticism.”

Brendan was chosen as one of the 25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians by VegNews Magazine and named one of the Top 40 Under 40 most influential people in the health industry by Natural Food Merchandiser. He has been nominated three times for the prestigious Manning Innovation Award for the creation of the Vega formula.

Also by Brendan Brazier

Thrive Fitness



Coming from an athletic background, I developed my interest in food simply as a means for enhancing performance. I wanted the best fuel and biological building blocks available. But after several years of being meticulous about what I ate, it dawned on me that I actually knew very little about food itself. While I understood nutrition—the components that make up food—I knew very little about food as a whole: where it came from, who grew it, how much time needed to pass for it to go from seed to ready-to-eat food, etc. And how did my food choices affect all those involved along the way? Then there were the environmental considerations. What was the environmental draw of the laborious process of converting natural resources into edible sustenance?

When I selected what to eat, I understood that choice most certainly had a direct impact on health and performance (which I discuss in Chapter 1), but I was only just beginning to appreciate the broad and significant influence that our individual food choices have on the lives of others and how our food choices impact the environment.

The significance of this began to sink in, and as it did, an appreciation for the scope of influence our food choices had—one that extended far beyond us as individuals—came with it.

In fact, it’s that appreciation that led me to write this book. While my interest in food had been sparked by a selfish desire for premium nutrition to fuel athletic performance, as I pried deeper into the world of food, I became fascinated with the system as a whole.

I began asking questions.

Undeniably, unrefined whole food is an essential component to good health, but what attribute determines a food’s nutritional quality? Caloric density? Vitamins? Minerals? Phytochemicals? Antioxidants? I wanted to know. And what is the environmental cost of each of these nutritional components? Certainly not all foods are equal in their nutritional makeup, but how do each of their impacts on the environment compare?

I wrote this book in pursuit of those answers. What I found fascinated me. The choices each of us makes every day as to what we’ll eat turned out to have a greater impact than I ever could have imagined.

Starting off with a focus on obtaining peak health, I begin by discussing a North American epidemic, one of the leading causes of disease and unrealized potential: stress. The subject of my first book, Thrive, stress has become a ubiquitous part of our modern lives. Unfortunately, its familiar symptoms—difficulty sleeping, inability to lose body fat despite regular exercise, sugar and starch cravings, dependence on stimulants such as coffee to start the day, and general fatigue hitting around two o’clock in the afternoon—have become the rule, not the exception. Depending on its nutritional makeup, food can either contribute to or help alleviate overall stress.

I examine what nutritional characteristics to consider when making food choices to better nourish the body, and therefore to reduce stress through the consumption of higher quality food.

As I found, micronutrient content, known as nutrient density, is the most comprehensive measure of the health-boosting properties of a given food. The greater the nutrient density, the less nutritional stress (the biological strain created when nutritional requirements are not adequately met). I give a detailed account of nutritional stress in Chapter 1.

In addition to advocating that your first consideration in choosing food should be its nutrient density, I propose a set of “guiding principles” to use when selecting what to eat.

In Chapter 2, I look at the environmental toll levied in the food-production process. Our health is, overwhelmingly, tied to the quality of the food we eat. And food quality is directly tied to the quality of the soil in which it was grown. Therefore, the health of the environment has a direct tie to our health by way of food (not to mention by way of the air we breathe and the water we drink).

Since plants pull minerals from the soils—micronutrients essential for human health—they serve as a conduit, taking the soil—the environment—putting it into a digestible form, and passing it on to us. Each time we take a bite of food, part of the environment literally becomes part of our biological fabric, our bodies. At the risk of sounding like a hippy, the Earth is part of us.

This being the case—if for no other reason than personal self-interest—it’s worthwhile taking environmental preservation measures. But there are larger reasons for caring about food. In return for food, we exchange a considerable amount of natural resources. Growing and processing food not only consume land, water, and fossil fuel but also create carbon emissions.

In Chapter 3, I examine what others have done to address the vast global environmental strain of food production. The U.K. government leads the way in offering carbon labels on food to give consumers some perspective as to the effect their food choices have on carbon emissions production, and therefore on environmental health. I also explore steps progressive companies, such as Whole Foods Markets, are taking to help consumers make healthy choices by indicating the nutrient density of many of their food items.

Having had the opportunity to work with some of the best minds in the nutrition world, as well as with some leading environmental advocates, I have developed an appreciation of two different perspectives, which haven’t often converged.

In being exposed to the connection between personal and environmental health, I dedicate a large part of Chapter 3 to the marriage of the two. I call this connection the “nutrient-to-resource ratio.”

I also examine the monetary cost of food. Undoubtedly it’s less expensive to gain calories from highly processed food. But what about micronutrients—the true measure of food value—what’s the least expensive way to obtain them? I explore this question, displaying my findings by using icons that clearly display the good from the less desirable.

Rounding out the chapter, I visually showcase the environmental strain involved in producing a day of meals following, first, a Standard American Diet, and next following what is commonly perceived as a “Healthy” American diet. Finally, I look at the environmental strain of producing a day’s meal plan using the whole foods recipes in this book. The contrast was sharper than I could have imagined.

In Chapter 4, I go on to consider eight key nutritional components, and their benefits, that are worth seeking when making food choices.

In Chapter 5, I suggest specific foods that have health-boosting and environmental-preserving attributes described earlier in the book. The section “Whole Foods to Thrive Pantry Essentials” provides a list of staples that will help you keep your kitchen well stocked with the essential ingredients for whole food meals.

The book culminates with 200 fabulous recipes, all made with nutrient-dense, plant-based whole foods that are both health-boosting and easy on the environment.

Created with help from some top chef friends, all the recipes in this final chapter adhere to my nutritional philosophy.

Feature Chefs

While I created all the recipes in both Thrive and Thrive Fitness, as well as some of the recipes in this book, I grew curious as to how top-tier chefs would approach recipe creation using nutrient-dense, plant-based whole food ingredients.

And, since I’m by no means a chef, I felt there must certainly be flavor profiles and ingredient combinations—unknown to me—that would increase palatability and overall appeal. For this reason, I enlisted the help of a few of my favorite chefs.

The chef creating most of the recipes—about half of the book’s total—is Julie Morris. Julie is a Los Angeles–based natural food chef who has the unique ability to draw and balance a wide range of flavors from natural whole foods ingredients.

In keeping with the nutritional philosophy of this book, Julie has taken a truly novel and creative approach in developing delicious, accessible, and easy-to-make recipes out of premium, nutrient-dense, health-boosting ingredients.

The other top chefs I’ve enlisted have each contributed two to four world-class, plant-based, whole food creations, all of which, I think you’ll agree, are truly delicious.

All the recipes here are nutrient-dense, tread lightly on the environment, and taste amazing. One of the most pleasing aspects of these recipes is their diversity. From simple to elaborate, and drawing on a variety of ethnic cuisines, they all showcase the exceptional creativity and scope of these talented chefs.


Part of the gourmet New York food world for years, in 2008 Amanda opened her own restaurant in New York’s East Village and called it Dirt Candy. Known for her ability to cook vegetables in unique and innovative ways, in 2010 Amanda was a contestant on Iron Chef America. For more information, visit


Matthew is a chef, a restaurateur, and an author, and is known for his unique brand of organic and vegetarian cuisine. His company, Matthew Kenney Cuisine, is focused on the development of products, books, and businesses that reflect his passion for sustainable living.

He is the founder and operator of The 105degrees Academy, which is a state-licensed educational institution. Matthew created it to share and advance cutting-edge “living cuisine” in an inviting environment.

For more information about Matthew, his many books, the 105degrees Academy, or his work in general, you may visit


Julie Morris is a Los Angeles–based food writer and natural food chef with a talent for creating delicious, health-boosting, plant-based, whole-food recipes. As a chef, she combines complementary ingredients to achieve a unique yet balanced flavor profile in a remarkable way. Julie specializes in the creation of recipes using superfoods. Although a formal definition has not been settled upon, superfoods are most commonly recognized as foods with a high nutrient density.

For more information about Julie, or to read her blog, watch her recipe preparation videos, or learn about her new book, Superfood Cuisine, you may visit


Currently the R&D chef for Whole Foods Markets’ “Health Starts Here” program, Chad has been bringing his approach to healthy cuisine to some of the world’s premier organic vegan restaurants, spa resorts, film sets, and individuals for over a decade. I was first exposed to Chad’s creations when he was executive chef at Saf, a unique upscale raw restaurant in London, England, back in 2008. I’ve been a fan ever since.

To learn more about Chad, his work, and his company, Vital Creations, you may visit his site


Chef Tal Ronnen is one of the most celebrated plant-based chefs working today. In the spring of 2008, he became known nationwide as the chef who prepared plant-based meals for Oprah Winfrey’s 21-day vegan cleanse. Chef Ronnen also has the honor of being the first to serve a plant-based dinner at the U.S. Senate. Catering the 2010 Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) gala in Los Angeles, Tal prepared a diverse menu, which was my first exposure to his recipe-creating prowess.

To view Tal’s videos and to learn more about him and his book, The Conscious Cook, you may visit

Recipes from My Favorite Restaurants

Throughout the recipe section you’ll also find recipes from my favorite restaurants and cafés across North America. Ranging from elaborate five-star formal dining, to casual cafés, and even to basic takeout, these establishments are top-tier and each offers a unique culinary experience, all paralleling my nutritional philosophy.

As someone who crisscrosses North America several times each year, in addition to appreciating the Whole Foods Market and other plant-based, whole food–savvy grocery stores, I have a few favorite restaurants and cafés:

  • Beets Living Foods Café—Austin, Texas
  • Blossoming Lotus—Portland, Oregon
  • Candle 79—New York City, New York
  • Cru—Los Angeles, California
  • Crudessence—Montreal, Quebec
  • Fresh at Home—Toronto, Ontario
  • Gorilla Food—Vancouver, British Columbia
  • The Green Door—Ottawa, Ontario
  • Horizons—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • JivamukTea Café—New York City, New York
  • Karyn’s on Green—Chicago, Illinois
  • Karyn’s Fresh Corner Café—Chicago, Illinois
  • Life Food Gourmet—Miami, Florida
  • Live Organic Food Bar—Toronto, Ontario
  • Millennium—San Francisco, California
  • Pure Food & Wine—New York, New York
  • Ravens’ Restaurant—Mendocino, California
  • Thrive Juice Bar—Waterloo, Ontario
  • Veggie Grill—Los Angeles, California

You can find more information about each establishment, along with its website URL, address, and phone number, starting on page 302.



Stress: just thinking about it can bring it on. When the term was first used in the 1930s, it meant biological trauma, that is, an incident causing physical harm. But in recent decades, we have come to more commonly speak about stress in psychological terms. Its context changed to include the daily events of modern life, not just physical strain. “Modern life stress,” as it is sometimes termed, while often originating with worry, or simply a feeling of being overwhelmed, is still displayed through physical symptoms.

In North America, the number of reported incidences of stress-related illness is steadily escalating, so to say that stress has become an epidemic is putting it mildly. Stress has been shown to be the catalyst for numerous diseases.1 Before disease itself is manifested, our bodies will display warning signals in the form of health problems. However, most of us ignore these signs. Or worse, we treat them as though they are the whole problem, overlooking where they come from.

Sleep deprivation, fatigue, mental fog, irritability, weight gain, and sugar, starch, and caffeine cravings are not in themselves problems but rather symptoms of a problem. They are, however, the red flags that alert us that our overall stress level is beyond a healthy range.

To use a driving analogy, if the oil light goes on, you may be tempted to simply put a piece of tape over it. If you give in to your urge, you will no longer be visually alerted to the problem. But of course, the problem hasn’t gone away. The problem will worsen until the car’s engine seizes. A lit oil light is the mechanical equivalent of sugar cravings: the first sign that a problem is materializing. And while eating refined sugar will provide relief from the symptom, it will be short-lived. And, of course, the cause will remain unchecked.


So, what does stress have to do with nutrition? That’s exactly what I wondered when I began preparing (I hoped) to embark on a career as a full-time athlete. My aspiration was to race Ironman triathlons professionally. And I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. One thing it took, as you might expect, was a lot of training.

Over the years I had trained diligently and my fitness improved. But the rate at which I was improving was beginning to slow. Of course, as a person becomes proficient at something—anything—the rate of improvement will decline. However, it got to where my rate of improvement wasn’t just declining but slowing to a halt. I had hit a plateau.

For the extraordinary amount of time and energy I was spending on training, the return I was now receiving in terms of enhanced fitness was modest at best. I had to try something different. I had to find a way to break through and advance to the next level.

But if not more training, what was it going to take? After a lot of research, I came across truly useful material. As I delved deeper into my investigation, I discovered what I needed to do to break out of my modest-at-best-gains rut. I had to increase my rate of recovery, the speed at which cellular repair took place.

This became the focal point of my research and evolved into what would consume my next several years. I had become convinced that improved cellular regeneration after exercise would be my express ticket to success, and I began searching for ways to accelerate it. This was the key: I knew that quicker recovery would allow me to schedule workouts closer together and therefore to cram more training into a shorter amount of time.

And while I understood that food provides us with the fuel to move around, what I was just beginning to realize was that it also supplies us with the building blocks we use to reconstruct our bodies during the regeneration process. Cellular tissue is constantly dying and regenerating, but for those who break down muscle tissue at an extraordinary rate—athletes, for example, by way of exercise—nutritional building blocks enable the body to grow back stronger than it was pre-workout. Overcompensation by the body—its ability to grow stronger as a result of being broken down—is the training effect at work. But the body needs premium building blocks to regenerate in a timely and thorough manner. Fortunately for me, I had just realized—and still at a young age—that there was no such thing as overtraining, only under-recovering.

And, as I learned, nutrition—whether good or bad—plays a significant role in the regeneration process. Nutrition can speed it or slow it, depending on the quality of food. Adding to the physical strain of training, low-quality nutrition imposes stress of its own. And unlike the stress of training, from which the athlete receives a benefit (a greater level of fitness), the stress incurred from poor diet brings no gains. “Reducing stress by way of improved nutrition” was, in fact, the premise of my first book, Thrive.

When the body doesn’t get the “biological building blocks”—the nutrients—it needs to keep pace with cellular regeneration, it experiences nutritional stress. And the body reacts to nutritional stress just as it does to mental or physical stress. The typical symptoms of stress begin to develop. It became apparent to me that taking in greater amounts of nutrients was a logical way to mitigate overall stress and therefore its symptoms.

My solution at first was simply to eat as much as I could. But, as I quickly learned the hard way, food is not necessarily synonymous with nutrition, at least not in the world we live in today.


On Sale
Sep 6, 2011
Page Count
376 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