7 Power Foods: Boost Energy, Lose Weight
Dec 28, 2011 12:32PM
By Judith Fertig
To say that Brendan Brazier, a former professional triathlete from Vancouver, Canada, has energy to spare is an understatement. Brazier has turned his vegan Ironman success into a triptych of bestselling books: Thrive, Thrive Fitness and his new cookbook, Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health. He has created the Vega line of whole food products and become an activist for improving the health of people and the planet through food choices.
“I discovered that with the perfect combination of the right foods, it was possible to achieve incredible levels of fitness that went far beyond what I could have achieved on a regular diet,” he explains. “The perfect combination for me is a whole food, Earth-friendly plant-based diet. But even small changes—like adding these seven clean, quality super foods to a person’s daily diet—can help decrease body fat, diminish visible signs of aging, boost energy without caffeine or sugar, enhance mood and improve sleep quality.”
Brazier’s Seven Super Foods
Maca. This root vegetable from South America increases energy by nutrition, not stimulation, advises Brazier, who recommends the gelatinized form for best results and often adds it to a drink after a workout.
Hemp protein. Rich in omega-3 and omega-4 essential fatty acids, hemp protein powder makes a great base for a smoothie.
Fresh ginger and ground, dried turmeric. These spices help the blood circulate more efficiently, and thus boost energy. Brazier adds them to drinks or smoothies.
Chia. Small, white chia seeds help sustain energy and maintain a feeling of fullness. He enjoys them in a blueberry chia breakfast pudding.
Fresh leafy greens. Brazier believes the consumption of chlorophyll-rich, leafy green vegetables, combined with moderate exercise, is the best way to create a biologically younger body.
Chlorella. This freshwater green algae, taken as a dietary supplement, is best known as a powerful energy enhancer and brain booster.
Green tea. Rich in chlorophyll and antioxidants, green tea causes a slow, steady release of energy over the course of several hours.
“Each new year brings fresh resolve to launch healthier habits that lead to fitter bodies, better sleep, increased performance and happier lives,” says Brazier. “Diet is one of the things we have the power to change right now in order to begin to thrive.”
Judith Fertig celebrates healthy cooking at AlfrescoFoodAndLifestyle.blogspot.com.
7 STEPS TO THRIVE
by Brendan Brazier
The beauty of a good diet is that the right foods will not only help us overcome nutritional stress, but also other negative stressors, like pollution and environmental toxins. Plus, we’ll be able to better perform during positive demands like exercise and educational activities. My recommended action plan consists of seven easy steps.
Step One. Examine your current diet. What things are you eating that might be reducing your energy or aren’t supporting your health and fitness goals?
Step Two. Prepare for success by researching and listing foods that are conducive to thriving.
Step Three. Graze throughout the day. Eating several small meals helps maintain energy levels, eases digestive strain and spreads nutrients to sustain us all day.
Step Four. Drink a nutritious smoothie each day—it delivers whole food nutrition that’s easy on the digestive system and provides lasting energy. Here is a go-to favorite.
Mango Cashew Smoothie
½ cup powdered hemp protein
1 cup mango, fresh, frozen or pulp
½ cup soaked raw cashews
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1½ cups purified water
½ cup ice
Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Step Five. Eat a big, green salad every day; these are a staple when eating to thrive.
Step Six. Eat a raw energy bar every day; it’s an easy way to pack nutrition into a convenient, easy-tocarry form.
Step Seven. Eat a substantial, balanced afternoon snack to head off hunger and overeating at evening meals. Consider healthy snacks—such as a handful of almonds, macadamia nuts or walnuts; a serving of organic carrots, celery or zucchini sticks; or an organic apple, pear or orange—instead of processed convenience foods.