Review of Whole foods to Thrive

June 7th, 2011 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

If you’re in Toronto tomorrow night I strongly encourage you to stop by the launch party for Brendan Brazier’s newest book, Whole Foods to Thrive.

Brendan is probably best known in the vegan and fitness community for creating the Vega line of nutritional supplements. The products are based on Brendan’s philosophy that eating a nutrient dense, whole foods diet promotes faster recovery and improved athletic performance. The details of his journey, the development of his food philosophy and advice about exercise were captured in the pages of his first two books Thrive Diet and Thrive Fitness. His newest title focuses on the food.

Whole Foods to Thrive, includes an overview of Brendan’s beliefs about nutritional stress and examines eight components of good nutrition, in a departure from his other work, it also describes the environmental impact and political issues effected by our food choices. I’m delighted that Brendan included some information about the consequences of our lifestyle choices beyond those to our own bodies. As much as I think personal health and wellness is important, reflecting on the bigger responsibility we have to those we share this world with is a refreshing addition to this cookbook.

Many of the 200 recipes in Whole Foods to Thrive are not credited to Brendan himself. Lucky for us, this book is a recipe collection of the best dishes Brendan has enjoyed around the world, plus some that he makes in his own kitchen. I was delighted to see recipes from some of my favourite restaurants included, such as: Live Food Bar, Thrive Juice Bar, Candle 79, The Green Door, and Fresh.  There are also some recipes contributed by celebrated chefs like Matthew Kenney, Tal Ronnen, and Chad Sarno.

You may want to think of this book as a “greatest hits for your health”. Every recipe is full of ingredients that contribute significant nutritional benefits. There is a reliance on raw, whole foods for phenomenal flavour and simple preparations that anyone could tackle at home.  I am looking forward to using the recipes in Whole Foods to Thriveto take my own culinary journey to many of the best vegan restaurants that I have yet to visit. This week, I enjoyed:

Chocolate Chip Maple Maca Ice Cream sandwiched between No-Bake Double Chocolate Chip Maca Cookies
That’s a mouthful!

Tahini Sauce(I used it here with some Edamame and greens but in the book it is paired with the Shanghai Rice Bowl)

Cheesy Broccoli Bowl
Red Lentil Dal
Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
Chocolate Sunflower Seed Hemp Milk
I really enjoyed the dishes that I tried. There were a few recipes where amounts were left up to the chef – but I was able to tweak the results until I think I achieved the desired result. There is only one complaint I have about the book and that is the inclusion of Sacha Inchi Seed in many of the recipes. I know that Sacha Inchi is very nutritious and a new product being offered by Vega – but I wish the recipes would list alternatives for this difficult to find food.
With that small issue in mind, I still strongly recommend this book. It offers 200 recipes that are free of wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy and corn. The recipes celebrate the flavour of food and its power to fuel a fantastic, healthful life.
All this talk is making me hungry.

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