Yesterday I had the opportunity to see Brendan Brazier speak. Being a vegan professional triathlete, author, and speaker he is quite the local celebrity in this part of Canada, obsessed as we are with optimal health, nutrition, and fitness. We're in a bit of a bubble here, and I think we're quite lucky to have so many opportunities to eat great food and exercise outdoors by the ocean, mountains, and giant trees.
Back to Brendan - I have to say, he's surprisingly compelling and charismatic in an unexpected, soft-spoken, non-testosterone driven kind of way. He's very hardcore in his approach to diet and fitness, and he's what we might call a high achiever - finding success by using his intelligence, setting goals, being driven, and going for it with confidence and clarity of mind. I find his words and way of presenting himself quite inspiring, even though it was all very subtle, gentle, and not pushy at all. Definitely not what you would expect from a professional athlete (well, in my case I would expect shirt-ripping and explosive roaring...kind of like the Incredible Hulk). Perhaps more men should eat more vegetables to balance out masculine and feminine energy :) More dark leafy greens = world peace???
I ended up purchasing a copy of Brendan's book 'The Thrive Diet', which outlines his way of eating (it's basically a whole lifestyle, not just a temporary diet, which is definitely the way to go about it!) and features many great recipes. He eats a lot of raw, uncooked foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, healthy oils but being the smart cookie he is, he soaks, sprouts, and uses all the best preparation methods to make these vegan foods super bioavailable and well balanced. He talks a lot about stress, including the nutritional stress of eating processed, nutritionally devoid foods, and aims to lower this stress and nourish the adrenal glands through his diet. He talks about a lot of different things, including the pH of food, efficient protein digestion, the benefits of chlorophyll, and how our food choices effect the environment.
The environmental aspect hit a chord with me. When I tried to be vegetarian some years ago, it was largely for this reason, along with concern for animal welfare. Apparently, 70% of the arable land in North America is used to grow food for animals! Our whole way of raising and feeding animals is completely absurd, and contributes more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined, and yet here we are, consuming meat from plastic packages on a daily basis. I know this is a sensitive issue, and I would never lecture somebody on what and how to eat; however, I think it's super important that we get informed and empowered to make better choices for ourselves and for the planet. We don't have to go hardcore vegan or join a raw foods cult, just taking baby steps and incorporating more local produce, legumes, and interesting grains into our diet would be fantastic! If every person made one or two changes, ate meat a few less times per week, went for a walk after dinner instead of collapsing onto the couch, the world would be a little bit brighter :)