And Brazier knows a thing or two about nutrition and optimum performance. A former professional Ironman triathlete (a competition whereby participants swim 3.8 km, bike 180 km and then run 42.2 km) and two-time Canadian 50 km Ultra Marathon champion, he's experienced first-hand the relationship between food intake and fitness performance, but also sleep quality and stress levels. He's also a vegan.
In his latest book, "Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-dense, plant-based recipes for peak health," Brazier explains how nutrient density -- also known as the micronutrient content of food (referring to its vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and carotenoids) -- should be a key consideration when choosing foods that nourish the body.
Chapter 1 looks at just how dependent health is on nutrition.
Chapter 2 discusses how eating lower on the food chain and embracing more of a plant-based diet is gentler on the earth, as conventional animal-based food production is very resource intensive.
Chapters 3 looks at how to gain more micronurients in your diet (while expending the fewest natural resources), while chapter 4 discusses the eight key components of good nutrition -- elements such as antioxidants, calcium, electrolytes and essential fats.
Chapter 5 provides a detailed list of nutrient-dense foods that provide the basis for high nutrition: everything from green veggies to squashes, wild rice and flaxseed, but also more exotics such as sacha inchi (a star-shaped fruit) and palm nectar.
Chapter 6 culminates with 200 recipes that showcase the best of these health-boosting, planet-friendly ingredients.
You'll find recipes such as this one for a Chocolate Goodness Smoothie:
• 1 banana
• 1 cup frozen blueberries
• 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk
• 1 scoop Chocolate Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer (see prize pack below)
• 1 tsp wheatgrass powder
• 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
• 1 tsp mesquite powder
• Stevia powder or maple syrup, to taste
• 2 - 3 cups water
• Handful of ice
In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!
While only a few of Brazier's recipes require ingredients from his VEGA line of health food products, there are some ingredients that won't be found on your average supermarket shelf. Still, there are enough recipes with a plant-based twist (even classics such as Caesar salad, guacamole and tomato soup) to inspire anyone interested in super-charging their diet and overall health while reducing their planetary footprint.
Simply leave a comment below (single entries only, please) for a chance to win six VEGA smoothie mixes, either Shake & Go Smoothie mixes or Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer mixes, in an assortment of yummy flavours like Vanilla Chai, Bodacious Berry and Choc-a-Lot.
Canadian residents only, please.
I'll announce a winner on June 6, 2011. Good luck!
Thanks to Penguin Canada for sponsoring this contest.