share. learn. thrive!
I read Thrive and it completely changed my approach towards food even though I'd been vegan for decades. Thrive Fitness was an excellent follow-up as I was able to change my exercise routine accordingly to sample what was offered therein and learned tremendously from the experience.
These days, while I wait for the next Thrive book to appear on the shelves I've decided to follow the 'Thrive in 30' video series. It's just for fun as it simply recaps what's already in the books with perhaps a few additional insights. I like to re-inform myself for the same reason I like re-reading books: I always discover something I overlooked the first time.
However, as with the Thrive in 30, I notice there's a consistent thread running through all the Thrive materials: there's excellent life-changing advice, there are great, health-changing products and there are very few references (if any) directly linked to some important claims--at least as far as I can tell.
For example, from Thrive in 30:
Lesson 9: Activity
"New research shows 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise to be as effective as antidepressant medication in the treatment of mood disorders."
"Multiple studies prove that weight-bearing impact exercises like running, dancing, hiking or high-impact aerobics help to build bone strength and increase bone density."
What I want to know is : what new research and which multiple studies?
It's not that I don't trust the author--I do, very much. Simply put, it's important for me to be able to check references, research and studies in order to validate and understand how sources arrive at their conclusions. There's nothing worse than trying to make an argument by citing an author who makes claims without the references to support them.
For example, in Thrive, the claim is made that "chlorella contains the elusive (at least, in the plant kingdom) vitamin B12, which is extremely difficult for vegetarians to find in forms other than manufactured tablets. Chlorella provides it naturally". Firstly, B12 is easily sourced through nutritional yeast. But second--and much more important--is that there's little scientific, peer reviewed material supporting this claim about chlorella and B12. The reason why this is of significant importance is that the debilitating effect upon anyone that doesn't get their B12 is considerable.
I discovered this fact whilst engaged in a discussion on another forum when I cited Thrive as evidence that chlorella is all I really need for my B12. I was challenged by a friend to find supporting evidence: neither he nor I have found anything to support the claim. I know if I cannot find the information this doesn't mean it's not out there. But where is it? References solve this problem immediately.
This is why providing references to controversial claims is essential to making your case. And I want to make the case that Thrive advocates. But I can't do it. Not when it comes down to saying such-and-such an author says it's true so it must be true. That may work here in the Vega community, where we've experienced the benefits of the Thrive philosophy, but in the larger (on-line) world, where there's fierce debate about nutritional facts, there are only two things that will help you to win an argument: the truth and direct references to it.
I know I can count on the next publication to be as close to the truth as possible, but I'm also hoping for strong, supporting, and direct references. The Vega community is strong. References make it stronger.
Thanks for your comment!
There are references in the back of the book, yes, I've seen them.
But I'm specifically referring to direct references. So, if there's a study cited or a controversial claim made then you get a foot note leading directly to the specific reference relating to that particular study, claim, or point.
A collection of references that don't indicate any particular point being made are hardly manageable when trying to track down the finer details of a particular point from a given publication.
These kinds of reference are typical in scholarly works but are absolutely necessary if you want to get your facts lined up. For the sake of advocating the Thrive philosophy (i.e. on-line or debating diet with meat-eaters) this is exactly what I'd like to do. In fact, it's absolutely necessary. My own experiences debating others and promoting the positions put forward in Thrive have been marred by the fact that Brendan doesn't seem to thoroughly cite his sources.
So, my blog is about my desire to see direct references from Brendan in the future.
Thanks for commenting, Erin.
Certainly, if you're college or university-trained, references are the norm.
Another book by the same author, Becoming Vegan, is an excellent example
of a more thoroughly referenced and researched material. It's from this source
that I learned the term 'bio-available'. For example, while Thrive cites spinach
as being an excellent source of iron, it's not bio-available (accessed by our bodies
during digestion) without the presence of Vitamin C. Bio-availability is certainly
a worthwhile addition to the Thrive vocabulary.
Let's cross our fingers that the Thrive team puts more research and references into
their next publication.