My Gmail is loaded full of starred emails. Many of them are either important emails that I do not have time to reply right away, recipes or other valuable things. Thrive in 30 Lessons are one of the items that have that lucky star selected in my email account.
The combination of lessons, and the opportunity to meet Brendan Brazier at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair have inspired me to change my nutritional ways more permanently than my many past attempts. While I have gone raw and vegan in the past months, it had always been an on again, off again thing. It was mostly due to cravings, eating unhealthy vegan, the stress of a car accident, spending a long time in China where veganism was near impossible, and so forth. Since September, I have started again, relying strongly on what I have learned from Thrive and from Mr. Brazier's inspiring talks. I'm proud to say this is the longest I have continued on without an "off day", and this is including the elimination of fish, something I had originally opted to keep in my otherwise vegan diet.
Of all the lessons, there are two that I constantly go back to repeatedly for support and inspiration: Lesson 3 - Myth-Busting and Lesson 8 - Superfoods + Fitness.
Lesson 3 is the best wake-up call to any person obsessed with the concept of diet (once endearing referred to by Garfield as DIE with a T). Thrive effectively destroys every diet fad that's existed out there that urges us to cut out carbs, fat, and then overload with protein. I think it has always been an eternal question about how much of each should end up in our diet, and I don't think anything we have ever been taught has been correct.
I have been faulted to intake extremely low carbs and huge quantities of protein, believing that such was the optimal way to lose weight and build muscle. Heck, even fruit looked daunting to me because of their sugar content. Learning from Brendan how high protein can actually suck our bones dry, and that we need carbs for our brain and yes, muscles, was the most liberating thing. I'm certain it was the low carbs in my diet that kept driving me to crash and binge on junk food all the time in an attempt to rise my carb levels. Moreover, to hear that he only intakes about 40% of the government/fitness recommended intake of protein and is unaffected in performance proves that protein intake is not about quantity, but quality and efficiency.
Lesson 3 has helped me balance out my nutrition, especially in the carbs and protein area in relation to fitness.
Which brings me to Lesson 8. Nothing is more helpful than an organized chart to tell us exactly what to eat for what kind of workout. I've always experimented and wondered what I needed to eat pre and post workout. I work out extremely hard and push beyond my limits. That usually means feeling sore for days afterward and never seeming to recover very fast, which meant I was likely causing even more damage by continuing to work out.
Not only did Lesson 8 introduce me to a whole variety of new foods to optimize my fitness such as dulse and chlorella, but it also taught me when to eat certain types of food (like sugar!).
I had no idea that carbs should be the first thing to consumed after a workout. Reading about the effects of stress on the body and the use of simple carbs to refuel, I added a few dates to nibble on right after my workout. What a difference it made to my routine. First of all, I didn't feel overwhelmed as guzzling a protein shake right away did, and it certainly helped my energy levels post workout. But to be honest, I just love how I can bring back sweet, tasty food such as dates and agave nectar into my fitness nutrition. Delicious.
Thrive 30 is not just for vegans. It's 30 days of benefits for absolutely anyone and everyone. Brendan Brazier does not preach veganism; he is someone who is merely trying to optimize our health, and it just so happens to be a plant based diet. I mean, it's pretty obvious that vegetables are supposed to be the foundation of our food, right? Somewhere in the last years, we have forgotten that. Time for us to remember.