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Thrive in 30

April 7, 2009

A few weeks ago, I received and email from Kelly at Sequel Naturals inviting me to register for Thrive in 30, a free 30-day program developed by professional triathlete and bestselling author on performance nutrition, Brendan Brazier. The program was designed to increase knowledge about plant-based nutrition, optimize physical and mental performance, and offer a fresh approach to total body health. 

After deciding to participate in Erica’s Challenge, I figured Brendan’s food philosophy would provide many helpful tips for clean eating …and no, he does not recommend drinking Coffee-Mate every morning. 🙂  Throughout the month, I will receive 12 emails, each with a different topic discussing the reasoning behind Brendan’s plant-based diet.  Each email also includes a brief video segment with Brendan reviewing the key principles presented in the lesson along with suggestions on how to incorporate his tips into daily living.

Lesson 1 discussed stress and diet:

Some of the best stress-busting foods out there are whole, plant-based foods. This type of food is full of vitamins and nutrients. Whole foods are close to their natural state, so do not cause unnecessary stress to the body—instead, they nourish the body, reduce signs of aging and support whole-body health.

I’ve been leaning more towards a plant-based diet these days, and I was intrigued right away with some of Brendan’s ideas.  As a massage therapist, I’ve witnessed just what stress can do to our bodies, and I truly believe stress is a major cause of so much illness in the world.  If I can lesson my stress levels with the right dietary choices, I am all for it.  I contacted the Sequel Natural folks, and they graciously offered  to send me a copy of Brendan’s book, Thrive The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life plus some samples from his Vega line of whole food dietary supplements…watch out Jay Robb, there’s some competition in the house! 🙂


Below are the basic guidelines for the Thrive diet.

  • Choose plant-based, whole foods that promote optimal health and reduce dietary stress
  • Focus on nutrient density instead of calorie content
  • Eat foods that will give you energy, not drain it
  • Eat for nourishment, not stimulation
  • Avoid common allergens (wheat, gluten, dairy, soy and corn)
  • Prevent disease by eating raw, alkalizing foods
  • Sounds fairly simple, and I look forward to reading more about Brendan’s philosophy.  Throughout the next few weeks, I will share my experiences with the Thrive Diet…beginning with my breakfast this morning. 🙂

    Chocolate Vega Oat Bran with unapproved Thrive toppings. :)

    Chocolate Vega Oat Bran with an unapproved topping. 🙂

    Although oat bran is considered a slightly acid-forming food, I had it anyway. Brendan recommends eating more pseudograins, including amarath, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and wild rice, all gluten free and alkaline-forming. However, I was in a hurry to eat, and oat bran takes a lot less time to cook than any of the above mentioned grains.  So, oat bran won, but I did mix it with the chocolate Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer.  The nutritionals listed are quite impressive: 11 grams of protein per 100 calorie packet.  However, the ingredient list included hemp protein, of which I am NOT a fan!  So, to make up for any possible dirt taste, I topped my oats with some PB & Co. Mighty Maple and a little dollop of Cocoa Bliss.  Roasted peanuts are considered another acid forming food. Oops, I should have used raw nut butter instead, but too late.  The taste of the Vega powder threw me off a bit…can’t quite describe it.  It tasted more berry than chocolate to me, but I was fairly happy by the end of the bowl.  However, I won’t lie – I know the Mighty Maple and Cocoa Bliss helped. 🙂

    Again, many thanks to Kelly at Sequel Naturals for inviting me to try Thrive in 30 and for all the information and samples you sent me.  I’m definitely on board!  If anyone else would like to join me, simply visit Thrive in 30 and sign up for Brendan’s emails.  It won’t cost you anything, and we can clean up our diets together. OK, off to do some Polly yoga before heading into work. 🙂

    52 Comments leave one →
    1. April 7, 2009 10:36 am

      Sounds like a really neat concept! I think I would have the hardest time avoiding soy – as it’s my go-to protein product. Excited to see what meals you come up with!

    2. April 7, 2009 10:52 am

      This sounds really interesting! I’m looking forward to hearing more about the program and what you think of it! The only rule that troubled me- Eat for nourishment, not stimulation…hmmm does this mean no coffee? I’m totally out! 😉 😉 Thanks for the shout out!

    3. April 7, 2009 11:01 am

      Yes, no coffee! Don’t know if I’ll be giving that one up, but I am really interested in a lot of Brendan’s philosophies behind his diet. Regarding coffee, the book states that although caffeine may give us instant energy, we’ll only experience fatigue from it in the long run. In order to obtain maximum levels of energy, simply stick to all natural foods.

    4. April 7, 2009 11:01 am

      your oat bran this morning is beautiful, even if it is slightly unapproved and defied flavor expectations! the color is so marble-y. i’m curious to see how you feel about this thrive in 30 as you get more into it. maybe it will be something for me to try when my internship ends and my coworkers stop smothering me with delicious dominican delicacies that brendan would most certainly veto!

    5. April 7, 2009 11:05 am

      it sounds interesting. I can’t wait to see more about it.

    6. April 7, 2009 11:14 am

      I signed up for the e-mails too! Kelly contacted me as well & I have been super impressed with the e-mails so far. A few things I have troubles with though….
      No coffee…..It is my one vice, and I’m just not going to give it up…..I don’t want to be perfect!
      No oatmeal or oatbran…..Sorry, but those are just too healthy otherwise to give up!
      Peanuts? What??? I may be able to sub almond butter, but it’s so much more expensive.
      I guess it’s just hard to keep cutting cutting cutting. I figure I’m already dairy & meat free….and eat a mostly preservative/packaged food free diet, I don’t want to strive for perfection. I think there are some great points to the info though…..definitely keep posting your thoughts 🙂

    7. April 7, 2009 11:15 am

      thanks for the link! just signed up! 🙂

    8. April 7, 2009 11:17 am

      ohhh thanks for the info. I think this is a great idea, it can’t hurt to get feedback on better eating even if I don’t use every bit of it!

    9. April 7, 2009 11:20 am

      Sounds like a really healthy diet! I am looking forward to seeing how you incorporate what you learn into your meals! I might sign up just to learn more about clean eating.

    10. peaceandpeanutbutter permalink
      April 7, 2009 11:36 am

      It’s ok…I approve of your acid-forming peanuts 😉

    11. April 7, 2009 11:45 am

      We must think alike! I actually heard about that book from another reader and I ordered it and just got it in the mail yesterday! I cannot wait to read it!!!

    12. April 7, 2009 11:49 am

      I have the Thrive Diet book. I don’t know if it is different from what you have, but it was pretty high raw. Something about it didn’t really speak to me.

      And…I hate Vega. I feel bad saying it because I know so many athletes love it, and its expensive, and I know its got all good for you stuff in it, but I just think it tastes so nasty. So…good call putting the butters in it 🙂

      Looking forward to see how the challenge goes 🙂

    13. April 7, 2009 11:57 am

      VERY interesting ideas here… Keep us posted!

    14. shelby permalink
      April 7, 2009 12:05 pm

      You can send all the acid-forming peanuts to me! 😉

    15. April 7, 2009 12:14 pm

      Sounds interesting! Vega may compete with Jay Robb but in terms of bicep width on a package…Jay wins hands down 😉

    16. April 7, 2009 12:29 pm

      oooh this sounds very cool, my sweet friend! I can do no gluten, dairy, soy, coffee, peanuts but… I love my oatbran and truly do need some meat! So I guess I can thrive in 27? hehe 😉 XOXO

    17. April 7, 2009 12:32 pm

      Wanted you to know I used my coupon last night to get a pint of Purely Decadent Mint Chocolate Chip. There were lots of chocolatey pieces, which is my favorite part! Thanks so much!

    18. April 7, 2009 12:41 pm

      I’ve been going through this program too!! Except, I’m moving in the opposite direction. I’ve gone from vegan to vegetarian, to pescetarian, to now poultry! I love the idea of getting plant-based nutrition, but I’m now discovering that my body needs meat. I can seriously feel the energy pump through my veins after eating a huge piece of chicken 😛 I still think the program is great though. The fundamentals are all there.

    19. April 7, 2009 1:08 pm

      GREAT STUFF!! 🙂

    20. April 7, 2009 1:14 pm

      I signed in that sequel too! It’s a great way to learn nutrition, especially the raw food. 🙂

    21. April 7, 2009 1:27 pm

      Heather, this is a very cool concept. Keep us posted 🙂

    22. April 7, 2009 2:01 pm

      This sounds so interesting! Wow, no coffee/caffeine?! That is tough. Although they days I don’t have caffeine, I do love how I feel (TIRED) j/k. 🙂

      I definitely agree that eating whole foods helps me with my stress level. And I love the idea of focusing on nutrients instead of calories. I’m slowly but surely doing this in my eating, and it feels amazing.

      Thanks for sharing with us as I know we’re all anxious to learn!

    23. April 7, 2009 2:04 pm


      Wowser. I’m not sure I could cut wheat, soy, and dairy out of my diet all at once and still maintain my sanity.

      Good luck and keep us posted!

      With Love,


    24. April 7, 2009 2:12 pm

      Looks like a very interesting and educational program. I’m anxious to see your thoughts as you get further into it.

    25. greenbean permalink
      April 7, 2009 2:18 pm

      i signed up for the emails as well. but i already have a little disagreement with the “food as nourishment, not stimulation “. food is fun and to be enjoyed and it’s part of our culture. imho, it’s more than nourishment.

    26. April 7, 2009 2:19 pm

      I’m so interested so see how the program turns out. I’m pro-anything that advocates a plant-based lifestyle.

      Such a shame about the Vega protein ~ the only hemp protein I have ever tried was Nutiva’s and I loved it, but then again it is masked by the taste of chocolate in the ingredients and I’ll go for anything chocolate.

      Loving your breakfast ~ the nut butter on top looks like a little tuile – gourmet oat bran!

      Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful comment you left on my blog ~ I’m just starting to appreciate how wonderfully supportive and giving the community can be…I was so nervous and took ages to actually start blogging after years of being a reader. Now I don’t know what took me so long : )

    27. April 7, 2009 2:19 pm

      Thrive in 30 sounds like a very interesting program. I’m excited to read about your observations. I just signed up for the emails.

      I think that stress plays a big role in our overall health, and anything I can do to reduce stress (especially in the area of nutrition) is worth looking into.

      I need to find some Mighty Maple! My oats “need” it. 🙂

    28. April 7, 2009 2:36 pm

      How interesting! And what a challenge. I will be interested to see what ends up on your plate (or in your bowl) as a result. I was just admiring those Vega powders in Whole Foods like a half hour ago! But dirt taste is no fun…hmm. Close to nature indeed.

    29. cleanveggiex3 permalink
      April 7, 2009 2:50 pm

      that book sounds so interesting!!
      haha you crack me up with your unapproved oatbran topping. your oatbran looks mighty delicious!

    30. April 7, 2009 3:28 pm

      sounds interesting! i can’t wait to hear more about it as you go along!

    31. Erin permalink
      April 7, 2009 3:43 pm

      Well, your oat bran looks delicious nonetheless. I’m glad you are enjoying your new nut butters!
      I am off to check this out, as I’d love to clean up my diet. I do find when I try something like that I end up going crazy though. Perhaps that is because I don’t do it gradually. i’ll be looking into it!

    32. April 7, 2009 4:10 pm

      ooo thanks for posting this! i just signed up for the program. I dont think I’ll follow it to a t, but I think it would be interesting to try to incorporate aspects into my life! i totally agree with you about stress 🙂

      good luck w/ the program!

    33. April 7, 2009 4:43 pm

      I couldn’t agree with your thoughts more. All we can do is our best…and who wants to be perfect all the time? That’s no fun! 🙂

    34. April 7, 2009 4:50 pm

      Ha – I love your honesty. Yeah, I’ve been reading through the book – I could never stick to this diet. Way too raw and complicated, and it doesn’t sound like enough food to me. Oh, and the Mighty Maple definitely made the Vega oats better! 🙂

    35. April 7, 2009 4:54 pm

      The same things happened to me when I was doing a lot of running. I went from eating no meat for 5 years to eating fish, and within 6 months, I was eating cheeseburgers and steak. I just felt my body needed it. Now, I’m eating a lot less meat, but I’m definitely sticking with fish and maybe the occasional bison burger. Nothing like a grilled burger every once in a while. 🙂

    36. April 7, 2009 4:55 pm

      Sweet And Natural,
      So glad you enjoyed your ice-cream. So good. I need to buy more soon!

    37. April 7, 2009 4:58 pm

      Polly 🙂
      I could never give up my oat bran! Definitely sticking with fish, and you know I love my bison burgers! 🙂 However, I do like the idea of more raw veggies in my life, AND cutting back on wheat and dairy. We’ll see. Love you…and totally jealous of your chocolate tour!

    38. April 7, 2009 5:21 pm

      I’m so interested in following you while doing this! Lately I have been thinking about how I need to clean up my diet. While I eat fairly healthy (100% vegan, mostly whole foods), there are some processed things I can give up. I do focus too much on calorie counts (and protein and fiber) versus just what is going to fill me up, because in my head, I believe that the most protein and fiber is going to fill me up. Does that even make sense? I don’t know. But I think I’m game!

    39. April 7, 2009 6:50 pm

      Heather (Be Well & Take Care),
      You made total sense to me. I often get caught up in the numbers rather than just eating what I want. I hear where you’re coming from – I’m the same way.

    40. eatlivelovedream permalink
      April 7, 2009 7:03 pm

      The book sounds very interesting. I’m just learning about how our bodies do better being more alkaline.

    41. April 7, 2009 7:34 pm

      I’m glad you are not forgoing oatbran and wheatbran all-together! But I am keen to see what interesting ideas you come up with for those other grains you mentioned. All in all, it seems like a very organic way of understanding food and its effect on the body.

    42. April 7, 2009 8:01 pm

      ooh, very kewl, i look forward to reading as it goes on! i need to shake myself out of my hole… get back to listening to my body and nourishing it instead of what i have been doing :-/

    43. April 7, 2009 8:12 pm

      Heather, I hope you are saving all your wonderful pictures. You need to do a coffee table picture book (or maybe an e-book). “Ode to Almond Butter”

      -Brother Minor

    44. April 7, 2009 9:45 pm

      This sounds so interesting! One thing that stood out was this thought: Eat for nourishment, not stimulation. I have a big problem with that, not thinking of food as nourishment and something that sustains my body, but I sometimes think of it as a source of emotional gratification. Things to think about!

    45. April 7, 2009 10:24 pm

      Thanks for the info! I’ll definitely have to look into it.

    46. broccolihut permalink
      April 7, 2009 10:25 pm

      Yeah, I have tried their Whole Health Optimizer–and actually had to throw out the smoothie. That never happens. However, their Smoothie Infusions are much better! If you get a chance, try their Vibrance bars–they’re great!

    47. April 8, 2009 4:47 am

      Yeah, not so sure about the Whole Health-Optimizer, but I did try the smoothie infusion yesterday, and it wasn’t bad. Thanks for the tip on the bars!

    48. gina (fitnessista) permalink
      April 8, 2009 6:43 am

      i plan on signing up for the thrive in 30 program sometime this week- it definitely soundsl ike something that’s right up our alleys 😀 it’s so refreshing to see a fitness-related eating plan that doesn’t include a bunch of fake food!! should be amazing 😀
      i love the look of that bfast! way to sweeten up the woodsy hemp with a little maple and chocolate 😀 i like the idea of hemp but it has a strange chew to it.
      have a wonderful day!

    49. April 8, 2009 7:32 am

      Hi there! I am doing a foodie giveaway on my blog that just so happens to follow the guidelines of the Thrive diet! Stop by and enter! It is the post from April 7th. Good luck!

    50. April 8, 2009 8:08 am

      This sounds like a good fit for you, Heather! The more I learn and think about nutrition, the more convinced I am that a plant-based diet is the way to go. I am excited to follow your journey 🙂

    51. April 8, 2009 10:18 am

      Love to hear all the great feedback! (I’m the Kelly who introduced Thrive in 30 to Heather.) Thrive in 30 is intended for inspiration. Take what you can and incorporate it into your life. We know giving up coffee is difficult, okay impossible for some! But every little bit helps. I’m on lesson 7 today and learning about food sensitivities. Loads of great stuff to come!
      Keep thriving,

    52. April 24, 2009 2:16 pm

      Hi Heather, great blog post! Kelly contacted me too and I’ve also signed up. I’ve been using Vega protein powders for a while and was surprised to learn how much I disliked the chocolate flavor and preferred the natural. The chocolate definitely does have an aftertaste. I can’t use either flavor in my morning oatmeal though – way too overpowering. May I suggest using it in a smoothie? I typically have a daily smoothie with baby bok choy (flavorless and so good for you), frozen blueberries, frozen peaches or pineapple, fresh ginger, 1 banana, ONE scoop of Vega and 1 C of hemp milk – all blended together is sooooo delicious. Also, I’ve found that pomegranate concentrate (not juice!) masks the flavor of the chocolate Vega powder very well.

      After reading Brendan’s Thrive Diet I started eating more hemp and pseudo-grains, and less soy. Quinoa is so unbelievably healthy and yummy. I look forward to reading more of your blog 🙂

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