Featured Product: Thrive Foods
I recently got my hands on the latest book from former professional triathlete and vegan Brendan Brazier called Thrive Foods, or here in
, Whole Foods to Thrive. It’s turning out to be a rewarding read. Canada
Brendan is the creator of the lauded line of Vega whole food nutrition products you’ve likely seen in natural food stores. He obviously has a passion for plant-based whole foods and in his book makes a strong case for why more of us should as well. Brendan’s main selling points are that plant whole foods like legumes and jaunty kale provide more nutrient density (i.e. more micornutrients per calorie) and have significantly less impact on the environment than a triple cheeseburger or factory farm raised chicken.
The latter is point is irrefutable. All the hoopla in recent years surrounding eating locally sourced food has led many people to believe that the 100-mile diet is the best way to reduce ones diet-related carbon footprint. Yet, a recent study found that a dietary shift towards less meat consumption has a much greater impact. Scientists in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology reported that shifting consumption of red meat and/or dairy to other protein sources such as eggs or a vegetable-based diet a single day per week could have the same climate impact as buying all household food from local providers. Further, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report addresses why embracing tofu more often can have such a big impact. Their experts determined that raising cattle for burgers is generating more climate warming greenhouse gases, including massive methane production, than often vilified transportation. What’s more, livestock now uses 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface which drives up deforestation for pasture leading to further impacts on climate change and wildlife extinction.
A huge chunk of the book is devoted to approachable recipes created by Brendan and an arsenal of natural foods chefs. Ones that have caught my eye so far are Black Bean Chili Pizza (page 250), Nori crisps (page 267) and Coconut, Mango, Curry Smoothie (page 132) – curry in a smoothie, who knew? But the recipe I wanted to give a go right away was the Green Energy Bars. I thought these would be perfect molded into mini muffin cups for an easy to grab snack. Were they ever! Tabi and I whipped them out in just a couple days. Perhaps it was the buttery goodness of the cashews that kept us coming back for more.
Brendan’s recipe calls for nutrient dense wheat grass powder, but I used the stellar chocolate greens mix from AmazingGrass as I think these really benefit from a little infusion of chocolately goodness. If you don’t have a greens powder (which you really should!), you could simply mix in raw cocoa powder. I also included some orange juice as this helps bind the ingredients in the food processor. I’ve professed my love for hemp seeds in previous posts, so any recipe that gives me a chance to work more into my diet is definitely welcomed.
Silicon muffin cups work really well for recipes such as this as their flexibility makes it much more easy to pop the contents out. If using metal, you may want to give them a light greasing or use paper liners.
So, if you’re interested in gravitating towards a more nutritionally balanced, less environmentally damaging diet, I’d recommend giving Brendan’s book a read for plenty of inspiration and recipes to whet your appetite.
Date Energy Bites
Adapted from Thrive Foods
1 cup pitted dried dates, chopped
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons greens powder or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup hemp hearts (seeds)
Place dates, cashews, and greens powder in a food processor container and blend until the cashews have been broken down. Add orange juice and hemp hearts and process until the mixture clumps together. Divide mixture among 10 to 12 mini sized muffin cups and place in the freezer for 1 hour to mold. Unmold and store in the refrigerator.