Friday, September 23, 2011

Cookbooks: Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Heatlth by Brendan Brazier

Fans of ironman triathlete and celebrity vegetarian Brendan Brazier have been looking forward to his book. With “200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health” they’re bound to be pleased by Thrive Foods (Da Capo Lifelong).

Make no mistake: Brazier is an athlete and an entrepreneur, not a chef. And that is quite clear in Thrive Foods. The recipes are solid, well-stated and some of them are quite good. But it’s not a book that treats food with passion. Rather for Brazier it is a means to an end, something that is clear from the very first page:
Coming from an athletic background, I developed my interest in food simply as a means for enhancing performance. I wanted the best fuel and biological building blocks available.

In Thrive Foods, that’s just what he delivers. As he points out, aside from the recipes from his favorite eateries across North America, the 200 recipes in the book were created “with help from some top chef friends,” including Amanada Cohen, Matthew Kenny and Whole Foods’ R&D chef Chad Sarno. (In fact, Whole Foods comes up often enough in Thrive Foods that you wonder at the connection.)

As a result, Thrive Foods is rather soulless, though maybe that’s okay. The market for this book is probably more interested in reaching “peak health” and keeping fueled in a way that is both biologically and ecologically friendly than it is in a sublime eating experience. And, as I said, that’s all right: there are plenty of books that talk about passion. But how many of them indicate which recipes are raw?

Those embarking on or considering a raw, vegetarian or vegan diet will find a lot here to like. ◊

Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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