Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Raw Summit - Brendan Brazier

Brendan Brazier is a professional Ironman triathlete from Vancouver, BC.
So last nights summit was about raw from an athletes perspective.

Brendan said that what makes an athlete great instead of average is his recovery. As he experimented with getting his body to recover faster he discovered it was all about nutrition. It is crucial to have high nutrition after a workout when the body is repairing, building new tissue and muscle.. thats when you need the good stuff, for your body to use. The very worse time to eat junk food would be right after a workout.

His favorite after workout food for recovery is smoothies. Smoothies are already liquid which speeds digestion. ..nutrients go straight into blood and this speeds recovery. He makes his smoothies with hemp protein, greens, flax, maca.. These ingredients include what the body needs most - protein, iron, B vits, Omega 3 fatty acids. He then used these ingredients to develop his protein powder Vega.

It is less important what you eat before the workout .. actually better to eat less and not foods that are hard to digest. There is a misconception that if you eat more calories then you have more energy, but this is not true. In fact, the opposite is true, you will find yourself getting tired as the body has to work hard to digest all these calories. If you switch to raw and eat less before a workout or run then you will find yourself with more energy and feel a lot better.

The calorie idea is very flawed. It doesn't take into account how much energy your body has to use to digest the calorie.
Stay away from refined sugar. It takes a lot of energy to digest and uses up a lot of enzymes in the process.
Many commercial products & most sports drinks are made with maltodextrin - which is made with corn. Many people are sensitive to corn and eating it gives them a symptom something like hayfever.

The body burns carbs and we need thosebut many people think of starch foods like pasta to get them. However the body can't use complex carbs without converting them to simple carbs first. To eat more wisely go straight to the simple carbs and eat these instead.
Brendan likes what he calls the pseudo-grains.. which are referred to as grains but actually seeds - quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth & wild rice.

Whey protein is a staple of many athletes but it is actually a low quality protein & is very acid forming. When the body eats acid forming foods, which are basically all processed foods, they create an acid reaction in the body. The body will then, in order to neutralize itself, pull in calcium from the bones (calcium is very alkaline) After eating whey and processed foods over a decade or so this will lead to weaker bones. It's also bad for the immune system and creates inflammation and slows recovery.

In North America the chance of getting osteoporosis is higher & higher. The calcium is leached out of the body from eating processed foods. Eating a leafy green salad and raw foods keeps the body alkaline.

Stress is the cause of major and minor problems in the body. Stress comes from working to much and not taking a break, eating processed foods, breathing unclean air and also psychological - worry. Stress affects the adrenal glands and the cortisol level builds up. When it gets too high, then you don't get into the deep delta state of sleep, which is the most rejuvenating sleep. 95% of people are not getting enough of this sleep. Many people crave coffee and sugar, which are stimulants - these stimulate the adrenal glands and produce more cortisol..

If we sleep more efficiently, we feel rejeuvenated, we feel better and look better.
Overtraining-working can cause the adrenals to be overworked. You may notice that you are working out harder and maybe even eating more calories and the weight isn't coming off or that you are gaining weight. When cortisol is too high for too long, the body becomes unable to reconstruct itself. This can happen from Stress, or over-training or eating unhealthy foods.

Many people think all calories are the same - antiquated thinking.. that refined foods are the same as leafy greens. If you eat refined foods the body will crave more and keep on until it gets the nutrients it needs. After the body gets used to leafy greens the body will crave those and you will not even want processed foods anymore.

About raw stimulants: cacao, honey, yerba mate.. he uses these conservatively.
He said he did an experiment on his body where he ate all greens for a week.. nothing else and at the end of the week he ate a pint of blueberries and it felt like he had just had a whole pot of coffee. His body was not used to it & so it affected him strongly.. likewise if he ate stimulants every day his body would get used to them and he would need more & more to get the stimulation.

He drinks yerba mate before a race.

He gave a recipe for an energy gel he makes and takes with him on runs which is a blend of dates, agave, lemon & lime zest and salt. This is one of his high energy, refreshing, simple solutions to eating raw.

He also makes his own sports drink using coconut water as the base.. he either uses young coconuts or you can use a tetra pack of coconut water - it is pasteurized and therefor not raw but it only has one ingredient so it is not that bad - then he adds dates, lemon and lime zest and bit of sea salt. This is like the gel but more liquid w/coconut water which has a lot of electrolytes in it.

He used to make his own bars.. this is what led to his vega bars. He said he would spend 60-90 minutes and make a 4 month supply.. make them, cut them and store in the freezer - from dates, raw hemp protein, flax etc. The Vega bar recipe is in his new book.. also called Thrive. Thrive was first self published in 2004. His new Thrive diet book is expanded a lot, it just came out in Canada this year, published by Penguin pub. It has over 100 recipes, mainly raw or have raw alternatives.

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