Brazier still runs and bikes for fun nearly everyday. (Photo courtesy of Brendan Brazier)
Ironman triathlete and ultramarathoner Brendan Brazier realized early on is his career that diet would play a big role in his overall performance. "Longer events really level the athletic playing field. It becomes more about training and the speed of recovery than about natural ability," Brazier says. "Nutrition allows you to train harder and recover faster."
The refined white starches he had added to his diet to make up for the carbohydrates he was burning weren't increasing his energy levels as much as he had hoped. After extensive research, Brazier found that about 80 percent of recovery is linked to good nutrition. "Eating more doesn't always mean more energy. You can be overfed while being undernourished," he says.
Brazier eased into a whole food-based, vegan diet heavy on healthy whole grains (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat), plant proteins (hemp, pea, rice) and dark leafy greans. Besides increasing his rate of recovery, he discovered that this eating plan with frequent, small meals helped him be more productive and sleep better.
"Look at Google. They were trying to decrease the amount of sick days their staff members were taking, so they put in cafes with healthy food. Since everything was free, employees would graze throughout the day. There was no mid-afternoon crash and many people were more productive and took fewer sick days," Brazier explains.
Today, Brazier enjoys fitness recreationally and advises professional athletes about nutrition (Montell Owens, a Jacksonville Jaguar Pro Bowler and Simon Whitfield, an Olympic triathlete, among others). He guest lectures at Cornell University, has written three books, most recently Thrive Foods, and just launched Thrive Foods Direct meal delivery service.
We couldn't wait for the meals to hit our doorstep, so we asked Brendan to share one of his favorite recipes. Keep reading to learn how to make his superpowered pizza.
A protein-packed pizza crust? Genius! (Photo courtesy of Brendan Brazier)
Chickpea Curry Pizza
- 2 cups sunflower seeds
- 1 cup cooked or sprouted chickpeas
- 1/4 cup coconut or hemp oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- sea salt to taste
- 1/2 medium sweet potato, finely sliced or grated
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup sunflower seed sprouts
- Optional: 1 cup pizza sauce of your choice (marinara, pesto, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor, process all crust ingredients until mixture starts to ball up. Lightly oil the baking tray with coconut oil. Spread mixture on tray to about 1/4-inch thick, but it can be thicker or thinner if you prefer.
- Add sauce, if you like, and spread toppings evenly over crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes. (This will vary slightly depending on the moisture content of the vegetables and the desired crispness of the pizza.)