On Saturday, Brendan Brazier took to the Mercy For Animals stage at the 2nd Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. Brazier, an Ironman Triathlete and author, has maintained a plant-based diet for 20+ years.

When Brendan was in high school, back in 1990, he knew he wanted to find a way to run, swim, and bike–three things he really loved–as a career. At 15, he researched the training programs of top athletes and realized they didn’t train much different than regular athletes. Success was tied to good eating practices; 80% of performance was nutrition.

After trying various diets, he tried an entirely plant-based diet. He admitted that when he first started out, he made a lot of mistakes (phew, he’s human) and ended up being a starchatarian, junk food vegan, missing key nutrients like complete protein, B12, iron, and omega fatty acids. Now he wants people to learn from his mistakes.

Brazier knows a thing or two about physical fitness.

Vega, the nutrient supplement that Brazier is most well known for, is actually the powder version of the drink he made for himself while he was at the height of his training.

Some key talking points I noted:

  • Health first, performance second–which isn’t the way a lot of athletes think.
  • Food energy is like money; spend it and it’s gone.
  • What return do you want on your food?
  • We are stressed, which makes us crave stimulants like coffee and sugars.
  • Eating better helps curb those cravings.
  • While we cannot control all the stressful situations in our lives, more nourishing dietary choices help manage stress.
  • Overconsumption is the reason for obesity.
  • Our society that is overfed but under nourished.
  • White bread fills your stomach but does not have the nutrients to curb the chemical signal that says you are hungry.
  • Not a proponent of portion control. Eat until you are full, just eat good food.
  • We take calcium out of bones by eating acid rich foods.
  • Alkaline forming foods, like green leafy veggies, are the best things you can do for your bones.
  • Carbs before workout = fuel
  • Carbs from fruit is good
  • Dates for glucose provide a quick energy release and bananas for fructose provide a slow energy release
  • Protein after workout = building
  • Greens after after a workout protein and anti-inflammation
  • Macca root helps adrenal repair.
  • Isolated soy protein and isolated whey protein should be limited or eliminated.

Connect with Brendan on Facebook.

Brazier’s talks seem to be fine tuned at this point. The talk he gave to The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii in June 2008 mirrors greatly what he spoke of at the festival, so give the video below a play. As well, check out his books: