So here is the quick summary of the good and bad of the Thrive Diet:
- It was delicious. Except for the zucchini chips I loved everything. The pizzas, pancakes, cereals, salads, energy bars and smoothies were all delicious. Some food combinations didn't appeal to me on the surface but I threw my trust in them and was very pleasantly surprised.
- I noticed no difference in my energy levels or athletic performance in the 7 days, though in fairness my training volume is way down so it's difficult to judge if recovery, or training could have benefitted under heavier training. It certainly didn't hurt my performance.
- There is a lot of food prep with this way of eating and I don't say that mildly. I mean there is a lot of food prep. I was very comfortable with my blender, food processor and kitchen by the end of the week. I like cooking so it wasn't a problem, but the dishes were getting annoying.
- Some of the ingredients were specialty items which means the diet isn't all that accessible. Hemp oil, Rooibis tea, Dulse Flakes, Nori Sheets, etc were all common ingredients. You get used to it, but this isn't likely the diet for anyone living in a food dessert
- The cost of eating this way is relatively high. I'd say one week of groceries were about $225 but in fairness I have a lot of leftovers like a bottle of hemp oil or bag of chickpea flour that should last a long time. And as mentioned above some of the ingredients were specialty items. Also I tend by purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible so that adds to the cost. While I ate the Thrive Diet every day, my wife and daughter ate only about a quarter of the meals.
- If you're the adventurous type this is a lot of fun. I enjoy trying new foods and this diet lent well to that. While I've been vegan for two and a half years a lot of these recipes were very new to me.
- There is a lot of oil in this diet. I've been considering limiting or eliminating oil from my diet and I'll be experimenting with that with Rip Esselstyn's book, but Brendan uses oil in large quantities. While he does use good quality coconut, hemp and flaxseed oil you will be shocked by the sheer quantity of it used. Given that I lost weight that quickly it puts a ruffle in the feathers of the anti-oil argument. Though oil does have very little nutritional benefit so it's hard to argue it's necessary. Brendan argues that some oils are high in MCT's (medium chain triglycerides) which can be quickly converted into energy, great for athletes.
- Aside from the oil you can't argue with the nutrition in this diet. Brendan has it dialled in and I'd say if you follow this way of eating there is simply no possible way to be malnourished.
- I was always full. The food is filling, satisfying and tasty. I never once felt hungry or that I was on some sort of diet (and I wasn't). Brendan suggests eating as much as you like until you are full and honestly I just never really felt a need to eat a lot, the food filled me to bursting.
I'm amazed how fast I burned through some ingredients on this diet plan such as almonds and ground flaxseed. Those two ingredients are heavily used and right now raw organic almonds are expensive. I went through nearly an entire large bag of Costco ground flaxseed in a week as well.
I'll be revisiting a lot of these recipes again in my regular routine. In particular the energy bars, buckwheat pancakes, all the cereals, the popped amaranth hemp seed salad with cayenne dill tahini dressing (seriously one of my favourite salads ever) and adzuki bean quinoa sesame pizza. The smoothie recipes were tasty but when I do make smoothies I tend to treat my Vitamix as a garbage can for whatever I have on hand so I don't feel the need to follow recipes.
This is the food plan for you if you like cooking and food prep, have a decent budget for food ingredients, aren't avoiding oil and want to be certain you are getting proper nutrition. You must be adventurous with ingredients and tastes. If you hate diets and that feeling of being hungry then you'll love this as you'll always feel full. I'd recommend this for athletes as well since at the very least it won't hurt performance and I suspect it may help recovery from hard training sessions.