Brendan Brazier, the Paleo Vegan Triathlete (it IS possible!)

 

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 085 Brendan Brazier

 

Brendan Brazier is the co-founder of Vega, Pulp Culture, and Fire Road, bestselling author of the Thrive book series, Editor-in-Chief of alive magazine, and an Executive Producer of The Game Changers film. He’s also a former professional Ironman triathlete and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. Brendan is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on plant-based performance nutrition, and now invests in and works with socially responsible food & tech companies whose mandate is to fix our food system and reduce the environmental strain of food production.

 

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement with Brendan Brazier about how it is possible to be a paleo vegan triathlete.

 

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

  • How a paleo diet is more specific than a vegan diet alone.
  • Why people should be eating high net gain foods.
  • How our ancestors thought of food as synonymous with nutrition.
  • How having high cortisol levels makes it hard to gain muscle and lose weight.
  • Why eating a whole unrefined diet increases people’s protein intake.

 

Connect with Brendan:

 

Guest Contact Info:
Twitter
@brendan_brazier
Instagram
@brendanbrazier
Facebook
facebook.com/brendanbrazier
LinkedIn
linkedin.com/in/brendan-brazier-9508921b

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

Unless you’ve been living under a dietary rock, you know that Paleo is all of a rage. And if you know anything about Paleo or even if you don’t, one of the ideas is a whole lot of meat and a whole lot of fat. So of course, going Paleo is completely inconsistent with being vegetarian or vegan, or is it? Well, we’re going to find out on today’s episode of the Movement Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. Usually starting from the feet first, but now we’re going to be moving up into the gut and beyond.

And of course, feet are your foundation, that’s why we talk about that. We’re going to talk about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. Whether you are running, walking, hiking, doing yoga, CrossFit, cycling, whatever it is you like to do, to do that enjoyably, to do that efficiently. Did I mention enjoyably? I know I did. Because if you’re not having fun, just do something different till you are, life’s too short.

I’m Steven Sashen, from xeroshoes.com. Normally I hold up my xeroshoes.com t-shirt, but I’m not wearing one today because I didn’t know what day it was. That’s a whole other story. And if you don’t know about the podcast, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. I call it a Movement Movement because we are creating with Xero Shoes, a movement that is about you, about natural movement, letting your feet bend and flex and move and do what they’re supposed to do.

So for the part that’s involving you, that groundswell thing that creates a movement, just go check out the previous episodes and then find out all the places you can engage with the content and then like, and share and give us a thumbs up and hit the like button or the bell button on YouTube, you know how to do it. I don’t need to tell you how to. Well, if you want to be part of the tribe, just please subscribe. That’s the gist of it.

So, we are joined today with someone who I’ve known of, we just realized for over 13 years, and I’m only now getting to finally have this conversation. So, Brendan, first of all, pleasure to meet you. I’m going to let you do your own intro for who the hell you are and what you’re doing here.

Brendan Brazier:

All right. Yeah. Thanks Steven. Yeah. Good to finally connect today after all that time. Well, yeah. So, a little background, I started off running in high school, I just really enjoyed it. Wanted to be a professional athlete, realized it was really hard to become a professional runner. So thought, “Okay, well, maybe triathlon maybe I can do that.” So, learned how to swim, bike and kept up the running. And it was actually easier to do that full-time as a career than just running oddly enough. But it’s easier to get sponsors and there were more races and there’s some prize money and stuff. And so, I got really into that when … Well, right out of high school, really. And I was just trying to be as good as I could in a short amount of time as I could to try and be a professional athlete.

So, I found recovery was a huge part of that. Of course, if you can recover more quickly, you can do more training in less time you improve and in a shorter amount of time. So, I really focused on recovery from very early stage. So that’s what got me into nutrition. It was very purpose-based. It wasn’t anything other than just knowing that if I ate well, or at least at that point, assuming that if well, I would perform better and then just playing around with different ways of eating. And that’s what got me into nutrition and just went from there.

Steven Sashen:

So, what were some of the things that you experimented with that didn’t work for you? And of course, the obvious question since many people, when they think recovery is the most important thing and they want to recover faster, the first thing they turn to is various PEDs, performance enhancing drugs. Was that at all tempting also?

Brendan Brazier:

Not for me, just because it was so … I don’t even know how I would have gone into that. This is right out of high school. I didn’t know anyone who did that. I mean, there’s some … You hear about these professional cyclists in Europe and so on, and that’s part of the culture there. But I grew up in Canada and doing triathlon, it’s just … I don’t know. It just didn’t even ever come up. But, yeah, I tried high carb, low carb, high protein, low protein, all the diets that circulate at the time, it was called the zone, but essentially sales pitch and then different variations of that. And then there’s the carbo-loading as well, of course, that people are quite familiar with I’m sure at least the term.

And all different ways of doing things. And then I tried plant based. And at first it didn’t work that well, I was hungry a lot of time, I was tired, wasn’t recovering that well. But I was really just doing it wrong. I was just loading up on a lot of starch really, and then finding elements from plants set that I wasn’t getting in my kind of very basic plant-based diet. Which of course, plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. You can eat a lot of really refined junk, and still they originate from plants.

Steven Sashen:

I have a friend who’s a die-hard vegan whose diet consists mostly of desserts.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. No, that’s definitely a thing that can be done. But yeah, I just found like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, complete protein, plant-based sources for each of those, blend them together, had a blender drink every day it tasted horrible, but it was functional, it completely worked. And I was able to train more and therefore improve more quickly. So, it wasn’t any magic thing. It just allowed me to do more which is what I was looking for. And then eventually…who I had not met yet who became my partner with vegan, we created Vega-based on that I was making for myself and many years later.

Steven Sashen:

Well, what was the original drink that you gave me a flashback around this same … Actually, probably a little before when you were doing your experimenting and the movie, Heaven Can Wait, which I think I saw when I was like 17. So, I was an all-American gymnast back then and my training partners, we were all totally into experimenting with diet as well. And back then, protein powders tasted like … They were unpalatable. And so, in the movie theater with one of my best friends and another gymnast. And in the movie, he talks about having a liver and whey shake. And we kind of look at each other going, “Well, we haven’t tried that yet.” Knowing that it would be completely disgusting, but nonetheless, that’s a possibility. So, what was in that first horrible tasting thing because Vega, obviously not horrible tasting. So that’s a big transition to go from whatever you started with the Vegas. I want to hear that story too but got to start with the unpalatable side.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I don’t remember exactly when I go back to, when I was 16, 17 years old, but it was basically, it was a combination of flax seeds that were ground up hemp. I think there is some rice protein in there and a lot of greens, a lot of arugula and spinach, kale, that type of stuff. Yeah, there are some, like even nutritional yeast and stuff that was kind of weird to add in, but yeah, just this whole mixture of things.

Steven Sashen:

So, combining the bitterness of arugula and the cheesiness of nutrition leaves, how could you go wrong?

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. Right. That it was yeah. This weird concoction that … Yeah, the first few were just, absolutely. I just couldn’t get them down. But then it evolves to the point where I could, and then the functionality offset the horrible taste.

Steven Sashen:

Well, before we get into the evolution of Vega, and I’d like you to describe more about what that is for people who don’t know, which I’m assuming there’s one or two people on the planet at this point who don’t. Talk to me, we’d had a thought that just popped in and totally out of my head. Oh, yeah. So, the way we tease this episode was the whole idea of vegan and vegetarian versus Paleo. And I’d love for you to talk about your thoughts about Paleo and what you’re doing, but I have to preface it with, I was at the one of the first Paleo conferences, the Paleo f(x) Conference, 10 years ago, 11 years ago. And it was very entertaining. At one point they had a panel discussion and there were 10 Paleo experts. The only 10 people who had written books on Paleo at the time. And A, none of them could agree on what Paleo was. B, four of them were morbidly obese.

At least six of them had high C-reactive protein levels that they weren’t talking about in public. And the whole thing was a riot. And I said to one of the doctors, “This idea that you’re presenting of one diet for everybody seems a little crazy to me to begin with because I’m a sprinter, why would I eat the same thing as some triathlete or ultra-marathoner, and besides I’m a genetic freak.” As well for men over at that time, I guess I was over 50 or 45 at the time. I said, “I’m one of the fastest Jews in the world, if not the fastest in my age group.” So that’s an unusual thing. And I’m like, “I was an all-American sprinter, so not a whole lot of competition for that.” So, Paleo, in the early days, no one really even knew what it was, but it started to catch on. And now here we are a decade later, and again, it’s all the rage. So, talk to me about that interesting veggie-V in thing versus Paleo.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah, no, it’s interesting. And a lot of people of course, think that vegan and Paleo are opposite, but it’s not necessarily the case. And Paleo is very specific if the definition can be agreed upon. But vegan is not. We just talked about, I mean, you can have a lot of junk food that’s vegan, of course. I mean, most things originate as plants, and then animals eat some of those plants. Some people eat the animals, but they’re … Most things are plant-based of course. Like any type of junk food there might be some dairy and some things here or there. But its mostly plant based. So that’s very, very broad and I’ve been talked about … Been proposed that I do a vegan versus Paleo discussion or something, but it’s just too loose.

There are so many things that are allowed in a vegan diet that I personally would need, of course, like all these refined foods. So, I very simply like. My diet consists of vegetables and I do eat grains for sure. I eat rice and sprouted wheat, quinoa, amaranth, I like sprouted bread, I like the Silver Hills sprouted bread, each slice has about six grams of protein. And that’s just naturally occurring from the grain that sprouted. Avocado, the smoothies I make, of course. So, I pretty eat simply. And Paleo is about that too. A lot of it, if it’s done right, is about simplicity. Of course, they don’t allow grains but a lot of vegetables there’s a lot of crossover there.

Steven Sashen:

Well, and the grain thing is fascinating. I mean, first of all, my argument about Paleo is that we know so little about the Paleolithic era and it took less it for a long time around the entire planet. And of course, people in different climates didn’t eat the same thing and what we’ve learned. And so, in a certain way saying that this is a thing that’s Paleo is like going to a movie theater that’s full. If we remember what full movie theaters look like and picking a random group of say 10 people, and then extrapolating from those 10 people to the rest of the theater. And it just doesn’t work. And of course, a lot of archeological evidence shows that in many cultures in Paleolithic time, they did eat a lot of grains and they were making bread and they were eating these things that many people in the Paleo world, or at least people who think they understand Paleo say, “You’re not allowed to eat this, not what our ancestors ate.”

Or the whole idea that once we started cultivating grains, that’s when everything went to shit. Which the evidence is not there for that either. So, I like diving underneath and seeing what’s going on. But the point you just made that a big part of it is really just being more about unprocessed and simple than it is about some specific food group. And that one kind of hard to disagree that any unprocessed food is better than a Twinkie.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You don’t have to overthink things here. But then I have seen this happen too, where people will read a list of ingredients and not understand what some of them are and assume, they’re bad.

Steven Sashen:

Can you think of an example?

Brendan Brazier:

So, like different types of gums, like Lara gum or Xanthem gum for example. And those aren’t necessarily bad things, you just might not understand what they are, why they’re there. But when companies are trying to make food efficiently for a lot of people and have it last and have this certain mouthfeel and stuff like that, some of those gums are used. And when you see how they’re made a lot of the times, it’s not that bad.

But it was just that whole thing. I mean, I’m not really on that grain either, right? I think you’re not understanding something and therefore assuming it’s bad is probably not a super healthy way to look at things either. It’s okay to look in and do some research and like, “Oh yeah, I haven’t heard of that. I’ll learn about that why it’s in there and it’s not some food company trying to kill me. It’s just like, there is a reason for it.”

Steven Sashen:

Brendan Brazier, if people couldn’t opine about things over which they know nothing about the entire internet, which cease to exist.

Brendan Brazier:

That is true…you know nothing about.

Steven Sashen:

Well, there’s actually a name for that. Something Kruger effect, I blanked on it … Dunning-Kruger effect. Which is the people who know very little about something, think they know a whole lot more about it than they actually do. And are much more attached to their opinions than people who actually know a lot about it. It’s a well-documented cognitive bias that I think is controlling the entire planet at the moment. That’s a whole other story. So, I want to dive into what led you from that to then writing Thrive and what the effect of that was. Because I remember when that book came out, I mean, it really kind of took the world by storm because you really were one of the first high performance athletes who came out as a vegan or plant-based person before plant-based was actually a term that anyone used. And I can only imagine what kind of response you got. But so, can you talk to me about just bringing the book to life and what happened once that baby was born?

Brendan Brazier:

For sure. Yeah. I wrote the first version in 2003, it came out 2004 and there were some athletes around who ate plant-based, but just didn’t really talk about it much. And of course, information back then didn’t flow the way that it does today. So, it’s harder to take stuff up. But really, it was frequently asked questions, put into book form basically. Because I was getting asked all the time, because I was improving at a faster rate than a lot of people I was training with. So, they were asking me what I was doing, and I told them I was eating plant based. And so, they started asking, what that comprised of, what that was like, and what my thoughts were on, how it helped. Why was that?

So, I really just wrote that out in book form, and it was a short book. The first one was 80 pages and I expanded, I think it was 112 pages and then it just self-published and it did better than I had expected. And then it was published expanded version over 300 pages with recipes was published by Penguin in 2007. I believe it was. But it starts off with just my nutritional philosophy and different principles, like one being high net gain. So, for example, switching over from foods like pasta and foods that don’t have a lot of nutrition, but take a lot of digestive energy. So, you’re spending a lot of energy with very little on nutritional return. And that’s the number one reason for obesity in North America is simple, over consumption, but the reason we over consume is a lot of the food we eat is not that nutrient dense.

So, your hunger signal remains active. Your stomach physically becomes full, but your brain tells you to keep eating because it needs a nourishment. Because food used to be synonymous with nutrition back with our ancient ancestors, they ate more, they got more nourished, but today with all the refined foods, that’s not the case. So, people’s hunger signal remains active. So, trying to find foods that take less digestive energy and return more nutrition. So, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants. So, for example, switching over from those refined grains, things like Sprouted amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, very little digestive energy spent and a lot of nutrition back. So just simple things like that, if you don’t spend energy, you still have it. So, I have way more energy because I just wasn’t spending so much with trying to digest six foods that were hard to digest and just little things like that.

And then hormonal health was another element too, that I looked at. I found that there was a period I was training so much that my cortisol was really high. And when cortisol is high stress hormone, it’s very hard to build muscle, hard to lose fat. You get hungry a lot; you crave caffeine and sugar. You can gain weight even though you’re exercising huge amounts. So, it’s not just calories in calories out. I was gaining weight even though I was training 35, 40 hours a week. And that was because my hormones were … I was hormonally injured. Was a term that I started using because I think it’s very common and not necessarily through over-training stress, but just stress, general stress. Worrying about work, family, all these things that people worry about, it does manifest physically, even if there’s no physical strain like training, but just like I say, worry, mental aspect of it people cause their cortisol to go up. It causes all these issues.

So, learning how to bring that down, deal with stress and eat food that is higher net gain, which will bring down nutritional stress, which raises your stress threshold. So, you can actually stress more and not have those problems. And the good type of stress, complementary stress as I talk about in the book, it’s like exercise, sure. It’s stress, it does break down your body. So, it is a stress physically, but you get a return, your return is greater fitness. So that’s a good spin like, “Sure, yeah. Break down your body by exercise, you get stronger.” That’s great. Worrying about things you have no control over, you get the same …

And you get no benefit. So, I call that uncomplimentary stress. So, dividing stress into two main categories, reducing one where you get no return so that you can do more to the other where you do get a return means you can train more and you become better athlete than last time.

Steven Sashen:

So that was a great synopsis of the book for anyone who missed it. So, then the book comes out and what was the response, positive and negative or just personal. What was your experience of having this thing that I don’t remember what it did like bestseller level? I know it was all the rage among all my friends, but I can only, I can’t even imagine what it was like when that happened.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I was going around giving talks to little groups and the groups started getting bigger. So that was my while I only engaged. But I think the reason it struck a chord is that it was very simple. I explained in very simple terms, how this way of eating and just general approach on overall holistic wellness worked well for me. And it may work well for you. Certainly, I wasn’t saying it’s the only way. It’s just something that I found helpful. And I spent a lot of time making bad decisions and it not working well. So, I wrote this book that I would like to read is really the way I approached it because I spent 15 years fumbling around with this.

And I finally got a system that I found really worked. And if I go into something new and I’m trying to learn how to play guitar or invest, or whatever it is, right? I don’t care about someone who’s gone to school and learned in theory, I want to know, this person fumbled around for a long time and then found a way that worked for him or her. And now has put it out there to save me all this time. And that’s what I try to do for other folks. And if they tried it and they stuck with it, it worked, and they felt good and they talked about it. And I think that’s how it’s spread as a word of mouth. So yeah, it just kind of grew organically.

Steven Sashen:

And how long was it between Thrive and then starting to develop the Vega?

Brendan Brazier:

It was very tightly tied.

Steven Sashen:

Was that deliberate or coincidental?

Brendan Brazier:

It was deliberate. I mean, in the beginning, when I put the book out, so my friend, Charles, who I actually, how I met him, is I heard him, he was on the radio talking about Maca, M-A-C-A, that Peruvian root vegetable, this was 2003. This is …

Steven Sashen:

Nobody knew about it then.

Brendan Brazier:

No one knew about it. And so, he was the first person to import it into Canada from Peru. And I was like, “Wow, this is fascinating. This guy’s really interesting, this thing sounds amazing.” He talks about a lot of symptoms I have like high cortisol, for example, which I didn’t know I had until I heard him talking about the symptoms. And realized that’s what my issue was. So, this Maca really intrigued me. I contacted Charles and invited me over. We hung out at his house and he lives 15 minutes away from me. It turned out. And he just started this business. He started importing Maca, selling it out of his garage.

And I was just fascinated by it. So, we started talking about collaborating and doing it, a replica of my blender drink and adding the Maca that he just started importing. So that’s what we did from day one, the day we met, we came up with … I think it was six hours. We hung out. And just hit it off and came up with a vision for what would become Vega a year later. And yeah, so it was pretty short time from when we dreamt it up to when we actually brought it out. Because I told them too, I was working on this book and that dovetails perfectly. Because something like Vega, it was really not, there’s no demand for something like that, there’s a demand for the result. Everyone wants to feel good, but there wasn’t a demand for an expensive, horrible tasting drink, right?

So, education was a huge part of the company and that’s where my book fit in. That was the why Vega was the house. So, if someone would, you spend the time to read the book or listen to one of my talks, they were like, “Yeah. Okay. That’s all logical. That makes sense. I’ll give this a go.” So that’s why it took so long to take off because it was just like, it was literally like sometimes I have four people show up at my talks but if they tried it and then they felt good and they talked about it and people saw them, they were like, “Wow, you have more energy. Your skin’s cleared up. You look great. What are you doing?” And then they say, “Oh, I’ve read this book and I’m buying this Vega. And so …” Spread, but we’re in year 17 now.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I mean, what’s it like actually going from those early days? I don’t know what the manufacturing was like on day one to now seeing this product on an end cap at Costco.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. It was over time for sure like there several years.

Steven Sashen:

Like all overnight successes.

Brendan Brazier:

Exactly. All overnight successes take many decades. But yeah, there was a point at year seven, I think that we’re like, “Yeah, okay. This could work.” 

Steven Sashen:

I’m doing the math in my head for us. That’s so funny it was about year six for us, it was the same thing, where we’re real. I mean, we knew we were onto something from day one. But year six, year seven was like, “Oh, this is for real, for real.”

Brendan Brazier:

Right. No, it’s exactly like you say. You believe it, you know yourself and it is so clear to you, right? Like you totally get it. It’s just like, how do other people not get this? And then eventually, all right, people are starting to get this. But yeah, I think it was year seven was a big year for us. We sold the company in year 11 to WhiteWave, which was then bought by Danone a French yogurt maker that still owns it. It’s actually for sale right now.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, really?

Brendan Brazier:

We’ll see what we can do there. Maybe I’ll get more involved again. But yeah, the idea of course, is once we got into a certain point is to try and get distribution to go up and just allow more people to get it at a lower price and prices kept coming down that’s what we wanted. We didn’t want it to always be for this kind of elite group who really got it. We wanted it to be accessible. And that’s with anything, right? When you scale it, costs can come down with food and it can be more accessible. But it has to start somewhere. So, you need those folks who are really engaged, like at Whole Foods and really, are willing too to take the time and the efforts to give it a go and then it goes from there like most things.

Steven Sashen:

Do you ever find yourself in a store standing next to a Vega display with people checking it out who have no idea who you are?

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. When I used to travel around, I would see people looking at all the different ones and they pick up Vega and they’re looking at it and like, “Oh, like …” Because he wants to know, right? I’ve asked them sometimes too. And you you’re probably like this, you want to know, it’s the best research that you can do. Just like, “Oh, why did this catch your eye? And what do you like about it? Or what do you not like about it? And why do you put it back down and pick up another one?” You want to know these things.

Steven Sashen:

But did you ever do the big reveal though?

Brendan Brazier:

Oh, no, no. I never done that.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, it’s interesting because during that time, like you said the internet was not the internet and so you could enjoy a certain level of anonymity. And you weren’t also, I mean, while you were directly linked to the brand, it wasn’t like your face was everywhere and much to my chagrin. My face was kind of everywhere around Xero Shoes. And so, I kind of can’t go anywhere and hide out. People spot me mostly because of this stuff. Before I know what’s going on.

But nonetheless, it’s like my favorite thing when someone starts talking about the Xero Shoes and they don’t know who I am. And the research part is great, but it’s also just so fun having the little secret of them not knowing who they’re talking to, not like I’m patting myself on the back. But eventually, sometimes I fess up and which is very entertaining and sometimes I don’t. It’s kind of a hoot to do. You have to do it sometime. And just say, “By the way, I invented that.” See what people do. 

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I’ll give that a go. But yeah, no, I’ve listened to conversations before when people talking about Vega and different things and sort of like, “Yeah, that’s, that’s cool.”

Steven Sashen:

By the way, I have to talk about the elephant in the room and that is, can you tell me why there’s a solar system behind you? That’s an unusual thing to have.

Brendan Brazier:

Oh, I don’t know. Yeah, I just lighting.

Steven Sashen:

Nothing? Come on, you got it somewhere. You put it up somewhere. It’s got to be-

Brendan Brazier:

This poster that actually have a dinosaur one next to it you can’t clearly see it. They are moving at a dinosaur poster over there.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, I like that one.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I don’t know. I just thought it looked cool. So, it’s exploration too. These are all the different vehicles that people have created to explore the solar system.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, that’s super cool.

Brendan Brazier:

Kind of interesting. Just how ambitious some of these projects were and you think back to the space race, and back to going back to the early ’50s even when some of the technology invented was, it seems so far advanced even what we have today. And it’s like, we’ve gone backwards in that element.

Steven Sashen:

It does seem that way. The thrill of exploration, one of the biggest, I don’t really have regrets in my life except for a few little things. And this is one of them. A friend of mine, I was a ham radio operator way back when, and I met a guy whose dad was one of the people who invented the transistor and he had one, like the first one in a little 35-millimeter slide holder. And he gave it to me. It was this gold leads. And I couldn’t even guess what it was worth. I don’t know, but it was like one of the first transistors ever, and it got lost in a move or something.

Brendan Brazier:

Wow. Isn’t that what started Intel and Silicon Valley, right? I mean-

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I don’t remember if it was, I think it was the ’50s when they came up with this. I mean, it really is. The things that we’ve invented now are so much obviously just standing on the shoulders of stuff from 50, 60, 70 years ago. I mean, there are still amazing things going on now. My only real regret is the odds are good, neither of us will live to see whatever’s 200 years from now, which is going to be hopefully inconceivably more interesting given some of the things that people are working on.

And people, I think, I don’t know, maybe it was part of the space race that during that time invention was just more prized. It wasn’t about people making money per se, because a lot of these people were working for big companies where they weren’t making money by doing it. But there was just this kind of national urge for coming up with these cool things. It was very Jetsons-like, and when are we going to have jet packs. And now it’s so much more pecuniary. That was a word that I used as a kid and heard again recently. So much more about the cash than it is about the cool things that it just doesn’t have that same pure kind of fun component.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah, I totally agree. Yeah. And like you say, you go back to some of those, looking at some of those old planes that were … Even the Concorde, I mean, that everything got failed. But pretty cool could do Mach two and we have no supersonic flight now for passengers. And that was just … It’s cost-prohibitive and many things. But yeah, some of the early stuff that led to landing on the moon and just that technology.

… cool. And you look at the cars around back then, and you’re like, “Wow, this seems so primitive, but this is spaceship,” right? And it seems like we just haven’t advanced. Advancements in communication, like the phone. I mean, obviously iPhone changed everything. It seems like the future back when you’re a kid, you’re like, “Wow,” you could pick up the phone and people are talking about, there’ll be a TV screen. You would be able to see the person you’re talking to, and you couldn’t even comprehend that. Now we have something this big, you can walk around anywhere, talk to anyone you want for free; you see their face on … It seems like the future there is advanced to become the way we envision the future. But then other things, it seems like we haven’t advanced as quickly.

Steven Sashen:

We know ironically, some of the things that those advances have led to well, I was going to say bifurcating, but it’s more than bifurcating. We used to just all watch the same three television networks. And so, we’re all getting basically the same information and now information is so disparate and so personalized that there’s this separation. I have this fantasy that sometime in the not too distant future, we’re all going to go, “Remember that internet thing. That was a funny experiment, wasn’t it?” And there’s so many parts of it that are … Look, I’ve made most of my living thanks to the internet. And if I could never turn on a computer again, that would be awesome. Other than checking the mail and buying things on eBay and Craigslist, I mean, that’s all I really need. But we’re never going back there.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I think that ship has sailed.

Steven Sashen:

That ship has sailed, landed, crashed, burned, turned into kindling. It is way long gone. So, in a totally backing up to nutrition and things nutritional, can you think of anything that’s … I mean, one of the things that I do on the podcast mostly about movement and footwear of course, is talk about things that are kind of either mythological or … What’s the word I’m looking for? I wish I could speak English. My wife and I moved into this new house, new to us a house last week. And I’m so brain dead from moving.

There’s a word that I can’t quite find. Anything this sort of debunkings, I mean, to a certain extent, everything you did about plant-based debunked, a whole lot of stuff. But even in the plant-based world, aside from being plant-based doesn’t mean just eating nothing but desserts. Can you think of anything else that is part of the common wisdom or the zeitgeists or what people think of when it comes to nutrition? That is just totally not the case that if you had to rail on something, it’s the one that you find yourself keeping you up at night thinking, “Oh, I can’t believe they think that.”

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, one of the things is protein of course, when people are like, “Oh, where did you get your protein? How do you get enough protein?” When you eat more of a whole unrefined diet you get quite a lot of protein, like the example I used before. A piece of highly refined white bread has no protein. It’s just starch, but you eat one that’s whole grain and sprouted that’s six grams of protein that’s as much as an egg.

So, when you’re eating unrefined food, you get quite a lot of protein. It’s not something you need to really worry about. I will say though, that as an endurance athlete, you actually need even a little more just because as you know, I mean, when you go for a long run, sure you burn fat as fuel. But some of that is muscle too.

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Brendan Brazier:

So over time you will lose a bit of muscle and therefore strength over time, and then strength to weight ratio goes down that’s the last thing you want. So, I think with endurance athletes, making sure they get enough protein and take a little more care but it’s quite easy to obviously … And again, and things like that, how the protein…

Steven Sashen:

If you didn’t do a plug right, then I was going to be very disappointed.

Brendan Brazier:

Well, I mean, and it doesn’t even have to be Vega, you can just mix pea protein or rice protein and greens too, right? Or even just, yeah, like sprouted buckwheat cereal.

Steven Sashen:

Weird thing that pops in my head it’s related to the protein thing. Do you have thoughts about what’s been happening in the meat substitute world lately? Beyond Meat or Beyond Burger and whatever the hell they’re called Impossible Burgers, you know the rest?

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. So, their big mission of course, is to be broad and they’re making food for non-vegans, non-vegans on vegetarians. And when Beyond Meat first started coming to retail and putting their products right next to meat, a lot of people didn’t get that. They thought, “Well, vegans don’t shop there.” They’re like, “Well, it’s not for vegans.” But there’s vegan, right? It’s like, yeah, it’s vegan, but it’s not for vegans. And a lot of peoples can wrap their head around it. But [Beyond Meat is I think a great visionary and has such great morals and really wants too to make a big change and wants more folks to eat plants and fewer animals. And by doing that, obviously selling stuff to vegans is not going to get you there.

So, you got to bring the mediators and you got to get it next to the meat. And then if it’s price parody it’s getting close now and environmentally it’s better. And obviously there’s no animals being killed. People are then going to give it some serious thought. And of course, being in fast food restaurants now, and some people not being able to taste the difference and that’s what they want. And people who’ve been told their cholesterol is too high, or they got to cut out meat, but they don’t want it. They’ve eaten the standard American diet for 40, 50 years. And they want to keep eating what their brain thinks is meat. Then it’s going to help.

Steven Sashen:

Do you have any thoughts about lab grown meat?

Brendan Brazier:

It’s going to be interesting because yeah, there are a few companies doing that now, of course, nothing it’s to market yet. But it’ll be interesting to see how people, just, how they respond. Are people interested? No, because vegetarians, vegans, a lot of the ones I know would not want that because they don’t want meat. But it’s interesting. And now there’s this whole other phase two of, there’s dairy and now even eggs, not to market yet, not with the eggs anyways. That created they’re real eggs, but without a chicken. So, it’s created through fermentation and yeast. But chemically it’s exactly the same it is a protein, or it is dairy. There’s this company called Perfect Day that makes dairy without a cow … It is dairy. So, it’s just pretty fascinating.

Steven Sashen:

It’s totally fascinating. And I love the mind-bending conversations that it creates. Because so many vegans at least claimed to be vegans for ethical reasons and want to keep animal suffering down. And so, I was like, “All right, well, here’s a way of getting those products without an animal suffering.” And you just watch their brains explored.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. No, exactly. And that’s what I think some of these companies are doing really well is they know their markets is not vegans and they don’t even market to them. Vegans will find out about it. You don’t have to tell vegans about meat alternatives. So yeah, I think it’s very interesting. And I know some folks who have invested in these sell meat companies who are very smart. And it’s about scaling. Right now, they can create it, but it’s so expensive, in fact way, way, way down in price to actually make it viable, which could happen. But again, it’s just how do people perceive it. 

Not our marketing if they do a really good marketing campaign and convince folks who do eat meat, that this is a better type of meat. Like maybe there’s more DHA Omega-3 in it. Maybe there’s plant sterols and that they will actually lower blood cholesterol. Who knows, right? Maybe it’s actually better. Because if you just create the same thing, then I agree. I think there’s less of a value proposition there. They’re saying they just eat meat. I don’t care about the ethical part. And I don’t want my Frankenfood or whatever they call it.

Steven Sashen:

Right. Well, that’s really interesting point because if it really is just like meat, meat eaters will definitely think, “Well, I’d rather just get it from a cow than a lab.” That makes no sense.

Brendan Brazier:

Right.

Steven Sashen:

So yeah, that’s an interesting thing if it doesn’t have a value add, there really is no value for the people who are going to make a difference.

Brendan Brazier:

Well, I mean, Tesla their cars are safer than others, accelerate better. They handle better, and oh, by the way, they’re electric too. They don’t lead with that. They’re just better. And one of the things that makes them better, surely don’t eat gas. And if you have a solar panel and it’s like, you’ve got a solar powered car and that’s pretty awesome. But that’s just kind of on the side they just … People love them because they drive well.

Steven Sashen:

Ironically, I’ve driven Tesla since the original Roadster, which was super fun when they opened up the first show in Boulder and I just walked in while everyone else has just gotten to the car, I just walked in and said, “So what does it take if I got to drive one of these?” So, they assumed I had $150,000 to burn, which I did not. But then every time they had some event for drivers, they would invite me and just give me a car to drive and it was terribly fun. But I’m a big fan of nimble, and while I love how fast the Tesla is, I don’t like the fact that it feels like I’m driving a house just in terms of the weight.

And so, I was just reading about massless batteries, which is basically batteries built into the frame of the car. So, they’re not adding additional weight and when they crack the code on that, and basically the battery is the car and it’s not going to weigh a whole lot more than the supercharged Subaru BRZ that I’m driving. I am all in. Because man, I do like the speed and the torque, I will confess as a sprinter.

Brendan Brazier:

Right. Yeah. I think battery technology is the big thing that’s really going to break the world open for sure. And that’s improving leaps and bounds of course, as I’m sure you know.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I’ve been waiting when we were pitching to investors for Xero Shoes, years ago, we met these, a bunch of guys who were working on commodities. I just lost it. God, this is crazy. I’ve got the image in my head and I just blanked on the word that I’m looking for. Silicone-based batteries, not circuit boards, what’s the word I can’t find. This other battery type thing, come on, it’ll pop into my head as soon as we’re done talking.

Anyway, it’s a whole different technology for batteries than chemicals basically. And what it allows you to do is recharge them almost instantly comparatively and they’re super light, they hold more power. I mean, there’s a lot of possibilities, but right now they’re only making them this big, not nearly enough for a car. So again, 200 years from now, shoes are going to be very interesting. I hope. Anyway. Is there anything that you can think of that we haven’t touched on, that you want to just share with human beings before we call it a wonderful hour of chatting?

Brendan Brazier:

Well I can talk about my latest project.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, my God. Sorry. That’s where I was going next. What the hell are you doing now, Brendan?

Brendan Brazier:

Well, one of the things, so I hadn’t drunk in 14 years. I just didn’t drink because I just didn’t feel good from doing it. And then about two years ago, I was at Whole Foods and I saw there’s this brand called 101 Cider. And it had just one ingredient. It was just apples. But it had zero sugar and probiotics and it had all these organic acids listed and it was really interest. So, I thought, how can, this is apples, but there’s no sugar. I didn’t get it. So, I emailed them for that 101cider.com, this guy, Marcus responds right away. And he explained fermentation to me and how you ferment stuff and all the sugar gets eaten and it replaces it with alcohol and with probiotics and organic acids.

I’m like, “Wow, this is fascinating.” And so, I tried, it loved, it felt great. No hangover went to the gym soon after, and then yeah, we became friends and best in the company. And then we’ve just started something together, which is fermented juice with adaptogens blended in. So, it’s got things like lion’s mane and reishi and these different types of mushrooms and fermented juice. So again, this is one of those examples that if we did a focus group, just never, would’ve got off the ground, no one has ever said on earth, “I would like fermented juice with mushrooms.”

Steven Sashen:

Well, there’s that one guy, but no one talks to him. We got turned on to cider just very recently, some cider people are doing virtual events and they did a virtual chocolate and cider pairing. And my wife and our total chocolate snobs. This was all single being, single origin, a lot, mostly from Madagascar, this one particular chocolate variety, which is like honey with chocolate flavor. And then a local cider company, and it was wonderful and the different flavors so much more interesting than any other. I don’t drink very much at all. The only three things I drink now, cider and Prosecco. And I think I’ve had a bottle of each of those in my fridge for at least two years. That’s how often we drink. But the ciders were really, really interesting and the pairings of the chocolate was totally geeky and delightful.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. No, I’ve learned a ton. Mark, my partner in this is so knowledgeable and yeah, we make it all downtown in LA. It’s so simple. We just get all this unpasteurized juice comes down from Oregon in these tanker trucks, we fill the tanks and just sits there, and it ferments and then we blend in adaptions, we can it, and that’s it.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, how are you sourcing the apples? Because that was the part in this tasting that was so fascinating. These were all heirloom apples and each one so radically different than the next.

Brendan Brazier:

Same thing. Yeah. So, they’re all what we would call it, crab apples little ones are not these big fruit like eating apples. And it’s great too, because they’re all fed with groundwater they don’t need to be irrigated. So, as a California company, we’re very conscious of water consumption of course. So, snow comes down and goes into the ground, tree draws it up into the apples, gets pressed. So, it’s basically just Pacific Northwest water drawn to feed apples. And that’s it. So yeah, it’s fun. Like I say, I’m learning a ton, it’s in Whole Foods now, all the Whole Foods in California. It will be in all the Whole Foods in the country by the end of next month and online as well, people can order it because it’s classified as wine because it’s from fruit. So, we can actually order, direct to consumer, whereas like cider … Or not cider but like beer and Seltzer, we can’t do that legally shipping.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, even just saying apple wine people don’t respond to. I mean, it’s an interesting category because people don’t have a real good frame of reference for it because they certainly haven’t had high quality product before. And so, I’m very curious to see how that evolves because it’s something that really deserves to evolve.

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah, thanks. Yeah, no, I’ll send you some just…

Steven Sashen:

Well, okay. I would definitely not say no to that. So, anything else keeping you busy during your waking hours or sleeping hours for that matter?

Brendan Brazier:

No. I do some other kind of look at early stage plant-based companies to see if I can be helpful as an investor and just helping them out. So, a little bit of that. Blue Horizon is this venture capital group out of Switzerland that I’m working with as well. Same kind of thing. We just look at early stage plant-based companies and see if we think we can help and then make an investment, if we feel we can and work very closely with the founders to help them grow, to not make the same mistakes that we made back in the day. It’s like, “Why, only apply what you’ve learned once,” right? Like why not apply it and help others. And so yeah, that’s kind of what I’m doing right now.

Steven Sashen:

Well, my wife has a line about footwear. There’s no reason to start another shoe company there’s enough on the planet, unless what you’re doing, changes people’s lives. Same thing. It’s wonderful to hear that what you’re doing with your time is things that really can change people’s lives. And I want to leave on this question/thought, which is for people who haven’t really … I mean, plant-based is becoming a buzz word. For people who haven’t really done that experiment made that transition. I’m not suggesting everyone should make the transition. But what would you suggest to someone who hasn’t as a way of just getting their toe in the water again, not suggesting they need to dive in, but just to have an experience to see what that would be like for them?

Brendan Brazier:

Yeah. I think start slow and ease into it. Just think of adding, not subtracting. Just have a big green smoothie each morning. Start adding some of those foods I talked about before you know it, your palette will start to change. You won’t crave the old stuff anymore, and that’s what you want, right? Like you said off the top of this show too like, “Life is short, you got to enjoy it.”

If you don’t like one thing, don’t do it, do something else. I’m not an advocate of pushing through stuff that you hate every day; your willpower is finite. You’re just not going to enjoy it. And when you need willpower for something that you really got to face; you’re not going to have it. If you’re constantly doing things you don’t enjoy. So totally agree there.

And yeah, before you know it, your palette will change, and you won’t feel deprived. You won’t feel as though you want to eat those foods that you used to be appealing. You just taste food differently and then you just eat whatever you want, and it just happens to be really good food. And that’s a lifestyle change, not just diet, obviously. So that’s what you want.

Steven Sashen:

Well, dude, thank you so much. Been a total, total pleasure. If people want to get in touch with you or with anything that you want them to get in touch with other than you, what should they do?

Brendan Brazier:

LinkedIn is pretty good. I think that’s kind of my most up to date thing. My website’s actually very not up to date. But yeah, LinkedIn’s good or Instagram’s good too. It’s just my name on Instagram.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, even though I can spell it, I will let you spell it for humans.

Brendan Brazier:

Okay. So, Brendan, B-R-E-N-D-A-N, and Brazier is B-R-A-Z-I-E-R.

Steven Sashen:

Perfect. So, follow him on LinkedIn. And Brendan again, total, total pleasure looking forward to what’s next. And for everybody else, thanks for joining us. Again, if you want to check out previous episodes and find out what’s going on with what we’re doing at the Movement Movement, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. You’ll find where you can find us on YouTube and Facebook and Instagram and all the places where podcasts are podcasts, because we’re all over those as well. And as always … Oh, if you have any questions or comments, if there’s anyone you can think of who should be on the show, drop me an email, move@jointhemovementmovement.com. And most importantly go out, have fun and live life feet first.

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