Guest blog: An Ironman’s grocery list

Professional Ironman and Ultra Marathon competitor Brendand Brazier fuels his rigorous training schedule with a plant-based diet. We asked him


Professional Ironman and Ultra Marathon competitor Brendand Brazier fuels his rigorous training schedule with a plant-based diet. We asked him to share his grocery list and give us some advice about the foods that make up his healthy diet.

As someone who can’t afford to not perform at my best, I’ve become dependant on plant-based whole foods to carry me through. Here’s the grocery list I use to stock up on the best foods to provide me the fuel and building blocks that are essental for peak performance.

‘ Fibrous vegetables are the base of a nutrient-rich diet, so make sure to stock up on veggies like asparagus, beets, bok choy, celery, cucumbers, green beans and peas, watercress, zucchini and onions.

‘ Dark green leafy vegetables are a rich source of chlorophyll, important in offsetting stress by alkalizing the body as well as promoting the quick rejuvenation of cells. Chlorophyll also cleanses and oxygenates the blood, which will give you endurance and stamina. Some good choices are beet greens, mixed greens, spinach, swiss chard, collards and dinosaur kale.

Sea vegetables (seaweeds) have 10 times the calcium of cow’s milk and several times more than red meat. They’re also easily digestible, chlorophyll-rich and alkaline-forming.

‘ Starchy vegetables are needed only in small amounts, so be selective when picking up potatoes, turnips, yams, parsnips and squashes.

‘ Legumes are high in protein, fiber and many proteins and minerals. Rinsing them well before and after cooking will help absorb some of the indigestible sugars that can cause gas.

‘ Seeds are a source of important nutrients. Flaxseeds have one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant kingdom. They are also high in potassium, contain both soluble and insoluble fibre and have anti-inflammatory properties. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium and sunflower seeds are rich in minerals, vitamins and protein. I also always keep iron-rich pumpkin seeds on hand to sprinkle over many meals.

‘ Hemp protein is the most digestible protein I’ve tried. It also contains all 10 essential amino acids, making it superior to all other forms of protein.  

‘ Pseudograins
such as amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice are great gluten-free sources of nutrients. I keep my kitchen well stocked with them.

‘ Fresh fruits vary depending on the season. Fruits that I like are apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, dates, dragon fruit, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwis, mangos, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, pears, pineapples, plums and pomegranates.

‘ Healthy grains such as brown rice, millet, spelt and teff are mainstays in my diet.

Nuts are highly nutritious and digestible (when soaked), so I add almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews, filberts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans pine nuts and pistachios to my shopping list regularly.

‘ Good additives to stock up on are agave nectar for sweetener, apple cider vinegar for potassium, balsalmic vinegar, ginger, nutritional yeast and stevia herb. 

Brazier is the author of Thrive Fitness (Penguin/Da Capo), a plant-based training program designed to help people achieve maximum strength and health and founder of Vega, a line of vegan snack bars and drinks.

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