We’d like to introduce you to Vega co-founder and original formulator, Brendan Brazier. Brendan’s a former professional triathlete, author, speaker, editor, businessman, and more – plus, he still remains close to the Vega brand in many ways. Keep reading to learn more about Brendan Brazier, his vision for plant-based nutrition, and how it’s all coming to life with our IRONMAN® partnership.
Besides co-founding Vega and creating the original version of Vega One® , Brendan is a former professional IRONMAN triathlete and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He’s also one of the first professional athletes to fuel his success with a plant-based diet.
That career in triathlon directly led to the inception of Vega. As an athlete, Brendan was looking for ways to optimize his recovery – if he could recover from each workout faster, he could plan sessions closer together and therefore train more (and improve faster).
Brendan knew nutrition was the competitive advantage he was looking for. That’s why he began developing the all-in-one, plant-based nutrition solution he couldn’t find on the market.
First, he focused on high-net-gain-foods: foods that require little digestive energy but yield a healthy dose of micronutrients. The more of each vitamin and mineral, plus more phytonutrients and antioxidants per calorie, the better. He looked for natural, unrefined whole food ingredients that digest easily. That meant he could gain more usable energy than he could from eating refined or processed foods.
Through trial, error, and experimentation, Brendan created the first Vega formula. With his partner, Charles Chang, he brought Vega to life in 2004.
Now, Vega is available in over 20,000 stores across Canada and the United States. We’ve grown to include a complete line of specialized sport nutrition, nutritional bars, shakes, and more. (We’ve still got a version of that first formulation, too – Vega One® – but now it tastes a lot better.)
The thrive difference
Brendan’s work with Vega stemmed from a desire to bring plant-based performance nutrition to a wider audience. To accomplish that goal, Brendan also founded Thrive, a long-term eating plan designed to develop a lean body, help maintain a sharp mind, and sustained energy. In a nutshell, Thrive focuses on how nutrient-rich foods in their natural state bring energy and help maintain health.
Thrive grew into Thrive Forward, a free web series packed with videos, meal plans, and recipes full of information on adopting a clean, plant-based diet; Thrive Fitness, an easy system for total health and fitness focused on sculpting muscle, improving sleep, minimizing injury, and more; Thrive Energy Cookbook, full of easy-to-make recipes merging functionality and taste appeal; and Thrive magazine, which features interviews with athletes, entrepreneurs, visionaries with social causes, and plant-based recipes.
Brendan has also expanded into investing in and working with socially responsible food & tech companies whose mandate is to fix our food system and reduce the environmental strain of food production.
Where does IRONMAN come into it?
Brendan is one of the world’s leading authorities on plant-based performance nutrition, and works with several NHL, NFL, MLB, UFC, and Olympic athletes.
He’s still actively involved in Vega, and his initial philosophies continue to inform the way we work today. That’s why our partnership with IRONMAN® is so exciting: we’re a plant-based company created by a triathlete, working with the team who created the ultimate endurance event. It feels like we’ve come full circle.
More than anything, we believe in the potential of plant-based nutrition – especially in unlocking athletic excellence. Excellence looks different everywhere, and to everyone. We want to help athletes everywhere write their own story.
What better way to do that than to put plant-based sport nutrition on display at the pinnacle of endurance competition?
We couldn’t be prouder to partner with IRONMAN® as the Official Recovery Nutrition and Title Partner of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN® World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. And Brendan couldn’t be more excited to be there to support.
Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing more about our journey to Kona; we’ll be following six Vega athletes as they fuel, train, and recover, sharing more information about our support of the Challenged Athlete Foundation, and keeping you updated on race day. Check back to stay in-the-know.