In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part four, focusing on Brendan Brazier's take on this issue.

GREEN LEAFIES

Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100% plant-based. He s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author on performance nutrition, and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega. He is also a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...

I realize we keep teasing everyone with vague yet bold talk of some new rawsome health frontier we're pursuing. We'll definitely get to discussing all of that later this year sometime. ?In the mean time, though, we may occasionally run an article or two that reflects a bit of our experimentation.

Lately, Wendi and I have been drawn to a similar style of eating -- although for different reasons. ?You see, we've both been on a real kick to simplify lately. For Wendi, this reflects more of an intuitive response to her diet. For me, it's more of a response to all of the experimentation I spoke of.

I have a need for hot food in winter to feel warm.

We hear this comment a lot from those trying to lose weight. Some joke that they thought their excess body fat would be keeping them warm, but they're still feeling cold and needing hot food in the winter months.

In the past, we've talked about reasons what's going on in the body when hot foods are consumed. Understanding this will help you realize that hot foods are actually not very good for our bodies. When we consume very hot foods, that heat is then inside our bodies, next to vital organs, while the body needs to maintain a temperature around 98.6 degrees. When we have temperatures higher than that right next to our vital organs, it must quickly work to remove that excess heat. It's the removal of this excess heat that causes us to feel warm. It's our bodies trying to stay in a healthy state. We are actually putting our bodies under stress when we do this (the same holds true for eating overly cold foods, like frozen desserts and icy drinks).

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Have you ever heard about mono meals? When I first did, it sounded like such a great idea. When you eat a mono meal, you eat one item (and only one item) for the entire meal. Eating that way is supposed to be very cleansing and it gives your digestive system a rest from processing different types of foods at the same time. Supposedly there is a boost in energy, as well, since your digestion isn't taking up so much energy.

I recently received an email asking for advice from one of our Hindu readers, asking what I could recommend as far as light eating during the nine-day Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri is traditionally a time of fasting for nine days, however in modern society most Hindus no longer fast. Many do, however, pay more attention to their diets, and they try to eat lighter meals that do not contain animal products. Since our reader is just starting his exploration into raw foods, I didn't want to offer him advice that would make his nine days of Navratri difficult.He recently purchased a Vitamix, so I suggested that he make a lot of smoothies, since he has been enjoying them so much.

This weekend is all about having fun! We'll be working on the menu for the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I've organized for the end of May. What does it mean to work on the menu? Well, it means I'll be making and sampling all kinds of gourmet raw food dishes this weekend!

As a follow-up to yesterday's McDonald's-bashing post, I thought I'd post another perspective -- namely, that not all chain smoothies are bad. I can't claim to have tried them all, but I can report with confidence that, for raw most foodists, a trip to Jamba Juice can be awesome!

Even before becoming a raw foodie, I loved going to Jamba Juice. If you're unfamiliar with this retail food franchise, it's pretty much (to my knowledge) the largest chain in the "smoothie" category. I first "discovered" them during a visit to New York City back in 2006. Each day, I found myself gravitating to the delicious smoothies they offer.

I'm still doing my nine-day mono meals for Navratri. Since it's Makin' It Monday, instead of actually makin' a recipe, I'm dreamin' about it! After talking with my sweet friend Melissa, I thought I wanted to eat spinach pie when I end my mono meals. She was talking about it, shared how she was going to create it, and my mind was filling with the image of spinach pie, the smell and taste of it, and I wanted it right then.But, we don't have any spinach in the house right now. Since I end my mono meals after tomorrow's lunch, and don't have time to buy spinach at the food co-op, I decided to dream some more about what I'll be eating for tomorrow's dinner.

Then it came to me. I want beet pasta! Not just any beet pasta, but beet pasta topped with a creamy alfredo sauce! I picture it in my mind; I can imagine the taste of it, the texture, and it's so delicious. I think I want something green with it, too. Perhaps I'll start with a small salad. Ooh! Yes, that's what I'll do!

You thought our "Know Your Food" series was dead ?!!? (Or, if you're a new reader, maybe you don't know what "Know Your Food" is yet!) Well, we've been poking around in the archives this week and discovered THREE lost episodes. This is HUGE... It's like one of those stories you hear every few years about some rare Hollywood film being discovered in a vault somewhere (laughing so hard)!

Over the next week or two, we'll be posting these three episodes. Today's episode is PUMPKIN, starring Wendi and her guest Ella (daughter of Melissa and Dave, who run the FoodUnderFoot blog we linked to recently). Once these missing episodes have been aired, this will usher in the dawn of a never-before seen level of production values for the Know Your Food series. The new stuff will totally win every major award available to YouTubers (continues laughing...).

Sure, we know pumpkins aren't in season right now. However, this video is sweet because of our special guest. So, enjoy the Pumpkin episode:

Well, after three long days of train travel, Wendi and KDcat arrived in Portland. I knew they'd had a rough trip (as I'd posted, Wendi experienced some serious motion sickness!), so I booked them into an awesome Bed & Breakfast, literally across the street from the raw restaurant they were planning to visit. That B&B is called the Lion and the Rose Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn. Wendi said everyone there was super-nice. (There was a neat synchronicity about it, too, which I'll post in the comments section.)

Thanks to everyone for the motion sickness tips! Wendi's feeling better, but after such a long train ride, she and KDcat still feel the effects on their balance (feeling like they're still moving, slightly dizzy, ears blocked a bit etc.). I suppose train travel takes a little getting used to. But, again, they're feeling much better.

Even though it was a short stay in Portland, they managed to squeeze in a meetup with two Pure Jeevan family members, Ann Chatterton and Tracy Partridge Johnson (as well as Ann's children, Zoe and Zack, and Tracy's son Brandon). They met up at the Blossoming Lotus, an organic/vegan venue that offers some gourmet raw dishes. Here's a slideshow!