Chatting With Hugh Jackman’s Vegan Guru

Triathlete Brendan Brazier reveals how a plant-based diet has influenced actor Hugh Jackman.

Brendan Brazier, vegan professional Ironman triathlete and author of Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, made celebrity headlines when Page Six of the New York Post reported that Hugh Jackman has been considering going vegan as a result of Brazier’s influence. Jackman wrote the foreword to the new edition of Thrive, raving about how great he felt eating veg and using Brazier’s Vega Supplements. Jackman writes “there is every chance that I will be [a vegan] by the time you read [this].” Though the jury is still out on Jackman’s veganism, Brazier has been brought on board to work with Jackman as he beefs up for X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2, which will be released in 2011. VegNews caught up with Brendan Brazier to get the scoop on his upcoming work with Jackman.

VegNews: Congratulations on spreading the plant-based diet to celebrities like Hugh Jackman. How did Jackman initially hear about your book and Vega?
Brendan Brazier: He got my contact info from his trainer, Don Scott, after he read [Thrive], and he emailed and said that he’d been using Vega and he really liked it. He said that he had been incorporating some of the ideas, and that the book showed him that he actually could be an athlete and athletic while eating plant-based, and possibly work up to being vegan, which is his goal.

VN: What happened after he got in contact with you?
BB: In the past he had eaten a lot of chicken for his role, but he took a lot of Vega, too. It turned out I was going to New York City so he said “well why don’t you just come over,” so I went over to his place and we had a great chat and he told me how he was trying out veganism for environmental and health reasons and to set a good example for his kids. It’s not just for his own career anymore, which he wrote in the forward. He was listing the reasons why he was interested in Thrive, and he was concerned for the environment. That’s definitely something that he was aware of, and wanted to help instead of hurt.

VN: So how is Jackman planning on continuing to implement the ideas in Thrive?
BB: He has a great trainer in Don Scott, who is not vegan but is well aware of the benefits of being vegan, and he takes Vega. He’s going to be training Hugh again for the upcoming movie, and I’ll be helping with the nutrition program. I’ll be making nutrition suggestions about what he can eat to pack on the muscle—instead of chicken—so and I don’t know if he’ll do 100-percent plant-based, but he’s certainly going to incorporate elements of it. That’s our plan—to do as much plant-based as possible and, ideally, completely vegan.

VN: Do you think he will be willing to go completely vegan?
BB: He said in the forward that he’s been feeling really good. That’s the thing that gives him hope for going all the way, because he does feel really great. And he’s been eating some of the recipes from Thrive, so of course I hope that he will continue to be able to pack on muscle in the same way. The studio needs him ready to go, and if he’s not the size that he needs to be, that stalls the whole production. But I’m very confident that we can get him where he needs to be for the Wolverine role.

There’s a very good chance [he’ll go vegan], and even if he doesn’t completely, a large amount of his diet will be. And I think that’s huge, I mean he’s not going to be eating all this chicken; he’s going to build up naturally. What I’m really excited about is that I think it’s going to draw in a whole new audience that would know nothing about it—they wouldn’t even know what vegan is—a lot of teenage kids who love his Wolverine character and want to eat like him. And there is that important new demographic of ages 14 to 30 for men—a lot of these guys eat whatever they think is going to make them big. I love that this is not at all preaching to the converted. I think Hugh’s work with this will be phenomenally influential, and I think he’ll look great in the movie. I’m completely confident that he’ll be able to do it and he’ll get as big and possibly even more toned than in the past. I think everyone’s going to benefit from this.

Brendan Brazier has new Vega Sport products to be released, as well as a new book with nearly 200 recipes and a large section focusing on the case for the environmental veganism, all due out in spring, 2011. 

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