Proclaimed as one of Canada’s top 100 influential vegans, Daniel Bissonnette is an authentic Canadian inspiration. He has published a cookbook of breakfast recipes designed for optimal nutrient absorption; he is a very popular speaker at Western Canada’s Premier Consumer Health Shows; he recently released a cognitive coaching program based on his second book, Genius Mode On.
The coolest part is that he is only 13 years old.
Born and raised in Vancouver by parents who championed a whole food, plant-based diet, Bissonnette’s parents raised him as a vegan. He claims that until he went to school he was clueless to the fact that everyone else did not consume plant-based foods. “They said I was weird; they said I ate bird food,” says Bissonnette. “I used to cover my food with my hands so they couldn’t see what I was eating.” He quickly became a victim of bullying by his peers. It wasn’t until one of his teachers suggested he do a presentation on his diet and lifestyle to demonstrate the benefits of plants and share knowledge about why he ate this way that the peer dynamics shifted.
Though he was nervous, Daniel was motivated to help at least one kid eat healthier, so he gave a speech to his classmates that blew their minds, but not necessarily for the reasons Bissonnette had thought his speech would: “What they could not believe was that I could memorize all of this scientific information and I actually understood it.” says Bissonnette. “I realized that maybe there were scientific key factors why I was eating differently than most others.”
In his speeches, he uses the example of bees, whose genetic capacity to become either a worker bee or queen bee can be unlocked at the larvae stage by how and what the bees are fed.
“What we put into our bodies determines how our mind works: we are what we eat. I believe everyone has an exceptional talent, creative or intellectual, but most of us don’t know how to unlock it.”
Bissonnette says the world would be a better place if everyone activated their genius mode. The self-proclaimed “Icekid” plunges seemingly unaffected into ice baths or frozen water with minimal clothing in winter to prove this point.
“You don’t have to be born ‘gifted’ to achieve greatness, but anyone can influence his own biology and turn his (or her) genius mode on.” In his new book he offers simple strategies for improving memory and intellect to achieve a cognitive edge. He demonstrates how one can overcome discomfort and challenge by training one’s mind.
“If you don’t control your mind, your mind will control you.”