Author Archives: Matt Ruscigno

About Matt Ruscigno

I'm a vegan Registered Dietitian, endurance athlete and activist living car-free in California. I think fun, adventure, ethics and radical politics go hand in hand.

Strongest Hearts going strong!

Our Kickstarter to fund the next phase of Strongest Hearts (previously Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes) is moving along nicely! Thank you to everyone who has donated or shared our campaign page. Every little bit helps and we need your help right now to reach our goal. Can you make a donation so we can continue to make these videos?

And the sooner we reach our goal the less I can stress about it!  In our latest update we shared the graphics for the rad buttons (thanks bummerart and Pinbot) that will come with every donation over $20.

Eatplants.Getstrong

 

We make these videos to show the various ways veganism can work. We don’t preach one style of eating or body shame; we want plant-based eating and fitness to be accessible to the most people. Showing the interesting stories of athletes in a professional way has never been done. We believe activism and education can be positive, fun AND make a difference. It’s a lot of work to make these and both Sasha and I have invested a lot of time, energy and our own money into this project. So we are seriously indebted to the people who believe in us and have supported us financially!

We have great rewards- hoodies, t-shirts, Purist water bottles, signed books, cycling socks….check them all out at our campaign page and please share it widely with your networks. We are relying on our community to get this out there! Thank you so much.

 

StrongestHearts

 

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Filed under bike, Day in the Life, nutrition, race, road, run, travel, triathlon, vegan

Strongest Hearts Funding Campaign Launched!

Happy to announce that we launched a Kickstarter to fund the next phase of Strongest Hearts (previously Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes)! It’s not ideal, as I hate asking for money, but we’ve made some really great rewards from custom water bottles to hoodies and signed books. If you can help our fundraiser financially, we are forever indebted to you. If not, and I understand this completely, please do share it with other groups, websites, organizations, etc who believe in our mission. There’s a lot of noise around media projects in the vegan athlete world and many people simply don’t know what high quality videos we make. All current episodes can be seen here: Strongest Hearts web series. The more momentum we can gather early on the more likely we will be funded. Remember, if we don’t hit our goal we don’t get anything. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Link: Strongest Hearts Kickstarter

 

 

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Filed under Day in the Life, nutrition, vegan

Community- It’s there if you can find it

Last spring I was invited to Austin Peay University in Tennessee where an old friend is Chair of the Sociology Department to speak about how veganism and cycling relate to my profession. I was honored to speak there and I hope the students have gained as much from it as I have. I’m still thinking of the concepts I presented, one year later. Because this idea of community is huge- I’ve said this over and over on this site. Those of us who grew up in a subculture had it during the most transformational times of our lives and I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s automatic community. Leaning on people for help and returning it when needed is second nature.

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And that’s what Strongest Hearts is going for. We want veganism and athleticism to be inviting. Open. A community. Unfortunately not all vegan fitness groups have the same outlook and I’ve seen a lot jock ignorance I’d expect in a high school gym class be promoted in some of these groups. Wtf? I’d get into this more if I wasn’t typing one-handed. For now check out these posts on fat shaming on Thinking Vegan.

Look out for a post on this idea of community and how it makes veganism easier (and better!) at Discerning Brute. My man Joshua has been killing it with his Brave Gentleman line! Oh and I submitted my first post for Girlie Girl Army yesterday, I’ll let you know when it’s up. I can’t believe Chloe invited me to be a contributor along with all of these beautiful people.

 

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My friend Christy, the Blissful (and fit!) Chef, who is my comrade in injury right now, started a magazine called Definition For Ladies and they are having a salad recipe contest. Should I enter my Chopzilla recipe from the No Meat Athlete book?? Speaking of No Meat Athlete, Matt launched the No Meat Academy! I love Matt’s work, so I’m very excited about this. I’m sure I’ll be contributing in one way or another.

I shared MattRuscigno.com last week but didn’t realize it was private. It’s open now! Still just a mirror site for now.

Book….I still haven’t seen the new cover, which is what I’m waiting on for the big “I wrote a book!!” post. The exciting news is it hit the top 25 of all chocolate books on Amazon, just from pre-orders! Thank you, if you have ordered it.  And nice to see another vegan book amongst all those paleo books. Pre-orders help tremendously and we’ll have stuff for everyone who orders it early, so hold on to those receipts and emails. See below for where to pick it up.

IndieboundSkylight | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

 

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Incredible video of Los Angeles

I love this so much. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to guess where every shot is from! I’ve only watched once, but I saw two streets that have been in Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer. One only a few times in the early years, but another has been a hill each of the 8 years. Can you guess which?

 

 

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Can you tell I’m typing one-handed?

Broken

I often wonder how I’m not hurt more often, considering the amount of time I spend on a bike (er, bikes) and doing dumb things. And combining the two, regularly (hello Strava KOM for descents!).  I like to think I take calculated risks. And that’s how I felt when I went ice skating with some friends last weekend. Why not? Well, without even attempting anything stupid I fell and broke my left distal radius. And a small bone in the joint. How bad? See this photo on my IG. I find out tomorrow if I need surgery. Lifetime broken bones number 7 and 8. Not too shabby for 30 years of activities. Also, somehow, first breaks on my left/dominant side.

 

No Belgian Waffle

Meanwhile this week I was planning on writing about the Belgian Waffle Ride, which was Sunday and the first athletic event I had signed up for in a year and a half. A few years ago I burned out on racing and training as anyone who follows me knows. The BWR was exciting for many reasons, one being I love riding my road bike off-road. I did about 20 of the 35 off-road miles on a training ride the weekend before and it was the biggest solo ride, by far, I had done in years. And I loved it.  But I had to sit the race out this year. Super frustrating.

Anyway…..I didn’t intend for this to be a post complaining about being injured. Though I hope it does help you appreciate your own good health.

 

Book!

I’m going to have to postpone the big book announcement, but you can still pre-order without hearing the long explanation from me. Note that the final cover hasn’t been updated online so it will look different. Joshua Ploeg will be on there too. :)

IndieboundSkylight | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

Site Changing Focus

One announcement I can make: the focus of this site is going to change! You may have noticed some small changes already. TrueLoveHealth.com is going to focus on nutrition and my private practice. Don’t worry I will never try to sell you protein powder. I’ve learned that a number of people send vegan-curious friends here for reliable nutrition information, but it is often buried under my stories and rants.  I’m not deleting any of the 10+ years of history that are here and I promise this won’t turn into another boring vegan site with photos of my breakfast and a list of vitamin-C containing foods. Ugh. No. I will have useful stories and reports where my unique style will still have a voice. I’m stoked for the changes and growth.

I do have MattRuscigno.com which right now mirrors (sort of) this site. Some non-nutrition/health stories may go there in the future. And there’s the new Strongest Hearts site for sports nutrition which I hope you will bookmark. More content there soon, too.

Thank you everyone for reading, and letting me vent. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Hemingway quotes.

 

“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”

 

 

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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer update for 2014

Usually by this time of year the hill climb event I put on, Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, is already scheduled. Or may have already happened! This year I am pushing it to late summer or maybe even early Fall. I apologize for the delay, but a few things have prevented it from happening as normal. Don’t worry though, it will go on.

Also, I’m starting to prepare for 2015, which will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this event! Hope to do a few extra things next year to really celebrate. Can you believe it has been that long? Long live #BikeLA.

Climbing Los Angeles

Meanwhile, I was very fortunate to have Peloton Magazine cover it as part of their issue on climbing. It includes wonderful photos from my friend Jordan Clark Haggard, some of which you can see at this link, below the excellent photos of my friend Megan Dean of Moth Attack Custom Bicycles. Thanks Jordan and everyone at Peloton!

Also in the issue is my very good friend Steevo. We rode the Great Divide mountain bike route together in 2007 (more famous for the Tour Divide race that uses the route). We’ve been friends for 20 years and bikes have been a part of that equation ever since. He’s the 10x winner of Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen hill race in Pittsburgh, which my event is based on. More interesting than that are the stories on his blog, which you should definitely check out.

When I schedule this year’s event I will post here on this site and on my twitter, @MattRuscigno.

 

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Filed under city, feelmylegs, road

Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes is now Strongest Hearts

Hey everyone! I have so many announcements these days that I can’t keep track of them. I was discussing this with a friend the other day- when some projects and ideas get to a certain size they become bigger than you. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. One such project that is long overdue for an update is our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes series.

It is now Strongest Hearts, with its own look and feel. Our emphasis will remain on high-quality profiles of vegan athletes but we are expanding to include other movers and shakers in the vegan world, like our good friends Timeless Coffee, for example.

 

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We’ve started filming again and have half a dozen episodes in the post-production phase. So exciting! You can see our previous 11 episodes all in one place and we’d love it if you could share them with your friends. Meanwhile you can follow @VegHearts and The Facebook Strongest Hearts for updates. I’m going to start writing more about sports nutrition at Stongesthearts.org as well.

Thank you everyone who has supported us over the years. The future looks bright for veganism and plant-based diets/lifestyles and we are proud to be a part of these communities.

More updates soon. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek for one of them.

Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Day in the Life, vegan

And here we are

Hey everyone. Those big changes I’ve been talking about should happen this week, if all goes well. Keep your eyes here for an upcoming post with all of the details. For now, here are some news and links on what I’ve been up to lately.

RRP68Thanks to Shawn Bannon for letting us use his photo.

Podcast

I was on the Rich Roll Podcast and it was super fun.  Rich is really cool and we have a long, flowing conversation that hits on many topics. I couldn’t be more thankful that he had me on. I’ve been hyping this over my twitter and facebook and I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from it. I thank each of you who have shared it or sent me super nice emails. I love hearing from you! And if you like the podcast you’ll enjoy this post by Rich: Why you should stop life hacking and invest in the journey.

Ex-Vegan Talk

Happy to report that my talk with Sayward Rebhal at the Animal Advocacy Museum went very well. Sayward covered it on her site and we are fortunate for this Vegansaurus write-up that really captures what we are discussing. Thank you! Since then we’ve had a number of people contact us about working together to improve vegan retention. One is Jack Norris, my friend and colleague who runs the excellent Vegan Health site and is a co-founder of Vegan Outreach. Can we get him some sort of award for all he does?

Book Stuff

Did a quick interview with Viva La Vegan about the No Meat Athlete book. You may have noticed that I always link to Skylight Books, one of my favorite book shops. Well they are hosting Isa Moskowitz for a signing of Isa Does It, her new kick-ass cookbook. I was fortunate to contribute to Appetite For Reduction which has had a resurgence in popularity due to the success of her newest book.

While some cookbooks are very popular, other authors haven’t been so fortunate. Taymer Mason who wrote the exceptional Caribbean Vegan, shared her recent experience trying to get her next book published. This really bummed me out. I also hate that publishing books is basically a popularity contest. And if you read her post, it’s obvious that race plays a role in her difficulty in publishing a vegan French cookbook. Ugh. Why not head over to her site, send an encouraging email or buy her book?

Vegan Arm-Wrestler? What?

I met Rob Bigwood one day last year when we were both getting tattooed at Saved in NYC- small world, right? Rob is a professional arm wrestler and starring in a new reality show called Game of Arms. Of course he is the token vegan, but he represented by winning his first match!

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Resources for You

If I have any purpose in life, it’s to get people the resources they need to be a better whatever they are. Obviously one of those is making the transition to a vegan diet. It’s not as easy as some long-term vegans say it is, especially when all of this is new to you. Fortunately Leo from Zen Habits gathered a number of excellent resources and created The 7 Day Vegan Challenge. I’ve mentioned this before (I contributed!) but it’s worth repeating. Please share this site with someone who would benefit from it!

7DayVegan.com

And after conversing with Jack a bit about the Ex-Vegan talk I decided to head over to Vegan Outreach to buy the Animal Activists Handbook. I quickly got nostalgic about all of the work they do and how it has influenced me. I ordered my first pamphlets from them back in 97 or 98! Needless to say I ended up with more than a book:

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You may recognize a face in there, it’s Donovan from Day in the Life episode 5! How cool is that? Makes sense to me. Also reminded me of the importance of having good info to hand to people whenever they ask.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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Filed under nutrition, vegan

New Year, New Projects.

Happy new year!

First off, I want to let you know there are some big changes coming to True Love Health.  It’s very exciting for me and there will be a post with clear details about the new site(s).  Keep your eyes out!

Did you know that the National Park Service has banned all sporting events in Death Valley? Read what my friends at AdventureCORPS have to say about it.

 

The 2006 Team Bonobo returned to the 2013 Furnace Creek 508 edition.

The 2006 Team Bonobo returned to the 2013 edition of the Furnace Creek 508, but I failed to do a race report.

 

Announcing a project looking at why people stop being vegan

Over this past weekend I led a discussion with the excellent Sayward Rehbel entitled Exploring the Ex-vegan Phenomenon. I know Sayward from contributing to her book Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide. Not long after her pregnancy she became sick and couldn’t figure out what it was and wrote this post: Facing Failing Health as a Vegan. Fortunately her story has a happy ending, but many people who have health issues while eating vegan do not have the tenacity she does and go back to eating animal products. This has happened with many health gurus / pseudo health professionals who now proudly claim they are ex-vegans.

It got me thinking, why do people go back to eating meat? Are there reasons we can point to like poor dietary habits combined with a misunderstanding of nutritional science? Do people just burn out? Get tired of reading labels? Get into ‘spirituality’ that ignores the ethics of food? Sayward was the first person I reached out to when I wanted to talk about this and immediately it became clear that we had a lot to discuss! After some back and forth and theorizing we decided to host an audio lecture with Main Street Vegan. That went so well, we scheduled our first public event this past Saturday at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena (my apologies for not posting it here) and it went great! Had a wonderful discussion about we need to do better as individuals and as a community to keep people vegan.

It’s an ongoing project and I’ll be sharing updates as they come.

 

Going to be on Rich Roll’s podcast

Also this past Friday I was fortunate to be on Rich Roll’s podcast! Rich is the author of the best-selling Finding Ultra and a 2-time finisher of Ultraman. He and I have emailed off and on for years but had never met in person. We sat down together to record the podcast and it’s over 2 hours long! I couldn’t believe we chatted for so long, so easily. Apparently he has a history of long podcasts and people enjoy them so I look forwarding to hearing it. I mention lots of stuff I am excited about like cycling in Los Angeles, Portobello restaurant in Portland, the Badwater 135, Furnace Creek 508 and of course plant-based nutrition. As soon as it’s up I’ll be posting it to my twitter and facebook feeds.

 

Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes Update

We are scheduling new Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes episodes. I know, I’ve been saying this for a long time. I’m sorry!! Sasha and I had a meeting over the weekend and we made some plans and we are stoked. New website very soon.

 

And…..

Lastly, and this is probably the biggest thing, I wrote a book with chef Joshua Ploeg! But it’s not what you think it would be. It won’t be out until June 1st and I’ll share all the details in a stand alone post.

 

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‘Eat More Plant-based Meals’ Handout Now Available

I’d like to share a resource I wrote for people who are new to plant-based or vegan eating via the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group, a subset of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

It’s a full-color double-sided pdf that you can download here:

Eat-More-Plant-based-Meals (pdf!)

It’s just one of over a dozen handouts on different vegetarian nutrition topics that are available at VegetarianNutrition.net. Please share these widely as many people have questions about nutrition that these resources, written by experts, can answer. If I have any mutual friends with Jay Z (hey, you never know) could you pass this along for his 22-day vegan challenge? Thanks.

Eatmoreplantbasedresource

[A screenshot of the top half of the double-sided handout]

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