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.

Live and Let Live Documentary Film

Hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know about the Live and Let Live film that is coming out soon. They could really use some support for those last few financial hurdles. The trailer is below and the funding page is here: Live and Let Live on Startnext.

I’m happy to have a very small role in this and I look forward to the official release! Thank you for helping out, if you can.



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Filed under nutrition, vegan

What Has Been Up?

It has been a very long time between posts, even for me, and I apologize. There are a number of reasons so let’s break it down a little.

Speaking Tour Roundup

As many of you know, I went on my first speaking tour in the Spring and it was fantastic. So happy to have this video of one of my presentations thanks to Burning Hearts Media.  I can’t thank all of the people involved enough! It’s such a privilege to have friends and colleagues all over the country who helped me out in so many ways. This is what community is all about. Thank you.


No Meat Athlete Book and More

I contributed to this long post on No Meat Athlete that includes a graphic on plant-based sources of nutrients. This was a lot of work, so please check it out and pass it on. Speaking of work and No Meat Athlete, I’m very happy to announce that the No Meat Athlete book is up for pre-order! I wrote a chapter, contributed nutrition tips throughout and included some personal recipes. Excited to have my author page set up on Amazon as well. Matt Frazier is also going on a book tour and I hope to join him on a few dates!


Took a Break From Athletic Events

I probably should have realized this sooner, but I was burned out on racing and training. Even back before I DNF’d the Arizona Trail Race in 2011 I was feeling the effects of many years of training, racing, traveling and having a super hectic personal and professional life. In 2012 I mostly took it easy on the bike and only did two big events for fun. The Dirty Double and Enchanted Forest 24 Hour Mountain Bike race were even harder than they should have been. I tried to focus on ultra-running, but my heart was just never there. I dnf’d the Zion 100 at mile 63, I did finish the Headlands 50-miler (no write-up, just this photo?), but it wasn’t enough to get me through the Oil Creek 100, which I DNF’d at mile 62. I didn’t do a write-up for that race either, but do have this photo of me after blacking out at mile 62.  I realize this isn’t ‘taking it easy’ to most people, but switching to ultra-running was my attempt in 2012 to re-inspire myself for racing. It didn’t really work as I just didn’t get the training in to give it a good enough go. I claimed, ignorantly, that I could run a 100-miler on 25 miles a week training. The thing is I barely hit that number as a high week total, let alone average.

Then I got hurt at the second to last cyclocross race of the season in late December. I limped for a week and worried that I re-tore my ACL that I had surgery on when I was 19 years old. Fortunately I did not, but I couldn’t ride for about a month. So that set the stage to not do a single spring time race in probably 8 years.

It has been a very strange year in that regard. I still bike commuted and did the occasional road ride, but not often and definitely not fast. It wasn’t until June of this year that I started riding with regularity. I got a new mountain bike and that has helped a lot. Shout out to Ground Up Speed Shop!


Racing the Furnace Creek 508 with Team Bonobo

Team Bonobo, the 4-person fixed gear team from 2007, is reuniting for the 2013 Furnace Creek 508! It’s very exciting to think about when I’m not in disbelief that it was 6 years ago we did this. Damn! I dusted off my track bike, have been riding more and am actually stoked. Looking forward to spending 32 hours in a van or on my bike, but I don’t think there will be a movie about us this time.


New Day in Life of Vegan Athletes Project Moving Forward

We’ve had some delays but the new site and new project are moving forward! You will not be disappointed. When this launches it is going to garner a lot of my attention and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. For now, don’t forget we have 10 solid Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes episodes.


Secret Project Moving Forward!

I’m working on something with vegan chef extraordinaire Joshua Ploeg that is like nothing I have ever done. It’s huge and has been incredibly time-consuming, but will be so worth it in the end. Be ready to be surprised.


Some Reminders

Are you as sad as me that Google Reader ended? I know there are new RSS feeds available that function similarly, but I know I haven’t signed up for any yet. If previously you only read this in Reader I suggest either trying a new feed service or signing up in the right-hand column to have new posts emailed to you.

Don’t forget I use twitter regularly; see me at @TrueLoveHealth. And I post relevant articles and links to my facebook page almost daily.

As always, thanks for reading.


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Filed under bike, nutrition, race, vegan

Video of My Presentation on Nutrition for Athletes

This has been one of my busiest Springs in a long-while. Usually I spend this time working at home and preparing for the summer. Instead I was out and about on my mini speaking tour where I presented almost a dozen times. And from a classroom in a small college in Tennessee to a yoga studio in NYC and a bike shop in Portland, the rooms were packed! It’s such a privilege to have the network to set these up and to speak to so many people. I wish I had started doing these sooner! Thank you to everyone involved.

And thanks to Burning Hearts Media, there’s a video of my talk at Velo Cult in Portland:

I’ve also neglected writing here more often. Please follow my True Love Health Facebook Page or @TrueLoveHealth where I regularly post articles of interest.  Thanks for reading and keep your eye for a few bigger projects I have in the works. And get outside and enjoy the weather, wherever you are.


Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

2013 Feel My Legs I’m A Racer

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

The 8th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is now in the books! And by books I mean completed because unlike Danny Chew I do not keep detailed logs of the event. But fortunately a number of people come out and take great photos and videos so we do have documentation- see the entire history here. We had about 55 cyclists start, which is fewer than the previous couple of years, but on the other hand we had one of the lowest rates of attrition.

As always, thank you to all of the Swarm! volunteers who make this happen, especially Jesse and Jessica who ride up every hill and keep score for me. I couldn’t put this on without you two! And of course thank you to all of the riders who came out, had a great attitude and challenged themselves for no reward. The scenery and accomplishment are reward enough?!

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

Final points:

44 Jon Budinoff
41 Seth Britton
25 Ed McGreevy
16 Joseph Griffith
9 Michael Relth

Congrats Jon for not only winning this two years in a row, but for also winning the Swrve race the day before! And Seth for coming out and making him work for it the day after you won a road race.

Thanks Boyz on the Hoods for making this video:

More coverage and photos:

Errin Vasquez / Frontage Roads

Center Line Rule

Thrasher’s photos

Donovan Jenkin’s photos

Michael Wagner’s photos

Thanks everyone, see you next year!

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.


Filed under city, feelmylegs, race, road

Portland! Speaking event Sunday May 5th 6-730pm

[Update Monday 4-22: We are adding a Q&A panel that will include Ed Bauer from Plant Fit Training Studio and at least one other vegan athlete!]

Just nailed down the details for the Portland talk: Sunday May 5th, 6-730pm at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop. I’m working with my friends from Herbivore Clothing Company and my very good friend Jack Lindquist who is now the shop manager at Velo Cult! I’ve worked with Josh and Michelle previously when they published the Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal and I lent some expertise.

This event is free, but as always I am taking donations to cover some of my costs (also note my new donation button in the right-hand column!).  We may have a raffle to raise money with prizes from some of the many (many!) veg companies up there in Portlandia.


I’ve gotten lots of feedback from the half dozen or so presentations I have given in the last month and I’ll have some new info for this! My talks are beneficial for most everyone; from long-time vegans to those who are curious on how to get the most out of their nutrition plan. We talk a lot about athletes, but the information is not super technical and is appropriate for anyone interested in eating better. And there’s a chance we’ll have a new Day in the Life episode or promotional video! Either way, you’ll be stoked. Follow this post for updates on sponsors, etc.

See you in Portland!


Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #8, Sunday April 28th 2013

[Update Tuesday 4-23-12: Strava data!]
[Update Monday 4-22-13: It’s official; we’re going backwards. Again. Same map as last year, which I also embedded below]

A lot has changed in the Los Angeles bike world since I first held this event in 2006! Urban riders have become racers with regularity, racers have found the benefits of riding in the city and unsanctioned bike races are the norm. What I love is that these were the original goals of my bike club, Swarm!, way back in 2005 when we put a name to what we are doing- blurring the line between being a commuter and a racer and adding DIY ethics to everything. Bikes are more than exercise machines- they are a medium for exploring the world! Putting yourself on a bike in a city is still an act of rebellion. With that said I present to you the 2013 Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.


Sunday April 28th 745am at 3626 W Sunset Blvd / Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake.

Rider meeting at 810am, roll to first hill at 815.  Please be on time!

Yes– fun, rain, shine, any bike, water, snacks, tube, tools, stokedness, riding just to finish, riding for points, waiting at top of each hill
No– bad attitudes, entitlement, car support, jock mentality, entry fee, prizes
See other FAQ on this earlier post and entire event history here. Last year’s info and ride report are fairly comprehensive. It’s a facebook event too.

Send any questions to BikeSwarm [at] gmail. Day-of announcements on twitter: @BikeSwarm
I may need some more day-of volunteers, please let me know if you can help out. Thank you!


What exactly is this?

This is a stage ‘race’ on 10 of the hardest hills in Los Angeles that started in 2006. We ride as a group between hills and then each hill is its own event with points awarded for 1st through 5th. We regroup and ride together to the next hill. The rider with the most points after 10 hills wins! It’s based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Most riders are out there just to ride all 10 hills in one day, which is no small feat. It’s also a fun tour of hidden roads in Los Angeles.

Red- hills
Blue- route between hills
Green- route back to start from last hill

And strava data is available.

What are the hills?

Stadium Way/Boylston
Mt Washington

Do I have to race?

Definitely not! Most people on this ride are not racing, but are there just to ride up single every hill, which is a huge endeavor on its own.

Is there an entry fee?


Are there prizes?


Can I ride fixed gear?

You can try! We ride together from hill to hill and any gear that you could get up these hills with will be too low to stay with the group. You are welcome to come out and prove me wrong though. No automobile support to drive your bike around. I don’t care if you are the Messenger World Champion of the World. Using a flip flop hub is okay.

Will I get lost?

Probably not. We ride as a group from hill to hill at a chill pace. At each hill it will be obvious where to go. At any turns or confusing parts I’ll try to have chalk or a volunteer. We regroup at the top only after the last person has made it up. Either way, please familiarize yourself with the hills and the route.

How can I prepare?

Climb. A lot. Also check out all of the hills beforehand and learn the areas we ride through.  A good gauge is Micheltorena off of Sunset Blvd. It’s long with steep sections and if you can make it up that comfortably I think you can hang on this ride. Another test is Fargo St, which is a monster of a hill.  Most people who come out way underestimate how hard this is. Which is why more than half who start don’t finish.

Do I get a meal or picnic or something out of this?

I wish. In the past we’ve done everything from pancake breakfasts to picnics and from t-shirts to patches, all for a free event! I’m not sure we’ll be doing any of those in 2013, but I’ll see what I can do.

Who puts this on?

My bike club, known as Swarm!. We ride everything from alleycats to international UCI races. Collectively we think that the world would be a better place if people rode bikes and ate vegan food more often.

My friends want to watch, can they drive along the course and stop at the hills?

Absolutely not. We’re going to be on narrow roads in quiet neighborhoods; I don’t want to add to the car traffic. They are welcome to ride bikes along with us and I’ll help navigate the best places to see and how to get around. By the end almost half the people with us are just there to watch and cheer on the other riders! Again, no cars. I will ask you to leave. If multiple people cannot abide by this I will simply cancel this and ride away.

How long is this ride?

Plan to be done around 2pm, hopefully sooner.

Anything I can do to help?

Thanks for asking! I need help getting the word out. Please send this page to your bike club/crew/gang. I also may need some volunteers the day of. Getting up and down the hill may or may not be required. Photography is always appreciated, but again, by bike, not car. Get in touch at bikeswarm [at] gmail.

Thank you for your interest and I hope to see you at Sunset Triangle Park on Sunday the 28th!



Filed under city, feelmylegs, road

On the Road Spreading the Word About Healthy Eating

I’m elated to be on this tour speaking about the importance of nutrition; it’s a privilege to travel and be hosted by so many exceptional people and organizations.  You never know what to expect when you are setting up these events and I’m always nervous the hour before. Who will come? How will they react?

I was honored to be introduced by old friend Paul Shapiro, founder of Compassion Over Killing, who is now with the Humane Society.

I was honored to be introduced by old friend Paul Shapiro, founder of Compassion Over Killing, who is now with the Humane Society.

In the last 10 days I’ve given 5 presentations and the responses have been beyond amazing. At Austin Peay University in Tennessee I spoke to an exercise physiology class and gave a lecture presented by the Sociology Department. I love sociology, I almost double-majored in undergrad, so I tied in multiple concepts on how our environment has affected our food and transportation choices. For example- 1950’s racism lead to development of car-centric white suburbs; all with federal funding. Poor quality fast food soon followed to cater to this demographic. And I can’t thank my friend Tucker Brown enough for inviting me to speak and hosting me. So cool to hang out with my friend who took me to my first punk show 20 years ago.

In Washington, DC I was hosted by the wonderful people from Compassion Over Killing and presented on vegan athletes in their standing room only office. The next night Sticky Fingers Sweets and Treats graciously hosted me with a special menu! There I talked more in depth about vegan nutrition to another packed room.


Athletes like Scott Jurek make my presentation easier! Fortunately we have more than anecdotal evidence.

Turns out not only new vegans and flexitarians are hungry (zing!) for nutrition knowledge; seasoned vegans and activists equally want to know how to eat healthy. My presentations are not technical nor do they simply glorify eating vegan. My points are simple:

  • We have lots of research showing vegans diets are not only adequate, but have positive health consequences.
  • It’s more about what you eat than what you don’t eat! Vegans still need to base their diet on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
  • We don’t need to overly restrict foods or food groups once we are eating whole foods plant-based diets. 
  • It takes some work to be vegan! We need to learn the basics of nutrition and make wise choices in order to be the best vegans we can be.

I’m still on the road and have two more upcoming events. Wednesday night I’ll be in NYC at Jivamukti Yoga, presented by The Discerning Brute. Will include a question and answer session with myself and other vegan athletes. There’s a Facebook page and a spectacular event flier.

Saturday I’ll be in Chicago at the Bucktown Wicker Park Library at 3pm, brought to you by Chicago Veg. Event flier here.

If you are in either of these cities, I hope you can make it. Please come and say hello. And I promise that my presentations are not only informative, but fun too!

Lastly, congratulations to Vegan Outreach for handing out their 20 millionth pamphlet.


Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan