Category Archives: nutrition

Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes Update!

[Thursday March 21 1145am update: Still have about 10 prints left!]

You probably have noticed a lack of updates on our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes project, but it’s for good reason, don’t you worry. Fellow co-creator and bad-ass filmmaker Sasha Perry has spent the last 10 weeks as Executive Producer of Whale Wars filming with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on an anti-whaling ship in the Antarctic Ocean! I’ve been able to email with her and it sounds like it has been an unbelievable experience. Maybe you saw the Sea Shepherd ship being rammed by a whaling ship that is 5x bigger?! Now, after two and a half months at sea, they are returning to Melbourne, Australia after keeping the illegal whalers to the smallest kill year yet!

SeaShepherdBookClub

Sea Shepherd Book Club getting some important reading in at the bottom of the world.

Where does that leave Day in the Life? Since our Kickstarter campaign we have created six episodes- Donovan Jenkins, Catherine Johnson, Megan Hebbe, Justin Torrellas, Rob Dolecki and Michael Arnstein. And we have at least two more episodes in production! We feel we have made very good use of the funds we were so fortunate to receive. But as that money dries up we were forced to discuss what’s next. People have used the videos as the education tools they are designed for and we have gotten wonderful feedback. Just last week I showed the Cara Gillis episode, where she kicks my ass on hill intervals, to a packed room of over 125 people! So obviously we want to keep making them, but we decided to make a small change.

CaraJeffscreening

I recently spoke at a bike shop to over 125 people interested in plant-based nutrition. Screening the Cara Gillis episode was a hit!

We are going to move Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes to a new site. A site that isn’t my personal one, but one that is exclusively about plant-based athletes. We are very excited! Domains have been purchased, twitter handle has been secured and other important internet-y stuff has already been done.  What is the site? Well, we can’t tell you just yet. Because there’s nothing there! Here’s where you come in. We have a few goodies left over from our previous fundraiser that I’m putting up for sale with 100% of the proceeds going toward the setup of the new site. Orders can be made via my Paypal using mattruscigno at gmail.com. Please mention the specific item you are interested in and order by Saturday March 23rd at 1159pm PST!

Make Rad Decisions

I have about 20 (out of 100- each hand-numbered) of the Make Rad Decisions posters left. They were printed by the awesome Tom P from Bird Apt Printing on heavy-duty 8.5×11 poster board using environmentally-friendly inks. They rule! Prints are $15 shipped to the US. International orders get in touch.

Appetite For Reduction

I have two copies of Appetite For Reduction signed by Isa Moskowitz and myself. I think these are worth at least $40 shipped! Though instead of going straight to Paypal let’s see if we can do a silent auction in the comments. Top two bidders get em! Don’t make me give up my faith in humanity by giving fake bids, okay? These would make an awesome gift for your favorite cookbook fan. Last bids taken by Saturday March 23rd at 1159pm PST.

Since I already have these items, 100% of the funds (after stupid Paypal and shipping) go toward our new site and new episodes! Thank you so much for supporting our project thus far and we look forward to making more episodes as soon as Sasha is back on land. Well, we’ll give her a few days to get used to no longer being at sea and then we’ll make some new ones!

4 Comments

Filed under Day in the Life, nutrition, vegan

Posters for San Diego and New York City talks

I love fliers, posters, whatever you want to call them, I love them. It’s probably the old punk in me. Old as in standing in front of a copy machine with scissors, photos and a marker and cutting and copying, cutting and copying until you get it just right. Things have changed a bit (most fliers never become actual hard copies!) but I still love them. Below are two that my hosts made for upcoming talks in San Diego and New York City. Thanks Cycling Camp SD and Discerning Brute! If you live in or near one of these cities please pass them on. More info on my talks here: www.truelovehealth.com/speaking.

MattRuscignoSD.jpg

 

 

MattRuscignoNYC

Leave a comment

Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I’ve created a page for my speaking engagements: www.truelovehealth.com/speaking and have included the Spring events below. I love doing these sort of events! If you are near any of these please come out and say hello. And bring your friends! Thank you to all of the people who have helped to make these possible.

All events are free of charge, unless otherwise noted.

*Wednesday March 13th 6pm  Hi-Tec Bikes,  San Diego, CA

Adding Plant-based Meals to Your Sports Nutrition Plan: The How and Why
Brought to you by my friends at Cycling Camp San Diego. See the event page on facebook for more info.

 

*Saturday March 23rd  Mission Viejo Hospital, Mission Viejo, CA

Plant-based and Powerful: What We Know About Vegan Athletes
Part of the Orange District Dietetic Association Fundraiser. May require registration.

 

*Tuesday March 26th 4-6pm Austin Peay University, Clarksville, TN

 The Unathletic Vegan Athlete, is that Even Possible?  How Being Physically Active Can Have Nothing to do with Sports
Hosted by the APU Sociology Department and Tucker Brown, PhD.

 

*Wednesday March 27th 7-830pm  Compassion Over Killing Headquarters, Washington, DC

Film Screening on Vegan Athletes with Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD
Limited seating, reservations required!

 

*Thursday March 27th 7pm  Sticky Fingers, Washington, DC

Plant-Based Nutrition Discussion with Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD
Limited seating, please get there early! More info here.  Special menu by Sticky Fingers! Hosted with Compassion Over Killing.


*Wednesday April 3rd 7-9pm  Jivamukti Yoga, New York, NY

Athletes and Plant-based Nutrition: Get Real Science From An Expert
Presented by The Discerning Brute and will include a question and answer session with myself and other vegan athletes. Ten dollar suggested donation. Facebook page and spectacular event flier!

 

*Sunday April 7th Chicago, IL

Sports Nutrition: What We Know About Plant-based Athletes
Details TBD

 

*Thursday, May 2nd 2-3pm Boise, Idaho

Sports Nutrition: What We Know About Plant-based Athletes
Idaho Dietetic Association annual meeting. Requires conference registration.

*Friday or Saturday May 3rd or 4th Portland, Oregon

Athletes and Plant-based Nutrition: Get Real Science From An Expert
Details TBD. Hopefully at Velo Cult with the my friends from Herbivore!

Leave a comment

Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

My Thoughts on The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Corporate Sponsorship

I’m an idealist, there’s no doubt about it. I dream big! With my beliefs though compromise is a necessity to get anything done. It’s a reality I accepted when I started studying nutrition as a teenager at Penn State University. And there really is no better analogy for compromise than my academic pursuit to become a Registered Dietitian.  Yes, Cattle and Dairy Boards have influenced nutrition as we currently know it, but I’m confident that thanks to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics I received the best education in nutrition available. I have no regrets about becoming an RD.

Note that I say ‘best education in nutrition available.’ There is room for improvement and not everything my professional organization does I agree with. My ideal organization is really unfathomable, so I choose my battles and do more to promote what I want to see than to fight what I am against.

ANDReportCover

With that said, Michele Simon’s report, And Now A Word From Our Sponsors, hit a chord with me. It’s no secret that The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics works closely with major corporations and big food interests. I remember the first year I attended the Food and Nutrition Convention and Expo, the Academy’s annual conference, and was staying with a friend of mine. She noticed my conference bag and said, ‘Coca-cola sponsors your conference? Really? That’s insane that these are supposed to be nutrition experts and something so unhealthy sponsors your conference!’ And in one sentence she nailed the problem with having such sponsors. Not to mention the embarrassment!

The issue here is power.

With size and money big companies become powerful. They alter the environment we live in (‘environment’ in both senses of the word!) and normalize use of their products. It’s no coincidence that Coke billboards are everywhere, portion sizes have grown tremendously and nearly everyone on the planet knows what soda is.  Do you remember the Beef Industry freak-out over Meatless Monday being in an internal USDA memo? And the USDA issuing a public apology immediately? That’s power.

They have influence.

They influence government regulation from safety standards to advertising to young children. Big brands have billions of dollars to advertise their products, buy smaller companies and influence decision-makers and policy-creators like Registered Dietitians.

People say we need to hear both sides and we have to work with them to make change.

But the reality is their number one interest is in selling more of their product. It’s the nature of capitalism. The power dynamic is off: health professionals are not on equal footing, it is naive to think so. They have fought every single effort to reduce their effect on our health and the planet. If you work for them you are merely doing damage control.

190386701

One of my first tweets ever was this photo from the 2010 FNCE in Boston of RD’s lined up to get free soda from Coca-Cola.

This is what makes small companies different.

It’s not about any sponsors. It’s about the right ones. They do not have the access to power and influence, so say the Mushroom Council or Broccoli Growers Association (one of those is real!) are not able to throw their weight around the way Coca Cola does. They don’t have the power to promote positive research and to bury negative outcomes. Or to buy off health professionals. Selling sugar-water is much much more profitable than selling vegetables straight out of the ground and these profits must be protected. When we work with them we are helping to protect their power, influence and profits. Is it worth the damage done to our field?

Yes, Registered Dietitians are smart enough to know if research has been influenced.

But that is not the issue. It is merely the association with our professional organization that is problematic. Like the story of my friend who pointed out the blatant hypocrisy. It’s embarrassing. We can do better. I understand defending your professional organization, but fellow RD’s please put your ego aside and think about what’s best to remain credible and move on as the nutrition experts we are.

A few links to read more about this.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics did respond to Michele Simon’s report, but it’s either purposefully ignorant or simply they don’t understand what the issue is. And she has since responded and pointed out what they are missing.

This has gotten some media in the United States, which Michele Simon covers here, but the most interesting, in my opinion, is this Al Jazeera 25-minute video on the topic.

The Union of Concerned Scientists briefly cover the influence of corporations on science in a recent article, which I recommend if this idea is new to you.

And every single person who works in the food and nutrition field should read Food Politics by the great Marion Nestle. And while you are at it, World Hunger: 12 Myths will give you a good idea of how corporate interests are protected at the expense of people’s health all over the world.

To my Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

I am proud to be a Registered Dietitian. I have compromised with you tremendously over the years. I know we don’t see eye to eye on everything. But this is a big deal and we need to make some changes. Please read the suggestions that Michele Simon makes, listen to your members (and ex-members! This is why so many have quit!) and let’s continue to be the experts on nutrition. We don’t need Coca Cola’s money to do that. And taking it just isn’t worth our reputation.

7 Comments

Filed under eat, nutrition, political, read

Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine Conference!

Hey everyone, happy new year! A quick note that the new Vegan Health and Fitness magazine is having a conference/expo in Los Angeles on January 26th and 27th. I’m honored to be speaking and giving the last presentation of the day, Saturday night at 7pm. The full schedule has a list of fantastic speakers from a number of backgrounds and disciplines. Tickets are available in a few different formats; you can buy just the sessions you would like to attend, a day pass or one for the entire weekend. Plus right now they have a sweet deal: subscribe to the magazine for a year and get two free session passes at the conference. I’d like to point out that Cat Johnson, the kick-ass cyclocross racer from Day in the Life episode 6 , is on the cover of the recent Winter issue!

VeganHealthandFitnessExpo

I’ll be discussing some tenets of sports nutrition, my experience as a vegan athlete and sharing clips (or maybe a full episode!) of our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes series. I hope you can make it and if you do, please come say hello. I’ll be the guy wearing a shirt! Just kidding, I’m sure a few other people will have shirts on.

4 Comments

Filed under Day in the Life, nutrition, vegan

Day in the Life 10; Badwater Ultramarathoner Michael Arnstein

Our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes Series has a very special 10th episode today. We travel to the Badwater Ultramarathon, which has been called the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet, and ‘spend the day’ with fruitarian Michael Arnstein.  Mike has a 2.28 marathon PR and sub-10 hour ironman results, which is super impressive, but not nearly as impressive as his positivity! Which is put to test during this 135-mile run in temperatures near 120 degrees. He has so many great things to say and he really captures the spirit of this race and what it’s like to run 135 miles. Without further ado, here’s Michael Arnstein’s attempt at Badwater:

How crazy was that! He endured through the night and just when you thought he might not make it, he finishes top 20! Among many great quotes, here is my favorite,

“When you embrace the struggling, you just learn how to accept it and appreciate it.
Because the good times are only really great when the bad times are pretty tough.”

For more on Mike, his diet and other videos see his site, www.thefruitarian.com. Thanks for watching!

Photo courtesy of AdventureCORPS

14 Comments

Filed under Day in the Life, nutrition, road, run, vegan

Day in the Life 9; BMX Photographer Rob Dolecki

BMX riding is one of the most difficult sports to master- it takes crazy skills that are only perfected with great risk. Like skateboarding, there is no safety net and the slightest error can lead to injury. It’s physically and mentally demanding, to say the least. The variety within BMX is also huge- imagine becoming an expert at every single soccer position- most BMXers ride skateparks, street and BMX trails. It’s also a sport with very little recognition- sure there’s the X Games, but that’s not what most BMXers are interested in.  As cliche as it is, those who do it absolutely love it.

And our newest athlete in the series, Rob Dolecki, is a case in point. He simply loves BMX and bike riding.  The man is humble and not quick to talk about himself.  I think the only reason he agreed to this is because of how strongly he feels about veganism and because we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years! Rob is a full-time BMX photographer for magazines like DIG BMX, but that doesn’t mean he has stopped riding- even at 40 years old!

 

I love how Rob is a quiet, positive example of veganism, which is exactly what this project is about. He knows that the best way to influence others is by showing what’s possible in life- whether that’s smiling while jumping a 20 foot gap on a bike or finding food while on the road in the South America. Rob shared his tips for traveling while being vegan:

Road Trip Vegan Food Tips

Be flexible! You may not find your favorite or the healthiest foods on the road, but sometimes you have to just eat what’s available and vegan. What’s most important for your long-term health is the food choices you make most often. Don’t stress over eating eating less than ideally while on the road!

Be prepared.  Learn about the food choices where you are headed.

Plan ahead. Can you carry food with you while you are away from resources?  Some easy choices while traveling-

Fruit- Dried or fresh.
Nuts- High in calories and important nutrients, these are a life saver when spending long periods of time between meals on the road.
Bread and nut butter- Vegan bread is easy to get,  add some peanut butter and you have a filling, tasty meal to hold you over.

Be sure to check out Rob’s exceptional photography at www.twicebmx.com. Thanks Rob for spending your day with us and getting me out on a BMX bike again!

 

7 Comments

Filed under bmx, city, Day in the Life, nutrition, vegan

Vegan Nutrition Events in Philadelphia October 5th and 6th

I work very closely with the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group (DPG) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association).  It’s a group of RD’s who are Academy members who have an interest in vegetarian nutrition- we keep the nutrition field updated on vegetarian nutrition. I’ve had the privilege of being on the Executive Committee for the last 2.5 years and I’ve spent a lot of time working on these upcoming events in Philadelphia that occur before the annual dietetic conference, FNCE.

It has been a crazy amount of work to have these open to the public and I hope it is worth it. We have great speakers and panelists, like Ginny Messina, Jack NorrisSharon Palmer, Reed Mangels, Enette Larson-Meyer and myself. The first 50 to register for each event get a free book. And we’ll have vegan pizza from Blackbird Vegan Pizzeria Friday night! If you live near Philadelphia or know someone who does, please send them this post and help us fill the room. Thank you and hope to see you in Philadelphia.

 

Friday Night October 5th Vegucated Screening 6-9pm
Screening of Vegucated followed by a Q&A with Producer Frank Mataska, Sharon Palmer, RD and Reed Mangels, PhD, RD. There will be a reception with food provided Blackbird Vegan Pizzeria and samples by our Friday night sponsor, Silk.  All Vegetarian Nutrition DPG events are also sponsored by Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger.

Pre-registration is $5 and highly recommended. The first 50 to register get a free copy of The Plant Powered Diet or the The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book!
Also let us know you are coming on the Vegucated Documentary with the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG Facebook event page.

 

Saturday October 6th Vegetarian Nutrition Presentations with 3 hours of CPEU’s!

12pm-1:30pm Powered By Plants: What We Know About Vegan Athletes
-Enette Larson-Meyer, PhD, RD and Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD

Plant-based diets have gained popularity among athletes from professional football player Tony Gonzales to Mixed Martial Artist Mac Danzig. But what does the research say and what work is being done to educate athletes about plant-based nutrition? This presentation by two athletic RD’s will review the latest studies and show how social media and film can be used for fun, creative nutrition education.

1:30-3:00pm Vegan Diets: What the Experts Say About Vitamin B12, Minerals, Protein, and Essential Fats
-Ginny Messina, MPH, RD and Jack Norris, RD

This session will highlight issues of interest in vegetarian diets, including rates of chronic disease in this population, findings regarding vitamin B12 status and bone health, and recommendations for meeting nutrition needs. Ginny Messina and Jack Norris are the authors of Vegan For Life and well-versed on the current science related to vegan nutrition. As requested this session includes an extended Q&A!

Pre-registration is only $5 and highly recommended. The first 50 to register get a free copy of Vegan For Life!
Let us know you are coming on the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG 20th Anniversary Presentations Facebook event page.

Both events are at the Friends Center (Rufus Jones Room) on the NW corner of 15th Street and Cherry St, just two blocks from the Convention Center (map).

More on all events here: http://vegetariannutrition.net/events/fnce/

All Vegetarian Nutrition DPG events are sponsored by Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger.

Not going to FNCE? Here’s how you can help:
Forward this email to colleagues and friends who will be in the Philadelphia area in October. Remember, these events are open to everyone!
Promote on Facebook with the links above. You can link to the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG Facebook.
Promote on Twitter, and link @VNDPG.
Link our public event site on your own site: http://vegetariannutrition.net/events/fnce/

7 Comments

Filed under eat, nutrition, travel, vegan