Category Archives: travel

I wrote a book about cacao and chocolate!

So stoked to finally, officially, make this announcement! Yes, an entire book about cacao and chocolate with 75 vegan (mostly savory!) recipes:

Superfoods For Life, Cacao (available: IndieboundSkylight | Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes and Noble)

SuperfoodsForLifeCacaoIndieboundSkylight | Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Why cacao?  Last year the No Meat Athlete book publisher asked if I was interested in writing a book in their series, Superfoods for Life. Super foods? Not necessarily my cup of tea. But when they said cacao, I said maybe. Then I spoke with DIY chef and friend Joshua Ploeg- who absolutely loves using ingredients in unique ways- and it was set. We’d do it. Yeah, I can’t believe it either!

I’m going to be writing about this more extensively over the next few months as this topic lends itself well to discussion. Like the woman in Mexico who is the current ‘oldest ever human’ who claims chocolate has played a role in her longevity (anecdotal, of course). Or this recent news article in the Las Vegas Review Journal that is totally inline with my view of the subject.

  • There’s a lot of research on cacao, chocolate and the phytochemicals they contain. I used over 60 peer-reviewed studies to write this book and discuss the role these compounds have on everything from type-2 diabetes and heart disease to dementia and athletic performance. This paper in the journal Nutrients is an example of what’s out there. It’s a very exciting direction of research.
  • Yes, I’ve seen the video about superfoods and science. I agree! In the book I write about the beneficial components of everyday plant foods; you don’t need to eat exotic berries, mushroom extracts or antioxidant pills to be healthy. Cacao does have especially high amounts of phytochemicals, but one ingredient, no matter what it is, doesn’t determine your health.

 

Photo: Fairwinds Press

Tamarind-Chocolate Chili. Photo: Fairwinds Press

 

If you want to support me and the book here’s how you can help:

  • Share this post or information about the book with your friends and social media contacts. If you know me- you know I don’t do a lot of self-promotion. But I’m very proud of this work and I want more people to be exposed to solid science and fun recipes. I’m all about expanding people’s experiences through food and this book definitely does that.
  • Come to an event! Keep your eye on my website and social media for announcements about book signings, talks and other events around the country. I’m currently planning events in Oakland, Santa Rosa, Boulder, Ashville, Atlanta, Chicago and Bethlehem; to name a few for 2014.
  • If you have a website and discuss food, veganism, cacao or any related topics please get in touch if you’d like to write about the book, share a recipe, do an interview with Joshua or I, etc. I’m happy to supply you with what you need.
  • Check out the work of the Food Empowerment Project. There are issues around the production of cacao and if you are buying chocolate, you should make yourself familiar with them. I write about this in the appendix of the book and I’m also donating 10% of my royalties to them because I love what they do.

 

As always, I appreciate my readers and everyone who has supported my endeavors. Thanks for reading!

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Filed under eat, nutrition, recipe, travel, vegan

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

NYC Residency Coming Up

Hey everyone! I’ve some exciting news. The week after Thanksgiving I will at the Skin Care Lab in Soho seeing clients. Dr Brad Katchen and I began talking over email after he came to my talk at Jivamukti Yoga back in April and wants to offer plant-based nutrition counseling to his patients and others. Details are here.  I’d like to add that there’s a 10% discount for my readers and their friends- just mention my site or Discerning Brute.  To make an appointment you can call 212-334-3142. 

I’ve worked with enough people over the years to know that there’s a lot of confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not. Many people feel overwhelmed or just don’t know where to begin.  And many self-proclaimed nutrition experts are simply repeating what they read or what works for them. My approach is to meet people where they are and go from there with the most sound science and practical applications.  While I do skype, phone and email consultations, there’s nothing like sitting down face to face to discuss this! If you are in the area, I encourage you to make an appointment today. Or it could make a great Thanksgivukkah present!

I’d be remiss to not end with some Thanksgivukkah vegan recipes and mention this fun article by Isa Moskowitz on CNN about hosting vegans at this time of year

 

Thanksgivukkah

 

 

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No Meat Athlete Book Tour

As you probably know, the No Meat Athlete book came out this month and I’m very excited to be a co-author. I’m especially happy right now to announce that I am jumping on some of the book tour with Matt! I’ll be doing the Southern California, Arizona and Austin events.

no-meat-athlete-book-cover

November 1 — San Diego, CA | Movin’ Shoes (Pacific Beach location) — Get Updates

November 3 — Los Angeles, CA | Vegan Book Fair at Animal Advocacy Museum, presented by Compassion Over Killing — Get Updates

November 5 — Phoenix, AZ | 24 Carrots – Get Updates and Tickets

November 6 — Scottsdale, AZ | Nourish Cafe – Get Updates

November 7 — Tucson, AZ | Morning Blend show followed by run/event presented by Healthy You Network (details to come)

November 9 — Austin, TX | Bearded Bros. – Get Updates

If you live in one of these areas, I’d love to see you at an event. Have an omnivorous friend who is interested in vegetarianism? Bring them along. And as time allows, I can schedule private consultations in these cities if you are interested in working with me one on one.

Also, I’m taking recommendations for your favorite places to eat and drink coffee in these cities!

For those in the Los Angeles area I encourage you to join me before Sunday’s event at Dan Koeppel’s staircase walk. Dan created the Big Parade which is a yearly walk of over 100 staircases in Los Angeles (my photos and story) and leads regular walks that will no doubt show you parts of LA you didn’t know exist. Sunday’s walk focuses on the Hyperion-Glendale Bridge because the city is planning on ‘improving it’ with wider lanes, freeway dividers and 55 MPH speeds with little concern for cyclists and pedestrians. Right in between the very walkable and bikeable Silver Lake and Atwater neighborhoods!

Lastly, if you are in Northern California the No Meat Athlete San Francisco event with Leo Babauta from Zen Habits looks very cool. Which reminds me: If you haven’t seen it please check out Leo’s 7-Day Vegan Challenge and share it widely.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the road!

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Day in the Life 11; Vegan Track Cyclists

Bike racing is a tough, unforgiving discipline that requires focus, strength and endurance. But do you think all cyclists are super thin or scrawny? Then you haven’t met any track cyclists. Track cycling is over 100 years old and takes place on a velodrome at speeds nearing 60 miles per hour. There are a variety of track races but they all require one thing: being able to pedal a single speed fixed gear brakeless bicycle at incredibly high speeds. And like sprinters in track and field, this requires a tremendous amount of leg strength for power and output.

So for our next installment in the Day  in the Life of Vegan Athletes Series, I’d like you to meet 3 track cyclists who know that eating vegan doesn’t compromise strength and speed on the track. I mean, how many people do you know that require special pants to fit their quad muscles into?

JackLindquistPistons

Jack Lindquist with his world famous piston tattoos.

First we meet Kevin Selker of Boulder, CO. We met Kevin while in Colorado filming with Modern-Day Pentathlete Justin Torrellas and he even makes a brief appearance in the Runner Megan Hebbe episode where I fail miserably at cross-country skiing. Kevin, despite being a PhD student, won 30 track races in 2012! And this year (this weekend actually!) he’s headed to the Collegiate National Track Championships. And it’s his wonderful lasagna recipe that we feature below.

Next we meet Jack Lindquist, formerly of Los Angeles, who now resides in Portland, OR where he manages the one-of-a-kind bikeshop/coffeebar/bar Velo Cult. Jack is a long-time friend of mine and whenever anyone mentions vegans being weak I mention that he can deadlift over 500 pounds. That’s a quarter ton he can pick up off the ground!

Lastly we meet Zak Kovalcik of Portland, OR. Like Jack, Zak is a former bike messenger. He also realized he can go really fast on a bike and decided to ‘pursue’ it. And as you’ll see he has the big wins to prove it. I also want to mention that he rides for the Sizzle Pie Team, mostly because they have kick-ass vegan pizza and a great ‘slice and salad’ special that I always hit up when I’m in Portland!

Here it is, episode number 11:

How great is that? To read more about Zak winning TWO national championships in 2012 check out this article. And isn’t Kevin the nicest guy ever? It’s hard to imagine that someone so incredibly nice could be so competitive. I love that we met him for the first time and he was making this lasagna, and now you can too!

Kevin Selker’s Homemade Chickpea Cheez Vegan Lasagna

Adapted version of an adapted version of the lasagna from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook.

Makes one very large or two normal-sized lasagnas.

Breadcrumb topping
1-2 cups homemade breadcrumbs (when you don’t finish a loaf of bread in time, leave the leftover slices out–I leave them on top of my fridge–to dry out, then process them and store.  The best bread makes the best breadcrumbs.  Store bought breadcrumbs are usually awful.)
Couple cloves of garlic
More parsley or carrot tops or fresh italian herb of your choice
2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Process the breadcrumbs with the garlic, adding the oil while the blade is spinning.  Then add herbs and salt and pulse once more. Set aside.

Chickpea filling
1 quart (32oz) Prepared chickpeas  (If you cook these at home add a teaspoon of baking soda when they’re boiling–it speeds cooking and helps them get extra soft!)  Reserve some cooking water from the chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP cornstarch
Handful of flat leaf parsley or carrot tops

Puree the chickpeas in a blender or food-processor.  (NOTE: To save time you don’t have to clean it after making the bread crumbs) Add the garlic and starch and puree until smooth, adding the reserved cooking water if needed.  The consistency should be like a very soft hummus.  Add the parsley or carrot-tops and puree to combine.  If the beans were unsalted, add a bit of salt, otherwise probably don’t–it’s OK if this sauce is not very salty.

Vegetable Filling
1 large onion, chopped
Several cups vegetables of your choice. Favorites include:
1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
Large handful of dried tomatoes, chopped
Large handful of olives, pitted and sliced

Sauté the onion for a few minutes, and add the vegetables in order that they need to be cooked.  Do not overcook, as the lasagna will bake also.  Some (most) vegetables won’t need to be cooked much or at all, so just add these at the end and kill the heat.  Add half of the tomato sauce.

Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBSP flour (whole wheat or white)
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP tomato paste
1.5 cups vegetable broth or water (you can use bouillon also)
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon (pro-tip: you can use the same lemon!)

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the flour, and mix, being careful not to burn the flour.  Next, add the garlic and tomato paste and mix well.  Incrementally mix in the vegetable broth and continue to stir, smoothing out lumps.  Bring to a simmer for a minute, then lower the heat and add the lemon juice, zest, and wine.  Done!

Additional Ingredients
1 quart (32oz) Tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought marinara)
About 12 ounces of lasagna noodles, either prepared or no-boil

Assembly 

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook the lasagna noodles as desired.  On the bottom of the pan, put about 1/4 cup of the lemon sauce: enough to coat the bottom.  Then put a layer of noodles.  On top of the noodles put half of the vegetables, then another layer of noodles.  Spread all of the bean filling evenly and top with remaining vegetables.  Top with a final layer of noodles.  Pour the lemon sauce over the top and remaining tomato sauce (if there is room).  Wrap tightly in foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Then turn oven up to 450-500 and take the lasagna out.  Remove the foil, topping the lasagna evenly with the breadcrumbs.  Bake until the breadcrumbs are slightly browned.   Let the cooked lasagna rest for a bit before cutting, serve warm.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you! And if you are ever in Portland, Oregon there is more to do than eat so you should stop by Velo Cult and say hi to Jack!

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Filed under bike, Day in the Life, nutrition, race, recipe, travel, 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.

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Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

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.

VeloCultMay2013

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!

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Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan