Category Archives: travel

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.

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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.

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Filed under nutrition, travel, vegan

My Favorite Photos of 2012

I am well aware that it is already Spring and this is a ‘favorite of 2012′ post, but hey, better late than never, right? I take a lot of photos. Some end up on facebook or instagram but most never make it off of my phone/camera. I was looking through all 1400 of them and thought I’d pick some of the ones I like best from last year.

Thanks for reading (and looking!) and thanks to everyone who was a part of this madness!

TourDeFat

Tour De Fat is one of the funnest days of the year. And I don’t even drink!

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of two failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

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California Coast. Many many hours spent here in 2012.

Big dude big dog.

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Aaron Edge’s bag. He’s the dude I tweeted about from #furtherfasterforever who was recently diagnosed with MS.

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CicLAvia plus pupusa. Los Angeles!

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More CicLAvia hangouts. MacArthur Park.

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This tiny bridge connected two bike routes and not only made cyclists’ ride way shorter and easier, but safer. Also called ‘Jesus Bridge’ because google earth hadn’t caught up to Strava and it looked like you rode on water….

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Any dog in my sight is at risk of being picked up. Especially pugs. This is pre Zion 100.

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Can I help you? At the NYC Veggie Pride Parade.

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I love classic East Coast brick buildings with their shady fire escapes. Bethlehem, PA.

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I only went mountain biking a few times in 2012 (wtf?) but this ride with my friend Timoni was a good one. Snake!

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At the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest, where I finished third place in solo single speed. 2am blurry photo with a crooked wheel?

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A pug in a milk crate basket is already great. Another great part is that Paul, who I did the British Columbia bike touring / mountaineering trip with, saw this photo and thought I was taking this bike.

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British Columbia. SO MANY BEARS.

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Mountaineering cabin view. Hell yes.

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Us on the mountain from the previous photo!

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Mountaineering challenged me in many ways. Most of them mental!

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Roped in, on the side of a steep mountain, discussing if it’s safe to be where we are. Why not pull out my phone and shoot a photo?

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Whistler Mountain Bike Park. I had such a blast. One of the best days of the year for sure. Wish I had more photos, but I was too busy getting rad.

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Vancouver. There was a serious race. I ate a veggie dog from a vendor. End of story.

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North Shore, Vancouver. This place is internationally known and changed mountain biking forever. Such a privilege to be there and ride bikes! I saw this the first day, thought it was insane and then rode it the second day. I guess I got use to the bike I was borrowing? Haha.

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Twenty-four hour vegetarian dinner in Vancouver. I love breakfast, in case you didn’t know that.

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Back to Eden vegan bakery in Portland. A treat. And mirrors on the walls.

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This pug was going wild while the owner went shopping. I had just locked up my bike and was on the phone but fortunate enough to capture this.

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Donovan at the Headlands 50/100. He paced me on my first 50 miler. And then ran 50 more miles while I hitch hiked back to SF from Marin County. Beautiful race!

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We fostered kittens for awhile at my house. This one was born with only one eye. Adorable.

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You know it’s an adventure when you are sleeping in a high school gym. This is Christian, my college housemate and close friend who joined me for several hundred miles when I rode cross-country in 2001. Here we are at the Oil Creek 100. He ran the 100k and I DNF’d the 100-miler.

Oil Creek 100. I was planning on quitting at the mile 62 aid station but then somehow still blacked out after I sat down. Not sure what happened! This is me trying to get warm and figure out the meaning of life.

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Excuse me, can I hang out with your pug?

Thor. The pit bull rescue. Maybe the cutest puppy ever?

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Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. Yes, I’m pretty stoked and wearing a wig. Photo by Donovan. Hooliganness by Los Angeles.

Hey dawg.

I love garlic. And have the tattoo to prove it.

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Art.

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by PB Creative.

For the first time every I regularly made pizza from scratch at home.

For the first time ever I regularly made pizza from scratch.

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I'm a Racer. Photo by @Area45

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I’m a Racer. Photo by @Area45

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Filed under city, off-road, race, run, travel

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.

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MattRuscignoNYC

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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!

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Filed under nutrition, travel, 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/

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Filed under eat, nutrition, travel, vegan

Day in the Life 8; Olympic Modern Pentathlon with Raw-foodist Justin Torrellas

modern pentathlon fencing

Fencing is just one of five disciplines in modern pentathlon. I am not very good at it, as you see in the video!

Our Day in the Life series has given us some great experiences with exceptional vegan athletes.  But I have to say, none have been as unique as spending a weekend with raw vegan modern pentathlete Justin Torellas.  Five seemingly unrelated disciplines combined to make the only sport created specifically for the Olympics! I’m somewhat familiar with raw veganism but Justin’s diet surprised even me!  This is someone who casually said, “I want to go to the Olympics” and only then discovered modern pentathlon.  A raw vegan attempting to qualify for the Olympics in an obscure sport he’s never done? Not as crazy as you’d think.  Watch and be amazed! We were.

Justin: You make competing at an elite level seem like a walk in the park with your casual 5 minute mile running pace! And your honesty about your personal struggle with riding horses is very admirable.  Unfortunately Justin didn’t qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Modern Pentathlon but his attempt is nothing short of courageous.  And he did give us his salad recipe.  I’ve included the nutrition analysis in case, like most people, you think iceberg lettuce is mostly water and doesn’t have any nutrients!

Justin’s Giant Salad

2 heads iceberg lettuce
1 pound cherry tomatoes
8 ounces bean sprouts
1 T tahini
Juice from 2 lemons

Directions: Chop lettuce, juice lemons, mix (don’t you love raw recipes?). And look at this nutrition profile. More than half of your day’s iron in only 455 calories! And 24% of the calories in this salad are from protein.

calories 445
dietary fiber 29g
protein 27g
fat 11g
vitamin A- 227%
vitamin C- 215%
calcium 41%
iron 55%
folate 164%
vitamin K 592%

You are probably wondering how Justin gets enough calories if he is eating this salad for dinner.  He does it by eating often throughout the day.  He was sipping (or gulping if it was post-workout!) a banana smoothie or munching on fruit constantly. Like he says, he loves to eat. If you are a raw vegan and training several hours a day you need to eat often.  I recommend more variety in one’s diet, but he has been vegan a very long time and seems to have found a diet that works for him. Thanks for sharing your day with us Justin!

Justin and family. Don’t let this photo fool you, it’s not often any of them are sitting still!

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Filed under Day in the Life, race, recipe, run, travel, vegan

I love a good breakfast!

I hate to admit this, but finding a decent vegan breakfast at a restaurant can be difficult. Not everyone has a vegetarian co-op near them that serves biscuits and gravy in the morning. Often if you can get something it’s uninspired tofu scramble.  Breakfast is also the meal with the widest gap between vegetarian and vegan options. I was reminded of this when I bike toured the Great Divide mountain bike route in 2006 with my friend Steevo, a committed vegetarian. About 1 in 3 mornings we’d be able to eat out at a tiny dinner in a tiny town in Montana or Wyoming. I’d watch him devour pancakes, eggs with cheese, toast with butter…while I ate potatoes and ketchup.  Fortunately, vegan breakfasts are improving and there’s no better place to experience this than the Pacific Northwest.

The Naam, a 24-hour vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia that has been around for 30 years! And here’s everything you’d want for breakfast on one plate.

 

 

St Dames in Seattle, Washington. Another tasty, vegetable-y scramble with their homemade soyrizo. And a flaky, delicious biscuit.

 

Wayward Vegan Cafe, Seattle, Washington. Now we are getting fancy. Biscuits and gravy with diced, sautéed veggies AND a side of perfectly cooked kale. Lightly seasoned veggies are the best compliment to biscuits and gravy.  Marissa has a Monte Cristo- basically a ham/turkey/cheese sandwich with french toast as bread. It came with a side of hashbrowns, which is my preferred breakfast potato.  I wish this photo was better!

 

Jam on Hawthorne, Portland, Oregon. Jam isn’t my first choice for breakfast in Portland, but this is a terrific meal. Even though their scramble is just okay, serving it on a bed of hashbrowns with a side of red pepper sauce makes up for it. And blueberry chai pancakes!

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Filed under travel, vegan