For those of you in the Northeast enduring the harsh winter, I’d like to invite you to this talk I’m giving at UMass Amherst next week. I’m honored to be a guest of the UMass Nutrition Association, Kinesiology Club, Students in Graduate Nutrition and the Department of Nutrition. The topic will be my work with plant-based athletes and my experience in alternative career paths for dietitians. It will be fun and there will be snacks! This event is free and open to the public. More details below and on the facebook event page. Special thanks to Eliza Beth Mellion who has done a huge amount of leg work to make this happen.
Be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram for photos of snow and cold and to see how 13.5 years of living in Southern California has made me soft!
Austin, Texas is a great place. I was there on the No Meat Athlete book tour where we did an event at the Beard Bros factory and presented to the Whole Foods corporate office. And it happens to be one the first place I flew to on my own (with a friend) as a tiny, teenage BMXer. Austin, like where I grew up, is huge for BMX and an older friend / local hero had moved so we went to check it out and get away from the harsh Pennsylvania winter and ride our bikes.
Ever since, I have loved Austin so I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Whole Foods / Engine-2 28-Day Challenge this year.
Two Events This Week
Both are a combination cacao book signing and a talk about staying active while maintaining a plant-based diet. These are laid back events and I love answering questions so if you have friends in Austin please send them along!
*Thur Feb 5, 530pm. Bee Cave Whole Foods Market. Engine 2, 28-Day Challenge. Book signing and talk. 12601 Hill Country Blvd. Bee Cave, TX 78738.
*Sat Feb 7, 12pm. Lamar Flagship Whole Foods Market. Engine 2, Meet The Experts series. Book signing and talk. 525 N Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78703.
Going Back in May!
And I’ll be there in May for the awesome Vida Vegan Con blogger conference. I can’t wait. Strongest Hearts will be there and both Sasha and I are speaking!! And it just so happens the wonderful organizers will be in Austin this week and made this terrific map of vegan spots: Austin Vegan Food! And you can probably count on seeing food photos on my Instagram and the VVC Instagram. I know I can’t wait to eat some Tex-Mex.
I’ve a few other events already scheduled for 2015 that will get their own post, but you can peep them at my events page. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at an event!
[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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
I love holidays. I really do. People are nicer, more polite, more willing to share; many work less often and the emphasis is on friends and family. It’s how I wish people acted every day! For many years I was too punk to really celebrate them, but now I look forward to sharing time and food with close friends and family.
Thanksgiving is extra special because it is my vegetarian anniversary- 2012 will be my 18th vegetarian Turkey Day (I went vegan not longer after)! That’s more than half of my life, which seems significant. This week I’ve been thinking back to the angst-y teenager I was who decided to stop being wishy washy about this not eating animals thing and took a stand. It’s unfathomable to me that the same number of years old I was then, have since passed. And that that decision has changed my life so much!
That first Thanksgiving I ate only sides- which isn’t hard to do at an Italian Thanksgiving. Plenty of pastas, salads, and vegetables for me to eat. Soon after that I learned more about the history of Thanksgiving, the celebration of ‘giving thanks’ and romanticizing those who, and I don’t use these words lightly, committed genocide against Native Americans. I then fasted in protest for Thanksgiving over the next bunch of years. How could we celebrate so much death- people and animals?
I calmed down about it eventually and found that discussing these issues and offering delicious vegan options as Thanksgiving dinners was the most productive thing to do. And that’s my MO- be a positive example of alternatives. Alternative ways of thinking, eating and interacting. Compassion is a topic of Thanksgiving- my philosophy has always been to just widen that circle of compassion like that famous science guy said.
But this year, inexplicably, I’m more angry than ever about the millions of turkeys killed for this holiday. I pride myself on not being preachy- most of those who follow my site are more interested in my adventures and racing than my diet or politics. And maybe I’ll lose some of those folks. But tomorrow if you sit down at dinner and there’s a dead bird in the middle of that table you have to know that it was a living, breathing being with emotions and feelings that suffered and died unwillingly to be there. And the solution is simple: the more people who give up eating animals the less that are killed. You can make a difference.
Photos from 15 reasons not to eat turkey.
Vegan Thanksgiving recipes
Filed under political, vegan
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!
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.
dietary fiber 29g
vitamin A- 227%
vitamin C- 215%
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!