Category Archives: eat

SoCal Vegfest Speaking Events Saturday Oct 29th

This Saturday at the 2nd annual (free!) SoCal Vegfest I will be on an athlete panel, giving a talk on how you don’t need expensive/exotic foods to be vegan and healthy, and I’ll have a booth selling books and Strongest Hearts t-shirts! It will be a SUPER busy day, but I’d love to see some of my old friends who knew me when I posted on my website regularly. Plus if you visit my booth I’ll have some exciting info about an upcoming project!

The entire event is free (as is parking which I hear is a big deal) so it’s an excellent opportunity to bring some friends who are veg-curious. There’s lots of delicious food, good speakers, and it’s on a beautiful college campus. You can sit on the grass in the shade and eat your food in peace, if that’s your thing.  Here are the details for Saturday:

And remember to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more regular updates.

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Men’s Nutrition Guide and Strongest Hearts Interview with Stic from Dead Prez!

I recently worked with The Discerning Brute to create a Men’s Guide to Nutrition that answers common questions and concerns dudes often have. Click the link or the banner below. This is the perfect page to send people who are spreading myths about vegan diets- there are lots of links and references with the science to back up the claims.

 

NutritionGuide

 

And have you seen the Strongest Hearts video where I interview Stic from Dead Prez and his wife Afya Ibomu? As a long time fan of Hip Hop and Dead Prez I was very excited to sit down with them and chat about health, RBG Fit Club, straight edge and more! Give it a watch and share with your friends. You never know who you are going to influence.

-video embedded below-

 

 

 

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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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Screening of 2006 Fixed Gear Furnace Creek 508

Yesterday I turned 35 years old and pointed out to an also-recently-35 friend that we are the same distance in time to 50 as we are from 20.  Wrap your mind around that for a minute. If that doesn’t make you turn off your computer and run off to do something more productive, I’ll continue below.

Turns out that time is rather hard to put into perspective as this insanely helpful and great article with gradually increasing timelines shows. I’m feeling especially nostalgic because the weekend after this one is the Furnace Creek 508 and we are bringing back Team Bonobo: The 2006 four-person fixed gear team.

 

We were fixie famous before fixie famous was a thing. –Megan Dean

There’s even a documentary by Sasha Perry, the smarts behind our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes series.

 

 

As an excuse to get together, hang out with friends at Golden Saddle Cyclery and eat Pure Luck burritos, we are hosting a screening of Eat! Sleep? Bikes! Thursday Oct 3rd at 630pm. If you are in the LA area I hope you can make it. It’s a free event with great people. I’d also like to point out that 2006 was as far in the past as 2020 is in the future. I imagine by 2020 we’ll be racing hover bikes and that predictive text will be good enough to just read my mind and I won’t have to put words in a certain order in my head or actually have to type them any more.

I’ve taken some time off from the 508 after racing it solo 3 years in a row. Two of those years involved swimming at either the pre-race meeting or the halfway point. Let’s see if we can work that in somewhere this year. If we finish, 3 of us will be in the Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame. I’m not sure if there’s a distinction related to swimming.

 

2010 Pre-race meeting. Photo by Lisa Auerbach. http://lisaanneauerbach.com/

2010 Pre-race meeting. Photo by Lisa Auerbach.

 

Thanks for reading! You can follow the race webcast here. Also, don’t forget that the No Meat Athlete book comes out October 1st and there’s a book tour; I’ll be along for some of the dates including this vegan book fair in Los Angeles.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Roasted baby artichokes with garlic/breading and knishes

There’s nothing like dinner with mom.

 

Followed by vegan cannoli from my good friend Danielle’s bakery, Vegan Treats.

 

Quite a lot has changed since I was vegan teenager. Always nice to slow down and reflect.

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