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!
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: Indiebound | Skylight | Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
Indiebound | Skylight | 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.
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!
How’s summer going for you? Mine has been unusual, mostly because I’m still recovering from my broken wrist! What an experience this has been. I’m nearly back to normal; I’m riding my commuter bike and have gone on a few road rides, but no mountain biking (or even pushups!) just yet.
I’ve neglected my website, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I’ve spent a lot of the last few months focused on Strongest Hearts, the new manifestation of our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes project:
- We traveled to Austin to film the Plantbuilt team compete in the Naturally Fit Games and made this pre-competition episode.
Like our videos showing that you can be vegan AND an athlete? Please share them. We make these as tools to crush stereotypes about vegan diets and rely on our fans to help get them out there. Thank you!
Between my facebook, twitter, instagram and this site, I’m constantly sharing lots of information, articles and stories about nutrition, adventure and everything else (especially dogs). It’s hard to keep up, so I created a newsletter where I can put the best, most important stuff in one place and send it directly to your inbox. Please sign up here so you can stay up to date on my speaking engagements and other announcements, as well. I promise to not send more than a few emails per month.
I keep burying info about the book, Superfoods for Life, Cacao, I wrote with superstar chef Joshua Ploeg because everything hasn’t been set up to make the big announcement. But that time is coming very soon since the book will be available September 1st! I cannot believe it. The cover and updated info STILL isn’t on the online sites, but it is available for pre-order. And here’s a sneak peak at a recipe. Ordering now, from anywhere, helps out a ton because it shows interest in the book to distributors AND you get it cheaper. Win-win. Big announcement and details soon, for now, see it here:
Indiebound | Skylight | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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.
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.
Happy to announce that we launched a Kickstarter to fund the next phase of Strongest Hearts (previously Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes)! It’s not ideal, as I hate asking for money, but we’ve made some really great rewards from custom water bottles to hoodies and signed books. If you can help our fundraiser financially, we are forever indebted to you. If not, and I understand this completely, please do share it with other groups, websites, organizations, etc who believe in our mission. There’s a lot of noise around media projects in the vegan athlete world and many people simply don’t know what high quality videos we make. All current episodes can be seen here: Strongest Hearts web series. The more momentum we can gather early on the more likely we will be funded. Remember, if we don’t hit our goal we don’t get anything. Thank you for your ongoing support!
Link: Strongest Hearts Kickstarter
Last spring I was invited to Austin Peay University in Tennessee where an old friend is Chair of the Sociology Department to speak about how veganism and cycling relate to my profession. I was honored to speak there and I hope the students have gained as much from it as I have. I’m still thinking of the concepts I presented, one year later. Because this idea of community is huge- I’ve said this over and over on this site. Those of us who grew up in a subculture had it during the most transformational times of our lives and I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s automatic community. Leaning on people for help and returning it when needed is second nature.
And that’s what Strongest Hearts is going for. We want veganism and athleticism to be inviting. Open. A community. Unfortunately not all vegan fitness groups have the same outlook and I’ve seen a lot jock ignorance I’d expect in a high school gym class be promoted in some of these groups. Wtf? I’d get into this more if I wasn’t typing one-handed. For now check out these posts on fat shaming on Thinking Vegan.
Look out for a post on this idea of community and how it makes veganism easier (and better!) at Discerning Brute. My man Joshua has been killing it with his Brave Gentleman line! Oh and I submitted my first post for Girlie Girl Army yesterday, I’ll let you know when it’s up. I can’t believe Chloe invited me to be a contributor along with all of these beautiful people.
My friend Christy, the Blissful (and fit!) Chef, who is my comrade in injury right now, started a magazine called Definition For Ladies and they are having a salad recipe contest. Should I enter my Chopzilla recipe from the No Meat Athlete book?? Speaking of No Meat Athlete, Matt launched the No Meat Academy! I love Matt’s work, so I’m very excited about this. I’m sure I’ll be contributing in one way or another.
I shared MattRuscigno.com last week but didn’t realize it was private. It’s open now! Still just a mirror site for now.
Book….I still haven’t seen the new cover, which is what I’m waiting on for the big “I wrote a book!!” post. The exciting news is it hit the top 25 of all chocolate books on Amazon, just from pre-orders! Thank you, if you have ordered it. And nice to see another vegan book amongst all those paleo books. Pre-orders help tremendously and we’ll have stuff for everyone who orders it early, so hold on to those receipts and emails. See below for where to pick it up.
Indiebound | Skylight | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Hey everyone! I have so many announcements these days that I can’t keep track of them. I was discussing this with a friend the other day- when some projects and ideas get to a certain size they become bigger than you. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. One such project that is long overdue for an update is our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes series.
It is now Strongest Hearts, with its own look and feel. Our emphasis will remain on high-quality profiles of vegan athletes but we are expanding to include other movers and shakers in the vegan world, like our good friends Timeless Coffee, for example.
We’ve started filming again and have half a dozen episodes in the post-production phase. So exciting! You can see our previous 11 episodes all in one place and we’d love it if you could share them with your friends. Meanwhile you can follow @VegHearts and The Facebook Strongest Hearts for updates. I’m going to start writing more about sports nutrition at Stongesthearts.org as well.
Thank you everyone who has supported us over the years. The future looks bright for veganism and plant-based diets/lifestyles and we are proud to be a part of these communities.
More updates soon. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek for one of them.
Have a great weekend!