Vegan Nutrition

I’m working on a big vegan nutrition project -more on this soon- that has me researching topics I haven’t looked at in years. It’s a strong reminder of the amount of misinformation in the tubes of the interwebs. I hate to say this, but most of the influential vegan info I found when I ‘went vegan’ in the mid-90’s was exaggerated or simply not true. My profession as a public health dietitian, which I do not discuss often on this blog, is to disseminate accurate, reliable knowledge to the public. I see my training and education most useful as a filter between this mass of dis/information in the world and what people really need to know.

My thanksgiving day salad with purple cabbage,
sunflower seeds and toasted walnuts

Here are a few of my colleagues’ blogs that I recommend if you want more info about veganism, nutrition and cooking.

Jack Norris, RD has a blog he describes as ‘news for vegan advocates and those eating a plant-based diets.’ He is the co-founder of Vegan Outreach (one of my favorite animal advocacy organizations) and also runs

Virginia Messina, MPH, RD has a blog called Thoughts On Being Vegan: A Dietitian’s Viewpoint. She’s the author of The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets which is my go-to-book when I have a question that I can’t answer.

Dina Aronson, RD runs which has accessible nutrition information as well as recipes. I have worked with Dina through the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association, of which we are both active members.

For recipes I mainly use the cookbooks I already have, but tend to peruse both Isa Moskowitz’ Post Punk Kitchen and

For the new year you should check out the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart.

2009 Bike activism in LA

While I do a variety of things that do not include updating my blog, Stephen Box over at wrote a terrific article called 2009: The Year of the Bike that anyone interested in bike advocacy in Los Angeles should read. We have an uphill battle, but the energy and effort by people like Stephen is paying off. He’s part of the Bike Writers Collective who organized the LA Bike Working Group (I wrote about it here) in response to the City of Los Angeles ‘Bike Plan’ that reduces the number of bike lanes from earlier plans.

Stephen ends the article with this:
The year 2009 closed with LA’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa using the word bicycle in a sentence. He said, in an interview with KPCC’s Patt Morrison, “In the area of bicycling I’ve gotta do a better job and the city’s gotta do a better job.”

To those of you in any number of major US cities this is not a big deal. Your mayor probably rides a freakin bike, but Villaraigosa had never even muttered the word ‘bicycle’. I’m not getting my hopes up because he talks way (way) more than he does, but it is a step in the right direction. Come on Los Angeles, we are so close. Let’s step it up in 2010.

Dont Get Fat ‘training camp’ Days 4 and 5 ahead

*Update for Day 5* Due to Angeles Crest still being closed we’re going to do a flat-ish 100 on PCH. Still meet at Cafe Tropical at 7, ride at 730. Route will be Sunset->Santa Monica blvd ->Federal->San Vicente->Ocean-> the nibble down to PCH->’the rock’->return. Eat at Carousel at Santa Monica and Normandie. I’m ready to fight so no map! Westside meet-up can be the bathrooms/water at San Vicente/Ocean probably 9ish. Email bikeswarm on gmail if you’re trying to hop on and I’ll be sure to check it.

Michael riding up Epic-er road in
Glendale/La Canada with DTLA in background

Today we met at CycleWay Coffee in Hermon for some chillin and caffeine consumption, rode the hills of Mt Washington, South Pas and some other little-known roads and ate at Hugo’s tacos in Atwater, which included a damn hot habenero salsa. Map of the route for your riding pleasure. More photos and updates over at Thanks to everyone who has come out!

Join us tomorrow:
Dec19 Sat-Meet at 7am for coffee at Peet’s on Larchmont, rolling at 730am to Palos Verdes for a 73-mile route to India Sweets and Spices on Venice Blvd. Here is roughly what the route will look like.

Battery covering 7 Seconds’ Young Till I Die for motivation:

Don’t Get Fat ‘training camp’ Dec 16-20th

Update 2: Friday Day3 route. Ride to the ride from Sunset blvd and Griffith Park blvd (Silver Lake farmers market location) leaving at 730.

Day 1 route and join us for a 655-755am yoga class at Urth Yoga on 2809 W. Sunset Blvd. Indoor bike parking and $5 class and $1 mat rental!
Day 2 route

Join Swarm! as we drink coffee, ride in spandex and eat vegan food all over Los Angeles during a 5-day Don’t Get Fat ‘training camp’. Each day we’ll meet at a coffee shop, ride a great route and end at a vegan-friendly restaurant.

photo from AdventureCORPS

Dec16 Wed 8/830am- Intelligensia, riding Beachwood through the Hollywood Hills onto Mulholland (40 miles-route), eat at Flore

Dec17 Thur- 8/830am- Trails Cafe, riding Griffith and Elysian (40- route), eat at Pure Luck
Dec18 Fri- 8/830am- CycleWay Coffee, riding the hills of Mt Washington, South Pas and some other little-known roads (50), eat at Hugo’s tacos in Atwater
Dec19 Sat-7/730am- Peet’s on Larchmont, riding Palos Verdes with two options of difficulty (60/75), eating at India Sweets and Spices on Venice Blvd
Dec20 Sun-7/730am- Cafe Tropical, riding Big Tujunga, Angeles Forest/Crest. (75-100), eating at Carousel

(first time is coffee, second is rolling, estimated mileage in parentheses)

What should I bring?
Snacks, tube; the usual for a self-supported ride. Also money for coffee and food. On the longer rides we’ll have an additional stop for food and water.
Can I keep up?
If you do Wolf Pack Hustle, BiciKillers, Caturday Warriors or something similar, yes.
Will you wait up?
Probably. Though if you show up in jeans on a track bike, probably not. Unless you are Cole or some other monster then you’ll have to wait for us.
Do I have to do everything?
Hanging out is mandatory unless you can’t then that’s cool.
Does it cost anything?
The value of these rides is greater than money; we require your time and stokedness.
What are the percentages for the climbs and what wattage can I expect to put out per hour, on average?
These rides are probably not for you.
Who is putting this on?
A ‘bunch of fucking boring semi-employed geeks’ known as Swarm!. Questions? Get in touch at bikeswarm on gmail.
Swarm! events for 2010
Feb: Dan’s urban cyclocross race, I Got Fat training camp
March: Thus Climbed Zarathustra; Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer (5th year!)

vegan pizza

When I went vegan at 17 my Italian mother was not happy at all. Mostly she feared I’d starve to death without manicotti, ravioli, lasagna or pizza. In the mid-90’s vegan cheese consisted of only tofutti slices that are about as similar to cheese as the package they come in. But I was motivated by the likes of Chokehold and Earth Crisis (though maybe not enough to have Firestorm karaoke at my wedding) and was committed to never eating these foods again.

homemade eggplant pizza as seen on Pizza Intolleranza

My how times have changed. ‘Which vegan cheese do you use?’ is now a normal question at pizza places. Just got back from a short trip to NYC and ate more ‘cheese’ pizza than I have in years. Pretty stoked though I hope people still work on developing great recipes that aren’t dependent on vegan cheese. On some levels that is happening as is evident by my friend Gian’s vegan pizza blog. I recently sampled some and was quite pleased. Since I developed my lasagna de bartolomeo vanzetti recipe (as seen in Please Don’t Feed the Bears) I have not played around with Italian recipes nearly enough. Will do though. Thanks for motivation, Gian.