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.
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!
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!
Excited to finally confirm the date for this year’s event. We’ll meet at the normal spot, Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake, at 745am. For some resources see the summary from 2013 or my Feel My Legs category with the 8 years of history. Also trying to put on Thus Climbed Zarathustra (4th one?) on that Saturday. It’s a combination alley cat / stair climb event that utilizes the stairways in the same neighborhoods as Feel My Legs. History of posts about that here.
While a few cyclists are competing for points, the majority are out there to simply ride up some of the steepest hills in Los Angeles. It is open to everyone.
There are no entry fees or prizes.
Between hills is neutral; we ride together. At the top of each hill we wait for everyone else to make it. If you are fast you will be sitting around a lot.
Please no jock mentality or bad attitudes. If you think cyclocross is too crazy and you wish USAC had more races than this is probably not the event for you.
No spectator or support cars on the hills. We try and keep this low key as it’s busy enough in some of these neighborhoods. Spectators encouraged to ride bikes. Same with photographers and journalists.
Rain does not cancel. In fact, it has rained a surprising number of times on this day over the years. Check your almanac.
We will group ride from the last hill back to the start.
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!
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.
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:
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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
I love this so much. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to guess where every shot is from! I’ve only watched once, but I saw two streets that have been in Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer. One only a few times in the early years, but another has been a hill each of the 8 years. Can you guess which?
I often wonder how I’m not hurt more often, considering the amount of time I spend on a bike (er, bikes) and doing dumb things. And combining the two, regularly (hello Strava KOM for descents!). I like to think I take calculated risks. And that’s how I felt when I went ice skating with some friends last weekend. Why not? Well, without even attempting anything stupid I fell and broke my left distal radius. And a small bone in the joint. How bad? See this photo on my IG. I find out tomorrow if I need surgery. Lifetime broken bones number 7 and 8. Not too shabby for 30 years of activities. Also, somehow, first breaks on my left/dominant side.
No Belgian Waffle
Meanwhile this week I was planning on writing about the Belgian Waffle Ride, which was Sunday and the first athletic event I had signed up for in a year and a half. A few years ago I burned out on racing and training as anyone who follows me knows. The BWR was exciting for many reasons, one being I love riding my road bike off-road. I did about 20 of the 35 off-road miles on a training ride the weekend before and it was the biggest solo ride, by far, I had done in years. And I loved it. But I had to sit the race out this year. Super frustrating.
Anyway…..I didn’t intend for this to be a post complaining about being injured. Though I hope it does help you appreciate your own good health.
I’m going to have to postpone the big book announcement, but you can still pre-order without hearing the long explanation from me. Note that the final cover hasn’t been updated online so it will look different. Joshua Ploeg will be on there too. 🙂
One announcement I can make: the focus of this site is going to change! You may have noticed some small changes already. TrueLoveHealth.com is going to focus on nutrition and my private practice. Don’t worry I will never try to sell you protein powder. I’ve learned that a number of people send vegan-curious friends here for reliable nutrition information, but it is often buried under my stories and rants. I’m not deleting any of the 10+ years of history that are here and I promise this won’t turn into another boring vegan site with photos of my breakfast and a list of vitamin-C containing foods. Ugh. No. I will have useful stories and reports where my unique style will still have a voice. I’m stoked for the changes and growth.
I do have MattRuscigno.com which right now mirrors (sort of) this site. Some non-nutrition/health stories may go there in the future. And there’s the new Strongest Hearts site for sports nutrition which I hope you will bookmark. More content there soon, too.
Thank you everyone for reading, and letting me vent. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Hemingway quotes.
“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”
Usually by this time of year the hill climb event I put on, Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, is already scheduled. Or may have already happened! This year I am pushing it to late summer or maybe even early Fall. I apologize for the delay, but a few things have prevented it from happening as normal. Don’t worry though, it will go on.
Also, I’m starting to prepare for 2015, which will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this event! Hope to do a few extra things next year to really celebrate. Can you believe it has been that long? Long live #BikeLA.
Also in the issue is my very good friend Steevo. We rode the Great Divide mountain bike route together in 2007 (more famous for the Tour Divide race that uses the route). We’ve been friends for 20 years and bikes have been a part of that equation ever since. He’s the 10x winner of Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen hill race in Pittsburgh, which my event is based on. More interesting than that are the stories on his blog, which you should definitely check out.
When I schedule this year’s event I will post here on this site and on my twitter, @MattRuscigno.