This has been one of my busiest Springs in a long-while. Usually I spend this time working at home and preparing for the summer. Instead I was out and about on my mini speaking tour where I presented almost a dozen times. And from a classroom in a small college in Tennessee to a yoga studio in NYC and a bike shop in Portland, the rooms were packed! It’s such a privilege to have the network to set these up and to speak to so many people. I wish I had started doing these sooner! Thank you to everyone involved.
I’ve also neglected writing here more often. Please follow my True Love Health Facebook Page or @TrueLoveHealth where I regularly post articles of interest. Thanks for reading and keep your eye for a few bigger projects I have in the works. And get outside and enjoy the weather, wherever you are.
This event is free, but as always I am taking donations to cover some of my costs (also note my new donation button in the right-hand column!). We may have a raffle to raise money with prizes from some of the many (many!) veg companies up there in Portlandia.
I’ve gotten lots of feedback from the half dozen or so presentations I have given in the last month and I’ll have some new info for this! My talks are beneficial for most everyone; from long-time vegans to those who are curious on how to get the most out of their nutrition plan. We talk a lot about athletes, but the information is not super technical and is appropriate for anyone interested in eating better. And there’s a chance we’ll have a new Day in the Life episode or promotional video! Either way, you’ll be stoked. Follow this post for updates on sponsors, etc.
I’m elated to be on this tour speaking about the importance of nutrition; it’s a privilege to travel and be hosted by so many exceptional people and organizations. You never know what to expect when you are setting up these events and I’m always nervous the hour before. Who will come? How will they react?
In the last 10 days I’ve given 5 presentations and the responses have been beyond amazing. At Austin Peay University in Tennessee I spoke to an exercise physiology class and gave a lecture presented by the Sociology Department. I love sociology, I almost double-majored in undergrad, so I tied in multiple concepts on how our environment has affected our food and transportation choices. For example- 1950’s racism lead to development of car-centric white suburbs; all with federal funding. Poor quality fast food soon followed to cater to this demographic. And I can’t thank my friend Tucker Brown enough for inviting me to speak and hosting me. So cool to hang out with my friend who took me to my first punk show 20 years ago.
In Washington, DC I was hosted by the wonderful people from Compassion Over Killing and presented on vegan athletes in their standing room only office. The next night Sticky Fingers Sweets and Treats graciously hosted me with a special menu! There I talked more in depth about vegan nutrition to another packed room.
Turns out not only new vegans and flexitarians are hungry (zing!) for nutrition knowledge; seasoned vegans and activists equally want to know how to eat healthy. My presentations are not technical nor do they simply glorify eating vegan. My points are simple:
We have lots of research showing vegans diets are not only adequate, but have positive health consequences.
It’s more about what you eat than what you don’t eat! Vegans still need to base their diet on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
We don’t need to overly restrict foods or food groups once we are eating whole foods plant-based diets.
It takes some work to be vegan! We need to learn the basics of nutrition and make wise choices in order to be the best vegans we can be.
I am well aware that it is already Spring and this is a ‘favorite of 2012’ post, but hey, better late than never, right? I take a lot of photos. Some end up on facebook or instagram but most never make it off of my phone/camera. I was looking through all 1400 of them and thought I’d pick some of the ones I like best from last year.
Thanks for reading (and looking!) and thanks to everyone who was a part of this madness!
I love fliers, posters, whatever you want to call them, I love them. It’s probably the old punk in me. Old as in standing in front of a copy machine with scissors, photos and a marker and cutting and copying, cutting and copying until you get it just right. Things have changed a bit (most fliers never become actual hard copies!) but I still love them. Below are two that my hosts made for upcoming talks in San Diego and New York City. Thanks Cycling Camp SD and Discerning Brute! If you live in or near one of these cities please pass them on. More info on my talks here: www.truelovehealth.com/speaking.
I’ve created a page for my speaking engagements: www.truelovehealth.com/speaking and have included the Spring events below. I love doing these sort of events! If you are near any of these please come out and say hello. And bring your friends! Thank you to all of the people who have helped to make these possible.
All events are free of charge, unless otherwise noted.
Athletes and Plant-based Nutrition: Get Real Science From An Expert
Presented by The Discerning Brute and will include a question and answer session with myself and other vegan athletes. Ten dollar suggested donation. Facebook page and spectacular event flier!
*Sunday April 7th Chicago, IL
Sports Nutrition: What We Know About Plant-based Athletes
*Thursday, May 2nd 2-3pm Boise, Idaho
Sports Nutrition: What We Know About Plant-based Athletes Idaho Dietetic Association annual meeting. Requires conference registration.
*Friday or Saturday May 3rd or 4th Portland, Oregon
Athletes and Plant-based Nutrition: Get Real Science From An Expert
Details TBD. Hopefully at Velo Cult with the my friends from Herbivore!
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 Norris, Sharon 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.
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.
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!
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!
I hate to admit this, but finding a decent vegan breakfast at a restaurant can be difficult. Not everyone has a vegetarian co-op near them that serves biscuits and gravy in the morning. Often if you can get something it’s uninspired tofu scramble. Breakfast is also the meal with the widest gap between vegetarian and vegan options. I was reminded of this when I bike toured the Great Divide mountain bike route in 2006 with my friend Steevo, a committed vegetarian. About 1 in 3 mornings we’d be able to eat out at a tiny dinner in a tiny town in Montana or Wyoming. I’d watch him devour pancakes, eggs with cheese, toast with butter…while I ate potatoes and ketchup. Fortunately, vegan breakfasts are improving and there’s no better place to experience this than the Pacific Northwest.
Twenty-four hour mountain bike race on a whim? Why not? I’ve been riding a lot with my good friend Mark (who inspired my Risk is Real, Use It post, which you should read if you haven’t yet) and we’ve been talking about how 24-hour mountain bike races could help his Baja endurance motorcycle racing. We missed the Laguna Seca 24hr and just when I was thinking that there’s a serious lack of endurance mountain bike races within a day’s drive of Southern CA, I found the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest near Gallup, New Mexico. What’s a few extra hours in the car to hit some new trails?
These races are like a party in a campground with a bunch of riding happening. The 16-mile course, with the exception of the dirt road through staging, was fun single track. Sixteen miles of single track! Very few steep sections which made it the most single speed friendly course I have ever ridden. Didn’t have to walk a single section, even in the middle of the night and elevation above 8000 feet!
Spontaneity has it’s drawbacks, and one was that Mark had to work till 8pm Friday night. Yeah. Our friend Paul, a recent Super Randonneur, jumped in for the adventure and I invited my friend Timoni so we could drop her off in Sedona to see her partner (and get an extra driver!). If you are doing the math and with the time change, this puts us at the race at 8am- four hours before the start. Needless to say my total sleep time in the 36 hours before the race was 2 hours in the minivan. Adventure, right?
This was one of the largest fields I’ve ever raced- over 20 solo single speed and more than 70 total solo racers! I hadn’t raced a 24 hour in almost two years and I hadn’t trained for this, but that didn’t stop me from going out fast on the first lap. So dumb! Ha. The backside of the course had a 20 MPH section with berms and little jumps- I couldn’t help but go fast! A few laps later, and keep in mind that 3 laps is 48 miles of single track mountain biking, which tires out much more than your legs, and I see Mark at our camp spot. Oh no, the elevation and dryness has totally messed up his breathing! When I come around again they tell me my place and suddenly it turns into a race. “Here are your bottles and a bar, get out of here!” I try to reason that it’s too early to talk about placing but they don’t want to hear it and next thing I know I’m out for another lap.
These races are ‘slow’ enough that you can chat with others- which I did to no end. A woman on a 4-female team and I chatted for a good half a lap. She told me how great I was doing and I told her that any idiot can ride fast for 6 hours- the next 18 are what matters. And when I hear myself say, ‘the next 18’ I get a little nervous. What am I doing?
Night comes. I’m still enjoying the course and am loving the cooler temperatures. Fewer riders are out there and suddenly everyone asks about lap number and place. Turns out I’m back and forth for second place in single speed with a 24-hour rookie named Brian. Uh oh. First place was a lap up but Brian and I rode together for a little. He kept talking about how he needed to sleep. Those laps between midnight and 5am are an experience I cannot begin to describe. Everything is slow. And quiet. The forest consumes you. Your brain plays tricks on you. Am I lost? Am I riding in circles? Where is everyone? It didn’t help that the race organizers put skeletons and other enchanted beings along the course!
My new endurance cycling quote, ‘The first 40% is legs, the second 40% is mind. The last 20% is heart.”
Paul had cooked me up some veggie broth just before midnight and then headed to sleep- he needed to be alert enough to drive back right after the race. I roll through around 130am and the party has dissipated. I pound a yerba mate, eat a little, put on warmer clothes and head into the darkness. Two laps till daylight I tell myself. My legs have given their all for 40% and now my mind is suppose to take over, but it doesn’t want to.
At 3am the only person awake at the entire start/finish is the person who recorded my number. Dead quiet. I make the mistake of sitting down to eat. I feel sick and get super cold. Oh no! I wrap myself in my sleeping bag ‘just to warm up.’ Ugh. I sleep on the ground for about an hour and a half. At the first signs of daylight I groggily head out for another lap. My eyes are closing while I ride. I’m spaced out. I wonder what my equivalent Blood Alcohol Level would be. I focus on the beauty of the forest at dawn. What a privilege to be here! A team rider blasts past me and I imagine how pathetic I probably look barely moving forward.
At camp the smell of coffee is strong. People say good morning and congratulate me on riding still. I’m filthy and wearing the same kit I started with. Paul had made some hot food and coffee, but him and Mark don’t let me relax. My sleep put me back at 4th place. “Let’s go, I’m riding this lap with you.” Mark and I head out and I’m pretty stoked. Him and I first rode BMX bikes together almost 20 years ago! Then Brian rolls up to me. He’s full of energy. Wtf? For a moment we think we’re on the same lap. Are we tied in 2nd place with 3 hours left? Do we really have to duel it out? I’m not sure I want to say ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ but he’s a lap up. No need to race. He rode all night.
Mark and I bomb the fast section. It’s dangerous, but oh so fun. I keep looking over my shoulder for that dreaded 1-99 number of a solo single speed racer. That last climb is like a mountain. Elevation still bothering me. And just to state the obvious, my ass hurts like you wouldn’t believe. Finally the start/finish tent is in sight. Lisa, the super human race director, shows me the stats. I’m in third securely. Unless fourth place finishes goes out for an hour an a half last lap I’m good. I’m thankful. But I don’t change out of my kit just yet- if we see him go by and attempt a last lap I have to give chase to hold onto that coveted podium place. Funny the way that works.
I don’t have to go out for another lap! I eat hot food and I lay in the dirt. Relaxation! Getting changed is the hardest thing I can imagine. I almost fell asleep part way through changing. Ha! We roll down to the tent, they count down to noon and the awards start immediately. They say their thank you’s and announce prizes for traveling the farthest to the race and Mark and I got 2nd place! Free giant container of electrolyte drink- what a super awesome thing to do. Thank you! Then podium stuff, then we pack up to head back to California.
On the way we stop at Macy’s European Cafe in Flagstaff for some vegan yuminess and I coordinate via text and the internet to realize that Cara Gillis’ Race Across America 2-person team (check out her vegan challenge!) is on the canyon road between Sedona, where we have to go, and Flagstaff. Yay! Driving down we cheer on all of the teams we see.
It was early Monday morning before I saw my own bed again. What an adventure! Thank you everyone at the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest for putting on a spectacular event. Next year they host the 24-hour National Championships and I’m sure it’ll be great. Not sure, I’ll be there, but maybe?
Lastly, here’s an unbelievable skate video. This is how I feel when I mountain bike on fun trails. Have a great weekend! Stay stoked!