07 December 2010

My last post on No Whip!

Today the book I've worked on for the previous year, Appetite For Reduction, is officially out and I'm ending this blog and starting a new site called True Love Health.

Well, it has been an amazing four years of regular posting here. In December of 2006, while spending a month in New Zealand, I decided to take all of my adventure writing and put it in one place. I spent many many hours finding and organizing my stories and photos; all the way back to my reflections on my 2001 cross-country bike tour. Many stories never got finished as I was too quickly accumulating new ones to write about old ones! What a fortunate problem to have.

The name of this of this blog was chosen without much thought, based on a dumb joke. I never thought ahead that I'd be promoting it or that strangers would actually be reading it. It was just a place to record what I was up to for my friends to see.

What's that joke? Slang for car is whip, but it's also short for whip cream, two things I philosophically try to avoid. One day at a coffee shop I ordered a fancy drink and the barista said, 'Whip?' and I responded, 'No, I rode here.' She stared at me blankly the same way people do when I explain the blog name....

So I'm moving on. I don't talk about it often, but I'm a Registered Dietitian, i.e. a professional nutritionist. My expertise is in Public Health (I teach community college) and Vegetarian Nutrition (duh). I've always struggled to keep my professional life and personal life separate, but it's obvious that they are one and the same. My professional life is dictated by my personal ethics and it's not only dumb, but a pain in the ass to try and hide my tattoos from my colleagues.

I got into nutrition because of veganism and always thought I'd have my own practice immediately. But now seven years on from graduate school (!!) I'm making the time for it and my new site, True Love Health will reflect both adventure and my 'professional' life. An example of my writing is on No Meat Athlete, Protein- A Primer For Vegetarians.

How about some FAQ?

Where did the name True Love Health come from?
In 2007 I was working on a new design for the stage race I put on, Feel My Legs, I'm A Racer. I had wanted a new bike related tattoo and decided I'd use the design for the 2007 race as my tattoo. It represents my feeling about riding bikes and doing races: I just really love the process. The action of doing. We don't race up 10 of the hardest hills in LA just to get to the top, but for the process of riding something so different. A metaphor for life, if you will.
And this way I already have my brand tattooed on me. Easy decision.

Is the new site only about vegan nutrition?
-No, definitely not. My philosophy on health, nutrition and exercise is that they have to be fun and lifestyle oriented. I hate treadmills. I love to cook. Sometimes I eat vegan donuts. Health is about the big picture and having fun and the new site will reflect this.

Will you constantly be trying to sell your services?


How can I pay you for your services?
-Please get in touch through my email which is MattRuscigno on gmail.

What new stuff will the site have?
-More regular posts with more details on training, eating and racing plus guest posts from people who I think are ruling at life. And other more in-depth projects! It's going to be an all-around resource for people being stoked on eating and doing stuff!

Will you still post stupid photos you take in the street with your phone?
-Fuck yeah!

Is it going to be all nice and professional or will you still swear and be kinda inappropriate?
-See above.

How can I stay in the loop?
About 500 people subscribe to this blog via a service like Google Reader. You need to add Truelovehealth.com to your reader and follow on twitter.com/truelovehealth. Also, if you link to me from your site please update your link!

Lastly, thank you everyone who has been supportive by reading and being a part of these adventures. This is what life is about! I wouldn't do all this if it wasn't motivating people to be good in the world. What we eat, how we get around and how we spend our free time is as political as anything! It affects everyone. But this doesn't mean it cannot be fun. Looking forward to many more years of adventures!!

Vegan Corner

Some friends of friends are launching an all-vegan resource page (think restaurants, stores and other places plus online stuff and events) called Vegan Corner. It's not officially up yet, but there is a press page here and a press release here (and below!) that features a photo of my good friend Danielle from Vegan Treats! It's a small vegan world sometimes.

Riding and Eating through New York City

Dressed for conference, with bike along!

Recently I was able to spend a beautiful Fall weekend in New York City, one of my favorite places in the world. It's where my family is from and most still live in the area. As a kid it was my concept of what a city was like which unfortunately left me disappointed when I started traveling to other cities! Heading back this time I had my track bike, sun and free time to explore.

Everyone is going crazy over NYC Transportation Commissioner Janetter Sadik-Khan and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but holy shit! NYC is a different place for bicycles now. It is as amazing as people say. Are NYC Drivers still NYC Drivers? Yes, but now cyclists have space set ahead for them. It's not always respected, but it's definitely something. Sadik-Khan was interviewed in Esquire and it's a great read.

She also spoke in Los Angeles and gave her approval for CicLAvia. So Los Angeles. You've always said, 'there's not enough space for bike lanes and bike infrastructure here.' Have you been to NYC? They have much less space! They've more than doubled the number of people commuting by bicycle because they built the infrastructure. We have more space and better weather. Let's get with the program here!

Clear day! Shot from Brooklyn looking at Manhattan.

Obligatory pizza in Brooklyn. Something else that has also changed dramatically, more vegan food! This is at Vinnie's on Bedford.

Kent Ave. The map said it was one-way, but I had memory of riding on it the opposite direction. Because it's a two-way bike lane! So rad.

Kent Ave again.

Williamsburg Bridge. They got rid of the crazy bumps!

Blurry Second Ave protected bike lane. The blurriness makes it more real.

Also obligatory. Post-Central Park ride.

Back in Brooklyn we went to a show in a warehouse where kids live. Nice to see lawless NYC still exists, somewhat.

We never actually went in, just to the roof to hang out.

Deli sandwich the next day. For real!

Love NYC. I was told when I was a teenager that if you love NYC, you'll hate LA. I never thought I'd stay here, but I'm coming up on 8 years. Do I wish there was some more NYC in LA? Of course. But each city is what you make it. Because I grew up with NYC as my idea of what a city should be like, I treat all cities like they were NYC. Which is why I can live here without a car and walk and bike to where I need to go. It's possible for me and others and if the city got on board, it'd be possible for many more Angelenos.

Reminder about Truelovehealth.com

Hey there! Just a reminder that I'm exclusively updating at www.truelovehealth.com! Be sure to change your Reader settings and links. Thanks!

06 December 2010


Another reminder to update your reader to my new site: www.truelovehealth.com. ThankPr

01 December 2010

SF Farmers Market brings it hard!

I'm behind on posts as I work on my new site so for now here's a shot
of our farmers market score from the wknd. Yes, those are California
organic kiwis and yes over a dozen apples (pink lady and honeycrisp
for you other apple nerds who care).

24 November 2010

Another Sriracha gem!

A friend was motivated by my post and scavenged through historic paintings and found this gem:

Thanks Farnz! It fits with the holiday and also the Thanksgiving Sriracha photo over on the Sriracha blog.

23 November 2010

This is a food guide pyramid I can get behind

I love Sriracha. It is really that good. And local!

I tried to find the origination of this image so I could give credit, and I found the Sriracha Cookbook blog. They made this post a week ago which may or may not be the source...
Either way all I know is that our house ran out the other day and I was lost.

20 November 2010

19 November 2010

Snap! Literally.

Been an odd week of bike stuff. On my break-away track bike I got a flat in Brooklyn from patch failure. This rarely happens to me even though I'll have 5 or 6 patches on a tube at a time AND then the glue in my patch kit was dried up /missing. I had only used it once! Then on my way to work yesterday running late and hustling of course, I got a flat on that $100 Benotto I bought on Craigslist and recently rode to the airport. Argghhh. I replaced the tube I had used but not the glue so I had to use another tube. These are like $5 a pop! A burrito in each wheel. Oh well. Little did I know it was only going to get worse.

The gearing on the Bonotto is a 52-18. Ridiculous. But when you buy a $100 bike you don't really want to put any time into it. I put air in tires, but didn't even bother to adjust the seat, so why would change the gear? Well the torque from that big gear was apparently too much cause coming down a small hill on my way home from work I felt a snap and instantly went into a skid. My first response wasn't to look down, but to keep my eye in front of me to make sure I didn't skid into anything like a moving car or an intersection. When I came to a stop and hopped off this is what I saw:

At first I thought that the chainring had just come loose and then broken. But no, the spider part of the cranks broke off and the force snapped the chainring in half.

Is it from the gear being too big? Or just of questionable history? Many of you are probably saying, 'what did you expect from a $100 bike?' and you are right. Could have been a lot worse. Luckily the burrito stand I was heading to was only about a mile off and Sasha, who was run commuting to meet me there, had brought her phone and ran toward me.

Now I have to get new stupid cranks. I hate paying for bike stuff. Probably also need some new tires on my commute bikes for the winter. I know that all of this costs less than the average person spends on gas or car insurance for a month, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about spending it! Be safe out there.

18 November 2010

From Ultra to Ultra

After not doing a running race for two years, I was fortunate to 'PR' a half marathon (that I rode my bike to!) and even improved on my best marathon time during Vineman this year. Yay! It's a amazing what a little extra effort and some speed work will do, isn't it?

In an attempt to keep some momentum from this year through the winter (and not gain a ton of weight!) I'm signed up for my first ultra run the High Desert 50k in Ridgecrest, CA. As of now, our Swarm! crew of cyclists turned runners is heading out there 5 deep. It's fitting because it is not far from Death Valley and the Furnace Creek 508 course, which is the last event most of us have done.

Ultra-running is appealing for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it parallels the type of cycling I do. Not just in distance or time, but in the philosophy that the journey is as, or more important, than the destination. Sure, people run in circles in ultra-runs (A 3-mile loop 33 times? No thank you.), but many of them are point to point. Oh, and almost all of them are on trails. In beautiful places. With only hundreds of people. Much, much different than, say, the Los Angeles marathon with its 40,000 people pounding the pavement.

The question is, can I still get away with only running three times a week? I think I can. Will I have to do really long, slow runs that take all day? As of now, I don't think I will. The idea is to use long races to build up to even longer ones. I'm already eying the Avalon 50 miler that takes place on Catalina island in January. Is the goal to run a 100-miler? Yes, it is. More on that in another post.

If anyone else is with me here, I've compiled some resources (with daylight savings time making it dark before 5pm I'm having trouble leaving the house so this is what I do). First is No Meat Athlete's 63 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine. Got to keep it fun. There are a few magazines like Ultrarunning and Trail Running to keep the stokedtivity levels high. Ultrunr.com has the most information for training for longer runs and this NY Times article discusses 'pushing past the pain'.

Are you ready to sign up for a long run? The best listing of ultras I've found is at ultrasignup.com. I especially appreciate that they show the logo for each race. Maybe it's the punk in me who loves show fliers! It says so much about what the race is like. Also ultrarunning.com has a calendar with a bunch of races.

I'll be sure to post updates about my training, though it's getting down to the wire. I had some trouble getting out to run in Boston (rain) and New York (got tattooed), but am still feeling confident. Safe riding and running! See you out there. And don't forget to sign up for my twitter if you haven't already done so.

12 November 2010

Nutrition and transitioning

I spent last weekend and early this week at the American Dietetic Association's annual conference in Boston where I facilitated a workshop on vegetarian nutrition. I usually don't talk about my professional world here, but I'm in the process of transitioning to a new blog that combines both. Links for that coming soon, but I've already started using this: twitter.com/truelovehealth. One of my tweets included this photo of dietitians in line for free soda at the expo:

Yes, you read that correctly. Dietitians getting free soda at a nutrition conference. This is the world I work in. We have a long way to go. Fortunately my 'Corporate influence = huge problem" post was picked up and re-tweeted by a number of people who feel similarly. The photo has been viewed nearly 600 times.

This is the sort of topic that makes me nervous professionally. Will this affect my work with the ADA? At the end of the conference they posted a thank you to all of the twitter users at the conference and my name was not listed....
Anyway. If you don't stay true to your own ethics what are you left with?

Start following me on twitter for more.

11 November 2010

Eat. Sleep. Read.

07 November 2010

(first) 24 hours in Cambridge MA

4-mile run along charles river
free yoga
sudo vegan shoe store
clover food lab chickpea fritter sandwich
family hang
cold late-night track bike ride search for famous whole foods vegan carrot cake (unsuccessful)

06 November 2010

Bicycling to Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

Ever try to park your bicycle at LAX? The LA World Airports site has no info and an online search gives you this LAist article which does not say much.

Rolling along 104th st toward the airport. Tower in distance!

I had a long weekend flight and work not far from the airport before and after so I decided to ride my $100 Craigslist bike and leave it. The best advice I got was 'lock it up with the motorcycles'. So I rode into the airport and followed signs for departing flights and then to parking garage 1. Was it sketchy? Honestly, inside the airport felt safer than the sprawl-land madness that surrounds it.

I wanted a better place than this bike I came across.

There are a few concerns when locking your bicycle in an odd place. One is the usual re theft and vandalism. The other is that some overzealous pseudo-authority figure will notice your out of place transportation choice and make it his or her mission to teach you a lesson. I've had my bike locked by security guards, friends have had locks cut by them. It seems to be their business when you leave, but never when you ask them where to park. Anyway, I wouldn't leave my bike locked like the above one out of fear of security guards messing with it.

I circled through the garage and found the motorcycle parking on the first floor- where arriving flights let out. There is no rack here, but there are locks on this ledge railing, so I assumed it was safe. I was also able to double lock it and include both wheels.

The morning I was leaving I had the realization that I couldn't bring my tools on board and I hadn't planned to check anything. What to do with the tools in my seatbag? I didn't want to just leave it because it's too easy to undo the velcro and walk away with $50 worth of tools (half the value of the bike!). My solution? Cover the seat with a plastic bag a la it's raining out style therefore covering the seatbag and hiding it from view (and less sketchy than hiding the tools in a planter- which I've done successfully!). Foolproof? No, but I felt pretty confident that most people leaving an airport have little interest in multi-tools and tire levers.

Confident in my locking and tool hiding job I headed to Terminal 1. Guess what I see! Yep, a bike rack.

In all of my years of flying in and out of Terminal 1 (Southwest!) I have never noticed this rack. Is it new? Now I was stuck with the dilemma of moving my bike or not. One, I really didn't have much time and two, if anyone in all of LAX would steal a seatbag filled with tools it would be someone on a bike....so I left it with the motorcycles.

Four days later I returned and my bike was (seemingly) untouched. Seatbag and all! And serendipitously the plastic bag kept my seat dry from the sprinklers just below. Score.

So when you ride your bike to the airport you have a few choices. I don't know if there are bike racks at other terminals, but you always have the Terminal 1 option. Be sure to enter the terminal area on the 'arriving flights' level to ride right to the rack or to the motorcycle area of Terminal 1 parking, if you choose this option. Riding out of the garage no one looked twiced at me and I made my way to Veggie Grill for an early lunch...

05 November 2010

Business cards? What what.

Mini cards from Moo Cards. Yes, those are photos of bike trips/races
on the back. Keeping it totally professional!

04 November 2010

What my friend Cache is up to when he's not killing mountain bike trails

Why chickens?
'cause they are no different than humans, we control their lives after they were free and wild .. Kind of what the system is doing with us ...I read a book by carlos castaneda that talked about humans living in 'humaneros' or human chicken coops for our minds..and cause they are funny, hahaha.'

30 October 2010

In case root beer wasn't already straight edge

From everyone's favorite soda pop shop, Galco's. I've never liked
root beer or sarsaparilla. I think my straight edge-ness has been
questioned because of this...

28 October 2010

fuck Ironman

World Triathlon Corporation, who put on Ironman(tm), the events I refuse to go to because they are insanely expensive- $550 for a one-day race- and pride themselves on exclusivity just started a program to get early entry in races that costs $1000 a year. A thousand dollars just to register early. Some have called it the Country Club program.

Is anyone surprised? I'm not. This is capitalism at it's ugliest- exploiting those with more resources to line your own pockets- at the expense of those with less. And because they are so big it makes it harder for smaller race organizers to put on events. If they kept doing what they do- taking money from rich people to make themselves richer I wouldn't care as much. I still wouldn't go to their fucking races, but I wouldn't be as mad about it. But it affects any of us who want to do a long-course swim, bike, run because there are fewer and fewer alternatives. And those of us without thousands of extra dollars.

I put off doing an 'iron-distance' because of the association with Ironman-trademark and I'm wondering if I ever want to do one again. There need to be more events like Vineman .

This video nails it. Thanks Treystone!

27 October 2010

this is what it's all about

I'm not sure who took this photo. I searched all over the ESPN BMX page (yes, you read that correctly) but cannot find the original story. Ends up the guy heard about these concrete structures in England and had to hike and wade through water to get there with his BMX. Only had a few minutes before security busted him. This is what riding bikes is about- whether it's a BMX, road, mountain, fixed or city cruiser. Remember this feeling. It's what cyclists try to describe when asked why they ride.

SF to LA bike tour

I like to do a trip on the last weekend of summer before the semester starts. Last year we slayed Mammoth on mountain bikes. This year logistically it worked out to bike tour from SF to LA. I rode this same trip solo a few years ago. Bike touring goes back to 2001. Love it. I think I'm over 10,000 total miles in these 10 (!!) years.

Obligatory pre-ride photo with Jeff. Notice what's missing: the sun.

The plan was ride fast and most of the day, camp and eat out. Mileage ended up as:

SF-Big Sur 150 miles
Big Sur-Lompac 170 miles
Lompac-Los Angeles 155 miles

I will try every vegan cinnamon bun thing once, even if it's whole-wheat and doesn't have icing. This is at the Co-op in Santa Cruz on the way out of town where Water St hits Soquel. I always stop here.

The seatbag I borrowed had a built-in burrito pocket. Very thoughtful. This was the first night. We did the massive descent into Carmel, picked up burritos then raced darkness to the Big Sur campground.

Packing list (all fit in the seatbag and hydration pack)
Thermarest 3/4 mat
Mountain Hardware 35 degree sleeping bag
Mountain Hardware longsleeve wind-proof shirt thing
1 bib
1 jersey
1 vest
1 pair sleeves
1 pants
1 technical t-shirt
1 button-up short sleeve (I'm obsessed with it- prob should have mailed it)
2 pair socks
1 10-inch mini laptop (oops, should have mailed)
1 pair gloves (they were old as shit and I left them in a garbage can in Pismo beach)
1 toolbag with multi-tool, tube, levers, 2 CO2 cartridges
1 pump
1 hydration pack (to carry laptop)
1 coffee mug
1 spork
1 foldable plastic plate

Food I left with

1 lara bar
1 granola mix with brazil nuts, cranberries added
1 bag chocolate-covered espresso beans aka magic beans
20 scoops Maxodextrin- homemade Sustained Energy type stuff
2 bananas

I rode my 'race' bike which is a steel Seven. Shimano parts. Ksyrium rims. The ones with the red spoke, don't know what they're called. I think it weighs in at 18 pounds, which I was told is not light. Borrowed giant seatbag.

What a fun trip! Too many tiny stories to share. Jeff is an awesome touring partner! Who else will hang out drinking coffee till 930am when you have a 170-mile day ahead of you?

I'm aching for a long bike tour....

24 October 2010

Vegan Double Down

My friend Stacey just invited me over for a vegan pumpkin-y Halloween-
y potluck this week and it reminded me of this time I was over there
this summer.

You know that crazy KFC sandwich with fried chicken patties as buns?
She made a vegan version. Seriously. I won't lie, even though the
professional me is slightly embarrassed, I can get down with fried.
But needs some green. Or balance. This here is over the top. But
that's part of the experience and sort of the point, right?

22 October 2010

Los Angeles stuff this weekend

I'm a little late on this as some it starts in fewer than 12 hours, but hey, that's how I roll. The first is Saturday morning's LA premiere of Ride the Divide, a documentary about the Tour Divide mountain bike race 2700 miles, mostly off-road, from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border. Through the Rockies. Unsupported. Awesome. I've ridden most of the route as a bike tour from the Canadian border to Silver City, NM. Like the ride, my my blog posts about it are unfinished. Here's the trailer:

Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.

Later on Saturday is the Tour De Fat in the Not A Cornfield state park in Chinatown/downtown. I'm not exactly sure what it is. Sort of a ride maybe, but mostly a beer party? Biking In LA does the best job of explaining what happens that I've read. Check it out.

There's also a half-marathon on Sunday right here in LA. I normally wouldn't promote such a corporate event, but the site says, 'Take a Running Tour of the Real LA!', which I appreciate. A lot! It hits the eastside of the city which is near where I live and it starts in Griffith Park, my favorite place to run.

Now if I can get over the Yankees losing and actually leave the house maybe I'll see you at one of these events. Ride safe this weekend!

21 October 2010


I'll admit that I'm not above buying something because of the way it looks. I'm all about practicality, but if that great rain jacket looks like it's leftover from the Cross Colours era (but without the social and political context), I ain't gonna buy it. With food this is especially true. We eat with our eyes, the saying goes. As a public health dietitian I know my eyes are a little different than the average person so I find things like this irresistible:

Cuban squash. Apparently it is the most commonly eaten vegetable in Cuba! It's a pumpkin/squash hybrid and is also called crapaudback. This is at the local grocery store in my East Hollywood neighborhood. We are surrounded by (and part of) Armenia, Russian, Thai, Korean and Salvodorean neighborhoods and the grocery stores reflect this. Here is my housemate laughing at what 16 pounds of pumpkin/squash/crapaudback feels like:

Upon cutting it open we found that the skin is not as tough as it looks and is closer to a butternut squash than pumpkin. It also has more 'meat' than pumpkin.

Despite cooking often, I'm not the most creative in the kitchen. My preference is to make simple, healthy meals taste good. My first thought with squash is always: roast it. Cut it up, leave on the skin, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until slightly brown. Delicious. This is what we did first and you can see how quickly it went:

Next we got a little creative and pulled out one of those books you see on people's kitchen shelves that have recipes. We grabbed my friend Isa's newest cookbook Vegan Brunch. We used the Pumpin Bran Muffins recipe as a guideline (though I hear some people follow recipes exactly) but by the time we sorted what we had on hand it ended up very different.

Crapaudback Interpretive Bread
2 cups pureed raw crapaudback
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
2 T liquid sweetener
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup almond pieces

1. Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl
2. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl
3. Add wet to dry and don't over mix!
4. Bake for 20-25 min at 400 degrees.

Because we had eight freakin pounds of this stuff we steamed some for dinner. This is another favorite meal of mine, beans and rice. Here we have brown rice, dried black beans with haas avocado, cherry tomatoes and steamed crapaudback. The majority of the meal is from our buying co-op or the Hollywood farmers market.

Boom. One vegetable, three meals. And this is only half of it! As I type this I've the rest roasting in the oven (the creative folks aren't around this morning so I'm resorting to my stand-by methods). I'd also like to try this oatcake recipe because I'm a sucker for anything pancake-like.

19 October 2010

3 Photos- Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Farmers market art on art at the Farmers Market

I love the way tiny cherry tomatoes look in a giant pile. And the way they taste, duh.

There are more salons than I can count in Bernal Heights and they all have advertisements for 'vegan nail polish'. Isn't all nail polish vegan? Is this a pressing issue for salons in this neighborhood?