Strongest Hearts: vegan athletes do exist and they are amazing!  »


I don’t know about you, but as someone who likes to pretend to be an athlete (AKA slow and gasping for air, but keeps on trudging), I’m insanely inspired by super-active vegans! Sooo, I want to see more of them in awesome videos!! Plus, how tired are you of the myth that vegans can’t be physically powerful if they want to be? Let’s show the world that it is just that: a myth! Enter Strongest Hearts, a web series that focuses on vegan athletes. Strongest Hearts films these awesome athletes doing some pretty darn impressive stuff with their bodies… powered by the power of Greyskull! Okay, kidding, powered by plants (duh)!! 

Hosted by Registered Dietitian (and bike-obsessed) Matt Ruscigno, R.D. and shot by Whale Wars (amongst many other things) filmmaker (and hockey fanatic), Sasha PerryStrongest Hearts has a few awesome episodes under their belt but they want to make more—because there are so many more stories to tell! Just watch the damn video they made, people, it’s so much better than any words I could stick together. Then donate what you can so us vegans can be super-inspired/inspiring, and maybe get some omni-athletes to see they could be vegan and still do what they love. DO IT TO IT! 


Book review: Scott Jurek’s “Eat & Run” Plus, run with Scott today!  »

This dude running with his dog is Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek could basically kick your ass any day of the week, including days where he hasn’t slept the night before, has a broken ankle, and already ran 75 miles. See, Scott is an ultramarathoner, which means he’ll run a marathon as a warmup, then run another one, then figure that the race is just getting started. He’ll run over mountains and through lightning storms and never stop. “Hallucinations and vomiting, to me and my fellow ultrarunners,” he says, “are like grass stains to Little Leaguers.” Shit yeah, that shit’s for real. Oh yeah, by the way, just in passing, he’s vegan, and has been essentially the whole time he’s been doing this. (!!!!)

Scott, you’re my new hero, I love you! Thank you for writing this book so we can all learn about how amazing you are!

Scott’s publisher sent me a copy of Eat & Run and I was like, “Hey, I kinda like running, I’ll check that out,” despite David Foster Wallace having brilliantly explained, athlete memoirs are pretty much guaranteed to suck. I was prepared to read two pages, tell y’all the book existed, and move on.

Except the book is good! I kept wanting to read it! I read two chapters out loud in the car and my husband wanted me to keep going, even though I was gonna puke because the road got curvy! (See, right there, you can tell I’m not an ultra-athlete: I avoid things that make me puke). I wanted to read the book so much that I almost posted this review too late because I wanted to finish it first!

Too late for what, you ask? FOR YOUR CHANCE TO MEET SCOTT JUREK! 

Wednesday, June 13 (that’s today!!) in San Francisco:

  • 7 to 8 p.m.: Fun run with Scott at Fleet Feet San Francisco, 2076 Chestnut St.
  • 8 to 9 p.m.: Eat & Run Experience with Scott at Fleet Feet

Check out his full calendar of events; he’s in L.A. soon, and San Diego, and he’s even coming to Colorado a couple times, though on days I can’t be there, BUMMER

Even if you’re not a runner, you should totally go meet this dude. He’s just amazing. And inspiring. I literally got off the couch after reading this book for two hours, put on my shoes, and set off into the sweltering heat the weekend before last, because Scott made me want to.

Oh, one other thing about his book? It’s got recipes. Here’s one that’s also on his website. I haven’t tried any of them, but even if they suck I’m still gonna love him. 

Green Power Pre-Workout Drink

Hippie Dan first taught me the importance of greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. Spirulina is a green algae said to have been carried into battle by Aztec warriors. Used for centuries as a weight-loss aid and immune-booster, it has lately been studied and shown promising results as a performance enhancer for long-distance runners. Because spirulina is marketed as a dietary supplement rather than a food, the FDA does not regulate its production; buy it only from a health food store and a brand you trust.

Packed with protein (spirulina is a complete protein) and rich in vitamins and minerals, this smoothie is an excellent source of nutrition. For a little extra carbohydrate boost, replace 1 cup water with 1 cup apple or grape juice.

2 bananas
1 cup frozen or fresh mango or pineapple chunks
4 cups water
2 teaspoons spirulina powder
1 teaspoon miso

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for one to two minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Drink 20 to 30 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups) 15 to 45 minutes before a run.


Venus and Serena Williams go vegan! (And why this inspires me to exercise!)  »

From the New York Times article on Vegan Body Builders to the news that Venus and Serena Williams are going to start a raw diet, I’m feeling like I should hit the gym in solidarity with these athletes! Not in a New Years Resolution kind of way, just in a “man, doing a crunch or two probably wouldn’t kill me” kind of way. And when I say “hit the gym”, I mean popping in a 10 minute Pilates video. What?! I’m extremely busy and also terrified of the thought of sweaty hippies in a very hot and confined space called a yoga studio. Or sweaty bros on the prowl in a gym. Actually, I’m just so very anxiety ridden about people seeing me work out.*

[The Laura dubbed ‘Super Smash Brothers’ being all cute and sisterly. As well as extremely buff. Not gonna lie, I’m jealous of that muscle tone!]

Alas, it is time to move onto people more famous than myself. I don’t know if you have heard of these sisters, supposedly they are really good at tennis — Serena and Venus Williams? I kid, I kid. Now, don’t get all mad like you usually do when I tell you that another celeb is going to try out a vegan diet. Apparently Venus is making this lifestyle change partially due to a New Year’s Resolution but also because she suffers from an incurable, immune disorder called Sjogren’s Syndrome. Yikes! She is hoping that the benefits of a raw diet will help alleviate some of her symptoms, like the inflammation of her joints. I sure hope that it does and also that she hires the right personal chef (ME!! Venus, I’m available! I have a Vita-Mix and a plethora of recipes!)

'Where does Serena fit into all this?' you ask. Well, she's acting as her sister's moral support by also adapting a vegan and raw lifestyle! Aww. Isn't it the sweetest when sister’s are besties? My sister just gave me an Envirosax for Christmas! She totally supports my cause of trying to be less wasteful! Hurrah for sisters!

*Again, I kid. I was quite the tennis player myself at 12! (White kid in the suburbs, of course I played tennis!) I worked in a gym and was a swimmer in high school, but now? The complete lack of muscle tone and coordination is frightening.


Meet some vegans who can kick anyone’s ass!

May I present two examples of vegan pro-athletes who could make cauliflower puree out of any skeptic giving you a hard time about your diet? Make friends with them! Ask them to be your bodyguards! Let’s start a set of vegan athlete trading cards!

Exhibit A: WWE superstar Daniel Bryan
When “superstar” is your for-real job title, there’s not much else to say. Bryan shows off his bad acting skills in the above video for Peta, but you gotta love him. Earlier this year, he told peta2 about how he went veg:

“With WWE, just being on the road all the time, your immune system just gets worn down. In 2009, I ended up getting three different staph infections and two different other skin infections. I went to the doctor…. He gave me a couple options of what we could do but one of things he said that helps out his patients a lot is trying to go vegan. I said I’m open for anything at this point….

So, anyway I started going vegan then, and this whole year my energy levels have been great, I haven’t gotten any skin infections. Right now I’m 198 lbs. which is the heaviest I’ve weighed since 2003…. I’m stronger right now than I’ve ever been…. I’m dead-lifting more than I ever have before.”

Exhibit B: Tour de France cyclist David Zabriskie
Starting Saturday, this dude’s going to be the first person ever to try the world’s premiere bike race on a “vegan” diet. [Scare quotes are because he’s going to eat salmon twice a week to “help with iron absorption” which is obviously lame, but I’m giving him points for trying.]

Tour riders need 8,000 calories a day, which is spectacular because think how much FOOD you get to eat! Seriously, close your eyes and imagine that. Here’s what Zabriskie plans to eat on race days, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Oatmeal with black strap molasses; whole food optimizer; cacao nibs; nuts; cinnamon; two tablespoons of coconut butter; an apple; hemp seeds and flax seeds

On-the-bike snacks
Six Clif Bar Z bars (vegan); two Clif Bar shot blocks (vegan); two Clif Bar gels (vegan); dates; six to eight bottles of special team race drink

On the bus, post-race
White rice with maple syrup and cinnamon; vegan protein shake; two bottles of special team recovery protein drink; goji berries

Before dinner
Vegan protein shake

White rice or pasta; salad with leafy greens; vegetables—including broccoli, spinach, carrots and beets.

Fresh fruit and a vegan protein shake before bed

Wow, no donuts or anything. Dude’s got willpower. I guess that’s what it takes to go pro. I’m off to eat a popsicle now—strictly amateur here. Go vegans!

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