Heart-Healthy Plant-Based Nutrition Lecture Series featuring Matt Ruscigno MPH RD

Hey bunnies! My friend, registered dietician Matt Ruscigno, is hosting a Heart-Healthy Plant-Based Nutrition series in March and April right here in San Diego. These lectures were a big success at the Engine 2 weeklong immersion.

Matt Ruscigno MPH RD

About Matt Ruscigno

Matt, of True Love Health, has been vegan for over 18 years. He consults for athletes, has been interviewed on the Rich Roll podcast, and has worked on books like Appetite for Reduction and No-Meat Athelete. He’s the read deal! An endurance athlete himself, Matt knows first-hand how to be and stay vegan while training, competing, and traveling.

If you haven’t seen it, his Strongest Hearts project is very cool. Strongest Hearts is a web series in which Matt interviews vegan athletes about why they’re vegan, what they eat, and their passion for their sport.

Heart-Health Plant Based Nutrition Lecture Series

Despite his strong roots in the athletic sphere, Matt assured me that this series will benefit everyone, so you certainly don’t need to be an endurance athlete to attend! The agenda with class descriptions is listed below.

If you buy the whole series, you get a 15% discount, a free book (either No-Meat Athlete or Superfoods for Life: Cacao) AND…rumor has it…a bonus seminar!

The series is 4 seminars of 75 minutes each, all based on solid research and Matt’s experience as a nutritionist. My friend The Vegenista and I will be in attendance for at least one lecture, we haven’t decided which yet because they all look so good!

Heart-Health Plant Based Nutrition Agenda

Seminar 1 – Nutrition 101 (March 4 at 6pm)
Seminar 1- Nutrition 101: What you need to know about the food you eat.
From carbohydrates to gluten to antioxidants, we hear a lot of nutrition terms, but what do they all mean? Which components of foods are most important to consider for a healthy diet? Matt will discuss the basics of nutritional science and give you the vocabulary to understand dietary claims.

Seminar 2 – Diet and Disease (March 11 at 6pm)
What the research says about risk and prevention.
Does sugar cause diabetes? Will eating only fruit prevent cancer? There are many claims relating food to disease, but what does the research say? Matt will cover some of the bigger long-term research studies that look at diet, disease and death.

Seminar 3 – Hard Fight (March 25 at 6pm)
The challenge of eating well in today’s world.
Ever feel like the world is working against your diet goals? It is! The food environment in America in 2015 is ripe with unhealthy choices at every turn. It’s no coincidence that the proliferation of empty calories has lead to an increase in obesity and disease. In this lecture you’ll learn how we got to this point.

Seminar 4 – Take Action (April 1 at 6pm)
How to make healthy changes that last.
Having knowledge and applying it are two different things. In this lecture Matt will discuss the behavior change ideas that will help you apply what you’ve learned so you can make lasting, sustainable health changes. Plenty of time for Q&A in this lecture too!

Purchase Tickets

If you are interested, you can purchase tickets on Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!

Discount for VeganSpin Readers

Enter VEGANSPIN10 at checkout to get a 10% discount on ticket prices!

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Sunday Funny: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

If you haven’t seen this before, you are in for a treat, Marcel the Shell is one of my favorite things in the known universe:

“Want to see my use a phone?”

If you enjoyed this – good news!!!! – there’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On Part 2 and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On Part 3 on YouTube! I think Part 2 is my favorite, which one is yours?

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Teacup Pigs Are Soooo Cute! But Also, A Cruel Myth!

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
– Winston Churchill

You guys! Teacup pigs are the cuuuuuuuuutest!!!!! Case in point:

So, I was devastated to find out that teacup pigs, also known as mini pigs, are a total myth. They don’t exist! There is no breed of pig that naturally stays teeny tiny.

In Search of the Mini Pig

“But Nichole,” you say, “I’ve seen such pigs before!” I know you guys, I KNOW!, I’ve seen them too and I’ve scoured the internet in search of them because I wanted one sooooo bad. I thought my mini pig would be my little snorty friend for life and children would love him so much that they’d NEVER eat pork products again and I then would get a dog and the dog and the teacup pig would be BEST FRIENDS FOREVS and we would be such a happy family.

SD Vegan Ladies Cooking Club with Babe the Pig

Chillin’ with Babe

Sigh. Then some friends and I toured Ferdinand’s Familia animal sanctuary where I met Babe, a so-called “mini pig.”

Babe was the shit. Totally adorable and snorty and everything I had ever dreamed of.

Then our tour-guide let us know that Babe, like all teacup pigs, wasn’t small by nature. He was small because he had been starved his entire life.

Babe the Mini Pig at Ferdinand's Familia Ranch

Babe the Mini Pig

In order to keep pigs small, the pigs have to be starved or drastically underfed while they’re growing. This is as painful for a pig as it would be for anyone. Babe is now food obsessed because he wasn’t fed enough when he was younger, he roams the ranch desperate to eat anything he can get his little hooves on.

Buyer Beware

I was horrified. Curious for more information, I did some internet research and found that people who sell “teacup pigs” warn buyers to only feed their pigs a quarter cup of food a day, but never tell them why. The owners assume this is how much a little pig eats, not realizing they are starving their pet. The problem with this, besides that it’s fucking cruel and horrible, is that the pig’s organs still grow to normal size, even as their skeletal structure stays small. This causes all kinds of health issues and discomfort for the pig that grows up to have organs that don’t fit their body size.

Baby Piglets in the Grass!

If the pig is able to get enough food to grow (pigs will eat as much as you put in front of them), or somehow grows in spite of being starved, it then becomes a large, normal-sized pig. This leads to scores and scores of these teacup pigs being abandoned by their owners to animal rescues or farm sanctuaries or back to the breeders, who then do who-knows-what with them. There have been pigs abandoned because they were screaming from starvation, and owners living in apartment buildings in cities were unable to keep the pig due to the noise it was causing, never realizing why the pig was in distress.

Owners lose out on hundreds or, more likely, thousands of dollars buying pigs that they were guaranteed would be mild mannered and tiny forever, and the pigs lose out on a lot more.

Pigs as Pets?

This of course brings us back to the question of pigs as pets, and more largely to animals as pets in general. Pigs have not been domesticated for thousands and thousands of years like dogs and cats, and while they can make for great companions, their needs are different than the typical household pet. Pigs are prey, whereas dogs and cats are predators, which makes their needs and ways of interacting with the world much different (for instance, new people and new experiences can be extremely stressful for a pig, who is cautious by nature).

Baby Pigs in a Sleepy Pile

We need to move past feeling that animals are our right. The fact that we breed dogs to be visually appealing to us in way that causes them to be in pain and have near-guaranteed health issues (see: breathing and back problems in pugs and bully breeds, for just one example) is a testament to how arrogant we’ve become in regards to companion animals.

All animals that already exist need a good home, that is true. But we should stop creating animals for our own novel pleasure. We need to stop looking at animals that are cute and saying, “I want that!!!” We need to let go of the belief that we are entitled to be amused, delighted and entertained by other living creatures.

Photo Credits
Baby Pigs Outside: photo credit: Michael Kappel via photopin cc

Brown Baby Pig Pile: photo credit: Stephen & Claire Farnsworth via photopin cc

Sunday Funny: The Banana-Chandah

This is probably only funny to me and my friends:

Do Not Fear The Bananas

This banana chandelier was made after all of us girls played the “banana game” at our game night, which is as sexual and ridiculous as it sounds (…well not THAT sexual. Don’t be a perv!).

We left this majestic creation in the kitchen for my friend’s husband – he found it slightly omninous and threatening. “Are you intimidated by my banana-chandah? It is huge and glorious.”

<3 memories <3

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