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Matt Ruscigno knows a thing or two about extreme ultra-endurance sports and thriving on a plant-based diet. He has been a vegan for the last 20 years after being influenced as a teenager through punk music. His passion for his diet led him to his career path: a world-renowned vegan dietitian with a Master’s in Public Health from Loma Linda, California.

Interestingly enough, Loma Linda is one of the 5 blue zones in the world.  Blue zones are five geographic areas where people statistically live the longest.  Read National Geographic’s feature on Blue Zones here.  The key elements common to the all the Blue zones are eating primarily a plant-based diet (particularly high in legumes), strong sense of community, no smoking, and daily exercise.  In fact, Matt recommends 3.5 servings of legumes per day.  Examples of one serving of legumes can be: 1/4c hummus, 1/2c cooked beans (split peas, lentils, black beans, butter beans, etc), tofu, tempeh.

Most people know that eating more fruits and vegetables is healthier, but they have trouble executing it.  It’s great to see there are many media sources, documentaries, and resources that are breaking down the barriers to adopting a plant-based diet and lifestyle.  The science behind the health benefits are irrefutable whether you are looking for a boost in your athletic performance, want more energy during the day, or simply want to avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more killers of human beings, simply adding in plant-based foods will help.

In this podcast about plant-based nutrition, Matt Ruscigno is very relatable and unpretentious.  He talks about how to optimize your food not only for regular meals, but also how to optimize plant-based foods before, during, and after your workout.   There can be a lot of resistance and fear of the unknown when it comes to being a plant-based athlete and Matt certainly helps alleviate these fears with facts and practical advice.

Listen to the show (and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts!)

Matt also discusses some of the comments/issues I’ve heard from athletes who changed their diets and how to fix it such as:

  • I’m hungry all day as a vegan and have to eat all the time
  • I don’t feel like I have enough energy
  • how do you know what kind of food to add to your diet

Matt says, “What I like to do is expand on what they are already eating… some people thrive on a high fat diet and for some people, it’d be too much.”   He coaches individuals through video conferencing and also started a clinic called Nutrinic, more on that in a minute.

When looking to change your diet, Matt Ruscigno says, “You have to make it your own and find the blog, person, website, or cookbook that speaks to you.”

That was certainly the case for me and I have my own people who inspire me and a cookbook collection that leans toward the amount of time I want to spend cooking in the kitchen and types of food I want to eat.

Matt also founded a plant-based nutrition center called Nutrinic outside Pasadena, California.  It specializes in anything from every day plant-based nutrition to preventing diseases using a plant-based diet.  The Registered Dietitians (RD) at Nutrinic also partner with your doctor to work as a team.

Topics Discussed in the podcast 

  • what plant-based foods to add in to your diet for optimal health and performance
  • what to eat before, during, and after your workout on a plant-based diet
  • starting point for switching to a plant based diet
  • how to eat a vegan diet and make sure you are getting enough calories
  • cultivating a healthy relationship with food
  • glycogen depletion
  • Nutrinic and how a plant-based diet can prevent Type 2 Diabetes
  • ultra-endurance running, mountain biking, and triathlon events Matt has done and the mindset around them

Show Notes:

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