Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two Strong Women and Their Vegan Blogs

What a creative name for a muscle and vegan-themed website! Samantha Shorkey, my PlantBuilt teammate and first ever vegan WNBF bikini pro, runs Jacked on the Beanstalk from all the way up in frozen Alberta, Canada. Her Ebook with the same title informs its readers about optimal plant-based foods to eat for contest-winning fitness.
"Building strong, lean muscles on a vegan diet is not as hard as you might think! Jacked on the Beanstalk is a how-to guide for preparing healthy, high-protein and low-sodium meals suitable for any vegan strength or endurance athlete." 
Personally, I think it is pretty awesome that people like Sam are still doing blogs, because her insight about vegan fitness and vegan modeling is hugely appealing to people wanting the look that gets the touch (excuse my Finesse commercial reference). There is a wealth of volunteered advice from people who don't necessarily have the look and though they might be knowledgeable about their trade, the info just doesn't sell. Being your own advertising is the bottom line in the fitness industry. My experience with personal training and group fitness instruction at Gold's Gym and Toadal Fitness in Santa Cruz is that the more shredded the trainer is, the more clients he or she will get. 

PlantBuilt Teammates 2014 and 2015

Having had the pleasure of spending the 2014 PlantBuilt meetup/competition with Samantha, I can attest to the fact that people definitely be askin' her, "How do you do that?!" 

Her response: "Read my book bitch." 
Well, she doesn't quite say it that way. But if she did, she would be doing that person a favor. Jacked on the Beanstalk is where it's at in 2015 for fitness/nutrition blogs. Got a competition coming up? Get your learn on with Team PlantBuilt's Samantha Shorkey. 

You can also follow +Samantha Shorkey on Instagram 

BUTT wait, there's more!

My favorite vegan restaurant in the country is Strong Hearts Cafe, located in Syracuse, NY. They opened their doors in 2008 and have been wildly successful in the business world while not compromising their ethics whatsoever. Syracuse, NY does have a large vegan community, so they had that going in their favor, but it was Nick and Joel (the co-owners of SHC) who took the risk of trying to open this business after the Great Recession, in a down Syracuse economy. I helped them out where I could, but it was the message and the persistence of the people behind Strong Hearts that made it into the vegan pillar it is today. 

Vegan Pillar and Syracuse Award-Winning Eatery

The Strong People Behind Strong Hearts

Oh deary me, I forgot to mention Laura Ryan, the manager of Strong Hearts! Nick Ryan (co-owner) was my college roommate for two years, and we both had younger sisters that we tried to be positive role models for. One of the positive messages we both conveyed to our siblings was the idea of animal liberation and that we shouldn't be eating our fellow sentient beings for lunch. My own sister navigates between different versions of plant-based diets nowadays, but Laura has become a vegan chef, blogger and nutritionist. Impressive specs. 

My sister, Laura, and me
Vegan Heartbeats is a frequently updated blog with delicious plant-based recipes for dishes ranging from coconut cheesecake to strawberry gin. I am not the chef that Laura is, but have semi-attempted a recipe from Vegan Heartbeats, which despite having only half the ingredients for, still ended up as a delicious and nutritious post-workout treat. 

Along with tons of recipes, organized very nicely in the side column of her blog, she includes Vegan Writing and Societal Writing, which make me super-stoked because I am one who affirms that animal rights is part of a greater worldwide movement toward total liberation. If I were to break my own writing down into two categories, it would probably also be vegan and societal. And ya know, if I had a third, it would probably be about exercise. Which, ironically enough, is the other section Laura features on  Vegan Heartbeats! 


Go ahead and click on any of those links (because I believe it will connect directly to her blog) or stay here and enjoy drooling over some genuine Vegan Heartbeats creations below. Whether you're into this for plant-based performance nutrition for sports and exercise, or just want some delicious cruelty-free recipes, these two blogs are worth your while. Laura is humble, in my not-so-humble opinion, and may be surprised to hear what an inspiration she is to myself and a lot of others in the vegan scene. I first and foremost admire her endless support for her brother, Nick, because he and I have shared so much over the years, and I know that to do what he does, with his excellence in execution, he needs the support of loved ones. People seldom realize that by being someone's steadfast support network, you are equally responsible for all the good that they do. To take it to the next level and become the second-part of a ONE-TWO-PUNCH (like Laura did with this blog) is extra special. Between Strong Hearts and Vegan Heartbeats, Syracuse is becoming a Vegan Mecca, and I am proud to say I am one of their loudest cheerleaders.

Chunky Vegetable Soup 

More about Laura from her blog:

 I am a woman. 25 and counting. Vegan. I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from Syracuse University. I work as a restaurant manager for Strong Hearts Cafe, TWO all-vegan restaurants in Syracuse, NY. 

I have the sweetest puppy named Rigby and a super loud, super independent kitty named Stella. I live with my boyfriend, Josh. We do lots of stuff, like hike and camp and go to concerts. And eat. I have a really cool, super supportive family. 

Contact me: Via tumblr (lots of old content here!): 

Via email:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Weightlifting. Powerlifters. Bodybuilders. Olympic Lifters.

At my CrossFit affiliate, CrossFit West Santa Cruz, Leah Lutz practices her back squats, dead lifts, and bench presses all the time. She doesn't only do those lifts, but they are the focus of her powerlifting training.

  1. a form of competitive weightlifting in which contestants attempt three types of lift in a set sequence.

I have taken a particular interest in the sport of powerlifting ever since my team (PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team) took on Mike Wolf, Kelly Green, Sara Russert, Scott Shetler, Jason Morris, and Crystal Moulton as their 6 member powerlifting squad.
PlantBuilt 2015 Powerlifters
Powerlifters weren't born freaks of nature, but their training sets them apart from the rest of the fitness world much of the time. Let's see what our Leah Lutz has to say about it!

1) With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with today? 
Hi, I’m Leah Lutz, and my vocation is teaching while my hobbies are family, friends, cooking, travel, and training.

2) What is your Instagram? What does that mean? Can we follow you?
@scteacher (noting the job that I absolutely love: teaching, and the most amazing place to live: Santa Cruz) I am always happy to have followers, and I promise that I try to keep the hideous food pictures to a minimum.

 3) What is powerlifting? 
Competitive powerlifters train for and compete in meets that include the back squat, bench press, and deadlift. Each competitor has three attempts for each lift, and records can be set for each lift and the meet total (the best of all three lifts.) You compete in a flight of various lifters in any given competition, but all records are set by weight class and powerlifting type-typically: raw (knee sleeves and a belt allowed), raw classic (knee wraps and a belt allowed), or geared (with lifting suits)

4) How long have you been powerlifting? How did you get into it? 
I competed in my first meet in October 2013, and decided right away that I love it. I never, ever expected to be doing this, for many reasons, not the least being that I have never competed in any athletics before this. 5 years ago I walked into CrossFit West weighing 265 pounds, so nervous and feeling out of place that I could barely walk in the door. Just getting to classes and keeping up with it was incredibly difficult, I would often cry over how hard a workout was or how pathetically out of shape I really was. Every single class and every movement was difficult, but I had been overweight for years, and I was 100% ready to change my life. The coaches and athletes at CFW were and are unbelievably supportive. I am still amazed at their confidence in me and their willingness to encourage me when I didn’t want to finish (or sometimes even start) a workout. Through CrossFit and a switch to the Paleo diet, I was able to lose about 50 pounds, and I felt better than ever. In all of this, I also discovered that I loved lifting weights. I was a decent squatter from the beginning, so I was happy to work on that often. Through a series of injuries, I had shoulder surgery in August 2013, and it was during my rehab from that that I decided to focus more and more on lifting. I still had no desire to compete, I just wanted to regain my lost strength. Post-surgery I was also working to lose more weight, and my coach knew that a set goal would be a great motivation for me. I wanted to reach 165 pounds, a seemingly impossible goal at that time, so he talked me into entering a meet in the 165 weight class. Reaching 165 for that first meet seemed almost impossible, but I just kept working each week, progressing with my training and being consistent with my diet. Really my one goal for that first meet was to weigh in at 165, and any lifts were secondary.

5) Do you coach powerlifting? What instruction have you offered?
I coached several barbell classes at CrossFit West and done a small amount of personal strength training. In the barbell classes, we are able to focus on the 3 power lifts for 6-8 weeks, dialing in technique and really pushing each class member to meet new goals.

6) Can a crossfitter be a powerlifter? 
If they want to be competition-level, can they still do both concurrently? It is certainly something that athletes do. Skilled, trained athletes often have the ability to perform well in a variety of specializations or sports. Now whenever you choose to enter one type of competition, I think you have to decide whether you will really specialize your training for an optimal performance in that one chose sport or whether you will keep up training in several different areas. Spreading out your training will be definition cost you some specialization, but many athletes chose this general approach and do very well. I’m not that level of athlete! I do best in specializing in my chosen sport.

7) Can a bodybuilder be a powerlifter? Can they compete in those two sports concurrently? 
I don’t have personal experience with this, so I can only refer to what I know of other’s experiences. I do know people who have competed in both bodybuilding and powerlifting, but I think they have all switched from one to the other, and then maybe back to one again. Powerlifting will certainly give you a strong base for your bodybuilding prep.

8) What do you think of competitive bodybuilding? 
Competitive bodybuilders are some of the most dedicated competitors I have run into. I have great respect for someone who sets a goal to compete and then keeps up with their very meticulous diet and training plan.

Thank You Leah, and happy birthday! More powerlifting interviews to come. Scott Shetler from Team PlantBuilt and Extreme Performance Training has something to say about vegan powerlifting and I say bring it on!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Buffalo Snow- My Collection of Pictures

I moved to California in October 2009 to open up some new opportunities for myself. The West Coast is the Best Coast and one of the reasons this is true is because of the sunny days, year throughout. Now, I do enjoy snow; trips home for the December holidays are a custom and the week or two at home with snow on the ground is thrilling.


Who the hell has ever heard of this? Unless it's because of snow-covered roads causing auto-accidents, deaths are very unusual in any discussion of mere snowfall. So what the heck is going on in Buffalo? Maybe some Buffalo residents can read this and comment about their experience. (hopefully you're OK)

The news stories from NBC tell a harrowing tale of Western NY residents as they cope with 8 feet of snow around (and even inside) their homes.

The death toll from the epic snowstorm this week climbed by three on Friday to 13. That included two elderly residents of a nursing home in the town of Cheektowaga died during an evacuation on Thursday when the roof began buckling. 
At least 30 building collapses were reported overnight, mostly farm buildings and flat-roof structures, and authorities said they expected more as they made their way around after sunrise. The storm dumped more than 7 feet of snow in some places. 
“It’s getting heavier,” Thomas Mudd Jr. of Cheektowaga told The Associated Press as he and his wife shoveled 4 to 5 feet of snow off their roof. “It’s supposed to warm up and we're supposed to get rain on the weekend, which will make it even heavier. So I didn't want my roof collapsing.

A few flakes fell atop this guy's head and shoulders, but no damage done to anyone in Syracuse luckily. These next few images have been collected over the years, the top being most recent and longer and longer ago as we go down.

The Vegan Straight Edge Anti-War Mobile. My car 2006-2009.
Snow and Piano. You don't see these together everyday.

Love within one's heart is much stronger than forced political obedience.
This image has been traveling around the web via email.
Pretty epic.

Lastly, to go with this blog's theme of Herbivore Athletics, we feature two skiers who
clearly give their ALL to win this race. Cross-country skiing is the best cardio-vascular
exercise for humans. Great sport...can only be done in snow. Maybe Buffalo's ski
sales will go up in the coming days. Let's look at the cup as half-full!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 2014 News (Billy Prusinowski's and The World's)

Graph of Blogger page views

How do people build their blogs without selling out? No I won't pump your crappy supplements and say I've used them to attain my physique when I really haven't. Actually, I took your product, it contributed to my seizure disorder and I built no muscle because of it.

No I won't post naked pictures.

No I won't do that #sfs crap on my Instagram or other cheap tricks to get followers that don't know how to read anyway.

Maybe I'll just add topics that some people are actually searching for online like Adrian Peterson (NFL's favorite child abuser), Ray Rice (NFL's favorite domestic partner abuser), Roger Goddell (NFL's lover of child abusers and domestic partner abusers.

What I do like about blogging like this is that when I tag names like I just did, search engines are more likely to direct searches for those names to the articles that I just linked them too. (If you haven't clicked on them, FYI I linked them all to sites condemning their behavior. Not bullshit like F*X News) And you'll notice me not actually spelling out the name of that news station, nor talking about it because that will, in turn, make them higher in search engine results, which really no one wants. Even the fuckers that think they do want that, I am helping save their lives. The frail, back country hicks and hickettes all airbrushed and poised to look like news-authorities are worse than ever in 2014 and spreading hatred faster than Ebola to their viewers. 

While you are not watching that crap, I would like to suggest watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I in two days when it comes out in theaters. This movie has a major revolutionary undertone that is helping to teach the world to not just distrust authority, but to see the corruption and evil behind much of it. Even the salute from The Hunger Games is now being used in the real world much as it was used in the movie.

Thai Students Protest Government
Five student protestors were arrested in Thailand today for holding up the three-fingered “Mockingjay” salute, which opponents to the country’s military junta have adopted from The Hunger Games as a symbol of their resistance.

I hope this sign catches on in student protest movements. It is always heart-wrenching when you see it in the film! Allison Dunham and I will be there hooting and hollering in the Santa Cruz Regal 9 with our own hands up in the mockingjay salute with Katniss and Peeta baby!

Black Masks remind me of the good ol' days. Go SEAC!

Good thing we can actually make it to the movie theaters in Santa Cruz. I just spent a weekend in the frozen tundra of Upstate NY. Have you heard about their insane snowfall? Coming off the plane from California, a few tourist-style snow selfies were taken, but that hardly describes the half of it.

Billy Prusinowski from Syracuse
The snow in Syracuse was epic. It ended up with is in a car wreck on an icy bridge, but I digress. The snow just a few hours west in Buffalo, NY is absolutely insane. Here are some of the pictures of yesterday and today's snowfall that caused fatalities! I've never even heard of that having grown up in Syracuse for the first 22 years of my life.

More about the 70 inches of snow in this news story

Most of the time, killer snowfall stories are worth a laugh or two. Folks from warm weather areas are hit with an inch and act like it's the end of the world. Well, when Buffalo or Syracuse or even further upstate make a cry for help, it has to be Syracuse. These residents deal with way over 100 inches of snow every winter, so anything less than a total snow onslaught wouldn't even get media attention. This, my friends, is serious. So while we keep Buffalo in our thoughts, let's let the important part of our mind wander back to the Hunger Games and our star, Katniss Lawrence. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence. Thanks for being one of us and taking nudes on your phone. We do the same, but don't caught up in the iCould nude selfie scandals like you did. Sorry about your privacy, thanks for all of the "activity" that's resulted from it ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day: Doing Interviews to Be Posted in Days To Come

A friend from the Syracuse Straight Edge Community of days past came through Santa Cruz on his travels up and down the Left Coast. Was nice to see an old face and reminisce about our vegan mafia mayhem and the bands and the shows, etc. Viva La 315 Hardcore. We snapped a quick pic after downing our Vega protein shakes in my kitchen. Great workout at the Santa Cruz gym that won't be named :)

Sean O'Grady and Billy Pruz
Interviews with other hardcore kids who have started new endeavors upcoming. As well as interviews with a competitive powerlifting athlete who I like to call my friend and an inspiration. Stay tuned and blog more!

Off for a Veteran's Day bike ride with my lady. Adios and enjoy your day off :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving Money as a 30 Year Old

You're now 30 and understand that your fleeting time on this planet needs to be spent making money.

You're not a dollar-obsessed sugar baby, you're not a welfare-hating, closed-minded conservative, you just want to do things that cost money. Well year after year (as we now surely realize add up quite quickly), the money you save here and there can end up in investments that earn you wealth without you doing anything. Save $2 here, find 25 cents there, avoid spending $12 somewhere're on the right path!

Here is my easy list: (Organized by subjects)

A) Cars: 

1) Avoid parking tickets! That's $40 that can buy your next dinner out. Take a few minutes extra and find a real parking space. Or pay the extra 2 quarters at the meter in case your appointment runs over. It's worth it. 

2) Use them less. Anywhere you can comfortably bike or walk, or even carpool, do it. Every time you are behind the wheel you risk having an accident. You also burn ga$. You also wear out tires, use windshield fluid, dirty your oil, and have those things replaced all the sooner. You'll get more exercise by doing all those things too!

3) Don't put off getting your maintenance. The longer you wait, the more likely a bare tire tread or low air pressure will get you a blowout or cause an accident. You'll end up paying additionally for the damage done, then still have to get maintenance (probably more now) anyway. 

B) Pick Up Change:

Picking it up adds up, slowly but surely. Not your key to getting rich, nor something to be done 100% of the time (try to refrain from doing this at a fancy dinner party or during a job interview), but if you do a bit of walking every day (which you should definitely be doing) you could stumble upon that extra cost to "Super Size" your next meal!

C) Don't Super Size Your Meal! Don't Get ANY Fast Food:

This is a fitness tip that doubles as a fiscal tip. Plan your meals for the week on your day off. We all like thinking about food, so while you do that, make your shopping list. Shop at any grocery store that's cheaper than Whole Foods to stock up on what you need then prep your meals. What is meal prep? Cooking your foods in bulk (the big money saver) then portioning them off into containers that you can take to work or school so you won't have to go the fast food route. 

This is meal prep. Check out the Vegan Options she lists!

D) Drugs:

Don't do them. They are expensive. They will kill you one way or another. Trying to escape reality is something that people like to do, and you see this everyday. Taking the huge risk of buying drugs from a sketchy dope dealer and not knowing what you're going to get is bad enough. Try and foot the medical bill for bleach ingestion or inhalation. Peer influence is still a very real phenomenon at 30, so your friends might get into drugs too. If you're the resilient one, just don't forget to think about how easily others become addicted. Addicts will lie to you, steal from you, and end up costing you so much money (especially if the addict is you). This is not only a money saver, but also a life saver. 

E) Clothes:

1) Wear and Care versus Wear and Tear. Nice clothes are a burden on your wallet. Buying them once every couple years is bad enough. Buying new ones to place worn out ones every year is way worse. Dude, you've been alive for 30 years now. That really nice blue woven you paid $70 for in 2007 looked great on you. You don't want to have to replace it every 12 months because you've wrecked it. That pace will cost you $490 dollars by 2014 for that one shirt! And we all know you want more than just one shirt. Hang your shirts. If your closet is moist or your shirts are hung while moist, metal hangers will rust-stain your stuff. Get plastic hangers if this is a likelihood. Or even better yet, save the padded hangers that your dry cleaner always gives you! 

2) Dry cleaning and washing. Read the tags on your stuff. Ruining them in the wash sucks, so don't wash reds with your whites, don't use bleach on darks, don't spin wash things that need dry cleaning, and don't be lazy with weekly laundry. Saving your stinky stuff for weeks will cost you the same amount at the laundromat, probably cause mildew growth, cause you to lose socks and panties while carrying five massive laundry bags around, and will make you more likely to buy more new, expensive clothes. You see such a bland of "leftovers" in your dresser and closet because your nice stuff has been in your laundry basket for 3 weeks. Avoid going out and spending $100+ on a new outfit and just do your damn laundry. If you can consolidate and do it with somebody else, that can save money too (but you should really like that person!). 

PS- Without getting too much into religious dogmas, I grew up going to church on every Sunday and every holy day of obligation until I was 20 years old. It was always interesting to see how much my parents put into the collection basket (Catholic Churches ask for money from their church attendees once or twice per mass). It seemed like a good chunk of change, multiplying $20 (I think that was their standard donation) by 52 Sundays and at least 10 additional holy days. Was that 10% of their income? I don't know; I didn't keep track of my parents' yearly incomes. They say the recommended donation to your church is 10% of one's income.

...While searching for the above meme, this one also showed up and fit quite perfectly into the theme of Saving Money. So I'll leave you with this.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy (Rainy) Halloween/Buy Vegan Protein

Throughout this California 2014 Drought, every day has been scary because the people I see on a regular basis are concerned for our environment and the Central California Coast agricultural communities. Along with this scare comes certainty that at least we can enjoy everything outdoors...because we won't be getting rained on. It's been like this since January. And now, October 31st, the night that most of us celebrate's pouring.

If the Santa Cruz Halloween Night Parade/Street Party doesn't go down, my hope is that you all get a little cuddle-time with the hottest zombie on the block and eat some Trader Joe's Vegan Pumpkin Rolls :)

Pacific Ave. Downtown Santa Cruz Halloween Party
VEGAN PROTEIN! Nothing sounds sweeter than hearing the words vegan and protein come out of somebody's mouth in the same sentence. When those beautiful words are spoken, I know we're speaking the same language!

Getting into fitness after several years of already being vegan and an animal rights activist, my web searches were less about CRUSHING THE FUR TRADE and more about CRUSHING WEIGHTS IN THE GYM. Guess which one turned out to be more depressing to search? CRUSHING WEIGHTS IN THE GYM! Why? Because all these meatheads offer a "my way or the highway" attitude toward nutrition. 

Out of nowhere comes advice from a vegetarian that I hardly knew, to check out That was a kick in the pants "No WAY" kinda moment. There is a website called Vegan Protein? This I have got to see. 

So I saw it. Loved it. Supported it. 10 years or so have gone by, yadda yadda yadda, and now you can order from their site by clicking on my face :)

Click dem sexy mufuggas to buy dat tanktop!

It's a great website and great company. Supporting them is supporting independent business, and spending against animal cruelty. Any vegan or vegetarian that hasn't seen VeganProteins yet is definitely in for a treat. Buy all of your supplements and nutrition information from them and hit the ground running in the plant-built muscle game!