Name: Dallas McCulloch
Date of Birth: 4/30/1986
Weight: 155 lbs.
Birthplace: Battle Creek, MI
Current Residence: Grand Rapids, MI
Sports: Yoga, Triathlons, Biking, Running, Skateboarding
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I'm a recovering alcoholic, I am currently enrolled in school to be a yoga teacher. I work service industry and work the desk at a yoga studio in Grand Rapids to support myself, I also sing and play bass in a pop punk band called This is the Year (facebook.com/thisistheyearMI) and love going on tour where I eat awesome vegan food all over. I love punk rock, cooking, ethnic food, bikes, yoga, left wing politics, Detroit Sports, traveling, dumb comedies, mopeds, and learning about history/ geography.
Why did you become vegan?
I became vegan in the summer of 2009, I had been a vegetarian since I was 16 back in 2002 and had always liked the idea of veganism but never acted upon it. I went through a bad breakup and watched the ex become self destructive, I decided it was time for me to do the opposite and become fully vegan and I have been ever since. I always knew it was a better way to live, I just lacked the will power to do it until 2009 and since then I never looked back. I have always been against animal exploitation and only through a vegan diet can you avoid it, regardless of what words like "organic, green, local, environmentally friends, etc." is thrown on meat, dairy, eggs, etc. at the end of the day meat is murder, and dairy is rape any way you look at it. Since becoming vegan I have gotten down to the lowest weight and body fat percent of my adult life, I have my blood pressure exactly where it should be when it used to be hypertensive, and I sleep at night just fine knowing I'm ethically making the right decision. It's good to know that the healthiest diet is also the more environmentally friendly and the most ethical, and it doesn't hurt that all of my food tastes amazing too.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I started running or working out occasionally in 2009, largely to try to counter the destruction being on tour was doing to my body. At the age of 21 I had stage two hypertension, despite being a somewhat thin junk food vegetarian. I also have a history of heart problems, diabetes, hypertension in my family, and I figured I should try to overcome those genetic flaws. I became very involved with fitness in the summer of 2012 where I was in a rough spot in my life and decided to start doing yoga a lot, and also running and doing some weight training from time to time. January 2013 I returned home from a trip to Scotland where I decided to make a few major changes. Realizing I'm an alcoholic I cut the drinking significantly, got out of a long term relationship, and decided to start playing music again and working out constantly. Eventually I went 100% sober and have been for a few months now, went from being a total drunk to a triathlete in yoga school over a period of a few months.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
My food is largely based around the farmer’s market, Michigan has a crazy amount of diversity in our agricultural products and the city of Grand Rapids is a mecca for vegan food. I try to keep a pretty balanced diet of small meals with whole ingredients in general, but definitely load up on protein post weight lifting and get my carbs in the morning. I also used to get 1000 of calories every week from alcohol, cutting that has helped me more than anything.
How would you describe your training program?
I do yoga (mostly vinyasa) 4 days a week, run a lot when training for a race, and hit the weights about 3 or 4 days a week... but lately with yoga teacher training the weighs and running have become secondary. I also do a lot of walking and biking since I live in the city. I don’t like running crazy distances but I keep consistent with listening to hardcore and doing some medium speed runs throughout the week. I also try to time out my yoga sessions to be after doing heavy lifting, helps my rebound time.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
I’m originally from a very blue collar town in Michigan where most people don’t know what veganism is, but if I explain it to them they think I must be sick, unhealthy, and on a steady diet of twigs. They don’t realize I’m healthier than 95% of Americans, I eat a wider range of food in a week then most Americans do in their lives, and I love my life. In my neighborhood things are pretty liberal and accepting, but some people think I'm an elitist or some yuppie because I'm a physically active vegan when I really don't think that's true. I figure leading by example is the best way to win people over, not being a condescending asshole.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
Keep your food simple, Amy’s or Boca is fine and all, but it’s expensive and usually not that great for you or as great tasting as cooking from scratch. If you go to the farmer’s market and buy pretty much anything, you can make a really easy, cheap, and healthy soup or veggie hash out of it, and if you prep a crazy quantity it’ll last you for a week. I also think that punk rock/ hardcore music has helped me a lot, getting into a lot of bands like Propagandhi, Strike Anywhere, Death is not Glamorous, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, etc. kind of helps reinforce my ideas and help me stay motivated. There’s no motivation to keep pumping iron or to keep running hard than having some straight edge vegan dude yelling positive things at you, it’s like having your own coach for the price of a record.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Whoever said giving a s*** isn’t punk rock clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about, living well, questioning the status quo of modern medicine/ food production, and taking direct action in your own life is the most hardcore punk rock thing you can do.