I first read about Dakota Gale in an article on Mind-Body-Green about how Dakota and his partner have cycled 7,000 miles through 14 countries, and what they have learnt. I was instantly intrigued. My sense of adventure was sparked and I contacted Dakota asking if he would be involved in my Vegan Athlete Series. I love the fact that Dakota and Chelsea are Vegan Ambassadors on their travels, spreading the message of being fit and healthy, whilst living and travelling in harmony with animals and nature.
How long have you been vegan?
Three years. We went 100% plant-based right before we left on a 2.5 year trip – seemed like a good time! It was a two year process of phasing out animal products, not an overnight thing.
What made you decide to become vegan?
Reading the book Finding Ultra by Rich Roll, followed by doing research regarding the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle. The thing that really convinced me was learning that a whole-foods, plant-based diet is the only one proven to stop or reverse cancer.
What differences have you noticed with your training or lifestyle?
My recovery is noticeably quicker after a hard workout. I also feel lighter after meals and rarely feel that post-meal tired slump.
Tell us about your chosen sport and training. What does it involve?
Since my wife and I travel frequently by camper van, most of my “training” is on trails. My favorite sport is mountain biking, especially long solo rides in the middle of nowhere. I ride hard, but no longer use a heart rate monitor or any other tech. It’s all about the enjoyment of being outside. I also trail run, rock climb, swim, practice yoga, and can swing a mean ping pong paddle. If it involves motion, I’m into it!
How often do you train?
6-7 days per week. Since I’m not competing, I mix up activities a lot.
Tell us about some of your achievements to date?
I’ve completed (along with my wife) self-supported cycle touring for 4,000 miles across the United States and another 2,500 miles around Europe. We hauled about 50-70 pounds of gear each, including camping and photo gear. Here’s what I’ve learned.
How do family and friends react to your vegan lifestyle?
Almost everyone is tremendously supportive and also interested in why I choose to be vegan. A few friends give me a good-natured hard time, but recognize that this is my personal choice and respect that; especially when I’m crushing them on a tough climb on the bike! A strong vegan is a convincing one, if you ask me.
How do you promote your vegan lifestyle?
I strive to live a very physical active life where people are surprised that I am vegan. “Wow, I don’t know how you do that without eating meat” is a comment I hear often. By sharing physical exploits with non-vegans, it plants a seed that perhaps it’s possible to be strong while opting out of harmful animal agriculture methods.
What do you eat in a typical day?
Piles of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains, plus some super foods for added texture. We are big fans of mainlining nutrients via smoothies and also big pots of hot soup.
What is your favourite food or recipe?
Vegan enchiladas that my wife makes. It’s a recipe from Isa Chandra’s great cookbook.
Do you take any supplements?
Just vitamin B12!
What advice would you give to people thinking of going vegan?
Own it! Your friends, family and people you encounter will support you if you are strong in your conviction. Also, find a great network of supportive vegans through local meetup groups when you first get started. If there isn’t a local one, go online and find your community there.
What events or other exciting things do you have planned in the next 12 months?
Climbing and mountain biking in Oregon and Washington, trekking in Iceland, a mountain bike trip through British Columbia…but that’s only through August! No idea past that, but it’s gonna be fun.
What do you do outside of your sport/training for fun?
I play guitar, read a ton, write for our blog and other publications, and spend a lot of time enjoying photography, often while hiking. My latest passion is videography.
Who are your biggest motivators in life?
Myself! I’m very self-motivated and wake up ready to get after it most days. I also enjoy biographies of successful, driven people.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
I absolutely believe that a vegan diet can increase athletic performance. Give it a shot and see how it feels – a great resource is the 30 Day Vegan Challenge.
If you’d like to connect with Dakota and find out more about his travels and adventures,, head on over to the following links:
Thank you so much Dakota. Keep an eye out on the blog every Fitness Friday for more vegan athletes.