How Dale Johnson — Tech Worker by Day, Polo Player by Night — Eats for the Week

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NameDale Johnson
Location: Oakland, CA
How many individuals eat collectively in your house? 3; myself and my mother and father.
Avoidances: “I wish I ate everything, but my diet basically fuels my athletic pursuits.”

Here’s proof that one trip can change your life: On a visit to Buenos Aires simply over three years in the past, 32-year-old Dale Johnson casually noticed a pair of polo boots on show in a retailer. “Those shoes are badass, I gotta get into that,” he thought, and months later he joined a clinic. Now, at age 35, Dale is a nationally aggressive polo participant who, alongside along with his horse, Sunny, is taking the sport by storm.

If you’re questioning the sort of one who can turn into a powerhouse polo participant seemingly on a whim (on prime of his day job), that individual is Dale. “I’m not trying to be virtuous, maybe I’m just a nerd,” he says of his extremely disciplined habits — habits that embrace waking up at daybreak, ingesting tons of black espresso, figuring out, doing each day affirmations, studying books by Roman stoics, and going to mattress by 10 p.m.

I caught up with Dale to speak about the weight loss program that fuels his grueling schedule, his horse’s favourite snack, and what he eats after a tricky match.

You say your weight loss program fuels your athletic pursuits — how so?
I want a weight loss program that permits me to keep up numerous vitality. Everything is centered round that. My days begin fairly early. I do a exercise in my house gymnasium that begins round 5 or 6 a.m. I even have a day job — I’m a worldwide supervisor at Visa. So I do this from 9 to five p.m. after which at the finish of the day I prepare my horse, Sunny. So I must have sufficient vitality to begin at 6 a.m. and finish my day at 10 p.m.

I guarantee that the weight loss program I’ve retains me comparatively lean and lightweight. When you play polo, and also you’re on a horse, it’s worthwhile to be 20 % of the horse’s weight on its again. So I want to keep up that weight whereas additionally remaining sturdy. Polo is a contact sport. We do ride-offs, which implies we push our horses into each other. There’s a bonus to being bigger than your typical polo participant. I want to remain mild sufficient for the horse, however large enough to be intimidating.

What does that imply food-wise?
I’ve black espresso all day lengthy. It’s a staple of mine. I like Blue Bottle (it’s an Oakland firm, so being born and raised right here I’m pleased to assist it). I don’t drink an excessive amount of alcohol. I’ll get pleasure from a beer with a pal, however often it’s water. I’m additionally an enormous juice fiend (pineapple, guava), however I attempt to steer clear of that stuff due to the sugar.

I be sure I get numerous protein. A typical breakfast for me is a sunny-side-up egg, turkey bacon, an avocado, and toast. I consider my weight loss program when it comes to steadiness. Lunches are usually hen. For dinner I shoot for fish, like salmon, or extra poultry. I like a very good quail. I’m not an enormous pink meat eater; I are inclined to eat it sparingly. Although in polo, pink meat is the factor to do. It’s an Argentine sport.

Do you get pleasure from cooking?
I like to cook dinner — usually. Since I moved again in with my mother and father in San Francisco throughout the pandemic, it modified a bit. I used to cook dinner virtually each evening of the week (if I didn’t go to the Whole Foods scorching bar). There’s not numerous counter house at my mother and father’ place. I used to be like, “Mom, why do you have all these porcelain chickens?” No, however actually, they’ve the whole lot we’d like. My mother will cook dinner dinners now and again, however I grew up studying to cook dinner for myself. My mother is kind of liberated; she was at all times like, “Good luck, you’re on your own.”

What’s the greatest restoration meal?
I like a hard-boiled egg and cured meats, possibly some cheese. Everything I eat is protein-heavy. I additionally love fruit, tree nuts — one thing like that to maintain me going after video games. Polo is fairly taxing.

Polo isn’t the commonest sport — how did you get into it?
My grandfather raised Quarter Horses on a household cattle ranch north of Houston. He moved to the Bay Area like numerous households did in the Nineteen Forties. And my mom is a big animal-lover, too. I’ve at all times beloved horses and rode them on and off as a child, nevertheless it wasn’t till I used to be an grownup, and took a visit to Buenos Aires in 2017, that it turned one thing I used to be enthusiastic about. I used to be in a store buying one thing for my mom and I noticed that pair of polo boots. A number of months later I reached out to the Bay Area Polo Club, went to the clinic, and the relaxation is historical past.

Tell me about Sunny!
Sunny and I am going again about two years — I began enjoying shut to a few years in the past. Sunny is a mare with numerous perspective. She was beforehand owned by a participant at a membership I play at, however she wasn’t the favourite. She was pushed right into a secure throughout the road and he or she wasn’t being performed. At the time, I used to be determined to trip day by day, nevertheless it’s costly. A fellow member mentioned “I know this polo pony if you want to help get her back up to snuff, you can get a discount.” I obtained on Sunny for the first time and he or she was a bronco, bucking, working me in opposition to partitions — simply not in the temper. We caught with it and he or she ended up being a lovely horse that performs on the subject, turns at the drop of a hat, is accountable, very candy. Ultimately, she wanted numerous consideration and somebody who wished her to develop and develop. Training my very own horse is one thing I used to be new to, however I did it. She’s impacted my life.

What are a few of her favourite meals?
She eats grass hay and oat hay. She’s consistently grazing. Her meals is all sourced from the ranch the place she stays. They develop the hay actually behind her. She additionally loves alfalfa. I additionally complement her weight loss program with vitamins and nutritional vitamins to ensure she’s in prime enjoying form. She’s an athlete and my teammate! I would like her to be comfy and have a very good life — I take that actually significantly.

How has the pandemic affected your life and polo profession?
Like everybody else, I wanted to decelerate in life. The tempo in the Bay Area was actually hectic and aggressive. I work in tech. And with the site visitors, prices, I actually didn’t know what was good for me till issues got here to a screeching halt. It helped me replicate on who I used to be, what I valued, what sort of individual I wished to be, and the kind of individuals I wished to encompass myself with. When issues slowed down, all I had was work, my horse, a detailed tight group of pals, the polo group, and my potential to work out.

Sunny has been incredible. I hold her on a ranch that’s not removed from right here; it’s 600 non-public acres. We can trip to the prime of coastal ranges, see ocean views, tree canopies. I’ve time to trip my horse and simply take into consideration my life and the place I wish to go. I simply turned 35 and made numerous private modifications. It was like, Okay, what’s the subsequent step? I wish to personal a house with land, be a bit of out from the metropolis, possibly transfer to the East Coast, develop in the sport, and develop my profession.

You (each!) accomplish that a lot — how do you chill out?
Right now I’m studying The Warmth of Other Suns. It appears into the Black emigration from the South to Northern cities to flee Jim Crowism. My grandparents had been caught up in that wave from Texas. That wave modified and formed the face of America.

Another e book I’m studying is On the Shortness of Life, by Seneca, the Roman stoic. Life is lengthy if you know the way to make use of it. He talks about how we waste time doing issues we don’t get pleasure from doing. We ought to attempt to pursue folks and issues that we love. That was an enormous aim of mine when the pandemic began: How a lot am I going to be taught? How a lot am I going to do?

I’m additionally studying After the Rain by Alex Elle. I love to do affirmations in the morning. Life is tough sufficient so I attempt to begin off the morning on a optimistic observe, along with figuring out. It helps hold me grounded and peaceable.

Thanks for sharing, Dale! Follow Dale (and Sunny!) on Instagram.

The Way We Eat is a sequence of profiles and conversations with folks such as you, about how they feed themselves and their households. We’re actively wanting for folks to function on this sequence. You don’t need to be well-known or perhaps a good cook dinner! We’re excited about folks of all backgrounds and consuming habits. If you’d prefer to share your personal story with us, or if of somebody you suppose could be nice for this sequence, start here with this form.

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