Vegan Life speaks to Dirty Sanchez’s Mathew Pritchard about his physical challenges and switching to a plant-based diet
Mathew Pritchard is probably best known from his days on TV show Dirty Sanchez where life was a haze of drinking, skateboarding and doing stunts for laughs. These days Mathew is more focused on his health, fitness and wellbeing and has gone vegan to boot. We spoke to Mathew about what he has achieved so far and what his hopes are for the future.
Congratulations on getting so far with your recent challenge to swim 200 miles in a month. Thank you very much. I didn’t actually make 200 miles, but I did 120 miles in 19 days, so I was happy with that.
It was meant to be like three hours every morning, and it did start off like that, but then I got an infection on my stomach where I had had my tattoo lazered. The doctors said don’t go swimming but I just ignored what he said. I thought I’d be alright. Once that got infected I couldn’t go in the pool, so I had six days off. It was just a game of catch up really. Some days I was in the pool for hours. I did get in about 13 miles one day and I thought, Christ, I still have a bit left in me. I thought I could do the channel here and that’s when I had the idea to try the channel distance on the Sunday. I was in the pool for eleven and a half hours, but I managed to do it.
You must have been in a lot of physical pain to be in the pool for so long.
I wouldn’t say it was pain, it’s the mental toll which would pickle a lot of people. Where there is very little sense in my brain, I just seem to have this ability to switch off and go into a daydream. Before you know it hours have gone by.
My mind goes through loads of things. It’s like a form of meditation but I’m actually thinking about things, if that makes sense. I can’t make my mind go blank but once I get into a deep, deep daydream, I’m off. I just go on a tangent. When I was at school my teacher always used to say that all I ever did was daydream, so at least I’m putting it to use.
You are clearly very healthy, how do you maintain such a high level of fitness?
It’s just something you build on over the years. I think it’s something I accidentally came across. When I started to do something about sorting myself out I started running the Cardiff marathons. I started with the half marathon, then the full marathon and then the iron man and I realised that I could do it. I kept pushing the boundaries and not only was I pushing it, but I was enjoying it at the same time. Once you enjoy something that much and when you know you are going for so many hours then it’s not so much of a chore, you know?
How do you recharge on an entirely plant based diet?
Huel. It’s got everything in it — minerals, vitamins, carbs. I put four of them on the side of the pool. I had bananas, muscle supplements, dates and plenty of water. That was it really. I came home and demolished a packet of chips when I got in. They didn’t even hit the sides.
I’ve been swimming after I had a big meal and it’s not a good idea. It’s horrible. You don’t enjoy swimming and you have to stop yourself from burping because you will follow through. Hence why huel was good because I wasn’t taking a load on board.
Have you had a chance to go down the pub to celebrate yet?
I’ve actually gone teetotal. I haven’t really gone public with it… I suppose these days on social media people know everything. I’ve sort of kept it low key. Out of all of the challenges I’ve set myself in the past, this is the hardest one. This really is hard.
The odd drink here or there was never the odd drink with me. The odd drink led to two days of mayhem and I’m getting older. Been there, done that. It’s just boring, it’s the same thing, going to the same houses, talking rubbish to the same people and then having three days off because I was down and depressed because of the booze.
I really enjoy doing all my sports, I have a business to look after and there are plenty of other things that I really want to do with my life, so I thought I needed to knock this on the head. Since I knocked it on the head, I’m on day 46 now, I’ve been so productive. I’ve just been getting stuff done. It’s great.
Read our interview with Mathew Pritchard in full in the January issue of Vegan Life Magazine