Be very careful around Joel Craddock. He is one of the most dangerous dudes you’ll ever meet. Passionate. Smart. Charismatic. Driven. Sincere. Does shit.
He’s the kind of guy that you innocently jump into a hot tub with, sink a couple of beers, and by the time your hands get wrinkly he has talked you into running 1000kms with him for charity.
The kind of man who casually decides he wants to ride around a whole freaking country, so buys himself and his gf bikes and two tickets to NZ and just bloody does it, without knowing a thing about bikes or even how to fix a flat tyre.
From hearing snippets of the Joel Craddock Story, and crossing his path from time to time over the years, it’s tricky to put the man in a box. Is he an athlete? A teacher? Entrepreneur? A scholar? A nutritionist? Activist? Family man? Dietician? Vegetable artist? Environmentalist? Fashion designer?
One thing is for sure, whatever he is, Joel most certainly is a man who doesn’t just talk shit, he is a man that does shit.
When we heard about the launch of his super-exciting new ethical clothing brand TwoSix9, we figured it was finally time to talk to the man himself, put all the pieces of Joel together, and hear about the epic shit he’s getting done.
DSM: Your life looks like it’s taken a few unexpected turns along the way to get to where you are today. You used to be a regular old PE teacher didn’t you?
JC: Yeah, Straight from school I did a Bachelor of Education (PDHPE). I didnt really know what I wanted to do (still dont) so did what I enjoyed at the time – playing sport.
“I didnt wake up in the morning loving life though, so decided to follow my heart and try to find something I loved – which is a long story to where I am now!”
DSM: You’ve always been physically active, and word on the street is that you’re going to qualify for worlds in triathlon? What got you into triathlon originally?
JC: That’s a goal for next year – I think if I really give it a good crack and apply myself I’ll be a chance. It’s so super-competitive these days, everything will have to go my way on qualification day.
I suppose from when I was a young kid I always just thought people who did triathlon’s were next-level extreme.
Then a few years back I really wanted to ride around New Zealand. I bought myself and girlfriend a road bike and panniers for her birthday plus 2 tickets to NZ. On a side note, I knew absolutely nothing about bikes. I didnt even know how to change a tire.
“The first day of our expedition I got a flat in the pissing-down rain. I unsuccessfully tried to change it before having to hitch a ride in a random’s ute, leaving my girlfriend to ride 40km solo in the rain – not very cool, but a cool story now!”
When we were in Wanaka there was an event called ‘Challenge Wanaka’ which is the same format and distance as Ironman (3.8km swim, 180km ride and a 42.2km run). I remember thinking the competitors were badass and wanted to see if I had what it takes. Fortunately, buying my road bike was the missing ingredient I needed to actually commit to competing in one when I returned home.
DSM: That seems like a bit of pattern for you; getting a rad idea, which is where a lot of people would leave it, but then somehow you actually make it happen. For example, what’s the deal with the whole “running from Melbourne to Sydney” thing?
JC: As all good stories begin, myself and a couple of mates were having a few beers in a spa. One of them was telling me about a guy who had run from Melbourne to Sydney. I somehow managed to convince them that we would be more than capable of doing something similar without any of us having much running experience. Come to think of it, one of the guys had pretty much never run for fun in his life.
“As soon as we hopped out of the spa I announced that we were running from Melbourne to Sydney on FaceBook, so it was official and we were locked in. Turned out to be one of the coolest things I’ve done though.”
We raised $58,000 for the McGrath foundation, providing nurses and support for those with breast cancer. The support we received was epic! It’s just one of those things that will be with me and the boys for life.
DSM: As an elite athlete I’m sure you were always interested in the fuel you put into your body. Most athletes are chasing protein right? So I assume meat must have been a big part of your life back in the day? For instance, did you ever own a spit roaster capable of cooking an entire pig?
JC: Wow – you have done your research! Although, I’m not even close to an elite athlete, but yes… It’s true I was part owner in a spit roaster (and still am I suppose). My mates love to tag me in photos from our engagement party when we used it to feed our guests and there are a few photos of me eating some type of animal.
I’ve been vegan now for 5.5 years now and looking back, the spit is definitely not something I’m proud of.
“I had never given much thought about what I put in my mouth and the implications it might have to not only myself, but other beings and the planet. I was just following the status quo and ate meat and dairy like I was conditioned to do. But going vegan was the best decision I have ever made!”
DSM: Your path took a turn when you met your wife and had a lil family right? Explain how you went from spit roasting pigs to the passionate vegan you are now?
JC: I could definitely write a book about this. I’ll give you the short crap version.
I chased (or stalked) my now-wife to Europe, then back here to Aus, then back to Europe before we were an item. During that time I went back to uni and studied medical biotechnology. I worked in a lab for a little bit but it wasn’t for me. During this time I became very interested in nutrition and after med biotech I did a masters in nutrition and dietetics. I worked as a dietitian for a while, but again, didn’t love it, so went back to do my PhD. I’ve now got a little dude (2.5 years old) and another little tacker on the way.
DSM: I’m sure you could write a book on this one too, but we have to ask you briefly, why should people give a shit about eating animals?
JC: Well for me, I couldn’t bare and still can’t bare to watch slaughterhouse videos.
“These poor creatures are sentient beings and it breaks my heart seeing them. If I can’t even watch them, I sure as hell don’t want to pay people to do it and contribute to it in any way.”
On a more philosophical note, I couldn’t rationally justify why I would eat a pig and not a dog. They are both social, intelligent beautiful creatures and I just couldn’t justify it. Then I couldn’t make an argument about the difference between a pig and any sentient creature.
“I think mankind in general is unjustifiably speciesist. I don’t think it’s any ones fault, it’s just they we’ve all been culturally conditioned. We have no need to kill animals anymore- perhaps back in the day, but not in today’s world.”
There’s also fantastic health benefits and environmental benefits of veganism.
DSM: So what does your life currently look like now?
JC: Mate, it’s currently crazy! I suppose my occupation is ‘student’ – I’m doing my PhD in ‘vegetarian-based eating patterns and their relationship with immune function, inflammation and antioxidant status’. But I’m particularly interested in these components when an intense physiological stress is applied.
Apart from that I’ve just launched ‘TwoSix9‘ which is taking up lots of energy and time. Lucky I love it! I’m also, trying to train for an upcoming ironman doing as many hours as I possibly can to qualify for Kona, whilst also trying to be the best dad I can possibly be.
Oh yeah, I also run @veggie_scapes on instagram – it’s just a fun little vegan meme account… nothing too serious there these days. I used to stick faces on vegetables and caption them. I dont have time for that anymore, just simple memes when I get the time. It’s actually pretty cool because I get a lot of DM’s asking about how to transition to veganism or people with various health conditions trying to do it (I’m a dietitian too).
DSM: Your new brand sounds super cool. Most people don’t give much thought to the clothes we wear, apart from lookin’ sexy. How’s TwoSix9 differ from regular threads? What’s with the name?
“TwoSix9 stands for Justice, Equality, Unity and Compassion.”
“In an act of solidarity and empathy, activists branded 269 onto their skin with the same hot iron brand used in the slaughterhouse. Their collective action exposed the cruelty and injustice of the meat and dairy industries and showed unity with their fellow earthlings.”
“When you purchase a TwoSix9 product you actively join the movement against all forms of exploitation and stand with us for a more compassionate and empathetic world.”
All the products
– are made from 100% organic cotton and/or sustainable Tencel®
– are printed using organic ink
– are manufactured exclusively from wind and/or solar power
– are fair wear certified
We also donate 15% of proceeds to charities which align with our ethos.
Each design represents something we’d like to change about humanity such as LGBTQ rights, animal rights, environmental degradation, pollution etc.
DSM: I often feel overwhelmed when I think about trying to live in a more ethical manner. Has it been a challenge to change your lives to match the values that I guess a whole lot of us have, but don’t really act on? You’ve had to make some sacrifices and takes some risks to undertake your current projects.
JC: Yeah it can definitely be overwhelming to try and do everything ‘ethically’ and ‘right’. I think the most important thing is to not get down on yourself if you don’t succeed at first. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s all about doing the best you can. No one is perfect.
“It has been difficult at times, but after a while it just becomes part of everyday life. I don’t believe I’ve made any sacrifices, especially with veganism. Going vegan was liberating… it feels great to align your inner beliefs with your actions.”
Wanna get involved in the TwoSix9 revolution? Hit them up now and own some shit that looks hot AF and makes the world a better place!
Website – www.twosix9.com
Instagram – @twosix.9
FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/