Justin David Carl

AKA "Dragon"

Vedge Nutrition Elite Athlete

Vegan Athlete & Entrepreneur |  Menlo Park, CA

🌟Inspiring people to truly live a life worth living for!
🐲@getgarten 🌱Vegan Athlete @vedgenutrition
🌓LifeAlchemist 💪🏼Fit: Mind-Body-Heart-Spirit🗽FI


My mission is to inspire people to proactively design & truly live a life worth living for. I live my life from this personal mission.

My family, friends & colleagues call me “Dragon” as it captures my fiery passionate spirit & magical approach to life.

I consider myself to be a “Life Alchemist.” This is a personal philosophy & it empowers me to know & act from the fact that everything in life can be used to heal, learn, grow & transform. It’s all energy that is infinitely available to alchemize anything & everything in life. Because of this personal philosophy, I also believe & know that I thrive in all environments--no matter what is going on in the world or in my personal life.

Professionally, I am a founding team member of Stanford Startup, StartX & Y-Combinator company (Garten) which is a tech-driven food & wellbeing platform serving many of the nation’s top businesses as well as individuals.

Creatively, I live out my personal mission while growing myself as a Holistic Wellbeing & Fitness thought-leader through my work at Garten, my blog AlchemizeLife.com, Instagram & other platforms.

I’ve been into fitness for as long as I can remember. I was a super active kid -- bikes, rollerblading, martial arts, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, etc. I played soccer year-round from 5th grade through the end of my senior year of high school. Towards my last years of High School, I began to get into traditional bodybuilding through Gym Class. After High School, I took a gap year and I went and lived in Barcelona, Spain for about 8-months before attending college. I kept up with bodybuilding in Spain and then got even more into it during my time at Stanford University. Later I expanded my fitness repertoire & got super into yoga (while still bodybuilding) eventually getting certified as Yoga Instructor. These days I always keep a baseline fitness of bodybuilding & yoga, but also do a fair amount of calisthenics/gymnastics, rollerblading, hiking, & cycling. 

What made you switch to a plant-based diet?
In January 2020 I watched the James Cameron hit documentary “The Game Changers” and when I saw Nimai Delgado as a professional bodybuilder eating only plants I was like “WTF?! I gotta try this for myself!”

Prior to watching “The Game Changers” the only athletes that I knew of that were plant-based were endurance athletes. And though I have massive respect & admiration for endurance athletes I’ve never desired to have their physical build. I’ve always been in pursuit of the gymnast & physique model body.

After watching the documentary, I started following Nimai & other Plant-Based Influencers on Instagram and got super inspired & made the switch.

Since going plant-based & eventually fully vegan my life has transformed for the better and my fitness definitely has as well. I track everything & I literally witnessed myself put on more muscle mass, gain strength, lose body-fat, recover faster & begin feeling better than ever before! For me, the plant-based lifestyle has become a part of living an optimal life.

Over time, as I got more into the plant-based lifestyle I began to learn how much of a positive impact plant-based living has on overall health & longevity. Cancer & other diseases run in my family and many of them can be prevented and even reversed on a Whole Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) diet. So the biggest reason I’ve stayed 100% plant-based (and 80-90% WFPB) is to be a Lighthouse for my family & others when it comes to overall health & longevity.

Lastly, another important reason I’ve become so passionate about Plant-Based living is because of the positive impact it has on the Environment (Earth) and all sentient beings (animals). I personally derive a lot of my magic from the Earth and I want to stand for a life truly worth living for and that includes ALL sentient beings.

For me, the plant-based lifestyle has become an integral part of truly living a life worth living for!

What is your source of inspiration/motivation?
I find this to be a challenging and/or complex question because I am inspired by so many things, people, & places in so many ways. If I had to be short & succinct, I would say that I am inspired by Life, Gaia & my Personal & Spiritual Development Practices.

What’s your biggest Achievement?
Getting into Stanford after being denied the first time. Then going back after 8-years & finishing my degree after dropping out.

Initially, I got waitlisted when I first applied. Unfortunately, they only admitted 8 people from the wait-list and I wasn’t one of them. I was crushed. Stanford was my childhood dream from about 3rd grade and everything I did in life up until I applied was based on the question “will this help me get into Stanford or not?”

After getting denied & failing on my biggest Life Goal to date I fell into depression.

One day, my Mom came to me & said “Justin, you can either let this break you, or you can let it make you.”

It hit me like a thunderbolt. I decided this experience would MAKE me.

And this is when a Life Alchemist was born.

I took a gap year and redid the entire application process. All the tests, recommendations, etc. I literally poured my heart into the essays to point of crying tears while writing some of them.

The following year I re-submitted my application & patiently waited to see what would happen on the second try.

One monumental day I got a phone call & it was Stanford Admissions. They called to say that it was one of the best applications they received & that I had been admitted!

I was so excited & grateful that I was literally hooting, hollering & jumping up & down. I’ll never forget that day or that entire experience. It’s made me who I am today.

[I often cry when telling this story & definitely did while writing this out.]

How has Vedge Nutrition impacted you and your lifestyle?
When I first went Plant-Based I started trying tons of different Plant Protein Powders trying to find one that not only tasted great but was also made with great ingredients I could trust that could fuel my fitness goals. I tried a lot that were not very good… LOL!

Then I found Vedge & a truly delicious & nutritious Dragon Shake was born! It’s my version of a plant protein smoothie that I drink with a giant metal straw! I love it so much that I basically have it every day--oftentimes twice!

Then came the pre-workout… When I first went Plant-Based I couldn’t let go of my animal-based Pre-Workout at first. A good pre-workout has been a love-affair since college. I tried several Plant-Based pre-workouts but they just didn’t hit. This held me back from going fully Vegan for many months.

Eventually, I let go of my animal-based pre-workout because I wanted to go fully Vegan but I felt like I had lost something I didn’t really want to let go of.

Then Vedge released its Pre-Workout AND the Nitro Pump & Double-Dragon Powered Workouts were born! I got my pre-workout FIRE back & more! YEEHAW!

I Also love Vedge “Essential” as someone who is fully Vegan who pushes his body hard it covers my nutritional bases with just what I need -- B12, D3, Omega 3s and now K2 for better absorption!

As a Vedge Athlete, I’m super proud of the brand, company & products I represent as well as the people I work with. We are after the same thing from a vision, mission, & value stand-point.

Plus, it’s pretty f-ing awesome to be able to authentically claim that the person who inspired me to go Plant-Based & fully Vegan is the same person who cofounded Vedge! It’s also super awesome that the person who formulates the Vedge Products has become a great friend that I deeply trust!

On a holistic level, Vedge empowers me to deliver on my personal mission of inspiring people to proactively design & truly live a life worth living for. Health is true wealth. If we don’t have our health there is no way we can live a life worth living for. And we all deserve to Live Better & have the power to do so if we choose it.

What are your top 3 favorite go-to products & flavors?
Vedge Pre-workout & Nitropump (Peach Mango flavor) & Vedge Plant Protein (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup). If I could only choose one it would have to be Vedge Pre-Workout -- it’s just so invigorating & I am all about the energy!

Favorite Cheat Meal?
A giant savory plant-based burger.

Your PR song - go-to for PRs
This changes over time, but I’ll often go back to the same few ones that have that special magic to me. Currently, it is “Go Light” by The Glitch Mob. 

GO-TO Vedge Products