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Navigating Life's Challenges, One Plant-Based Adventure at a Time ft. Justin Montgomery

In the latest episode of the Plant Based On Fire podcast, Bryan had the pleasure of interviewing Justin Montgomery, a passionate advocate for plant-based living and a multifaceted individual with a remarkable journey. Justin's story, filled with nuggets of wisdom and inspiring quotes, is a must-listen for plant-based entrepreneurs seeking to thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

Diving into the Interview

The conversation begins with a warm welcome as Bryan introduces his guest, Justin Montgomery. Justin, currently on a well-deserved sabbatical after a 13-year career in education, shares his ambitious plans for pursuing a Ph.D. to make a broader impact on education and society. His goal is to bring student-centered, project-based learning to a national level, accompanied by books and courses to revolutionize education.

A Plant-Based Epiphany

Justin's plant-based journey wasn't sparked by a documentary or a compelling book; it was a simple accident in the grocery store. Using a health-focused app to scan nutritional content, Justin found himself making a spontaneous decision to go plant-based, two hours before checkout. This seemingly random choice led to remarkable changes in his life.

The Transformative Power of Plant-Based Living

Justin describes the immediate benefits he experienced after adopting a plant-based lifestyle. He regained mental clarity, improved sleep, and even enhanced his athletic performance as a rock climber. Shedding 10 pounds and discovering newfound energy, he emphasizes how plant-based nutrition unlocked his potential.

Sharing the Plant-Based Journey

Justin's enthusiasm for plant-based living extends to his family. He recounts how he inspired his father, a 65-year-old, to embrace a plant-based diet, resulting in improved health and the elimination of blood pressure medication. This accomplishment highlights the profound impact plant-based living can have on people of all ages.

Balancing Passions with Plant-Based Fuel

Justin is a minimalist maximalist, embracing a diverse range of interests, from van life to rock climbing. He attributes his energy and ability to juggle multiple passions to his plant-based diet, alongside a disciplined routine and a constant thirst for knowledge.

Plant-Based Diet and Beyond

The interview also touches on the subject of plant-based alternatives to meat and processed foods. While Justin believes in the power of whole foods, he acknowledges the convenience and appeal of plant-based junk food on occasion. These products provide a bridge for transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle while still enjoying familiar flavors.

Shaping the Future of Plant-Based Business

The conversation concludes with a discussion about the challenges and opportunities in the plant-based business world. Justin raises a thought-provoking question about the profitability of selling vegetables, given that many people can grow their own. He highlights the importance of making plant-based options accessible and affordable to the wider population.

Looking Forward

As Justin embarks on new adventures, from Canadian wilderness to Red Rock Canyon, he continues to explore his intellectual passions, incorporating them into his YouTube channel and podcast. He emphasizes the role of education in shaping societal well-being and looks forward to making a positive impact in the coming years.

Justin Montgomery's journey, as shared in this insightful podcast episode, serves as an inspiring example of how plant-based living can transform lives and fuel passions. His commitment to education and well-being underscores the potential for plant-based entrepreneurs to drive positive change in both personal and professional realms. Whether you're a seasoned plant-based advocate or just beginning your journey, Justin's story is a testament to the power of plant-based living in creating a thriving, balanced life.

> Episode’s transcript

Bryan (00:01.317)

Hello everyone and welcome to Plant Based on Fire, where we are talking about plant-based businesses, their inspiring stories to thrive in the industry. I'm your host and joining us today is Justin Montgomery. Welcome, Justin.

Justin Montgomery (00:15.842)

Hey, thanks Brian for having me.

Bryan (00:18.329)

Really appreciate you diving in. So like you are, I mean, just give us a little background on what you're up to right now and like no business yet, but like just a little bit we've spoken, there's definitely some things on the horizon, but just tell us what are you up to right this minute?

Justin Montgomery (00:34.154)

Yeah, so I'm on sabbatical that I gave myself as a treat for wrapping up a 13 year career in education in New Jersey. I designed four year computer science academies that were student centered, project based, and ended in a capstone and had all this service learning tied to it. And now I'm looking to start my PhD so that I could possibly work in government and at a national level to bring what I've done in the classroom and research it so that I could really have that.

academic proof of concept down and then come out with a book, some courses, and then try to work up just getting that kind of education out there because I really think that's going to be able to help society.

Bryan (01:19.473)

Awesome. Well, we are excited. So I definitely want you to come back in whatever a few months or whatever time it takes you to get something launched and help promote it a little bit more here on the show. So I'm a fellow computer programmer as well. I did not do so well in computer science. So I switched to information technology, but I just loved the couple episodes I saw on your, your YouTube channel and a few things like that with mathematical. What was the name of it again?

Justin Montgomery (01:47.067)

mathematical power.

Bryan (01:49.233)

Awesome. So you are a fellow plant baser here with me. Tell me how did you get started on your journey and what like sort of drew you into this lifestyle we have?

Justin Montgomery (02:00.97)

You know, as some amazing things happened, it was an accident. I, I got on it and I just rolled with it. I was on this life some app and then it helped me scan the nutritional content and value for my health in the grocery store. And like two hours later I'm at checkout and I looked down at my cart and I say to myself, I guess I'm going plant based. And.

Bryan (02:06.521)

Yeah, same for me, honestly.

Bryan (02:27.877)

Yeah, that's awesome. So it wasn't a movie or anything. It was just like you in the grocery store checking ingredients and that.

Justin Montgomery (02:37.414)

And I hadn't seen Game Changers until maybe a month after that, because then it took me a little time to get my bearings in fine tune to make sure that I was getting my proper nutrition. And once I was like within three weeks, my friends were like, you're glowing.

Bryan (02:42.641)

Uh huh.

Bryan (02:54.437)

Yeah, yeah. It's like, I don't know, I have kids and it's like, what, like it's hard to explain to people, the people that have kids or don't have kids, like what is it like having kids kind of a thing. I feel it's the same way with plant-based lifestyles, like it's so hard to really put your finger on unless people have given it an honest try and can see the difference. So just walk us through like, what was your sort of...

journey and experience of going through that transition. What was the first couple of things you noticed?

Justin Montgomery (03:28.47)

I think the first thing was that I literally got my life back. I had experienced a lot of mental fog and I just wasn't sleeping as well. And then I'm an extreme athlete with rock climbing and I wasn't able to do some of the more intense training like finger boarding because the inflammation, I guess from my diet or just not getting the right nutrients. And when I switched over to plant-based, I lost 10 pounds.

Bryan (03:34.866)


Justin Montgomery (03:58.23)

that just came off. I was eating more than I ever had before and I had to keep checking my Apple watch and it's like, yeah, you need more carbs, you need more fats, you need more protein. I'm like, okay, more blueberries, more avocados. And then I went climbing for the first time in a while because I had focused on a couple other things. I'm also a van lifer, so I was building that at the time, was focusing on that after work. And...

I just kind of float up something that normally would have been out of side of my wheelhouse. And I was like, okay, I am onto something big.

Bryan (04:32.614)


Bryan (04:36.429)

Yeah, I mean for me it was the forks over knives movie like I don't know 12 or 13 years ago at this point and like Game-changers the more people I talked to game-changers. I think it's maybe that scientific mathematical angle that Game-changers really pushes people towards like really evaluate it Is that when you watch that was that part of it for you just seeing some of the science behind it?

Justin Montgomery (04:59.41)

It was, and it spoke to me. And actually I was watching it at my dad's place and he kind of walked through and saw what I was watching. And it kind of piqued his interest too. And when he saw like forks over knives, that's when he was like, okay, what am I gonna do here? Let me in on this. And like, he's about 65 and he was going gray, but you know, he thinks from eating beet greens now that he's getting his hair color back. Let's look.

Bryan (05:16.637)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Bryan (05:26.649)

Wow, I never even thought of that. Like I got a little too much gray here myself. So have to explore that one and unpack it. So are you saying dad's on board with you too here?

Justin Montgomery (05:38.114)

He is and actually that's something that I'm most recently proud of because we were both in the same area this past winter. And so I kind of like helped him learn how to cook a plant based diet and got him into the smoothie game. Because I think that's a staple in the diet. Who doesn't want more smoothies anyway? And so, yeah, he was able to successfully do it. And he's like working out stronger now. His.

Bryan (05:59.942)

That's right.

Justin Montgomery (06:06.998)

blood pressure medicine that he was on. He doesn't have to be on that anymore for like the first time since, I don't know, I could remember anyway. So it's really powerful and it's like the greatest gift I could have given my father.

Bryan (06:14.821)


Bryan (06:19.493)

Yeah, that is awesome. I've been harping on my dad for years. So maybe getting him to listen to this episode will be the driving point to have a little bit less meat in his diet for sure. I'm so curious, Vanlifer. So I did buy myself a van and I am in the process of building it out. Although with the kids and work and stuff, I don't know if I'll get to live in it all as much, but I'm definitely gonna vacation in it.

what got you and drew you into that kind of a thing.

Justin Montgomery (06:50.634)

I'm a minimalist maximalist. And I had realized, you know, when you're living in a traditional space, an apartment, condo house, if you got to do something, you have to travel to do that. And that was time and energy that I didn't want to lose anymore. I also wanted to be in nature more. So I get to park the van by these beautiful lakes.

in the back country, I get to park at Trailheads and go climbing first thing in the morning. So the lifestyle afforded me that opportunity and one thing that I didn't realize would be my favorite would be able to cook for my climbing friends after a long day right there at the campground like a full meal that's like plant-based and nutritious and is going to keep us climbing hard throughout our trip.

Bryan (07:30.885)


Bryan (07:39.269)

That's just one of the few things I've found as well. Like just driving a couple hours and going for a really long hike and then having the van as like a little base to just take a nap and cook some awesome food. Like you said, you nailed it on the head for sure. So I am thoroughly jealous of you getting to do that full time for that front. So how do you, like you've got a wide variety interests that I have so many questions about, but like how do you...

balance all the different passions you have.

Justin Montgomery (08:11.558)

I couldn't do it without my plant-based diet. I know that seems like a shameless plug here, but I didn't have the energy before. I'm 38, so I'm no spring chicken anymore. And I think that's the first thing. And the second thing is routine and discipline and always being willing to grow. And I really like to learn and apply myself. So I have a lot of internal motivation.

Bryan (08:16.465)


Bryan (08:37.477)

That is awesome. So have you, I guess, you're the fellow real man eating plants with us here on that front and I definitely feel like a minority at times on the planet as a man on that front. What challenges and resistance have you faced as you went through this transition into the plant-based world?

Justin Montgomery (09:02.178)

Yeah, I get teased for sure. But the results speak for themselves. I'm able to outpace my younger guy friends who are also climbers, for example, or trail runners. And I recover faster so I could go more days in a row. And I think that's when they start to ask questions. It's like kind of.

Bryan (09:04.541)


Bryan (09:23.005)


Justin Montgomery (09:29.538)

guarded and maybe masked a little bit, but you could tell they're paying attention.

Bryan (09:35.373)

Yeah, I almost feel like my prediction, I guess, I'll put this out there boldly, is that over probably over the next 10 years, you will see a lot of the professional athletes that rise to the top of their careers, realize that they are plant based in so many ways, whether they maybe admitted or not, I already see like Tennessee Titans from game changers and, and whatever.

you know, dominating. And we spoke with the vegan bodybuilder guy and he's just crushing it with the vegan bodybuilder competition. So I don't know, I just, that's my prediction is that you'll see more and more of the famous people heading in that direction and it'll drag society that way, I hope. So.

Justin Montgomery (10:26.91)

I hope so too because what I learned was I was not getting the micronutrients that my body was actually craving. So yeah, I would definitely say I'm hungrier more often, but it's more like a, it's not like a hungry that's listless. Like I don't have any energy when I'm hungry. It's more like I got this cauldron that's just like burning calories and cause it has

Bryan (10:34.737)


Justin Montgomery (10:56.802)

powerful micronutrients and that's why I felt like before I just would eat and I would be full because I was eating a lot of fat, a lot of protein because you're eating like a hamburger, that's like a lot of excess stuff that's going to fill your stomach up and make you feel full. But then I was never satiated and it never gave me after eating the meal this lightness in my mind and my body, definitely not in my spirit.

Bryan (11:08.989)


Bryan (11:25.117)


Justin Montgomery (11:26.614)

And that I think has been the biggest change that I want people to experience themselves.

Bryan (11:33.113)

Yeah, for sure. What's the what's the I guess the two questions pop as you're saying that is like, what's your thoughts on, you know, the lettuce versus the Beyond Meats and those kinds of things?

Justin Montgomery (11:48.63)

their treats. I really am a proponent of whole foods and that it's plant-based because that's where the nutrients are. And anything that's processed is just gonna be, you're gonna be losing that value from it. But for sure at a barbecue, that's what I'm going for. I'm going to indulge. I'm gonna have a Beyond Burger. And also the Ultimate Chicken Patties by Gardein are-

Bryan (11:50.726)


Bryan (12:09.085)


Justin Montgomery (12:16.802)

ridiculously good and yeah Whenever they're on sale I buy them

Bryan (12:18.005)

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, it's exactly right. The same thing like my favorite milk is that Elmhurst milk, and it's just like water and cashews or whatever it is. And they run that on sale, buy one, get one for you now and then. But what's the like to me, it's this this.

Like I want to embrace and like plant-based on fire is really geared towards interviewing the business owners that are trying to change the world through their plant-based, you know, methodology for bringing their business to life. But there are so many businesses that have a lot of like, you know, the vegan junk food and stuff like that. So I don't know how to how do we change the planet through the plant-based business world. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Justin Montgomery (13:10.814)

I kind of do, I'm no expert. It just seems like how are you going to make a lot of money on vegetables when most people's gardens can, at home can create the surplus that they need in that regard. And.

Bryan (13:14.535)


Bryan (13:23.238)


Well, we're going to sell vegetables to these van lifers that don't have a garden, right? I mean, honestly, my cucumbers outside are going absolutely crazy this year. Honestly, we must have a hundred cucumbers. So drive on over and I can load you up.

Justin Montgomery (13:30.742)

Thank you. Ha ha ha.

Justin Montgomery (13:42.798)

That'll be great dip that in some homemade hummus I'll be as cool as a cucumber as they say, but I think that It's been really awesome watching market forces make things a little more accessible for plant-based eaters and Some of those junk food products. I am happy that they are there like a lot of the Ingredients like I think there's had the other day. It's like

Bryan (13:46.556)


Justin Montgomery (14:11.106)

like a Mexican cookie or something. And you look at the ingredients and it's like, okay, there's actually nothing bad in here. So as a dessert, because I'm already eating so healthy, like just to have like a little cheat here and there, I think really kind of balances out like my mental wellbeing because I don't wanna have diet fatigue, that's for sure.

Bryan (14:34.365)

Right, yeah. Well, I always push back when they ask me, don't you get sick of eating beans and salad? And I'm like, there are 10,000 million vegetables out there. Like you're not going to get bored eating this. So that is for sure.

Justin Montgomery (14:49.695)

And if you go to major metropolitan areas, like for example, Seattle, the best pizza I ever had in my life. I've had Chicago deep dish, definitely legendary, but there's this place called Pie, like the number Pie in Seattle, and their pizza and their garlic breadstick things, like it was just so delicious and it had no animal products in it.

Bryan (14:57.507)


Bryan (15:13.817)

Yeah, that is awesome. There's a new vegan pizzeria around here someplace. So I'm hoping to get the friends to go check that out tomorrow night. We'll see how that goes. So where is your journey taking you on the van and like what is next for Justin?

Justin Montgomery (15:24.774)


Justin Montgomery (15:33.706)

Yeah, I was van life thing for a couple of years as a teacher in Jersey. So picture that in, you know, suburbia, but you know, it's like full outfitted. So I have everything I need to still be a professional. And I've been on a sabbatical, which is ending this later this month, but I took the van up to Canada, as I like to say, for a little while up in Alberta and BC and on just Crownland off grid by Abraham Lake and.

Bryan (15:38.242)


Bryan (15:44.709)


Bryan (15:55.622)


Justin Montgomery (16:02.742)

Just seeing like grizzly bears and other massive wildlife that you don't normally encounter. And then just doing some rock climbing, hanging out in Okanagan Valley by the lakes. And then I've been in Nevada at Red Rock Canyon because it's just like 20 lifetimes of climbing there and I'll be teaching there in a few weeks right outside the canyon to get back into it. Learn the city and try to take my program a little bit larger.

Bryan (16:32.753)

Very, very cool. So what's on the horizon for the YouTube channel and the mathematical side of things? Like where are some of those more intellectual passions lying?

Justin Montgomery (16:44.598)

Yeah, right now I'm reading a lot of books and then podcasting, interviewing with the authors. And I'm just kind of storing those up so that I could get like a better idea about what my brand is going to be. I'm kind of like education for two, like number four, two, because I go back to education being probably one of the greatest keys for unlocking societal wellbeing and I'm kind of excited to continue to pursue that in the upcoming year or two.

Bryan (16:47.558)


Bryan (17:14.965)

Awesome. Well, we look forward to seeing what you come up with and how to change that through the power of plants and everything else that we've got going on. So I really appreciate you being here, Justin. And thanks for hopping on an episode of plants plant based on fire here.

Justin Montgomery (17:33.014)

Thanks, Brian, and thanks for the mission that you're doing and keep up the good work.

Bryan (17:39.433)

Yeah, I can't say it enough. Like, I mean, you've already been through it, but like for the people that are listening, that are not sure. I mean, we got the 30 day challenge and I do think it only takes 30 days to really realize the value that a plant based lifestyle can bring to you. So go check that out at Until next time, let's keep the fire burning. That's all the time we have for this episode of Plant Based on Fire. So.

Again, thank you very much, Justin, for joining us and sharing some of your insights and travel tips for us on your journey here, and we'll talk with you soon.

Justin Montgomery (18:15.598)

Thanks, Brian. Look forward to it.



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