Cristina Myers Cuadrado’s story 

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HCF: What made you decide you needed to change your life?

“Before going vegan I was walking around with 80lb of unnecessary weight. I had low self-esteem, joint pains from the extra weight, unexplained migraines, etc. It was pretty embarrassing that at 25 years old I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without sounding like I had just attempted to outrun a stampede of wild buffalo to save my life. I would have to explain to people who were congratulating me on my pregnancy that I wasn’t pregnant…I was just fat. After work, I would hide at home, too embarrassed to go out with friends. I was lost and didn’t know how to fix myself. I would attempt diets that didn’t work or I just wouldn’t last with it. Going to the gym to walk on a treadmill was too daring for me. One night, after stuffing my face with a super deluxe spicy chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A trying to feel better and actually feeling the complete opposite, I was surfing through Netflix and saw a title to a documentary called (Forks Over Knives) I thought, “Hm…this might be another diet documentary that might motivate me to eat healthier for a couple of weeks before I fall off the wagon again.”  5 minutes into the documentary and my jaw dropped. Here I was. 25 years old and already heading down a dangerous path of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and early death because I was eating animals. This was Thanksgiving Eve. Overnight I dived into a plant-based diet and never looked back.”

HCF: What steps did you take to improve your life?

“One month into veganism and I already was 20lb lighter and I didn’t have to cut down on food. I was actually eating more food. There was a variety in my diet that I had never experienced before. Quinoa, beans, rice, agave nectar, in juice smoothies, hemp milk, rice milk, leafy greens, vegan burgers, etc. I was feeling better. My migraines had disappeared, which later I found out it was because of the dairy products that I was consuming. I encountered a lot of negativity on behalf of my (then) fiancée, friends, family coworkers. No one understood why I decided to change my eating habits so “drastically” and I didn’t understand why I didn’t have any support over something that clearly was improving my health, saving animals, and the environment. So the steps I took always had cruelty free food in the house AND cutting out people from my life that were holding me back on something good. I found like-minded people through social media and I was surrounded by support and love from strangers who were fighting to create awareness about a plant-based diet and animal cruelty in the food industry.”

HCF: What motivates you to keep on this path?

“Animals motivate me when I’m lifting weights in the room. Whatever pain or exhaustion I feel in the gym is nothing compared to what animals go through. I do this for them now.”

HCF: What are you most proud of going through this journey?

“Well, my physical change is something I’m very proud of. It’s not every day someone changes their lifestyle overnight and loose 80lb of fat and gains some back of plant-based muscle. But veganism made me realize that I needed no ones approval or love to feel worthy.  I finally realized that I didn’t need constant love (the wrong kind and from the wrong people)… I WAS love. I loved who I had become and was perfectly content being by myself in my fight to spread the message of animal suffering and creating awareness about optimum health through a plant-based lifestyle.”

HCF: What futures goals do you have?

“My goal now is opening up a company (Cruelty-Free Muscle) a fitness apparel line for vegans, vegetarians, and compassionate people, in general, starting their journey to fitness and help animals along the way. A portion of the profits will be donated to sanctuaries/shelters/ and towards the animal rights movement in any way that it can help.  I plan to continue my training and winning fitness competitions, proving to the typical “meatheads” that you don’t have to live on Whey protein, chicken, and brown rice. That you can still look like a shredded monster by eating plants, lifting heavy, and being kind to animals.”

HCF: If you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?

“A quote that helped me at the beginning of my journey was “it is better to walk alone, than with a group heading in the wrong direction.” No one has the right to hold you back from anything…especially if your intentions are pure of heart. If you have something to say…say it even if you SOUND scared. If you have something you want to prove to people who say you can’t do it….prove them wrong no matter HOW long it takes. You want to save animals….save them. Surround yourself with people who want to help or see you succeed. The people who don’t do not deserve your time…walk away.”

HCF: Where can people get in touch with you?

If anyone needs food tips, recipes, fitness motivation, how to go about animal activism…

Facebook: Cristina Myers Cuadrado

Instagram: @CrisVeganFit

before & after 

beforeAndAfter

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