How Salad Dressing Can Save Your Life

Categories: Beet Reporter

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Salad dressing is incredibly important, and it's not dramatic to say it can save your life.

But not just any salad dressing. It has to be the right one, and the right salad dressing will generally be one you make yourself. A thoughtfully crafted homemade salad dressing can help you accomplish two goals.

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Green Mango Cakes: Vegan, Gluten-Free Recipe

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Just because St. Patrick's Day is over doesn't mean it's time to stop putting green things in your mouth. And with this unique recipe, you can tastily muster something much more nutritious than clover-colored beer.

These savory-sweet and almost decadent little cakes taste like rich tropical corn bread, without any added oil or refined sugar. What your discerning tongue won't notice is the nutrient-rich spinach that's baked right into them.

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Predicting a Vegan Miami by 2050... or Not

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Will all of Miami be vegan by 2050? If you're in the minority of people who consider the Magic City to belong to the United States, at least one source says yes.

Kathy Stevens wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post Monday titled "No Lie Can Live Forever: Predicting a Vegan America by 2050." Stevens pointed to a plethora of evidence -- from investor trends to the ubiquity of vegan catering companies to the fact that we have a black president -- as evidence that vegan America will become a reality before the turn of the century.

While I can't think of anyone less biased or more qualified than the founder/director of an animal sanctuary to map out the future of veganism in America (no offense, Stevens), I do question whether her forecast will be less accurate in Miami than in other parts of the nation. I harbor this doubt as a direct result of Miamians' international love of the least-nutritious foods in the world, none of which are vegan. So, pastelito-loving reader, if you find yourself trembling at the thought that a vegan America might rob you of your most beloved tropical tastes, read on to find one delicious and simple recipe that can help ease you through the transition.

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Smoothie King Is Terrible for You

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Not long ago, I set foot in my first and last Smoothie King. At the time, I was a smoothie-making fiend in my own home, gulping down bags of expensive organic frozen berries like flappers guzzled bathtub gin. So I was psyched when I walked through the door of this "nutritional lifestyle center" at 14200 SW Eighth St. (we'd just finished a thirst-inducing bike ride through Shark Valley) to see the reasonable prices on immense fruit smoothies.

A 40-ounce blueberry smoothie for just $8? Wow. Yes, 40 ounces of anything is probably going a bit overboard. But this wasn't beer or steak. And considering blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits on the planet, are insanely high in antioxidants, and might even prevent and reverse age-related mental decline (oh, and also they taste amazing), this seemed like a delicious, health-boosting offer I couldn't refuse.

See also: Tap Tap's Stewed Vegetables: Vegan but Packed With Oil

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Tap Tap's Stewed Vegetables: Vegan but Packed With Oil

Categories: Beet Reporter

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On a recent weekday night, I was thankful even to be granted a table at Tap Tap, the Haitian restaurant on South Beach's busy Fifth Street. My forehead wet and my dank running shorts clinging to my body after a workout on South Pointe, I was underdressed, even by casual dining standards.

My dining companions and I were ravenous, skating on the verge of "hangry" (hungry-angry), which mitigated our shame about our clammy smell. I knew there were some vegan options on the menu, which made Tap Tap a logical choice.

I ordered the legim, a stew featuring carrots, cabbage, and chayote (AKA pear squash), among other veggies. Perhaps noticing our languor, our kind, hippie-haired server kept the cold water flowing until our dishes came steaming out of the kitchen.

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Beet Reporter Puts Down the Pen, Ties on an Apron at Whole Foods

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I haven't posted in a few months. It's not that I've quit writing or gone on an epic vacation. I've been ordained a real-life Healthy Eating Specialist. This means that where I used to spend my days interviewing prominent health foodies and vegan athletes, or examining the latest nutritional news, I've now taken a much more hands-on, front-lines role in the "Good Food Revolution." This means wearing aprons and digging my latex-gloved hands in bowls full of organic watercress, bok choy, and other nutrient-dense vittles, explaining the value of the food while I serve it to crowds of nutritionally-curious "students."

Just as I did when I was a freelancer, I now wear many hats. Only now these are real hats, not figurative ones. To make sure none of my rambunctious blonde hairs jumps into the watercress bowl, and also to represent my new employer, my head's always clad in a cap or a beret that bears the Whole Foods logo.

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Justin Timberlake's "Vegan Harlem Shake" as Giant Piece of Tofu (Video)

Categories: Beet Reporter
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On NBC's Saturday Night Live, Justin Timberlake played a mascot for a vegan restaurant waging a turf war against an irate sausage slinger. As a giant piece of singing and dancing tofu, Timberlake rapped about his love of kale, quinoa, and tofu mayonnaise. In between veganized renditions of "Freak Out," which became "Veg Out," and "Ice, Ice, Baby," which became "Brown Rice, Baby," the tofu mascot repeatedly urged his meaty opponent to "Bring it on down to Veganville!" in a corny Vaudevillian voice.

Rihanna's lyrics ("Yellow diamonds in the light" and "We found love in a hopeless place") became "Yellow quinoa in the light" and "We found love in a meatless place," as Timberlake spun around in his tofu suit, his facial expression ecstatic while a white strobe light flashed down upon him. With a reference to the pig-centric movie Babe, he was able to bring the sausage slinger to veg-consciousness before launching into a colorful, spirulina-fueled "Vegan Harlem Shake."

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No Guts, No Glory: New Book Says Key to Health Is Your Intestines

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Searching for the source of your fatigue, chronic illness, indigestion, obesity, or even attention deficit disorder? Go with your gut, proposes Dr. Steven Lamm, MD, the "house doctor" on ABC's The View and author of the new book No Guts, No Glory.

No Guts is a relatively short guide that packs a ton of complicated information about the gastrointestinal system and how modern-day humans abuse it -- maybe too much info for people who fell asleep in biology class and want a quick fix for acid reflux. But Dr. Lamm's book really isn't about a quick fix. If you're not up for a lifestyle change, this book is probably not for you. But if you're sick of feeling sick and need a fact-driven push to motivate you to overhaul your lifestyle, No Guts is a great resource.

Dr. Lamm's book could not come at a better time. Supposedly gut-healing probiotic foods and supplements have been drawing a lot of attention over the past few years. As proof of this, one need only note the resurrection and mainstreaming of kombucha -- fermented teas populated by gut-healthy yeast and bacteria, a drink once known only to crunchy vegans and hippies who brewed batches of the funky stuff in their garages. Now the drink is widely commercially available in a rainbow of flavors and constitutes a $200-million-a-year industry that's projected to more than double by 2015. And as a whole, the global probiotic products market was valued at $24.23 billion in 2011.

Why are people suddenly slurping down barrels of salubrious bacteria swills and pills? Probably because they grasp, at least in part, the message Dr. Lamm's new book strives to convey: that our bowels are totally screwed up, that we're paying a dear price for that fact, and that we have the power to do something about it (something more than washing down a probiotic pill with a can of Coke).

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Conscious Bite Out's 100-Mile Dinner: Elegant, Locally Sourced Vegan Soiree

Categories: Beet Reporter
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Yes, glamour-puss Beyoncé recently credited vegan food for helping her get back into red-carpet-ready form, and a slew of other celebrities have announced their vegan allegiance (Brad Pitt, Russell Brand, Jessica Chastain, and Woody Harrelson, to name a few), but the cruelty-free, earth-friendly cuisine still has a reputation that is way more sensible than sensual. The locavore movement, too, with loyalists who lobby supermarkets and stump clueless waiters about where the chickens in the cordon bleu were hatched, has more of a cerebral than sumptuous connotation.

But with an upcoming event sponsored by Miami's favorite group of delicious do-gooders, Conscious Bite Out, diners will get to witness the glamorous side of both movements. During the group's 100-Mile Dinner at the Sacred Space, guests will have the opportunity to dip into a five-course locally sourced vegan menu that is at once decadent, ethical, and healthful. (And there will be lots of organic and sustainably produced booze, to boot.)

Chef Keith Kalmanowicz, now head chef of Love & Vegetables, a vegan dining initiative based at Earth N Us Farms in Little Haiti, will lend his culinary and local food-sourcing skills to the event. Previously a chef at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, he launched into the vegan lifestyle over the past year, a move he credits for his significant weight loss and improved fitness and health. The goal for the by-donation events he has created this year has been to raise money to help fund the opening of a nonprofit vegan restaurant aimed at promoting healthful, plant-based, ethical eating in our city. He sees the collaboration with Conscious Bite Out as a perfect pairing because he and CBO founders Veronica Menin and Marcela Andron share similar views on conscious consumption.

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Homemade Hummus & Collard Wraps: Cheaper, Tastier, and Healthier (Recipe)

Categories: Beet Reporter
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After getting bored with my usual overly salty store-bought tub o' hummus, which is one of the only varieties around that's made without added oils (read this scholarly rant by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to see why I shun all extracted oils --- including olive and coconut --- whenever possible), I recently began experimenting with some homemade hummus recipes.

Last week, I stumbled upon two that are way too good not to share. So here they are. The first uses an atypical bean and packs a zesty Indian curry kick. The second melds Mediterranean flavor with a hint of key lime. I encourage you to make large batches, because these creamy, nutrient-dense, high-protein, high-fiber, high-flavor spreads are bound to disappear fast. Read on after the two hummus recipes for a healthful, low-calorie, nutrient-packed, and cool-looking wrap idea, starring good old-fashioned collard greens.

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