Animal Agriculture Is Destroying the Planet

Today is Earth Day, 24 hours when we all pause to consider how best to reduce that nasty number known as our carbon footprint. But what to do? Should we all drive Smart Cars? Recycle our Bud Light cans? Set Miami's collective A/C at 80 degrees?

Actually, going meatless is the best thing any of us can do to lessen our environmental impact and make nice with Mother Earth. It turns out animal agriculture is destroying the planet. Seriously. Find out the facts after the jump.

See also: Ten Things to Do in Honor of Earth Day

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Yard House Is the Perfect Bar for Vegans

Hannah Sentenac
Just because you don't eat animal products anymore doesn't necessarily mean you want to forgo the bar scene. After all, where else will you meet the Jay Z to your Beyoncé? But hanging at bars is tough if you get the shakes and need to grub on something other than cocktail olives.

Luckily, there's Yard House, an amazing option for booze hounds and herbivores. They've got an entire menu section devoted to Gardein (the best in faux meats) -- and it's full of yummy stuff.

See also: Miami's Ten Best Vegan Desserts

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Vegan Drinks Night This Friday at Choices Cafe UES

Despite popular misconception, not all vegans are teetotalers. The meatless masses like to cut loose and get a little social lubrication just like everyone else -- we just don't like fish bladders in our beer. Hence the inspiration behind Vegan Drinks, a nationwide meetup group for like-minded herbivores.

The second South Florida installment of the monthly affair takes place this Friday at Choices Café UES. Show up at 7 p.m., take advantage of the spot's new beer and wine license, and get the digits of an ethical eater or two.

See also: Choices Vegan Kitchen Now Open Near the Airport

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Try the Vegan Lunch Special at Green Gables Cafe

Hannah Sentenac
They say vegans are lousy hunters, but sometimes it takes a predatory instinct to seek out a meatless meal in the 305. Luckily, Coral Gables' Green Gables Café offers a vegan lunch special that differs daily, so you don't have to choke down a PB&J every single day.

See also: Miami's Ten Best Vegan Desserts

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Seed Food & Wine Festival: First Large-Scale Vegan Event in Miami and Only One in Florida

Bunnie Cakes and its vegan cupcakes will be at SFWF.
Vegans don't get much love in this pork belly town, but that's about to change with the introduction of an annual event that celebrates plant-based cuisine.

The Seed Food & Wine Festival (SFWF) will do for vegans, vegetarians, and the "veggie-curious" what the South Beach Wine & Food Festival does for omnivores: provide a plethora of events featuring celebrity chefs, fine wines, craft beers, gourmet cuisine, and more celebrities.

SFWF consists of five days of events, including upscale dinners, garden parties, a Southern-style brunch, a film screening, and a large-scale outdoor festival. Expect vegan celebrities, celebrity chefs, professional athletes, and health experts, plus food, wine, beer, and spirits samples.

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Choices Vegan Kitchen Now Open Near the Airport

Photo courtesy of Lori Zito, Choices Kitchen
Miami's favorite spot for meatless eats, Choices Vegan Cafe, has given birth a new vegan eatery: Choices Kitchen, a spacious spot on NW 27th Ave.

The new arrival is a twist on the company's other two locales. Instead of a written menu, they'll be offering up a daily plate of vegan eats for $12.

See also: Choices Cafe: Vibrant Fare on Miami's Upper Eastside

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Nate's Meatballs: A Chewy, Snackable Convenience Food for Vegans

Photo by Hannah Sentenac
It's spring, and the thing we most like to bring out this time of year is our balls. Balls for every taste. Beautiful balls. Misshapen balls. Aromatic balls. Meatless balls.

Hearing our fondness for all things ball-shaped (and vegan), the folks at Nate's Meatless Meatballs sent us some samples to try.

See also: Gardein's Fishless Fish Fillet Is Pretty Legit

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Five Wild Products to Try

Via Fake Meats on Facebook
Faux meat is a standard on almost any store shelf -- even Publix -- but the stuff you'll find at your average supermarket is limited, to say the least. There isn't much beyond imitation chicken nuggets and veggie burgers. But at, you can find anything your little meatless heart desires.

We asked the site's founder, Steven Skaff, to name some on the wildest meat-like merchandise he's got for sale.

See also: Hampton Creek Foods Seeks to Replace Eggs With Plants

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My Little Organic Bistro: Try the Grilled Coconut Cheese Sandwich

Photos by Hannah Sentenac
Forget blink-and-you'll-miss-it; you could be staring wide-eyed at My Little Organic Bistro and still miss it. There's no real signage, and it's tucked into a nondescript Bird Road strip mall. The only hint that something special lies within is a window proclaiming, "Organic health."

But once you're inside, you'll see that this tiny little health-food store/eatery offers a surprising array of vegan, gluten-free, organic food amid a smattering of red-checkered tabletops. The grilled "cheese" sandwich comprises a generous slab of coconut cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a slightly sweet dressing (reminiscent of tartar sauce) atop two "buttery" slices of gluten-free bread. It's delicious.

See also: Choices Café: Vibrant Fare on Miami's Upper Eastside

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Kite Hill: Vegan Cheese That'll Fool Your Omnivore Friends

All photos by Hannah Sentenac
Some close-up cheese action.
Despite the marvelous advances food tech companies have made in the areas of chicken, beef, fish, and even egg substitutes, vegan cheese has been far from fooling anyone. Even the best of the faux dairy is still a pretty obvious reproduction, often tasting more like chewy soy chunks than the real deal.

Until now. Whole Foods and Lyrical Foods put their brains together to create Kite Hill, a cheese-making biz that concocts artisanal nut milk cheese using exactly the same process as animal milk cheese (only cruelty-free). This stuff is legit.

See also: Gardein's Fishless Fish Fillet Is Pretty Legit

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