SpecialTea Lounge: Try the Vegan ¡Ay Chihuahua! Wrap

Photo by Hannah Sentenac
SpecialTea Lounge is out of the way. So far out of the way, in fact, that I'm rarely able to make the trek to this cozy little FIU-adjacent lunch spot. My loss. It's well worth the haul (even in traffic) to grab a bite of their outstanding homemade eats.

Take their ¡Ay Chihuahua! wrap, for example. An overstuffed flour tortilla jam-packed with tofu (or TVP -- textured vegetable protein), fresh guacamole, zesty bean and corn salsa, ripe tomatoes and a spicy chipotle vinaigrette, then charred to perfection, complete with grill marks -- it's a hearty, satisfying lunch that'll make you swear off Chipotle for good.

See also: Miami's Top Five Vegetarian Sandwiches

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Go Meatless This Thursday for Meatout

Via Meatout on Instagram
There's no question that plant-based eating is on the rise, with everyone from Al Gore to Beyonce giving veganism a go. And from farm-to-table eateries to frozen meat substitutes, it's becoming increasingly easier to make with the herbivorous eating.

So how about ditching your meat-diction for one day and helping save 8,000 lives?

Each year since 1985, Farm Animal Rights Movement (with the appropriate acronym, FARM) has hosted a Meatout, an international event designed to help folks evolve into a "wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains." And it's happening this Thursday, March (aka the first day of spring).

See also: Eden in Eden French Cafe: Try the Vegan Croque-Monsieur

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Beehive Juice Bar Open at New Location

Photos by Hannah Sentenac
In excellent news for healthy eaters and vegans Miami-wide, the much-beloved Beehive Juice Bar is open in a new location, just down the road from the old one.

Turns out even corporate America (in the guise of CVS) couldn't keep this thriving little eatery down.

See also: Strip Mall Containing Beehive Juice Bar, 1909 Cafe Leased by CVS

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Miami's Ten Best Vegan Desserts

There are many misconceptions about vegans, one of which is that our diets are a mundane mix of raw vegetables, filtered water, and the occasional fruit. Fail. Vegans love a good dessert as much as the average carnivore -- we just opt out of the animal ingredients.

Luckily, there are more than a few ways to satisfy a sweets craving in Miami -- you've just gotta know where to look. From cookie delivery to homemade cupcakes to almond milk fro-yo, here are the top ten places to get vegan dessert in Miami.

See also: Predicting a Vegan Miami by 2050... or Not

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Vegan Professional Wrestler Austin Aries Appearing at Choices Café This Saturday

Courtesy of Austin Aries
Meat and muscles have long been considered a dynamic duo. The puns alone speak volumes: meatheads and beefcakes anyone?

But the world is changing, and no longer is meat considered the wondrous protein source of yesteryear. Thanks to flicks like Forks Over Knives, people of all kinds are getting on board with plant-based protein -- musclebound dudes included.

A poster child for the meatless revolution is pro wrestler and vegan advocate Austin Aries. A star of Spike TV's Thursday night TNA Impact Wrestling, Aries also hits the road to speak about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Austin is making his way to Miami this weekend for a "Meet and Eat" at Choices Vegan Café, so we spoke to the strapping lad on ditching meat, his daily diet and herbivore-haters. Check out the QA after the jump.

See also: Choices Café on the Upper Eastside: Try the Vegan Collard Wrap

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Ginnybakes, Superfood, Pale-o-la, Good Future, and Bad Ass: Top Five Miami-Made Packaged Snacks

Courtesy of Eat4Life
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you have to forgo all convenience foods. You're busy, you're on-the-go, you're the master of your universe, and you sure as hell don't want to be stuck eating McDonald's out of desperation.

Sometimes, everyone just needs to eat something out of a plastic wrapper.

The good news is, not all prepackaged foods are horrible for you. There are healthful vegan eats being made right in our own backyard. Here are our top five:

See also: Why Don't Food Companies Label Their Products as Vegan?

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Your Produce Is Full of Pesticides, and Washing Won't Help (Updated)

Zachary Fagenson
It's no secret that fruits and vegetables are the health Holy Grail. As author and professor Michael Pollan so succinctly said: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." But it's not quite as simple as chowing down on anything you find in the produce aisle, because lots of it is covered in poison.

In tests done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), pesticide residue has been found on 67 percent of food samples. Did we mention that's after they've been washed and/or peeled? Gross.

That's the bad news. The good news is, some fruits and veggies are cleaner than others. The EWG offers an annual list of recommendations that includes the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean Fifteen." The list categorizes which conventional produce is safest to eat and which to avoid. Check out what the EWG had to say after the jump.

See also: Florida Citrus Grower That Killed Millions of Bees With Pesticide Gets $1,500 Fine

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Recipes From Whole Foods' Go for the Green Cooking Competition

Photo by Hannah Sentenac
Whole Foods is on a mission. In addition to wresting control of Americans' grocery shopping from the likes of uncouth competitors like Publix and Ralph's, it is also all about healthful eats. And the Health Starts Here (HSH) program is designed to promote just that.

HSH is the chain's in-store labeling system that identifies foods as having the following four elements: they're whole foods (pure and unprocessed), they're plant-strong (self-explanatory), they have healthful fats (no extracted oils or processed fats), and they're nutrient dense. To push the HSH agenda in the prepared-foods section, Whole Foods hosted a Go for the Green cooking contest among staff members from a variety of Florida stores. The winner would score $500, and all the best recipes would snag a spot in the prepared-foods case.

See also: Florida Man Proposes to Girlfriend at Whole Foods Coral Gables

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Try Vegan Bubble Tea at North Miami's Shing Wang

Photos by Hannah Sentenac
When I made the decision to go vegan, I was as mentally prepared as possible to sacrifice milk and dairy, but there were a few favorite items that made the choice more challenging.

Namely, cheese, Wet Willie's Bahama Mamas, and boba milk tea.

For anyone not lucky enough to have experienced the wonder of boba (AKA bubble tea), it's an indulgent, tea-based drink of Taiwanese origin that's served with black tapioca pearls (the "bubbles"). It comes in flavors such as taro, red bean, and lychee in various incarnations -- some with milk, some without, but my favorite are the milk-blended slushies.

Given my unhappiness at forgoing these treats, I was pretty stoked to learn that North Miami's Shing Wang Cafe offers vegan bubble tea options. It also features a menu with a veritable cornucopia of vegan-friendly Chinese food. I checked out the joint last week. Pictures and info after the jump.

See also: Trader Joe's Ten Best Vegan Products

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Ten Tips for Clean Eating On the Go From Vegan Chef and Author Alina Z

Courtesy of Alina Z
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on the go is never an easy feat. Many a committed eater has fallen prey to airport food courts, convenience foods, and mile-high belly bloat.

But it is possible to eat clean, healthy, and even vegan while traveling, according to author and food coach Alina Z. Her new minibook/guide, The Traveler's Guide to Couture Nutrition, offers lots of tips for the healthy eater on the go, and she served some of her tasty couture cookie bites at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We spoke with the lifestyle guru for her suggestions on how to stay on track when away from the safety of your own fridge.

See also: F.E.A.S.T. Miami to Fund Art Projects With Healthy, Local Eats

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