MiamiHerald.com presents: “Healthy choices for Meet-n-Eat with TNA wrestler Austin Aries at Miami’s Choices Vegan Cafe” by Jim Varsallone
Going out for breakfast, lunch or dinner can be healthy and tasty.
Austin Aries, a TNA pro wrestler, proved it during his Meet-n-Eat at Choices Vegan Cafe off NW 79th Street, just east of Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
Using his celebrity status for the betterment of healthy living, Aries created this event to help people understand the importance of good eating with the right foods. Usually, a pro wrestler’s diet consists of dairy and meat for protein to build up the body, but Aries takes a different approach — plant powered — combining healthy choices with a regimented workout.
Because of his busy travel schedule, Aries will often bring his type food with him on the road. Not much open late nights for vegans as fast food in its current form is taboo for them.
“On the road, I’ll always pack a package or two of pre-cooked lentils, nuts, vegan protein bars and powders,” he said. “As for my daily, it usually consists of a smoothie in the morning with banana, spinach and blueberry and veggie protein powder, then some kind of tofu or tempeh scramble with veggies. Later, I may have some type of rice and beans, salad with lentils, sweet potato, nut butter sandwich and another smoothie.”
Wrestling fans, who know veganism as a term, packed Choices Vegan Cafe along with Aries and other vegans.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.
The Choice Vegan Cafe menu includes organic juices, super smoothies, appetizers, wraps, burgers and sandwiches, pizzas and tacos, salads, soups and stews, sides, desserts and breakfast.
Wait a minute. Burgers? Tacos? Meat?
Sources of meatless plant-based protein exist for burgers and tacos.
• Invited by Aries, Margarita Restrepo attended the special outing. From a tragedy in her life, she found a better way to live. She tells her story from the heart, losing her boyfriend to aggressive Stage IV brain cancer. Her mood is somber when speaking of him — her love — and what he endured. With no cure and bills in the thousands, they — on their own — turned to a plant-based diet.
In an online story, she said: “After three months on the plant-based diet, his tumor growth decreased 25 percent. Incredibly enough, his doctors were astounded by the results and were curious about what we were doing. His cancer was very advanced, so the therapy, although very positive, was applied too late. Witnessing how much a simple lifestyle change affected the reversal of his disease, as small as it was, changed my whole perspective on food.”
Restrepo felt compelled to do something in his memory. She could help others.
She started “Naked Food Magazine” online, the anti-disease approach to living whole and plantiful. The founder and editor-in-chief, she just developed a print form, distributing them at Whole Foods with delivery expansion the growth process.
• Born in Milwaukee and living in Clearwater, Aries, 35, walked to each table and thanked people for attending the Meet-n-Eat. He discussed this plant-based alternative with them.
What started in 2000 to become healthy — after eating frozen dinners and processed foods through the corporate food system — turned into a better and ethical way of life for him. He eliminated the preservatives, the added coloring, the sugar substitutes like Splenda. He will not eat other living creatures. He does not agree nor support the corporate food system which promotes eating meat and drinking milk.
Two years ago, Aries went completely plant-based in his diet. Through information and documentaries, he learned animal protein, especially dairy and meat, is linked to cancer and other ailments. He eliminated dairy and eggs as well.