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Why Miami is a Rising Vegan Community

miami vegan
Photo credit: fullbloomvegan.com
miami vegan
Photo credit: fullbloomvegan.com

What comes to mind when you think “Miami”?

White sand beaches, authentic Cuban-inspired cuisine and meat-packed dishes? Pork is practically a food group in Miami, after all.

So do most – but the city has undergone a colossal change.

Miami has long been a meat-heavy food capital, but is fast emerging as a hot-spot destination for vegan cuisine, and is rising up in the ranks of vegan-friendly cities nationwide.

The #1 plant-based magazine in the US, VegNews, released a list of the top 10 vegan-friendly cities in America, with Miami snagging the #6 spot on the list. So if you’re looking to relocate to a city that caters to vegan tastes and ideals, or simply wanting to take a vacation to some of the country’s hottest vegan eateries, Miami is one the best choices in the US!

The city boasts a growing number of vegan restaurants, high-end dining establishments, vegan bakeries, even an all-vegan butcher shop, and many more. This wide array of new plant-based attractions also earned Miami a spot on WalletHub’s list of best cities for vegans and vegetarians in 2019, based on factors of affordability, diversity, accessibility, quality, and the overall lifestyle.

At one time, in very recent memory, veganism was only a small fringe movement. It meant eating only salads and smoothies when dining out and feeling like an outcast to the culinary scene at large. But times are changing rapidly. Especially in Miami.

Veganized Latin-inspired food staying true to the traditional culinary flavors of Miami is cropping up across the city; even the famous Cubano everyone knows and loves has been veganized.

Traditional American fare is also getting a makeover in Miami. Many skeptics of veganism think that giving up animal products equals saying goodbye to your favorite treats and comfort foods you grew up with, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Miami’s offerings alone prove that misconception wrong. With plant-based burgers, fries, hot dogs, shakes and more, restaurants like SoBe Vegan, a brand-new vegan restaurant chain located in South Beach opening this Winter, are on a mission to provide healthier versions of the food we all grew up loving. Showing vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike that vegan options can taste even better than their meat-and-dairy-based counterparts.

Like the vegan community at large, eateries across Miami are creating change starting with what’s on our plates, introducing the masses to an overall healthier way of life via great food.

As the collective conscious of the entire country, and world, shifts toward an increased interest in plant-based eating, when a city like Miami changes it’s culinary tone, it’s a sure sign of systemic change — which should excite all vegans and proponents of a plant-based lifestyle.

Today, everywhere you look there are markers of a dramatic national and global uptick in interest in a vegan lifestyle. Everyone from celebrities to athletes to people from all walks of life are shifting toward eating more plants, all major grocery store chains are increasing their vegan offerings, and mainstream fast food giants like Burger King, Starbucks, Del Taco, and Dunkin’ Donuts, just to name a few, have recently added vegan options to their menus. And it only continues to grow.

Miami is a shining example of a city that’s embracing this positive change; but how did this occur? And when did this sudden uptick and plant-heavy change happen to the cuisine of Miami?

In just the three-year span of 2014-2017, there was a staggering 600% increase in the number of self-reported vegans in the United States. Major cities across America, such as Miami, act as a microcosm of this larger nationwide shift. It was around this time that Miami’s food scene gained some new health-conscious joints, such as a juice shop soon followed by a crop of subsequent vegan cafes and high-end restaurants (helmed by star chefs and frequented by celebrities). And now, the vegan scene in Miami has exploded.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the famed Seed Food and Wine Festival, which bills itself as the first plant-based food and wine festival in the country. Held each November, the annual vegan palooza has grown in the last five years to over 10,000 attendees. Voted the top food and wine festival by USA Today, Seed Food and Wine has now become so big it has spread to Los Angeles. Making it so much more than a festival; rather, an entire movement. All thanks to Miami.

Miami is a colorful, vibrant city that has been known for its culture and cuisine for years. Now, with the skyrocketing rise in vegan restaurants and events, being vegan in this city no longer feels like you’re missing out on anything — in fact, you’ll know you’re on the cutting edge of one of the most meaningful and impactful culinary trends we’ve ever seen in the US.

We’re moving toward a healthier, more ethical and sustainable America, and this Sunshine state city is a shining example of the massive shift that is happening all around us.

Article by Chloe Spencer, SoBeV.com