The Real Foodie

Tag: Miami

Milk Gone Nuts, Miami Beach

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I found this hidden gem while washing my car at the Texaco gas station in Miami Beach. I was surprised to the see that the old pseudo-healthy sandwich and juice bar that I was used to seeing, had been replaced with a truly natural, fresh, made from scratch on the spot, nut milkshake bar. In an ice bucket on the counter there was a selection of different types of nut milk: cashew, almond and coconut, in old-fashioned glass milk bottles. Being so jaded from all of the false health food marketing, I was expecting to find an artificial ingredient to ruin it all but was amazed that the milk is made of all natural ingredients and am impressed that they use glass bottles so the milk doesn’t get contaminated with toxic plastic. This is the first time I have seen glass bottles used in a juice bar in Miami. Jugo Fresh, Glaser FarmsAthens Juice Bar and CPR all use plastic bottles for their juices and milks; even Organic Avenue in New York City replaced their glass bottles with biodegradable plastic ones. There is a five dollar bottle deposit to encourage reuse (and of course refill). I ordered a bottle of coconut milk and watched as the mature coconut (from Miami’s hip new coconut company, Coconut Cartel which also supplies their branded coconuts to Soho Beach House and The Standard Spa), was cracked open, separated from its shell and added to a Vitamix blender along with hot filtered water used to extract the coconut milk, Medjool dates, pure maple syrup, vanilla and Himalayan pink salt. The result was a heavenly tasting, fresh, nutritious milk full of healthy fat from the mature coconut.

Opened less than two months ago, owners Mario Suarez, Sara Tacher-Suarez and Brittany Fierman started Milk Gone Nuts with a vision to create an old-fashioned milkshake bar with a twist—dairy-free. Sara started making her own nut milks for herself and later her family and friends. When she decided to open her nut milk bar after being encouraged by friends, her daughter Brittany quit her corporate job to help run the business. The three types of nut milk can be ordered by the glass or bottle and made into a variety of milkshake flavours such as green apple and fig or homemade peanut butter and cacao, with different toppings including superfoods like maca, goji berries and chia seeds. Their sister company, Organic Juice Bar, at the same location, makes salads, wraps, pita sandwiches and juices using certified organic fruits and vegetables. Their salad dressings and extras are not natural (and may contain GMOs, e.g. soy, chicken) but along with expanding to more locations, their goal is to become fully organic.

I never expected to find a real food spot in such an unlikely place and I have no doubt, with a unique idea and the only nut milkshake bar that exists, Milk Gone Nuts will become a huge success. Getting my car washed is something I rarely have time for, but now that I can feed my toddler a healthy treat on our way home (saving me the time of making lunch) I will be stopping here more often.

Tropical Miami

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On our way back from the airport after arriving in Miami we stopped at the Glaser Organic Farmers’ Market in Coconut Grove, where we go every Saturday to have our raw organic lunch and buy farm food for the week. It felt good to be back to my routine again! As much as I love Jamaican food I was really missing my raw dairy. I didn’t eat any dairy the entire time I was there because I couldn’t get any raw pastured dairy and I certainly wasn’t going to have the UHT milk that everyone drinks there (although it is supposedly from pastured cows but the UHT process denatures the protein and makes it an unhealthy drink). When we go to Glaser I always get the same thing: Nori roll, raw goat’s milk kefir and fresh local young coconut water straight from the coconut. I feel amazing after! The raw kefir takes away any sweet temptations because it is fermented, which balances out your body’s pH,¹ although if I am going to have something sweet, Glaser is the place to have it. They make delicious fruit pies that are sweetened with nothing else but fruit. Their ice cream on the other hand, is sweetened with agave and so are some of their snacks so you have to be careful and read the ingredients. The Nori wrap is made of mixed greens, grated carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, their own cashew herb paste, sprouts, parsley, cilantro and scallions, all wrapped in a sheet of Nori and dipped into a herb vinaigrette. The raw goat’s milk kefir comes from Simon’s goat farm in Homestead. He also makes the best raw goat’s milk halloumi cheese and raw goat’s milk feta I have ever tasted and I usually stock up on it for the week.

Glaser Organic Farmers’ market is one of the reasons I began to love living in Miami. It is where I got my first taste of all the unusual tropical fruits that grow here such as mamey, white and black sapote, acerola cherries, dragon fruit, egg fruit, jack fruit, monstera deliciosa and hall avocadoes. There used to be a fruit vendor called Tim who introduced us to a new fruit each week, our favourite being white sapote which unfortunately is only available one month of the year in June. It is also where I get my weekly local young coconuts from our Trinidadian friends ‘Kokonut Kreationz‘ (who we hired to serve coconuts at Olivia’s birthday party and were a huge hit).

After Glaser we usually stop by Athens Juice Bar owned by the same Greek family since 1942, where we buy a half gallon bottle of fresh coconut milk (not water), made from pressed mature coconut, coconut water and chunks of coconut. It is heavenly and I have never seen fresh coconut milk sold anywhere else, so this is a real secret which more people should know about (the reason for this blog.). I have only ever seen coconut milk sold in cans and far from fresh, usually with preservatives and tainted with BPA from the lining of the can. The milk from Athens is lighter than regular coconut milk which is more like cream, because it is combined with the water. It is a good alternative to milk for those who are dairy free.

I still find it surreal that after living in big cities my whole life, most of it in rainy and cold London, I now am living my dream of being in a tropical climate where coconuts grow; and I don’t think I can ever live in a temperate climate city again!

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1. Gates D, Schatz L (2006). The Body Ecology Diet, 9th edn. B.E.D. Publications: Georgia, p.114.

BM Organics Market is Closing Down

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My favourite restaurant BM Organics, sadly, is closing down. I never even got a chance to write a post to showcase their amazing food which is sourced exclusively from Amish or local organic farms. Highlights from my memory include frissee salads made with a Thai coconut meat based dressing and sprinkled with raw, grass-fed blue cheese; brown butter and pumpkin seed spaghetti squash; sprouted lentil or chicken and kale soup made with real bone broth; grass-fed burgers with sprouted wheat buns and homemade fermented ketchup (the ketchup was a miracle and I would buy jars of it because whatever I put it on, my daughter would eat); spicy pastured chicken wings; fries fried in lard; sprouted mac ‘n cheese; raw milk smoothies; grass-fed hot dogs and sprouted hummus; all cooked using real cooking fats like butter, lard and coconut oil.

I knew it was too good to be true that a restaurant following the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation stuck around for too long. Since changing to the Weston A. Price diet it has been my dream to open a restaurant just like this one and I couldn’t believe it when I found it, in Fort Lauderdale of all places. It made my experience of living in Miami all the more enjoyable and to think that I was afraid when I left New York City of losing all my real food places—I found everything I had there and more with the addition of BM Organics.

We have been making the 45 minute trip from Miami to this place every weekend for their gourmet dinners since their opening in February of 2012. It was a blessing that I just happened to stop by on the day they opened! It was the first time we could feed my toddler a full meal at a restaurant and have a relaxed family dinner, knowing every single ingredient was real food. In all my experience of eating out, I have yet to find another restaurant that is 100 percent real food. Even farm-to-table restaurants still use toxic vegetable oils for cooking, they don’t sprout their grains and it is unheard of to serve raw dairy.

The only good news was they had a huge closing down sale and I was able to stock up on all of my favourite items for a big discount. They will surely be missed by their devoted following but they will still continue their weekly farm deliveries.

It’s Good To Be Back!

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We arrived last night from our long trip and though I’m sad it’s over, it feels great to be back to Miami’s tropical climate and my healthy routine! My first food stop was Jugo Fresh, Miami’s newest and only organic juice bar of its kind, to get a green smoothie for Olivia and myself. Olivia had the ‘Suga Sherm’ which is coconut water, coconut meat, banana, kale and spirulina (I asked for it without agave) and I had the ‘Jugo Fly’ which is coconut water, coconut meat, kale, spinach, apple, blueberry, spirulina, hemp and chlorella, also without agave. The smoothies are sprinkled with coconut flakes, goji berries and cacao nibs. The fat from the coconut in the smoothie is necessary for the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the greens.

My only criticism about Jugo Fresh is that they put agave syrup in their smoothies. Not only is agave unhealthy because it is a highly concentrated version of fructrose similar to high fructrose corn syrup, but the smoothies are naturally sweet without it and even more so if you are used to a no sugar diet. To read more about the dangers of agave read here.

At Jugo Fresh they make fresh pressed organic juices and smoothies, similar to the ones at Organic AvenueLiquiteria or Lifethyme in New York City which I missed terribly after I left until Jugo Fresh opened. The Rastafarian juice man, Melvin, who used to make the smoothies at Lifethyme and had a devoted following (he may have been the one who invented the coconut and greens smoothie) left Lifethyme to start his own juice bar Melvin’s Juice Box at Miss Lily’s. My husband and I started making our own coconut and greens smoothie after learning from Melvin, using a Vitamix blender, but when I’m in a hurry, Jugo Fresh is quick and easy.