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Healthier places to eat in Orlando

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In a world that is starting to become topsy-turvy toward a healthier lifestyle and the preference back to local, organic farmers, it is important to know which local restaurants go out of their way to offer more healthier choices than the regular fried, genetically modified, artificially flavored or microwaved options. Below are some of some of my favorites for healthier eating-out options, and/or for those who serve foods from local farms in the Greater Orlando area. They are in no special order, I love them all equally for their own uniqueness:

1. Cafe 118 - Located in downtown Winter Park at 153 East Morse Blvd. Offering raw, organic and vegan, this is one of the best places in town for those who want living food presented beautifully and with a lot of class. This is a great place for a special date night, and you can walk up and down the historic Park Ave afterwards.

2. Dandelion Communi-Tea Cafe - A wonderful spot to meet friends at and sit outside in the herbal garden, while sipping on a gourmet tea and eating a healthy meal. Famous for its herbal teas and vegan menu, the restaurant has a very casual-artsy feeling, perfect for those times that you just want to read a book or sit quietly and have great conversation. Live music and live poetry are always on the schedule of events. Located at 618 N Thornton, Orlando. (Near Bumby and Colonial)

3. Wheat Berries Cafe and Juice Bar - Unbelievable raw, organic food served in a casual-yet-modern atmosphere. Breakfast, lunch, raw juices, raw flatbreads, raw and vegan desserts. Located at 1150 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL. Suite 1010

4. The Rusty Spoon - An excellent choice for upscale dining in downtown Orlando, right on Church Street! Ingredients for the menu are sourced from local farms that provide organic produce and meat from animals that were on all-natural diets; free from hormones, free from antibiotics and/or any unnatural supplements. The goal of the establishment is to sustain the local farm and the local community. They even offer farm tours to visit their food sources! Vegetarian dishes available.

5. Infusion Tea - Herbal teas, vegetarian menu (wraps, soups, breakfast, lunch, sandwiches, salads, children's), located at 1600 Edgewater Dr., in College Park. Catering for off-site events is available. Also, a gift shop that is stocked with locally-made arts and crafts, and unique gift ideas.

6. White Wolf Cafe - Located in Ivanhoe Village, a bohemian district at 1829 N Orange Ave, just north of downtown Orlando. Opened in 1991, the White Wolf Cafe has become one of Orlando's favorite local restaurants, always serving fresh fish from that day's catch at local fisheries, local produce and meats, and in a very artistic and vintage setting, surrounding the patrons with antiques and decor that gives the place a very unique quality.

7. Ethos Vegan Kitchen - This restaurant advertises as a place to get a "hearty" vegan meal, and they provide that and more! I have never been disappointed with any of their menu items, the atmosphere is always pleasant and modern, and the ingredients are 50% organic. They offer gluten-free, soy-free, and seasonal recipes. There is a great brunch menu on the weekends, and they serve organic beers. Located in downtown Winter Park at 601-B South New York Ave.

8. K Wine Bar and Restaurant - A special restaurant with a talented award-winning chef, who donates much of his time to local schools and youth, in his personal pursuit of teaching people about real food. Fresh produce from local farms arrives every day, and there is an herb garden (used in the menu) in the back of the restaurant that patrons can tour. The local farms that are used to provide menu ingredients are proudly exhibited on the K Wine Bar website.

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