Healthy Eating… Vegans flock to D.C. soul food eatery

“The names have all been Everlasting Life, and this location needed a different name because we had a full bar…So we wanted to remove some of the confusion but still keep the spirit and the energy of us elevating the consciousness, elevating the diet, elevating and improving on our health, so Evolve was the name,” Ben-Yehudah said.
A native of Southeast D.C., Ben-Yehudah said the clientele at Evolve differs from Everlasting Life, as they are on opposite sides of the Metropolitan area, and for that reason he is adapting to the new area by expanding the menu to include juices and smoothies. Evolve began serving the juice packages on June 18.
The soulfulness of this vegan soul-food establishment remains in Takoma Park. When walking into the establishment guests hear Motown and other soulful Rhythm and Blues music.
The atmosphere resembles more of a family cookout, where patrons can jam to music, get a drink, and eat collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried ‘chicken wings and breast,’ cornbread and more, yet it is 100 percent vegan.
“I’ve been a vegan for 41 years, and the significance is this is food, as compared to something that just tastes good, this is food that provides nourishment to the body,” Ben-Yehudah said. “I can’t say across the board 100 percent, but you’re more likely to find nourishment in plant-based food than you are in all of the other stuff that is being offered to us.”
Moreover, he said he finds it important to consider the health risks associated with certain non-vegan foods. “You’re getting nourishment from plant-based food, as opposed to getting the toxicity we are now seeing prevalent in the human body which is resulting in many diseases. We see toxicity going on as a result of us consuming that which isn’t even meant for human consumption. So, a lot of what is meant for human consumption are those things that are in the whole food, plant-based space and that’s why I thought it would be a good idea to open up a restaurant of this sort,” Ben-Yehudah said.
He said he also wanted to focus on teaching the Black community about the benefits his food possesses. “The communities we’ve targeted are underserved,” he said, “which happens to be communities of color primarily. I would say one of the biggest benefits is it gives us an opportunity to educate. So, we’re able to talk to people about this food and why it’s beneficial and so forth. And also expose them to it by offering free samples and we do cooking classes.”
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