Our Story

The Birth of Choices: The Ganesh Story

By Alex Cuevas, April 2011

Several weeks ago, I was doing my routine meditation on the sand here in Miami Beach, followed by prayer, asking the universe / God -- help me resonate with my true purpose. I asked to be given clarity on how I could manifest my true purpose. This request is something I meditated for in earnest since the beginning of the year [2011] when I began "meditating". Note -- I had been doing the chanting of "Ah" and "Om" during these meditative sessions to help me stay in a meditative state. It was early AM, and I had just completed my meditation session -- I commenced my barefoot jog on the Miami Beach sand.

As I was almost wrapping up my 30 min run, I looked down casually, and protruding from the sand was a huge spike of some kind. I quickly slammed on the brakes as I was about to step on it and impale my poor bare foot! I squat down and picked up the spike, and pulled out a (brass?) figurine on a long chain. I had no clue what it was but I brought it back with me. I sent my friend Lori a camera snap shot of it, and she said, I think that is Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. I got the chills and acknowledged the universal message...not knowing exactly what that meant -- but I had recognized in my head that my biggest obstacles toward fulfilling a life dream of operating a vegan restaurant were: 1) Living in NY and Miami, 2) My "loyalty" to my friend & business partner at the present company I work for 3) a commitment towards helping him grow his company, 4) my biggest fear- the fear of failure and 5) loss of certainty (income).

The following week, I was forced to let go of NY due to the financial constraints two rents began to put on me -- later my shipped boxes arrived in Miami and with that, one obstacle was removed. Later that weekend I was "fooling around" and I put the Ganesh necklace on... a few days later, I felt subconsciously compelled to remove another major obstacle -- an honest communication with my business partner. We sat down. I explained to him what I believe to be my life's destiny -- I explained to him that people are dying, animals are suffering on a massive industrial scale, our earth is being depleted, and the major factor in this, is a human system with a lack of consciousness from those oppressing, and from people-not-yet-aware. There is a lack of information on the atrocities of factory farming and lack of insight to proper nutrition. I MUST change this; therefore, I have to leave our company and open a vegan café.

To my surprise, my business partner did not get upset at me for telling him I was going to step away, but rather he asked if I needed an investor in the new restaurant. Ganesh removed the obstacles? Coincidence? Perhaps... but I will choose to believe that it was the universe providing assistance in overcoming my own barriers so that I may be able to resonate with purpose. My other fears of failure / uncertainty -- are no longer. For I have accepted minimalist philosophy of material goods for a greater purpose. And I will leave my own fate up to God.

Onward then...Destiny is set in motion -- the veggie flag of consciousness will be raised. Choices Café will be born in Miami.

"Our mission is to inspire compassionate choices by serving delicious, healthy, and organic plant-based food prepared with love for people, animals and the planet."

Choices Café is first and foremost a business founded on the principle that better eating leads to healthier individuals and an improved society. Both the restaurant and the food production line are a family-run enterprise established and led by two brothers whose values made a valuable business. The founders, Alex and Jorge Cuevas, stay grounded on three missions which drive their impetus:

(1) to serve delicious healthy food that nourishes and restores people; (2) to promote sound plant-based diets that encourage compassion for animals; and (3) to engender sustainable practices that conserve planetary resources.

As a restaurant serving 100% plant-based food, Choices Cafe has filled a large void in Miami. Vegan restaurants have long-been thriving in cities such as New York and LA, and continue to grow in numbers. Consumers have become much more conscious and discerning in regards to what they will consume when dining out. Few of the consumers are exclusively plant-based eaters. In fact the vast majority of the customers who enjoy Choices are omnivores. Most patrons come because of the taste of the food and the reputation of the café, rather than any vested interest in the missions or in veganism per se. The scrumptious and nourishing entrées at Choices are influenced by strong Latin flavors, but the inspiration for the food is global. The café prides itself by offering fusion versions of American staples such as burgers, pizza, sandwiches and salads, while still including ubiquitous worldly offerings such as mushroom quesadillas and extraordinary explorations such Nori seaweed wraps. Exotic meals embrace Latin American spices like cayenne pepper and delicacies like cactus, and even Indian and Asian essences, such as curried or ginger-miso soups. The cafe also offers a wide variety of gluten free options. Indulgences such as house-made dairy free cheesecakes and coffee crumble cakes are made available to folks with the increasingly common sensitivity to gluten, which typically is very restricting when dining out. As 'gluten-free' and 'dairy-free' become the newest buzz words, Choices Cafe has been ahead of the trend, already having perfected the combination of allergy free food that also can satisfy even the pickiest of palates.

Above all, Choices Café prioritizes organic, nutritious foods and produce. The café ensures that greater than 95% of all its ingredients are grown without pesticides, always preferring organically certified items. Choices Café preserves nutrition through preparation practices that retain the phytochemical compounds that make the foods innately healthful.

From the very beginning, the founders of the café established a goal to inspire such ordinary individuals to recognize that healthy food can be mouthwatering and that plant-based foods can provide benefits for everyone. Throughout their growth and expansion, Choices Café will continue to foster the mission to promote healthy, delicious, compassionate eating.