Yello, Fort Lauderdale's 6,500-square-foot event center that features dance studios, nutrition and cooking classes, and a café with juice, organic wine, beer and plant-based, gluten-free goodies, is on a mission to keep South Floridians both healthy and entertained.
In addition to the many opportunities to get fit with jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, ballet, and urban dance classes, Yello is also home to Talk Tuesday, a recurring event series which features monthly speakers touching on topics such as IBS, migraines, arthritis, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular health.
Yello's latest guest lecturer, cardiologist and nutritionist Dr. Jaimela Dulaney, says she's living proof that heart disease and other chronic health conditions are preventable with exercise and proper nutrition, limiting the need for medication or surgery. She'll visit the center to discuss how diet affects heart disease and health at 6 p.m. on February 12.
“You don’t have to have cardiovascular disease, and you don’t have to have lifestyle diseases,” she says. “They are completely reversible and preventable.”
Dulaney, who is based in Port Charlotte, has worked as an internist and cardiologist for over 20 years. She says she has witnessed first-hand the positive health effects that result from ditching animal products for plant-based, whole foods.
“Fruits and vegetables provide the nutrients we need without the harmful side effects of cholesterol and saturated fat that you get with animals,” she says. “Animals are the middle person – we eat the animals that ate the plants, but we really just need the plant food.”
It is a lesson Dulaney learned the hard way. Heart disease and diabetes ran in her family. Her maternal grandparents both died young, and in an effort to avoid the same fate, Dulaney exercised and practiced portion control. But still, she struggled to keep her cholesterol in check.
After reading several books about plant-based nutrition and watching Forks Over Knives, the 2011 documentary about the benefits of plant-based eating, Dulaney decided to make the switch. She left behind what she calls the “standard American diet” on which she was raised and became vegan.
She eventually cut back on oils and processed foods as well, and found that she no longer needed cholesterol medication or anti-reflux medication. She was so impressed with her personal results that she went on to earn several certificates in plant-based nutrition.
“We have to learn to reconnect nutrition with our health,” says Dulaney. “Nutrition is what drives our health or our sickness.”
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You won't need to shell out the big bucks to attend Dulaney's discussion, or any Talk Tuesday event for that matter. In an effort to make the info sessions accessible to all, Talk Tuesday events are free because of Yello’s collaboration with the Food for Health Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to share the benefits of plant-based eating through research and education, and as part of that, it sponsors speakers like Dulaney.
In addition to Talk Tuesday, Yello hosts First Friday, which features a piano bar with vegan appetizers and drinks. They also have an event called Third Thursday, which is a recurring series of nutrition and cooking classes centered around gluten-free, plant based foods.
And if you're feeling brave, you can check out Yello’s newest Open Mic Night event series. On the final Monday of each month is an open mic night where you can watch poets, singers, musicians and comedians strut their stuff — or even take the stage yourself.
Yello Creative Arts and Events Center. 2495 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-519-3019; yellofl.com.