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Your Chicago: Karyn’s Cooked, All-Vegetable Comfort Food

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Looks like ribs, right? It's all vegetable, though, from Karyn's Cooked. (CBS)

Looks like ribs, right? It’s all vegetable, though, from Karyn’s Cooked. (CBS)

Kate Sullivan Kate Sullivan
Kate Sullivan is co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago News at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – If eating healthier was on your list of New Year’s resolutions, listen to criminology student Kandyce Baker.

She was introduced to a spot on Wells Street where the food is all vegetarian, even though it looks and tastes like comfort food.

“I had a sloppy Joe, and I remember thinking that I haven’t had a sloppy Joe since I was in middle school, and this is really good,” Baker tells CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan.

Karyn’s Cooked is owned and operated by Karyn Calabrese, a woman who swears by an all-raw, all-vegetable diet.

“I have been criticized: ‘Well, if you don’t believe in eating meat, why are you calling it ‘ribs?’ My answer is if I told you texturized protein, or if I told you wheat gluten, would you order it?” she says.

So, the menu reads like an all-American menu, complete with “short ribs” and “Buffalo wings,” but the contents vary from tofu to eggplant. The goal is to make it delicious.

Health is the reason why the restaurant exists. Calabrese says many women in her family died overweight and relatively young. She has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to the vegan lifestyle and teaching others the health benefits.

“I’m 65 years old – no Botox, no surgery, no help of any kind,” she says. “The human body is meant to last a lot longer than it does.”

Besides Karyn’s Cooked, there is also Karyn’s Raw. She also has a wellness center dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and offers free information seminars. Click here for more information.

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