By: Alec Concejero
What do you think about when you hear the word “vegan”? You probably imagine someone who have been actively advocating plant-based dining. Despite the many stereotypes or assumptions you might associate with them, we must acknowledge that their cause has always been about creating a better world for everyone, both for animals and humans. Vegans do think that avoiding animal products is the moral choice, but they also think that it is healthier and safer for the world.
Recently, evidence has surfaced that points to veganism being rooted in childhood experiences. Psychologists have found that having more pets as a child raises the inclination to stop consuming meat as an adult and that growing up with various types of animals raises curiosity for how animals are treated, leading them to seek and from more nuanced opinions on animal rights as they grow older. Because of this, you can count on vegans to be more informed on matters of animal consumption than the normal human herbivore.
But besides the moral aspect of their diet, vegans mainly concentrate on healthy eating. According to Pewresearch, 6 out of 10 Americans want their meals to be healthier, and evidence suggests that a decreased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes is correlated with plant-based diets. Because of this, more and more people are looking to go vegan and the list of fast-food chains that offer vegan-friendly alternatives to burgers and sandwiches just keeps on growing.
Bean, soy and veggie-based swaps continue to grow in popularity as more individuals cut back on their intake of animal protein. The Ikea furniture store has revealed that this year it is introducing a meatless version of its famous Swedish meatball. And even well-known fast food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC have at least tested vegan or vegetarian dishes in markets outside the U.S.
It’s prudent for those with a desire for a delicious, meatless burger to note that many of these dishes are still fast food. Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietician, founder of BetterThanDieting.com and author of “Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table,” told TODAY Food that due to the amount of calories, sodium and saturated fat they contain to make them taste so well, meaty, some of these plant-based burgers are not actually safe.
“It’s good for someone to have the occasional plant-based burger, but don’t fool yourself into believing it’s better for you than a meat-based burger,” Taub-Dix said. “However if you’re trying to save calories and fat, maybe go for a burger smaller than a Whopper, and don’t order extra cheese for your plant-based burger.”
In the past, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s were famous for their decadent, meaty burger offerings, but the chains collaborated with Beyond Meat in 2019 to bring beef-less “beef” and plant-based sausage to the menu. Carl’s Jr. introduced two breakfast products in addition to its Beyond Popular Star and Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger: the Beyond Sausage Burrito and Beyond Sausage Egg and Cheese.
After a popular New York City test run, the doughnut-and-coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts launched the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich on menus nationwide. The patty includes’ peas, mung beans, rice and sunflower to provide the protein and coconut oil to ensure juiciness, plus a secret blend of spices exclusive to the company. Vegans should remember that the sandwich itself is not vegan because it contains an egg patty and American cheese, but on an English muffin the sausage can be ordered by itself without the egg.
As its sandwiches are totally customizable, Subway has long been a favorite among vegans and vegetarians. In September, however, the chain began selling a completely fresh item – the Beyond Meatball Sub – which was made available in 685 locations. Subway also started selling a reformulated vegetarian patty in 2017 that’s made with wheat gluten, soy, oats and a mix of veggies like mushrooms, peppers, onions and carrots. It includes egg whites as well though, so it’s not ideal for vegans.
Getting into local chains, Shakey’s Philippines recently introduced The Good Burger, a vegan-friendly burger with plant-based patties and lettuce wrap to their menu. Made with a meat-free burger patty called UnMeat and topped with veggies (without cheese of course), The Good Burger goes for P185 and are available for dine-in, take-out, and delivery via the Shakey’s website or hotline number (#77-777) in all Metro Manila branches.
Burger King’s Plant-Based Whopper is also now available in all Metro Manila and Luzon branches following its well-received debut in the United States in 2019. This meatless Whopper is assembled like the original – with buns, fresh vegetables, and mayo, but with the meat patty replaced with a plant-based soy protein beef patty.
Beginning November 26, the Plant-Based Whopper will be available in Burger King stores outside of Metro Manila via dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, hotline delivery or through food delivery apps.
Give yourself every benefit when transforming your diet. You don’t have to limit yourself to a specific set of meatless meals when you can treat yourself to vegan fast food items from time to time. Above all, enjoy yourself. Food is undeniably one of the great pleasures of life, and you will experience a whole new degree of pleasure from food when you put your diet in line with your core values and beliefs, and if you feel healthier and better about yourself.