When you switched over to a vegan diet, there is a good chance that you mentally kissed your favorite fast food joints goodbye. After all, just a few years ago, some of the most popular chains had virtually no vegan options. The best that you could hope for was an unappetizing veggie burger without mayo and a side of fries.
Those days, however, are over. Thanks to a boom in mock meats, the top fast-food chains are stocking up on plant-based options. While this fare was intended for flexitarians and not vegans, there is no denying that this demographic is undoubtedly enjoying this latest development.
Of course, as you are well aware, being vegan is more than just about eating plant-based foods. It is also about considering the general welfare of animals and leading a green life. So, based on these principles, should you get on board with this new fast food trend? The following post explores in greater detail.
The Animal Cruelty Factor
As a vegan, one of your biggest goals is to reduce the suffering of animals in general. Unfortunately, most fast food companies rank rather low in this category. Sure, there are some like McDonald’s that have made some progress, but there is still a long way to go.
For instance, while some companies have made improvements by using free-range eggs, many of the animals are still reared in cages. Many people in the foodservice industries also support fast-growing animals for additional meat, faster.
It should also be noted that many fast-food companies don’t care about animal wellbeing. As a result, they have taken virtually no steps to improve the lives of the animals. This means that most animals reared for these companies are still facing horrible conditions every day of their lives.
The Health Factor
Now, let’s tackle the health factor here. Just how healthy are the most famous mock meats? Now, these foods are plant-based, which means that they do contain, to an extent, vegetables. So, does that mean that they are healthy?
Well, the evidence shows that this isn’t necessarily the case. Although these foods are made from plants, they also have been processed quite a bit. This, of course, is so that they mimic meat as closely as possible. Due to this, quite a bit of the nutrient value is removed, and these foods contain rather high levels of sodium as well.
More to the point, these burgers and such have been designed for fast-food restaurants. As such, nutrition isn’t all that high on their list of concerns. The main thing these companies are focused on is the fact that these plant-based burgers are virtually indistinguishable from their popular meat-based fare.
To answer this question, no, eating meatless burgers isn’t all that healthy for you. While it might work as an occasional treat, you certainly shouldn’t indulge in these foods regularly.
The Cross-Contamination Factor
As mentioned earlier, much of the plant-based fast food products weren’t created for vegans at all. Instead, it was meant for people who focus on a mostly vegetarian diet but who aren’t strictly opposed to meat products. Due to this, most of the foods aren’t labeled as being “vegan.”
To a certain extent, this is because these burgers and other items are being cooked right next to meat patties and hot dogs. Now, some restaurants will cook these meals on a different grill if you request it. However, this isn’t a service offered by all.
Now, some vegans don’t stand by what they deem to be “cross-contamination.” So, if you get queasy about the idea of having your food cooked next to the meat, then these fast food options may not necessarily be for you.
The Environmental Factor
As a modern vegan, you probably aren’t just passionate about animal rights but are also concerned with the wellbeing of the planet. After all, for animals to be truly safe, their habitats and resources must be protected and maintained. It is due to this concern; however, that fast-food restaurants may not always be the best place for vegans.
Understand, fast food giants have a huge role to play in climate change. This is because much of their menu consists of animal and dairy products. These items, of course, require quite a few resources to grow. In particular, large amounts of water and land are being used up.
Not to mention, raising and maintaining such massive herds of animals results in a considerable release of greenhouse gasses. Unfortunately, most fast food companies are slow to make real and discernible changes in their supply chains. Due to this, it is unlikely that there will be any positive impact made anytime soon.
Thus, if you are concerned about the wellbeing of the planet, you may not want to visit these fast-food chains – at least not regularly. After all, no one wants to contribute to the overall demise of the planet.
So, this is the full story on vegan fast food – what do you think of it? There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a meatless burger now and then, especially if you are trying to promote a rise in vegan foods. At the same time, it is best to avoid making this a habit.
As mentioned, even plant-based fast food can be considered unhealthy. Not to mention, as a vegan, it is quite difficult to abide by the cruel living conditions of animals imposed by these companies. Last but certainly not least, there is no denying that these companies aren’t doing much good for the planet either.
Of course, the choice is up to you. Now, however, you have the whole story on your hands. Due to this, you can make an informed decision and know precisely what you are signing up for. This is an essential step for anyone trying to adhere to a strict, vegan lifestyle.
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