Buyer Beware: The Plant-Based Food You Just Ordered May Contain Milk, Eggs, or Beef!
Let’s face it, most of us are going to get dragged into a fast food restaurant from time to time. Unless you’re a hermit and don’t socialize, certain friends, family members, or co-workers are going to want to eat at one, and because you’re a people pleaser, you’re going to enable them.
Yes, I said enable, because many fast food restaurants deliver disease in a box. The high saturated fat, calories, salt, sugar, and preservatives that are in and used to cook fast food are just pieces of the diabetic, heart disease, cancer causing puzzle. The more you eat those so called foods, the closer you get to completing the puzzle. And no one wants to complete that puzzle.
But you already know that, and that’s why you avoid those places. But sometimes, you’re going to end up in a McDonald’s, Panera, or a Taco Bell. And if you’re hungry, you’re going to eat. But what?
As a savvy plant-based foodie, you already know what you won’t eat, so the only option would be to order something that’s plant-based, like French fries, hash browns, salad, vegetarian soup, rice, or bread.
In a perfect world those things would be safe for us to eat, unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, and there are animal products lurking in the most unexpected places my friends.
Did you know that McDonald’s adds natural beef broth to their hash browns and French fries? I didn’t either until I started digging around to write this story.
Did you know that Panera’s vegetarian garden soup contains milk? The discovery of this little factoid really chapped my hide, because I’ve asked the employees if the soup was vegan, and I was told that it was. Not cool, especially for those who have allergies. Correction: Since posting this article I’ve learned that the pesto in the soup contains milk. If you request the soup without pesto it’s vegan. Still, their employees need to know this as I’ve asked and wasn’t told that I needed to leave out the pesto to make it vegan.
Those were two of the most egregious discoveries that I made while scouring the nutrition labels of some of the most popular fast food chains. And out of all of the nutrition pages I read, Panera’s was the most disappointing. They add milk to a lot of their breads and bagels, and of course, the garden soup.
The moral of this story is, read the ingredients labels. Animal products lurk in the most unexpected places.
Here’s a small sampling of foods to avoid, and that are safe to eat at some of the most popular fast food restaurants.
Hash browns – Contain beef broth
French Fries – Contain beef broth and milk
Smoothies – Contain milk
*Dispensed from equipment that also dispenses milk ingredients.
So what can you eat at McDonald’s?
A side salad
Onion Rings – Contain milk
Veggie Burger – Contains eggs and milk
Croutons – Contain milk
So what can you eat at Burger King?
French fries (shared fryer, eat at your own discretion)
Hash browns (shared fryer, eat at your own discretion)
Garden side salad without croutons
You can only eat their fries and fruit cup. Their side salad has cheese in it.
No sneaky business at Chipotle, this is one transparent company.
Build your own burrito, taco, or bowl. Their tortillas and taco shells are vegan. And they have sofritas!
Panera bread products that contain milk:
All-natural white bread
Honey wheat bread
Tomato basil loaf
The rest of their bread products are vegan friendly.
Bagels that contain milk:
Everything except the oatmeal and fruit cup contains dairy, eggs, or meat
Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto contains milk! Order it without the pesto.
The only safe soup is their vegetarian black bean soup.
All salads except the Classic salad has dairy or meat.
The only bowl that’s vegan friendly is the soba noodle bowl with edamame.
The only sandwich you can eat is the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, but you have to ask for it without cheese and on a bread that doesn’t contain milk. The bread that the sandwich is made with contains milk.
Breads that contain milk:
What can you eat?
Any one of the bread products not mentioned above and their vegetables.
Crouton’s – contain milk
French fries may be cooked in the same oil as eggs and fish.
You’re safe with a garden side salad or a plain baked potato.
You could actually eat a meal at this restaurant. Instead of telling you what isn’t safe for vegans, I’ll list what is safe.
Safe to eat:
Fresco Bean Burrito
Black Beans and Rice
Guacamole and Chips
Salsa and Chips
Premium Latin Rice
Border Sauce – Fire, Hot, Mild, Salsa Verde
Salsa Del Sol
I hope that this list helps you to choose wisely if you find yourself in one of the restaurants listed above.
Did you know that there was beef in McDonald’s fries and hash browns?
Do you eat at fast food places often?
Is this helpful to you?