Eating Vegetarian At: Buffalo Wild Wings

I have rarely ever eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings in my life, in fact, I don’t remember if I ever have. I do know that I used to live by them a lot when I was little, so there is that.

Buffalo Wild Wings is not a restaurant that you would ever even expect to have any vegetarian options, but shockingly enough, it has a couple … a couple… meaning that anyone who is a lacto-ovo vegetarian will be happy, but vegan? not so much.

To start off, they have a black bean burger patty, but it isn’t vegan. For some reason they thought it necessary to add in dairy and egg into it. So this is one food item that only marginally goes into their favor. Other options include:

  • Side Salad (Has Dairy in it)
  • Cole Slaw (Eggs)
  • Veggie Boat (Ranch Dip)

And aside from a few desserts, that’s about it. There are no vegan menu options aside from Mandarin Oranges for kids and a soft pretzel. They do have fries, onion rings, and tortilla chips, but neither of those are vegetarian because they are cooked in beef fat, which is something I never understood why fast food companies did, as many fast food companies do that, including Checkers and Popeyes.

The inclusion of a black bean burger was pretty cool, but it means little if it still contains massive amounts of animal products.

Then again, it’s not like I would expect too much more from a burger joint that runs on the sale of slathering as many animal products as possible into a plate, like Arby’s, Burger King, and Checker’s. This is not one of those places where a vegetarian or vegan is likely to go, but if you ever did, it’s good to know very few options are available.

Does The Health Benefits Of Sprouts Beat The Risk?

A few foods considered to be “health foods” come with very high risks of some kind of harm, this is what I refer to as The Aspirin Effect. Aspirin can be used to prevent heart attacks, but it is equally as likely to give you a fatal stomach ulcer, so it has health benefits, but as a result also has increased risks that need to be taken into account.

Raw Milk is the same, often toted as a health food that can lower allergies in children who drink it, however, it is also related to tons of Salmonella outbreaks due to not being homogenized. So it has benefits, but it can also kill you.

Sprouts, such as Alfalfa and Mung Bean, can how be added to the list of health foods that can do this. Sprouts are very healthy and can be incorporated into many meals, but the latest outbreaks of Salmonella makes a conflicting view of safety. Since 1996, sprouts have been connected to at least 30 cases of foodbourne illnesses, most of which caused by Salmonella and E-coli. Some manufacturers have been known to use very unsanitary conditions in their plants, which certainly doesn’t help anything, only adding fuel to the fire that sprouts should have a warning label.

Salmonella and E-coli can grow rather easily in sprouts due to the warm environment needed for them to grow, so even a small amount of bacteria can grow rather quickly in that environment. This is why the FDA doesn’t even recommend sprouts that are grown at home as safe for consumption.

Even washing the sprouts in chemicals did not entirely get rid of the risk, which is why many people are advocating for warning labels for the pregnant, elderly, young, and those with compromised immune systems. The final conclusion from the FDA is to simply avoid these foods at all costs if possible.

Parmesan Cheese May Not Have Any Parmesan At All!

Parmesan cheese was one of my biggest go to foods to pour on top of a nice warm bowl of pasta! Now I am glad that I stopped eating it altogether.

After being tipped by an anonymous source, the FDA ran some tests into Parmesan cheese to see their composition. In this investigation, they found that “100% Parmesan Cheese” is anything but. Many contained up to 10% wood pulp, and this isn’t the first time this was discovered.

Castle Cheese was visited by the FDA in 2012, and they found that the Parmesan Manufacturer not only used a ton of wood pulp far beyond legal limits, but they opted for cheaper alternatives, such as cheddar cheese, instead of actual Parmesan. And this won’t be the last either, because just recently, Walmart was sued for their mislabeling of “100% Parmesan cheese”.

Now wood pulp inside of Parmesan cheese is not new, and it is not deadly. In fact, it is a common and widely used anti-aking agent that has been approved for use by the FDA, but only in smaller quantities of about 2-4% of the total product weight, not 8-10% like what many Parm cheeses has been shown to have. Adding a larger percentage of filler is a way that many companies are able to save money through the manufacturing process, and the issue isn’t with the fact that it contained pulp, but that the companies lied about it.

Investigations are being done by Jewel-osco and other companies into the claim, but this isn’t the first time a food-related safety issue was placed within the past year alone. Ground beef sold in the US was shown to contain evidence of fecal contamination, including various strains of bacteria that can cause serious illness.

Despite all of this, Parmesan is indeed safe to consume, but it would be best if we ditched dairy altogether due to the high levels of Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Or just grind up actual wood pulp, that might taste good as well. If you really want to stop Parmesan after this, here is a good Vegan parm recipe that tastes pretty good

Eating Vegan At: Dairy Queen, Auntie Anne's, Starbucks

There was very little reason for me to seperate these into different posts as I would have to strech it to fit a character limit due to the small amount of items, but I will combine these snack places for a better and longer article.

Dairy Queen

You would not think Dairy Queen would have anything vegan at all, mainly because Dairy is incorporated right into the brand name, but you can get a few good finds at your local DQ, such as:

  • Arctic Rush Frozen Beverage
  • All Light Smoothies
  • Lemonade Chillers
  • Side Salad
  • Fries
  • Banana
  • Hashbrowns

The oil that they use is Soybean oil, so at least that isn’t beef tallow or lard.

as a whole I’d give this restaurant a 4 out of 10, because at least you can eat a good dessert meal here without having to sit down and watch everyone else eat ice cream in front of you.

Auntie Anne’s.

Nothing tastes as good as a pretzel while you are walking through the mall, the issue however, is if that pretzel has eggs or milk in it.

Good news and bad news, the good news is that the original, cinnamon sugar, almond, raisin, and jalapeno pretzels are all vegan!…. IF you say that you want it without butter on it. ore good news is that you don’t have to eat it dryer than a plain hamburger without cheese, as the Marinara and Sweet Pretzel dips are both vegan.

Most of their drinks, AND their frozen lemonaid, are vegan as well, so you can have a hot pretzel with a cold dessert side here!

I’d give this snack bar a 8 out of 10, because who doesn’t like a good huge pretzel?

Starbucks

Starbucks is odd, because even if you ask for a product with soymilk, much of the time you STILL get milk in it:

milk

So really, what’s the point?

You can get teas with soymilk, as well as cafe americano, espresso, caffe latte, as well as regular coffee all with with soymilk as vegan. You can also get the fruit frappucino and the starbucks refresha, which are both vegan as well.

Starbucks is a good place to go for a quick coffee, but to be honest I recommend just making a cup of coffee at home and adding in almond milk and sucralose.

I’d give Starbucks a 2 out of 10, mainly because of a lack of options and overpriced coffee.

 

Plant Sterols and Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease?

Plant sterols, also known as Phytosterols, or Plant-Based Cholesterol, is seen to be as bad cholesterol in meat in many cases, and worse in others. Wonderful and totally non-biased sources (ha!) such as Authority Nutrition give these phytosterols a particularly bad rap, but why?

Because Phytosterols are biologically similar, but not equal to, dietary cholesterol, and gives them a good dead horse to beat up on while trying to make a poorly-lined excuse to continue high consumption of cholesterol-ridden foods. No well-researched scientific health and nutrition organization is interested in the almost non-existance health effects of Phytosterols, but the people who DO enjoy mentioning this often are almost always low-carb enthusiasts.

Phytosterols are not absorbed by our bodies in any more than trace amounts because biomarkers in our liver realize that human’s are not plants, so why do low-carbers even bring this up? Easy: Sitosterolemia.

What is Sitosterolemia? It’s a very rare inherited autosomal disorder that has only been known to affect 80 people since it was first discovered in 1974. It is basically useless in a comparison between dietary cholesterol, which is connected with Saturated Fat, both of which are connected with increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease in hundreds of millions of people who live with heart disease. But this is the low-carb way of saying “PLANTS HAVE CHOLESTEROL TOO!” and that is just pathetic. But hey, don’t take my word for it!

Two systematic reviews were done, one on phytosterols and their risk for cardiovascular disease, and one on phytosterols as a potential effect on inflammation, both of them concluded “Our systematic review and meta-analysis did not reveal any evidence of an association between serum concentrations of plant sterols and risk of CVD.”, regardless of what observational studies Authority Nutrition might link to, and the one on inflammation even showed that the consumption of phytosterols lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This is something that is also mentioned by the European Atherosclerosis Society. But Authority Nutrition seems to think that is a bad thing:

“However, it’s important to realize that cholesterol levels are just a risk factor for heart disease.

Just because something has positive effects on a risk factor for a disease, it does not guarantee that it prevents the actual disease.”

That’s EXACTLY what it means! Saying this is like saying that smoking is just a risk factor for developing lung cancer, so lowering the amount of cigarettes you smoke per day does not guarantee a lower risk for lung cancer. Or that consuming processed red meat is just a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and does not guarantee that it will prevent colorectal cancer if you don’t eat it. It’s a “it won’t stop it 100%, so why bother” kind of attitude. “An evidence-based approach” hm? This article was written in 2015 so it’s not like they didn’t have those systematic reviews available, they just ignored them.

Foods that are high in phytosterols are vegetable oils, avocado, olives, and other high fat plant foods, which should not be eaten en masse anyways, but are a good food to have in moderation.

According to the bulk of the evidence, phytosterols are NOT a nutrient of concern. So you don’t need to worry or even think about them at all.

Can Eggs Be Vegan? What is a Veggan?

There are apparently a group of people called Veggan ‘s, who believe that the consumption of eggs fits within vegan guidelines, because the eggs were not “unethically” taken from the hen.

And to be honest, they have a point. Yes, veganism IS strictly defined as having NO animal products at all. None. No honey, no lanolin derived D3, no shoes made from leather. But that is not the only definition of veganism. The most common one comes from the Vegan Society, which states:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Keywords being “exploitation of, and cruelty to.” When you base veganism around a strict moral viewpoint, you will find many loopholes inside it that make the consumption of animal foods perfectly OK as long as it does not inflict or endorse exploitation and cruelty to animals.

Ethical Honey for example. Is honey vegan? There is a wide amount of debate going around, with many people saying honey is not vegan because honey is an animal product, while others are saying honey helps bees, regardless of it being an animal product. Or the case for Mollusks/Sponges. These bivalves are animals per-se, but they have no sentience at all and are basically a plant, but they are still technically in the animal kingdom, so… not vegan on a technicality?

Another good one is Freeganism. This is where you take food from the dumpster, and consume that instead of buying food from the store. This way, if you consume candy with dairy in it, or tossed out meat products, the food, even the meat, is TECHNICALLY vegan because it does not inflict cruelty or endorse exploitation of animals, as the food eaten is simply waste.

So what about people who call themselves Vegan, but they eat eggs laid by rescued hens/pet hens? They are going to lay eggs anyways regardless of if they want to or not, because laying eggs to chickens is the same as Ovulation is to women, it happens whether we like it or not. So if veganism is based on morals, and not strict guidelines, wouldn’t eating these eggs be ok?

There is an argument that can be made that keeping the rescued chickens and selling their eggs IS exploitation, but if it is, it’s a rather dull version of it. It’s like keeping a rabbit as a pet, but using their droppings as compost to grow and sell fresh vegetables; or brushing your cats fur and using the shed hair to card and twist into yarn for cat’s hair scarves. it’s literally that low in terms of exploitation.

I often get flack about how I am more likely to drop veganism because I am a more health-based vegan, but scientific consensus proves that diets high in beans, nuts, and vegetables are good for you. In terms of Ethical Veganism, it seems that you can eat Bivalves, Honey, Eggs, Dairy, and even Meat (including roadkill) and still be considered vegan as long as no exploitation or harm is caused to the animal. While you don’t NEED to be vegan to be healthy, at least I am not fooling myself.

As vegans, we need to be aware of these loopholes, as they exist, and they exist entirely because of us.

Eating Vegetarian At: Chick-Fil-A

I did not want to write about Chick-Fil-A for a long time, because I have not bought anything from there since I was really little. I then refused to buy anything from there for years even when I could because I disliked the CEO’s viewpoints on Homosexuality. My beliefs aside, I do think it would be good to give this company a fair shake when it comes to vegetarian/healthy/vegan products, so here goes!

To start off, they do not have a veggie burger, in fact, they have almost no veggie options at all! What they have is:

  • Waffle Fries
  • Fruit Cup
  • Yogurt Parfait (Contains milk)
  • Superfood Salad
  • Side Salad (Contains cheese)
  • Hashbrowns (breakfast)
  • Multigrain Oatmeal (breakfast)
  • Plain biscuit (Breakfast, Contains Milk)

They do seem to have more HEALTHIER options than places like McDonalds and Burger King, but the options are still rather skimpy. They have grilled chicken nuggets and the superfood salad, which are both healthier food options for those who just want to eat something healthy, but when it comes to veggie items, they are not very much present.

They do not have any Pescaterian options, so I am sorry to inform you fish eaters of that. The Superfood Salad does have an allergen warning for eggs, but I can’t find any eggs or egg-products on the ingredient list for the salad, so make with that what you will.

I do like the idea of the multigrain oats, and if nothing else, if I ever set foot into a Chick-fil-a ever again in my life during breakfast time, that will be the only think that I would consider buying. Topped with the fruit and nuts for added goodness.