Eating Gluten/Grain-Free At: Mcdonalds

Ah Mcdonalds, you can never be put in a good light can you? Despite their various health claims, Mcdonalds has some of the least healthy foods on the fast food market, and yes, I am adding in their few slices of apple they give kids.

Like I have said before, you can make many of these food items grain-free by simply leaving off the bun on sandwiches, but a few others, like the Fruit Parfait, are made using corn starch. So for breakfast, all you can really eat are hashbrowns… I think I am starting to see a trend here.

Do note that their grilled chicken does have Rice Starch in it, so the only salad that is really grain-free is the side salad, unless you want to ask for it with no chicken. For your sides, you also have the option for French Fries, Apple Slices, and Cuties, noting that the Go-Gurt is made with corn starch.

So to sum it up:

  • Hashbrowns
  • Side Salad
  • French Fries
  • Salads w/o Chicken
  • Apple Slices, and Cuties.
  • Most burgers w/o bun

Although Mcdonalds can never win when it comes to health claims, it also cannot win when it comes to having available grain-free options. But at least it has a few available options for those trying to eat a grain-free lifestyle.

Eating Gluten/Grain-free At: Taco Bell

Now I am not against grains by any means, and don’t believe grains themselves to be a bad part of any diet. However, I am writing this because I do not like overly processed grains like enriched white flour, and also because I am allergic to most grains. This guide will mainly be for those who are Gluten-Free or Paleo and want to find foods at fast food places that they can incorporate into their diets so they don’t feel like they can’t eat anything.

Being grain-free at Taco Bell is pretty hard, as it means that you have to eliminate almost everything from the menu: No tacos, no nachos, no burritos, no rice, and no potatoes, as their potatoes are coated in flour. I will state that their nachos and mexican pizza’s are gluten-free, but not grain-free, as they do contain corn. You can, however, add or combine itels in any way to your desire to make delicious grain-free foods.

For instance: The Cantina Power Bowl. All you have to do to make this salad grain-free is to take out the rice. It is probably the healthiest choice as well, as it has romaine, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo. It does contain dairy, so if you are avoiding dairy, just ask for it fresco style!

Some great side options are the Pintos N Cheese, and the side of black beans. These are a wonderful veggie protein, even though they are filled with way too much salt.  If it is morning time, hashbrowns are a great option as well, although they are deep fried. Also note that you can order anything without a shell or a tortilla, not only will this get rid of all or most of the grains, but will also lower the caloric content as well.

So to sum it up, the grain-free options are:

  • Hashbrowns
  • Pintos N Cheese
  • Black Beans
  • Cantina Power Bowl (No rice)
  • Most tacos/Burritos (No shell)

Additional Gluten-Free options include:

  • Chips and Guac
  • Chips and Cheese
  • Hard shell Tacos
  • Black Beans and Rice
  • All cantina bowls

Being allergic to grains or avoiding grains is hard, but that does not mean you cannot have a quick bite out to eat. Just plan appropriately and it should be OK!

Ex-Vegan, Not A Monster

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A lot of people hate on Ex-vegans, and for good reason too. Vegans represent this idea of morality. As a vegan you are no longer needlessly killing animals for things like Palate Pleasure, and convenience. Vegans are often well-versed in the facts that animal products are neither necessary or natural, and that normality from tradition is not a decent argument to end the life of another animal.

Despite knowing all of this, ex-vegans still go back to eating animal products, the same animal products they are well aware was produce by the horrific conditions brought upon by most farming practices. Many ex-vegans, despite knowing this, gorge on animal products like they are the next new fad, like they are trying to make up for the lost time between cheeseburgers bought from McDonalds.

So most vegans obviously see this as resorting back to immoral ways, killing animals for no good reasons, often while giving bullshit excuses that even they know is crap. No amount of free-range organic natural labeling will convince most vegans that these labels are just that, labels. Used for marketing to convince a group of absent-minded sheep into spending up to 3 times the amount for pretty much the same product, I mean, look at “Organic” Gatoraid and “Organic” Rockstar energy drinks if you need any further proof that organic sugary crap is still sugary crap.

I left veganism for a very specific reason, and after years of going from vegan to meat eater to vegetarian and back again. I must have been vegan about 4 times over the past 2 years, for the grand total of about 6 months vegan, and I love veganism. I love the idea of veganism. I love the idea of vegetarianism, and I will refuse to say veganism, if done right, can’t be the healthiest dietary choice you can make.

I left veganism, again, because I have food allergies. I have a problem eating and digesting rice, corn, wheat, soy, peanuts, and sesame without severe discomfort and  occasional vomiting. I also cannot eat large quantities of food due to acid reflux, which makes it hard to get in proper nutrition of any kind, especially from eating over a cup or two of lentils or other beans, daily.

Veganism, if done right, is far healthier, environmentally friendly, and ethical a diet that you can make, so long as you are a mindful shopper. But I will not accept that one cannot, say, be environmentally conscious, and still have the occasional animal products.

I know by saying “Occasional animal products” many vegans will immediately jump to the conclusion of “Standard American Diet Animal Product Binger, because let’s not kid ourselves, many vegans do see these things in black and white.

My new diet consists of mostly plant-based foods. I still drink almond milk, I eat lots of whole foods, I avoid cheese and eggs, no red meat for me, in fact, the only thing I really changed about my diet is that:

  1. I no longer avoid small quantities of food, like trace amounts of dairy in a canned vegetable soup, for instance.
  2. I eat a small amount of chicken, about 6 oz, daily. This provides me with a whole day’s worth of protein in one small serving, and has minimal fats in it.

I follow Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, and their food pyramid. Most of my diet is to remain plant-based, and high in whole plant foods like root vegetables, leafy greens, fruit, some beans and legumes, etc. I think that eating primarily plant-based is the best way, but simply to help me with issues I have, I believe eating a small amount of whole-food poultry will help in the long run.

Now I have some issues with veganism and meat-eating as a sweeping generalization. Neither of these is a diet. Veganism can be incredibly unhealthy, especially if you are eating a ton of processed junk foods, of which many are made using Palm Oil, which Harvard has shown to be just as unhealthy as saturated fats found in red meats and full-fat dairy.

Veganism can be incredibly healthy, but also incredibly unhealthy, the same with diets that include meat. I have heard many vegans believe that a diet full of junky foods is healthier than a diet full of whole plants but contains a small amount of animal products. This is pure delusion.

Many believe that avoiding trace amounts of animal products in foods causes a significant impact. It doesn’t. Being vegan is about doing your best to avoid animal products wherever and whenever possible to reduce suffering, health effects, and environmental damage. But refusing to buy coffee creamer that has an almost insignificant amount of a milk derivative, or cereal that has a trace amount of lanolin-based D3, doesn’t actually impact the industry. Most of the work done in helping animals comes from the elimination of larger animal products, not miniscule amounts.

Environmentally speaking a diet like mine is not that bad either, despite what you might hear from many vegans, 6 oz of chicken a day will not destroy the world, especially if said chicken is replacing other parts of your diet, like grains, and some beans, which I cannot have, or cannot have a lot of, because of health issues.

Now this isn’t an attack on veganism either, but I don’t want it to also be an attack on me as a person, simply because I chose to put my health first, and my purity second.

If you can eat fully vegan, by all means do it! If you can eat most vegan staples, go for it! If you live in an area where eating fully vegan is accessible and healthy, break a leg! But there is nothing wrong with eating vegan to the best of your ability, and eating some animal products if it makes being healthy and happy feasible.

And yes, you can eat some animal products and still be healthy, just make sure it’s at a minimum, and it’s more healthy, lean proteins.

I now eat some chicken. I am not Hitler. My arteries are not going to curdle. And it’s not the end of the world.