I tried to survive on a diet of only vegan fast food for a week - and it was impossible
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
- A study by market-research firm GlobalData found that the number of people who choose to eat vegan in America has grown from 1% to 6% since 2014.
- Though many restaurants and fast-casual spots have updated their menus to include more vegan options, fast food is lagging behind.
- I tried to survive on only the vegan options at popular fast-food chains, and I found it was nearly impossible to do at most of them.
Being vegan in New York City is hardly a challenge. Most restaurants now have vegan-friendly options on their menus, and affordable vegan restaurants are popping up all over the five boroughs. In the three years I've been vegan, I've found that most restaurants and grocery stores have a lot of options readily available - except for fast food.Taco Bell and White Castle seem to be the only fast-food chains actually working on meeting the growing demand for food that's free from animal products. According to a study by market-research firm GlobalData, the number of Americans who choose to follow a vegan diet has increased from 1% to 6% since 2014.Advertisement
The population of vegans, vegetarians, and people who are simply trying to eat less meat is growing rapidly, and most fast-food chains are doing little to nothing to make a vegan lifestyle more accessible.
To see which fast-food chains are best prepared to keep up with the growing demand for vegan food, I tried to eat only vegan fast food for five days. My rules were simple: eat only at fast-food chains, and eat three meals a day.Here's what happened:
I kicked off the week with Fruit & Maple Oatmeal from McDonald's, prepared without cream.
For lunch I wanted something lighter, so I headed to Wendy's for a salad. I ordered the Garden Side Salad with no croutons, no cheese, and no dressing. I also ordered a side of apple slices.Advertisement
I was ravenous by dinner, so I went out of my way to get Taco Bell — a supposed fast-food haven for vegans. I ordered a Seven Layer Burrito with no sour cream or cheese.
Avoiding the mistake I made yesterday at McDonald's, I went to Chick-fil-A and ordered a Sunflower Multigrain Bagel with strawberry jam and a fruit cup for breakfast.Advertisement
I ended up going back to Chick-fil-A for breakfast again.
I saved the fruit cup from Chick-fil-A for a snack so I wouldn't be so hungry between meals again.Advertisement
For lunch I ordered the same salad from Chick-fil-A. Again. Taco Bell and White Castle had more options, but they were both far away, and it was raining out, so I went for the most convenient choice. After lunch, I stopped the diet because I felt terrible. I was exhausted, had a headache, couldn't focus on anything, and was desperate for something other than Chick-fil-A.
It was nearly impossible to find a filling vegan meal at a fast-food chain. Almost everything was either so sugary and greasy that I felt sick after eating it, or it was so unsatisfying that it left me feeling hungry immediately after. Even though I struggled to make it through the week, there were definitely some clear winners.Advertisement
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