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A glance into the vegan takeover


Courtney Heinnickel, Staff Writer

Veganism is becoming more and more popular throughout the United States. In fact, according to VeganBits, 1.62 million Americans are vegan. This eating habit has grown and people have jumped onto the bandwagon for many different reasons. Some do it as a protest against factory farming and the way that animals are treated, while others do it as a way of following health regulations. There are some that want to try it and see if it is something that they enjoy. Whatever the reason may be, many restaurants are striving to make accommodations for these new eating habits.

Many people don’t realize what goes into starting this new eating habit. One needs to check the way that any of their food is prepared in order to remain on the path. Oils have to be checked, and dressings have to be looked at. Many people often call restaurants before going to them to ask how the food is prepared and what they use to cook.

Having noticed this trend, Burger King is has recently made the transition. They recently released a meatless whopper to try and accommodate for vegans and vegetarians. This fast food chain is currently testing meatless burgers in 59 restaurants in Missouri. This product is being developed with California's Impossible Burger, which provides meatless burger for Red Robin, White Castle, and many other restaurants.

This specific meatless patty with Impossible Foods incorporates plant-based substitutes along with more than 5,000 restaurants nationwide. Impossible Foods has also proved popular with investors, to the tune of about $400 million in funding, according to CB Insights. Among its blue-chip backers — Bill Gates and Google Ventures.

Other fast food companies, including KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut, have introduced meatless options in some of their overseas restaurants. In 2018, KFC said it was developing meatless chicken for its U.K. restaurants to adhere to new government food guidelines. McDonald's has added a soy-based "McVegan" burger in Sweden and Finland, while Pizza Hut sells vegan pizza pies in Britain.

With all of these new accommodations, more people have been trying to see if veganism or vegetarian options are right for them. While some people decide that this pathway is not right for them, others enjoy to reap the benefits of this healthy lifestyle. Currently, studies are being made to display why veganism is healthy and beneficial, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

However, since westerners are more familiar with a heavier diet of meat and animal products, this switch will inevitably lead to them relying more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole-foods vegan diet, replacements take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients. For instance, several studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E. Interestingly, participants on the vegan diet lost more weight than those who followed calorie-restricted diets, even when the vegan groups were allowed to eat until they felt full.

Whether you choose to partake in the vegan trend or stay true to a familiar diet, soon restaurants near and far will be offering options for any walk of life.