Meat is a four-letter word. It’s high in fat and cholesterol, and it contributes to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. It comes with warnings about E. coli and other foodborne bacteria, and it’s linked to climate change, pollution, and other serious environmental problems. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that many Americans are fed up with meat, and compassionate, health-conscious people (you know who you are) won’t even touch the stuff. It’s a liability, really. More and more restaurants are now offering meat-free meals. Even Taco Bell is planning to market meat as “protein” in an obvious attempt to distance itself from animal flesh.
Hey, can you blame the company? Its reps know that meat is bad news.
But meat by any other name is still … cruel and unhealthy. You can get protein from healthier—and more humane—sources, including nuts, soy foods, seeds, peas, lentils, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, corn, mushrooms, broccoli, and beans. Fortunately, Taco Bell is fairly vegan-friendly. If you’re headed for the border, try one of Taco Bell’s bean burritos (hold the cheese, please) or its veggie cantina burritos (they’re vegan if you remove the cilantro dressing—and delicious, too).
Or if you’re in the mood for Mexican—but not for Taco Bell—try Moe’s Southwest Grill or Chipotle. They, too, offer tasty vegan entrées. Heck, you can get meat-free meals just about anywhere now. Even Burger King has a veggie burger. And while McDonald’s is essentially getting booted out of Bolivia for selling heavily processed meaty meals, many fast-food restaurants in America are striving to offer more vegan options.
Tropical Smoothie Café, for instance, is moving “beyond meat.” The company started testing a tasty vegan chicken from the brand Beyond Meat a few months ago and is planning to add it to its full-time menu starting in August or September.
The chain already had some vegan options, but it wanted to attract even more vegetarian and vegan customers. And I’ll tell you, the company’s approach has worked on PETA staffers. We’ve eaten our share of Jamaican jerk Beyond Meat wraps (without cheese, of course) and Thai “chicken” wraps made with Beyond Meat. Yummy!
Let’s make Tropical Smoothie Café’s efforts worthwhile—get moving to a café near you. (If you live near a Sub Zero, save room for vegan ice cream, too.) Meat-free meals, nondairy desserts, and other vegan options are clearly mainstream. It’s a good time for everyone to make like Taco Bell and say, “Adiós, meat.”