A Vegetarian's Guide To Eating Fast Food

A Vegetarian's Guide To Eating Fast Food

Going meat-free doesn't have to be a sacrifice.
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I have been a vegetarian for over three years now, and even after all these years, I still struggle with knowing if something is acceptable to eat given my lifestyle choices without consulting the ingredients. Ordering from a fast food restaurant can be even more daunting at first. Once you know the tricks of the trade, though, it's a breeze to get in, out, and face first into the burrito, (veggie) burger, or whatever of your choice.

1. Burger King

After testing out a veggie burger this past year, BK has added the Veggie Burger to their regular menu. These are, however, just MorningStar burgers, meaning you could just basically go make your own by looking in the frozen food section of your local supermarket.

Burger King has elected not to pursue any official vegetarian certification for their products, but that can always change in the future. There are rumors of them expanding their veggie options by bringing some of their more popular items from their Indian chains state-side.

Personal Favorites: Veggie Burger (not really a fan, simply providing options.)

2. Chipotle

Chipotle is one of those debatable restaurants as to whether it could be considered fast food or not. My definition is: if you can order and finish purchasing your food in the same amount of time it takes to go through the drive-through, then it's fast food. The stylish sit-down setting is merely a bonus, no one is going to keep you there.

Chipotle has been one of the trailblazers in actively creating and promoting vegan options for their customers and has taken even greater steps in recent times to expand those options. Chipotle is also superior in the fact that all their vegetarian and vegan options are clearly labeled for customers to see.

Personal Favorites: Sofritas Bowl.

3. Jimmy John's

It's "Freaky Fast," need I say more? Jimmy John's is one of those restaurants that offers an extremely minimal number of vegetarian options. I think there were three the last time I ordered. That doesn't mean a sub speedily delivered right to your Russian History Class is off the menu, so long as you know what to look for.

Personal Favorites: Number 6, Number 13.

4. Subway

Subway is your guy, Jared Fogel scandal aside here. Customization is everything to a vegetarian. We don't just eat salads every day, after all. We need options, and thankfully, Subway will always have us covered here. So long as you avoid the meat, the world is your oyster.

Personal Favorites: six inch Veggie Sub (duh!)

5. Wendy's

Now, I have not been to a Wendy's in a while now, as they are pretty out of the way for me to get to from my current digs, but I do know that Wendy's is looking to be another veggie burger trailblazer. Since May 2015, Wendy's has been in trial testing for their black bean burgers in Columbus, Ohio. I have not had one personally, but reviews online have been pretty positive. It's up to you to make that decision for yourself, I guess.

Wendy's does have vegetarian options, but at this time, like BK once again, none of them a certified vegetarian. It basically just comes down to what you know about the food begin served.

Personal Favorites: Just a plain ol' baked potato, chocolate frosty (oldies but goodies.)

6. McDonald's

Unfortunately, Mickey D's does not provide any "specially certified" vegetarian or vegan options at this time either. In addition, many of their fried products, like french fires, are fried in the same oil as their meat products or flavored with beef tallow, no longer making them vegetarian.

Over the past couple years, there has been some controversy as to what exactly McDonald's is putting into their food. There was some speculation about their ice cream ingredients not being vegetarian (which, like, how?!) for a while there too. Since then, the fast-food giant has taken steps to increase transparency with their customers regarding their products. I cannot offer any suggestions, though, because I haven't eaten at McDonald's since I was about ten years old. However, if you really can't live without your mozza sticks, check out the ingredients list and information that they provide on their website, or even just ask.

7. Taco Bell

Saving the best for last, of course. In October 2015, Taco Bell became the very first fast food chain restaurant to launch a special menu of 13 dishes certified by the American Vegetarian Association (AVA). Not only that, but basically everything on Taco Bell's menu can be altered with any of the chains's 35 AVA-certified ingredients (26 of those are also vegan) to better suit your personal veg tastes and needs.

Delicious and affordable, Taco Bell is literally the best thing that has happened to vegetarians this year. As if the public couldn't love them more.

Personal Favorites: 7-Layer Burrito, Cantina Power Bowl.

Just because something is vegetarian doesn't mean it's healthy. This is something that all long-time vegetarians and vegans understand well. This is not a lifestyle that should be chosen simply to lose weight. The only way to do that is through the use of a balanced diet and exercise, let's be real, eating fast food in general is never considered "healthy." Being vegetarian means something different and accomplishes different things for everyone.

Our favorite fast food restaurants want to support and cater to the needs of their customers in whatever lifestyle choices they make, but that does not mean that these products should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle. These chains simply want to offer those customers with the same benefits that it's other consumers take a part of. Not to mention that it's a good business move.

Now go, Veggie Lovers! Enjoy life and eat out whenever you'd like without fear of breaking your environmental/political/ethical/religious commitment.

Did I miss something? Comment with your own favorite fast food vegetarian options!

Careful note: AVA vegetarian certified items are allowed to contain both egg and dairy products while vegan certified items have absolutely no animal by-products.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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5 Things You Need To Know About Thinx Underwear

Those of you with a uterus, listen up.

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I first heard about Thinx underwear two years ago while on a subway in Washington DC. I thought the whole idea of leakproof underwear sounded a bit too much like diapers and brushed the product aside. Fast forward two years, my mom states that she is going to buy a pair to try and offered to get me one too. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I decided to give it a try. I'm sure glad I did!

If you're not familiar with Thinx allow me to explain. It's a company that prides themselves on creating underwear specifically designed for individuals to wear during their periods. Looking at the reviews, everyone seemed to love them, and after trying them out for myself, I must say I like them quite a lot. Here are a few important things to know about Thinx underwear.

1. It doesn’t always replace your pads/tampons

Thinx may not replace tampons, but it can help cut back the amount you use.

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I learned this the hard way that if you have a heavy flow, you can't wear Thinx on its own. If you have a light flow, you could get away with only wearing these, but for us poor souls with heavy flows, I recommend making these your new period underwear. You never have to worry about any leaks, even at night!

2. They don't stain

Behold! No bloodstains!

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If you leak onto this underwear, fear not. Merely rinse them in the sink and then throw them in the wash like normal and boom! Clean underwear. No more ugly stained underwear to keep in the corner of your drawer.

3. There’s a bunch of cute designs/colors

There's something for everyone!

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One thing I must say about Thinx is that they have a wide variety of options. There are several different cuts, and almost all of them come in different colors options as well. They seem to be introducing new colors all the time, so keep an eye out for one you like.

4. They are super comfy!

These feel just like normal underwear.

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When I got my pair, I was worried that this underwear would feel like wearing a diaper or something else uncomfortable, but that was not the case at all! This underwear when you're wearing it feels like normal underwear, and while you're washing it, it feels like a swimsuit.

5. They donate to a good cause

Everyone should have access to period products. Period.

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For every pair of underwear that you buy, the company donates a pair to someone in need. It seems like most are sent to developing countries where women do not have access to proper menstruation hygiene products. In addition to this, Thinx was designed to help cut back the number of disposable pads entering landfills. They designed this underwear to be a more sustainable alternative for people with periods!

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