It IS Easy Being Green!

Every vegetarian/vegan tries to make the argument that they can “find something to eat on any menu” of just about any restaurant. That way, they don’t feel like they are the ones keeping their friends from going to their favorite fast food joint. The truth is, that’s much easier said than done. However, about a month or so ago, Peta published an article on their website giving a relatively descriptive list of every restaurant that a vegan and vegetarian can happily dine at (and yes, happily means not just plain salads).

Here’s a simplified version of their list:

  • Applebee’s – strawberry and avocado salad with zesty chili-lime vinaigrette dressing
  • Baskin-Robbins – variety of dairy-free and gelatin-free ices and sorbets
  • Bruegger’s Bagels – olive oil bagels that come in the flavors: blueberry, chocolate chip, cinnamon-sugar, cranberry-orange, pumpernickel, and rosemary or a variety of vegetarian sandwiches that can also be vegan without cheese
  • Buffalo Wild Wings – black-bean burger or salad with light balsamic, French, or Asian sesame dressing
  • Burger King – BK Veggie Burger
  • Carl’s Jr (and Hardee’s) – French fries, CrissCut fries, hash-brown nuggets, made-from-scratch biscuits, cinnamon and raisin biscuits, or apple cobbler, or the all-you-can-eat salad bar!
  • Cheeburger Cheeburger – grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich, wrap, or salad
  • Cheers – veggie burger
  • The Cheesecake Factory – veggie burger (made with brown rice, faro, couscous, mushrooms, black beans, and onion) or an onion and penne pasta dish (with broccoli, oven-dried tomato, roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke, Kalamata olives, garlic, and pine nuts)
  • Chili’s – tostada chips and salsa or veggie quesadillas or Cadillac Fajitas without meat
  • Chipotle – Sofritas made of organic tofu braised with peppers and spices in a bowl, burrito, taco, or salad
  • CiCi’s Pizza – vegan pizza or pasta or salad buffet
  • Claim Jumper – vegan pizza
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – mixed vegetable plate or apple-cinnamon oatmeal
  • The Daily Grill – gazpacho soup or a trio of hummus or sweet potato fries or herbed brown rice with almonds or penne pasta primavera or pasta pomodoro or grilled vegetable plate
  • Del Taco – 8 Layer Veggie Burrito or ½ lb. Bean & Cheese Burrito or the Value Bean & Cheese Burrito or the Jacked Up Value Bean, Rice, and Cheese Burrito with red or green sauce
  • Denny’s – Fit Fare Veggie Skillet or English muffins or bagels or grits or applesauce or fresh fruit or vegetable plates or seasoned French fries or baked potatoes with vegetable toppings or garden salads with light Italian dressing or oil and vinegar dressing or sandwiches made into vegetable options
  • El Pollo Loco – BRC burrito or side dishes like pinto beans and corn on the cob
  • 5 & Diner – black-bean veggie burger
  • Flamers Grill – veggie pattie
  • Hard Rock Café – veggie burger or grilled veggie sandwich
  • Hard Times Café – veggie burger or vegetarian chili
  • Houston’s Restaurant – veggie plate or vegetarian burger, both available on vegan bread
  • IHOP – hash browns or fresh fruit or grits or sautéed spinach and mushrooms or baked potato or salad with fat-free or regular raspberry vinaigrette or light Italian dressing
  • Iron Skillet – salad bar or spaghetti
  • Jack in the Box – black beans or potato wedges or seasoned curly fries or breakfast blueberry muffin or oatmeal
  • Jason’s Deli – organic vegetable soup or spinach veggie wrap or salsa, hummus, guacamole or salad bar
  • John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House – veggie burger or veggie sampler or vegetarian stir-fry
  • Johnny Rockets – The Streamliner (vegan Boca burger with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard)
  • Kelsey’s – veggie burger
  • Kona Grill – edamame and seaweed salad or sushi (cucumber roll, avocado roll, vegetarian roll with asparagus, avocado, yamagobo, cucumber, and sprouts) or salads (house, roasted asparagus, or oriental) or Pan-Asian noodles or linguine with marinara sauce
  • Little Caesars – vegan pizza sauce and pizza dough
  • Papa John’s – vegan pizza sauce and pizza dough
  • Pizza Hut – vegan sauce and dough on Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza and dessert crusts
  • Manhattan Bagel – all vegan bagels except jalapeno cheddar cheese and egg varieties or Manhattan Grille and Vegetable Garden sandwiches
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill – tacos, fajitas, salads, and burritos are vegan by substituting meat for tofu
  • O’Naturals – vegetarian chili or carrot-ginger soup or chipotle sweet potato and veggie lentil soup
  • Panera Bread – Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich or Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup
  • F. Chang’s China Bistro – everything on its menu can be made vegan (yay!)
  • Pollo Tropical – Vegetarian TropiChop or sides like black beans, French fries, white rice, boiled or fried yucca, sweet plains, or corn
  • Pyramid Breweries Restaurants – Boca burger can be substituted for any non-vegan burger on the menu or Margherita Pizza
  • Qdoba Mexican Grill – according to Peta’s article: “you can make a burrito, taco, or salad bowl with the following vegan ingredients: corn or flour tortillas, black or pinto beans, brown or cilantro-lime rice, fajita vegetables, grilled vegetables, potatoes, guacamole, and most salsas” or the tortilla soup is vegan, too
  • Quiznos – veggie sub (guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms) with vegan bread (white or wheat) or garden salad
  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers – hummus plate or Boca burger patty
  • Roy Rogers – mainly sides like baked potatoes, veggies, or salad bar
  • Ruby Tuesday – Endless Garden Bar
  • Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes – Strawberry Fields Tossed Salad with Caramelized Walnuts or Summer Vegetable Soup
  • Starbucks – sesame noodle dish (made with broccoli, carrots, red pepper, snap peas, tofu, pickled cucumbers, and sesame peanuts) or multigrain bagel or classic or blueberry muffin or the Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend or the Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl
  • Subway’s – Veggie Delite
  • Swensons Drive In – Veggie Special
  • Taco Bell – sides dishes like cinnamon twists, chips and guacamole, cilantro rice, black or refried beans, and Mexican rice or Bean Burrito “fresco style” or Black Bean Burrito or Veggie Cantina Power Bowl without sauce
  • TGI Fridays – nachos with tortilla chips, jalapenos, guacamole, and pico de gallo or house salad with Cilantro-lime or balsamic vinaigrette or Cajun onion rings
  • Tubby’s Grilled Submarines – Hot Veggie Stir Fry sub or Cold Veggie sub
  • Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt – vegan flavors include: peanut butter, soy latte, black sesame, banana milk, and plain soy or sorbet flavors: raspberry, strawberry, and pineapple
  • Wendy’s – plain baked potato or garden side salad with red Italian dressing or French fries or veggie sandwich
  • World Wrapps – Teriyaki Tofu or Bombay Curry Wrapp or Classic Burrito Wrapp

*Always check or ask for ingredients. Just about all items listed above can be made vegan by asking for no cheese*

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Photo from HuffingtonPost.com

But wait—there’s more! Just today Huffington Post claimed that White Castle announced they will begin serving Dr. Praeger’s veggie patties starting tomorrow, December 30th! The sliders were tested for a short period in select stores back in July, and it seemed that the carrot-zucchini-pea-spinach-broccoli-based patties have done well! Is this finally the start of the vegetarian empire in fast-food restaurants? Will we finally be able to eat anywhere we want without frantically Googling a menu beforehand? Only time will tell.

Tainted Meat

DISCLAIMER: There are spoilers in this post regarding AMC’s The Walking Dead

WARNING: The pictures within this post are gory. I wouldn’t recommend continuing to read if you don’t think you can handle the gruesomeness

Because of the extreme bloodiness and goriness the actors experience in AMC’s hit thriller television show The Walking Dead, many of the show’s actors are now turned off completely to the idea of meat and have become vegetarians. In the show, zombies are constantly biting into and tearing up human bodies with their teeth. Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), a lead role in the series, has publicly come out in a radio interview about being a vegetarian and says he’s “kind of bummed about it.” In the same interview, it is said that roughly 80% of the show’s food being catered is now vegetarian-based instead of other meat-based meals; after watching or personally biting raw meat out of another person’s body, most actors don’t want anything to do with eating meat for lunch.

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A zombie from The Walking Dead eating a man’s flesh on set: Photo from bestmoviesevernews.com

The Walking Dead is known for using real-life raw meat as prosthetics for actors so that zombies—as well as the occasional other human actor—can take bites out of humans that look much more realistic than other foam or latex prosthetics. Typically, actors have a choice of biting either chicken or beef, but in a recent episode from season 5, “Four Walls and a Roof,” there was an additional option to make this scene look just as realistic: pork. Lawrence Gillard Jr. (Bob Stookey) was killed off in this episode, but not before a cannibalistic community lead by Andrew J. West (Gareth) barbecued Gillard’s leg for their dinner that night. To make this scene come to life, the special effects crew used small pieces of roasted pork, blackened on the outside to match Gillard’s skin tone (pictured below). You can watch West and some others in his group chowing down on Gillard’s leg nonchalantly in this gruesome scene here.

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Andrew West [Gareth] eating Lawrence Gillard Jr.’s [Bob’s] leg in an episode from season 5: Photo from wetpaint.com

Near the end of season 4, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), the lead role of the series, had the pleasure of taking a big bite out of a human’s neck in order to save his group from the harm of another. It was reported to The Guardian that Lincoln had the option of biting into chicken or beef and whether it would be cooked or raw. He asked Greg Nicotero, the director, which he believed would be more realistic to human flesh. When Nicotero said raw would be better on camera, Lincoln, probably thinking about his strong desire to maintain the portrayal of realism on set, opted to dig his teeth into raw chicken. You can see the incredibly morbid and frightening scene here.

After filming these gut-wrenching scenes for the show (buh dum tss), I don’t blame the actors for turning to vegetarianism. People make the choice to eat a plant-based diet for numerous reasons, and it turns out that being disgusted by raw meat from it resembling human guts and flesh is just another viable motive. As far as the show has revealed, Norman Reedus hasn’t ever even had to bite anyone, so it’s interesting that he’s one of the leading roles that has become a vegetarian; I guess that’s what years of watching zombies tear apart human flesh can do to a guy. As for Andrew Lincoln, after he had to viciously bite a “human’s” flesh from right off of their skin with a demonic look on his face, I don’t know how he, or anyone else for that matter, could ever look at chicken the same way again. The only question I have left is whether or not they will use tofu chicken and beef in later episodes to accommodate their now-vegetarian cast!