Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Are Your Thoughts On A&W's Beyond Meat Burger? & What I Ate Wednesday (Vegan Eats)

Usually I just eat my vegan food and mind my own business. If people have questions about a plant-based diet, I'm happy to answer them. I can even take a joke or two directed at my diet. But I have been reading some of the debate surrounding the new Beyond Meat Burger at A&W (a nation-wide fast food restaurant here in Canada) and I thought I'd weigh in with my opinions. First off, A&W is not the first fast food chain in Canada to offer a plant-based burger. I have been enjoying Harvey's delicious veggie burger for many years now. (In fact, A&W also has another vegetarian burger. I guess all the hype is because of the Beyond Meat partnership.) But I'm always happy for more vegan options. And I'm also fine with eating fast food from a chain restaurant that also serves meat, because we don't all live in Toronto or Vancouver downtown, with vegan restaurants all around us. My parents, for example, live in a town with no Harvey's. They have a McDonald's of course, but I can't get a thing to eat there. They also have A&W, so hooray. I think that, if we support the vegan options, we'll find more of them available in the long run.

Yes it's kind of odd that A&W launched the plant-based burger through vegan Instagram/YouTube celebs - odd because the burger comes dressed with mayonnaise (which contains egg) and apparently an "Uncle" sauce that also isn't vegan. It would certainly make my life easier if they just made the whole package vegan. I went to A&W to sample the Beyond Meat Burger this past week and the guy seemed confused when I asked for no mayo and no sauce. He told me that would mean no ketchup or mustard either - and we can't have that, now can we? So I'm still not sure what the "Uncle" sauce is or whether I need to avoid it.

There also is some controversy surrounding the sesame seed bun, which may or may not be vegan, depending on their source for mono and diglycerides. But the A&W site doesn't say anything like that. Here's what it does say: "The patty in our Beyond Meat Burger is 100% plant-based. However, we cook all our burger patties, including our beef patties, on the same grill, and our mayo is made with eggs. Our restaurants are happy to help you modify the toppings of the burger to your preference. See the full ingredients list for the Beyond Meat Burger here."

I don't know, I'm not gonna worry about the bun too much, but if you do, the Beyond Meat Burger comes lettuce-wrapped as well - which sounds much healthier in any case. Personally I find the prepping on the same grill kind of gross - when my friends have barbecues they are always kind enough to cook my veggie burgers off by themselves - but I can get past it once in awhile. I figure the high heat burns off the beef fat. I'm not trying to be the perfect vegan here.

Now a word about the patty itself. The Beyond Meat patty is more textured than the usual veggie burger - more like what I remember ground beef to be like (it's been a couple of decades though). I didn't find it particularly flavourful though. It relies on the toppings (maybe that's why they add the mayo?). I didn't find it filling either, especially in comparison to my fave Harvey's veggie burger (which by the way I can top just the way I want).

And I find $6.99 for the burger alone a tad pricey. I hope they incorporate this burger into their coupons. All in all, the A&W Beyond Meat Burger gives my family another viable fast food option, especially when visiting my parents. And if the burger is mostly intended for meat-eaters who want a change/alternative option, I'm good with that too. It's a step in the right direction.

 I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Even if you haven't tried it (or you don't live in Canada), would you be okay with the bun and the "dirty" grill?

And now for a look at a day of vegan eating. I continue to have steel cut oats topped with fruit, walnuts, maple syrup and soy milk on most mornings. I'm still doing the high-fibre breakfast thing, as well as drinking more water and eating an apple a day. See my last WIAW post for more info about that. While The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss calls for two tablespoons of ground flax added to your diet each day, I haven't been able to add that much. Something was starting up my irritable bowel issues and I suspect it was the abundance of flax.

My husband has been on summer vacation and he's made a lot of our meals. For lunch on the day in question I had leftovers from the dinner he made - yummy chickpea burgers with vegan gravy, homemade fries and green beans in a vinaigrette.

For dinner he made a minestrone-type soup and tofu "pizzas" on baguettes. I can't recall what I had that evening for a snack, as I don't usually take photos after dark, but I've been avoiding chips and sweets lately and trying to eat fruit or high-fibre cereal and stuff like that in the evenings. I do occasionally still have a few squares of dark chocolate with nuts too.

Please share your thoughts on the A&W burger. Is it available in your area? Do you want to try it? If you're a meat-eater, do you eat veggie burgers?

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  1. I think it's great restaurants are offering more choices, but it does seem very silly to create a vegan burger with non vegan sauces.

    1. Totally agree with you! Love the extra choices. I think the confusion around the sauces, for me, comes from the fact they promoted through vegan influencers. But maybe they promoted through others as well, and I just didn't see it. ??

  2. It's nice that they have a vegan option, unfortunately it is not healthy at all and I worry people think it is. It has canola oil, and a bunch of MSG under different names.

    1. Here are the ingredients the A&W website lists for the patties themselves. Doesn't seem too alarming, although I wouldn't consider it health food. Probably just a fun option for an indulgent day. (Not sure if the canola oil is GMO.)(Also not sure how healthy the bun ingredients are.) The pickles have tartrazine, but I'm sure you could leave those off. Anyway, here's the patty: water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, mung bean protein, natural flavors, methylcellulose, potato starch, sunflower oil, salt, potassium chloride, apple extract, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, color blend (vegetable glycerine, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, beet juice extract), sunflower lecithin, pomegranate fruit powder, lycopene (for color), vitamins and minerals (dried yeast, niacin [vitamin b3], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin b6], thiamin hydrochloride [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid [vitamin b9], cyanocobalamin [vitamin b12], d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride,biotin, zinc sulfate). May contain soy.

  3. You are SO lucky to have Harvey's veggie burgers! My sister Janis and I are obsessed with them. All we have in Houston fast food wise is Burger King veggie burger. They're pretty good about asking for it with no mayo. I guess cooked on the same grill is ok as long as I can't taste it...

    1. I know, we totally are! Love them! Yeah I figure the grill is super hot and burned off the grease before my veggie burger lands on it. That's how I comfort myself. ;)


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