Vegetarian

How to order vegan at fast food resturants

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Image via Pintrest.

What do you eat? Is probably the question I’m asked the most as a vegan. And I have to try really hard not to roll my eyes. There is so much food—it’s glorious. But for new vegans—and people considering transitioning or reducing their consumption—knowing what is and isn’t okay can be difficult when you’re desperate for a feed in public. So, here you go:

McDonalds

There’s been a lot of controversy about this. I don’t know about how it is overseas, but in Australia, the chips and hash browns are vegan. You can also get burgers without meat and cheese—I am fond of a hamburger with no meat, and then putting some fries inside. There’s also the option to create your own burger—but keep in mind, some of the fillings will be cooked alongside meat. You can ask them to cook it separately, but whether or not they do it is another thing. Plus, Maccas are always super busy. Also, the salsa fries are vegan! Rejoice!

Dominos

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Vegan pizza, oh my god. Image via PETA.

The classic bases and tomato sauces are vegan. I order any of the vegetarian ones, and simply remove the cheese. There’s loads of veggies we can eat—like tomato, spinach, capsicum, pineapple, olives, and so on. Considering you could veganise a $5 value pizza for a meal, Dominos is pretty exciting.

Also, GARLIC BREAD. That is all.

 

Red Rooster

Again, GARLIC BREAD IS VEGAN! Holla! Also, they sell roast veggies. Admittedly, they’re often not great—but if you’re stuck with nothing else, it will sustain you. Of course, you could always order a burger without meat, cheese or mayo, and ask for salads instead. For the most part, workers are very understanding and helpful—but maybe don’t do this if they’re super busy, because they will absolutely hate you.

Hungry Jacks

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Introducing: the Veggie Whopper. Yummmm. Image via Vegan Outreach.

Did someone say Veggie Whopper with no cheese or mayo? YUM! At first, I was wary about a burger lacking mayonnaise, but trust me: it works. Also, sometimes I just bring my own mayonnaise or vegan cheese. Regardless, when you’re drunk or starving or need some kind of comfort food, this giant burger will totally hit the spot. And don’t forget the fries and onion rings! Mmmmmm onion rings.

Grill’d

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The Veggie Vitality! Image via PETA.

Exciting news! Grill’d have recently announced an entirely vegan burger to their menu—the Veggie Vitality!  It features a quinoa veggie patty, sweet potato, beetroot, pineapple, avocado, carrot and lettuce. It is quite tasty and very satisfying, but I’d highly recommend asking for tomato relish sauce as well, to give it a bit more of a zing! Otherwise, there are numerous tasty vegetarian options you can veganise (by removing products like cheese, mayonnaise and pesto). My personal favourite is the Garden Goodness burger, which (ordered without cheese) is amazing. Adding pineapple is always a bonus for me! All of Grill’d’s chips are also vegan—sweet potato chips! Zucchini chips! Potato chips! Yum. The tomato relish sauce is vegan and serves amazingly with these options. Watch out for the super low carb bun though—it has egg! All other buns are vegan, though. Give it a try!

Subway

A delicious Veggie Delight sub is sure to cure any hunger pains! You can order any white, brown or wholemeal bread and a range of amazing veggies, like carrot, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado, pickles, olives, and so on. There is also a veggie patty available, but I prefer a simple salad sandwich. Vegan sauces include BBQ, tomato, sweet chilli and sweet onion—the latter is my personal favourite! Sadly, none of the smoothies or cookies are vegan. Oh well, at least Oreos are!

Guzman Y Gomez

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Burrito bowl with no cheese. So much love. Image via Canberra Vegan.

I actually cried tears of happiness to find out the guacamole here is vegan. I mean, YUM! You can basically order any of the “veggie” options without the cheese, and it will be vegan. There’s burritos, burrito bowls, guacamole and chips—not to mention frozen alcoholic beverages. Wink wink. Definitely somewhere you should check out!

Kebab shops

Two words: felafel kebabs. Vegan. Delicious. I particularly love adding pineapple or hummus to mine, with a sweet chilli or BBQ sauce—as well as a heap of veggies! Don’t be afraid to ask what vegan options they have! But keep in mind, sometimes places make their own hummus, and I have been caught a few times where the hummus has not been vegan (bad news for your stomach). Enjoy!

 

 

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Guide on cruelty-free transitioning

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So maybe you don’t want animals to die. Maybe you feel bad about the suffering some of them go through. Maybe you really wish you could live a life that’s as sustainable and caring as possible. But how? How can you even think about limiting or discontinuing your consumption of animal products? It’s such an ingrained part of society. It’s everywhere. We’re taught that it’s natural, that it’s normal, that we as human beings have superiority over non-human animals. That it’s our right to consume them. But is it our right to allow them to suffer? To be the cause of their suffering? No.

Do you think as I do? Does it sadden you when you see those horrific videos of pigs in cages too small to move? Where farmed animals may never see the sun or fell the grass under their feet, where their lives are taken advantage of purely for our purposes of consumption? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider at least limiting your impact—and here’s my little handy guide of how.

Milk:

This is probably one of the easiest things to change, because of the variety you have in what you choose to drink. There’s so many choices! You’ve got multiple types of soy milks, each creamier than the next, or almond milk, sweet rice milk, coconut milk, macadamia milk and hazelnut milk. Whether its cooking or coffee, these things work just as well. Personally, I think the cheap soy milk is great—and bonus, it contains lots of protein and nutrients to fill you up.

Cheese:

This is often the most difficult thing I hear people say. In fact, I used to be one of those people. Having been vegetarian for 7 years before becoming vegan about 10 months ago, I would always respond with yes, I’m vegetarian! But I could never go vegan. I love cheese. Dairy is my favourite food group. And it really was. But after researching what a lot of dairy cows go through—that they’re (often) artificially inseminated and kept pregnant their entire lives to produce dairy, with their babies taken away to become veal or future dairy cows—I decided no food could ever be worth their cries.

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Image via Just The Food.

Even so, replacing cheese was really difficult for me. Some vegans avoid substitutes all together, by using other ingredients—like avocado or tomato paste—for that “melty” effect. However, as a former dairy lover, I do enjoy cheese—but fear not! There is plenty of choice for cruelty-free dairy! Biocheese happens to be a favourite of mine, and for around $7-9, it’s certainly worth it. The texture is a little different to your usual cheese, but it’s super creamy and to die for when melted—even better than actual cheese, I’d argue. There’s also Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream, both of which are super creamy, tasty and useful in cooking. Any health food store will sell plenty of these kinds of things—and even Coles and Woolworths. Furthermore, I’ve recently discovered you can make your own cheese, using things like cashews, and nutritional yeast flakes, which have together create a creamy, cheesy flavour. Google is your best friend—explore, experiment and have some fun eating some tasty creations.

Meat:

Meat is probably the easiest thing to replace, give up or reduce. We really do not need it to survive—you can get all your nutrients and more from plants. But if you do long for meat, there are vegan alternatives. Firstly, you have things like grilled mushrooms, or other veggies—using the right flavouring, they can be quite similar. Tofu is also a great substitute when cooked well. A personal favourite of mine is to thinly slice tofu and coat with paprika, salt, pepper and garlic, before searing it and making a delicious dipping sauce to go with it—healthy and super easy for lazy people like me. There’s also plenty of fake meats. The frozen section of supermarkets normally have a great choice of burgers, sausages, pies, schnitzels, and so on. Textured soy protein is a new personal favourite of mine—it’s super cheap at around $3 for a big bag; just add water and heat. It can be used for the same kind of thing mince is used for.

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Image via Pura Botanica.

There’s also plenty of online shops where you can find all sorts of goodies! Lam Yong has a physical and online store, and they sell everything. I am crazy excited to try vegan prawns, soy duck and vegan drumsticks.

There’s really plenty of options. I’m not here to force you—I’m just expressing my experiences in attaining a healthy cruelty-free lifestyle. Going vegan has been the best thing I’ve ever done, and my life, as well as the lives of the animals who are slowly being saved by this movement, is better for it.

It’s a Vegetarian Wonderland! An Au Lac Review

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It’s hard to be a vegetarian sometimes—especially in a society dominated by the meat industry. I would certainly be very rich if I had a dollar for every time I’ve gone to a restaurant only to find no vegetarian options, other than a bowl of chips or boring garden salad. Fellow vegetarians, we know this feeling well. But fret no more: we have Au Lac’s Royal Vegetarian Cuisine!

I cannot express how amazing it is for a vegetarian to find a restaurant where you don’t have to worry about being stuck with a boring meal. A restaurant where you don’t have to worry that the cooks will accidently slip in some form of animal product. Where you know they didn’t cook your vegetarian meals with the same pans as they cooked meat in. A place where you feel at home—only with tastier food, fantastic and fast service, as well as a stunning, elegant atmosphere, complete with forest-inspired wall art and crystal chandeliers.

I stumbled across this place a few weeks ago, and was instantly greeted like an old friend. Despite the fact that I accidently entered the store half an hour before opening, the workers insisted it was okay—they were happy to serve me, despite not yet being open. All this was delivered with a smile. Of course, I declined and insisted I would come back when they were open—and I did. Even when I paid for my meal with dollar coins and asked for a tax invoice, they smiled (I’m an annoying customer, I know).

Au Lac is 100% vegetarian, with vegan and gluten and nut free options available upon request, and are dedicated to bringing customers the finest, healthiest meals from only the freshest producers. Because I know you’re probably wondering, the meat-free alternatives are made from a variety of products, including soy protein, wheat flour, mushrooms, and an extremely healthy Asian plant called konnyaku. Quality and health has been a part of Au Lac’s philosophy since it first opened in 2000 with two store locations: one in Dickson, Canberra, and the other right here in Wollongong—2/166 Kiera Street. Opening hours are Monday to Sunday, from a convenient and handy 11.30am to 2.30pm, and 5.30pm to 10.30pm.

So let’s get to the important stuff: the food. Honey soy chicken. Soy chicken nuggets. Soy chicken satay sticks. Satay soy beef. Soy chicken in plum sauce. Fried soy fish in a savoury ginger sauce. Fried soy squid with spicy salt and chilli. Braised tofu with vegetables and cashew nuts.  And let’s not forget dessert: banana cake, sundaes and deep fried ice cream. Okay, my mouth is now watering. But best of all about Au Lac? They’re affordable—affordable enough for even a poor university student, with prices ranging from $5-$18. The average main meal is around $15.90, with boiled rice a shockingly cheap $2.50 per person.

It’s the little things that really make a place special, and Au Lac is one of those places. Trip Adviser Australia rates Au Lac a 4.5 out of 5 stars—and I’m going to do the same. On a side note, I’m now starving and desperate for some vegetarian goodness. Try it—and thank me later!