When Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper last summer, the press was good, praising the innovative move as offering a heart-healthier option for diners who wanted to avoid the fat and cholesterol of beef. In the months since the backlash has begun -- there is criticism that the sodium level of the Impossible Whopper is higher than a regular Whopper and that the processed pattie is barely any healthier, and certainly not a "healthful" choice for anyone looking to eat a healthy diet. Then yesterday the chain was sued by a vegan diner who said that because the patties are cooked on the same grill as the beef burgers, it's not actually "Meat-free" as claimed.

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The opinion of this writer: When I went to try it this past summer I drove into the BK in Patchogue Long Island and ordered an Impossible Whopper, hold the cheese and sauce. The astute server said: If you are vegan you need to know this is cooked on the same grill as the meat, but we try to separate them and keep it to the side. I thanked her and said that's okay I want to taste it. She offered to cook it in the microwave and I told her no, thanks, grilled is fine. My plant-based diet is driven as much by the desire to be healthy as for other motivations -- to lower the impact on the environment and to treat animals and fellow creatures ethically, all of which is important to me. I completely understand the need to not have your food touch animal product, even a trace. I also applaud the comments in Burger King's IG posts that ask the chain to go further and make a sandwich with vegan cheese, with vegan mayo, and with a whole wheat vegan bun, while you're at it. But this is a step in the right direction and anyone trying to do better who orders the meat alternative is taking one small step toward awareness and healthier living.

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At Dunkin Donuts at the Kennedy Airport Delta terminal where I was buying coffee, the man in front of me ordered the Beyond Meat Sausage sandwich for breakfast. I was happy to see it being ordered instead of a donut or regular meat. It told me -- he's trying. He's willing to taste it, or perhaps likes it. I asked the server how it was selling. "Okay!" she said. Would it sell more with a non-dairy egg and non-dairy cheese? Vegans would flock, but would everyone else? When these chains try to please everyone they please no one. I think these small steps are to be applauded. We have come pretty far when Beyond is just ordered unremarkably as a meat substitute. Let's give the chains the right suggestions, but also a little leeway to get it right. They're trying.

This is where the plant-based dieters and the vegans diverge. The sandwich itself is not vegan since it's served with cheese, and the sauce contains mayo. So if you want it to be a vegan burger you need to ask for it without sauce or cheese, on a sesame bun (which happens to be vegan, as it turns out.)

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