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Gearing up for a summer road trip? Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or minimizing factory-farmed meat and dairy in your diet, eating on the road can be tough. Ask a plant-based friend and they’ll tell you the struggle of ordering at the drive-through window; they’ve probably eaten more meals of French fries and hamburger buns topped with cheese and lettuce than they’d care to remember. Where can you grab a quick bite without sacrificing your veganism, or resorting to a plain burger bun and a fountain soda? 

Of all the fast-food joints out there, a few stand out for their wealth of veggie options, and can always be depended on for a plant-based meal. Chipotle bowls and burritos can be filled with rice, beans, and veggies for a filling meal. To add protein, try their Sofritas (shredded tofu cooked with chipotle peppers and other spices). The franchise once sold vegan chorizo for a limited time at a few locations, but this menu item has since been eliminated (but, maybe we can hope for its eventual return). Moe’s Southwest Grill has similar ingredients, including tofu as a protein option. 

Gearing up for a summer road trip? Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or minimizing factory-farmed meat and dairy in your diet, eating on the road can be tough. Ask a plant-based friend and they’ll tell you the struggle of ordering at the drive-through window; they’ve probably eaten more meals of French fries and hamburger buns topped with cheese and lettuce than they’d care to remember. Where can you grab a quick bite without sacrificing your veganism, or resorting to a plain burger bun and a fountain soda? 

Of all the fast-food joints out there, a few stand out for their wealth of veggie options, and can always be depended on for a plant-based meal. Chipotle bowls and burritos can be filled with rice, beans, and veggies for a filling meal. To add protein, try their Sofritas (shredded tofu cooked with chipotle peppers and other spices). The franchise once sold vegan chorizo for a limited time at a few locations, but this menu item has since been eliminated (but, maybe we can hope for its eventual return). Moe’s Southwest Grill has similar ingredients, including tofu as a protein option. 

Taco Bell is another vegan standout, where meat can be replaced with black beans in pretty much every dish. When ordering online, the menu marks vegetarian items certified by the American Vegetarian Association with a green V. Try the veggie burrito, beans and rice, or potatoes, and ask to replace any dairy toppings with pico de gallo for a more satisfying meal. For Californians or others lucky enough to have a Del Taco nearby, enjoy their burritos with beans instead of meat, or try the Beyond Guacamole Taco made with Beyond meat. 

Luckily, more and more fast-food franchises have been adding plant-based items to their menus after growing pressure from consumers. Here are a few more places that you can rely on for a vegan or vegetarian meal on the go.  

*It’s important to note that many – if not most – fast food restaurants will fry all of their items in the same fryers, using the same oil. That means any plant-based items on the menu likely face cross-contamination. If this is a concern for you, ask the restaurant about their practices when you place an order.

McDonald’s 

McDonald’s is definitely more limited in its vegan options, at least in the US (although other countries have all kinds of plant-based options), and you don’t want to get stuck eating apple slices for your meal. The biggest blow to vegetarianism at this popular franchise might be their French fries, which are fried in beef fat and contain “natural beef flavor.” To make up for it, order an apple pie, which, shockingly, contains no dairy. A salad without dressing or cheese can do for dinner in a pinch. At breakfast time, order the Fruit & Maple oatmeal (made with water rather than cream), or vegetarians can grab a yogurt parfait, egg McMuffin, and pancakes. If you’re in Texas or California, head to one of the few McDonald’s locations offering the McPlant: a vegan Beyond Meat burger.

Burger King 

Unlike McDonald’s, Burger King French fries are vegan (thank goodness). Enjoy them alongside an Impossible Whopper – which is vegan when ordered without cheese or mayo – and a salad without cheese or dairy-based dressing. Breakfast is a bit easier, with vegan French toast sticks, hash browns, oatmeal (made with water), or an egg and cheese sandwich for vegetarians.

Subway 

As far as vegetarian options go, Subway is solid. The subway Veggie Patty is made with brown rice, oats, and veggies, but it does contains eggs and milk, making it unsuitable for vegans. But, the chain restaurant does offer vegan Black Bean or Mediterranean Vegetable soup. Otherwise, load up on veggies and vegan condiments like the BBQ, buffalo, and sweet onion sauces on vegan bread (either ciabatta, Harvest, Hearty Italian, Roasted Garlic, and Sourdough, and the tomato basil and spinach wraps). 

KFC 

Unlike many fast food restaurants, KFC doesn’t explain plant-based options on their website, so we rely on third party sources to determine whether their dishes are vegan or vegetarian. 

Vegans rejoiced in 2022 when the fast food chain released Beyond Fried Chicken for test runs, but this option is no longer available (and, according to their website, the product was “NOT vegetarian, vegan, or Certified Vegan” anyway, as it was fried in same oil and fryers as meat products). So, at KFC, settle in for a meal of sides. Their corn on the cob, fries, house salad (without croutons), and apple turnovers are vegan, and vegetarians can enjoy more menu items, including their biscuits, cornbread muffins, macaroni salad, and potato salad.

However, there is some uncertainty about other seemingly plant-based sides: the green beans, baked beans, greens, mac and cheese, and red beans and rice are thought to contain meat flavoring or other meat products; so, unfortunately, they’re off the table if you want to be completely certain. The mashed potatoes also contain chicken broth. 

Wendy’s 

While UK Wendy’s locations offer The Veggie Stack – a vegan burger with or without cheese – US options are more limited. Vegan options are all potato-based: the baked potato (without dairy toppings), French fries, and Homestyle Potatoes. However, they do have a few solid salad options for both vegans and vegetarians, including the Garden Salad (without the cheese or croutons, which contain butter), the Southwest Avocado Salad without the meat and cheese, and the Apple Pecan Salad without the chicken, blue cheese, or pecans (prepared with honey) for vegans. Vegetarians can also order a breakfast sandwich sans bacon or sausage.

Shake Shack 

Vegetarians have it pretty good at Shake Shack with the grilled cheese sandwich and ‘Shroom burger: a Portobello mushroom filled with cheese and crisp-fried. Since 2018, some locations also offer the Veggie Shack: a vegan patty made with grains, greens, and herbs, topped with avocado and other deliciousness, including their vegan lemon aioli. If they don’t have the Veggie Shack, well, it might be another meal of fries and soda. At least they have good lemonade. 

Popeye’s 

While their plant-based Creole Red Bean Sandwich in only available in the UK, there are other options for vegans and vegetarians at this chicken-centered takeout spot. Vegans are safe with the Cajun fries and vegetarians can try the biscuits, mashed potatoes (without gravy), and mac and cheese, although Popeyes has released no information officially declaring these items meat-free. Avoid the red beans and rice, Cajun rice, and green beans, which are all cooked with meat. 

Sonic 

While Sonic’s onion rings unfortunately aren’t dairy-free, vegans can enjoy their tater tots and French fries with one of the many available sauces. Their soft pretzel is also prepared with butter, but ask if they can do it without. A grilled cheese sandwich or a side of Mozzarella sticks, cheese fries, and the Ched ‘R’ Peppers can round out a vegetarian meal. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a slushy too.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Vegetarians have plenty of options at Dunkin, even after the Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich was discontinued. Try any of their donuts, egg and cheese sandwiches, bagels, muffins, and other breakfast pastries.

Vegans have a few options too. Dunkin lists several bagels (Cinnamon Raisin, Plain, Everything, and Sesame), English muffins, hash browns, oatmeal, and avocado toast as vegan options on their website. Enjoy your breakfast alongside a beverage made with almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk.

White Castle 

For a burger-heavy spot, White Castle has great vegan options. They offer two plant-based, vegan patties: the Impossible Slider (available with or without cheese), and the Veggie Slider made by Dr. Praeger’s, topped with one of their many sauces on a vegan bun. Both the French fries and the onion rings are vegan, and vegetarians can also dig into their mozzarella sticks and Cheese Curd Nibblers.

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Despite their name, invasive species can be deceptively cute, stunning, or fragrant, inspiring people to introduce them to non-native habitats. But the issue is that some species are moved to a new area, either on purpose or by mistake, and are met with a lack of natural predators, allowing them to crowd out native species.

You’ve probably seen invasive species all over the news, from animals found in an illegal zoo to bans on popular pets that are actually invasive. But there’s an ongoing crisis when it comes to invasive plants, too.

Despite their name, invasive species can be deceptively cute, stunning, or fragrant, inspiring people to introduce them to non-native habitats. But the issue is that some species are moved to a new area, either on purpose or by mistake, and are met with a lack of natural predators, allowing them to crowd out native species.

You’ve probably seen invasive species all over the news, from animals found in an illegal zoo to bans on popular pets that are actually invasive. But there’s an ongoing crisis when it comes to invasive plants, too.

In fact, the U.S Forest Service notes, “Invasive species have contributed to the decline of 42% of U.S. endangered and threatened species, and for 18% of U.S. endangered or threatened species, invasives are the main cause of their decline.”

Before you head for the garden center to outfit your backyard, make sure to watch out for these top invasive plant species found in the U.S.

1. Bamboo

Yes, the tall bamboo grass used for decorative landscaping at shopping centers and homes alike across the U.S. is actually an invasive species in the U.S. and is one of the most invasive species in the world. According to One Tree Planted, Bamboo can grow nearly 3 feet a day, and one root ball can grow outward by about 20 feet.

Although this fast-growing plant is invasive, some innovators are using it in creative and productive ways to reduce deforestation of trees for construction, sequester carbon, and improve soil health.

2. English Ivy


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While it may look whimsical and charming, English ivy has been a major problem since it arrived in America in the 1700s. This creeping plant is often planted as ground cover or as vines, and it has spread quickly because it can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It can spread via birds to forests, where it kills off trees by preventing light from reaching the tree’s leaves.

Fortunately, homeowners who love the look of English ivy can plant native species like creeping mint or creeping phlox for a similar look without the environmental destruction.

3. Callery Pear Trees

You’re probably already familiar with Callery pear trees — these are the trees that sprout beautiful white flowers in the spring but smell much like rotting fish when a breeze comes through. Native to Vietnam and China, these trees, also called Bradford pear trees, these trees became popular as a low-cost landscaping option, but they spread aggressively.

The species has become such an issue that some states are beginning to ban Callery pear trees. Pennsylvania has already started phasing them out, and Ohio is set to begin banning the sales or planting of these trees starting in 2023. South Carolina will begin banning sales of this species in 2024.

5. Wisteria Sinensis

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Another pretty and popular plant, Wisteria sinensis is invasive in much of the country, especially in the eastern half of the country. The plant’s vines wrap around trees and cut through the bark, causing native trees to die off. It was first introduced to the U.S. in 1916 to serve as an ornamental plant, and it is still widely planted today.

If you just can’t get enough of those purple blooms, there are other wisteria options native to the U.S. Just keep a close eye on them, because they can still grow rapidly. Wisteria frutescens or Wisteria macrostachya work best for gardeners in the eastern U.S. These native alternatives are similar to Wisteria sinensis as vines with pretty purple flowers.

6. Cogongrass

You can find cogongrass at many nurseries, but don’t buy it! This species is one of the most invasive weeds globally, according to the USDA. It first arrived to the southern U.S. by accident as a packing material in either 1911 or 1912. Then, cogongrass was brought to Florida to be used for erosion control. But the weeds grow densely, crowding out native species.

As recent as March 2022, the USDA put out a warning to residents of Alabama to watch out for cogongrass, and the weed reached a new location, Arkansas, in 2021, a sign it is still spreading.

7. Purple Loosestrife

The perennial purple loosestrife grows in moist environments, but it has become detrimental to wetlands, marshes, river banks and other areas with wet soil. But it doesn’t stop there. Purple loosestrife will also tolerate dry soil, allowing it to aggressively take over just about any environment it is introduced to. It was once used as an herbal remedy, but it has now spread to all of the U.S. except for Florida and Hawaii as well as into Canada.

Recently, experts have turned to two types of weevils and two types of leaf beetles to help control the spread of purple loosestrife around the U.S.

8. Japanese Honeysuckle


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Lonicera japonica, also known as Japanese honeysuckle, is a climbing vine. Unlike those stinky ol’ Bradford pear trees, this species has a lovely scent, making it even more appealing to landscapers. But it grows rapidly, choking out other plants as it grows over and around them. It is commonly used as a fragrant ornamental plant.

For now, recommended control methods include removing smaller infestations by hand, mowing through larger infestations, or applying herbicides for extensive infestations.

9. Winged Burning Bush

Euonymus alatus, not to be confused with the non-invasive Euonymus Alatus Compacta, is aptly called the winged burning bush for its bright-red, can’t-miss-them leaves and seeds. Like many other invasive species on this list, it was introduced as an ornamental plant for landscaping but quickly took over its new environments. It now stretches along much of the East Coast, into the Gulf Coast as well as in Illinois.

Aside from the similar but non-invasive Euonymus alatus, the Euonymus americana, or simply the American strawberry bush, is a pretty alternative that is native to the eastern U.S.

10. Norway Maple

Popular for providing shade in yards, the Norway maple’s history in the U.S. dates back to 1756. In addition to taking resources from native trees, this maple tree also blocks light from wildflowers and will even compete for resources with conventional lawns.

Fortunately, there are so many other alternatives to the Norway maple to plant instead. If you’re hoping for the cooling shade of a maple tree, consider sugar, red, black, mountain, striped, chalk, or canyon maples instead. There’s a maple for just about any environment around the U.S., from mountainous regions to coastal areas to the Midwest.

Barberry

Elizabeth Fernandez / Moment / Getty Images

Berberis thunbergii, also called Japanese barberry, is often found in natural areas, like forests, meadows and wetlands, despite first being introduced as an ornamental plant. Deer tend to prefer eating native plants, allowing the Japanese barberry to grow with little predation. In addition to crowding out native plants, this species can even change soil pH in some locations, particularly New Jersey.

What to Do When You Spot an Invasive Species

Whether you’re on a walk in your neighborhood, shopping at a garden center or driving past dense meadows or forests and spot one of these invasive species, or you suspect other invasive species are taking over your neighborhood, you can review the resources here to report your findings. There are even smartphone apps, like Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), for citizen scientists to report invasive species. You can also visit Invasive.org to find reporting information by state.

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An African bullfrog. R. Andrew Odum / Photodisc / Getty Images

Frogs’ legs are most frequently associated with French cuisine, but records show that the culinary delicacy was commonly consumed in southern China from at least the first century AD. The earliest records of the French consuming frogs’ legs date from around the 12th century, when French monks began eating them during Lent, as they were not considered meat, reported The Guardian.

Frogs’ legs are still a popular dish in many countries, and, according to “Deadly Dish,” a new report by German animal conservation organization Pro Wildlife and French NGO Robin des Bois, the gastronomic popularity of frogs’ legs in the European Union (EU) has led to the depletion of frog species in Turkey, Albania and Indonesia, a Pro Wildlife press release said.

Frogs’ legs are most frequently associated with French cuisine, but records show that the culinary delicacy was commonly consumed in southern China from at least the first century AD. The earliest records of the French consuming frogs’ legs date from around the 12th century, when French monks began eating them during Lent, as they were not considered meat, reported The Guardian.

Frogs’ legs are still a popular dish in many countries, and, according to “Deadly Dish,” a new report by German animal conservation organization Pro Wildlife and French NGO Robin des Bois, the gastronomic popularity of frogs’ legs in the European Union (EU) has led to the depletion of frog species in Turkey, Albania and Indonesia, a Pro Wildlife press release said.

“In the 1980s, India and Bangladesh initially delivered frog legs to Europe, but Indonesia has taken over as the largest supplier since the 1990s. In the Southeast Asian country, as in Turkey and Albania, the large frog species are disappearing one after the other — the whole thing is a fatal domino effect for species protection,” co-founder of Pro Wildlife Dr. Sandra Altherr said in the press release.

At least 17 percent of amphibians — 1,200 species — are internationally sold, according to Manager of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Assessments Jennifer Luedtke, as The Guardian reported.

The Habitats Directive prohibits the catching of native wild frogs in the 27 EU member countries, but none of the countries impose a restriction on imports.

Pro Wildlife said 70 percent of imported frog meat goes to Belgium, which then sends most of their imports to France. France imports 16.7 percent themselves and the Netherlands brings in 6.4 percent.

Seventy-four percent of EU frog imports come from Indonesia, while Vietnam supplies 21 percent, Turkey four percent and Albania 0.7 percent.

As the biggest importer of frogs’ legs in the world, the EU brings in about 4,070 tons each year, or about 81 to 200 million mostly wild-caught frogs. Species with larger legs are especially sought-after, making them more vulnerable to being over-sourced.

The biggest edible water frog in Turkey, Pelophylax caralitanus, commonly known as the Anatolian frog, is currently listed as “near-threatened” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to The Guardian, scientists have said the species could be extinct in Turkey as early as 2032. Other frog species imported to the EU from abroad are also threatened.

Albania’s Scutari water frog (Pelophylax shqipericus) is currently a highly-endangered species, said Pro Wildlife.

“If the plundering for the European market continues, it’s highly likely that we will see more serious declines of wild frog populations and, potentially, extinctions in the next decade,” Altherr said, as The Guardian reported.

Consumption of frogs’ legs in other countries like China and Cambodia has led to IUCN classifications of vulnerable and near-threatened for some species. Less than 250 full-grown Togo slippery frogs are believed to exist, and the giant African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) could already have become extinct.

The legs of most frogs are cut off with scissors or axes without anesthesia, said Pro Wildlife, as the Daily Mail reported.

Altherr called for the cessation of this and other inhumane practices, reported The Guardian.

“Most frogs have their thighs severed with an ax or scissors in unison – without anesthesia. The upper half is disposed of while it is dying, the legs are skinned and deep-frozen for export,” Altherr said in the press release.

Robin de Bois and Pro Wildlife would like EU countries to restrict their imports of frogs’ legs while making sure that frogs’ legs commodities are able to be traced, The Guardian reported. They would also like EU members to develop endangered species listing proposals for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

In addition to harming the frogs themselves, over-exploitation of the amphibians and the resultant declines in their numbers have a direct effect on the ecosystems in which they live.

“Frogs play a central role in the ecosystem as insect killers – and where frogs disappear, the use of toxic pesticides increases. So the frog leg trade not only has direct consequences for the frogs themselves, but also for nature conservation,” said President of Robin des Bois Charlotte Nithart, as the Pro Wildlife press release stated.

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