I Went Vegan On a Dare. Thank God For Taco Bell

I was drunkenly dared last month to spend February as a vegan.

As a huge Taco Bell fan, you can only imagine how difficult it has been for me. I’ve been ordering a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, with Cinnamon Twists and a Baja Blast since I was 12 years old. I panicked and I haven’t had Taco Bell all month, throwing me into a pit of depression.

Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. I don’t actually get Taco Bell that much (or do I?…), but it was one of the first things to cross my mind when I started my vegan adventure. How the hell was I going to get my Taco Bell?

Luckily, I’ve fallen in love with the right fast food place, because I can still get my taco and eat it too.

If you’re an avid Taco Beller, it doesn’t matter what health craze is all the rage at the moment, you’ll always have Taco Bell in your heart. The Americanized-Mexican food establishment was recently deemed as the healthiest fast food restaurant. Even though they don’t taco ‘bout it, it’s still true.

“Us [Taco Bell] touting ourselves as a health halo—it’s not authentic and it’s not real,” Taco Bell spokesman Alec Boyle told Foodbeast about the modesty of Taco Bell being healthy.

But the fact of the matter is that they’re pretty healthy (most of the time). They still have their famous Cheesy Gordita Crunches and Mexican Pizzas, but they don’t advertise their calorie conscious “Fresca” menu, high protein “Cantina” menu and vegetarian options certified by the American Vegetarian Association.

Bet you didn’t know you can get beans to replace meat.

I’ve gotten over calling Taco Bell my guilty pleasure. It’s my straight-up pleasure. I’ve dabbled in everything on the menu, but my favorite has always been the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

So to be Taco Bell-healthy, remember this: Most of the options on the menu can be made “Fresca,” which means they replace the cheese and sour cream with pico de gallo. If you want to make that vegan, just also replace any meat with beans. BOOM, vegan baby.

If you’re a gym junkie and need protein to build those muscles, order off the Cantina menu, which are options with higher protein. It’s not always easy to find, so you may have to specifically ask for it. You can order things like the Cantina Bowl, which is grilled chicken with all the goodness of your typical burrito bowl. Or the Power Burrito which is a stuffed burrito with all the sauces you can imagine.

And guess what? You can do both! You can make the Cantina options “Fresca” and replace the meat with bean and become a vegan bodybuilder.

So, apologies in advance for sounding so extremely hipster/millennial, but excuse me while I get my vegan Taco Bell.

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