There’s no denying that fast food restaurants permeate our cultural landscape. Among the big burger joints McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King, hundreds of other fast food outlets offer unhealthy, saturated fat-laden meals. Ray White, chef and founder of vegan café Native Foods, sought to alter the way we think about fast food.

After joining forces with two other like-minded restaurateurs, White launched Veggie Grill, which now has 13 locations. White plans on expanding to 25 restaurants next year. Veggie Grill offers an all-vegan menu that in some ways resembles a traditional fast food menu.

For example, offerings include better-for-you versions of nachos, sweet potato fries, veggie cheeseburgers, and fried “chickin.’" But customers can also order delectable dishes like kale salads, quinoa pilaf with carrots and onions, and mashed potatoes made with cauliflower and mushroom gravy.

Why is White so passionate about making healthy foods accessible to all? Because he’s experienced the benefits of clean, plant-based eating first hand.

“My consciousness started changing; things started changing physically for me as well. I was an asthmatic; I had high cholesterol and blood pressure, and everything just went [away],” White explained in an interview with Organic Connections. “Physically and emotionally it made big changes in my life. I’m half American Indian and my dad is full Indian. His whole side of the family all died very young, and from cholesterol and high blood pressure. So I realized that I could really make a difference.”

Read more in Organic Connections