top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Hansra

Dr. Hansra's "Possible" Burgers: You don't have to give up meat if you don't want to

Everyone has different dietary preferences. Always create a lifestyle that suits your needs and individual tastes when trying to optimize your health goals. Whether you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier you don't necessarily have to give up meat but simply cut down to achieve better health. Who doesn't love a juicy cheeseburger?

What's the issue with traditional burgers?

The American classic hamburger is loaded with empty calories and saturated fats. Traditional hamburgers are a classic example of nutrient poor high, calorie foods that contributes to poor overall health. Regular consumption of red meat, processed red meat in particular, is associated with heart disease (1,2,3), diabetes (2), development of some cancers (1,4) and other health issues. Furthermore, the white bread bun used in most fast food restaurants can lead to obesity (5). Drastic diet changes don't work. If you enjoy red meat simply try to cut down rather than cut out. Most people who cut out their favorite foods tend to have get cravings and simply rebound. vegan based store bought burgers such as the "Impossible" Burger are a good alternative to traditional meat burgers but have been criticized for being highly processed (6). Of note, most studies on red meat do not distinguish between grass fed and grain fed meat (7). Grass fed beef has higher content of beneficial omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants than grain fed beef (7,8). Here I introduce the "#PossibleBurger" as it is possible to still enjoy meat but in moderation. #Smartandeasyhealth tip: You don't have to cut out beef if you don't want to. Simply cut down significantly on beef by adding beneficial ingredients such as mushroom, lentils, or beans into your beef patty. We will show you how:

Ingredients (shown above) makes 4 large burgers (or 6 depending on your patty size):

1. Hamburger buns (4-6) or slim whole wheat buns (4-6).

2. Organic portobello mushroom (200g, or 2 caps) or shiitake mushrooms (1 standard box).

3. Organic ground beef (224g, or 8 oz.), 80/20 mixture is standard.

4. Organic red kidney beans (1/2 can, 212g) You can use any bean, lentils. Red kidney beans are most discrete, highest fiber content.

5. Salt (1/2 teaspoon, 2.5ml), onion powder (1/2 teaspoon, 2.5ml), garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon, 2.5ml), ground pepper (add minor amount to your taste).

6. One large organic egg.

7. Optional: organic cheese (1 slice per burger) or vegan cheese (if you want to avoid dairy, coconut oil based cheeses taste best).

8. Optional: Oat bran to use as a thickener (1-4 tablespoons as needed to achieve desired consistency)

9. Optional: organic pickles, organic tomatoes, organic lettuce or spinach and condiments.

Alternate recipe:

1. Instead of legumes (beans or lentils) you can do a 50% beef, 50% mushroom mixture which maintains a more "beefy" flavor profile. This may be best for people just starting to experiment with plant based foods.


1. Chop mushrooms into 1-3 cm chunks (smaller you cut the easier they blend) then lightly season with salt and pepper and roast in oven on 350 F for 5-7 minutes (everyone's oven is different but cook mushroom until they start to darken a little an they start to release a little juice). You do not need to use oil on the mushrooms.

2. Add beans, beef, mushroom to bowl along with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and egg (shown below).

3. Add contents to food processor (shown below) and blend ingredients until well mixed.

4. Form burger patties to desired shape and size then place in the oven roast 400F for approximately 15 minutes without oil (more of less depending on how you like your burger, ovens are all different) or pan fry for 3-4 minutes per side (seen below). This recipe works best if you store the mixture in the fridge first for a few hours to form better burger patties. Also you can use oat bran as a thickener which is a healthy fiber boosting ingredient with a neutral flavor.

5. Add cheese to burger to melt.

6. Toast burger buns 5 minutes in oven if desired.

7. Add desired toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc) and condiments.

What's the bottom line?

Decreasing red meat intake can lower your risk for heart attack, diabetes, some cancers, and other health issues (1-4). Drastically changing your diet to eliminate red meat (or any of your favorite foods) is unrealistic. The #Possibleburger makes it possible to still enjoy red meat on occasion while significantly enhancing the nutritional content and decreasing calories. This is a major concept of #Smartandeasyhealth: adding beneficial ingredients into your favorite foods to boost the nutrient value and decrease calories to not only lose weight but benefit your overall health. These beneficial ingredients are also known as "functional foods".

The #Possibleburger has 1/3 beans (or lentils) which can lower your risk of heart disease (9-11), high blood pressure (9-11), stroke (9-11), diabetes (9-11), weight gain (11), and cholesterol (11,12). Beans are also a rich source of Fiber, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus (11). The #Possibleburger also has 1/3 mushrooms which have been shown to decrease weight (13), cancer risk (13,14), inflammation (13,14) and increase the immune system (13, 14). Mushrooms are also a good source of selenium, fiber, and several other vitamins and minerals (14). The #Possibleburger also has an option to use a sandwich slim bread over traditional white bread bun. White bread consumption is essentially like eating sugar and this can raise the risk of obesity (5). The substitution of a whole wheat sandwich slim would save you 70 calories, 30mg of cholesterol, and add 5 grams of fiber.

Lets do the math!

As you can see the #PossibleBurger has roughly 3x less calories, 4x less fat and saturated, 2-3x less sodium, and 2.5-5x more fiber than the Whopper and Impossible Whopper. Don't forget about all the additional vitamins, minerals, health benefits, unprocessed nature of the #Possibleburger. The downside is that the Possible burger has less protein (but the extra fiber helps keep you full), and will not taste the same as store bought burgers. My kids love this burger and they are the toughest critics around! Furthermore, if there is any mention or resemblance of a vegetable my kids food they often reject their meals. So the #Possible burger is not only a healthier alternative to traditional store bought burgers but also a good weight loss food. The #possibleburger is also a highly kid friendly way to slip in extra plant based nutrients without the fuss.

"You don't have to give up your favorite foods. Simply cut down and add functional foods. This can improve your health without drastic changes to the diet" #Smartandeasyhealth


The #PossibleBurger recipe is simply an example of a larger concept of adding beneficial ingredients into your favorite foods to boost the nutrient value and decrease calories to not only lose weight but benefit your overall health. Explore other ways to do this and other burger recipes to explore other possible ways to improve your health without radically changing your diet.


1) Wang X, Lin X, Ouyang YY, Liu J, Zhoa G, Pan A, Hu FB. Red and processed meat consumption and mortality: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Public Health Nutr. 2016 Apr;19(5):893-905.

2) Renata Micha, Georgios Michas, Dariush Mozaffarian. Unprocessed Red and Processed Meats and Risk of Coronary Artery Disease and Type 2 Diabetes - An Updated Review of Evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2012 Dec: 14(6):515-524.

3) Ashaye A, Gaziano J, Djousse L. Red meat consumption and risk of heart failure in male physicians. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Dec: 21(12): 941-946.

4) Cross AJ, Leitzmann MF, Gail MH, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin, and Sinha R. A Prospective Study of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk. Plos Med. 2007 Dec; 4(12): e325.

5) De la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Zazpe I, Vasquez-Ruiz Z, Benito-Corchon S, Bes-Rastrollo M. Glycemic load, glycemic index, bread and incidence of overweight/obesity in a Mediterranean cohort: the SUN project. BMC Public Health. 2014 Oct 22;14:1091.

6) The Washington Post. Impossible Burger: Here's what's really in it. Accessed January 26, 2020.

7) Provenza FD, Kronberg SL, Gregorini P. Is Grassfed Meat and Dairy Better for Human and Environmental Health? Front Nutr. 2019; 6: 26.

8) Daley CA et al. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10.

9) Hu FB. Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:5445–5515.

10) Orlich MJ, Fraser GE. Vegetarian diets in the Adventist Health Study 2: a review of initial published findings. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;100(Suppl. 1):353S–358S.

11) Polak R, Phillips EM, Campbell A. Legumes: Health BEnefit and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clin Diabetes. 2015 Oct;33(4):198-205.

12) Bazzano LA, Thompson AM, Tees MT, Nguyen CH, Winham DM. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Feb; 21(2):94-103.

13) Feeney MJ, et al. Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings. J Nutr. 2014 Jul; 144(7):1128S-1136S.

14) Zhang J, et al. Bioactivities and Health Benefits of Mushrooms Mainly from China. Molecules. 2016 Jul; 21(7): 938.

15) Market Watch. Burger King's meatless Impossible Whopper will now be available nationwide. Accessed February 2, 2020.

16) Fast Food Nutrition. Beef Whopper vs. Impossible Whopper: Which is healthier? Accessed February 2, 2020.


As a service to our readers, Smart and easy provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

75 views1 comment
bottom of page