The guide to veganism in Singapore for chronic pain

Veganism has emerged as a dynamic and conscious lifestyle choice embraced by a growing community worldwide. In Singapore, a city-state celebrated for its vibrant culinary scene, rich cultural diversity, and forward-thinking initiatives, the vegan movement is gaining momentum. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan enthusiast or simply curious about this plant-based way of life, this comprehensive guide will provide you with insights into the world of veganism in Singapore. From delectable vegan eateries to ethical considerations and practical tips, let’s embark on a journey to understand and appreciate the facets of veganism that are shaping the Lion City’s landscape.

What is veganism in Singapore?

types of vegetarians
Did you know veganism and vegetarianism are not the same While all vegans are vegetarians not all vegetarians are vegans

At its core, veganism is rooted in compassion for animals, environmental stewardship, and health-conscious choices. In Singapore, the vegan movement is aligned with the global drive towards sustainable living and ethical consumption. By eliminating animal products from their diets and lifestyles, vegans in Singapore contribute to reduced animal suffering, lower carbon footprints, and enhanced personal well-being.

Is a vegan diet actually healthy?

A vegan diet, rich in plant-based foods, offers a myriad of health benefits that can transform your well-being. A plant-based diet is lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, and higher in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Veganism is associated with improvements in both cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Reduce risk of heart diseases

Research has suggested that veganism is one of the diets that can reduce risk of heart conditions. Veganism can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular well-being. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Studies have demonstrated that individuals who adopt a vegan diet often experience lower blood pressure levels compared to those following a meat-based diet. The abundance of potassium, magnesium, and fiber in plant-based diets contributes to improved blood vessel function and blood pressure regulation.

Heart health can be maintained by managing good cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, has been reported to be lower among people on a plant-based diet. The absence of dietary cholesterol from animal products, coupled with increased consumption of soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, could contribute to reduced cholesterol absorption and enhanced cardiovascular well-being.

Healthy body weight

obesity singapore
You probably already know the importance of keeping a healthy weight But did you know 40 of people in Singapore are either overweight or obese This leads to many health issues including chronic pain

One of the remarkable attributes of a plant-based diet is its ability to promote satiety while managing calorie intake. The resulting effect is weight loss for people who are overweight or obese. Plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, tend to have a lower calorie density compared to their meat-based foods. This means that individuals can consume larger portions of plant-based foods while still maintaining a calorie balance conducive to weight management.

Fiber, a hallmark of plant-based foods, plays a pivotal role in weight management. It contributes to feelings of fullness and slows down the digestion process, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. This not only aids in weight loss but also supports overall metabolic health.

The adoption of a vegan diet often leads to a reduction in the consumption of highly processed foods. These foods are often calorie-dense and contribute to overeating. By eating mostly minimally-processed plant-based options, individuals naturally reduce their intake of empty calories and unhealthy additives.

Diabetes Prevention

The association between plant-based eating and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes is rooted in the improvements they bring to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, plays a pivotal role in regulating blood sugar levels. Insulin sensitivity refers to how effectively our cells respond to insulin’s signals to take up glucose from the bloodstream. In individuals with type 2 diabetes, insulin sensitivity is often impaired, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Plant-based diets offer a spectrum of nutrients and bioactive compounds that support improved insulin sensitivity. The abundance of dietary fiber, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates in these foods contributes to optimal cellular responses to insulin. As a result, cells are more efficient at absorbing glucose, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Maintaining steady blood sugar levels is crucial for overall health and diabetes management. Plant-based diets excel in this regard due to their impact on glycemic control. The low glycemic index of many plant-based foods—indicating how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels—means that they cause gradual, sustained increases in blood glucose rather than rapid spikes. The slower blood sugar rises after eating that food, the lesser the chances of developing diabetes.

The connection between chronic pain and a vegan diet

As chiropractors, we are deeply invested in promoting holistic health and well-being. Chronic pain, whether originating from musculoskeletal issues, inflammation, or neuropathy, can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. It’s important to recognise that chronic pain isn’t solely a physical experience. It also affects mental health and emotional well-being. Chronic pain can create a vicious cycle of discomfort, stress, and reduced mobility. In recent years, an interesting avenue of exploration has emerged—one that suggests a potential link between chronic pain and a vegan diet.

The role of inflammation in pain management

ketoprofen plaster singapore
NSAIDs plasters such as KefenTech is very popular among doctors and chronic pain sufferers because of its anti inflammatory properties This is because inflammation and pain is intrinsically linked

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, infection, or harmful stimuli. In acute situations, inflammation serves a protective role by promoting healing and fending off potential threats. However, chronic inflammation, often present in conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic back pain, can become counterproductive, intensifying pain signals and hindering the body’s ability to repair itself.

To address the issue of inflammation, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), a class of medications, are commonly used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. They work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, compounds that play a central role in the inflammatory response. By reducing prostaglandin levels, NSAIDs effectively dampen the inflammatory cascade, leading to pain relief and improved comfort.

A vegan diet can be high in anti-inflammatory foods

A vegan diet, rich in anti-inflammatory foods, has the potential to mitigate this process. Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the overall inflammatory burden in the body.

Certain nutrients abundant in plant-based foods have been associated with pain management and reduction. For instance:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and algae-based supplements, omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, which can help alleviate pain.

Antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress and inflammation—both contributors to chronic pain.

Fiber: A high-fiber diet supports gut health, potentially impacting pain perception. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to reduced inflammation and improved pain tolerance.

What does a chiropractor have to do with diet or veganism?

Evidence-based chiropractors are dedicated to providing comprehensive and effective pain relief strategies that go beyond traditional treatments. With a focus on active recovery, these chiropractors integrate exercise, nutritional advice, and tailored therapies to empower pain sufferers on their journey to freedom from pain.

Empowering the body to heal through exercise

chiropractor singapore, jesse cai
It is true that exercise is the first line treatment for virtually all chronic pain conditions A two pronged approach involving exercise and nutritional advice can yield better results especially for people more susceptible to chronic inflammation

Exercise is a cornerstone of evidence-based chiropractic care. It serves as a potent tool to enhance mobility, strengthen muscles, and promote overall wellness. Chiropractors work closely with pain sufferers to design exercise regimens tailored to their specific needs and capabilities. These exercises not only target the affected areas but also address underlying imbalances that may contribute to pain. From gentle stretches to targeted strength training, exercise becomes a pivotal component of the recovery journey.

Fueling tissue healing through nutritional advice

Nutrition plays a vital role in supporting the body’s healing processes. Evidence-based chiropractors recognise the connection between diet and pain management. They offer personalised nutritional guidance, emphasising anti-inflammatory foods, adequate hydration, and essential nutrients that contribute to tissue repair and overall vitality. By addressing nutritional imbalances, chiropractors enable pain sufferers to fortify their bodies from within, fostering an environment conducive to recovery.

recommended protein intake singapore, sarcopenia prevention

Among chronic pain sufferers and seniors, it is not uncommon for protein intake to be lower than what is optimal for muscle growth. The Ministry of Health recommends protein consumption of 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for an average healthy person. In other words, if you weigh 60kg, you will be looking at consuming at least 48 grammes of protein per day. For perspective, this works out to consuming slightly more than three pieces of firm tofu per day (450g). A piece of tofu (150g) contains ~18g of protein.

For optimal muscle growth, you will be looking at consuming up to 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

Without an optimal protein consumption, the results you get from exercising may be inadequate. Furthermore, insufficient protein and a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to diseases such as sarcopenia.

Empowering self-care

One of the hallmarks of evidence-based chiropractic care is the emphasis on empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to manage their pain outside of the clinic. Pain sufferers are educated about proper body mechanics, exercise principles, and self-care strategies that can prevent future discomfort. By arming individuals with the ability to make informed choices and incorporate active recovery practices into their daily lives, evidence-based chiropractors pave the way for sustainable pain relief.

Evidence-based chiropractors stand at the forefront of a transformative approach to pain management. Our approach goes beyond passive treatments to empower pain sufferers with active recovery strategies. Through tailored exercise regimens, personalised nutritional guidance, and a holistic view of well-being, we can unlock the potential for individuals to find freedom from pain and reclaim their lives. By embracing this comprehensive approach, pain sufferers can embark on a journey of lasting relief, enhanced mobility, and improved quality of life.

Exploring Vegan Dining in Singapore

Singapore’s diverse culinary scene extends a warm embrace to veganism. From bustling hawker centers to upscale vegan restaurants, the city offers a plethora of food options for vegans in Singapore. Indulge in the flavors of plant-based dishes inspired by local cuisine, such as fragrant laksa made with tofu and vegetables or innovative renditions of classic favorites like Hainanese chicken rice crafted from plant-based ingredients.

Afterglow at Keong Saik

vegan burger, afterglow keong saik
Dont expect a vegan burger to taste like a meat one But that doesnt mean it is no good Afterglows Cuban Burger is made from kidney beans black beans and butter beans Despite how it sounds the patty is springy with a juicy meat like texture

Afterglow holds a profound belief that food is destined to evolve from seed to fruit or herb. By staying true to their inherent nature,  Afterglow is dedicated to allow the unique characteristics of foods to flourish through diverse culinary preparations.

Since its establishment in 2013 as a plant-based restaurant, Afterglow has been an advocate of the Farm-to-Table movement. The utilisation of locally-sourced whole foods fosters a sense of community and connection. Beyond the realm of culinary delights, Afterglow’s mission extends to education, nurturing, and nourishing generations, steering them toward a state of holistic well-being.

For those with food allergies and sensitivity, Afterglow maintains a strict policy against the introduction of external food items, including cakes, into their establishment. This precautionary measure is taken with the utmost care to effectively manage and control potential allergens for their diners.

Cultivate Cafe at Maxwell, Tanjong Pagar

Nestled within the exquisite confines of the Maxwell Reserve Hotel, Cultivate Cafe stands as a beacon of plant-based excellence. A sanctuary for those seeking the nourishing embrace of pure, vibrant cuisine, Cultivate is more than a restaurant. With an unwavering commitment to the essence of unadulterated sustenance, they believe that food is the catalyst for cultivating the very soul.

At Cultivate, every morsel is a testament to their dedication. They craft exceptional, palate-pleasing dishes that transcend culinary boundaries. Their reverence for authenticity leads them to meticulously source the finest organic ingredients, harvested both near and far from small, nurturing family farms. This amalgamation of global flavors with a local touch manifests on their plate as a symphony of taste and wellness.

Cultivate Cafe proudly presents a menu that goes beyond being meat-free. It is also meticulously crafted to be GMO-free and gluten-free. This thoughtful approach ensures that vegans in Singapore who prioritise their health or have specific allergies can enjoy their dining experience with absolute tranquility. And for those who unabashedly embrace their carnivorous inclinations, be prepared for a pleasant surprise!

How to navigate vegan food choices

vegan food pyramid
Being on a vegan diet doesnt mean poor dietary choices Having wholesome meals that meet your daily nutrient requirements is still necessary for you to achieve health and well being

For those embarking on a vegan journey, understanding food labels and ingredients is paramount. Being able to decode food labels and decipher ingredients will empowers you to make informed choices. This ensures that your culinary adventures align seamlessly with your values.

A cornerstone of this voyage is becoming well-acquainted with common vegan substitutes. In doing so, you will be able to replace animal-derived ingredients with nature’s nutritious offerings. As you journey through veganism, you will be delighted to uncover the myriad plant-based products that can be found on the shelves of local supermarkets and health food stores.

Tempeh, a protein-rich wonder, can elevate your dishes with its nutty profile and satisfying chewiness. Allow tofu to become your canvas. It can absorb the essence of any flavors you infuse it with.

Seitan is a nutritious and versatile plant-based protein

There is also seitan, a protein powerhouse often referred to as “wheat meat”. Boasting a meaty texture, it lends itself beautifully to an array of dishes. Derived from wheat gluten, seitan absorbs the flavors and seasonings it encounters. This unique ability makes it a versatile cornerstone for crafting dishes that span the spectrum of savory delights. From hearty stews and stir-fries to succulent sandwiches and grilled masterpieces, seitan’s adaptable nature ensures it seamlessly integrates into a multitude of cuisines and styles.

Beyond its culinary adaptability, seitan also boasts impressive nutritional credentials. Packed with protein and vital amino acids, it offers a substantial dietary source of energy and nourishment. This nutritional profile makes it a sought-after option for those seeking plant-based protein alternatives to support their active lifestyles.

Remember, embarking on a vegan journey is not only about what you exclude from your plate. It is also about the vibrant and abundant world of flavors and nutrients that you invite in. Each ingredient, each label, each choice becomes a brushstroke on the canvas of your culinary masterpiece. Your journey is a celebration of the interconnectedness of all life. It is a testament to the beauty of nourishing your body and soul with nature’s bountiful offerings.

Overcoming challenges of a plant-based diet

Embarking on a vegan journey in Singapore is a rewarding endeavor that aligns with compassion for animals, sustainability, and personal well-being. However, it’s true that navigating a omnivorous culture can pose its own set of challenges. With a bit of preparation, you can confidently practise veganism while dining out.

Before heading out to dine, take a proactive approach by researching vegan-friendly eateries in Singapore. There’s a growing awareness and appreciation for plant-based options, so you’ll likely find restaurants that cater to your preferences. Utilise online platforms, apps, and social media to discover vegan or vegan-friendly establishments that resonate with your taste buds.

When making a reservation or upon arriving at a restaurant, communicate your dietary requirements with clarity and confidence. Politely inform the staff that you follow a vegan diet and kindly request assistance in crafting a vegan-friendly meal. A direct and respectful approach sets the tone for a positive dining experience.

Singapore boasts a rich culinary landscape, and this extends to its plant-based offerings. Embrace the opportunity to explore local vegan cuisine, which may include dishes like Hakka Thunder Tea and Vegetarian Biryani.

The future of healthy veganism in Singapore

As Singapore strides forward in its pursuit of healthy and ethical living, veganism emerges as a powerful tool for positive change. Through culinary exploration, conscious consumerism, and a community of like-hearted individuals, the journey of understanding veganism in Singapore becomes an enriching endeavor that aligns with the city’s ethos of progress and harmonious living.

With a heightened emphasis on well-being, the future of healthy veganism in Singapore promises a stronger focus on plant-powered nutrition. From protein-rich seitan to Malay tempeh creations, individuals are poised to experience the vitality that comes from nourishing their bodies with whole, plant-based foods. The future of healthy veganism in Singapore signifies a shift in the perception of health and wellness. Embracing a vegan lifestyle is no longer seen as a limitation but rather as an opportunity to thrive, supporting optimal health, longevity, and vitality.


Pom Pi Pi is founded on helping everyday Singaporeans achieve their peak physical performance. We believe meaningful change is not about how fast, how high, or how strong. It’s about being consistent.


    author avatar
    Dr. Jesse Cai

    Jesse, a chiropractor with a unique approach, believes in empowering his clients to lead functional and fulfilling lives. Jesse worked with high-level Australian athletes, including roles such as Head Sport Trainer for Forrestfield Football Club, board member of Sports Chiropractic Australia, and member of Sports Medicine Australia.

    author avatar
    Dr. Jesse Cai Chiropractor
    Jesse, a chiropractor with a unique approach, believes in empowering his clients to lead functional and fulfilling lives. Jesse worked with high-level Australian athletes, including roles such as Head Sport Trainer for Forrestfield Football Club, board member of Sports Chiropractic Australia, and member of Sports Medicine Australia.
    author avatar
    Dr. Jesse Cai Chiropractor
    Jesse, a chiropractor with a unique approach, believes in empowering his clients to lead functional and fulfilling lives. Jesse worked with high-level Australian athletes, including roles such as Head Sport Trainer for Forrestfield Football Club, board member of Sports Chiropractic Australia, and member of Sports Medicine Australia.