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I Became Vegan For Love And Lasted Six Months. Here’s What It Was Like.

I Became Vegan For Love And Lasted Six Months. Here’s What It Was Like.

Going vegan when you’re a meat lover

I love meat, and I have never stopped loving it. A few years ago, I was knee-deep in a relationship with my then-girlfriend. Let’s call her Chick. We were both pretty and chummy on text; we were your typical gross couple who’d send each other cute little emojis throughout the day. This habit was how I began my (short) foray into the vegan life.

One afternoon, I was cramming mathematical formulas into my stone-cold brain for an upcoming assessment when Chick sent me an emoji. It was a chick. But it wasn’t any baby chicken; it was a chick emerging from beneath cracked shells of an egg.

“Cute, right?” Chick asked.

“I guess,” I said.

That conversation escalated, or rather, rocketed through the roof as Chick went on to talk about how we shouldn’t be killing and eating baby chicks or their parents. I never thought of her as a pacifist then. Perhaps, she was getting cutesy and this would be a temporary arrangement?

Spoiler alert: she’s still a vegan today.

That said, I decided to give it a shot and started what was one of the toughest journeys in my life: going vegan.

Day One: Forgetting I’ve Gone Vegan

Credit: @foodlover83

The first day I went vegan, I actually forgot about it. I intuitively found myself at McDonald’s in line to order their iconic Double McSpicy burger. I took a picture of my meal, and was this close to sending it to Chick before realising that I just promised her I’d start cutting out meat from meals.

PS: Yes, I send pictures of my meals to my partners. It’s a cute habit and you should try it.

Anyways, now I had to donate the Double McSpicy to my friend and tragically walk back to the counter to buy myself the now-infamous Veggie Crunch Burger.

Unsurprisingly, I hated it. Perhaps it was the first day I was embarking on this diet, but the burger was too dry for me and I missed having unctuous juices in my mouth. Finishing it felt painful but it definitely curb my hunger pangs. In any case, a promise was a promise, and I wasn’t going to break it.

Day 30: Our Monthsary With Cai Png

A month later, we went out on a date for our monthsary. At this point, I have to say that the past four weeks of meatless meals were pretty traumatising.

I felt a little sick at the sight of mere vegetables by then. Hence, I started finding restaurants that offered mock-meat or plant-based proteins.

And voila! Parked conveniently at Westgate’s entrance was a Greendot outlet. Chick and I had never been here before but we were intrigued by its ‘cai png’ concept which provided a plethora of food options.

I was particularly drawn to its Asian mock meat choices. Chick, on the other hand, was very much into salads. As such, she made do with fresh greens and light sauces.

For the first time in a long time, it seemed like I was about to have a meal akin to the one from my favourite economic rice stall, 118 什菜饭 Chinese Mixed Vegetable Rice.

Digging in, I was surprised that my pick of sweet and sour soy nuggets really did taste like sweet and sour pork. I felt that for a budget meal below $15, it was pretty satisfactory. Nonetheless, it still had a dash of mock meat flavours. As someone who used to regularly eat real meat, I could tell the difference even with a blind taste test.

That said, it was a good meal and date. However, because we started patronising the restaurant more frequently after that, the food at Greendot started to numb my palate.

Day 187: The Day We Broke Up

Gruesome months did pass by and I was unknowingly approaching the end of our relationship.

At this juncture, Chick and I were facing some issues with communication and starting to lash out frequently at each other. While I thought that the lack of proper protein intake led to her outbursts, she felt that I was deeply unbearable.

Going vegan for Chick was tough – and it was a process that went on a lot longer than I thought as well. It was consciously having to make decisions to cut out meat indefinitely, for the long term – going to McDonalds only to order a Garden Side Salad. Turning to The Salad Stop for most lunches a few days in a row.

Credit: @airageelicious

I grew up eating and liking meat. I loved chicken and beef. Just a month in, I felt terribly sick at the sight of mere vegetables and as someone who works out, I was losing mass and felt that protein-based meals at vegan stops just weren’t enough for most days.

On some days, I’d have accidentally broken the vegan diet and my girlfriend would berate me for breaking promises I’ve made with her. This didn’t work out very well, and I was struggling with sticking to the vegan diet on one hand, and rationalising whether it was right for me to do this for love, on the other.

That eventually led to the end of our relationship. It was breakup on relatively bad terms, quite a bit of crying, but a whole lot of relief. I also stopped religiously sticking to a vegan diet, as much as I would sub-consciously go for them still sometimes.

Today: The Day I Discovered Green Rebel

Credit: Green Rebel

Recently, I went out with my bestfriend for food at Privé and was drawn to the Green Rebel Beef Rendang Spaghetti Alfredo on the menu. Rendang is one of my favourite beef dishes in the world. And Privé’s dish did not disappoint. It was so good and the beef was braised just right.

It tasted like absolute bliss, with the textures of the rendang done right; there was a strong fragrant aroma that must have been the result of a patient, long cooking process. The braising in coconut milk was done beautifully, with the meat well seasoned with herbs and spices. Even my best friend, a chef who comes from a family of chefs, loved it.

It was so good I totally forgot that the beef was made using plant-based meat from Green Rebel. In fact, I only found out when I was paying for our meals at the cashier, after I was asked for about my meal. Turns out, Green Rebel is not a hipster food term; it’s actually an alternative protein-based company that specialises in Asian palates.

Vegan fare
Credit: Green Rebel

After some research, I found out that Green Rebel has invested a lot of time into getting the mouthfeel of meat right. That’s why their rendang actually tasted like the real thing, down to the fibrous meat textures!

As a new fan, I wanted to see if they had more stuff around Singapore. Thankfully, they’ve partnered up with big names like Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, and Pepper Lunch! I’m definitely excited to try their meat again.

The tough life of being vegan

It wasn’t easy being a vegan in Singapore, given how I love meat and eggs. It meant changing up my palate across all three meals indefinitely.

That said, it was difficult to commit, given the scarcity of vegetarian and vegan options in general. A common option I realised, was economy rice and choosing only the vegetables. As someone who works out often, my protein intake is also important for me. While some turn to beans and tofu, I doubled my scoops for my daily protein shakes as a temporary solution.

Although Chick and I are no longer together, and the promise to go vegan eventually broke, I did enjoy the change in lifestyle which instilled in me a certain degree of discipline, routine, and structure. I also honed a palate for good vegetable dishes, after adjusting my tastebuds to cater to them for close to half a year.

On off days, I still have a knack for trying out vegan options at food stops, especially if they’re partnered with Green Rebel. I would say that vegan food has definitely improved significantly over the years. Compared to when I was 17, there are definitely a lot more options today. Green Rebel meat is something I actually don’t mind eating on regular days. While going vegan for my ex was a bold choice, I feel I’ve learnt much about myself and my limits.

I went vegan for my girlfriend for six months, and this is my story. Now tell me yours!

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