My First Veganuary

Veganuary banner

I thought Veganuary had been a thing for a number of years but it seems that number is only three, with 2016 being its third year. Which means that I may be fashionably late to the party but not that late. Yay for me.

Veganuary – as you’ll probably guess, if you don’t already know – is a month-long challenge to be vegan throughout the month of January. I did my own Veganuary during July 2008, but as Veganuly sounds more like a venereal disease than a fun food-based challenge, I can see why that didn’t catch on. I only slipped up once during my Veganuly when, one Sunday evening, I fancied something creamy and remembered the Baileys in the fridge, before remembering what exactly made Baileys creamy (clue: it’s cream).

As you’ll know if you’re a regular here (or know me personally), I a) have strong vegan leanings (dietary-wise at least); but b) live with someone who is strongly anti-vegan and who, if he suspects I’ve put something vegan on his plate,  will cover it in salad cream. Which gave me something of a dilemma as someone who a) has strong vegan leanings; and b) loves monthly challenges.

But, I kept hinting I wanted to do Veganuary and the more I hinted at it, the more I wanted to do it and the more The Meat Eater didn’t really seem to mind that much. YAY. I drew up a list of ‘normal’ food that I’d be cooking, to assure him that nothing would really change that much and he wouldn’t be getting anything ‘odd’ like omelettes made out of chickpea flour instead of eggs.

I’m on Day 5 at the moment and all is well. We’ve had pizza, garlic bread, jacket potato with chilli and stew for dinner and my daytimes have been the same as usual with my Nutriblasts – the only thing I’ve had to change is making hot chocolate with vegan cocoa powder and soya milk, instead of boiling a kettle and using the instant stuff that contains milk. No biggie.

Below are photos of everything I’ve eaten so far during Veganuary 2016.

Veganuary 2016 – Day 1

Um, this was New Year’s Day and I was too hungover to eat. I couldn’t even stomach any hot chocolate. Still, 100% is 100%.

Veganuary 2016 – Day 2

Breakfast

Um… might have skipped breakfast… next…

Lunch

Banana, passion fruit, kiwi, dates, cashew smoothie
Banana, passion fruit, kiwi, dates, cashew and cacao smoothie

I’m still using my Nutriblast regularly (even if I did skip breakfast over the holidays) and this banana, passion fruit, kiwi, dates, cashew, cacao, soya milk and coconut water smoothie was not only delicious, it was filling too. A complete meal in a glass (or jar).

Dinner

Tortilla pizza with Violife vegan cheese
Tortilla pizza with Violife vegan cheese

I’ve got to admit, making two pizzas and two lots of garlic bread was a bit of an inconvenience, but an inconvenience that was most definitely worth it. I had Violife vegan cheese on my pizza and made my half of the garlic bread with Vitalite, while The Meat Eater had Cheddar on his pizza, and I made his garlic bread with Flora. The pizza was fab but the garlic bread was a revelation – I’d only ever made homemade garlic bread before with real butter and thought Vitalite wouldn’t quite cut it, but I can honestly say this was better than any garlic bread I’ve ever made or bought in the supermarket.

Here’s my tortilla pizza recipe (swap the mozzarella for vegan cheese, or just leave out).

Vegan garlic bread
Best ever garlic bread – vegan or otherwise

As I said above, this garlic bread was amazing. It’s so easy to make – mix up some crushed garlic and/or garlic powder (I used about 4 cloves of crushed garlic, then added some garlic powder too) with vegan spread (I used Vitalite), slice a part-baked baguette (available in all supermarkets), and thickly spread the slices with the garlic butter and put the slices back together and wrap with foil. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes, then unwrap the foil and bake for another 5 minutes, so the bread crisps up.

Snacks

Mini moo vegan chocolate
Mini moo vegan chocolate

My friend Cassie had sent me a selection box of Mini Moo vegan chocolate for my birthday (thank you, Cassie!), so I won’t be going without chocolate this month.

Tesco Mint Thins - accidentally vegan
Tesco Mint Thins – accidentally vegan

I also have a mint chocolate after dinner every night and as Tesco Mint Thins are about a third of the price of After Eights, that’s what we have and, luckily, unlike After Eights, Tesco Mint Thins are vegan. Yayness.

Veganuary 2016 – Day 3

Breakfast

I have no record of having anything for breakfast so either I didn’t have anything or I didn’t write it down or take a photo. Eat something and not take a photo first? I don’t know what the world’s coming to.

Lunch

Vegan peanut butter on toast and hot chocolate
Peanut butter on toast and hot chocolate

I had planned to have a Nutriblast for lunch, then I changed my mind and had peanut butter on toast and hot chocolate instead. Near enough, isn’t it? As mentioned earlier, the only thing I’ve had to change so far is to stop drinking my usual instant hot chocolate and drink cocoa powder and soya milk instead. Which can only be a good thing, taking into consideration just how much crap is in that instant stuff.

(Do you like my cow mug? My friend Gene sent it to me from America.)

Dinner

Jacket potato with vegan chilli, cheese and sour cream
Jacket potato with vegan chilli, cheese and sour cream

Another ‘vegan cheese for me’, ‘Cheddar for The Meat Eater’ meal. The chilli was easy enough, having remembered to check the stock was vegan (did you know some vegetable stock has milk in? Fuck knows why, but it does) and buy Tesco Meat-Free mince, which is vegan (unlike Quorn mince). The cheese was also easy enough, as I still had some Violife in the fridge and, anyway, Tesco sells it. But… sour cream… I love my condiments and didn’t like the idea of going without my usual sour cream topping. So, what’s a girl supposed to do? Yep, make her own. Here it is:

Vegan sour cream using silken tofu
Vegan sour cream

I got the recipe from here – it’s really easy to make and, as a bonus, I had all the ingredients in already, including the coconut nectar. If you don’t have any coconut nectar (I only had some because it had been sent to me, along with some coconut oil, to review), you could use agave nectar or maple syrup instead. Or leave it out all together, I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference.

I’ve got to admit, it’s not exactly the same as sour cream but it’s creamy and tangy and if you – like me – are a condiment lover, then give it a go.

Snacks 

Vegan Winter Berries & Prosecco Crisps from Marks & Spencer
Winter Berries & Prosecco Crisps

I’d had an inkling I’d seen on a vegan Facebook group someone mentioning these crisps at Christmastime, so I checked the ingredients and all seemed okay, but to triple-check, I had a look on the Vegan Womble website and yay, these Winter Berries & Prosecco crisps from Marks & Spencer that I hadn’t finished over Christmas are vegan. But, sod the vegan bit, they contain edible gold stars – what more do you want from a crisp?

Veganuary 2016 – Day 4

Breakfast

Spinach, clementine, apple, chia seeds, coconut water Nutriblast
Spinach, clementine, apple, chia seeds, coconut water Nutriblast

No skipping breakfast for me today. Today’s Nutriblast was a combination of spinach, clementine, apple, chia seeds and coconut water. Did you know you don’t have to core apples before putting them in your Nutribullet? It’ll break the seeds up just fine (so none of that worrying about whole seeds sprouting and turning into trees in your stomach – or was that just my mum who told me that when I was little?)

Lunch

Vegan tofu wrap with salad
Vegan tofu wrap with salad

Another ‘I’m going to have a Nutriblast for lunch/I’ve changed my mind and going to have carbs instead’ lunch and very nice it was too. I coated some tofu in Jack Daniel’s Extra Hot Habanero BBQ Sauce (they’re not joking when they say ‘extra hot’ either), grilled it on my George Foreman grill until crispy, cut it into cubes and put it in a wrap with some homemade hummus and salad.

Dinner 

Vegan sausage stew with broccoli and beans
Vegan sausage stew with broccoli and beans

I make this tasty stew often and you can find the recipe here. I cooked Linda McCartney sausages beforehand, then added them to the stew with the dumplings (made with Tesco’s own vegetarian suet, which is vegan) for the last 15 minutes. I had Vitalite on my half of the bread roll, while The Meat Eater had Flora on his (he also wiped his vegetables on his buttered roll to un-veganise them. I kid you not).

Snacks

These Oat Flips are vegan
Oat Flips – kind of like Hob Nobs, i.e. yum.

I wasn’t going to be strict about E numbers during this Veganuary but although these Oat Flips that were given to us for Christmas seemed to be vegan – at least to my untrained eye – there was no mention on the tin of them being suitable for vegetarians and the E numbers played on my mind. As I was indoors with all the information I needed on the internet, I decided it’d be silly not to check so I looked up E475. Unfortunately, E475 is of dubious origin and although it’s usually derived from plants, it can also be of animal origin. I looked on the Oat Flips website for more information and on there it said the Oat Flips were suitable for vegetarians. The logical part of my brain then thought, ‘Well, if they’re suitable for vegetarians, then this E475 must be of plant origin because if it was animal origin, it wouldn’t be vegetarian and if it was made of milk or egg, that would have to be listed in the allergy bit, which it isn’t, so that must mean these Oat Flips are vegan’. But, I didn’t want to trust my logic so I asked on the Veganuary Facebook page if my logic was correct and was told yes, it was.

That was a very long-winded way of saying these Oat Flips are vegan. Yay for Oat Flips.

And that brings me up to Day 4 of my first Veganuary. I’ll be posting for the rest of the month, so keep checking back to see how I’m doing (and what I’m eating).

For more information on Veganuary and to sign up, visit the Veganuary website.

My fellow veggie blogger Kate at The Veg Space is also doing Veganuary and you can read what she says about it here.

Also, read my Q&A with Jacqui about how she’s continued being vegan after taking part in Veganuary 2015.

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6 comments

  1. Well done Cathy, looks like you’ve had some tasty meals so far!! This is my third Veganuary, and I think we actually eat far tastier food as I put more thought into it. Last year my husband went from carnivore to Veganuary, and has stayed vegetarian ever since, (not quite vegan… yet!). Thanks for linking to my post too!

    1. Well done on your third Veganuary! I haven’t really put much thought into my meals as I’m trying to keep them as ‘normal’ as possible. Left to my own devices, I’d be making vegan pancakes, quiches and all sorts 🙂

  2. Wow, I always thought I could never go vegan but after looking at your diary it seems pretty tasty! I’m also on the look out for coconut nectar as I’ve heard it’s meant to be really good! x

    1. I’d never even heard of coconut nectar before – I’m going to have to find some more ways to use it now!

  3. This all sounds yummy! I ‘accidentally’ eat a lot of vegan food as I try to avoid dairy as it doesn’t agree with me. I can recommend tofutti sour supreme as a vegan sour cream alternative – it’s fab! Good luck with the rest of the month 🙂

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