Veganuary: Week 1

8 January 2016

Homemade vegan bolognese

So, week one of #Veganuary or as I've been calling it most of the week - what the hell have I done?

Ok so it hasn't been that bad. The first days were hard, like really bloody hard. I thought I was really well prepared but it turned out I'd forgotten everything and was not ready to cope with all the chocolate withdrawal. But it has gotten easier as the week has gone on. I'm still not quite ready to preach about it transforming my life or anything, but I am definitely starting to enjoy it a lot more and find it a bit easier to adapt. So let's see how the first week has gone and what I've actually been eating...

First off, I haven't actually done a week. As most of you probably already know, I spent last weekend watching everyone else post their soya milk smoothies and vegan cheese toasties, all while stuffing my hungover face full of pizza. I had planned to sort of half take part while still staying with family, but I just found it impossible to draw a line anywhere, so I actually started on Monday. This was also my first day back at work after a week and a half of lie-ins which meant I spent most of Monday feeling pretty sorry for myself.

I spent all day turning down offers of the leftover christmas food in the office and I didn't have a caffeinated beverage all day. Not a good start. I hoped by the evening I'd start to feel all healthy and glowy and smug but instead I just felt tired and miserable. I was pretty pleased with the lentil bolognese I made for dinner but I reaaaally missed cheese.

Tuesday was equally as bad. I was pretty pleased with my food choices - hummus, falafel and salad wrap for lunch, then leftover bolognese for dinner - but I was craving dairy like crazy. I started to realise just how much food, especially vegetarian food, actually has dairy in and I really wanted chocolate. I was pretty tempted to quit but I am nothing if not stubborn so I just sulked and dried fruit instead.

Vegan puff pastry vegetable pizza

Wednesday I thought I'd gone to work totally prepared, I had coconut milk so that I could actually drink tea and coffee during the day (coconut milk coffee is pretty good, tea not so much) and a box of emergency oreos in my desk (thank you whoever it was that told me these were vegan, you are a god). I was starting to adjust to getting up in the mornings again and generally feeling much better about veganuary/being alive. Walking toward I felt confident, pleased with myself, being vegan is so easy now I thought, I've totally got this. Then I realised I'd forgotten to take anything for lunch and went into major panic mode. I knew this would happen at some point during the month because I'm awful at preparing lunches but I didn't think it would happen quite so early on. Nice one Hannah. I work in the middle of nowhere too, so my options were limited entirely to the one corner shop on my walk there. I fully expected not to find anything at all and managed to get a tin of vegetable soup - it tasted better than I expected but I was too annoyed at myself to enjoy it really.

For dinner I opted to throw everything I had in the fridge (onions, peppers, hummus, veggie sausages) onto puff pastry and call it a pizza. I've seen hummus used on vegan pizza recipes a lot and it was actually really good, but it was a tiny bit on the dry side. Hummus is a bit dry anyway but compared with oily, cheesy pizza, this didn't quite measure up. I'd still recommend it though since it took less than five minutes to throw together. The puff pustry by the way was the jus roll stuff, major thanks to Cate for letting me know about it. I don't actually understand how it can be suitable for vegans, but it said so on the box so I'm not going to argue.

I knew lunchtimes were going to be the hardest meal to keep interesting so for day four I picked up a sweet potato chilli pot from Bol. I'd vaguely heard of this company before and am crazy about sweet potato so it seemed worth trying. At £3 it obviously worked out a bit more expensive than making something from scratch but it was super tasty, and gave me some really good ideas for vegan chillis I could make at home in future so I think it was worth it.

Vegan lunch ideas

And that more or less takes us to the end of what should have been a week of Veganuary - if you're taking part let me know how your first week has gone, I'd love to see what you've all been cooking!

Over the next few days I'm going to be hunting for vegan cheese, and looking for some vegan recipes I can batch cook ready for the week ahead as I know I've got a busy few days coming at work. If anyone has any recommendations for make ahead vegan meals please let me know!

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