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Friday, 8 January 2016

VEGANUARY 2016 | Week One

Well, week one of Veganuary 2016 is officially complete and I'm still standing! Overall, I can say it's been tough in some ways, but in other ways it's not been as hard as I thought. But let me go into more detail...

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Veganuary 2016 | Week One; Formidable Joy; Formidable; Veganuary; Veganuary 2016; Health; Food

Admittedly, I struggled at first. My first day was a success - but just about. Starting a vegan diet the day after NYE is NOT a good idea. Having been out partying all night, I arrived home at half seven in the morning, slept well into the afternoon and then spent the majority of the day puking. So in some ways, I wasn't even hungry.

I'd planned to do a big shop that morning but just couldn't face it. So I headed up the local shops for some fresh air and to grab a few things and that was an ultimate fail. I bought one vegan thing - a yogurt - which, as it turns out when I arrived home and looked at it properly - wasn't even vegan.


However, there was rice in the house. And ice. A bowl full of ice actually settled my hungover stomach, and then later on I had some plain rice. Very glamorous, I know.


The following morning my dad and I headed up to Tesco for a proper shop - now that I was no longer hungover.

What a palavar.

It wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be, but it was hard. I'd  made a shopping list but I'm bad at food shopping at the best of times, let alone looking for vegan friendly products. So we were going back and fourth constantly. I found it tough having to find certain items and then checking the labels - I didn't really have a proper system which I should have done. I had a list of things for recipes, like 'cheese' for example, but I didn't list any brands that were vegan friendly. On the other hand, I had a list of vegan friendly products saved on my phone, but I hadn't thought to cross off which ones I'd need.



That wasn't so successful.

But I picked up some Linda McCartney frozen meals and some basics, which was good.

I then bought the rest of my shopping online and found it WAY easier. I was able to double check and Google the products as I went along, checking they were actually vegan. And it gave me the chance to look up recipes and then work out what products I needed there and then. It was also beneficial because I could see what products were coming up more often, so if I was using garlic for one or two recipes I could then search another couple of recipes based around garlic too.

So my first word of advice is that if you're going vegan, it's very helpful to shop online from the comfort of your own home.

Second of all, don't try Linda McCartney's Vegan pies. In my opinion, they are RANK.

Third of all, prepare. I thought I'd be fine just substituting normal milk for coconut milk BUT I WAS NOT. THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Don't do what I did and end up almost having a break down at 11pm in your kitchen the night before you're back at work, freaking out because you're trying to make a breakfast pudding to take to work but the milk you're using from the fridge is too watery and the milk you're using from the cupboard is actually thick cream.

I almost cried. I literally almost cried over milk.


Sunday was mostly spent re-arranging my room so it wasn't until about 8pm that I finally had something to eat. This was a simple pasta meal - pasta and mushrooms in a garlic sauce. But I've always struggled to make garlic sauces and they never have any flavour, so it wasn't very tasty at all.


So after the breakfast fiasco, I stuck to jam on toast, using vegan butter and bread. Simple, but yummy.

Lunch today was a simple avocado, onion, cucumber and tomato salad and this evening I met up with a couple of the girls from my previous job for a Pizza Express.

Pizza Express have actually been quite welcoming to vegans, suggesting a vegan friendly pizza on their social media which is nice. It was nice to know in advance that not only do they do a few vegan items but that I already knew what I was going to have, instead of having to go along and faffabout with asking and taking ages to study the menu.

It was really delicious which was a bonus.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Veganuary 2016 | Week One; Formidable Joy; Formidable; Veganuary; Veganuary 2016; Health; Food; Pizza Express


On day four I found myself struggling mostly with trying to be creative for lunch ideas for work. I think now it has taken me a few days to realize that just because you're going vegan, you don't have to substitute stuff when you don't need to.

I threw together a simple sandwich for lunch, with lots of veggies and brown bread. I also had some carrots and hummus to snack on.

When I got home that night I attempted the coconut milk/breakfast fiasco again and found out that yes, coconut milk in a can is pretty much in two separate sections and you have to mix the thick top half with the water beneath. WHO KNEW. And also - what kind of sorcery is this? How does that even work? I don't know.

But I mixed it in with some chia seeds and stuck it all in a little jar in the fridge overnight, quickly scooping in some strawberries and fruit for a quick breakfast on the go.

I made a delicious stir fry for dinner using babycorn, greenbeans, mushrooms and noodles. It was one of the yummiest meals that I'd made personally so far and I was quite proud of it. It's definitely something I'll have again.

I also began to feel a bit better in myself by today. I wouldn't say I felt I had a big difference in energy, as I was still tired, but I was still recovering from my late nights and lazy lay-in's from Christmas. However I did begin to feel more sprightly and noticed my hips were a tad more prominent.

I couldn't say whether I lost weight or not as I didn't weigh myself (I'm not taking part in the challenge to lose weight), but I did notice just very subtly that my curves seemed a tad more prominent and curvy instead of, well, fat.

So that was nice.

And I began to feel quite sprightly too!


But by the fifth day or so, I felt like I was more on track.

The breakfast was was actually quite yummy at work. I'd put a tad too much milk in, but the chia seeds were useful as they're supposed to help you top up the protein you'd lose by giving up meat. I'm not really the type of person to have nuts/seeds and stuff as I don't even like nuts (*immature snigger*) but in this breakfast thing, the chia seeds were quite nice.

Like I mentioned before, by now I began to realize I didn't have to give up everything. I already had some vegan cheese (vegan cheese is a bitch to find) and had found some vegan friendly rolls and bread (it turns out nearly all bread is vegan, who knew) and with many vegetables in my fridge anyway, a quick sandwich suited me just fine. I had some Walkers plain crisps too - although these aren't the healthiest of snacks - they ARE vegan and I did have grapes as a snack later on also.

Tonight for dinner I had kale stuffed mushrooms and they were DELICIOUS. Even though it took me half an hour to make and the kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it (I also had a packet of bread crumbs practically explode and spill EVERYWHERE), it was well worth it and rather easy to make.

So it was portabella mushrooms stuffed with kale, which was seasoned with crushed garlic and shallots (which are actually just mini onions), then I sprinkled the top with cheese and then bread crumbs. The recipe said to use wine but I didn't have any, though it didn't make much different.

This was definitely one of my favourite recipes to date that mostly uses up ingredients I had in my house anyway, it was just the kale I had to go out and buy. I'll definitely be making this again and recommending it to my friends also.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Veganuary 2016 | Week One; Formidable Joy; Formidable; Veganuary; Veganuary 2016; Health; Food


Whoohoo! I made it to a week! And I'm very proud of myself...Every day this week I've had jam on toast for breakfast which I think I'll start trying to mix up a bit. However, I've never really been a breakfast person. The breakfast mix I made with chia seeds was super delicious but was more so for when I was at work. I'm thinking maybe next week using different toppings on toast or having something on the go followed by the proper breakfast mix at work.

Lunch was a cheese and onion roll with crisps again and for snacks I had grapes and one of my Nakd berry cheeky bars! Again, fairly simple, but still healthy (apart from the crisps). I think it's important to have a few foods you're already used to - at least at first and as long as they're vegan or adapted to vegan - because it is a big change. It's not just about cutting out meat - it's about loosing the vital vitamins you get from meat and going on a whole new diet.

So even though I hope to become more experimental with my lunch food too, I don't feel too guilty because I feel like having a bit of food I'm already used to is a great way to transition from one diet to another.

For dinner I had stuffed mushrooms again. It had been a busy day and by the time I sat down ready for dinner at home, it was pretty late and I guess I didn't feel like I had the time or motivation to google recipes or look through my cupboards to see what I could make. Because I still had two large mushrooms left and the kale was going out of date, I thought I'd just do something easy.

And amazingly they were better the second time around!

So to recap, here's what I learned this week:

- Be as prepared as possible and know why you're doing this
- Even though it's beneficial to have a list of things to buy, it's just as beneficial to keep a list or an idea of what things are going to be the same. In your first week, with so many changes, sometimes it helps to stick to simple sandwiches you already know you like.
- Shopping online is the easiest option..
- is making meal plans
- Stay motivated
- and you will begin to feel better in yourself by the time the week is over!

I haven't given up yet, so keep an eye out for my recap of how next week goes and at some point I'll be popping up the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms!

Have you ever tried going vegan? How hard do you think it might be? Let me know with a comment!

You can also find me on

*This exciting challenge is in collaboration with Veganuary 2016 at


  1. Oh yum it sounds like you are being so creative with veganuary - you even make me tempted to join in. x

  2. Well done, I wouldn't know where to start. Look forward to your week 2 now x

  3. Congrats on your progress so far. What inspired you to start Veganuary btw?

  4. Oh this post made me chuckle! Sorry your week started off so shaky! I think being vegan requires a lot of pre-planning. I'm going to go vegan this summer for a month (when my veg box is bursting!) just to see what it's like. Good tip about the coconut milk - I will remember that!

  5. I tried going veggie once to lose weight but it didn't work and didn't last lol!

  6. Well done on making week one. I have never tried going vegan but have tried going vegetarian a few times. I managed 6 months while I was pregnant (I went off meat so that was easy) and the again for three months last year (much harder because I missed meat). Look forward to hearing how you get on. x


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