When I’m writing and creating, the last thing I want to do is stop to cook or or even decide what I’m going to eat. And I’m a major foodie! So, even though I love all kinds of food, I don’t want to have to make lots of small decisions when I’m trying to make lots of big decisions with my writing.
To complicate matters, I have two chronic health conditions: SIBO and IBS, and numerous food intolerances. So, choosing what to eat on a daily basis can cause me a lot of stress and anxiety. It’s hard for me to eat out, and I don’t buy frozen meals because of all the ingredients that I can’t digest.
So, what’s a starving artist with a sensitive gut to do?
Marcus and I are now prepping and cooking large quantities of food twice a week so that we can easily put together tasty and healthy meals the other days of the week. Here’s what we did this week.
Pan fried a bunch of beef burgers (80% lean and 20% fat is a great combo) and homemade pork sausage patties (ground pork with salt and herbs).
Braised greens (rainbow chard) for an easy side dish. Braising is just cooking something on low with liquid (I used water) for a long time (40-45 minutes).
Washed, dried, and tore up lettuce (and arugula) for easy-to-make salads.
Washed, dried, and chopped vegetables to go with salads (cucumbers and mixed cherry tomatoes).
Washed, dried, and packaged grapes in little bags for quick snacks. This week, we prepped red grapes and muscat grapes.
And as you can see in the first photo, we also fried up a batch of bacon. Bacon is awesome. Your brain needs fat to fully function and I think bacon is one of the best ways to get it. We also pan-fried two pounds of cod fish. Fish is great for the brain.
Sure, it does take time to prep and cook this much food all at once. It took Marcus and I about 2.5 hours to do all this. Later in the week, on Wednesday, we also de-boned a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and did a huge stir-fry of rainbow carrots and yellow sqaush. If you can, try to batch cook with someone else. It makes the whole thing more fun and a lot less work.
Ever since we started batch cooking, it gives me so much relief to wake up every day and know that I have a fridge full of tasty and healthy meals waiting for me. The benefits of batch cooking are endless. Healthy Food. Safe Food (for someone like me). Saves money. Less stress. Less decisions. More creativity!
Try it and let me know what you think. And if you discover some new recipes, please share them!
APRIL 2017 UPDATE: One year later, I’ve discovered that many of the foods listed in this post no longer work for my SIBO and IBS, and actually cause more problems. Ack! After testing positive for fructose-intolerance, I no longer eat fruit or honey. After not eating raw foods for a week, I discovered I felt WAY better. Out goes the salad. After only eating cooked foods for a while, my digestion has massively improved. Also, I found that chard was hard for me to digest so I don’t eat it anymore. Trying to find good, easy things to cook, eat, and digest is an ongoing challenge for me, but I’m not giving up. Health is my #1 priority. Just like my writing, I’ll keep trying.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel centered on the question, can enemies become friends? She is also the founder of Prelaw Guru, a law school application consulting company, and the author of The No B.S. Guides for prelaw students.