A lot of people really want to cook our weekly meal plans, but they don’t. They have big plans, high hopes, excitement, anticipation, and then for whatever reason…..nothing happens.
No batching, no yummy plant based food in the fridge to eat all week long, no feeling awesome, just disappointment that they did not put in a few hours to do the deed. And then when the next meal plan comes out they get discouraged because they didn’t batch the last one so they don’t want to batch the new one. And so it goes.
Pretty soon, it’s eating the same 4 things over and over again and take out city. They cancel their plans because they can’t justify paying $20 a month if they aren’t using the plans. Even though they WANT to use the plans! And then they see people’s scrumptious looking pictures of the new meal plan food in our Facebook group and then FOMO happens and they kick themselves for cancelling the plans.
We see this crazy pants cycle in our inbox all the time. Really wanting to do something that supports your life and your health and not taking action is frustrating, I get it. I used to do this all the time.
But here’s the thing. The only way you can take action is by taking action. Duh, but true.
Enter Lyndsey Hafer-Williams the Great.
This woman has batched every single recipe of every single meal plan since she signed up in August 2017. I was super stoked when Lyndsey told me she had written a piece about batch cooking and how she gets it done each week.
Now, I get that life gets busy and there are legit reasons why you might not be able to batch cook every week. But I also know that if you really want to eat a kick-ass plant based diet that tastes really fucking good, you have to put in some kitchen time each week and make that shit happen!
Here to help with that, I hand over the stage to Lyndsey!
Meal Plan Batching Inspiration by Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Ok, my friend, listen up! We are about to get down and Dirty about batching and I’m going to speak some hard truths. I need you to take a deep breath and then read this (all the way until the end!) before allowing your mind to resist with roadblocks and obstacles. Give me a chance and simply trust me for the five minutes it’ll take you to read this!
Let’s do it.
I encourage you to stop your complaining and incessant worrying.
I encourage you to start listening with an open mind and welcoming heart.
I encourage you to allow your spirit to absorb these words and then let it set your soul on fire!
It’s time to get real, get over your excuses, get your fear and anxiety under control, get your rear in gear, take back your kitchen, and grab your life by the fucking balls! Are you with me? Got your Tough Love Helmet on? Are your Big-Girl Granny Panties securely fastened? Well, hang on tight, because here we go.
Batch-cooking the CFDG meal plans will absolutely and deliciously transform your life if you let it!
Batching Mindset and Attitude (Part One)
We all live enormously busy lives where every minute seems to be scheduled and there is an endless list of tasks and duties to be accomplished. Our lives are structured this way, and the responsibilities of daily life often leave us feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, and out of time. It is unbelievably taxing as we desperately try to live up to the expectations of our families, friends, employers, and even ourselves. On most days, we struggle with feelings of guilt, failure and frustration when we just can’t get it all done. And if by chance we do get it all done, then we are so exhausted that we can’t enjoy our success, much less add anything else to our plate, right?
Probably. But it DOES NOT have to be like that.
There IS time for you to take care of yourself and your family. And that includes batching a week’s worth of kick-ass plant based food so you can eat like a plant based boss all week long.
Ok. Ok. I can hear the excuses, the roadblocks, the obstacles, and the doubt all bubbling up in you, and I can see you rolling your eyes. But, remember! You promised to just trust me and read this all the way through. So clear your head, take another deep breath, and keep reading…
A Few Things About Me and How I Batch
If you’ve seen my pictures and posts on social media you might believe that all I do is eat, play, laugh, and enjoy life. You’ll see me singing the praises of the CFDG meal plans and see the (seemingly) magical weight loss and healthy transformation in the photos that I share.
You’ll see love and happiness and freedom and success, and pure joy. You’ll see that I have built a gorgeous, but very simple life, full of devoted friends and sweet family and spoiled rotten fur babies. I don’t have all the materialistic trappings that some might have, but I do have all that I need. I live in outrageous gratitude every single day and feel unbelievably fortunate for all that my life has come to be. I know that I am blessed beyond all measure.
However, it’s not all fun and games…
Don’t get me wrong, I do all those above-mentioned things with gusto and enjoy it all tremendously! But what you don’t see is all the hard-ass work that I put into achieving the joy and freedom of those fun days!
I’ve never shied away from being very real, very genuine, and very honest with you (especially, in the CFDG private Facebook group!) and I’m not about to start now. So I’m going to be my authentically blunt self and lay it all out there as usual.
I’m just as busy and tired as you, my friend:
I work with clients who struggle with the devastating heartbreak of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is often tremendously rewarding, but it is also mentally and physically exhausting.
I’m married to a brilliant mad scientist who is thoroughly dedicated to her job. It keeps her super busy and, in turn, shifts the role of Happy Hausfrau, Serf, Chief Errand Runner, Grocery Shopper, Laundress, Chef, Housekeeper, Homemaker, Gardener, Cheerleader, Support Captain, Animal Control Officer, and all-around Manager of “Keep everyone fed, happy, medicated, dressed, and alive” onto me.
I do not have children (at least the two-legged variety), but I do have four fur babies which are all rescues and have special needs.
I have extended family responsibilities that must be attended to and dear friends that need encouragement, support, and my presence as they go through struggles, hardships, and life events of their own.
As I talked about in past posts, I struggle with serious depression and it is absolutely imperative that I maintain a healthy regimen of (minimal) medication, psychotherapy, meditation, yoga, physical activity, and especially a Whole Food Plant Based diet, which has been unarguably and phenomenally transformative in this area of my life.
These challenges are not complaints, they are the honest realities of my life, that could get in the way of batching the weekly meal plans. But, when I decided to sign up for the CFDG meal plans, I made a commitment to myself, and I have kept that commitment.
I have batched every single item on every single meal plan, every single week, for the last 11 months (with the exception of the week after my dog died and even then I batched 5 comforting CFDG soups for Lori and myself). Sometimes it’s been fun. Sometimes it’s been magical and empowering. Sometimes it’s been easy. Sometimes it’s been hectic. Sometimes it’s been hard as hell. Sometimes I didn’t want to do it. Sometimes I just wanted to crawl in a hole and be left alone. But every single time, I batched that bitch!
My ideal way to batch is to grocery shop on Friday afternoons (because I’m off work and I can also get a thousand other errands done too!). That way, on Saturdays, I can go hike and play in our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina with Lori and our dog. I like to get up early on Sunday mornings, have coffee on our deck while watching the birds at their feeders, and then batch the hell out of the current meal plan. Then I have something fresh to take to dinner at the in-laws on Sunday evening. That’s my ideal and my most productive way to batch.
But, you know what? It rarely works out that way! I’m usually readjusting based on whatever comes along, but batching is such a priority for me that I make it work. No excuses.
My General Batching Tips
Let’s make it really simple:
- Prior to receiving your first meal plan: straighten up/organize your kitchen!
I found after my first batching experience that my small kitchen was ridiculously overcrowded, ineffectual and inefficient. So, I cleaned out cabinets, drawers, donated gadgets, rearranged the small appliances, donated non-perishable food items that I’d no longer be eating, cleaned out the fridge, and basically overhauled my kitchen. Sound like a lot of work? Nope. Only took an hour and now everything is streamlined and saves me so much time it’s crazy! A little preparation goes a long way.
- Make a plan: grocery shopping and batching on the same day is too overwhelming!
- When the meal plan hits your classroom on Friday morning: READ THAT FUCKER!
Read through the tips and information that is so specifically written out for you to follow. Read through your shopping list, read through the batching items and instructions, and even read through the rest of it in order to get the big picture. Don’t let it overwhelm you—it’s just preparation and information so that you can feel confident in your actions. There will not be a test, and this is nothing to stress about.
Decide if you want to batch the whole week or if you just want to do the quick batch option. It’s up to you! You have choices! The whole point is just to have healthy plant based items in your fridge and ready to eat during the week.
This is not a race. Yes, you may only have a certain amount of time to batch and that’s ok. Take a deep breath and just take it one step/one page/one item at a time.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: it’s completely fine to use regular rice wine vinegar until you find brown rice vinegar.
The first time I went grocery shopping I had a complete meltdown in the middle of the store. I was armed with my shopping list and was trying my hardest to find all these new and (what I thought at the time) exotic ingredients, before I burst into tears right there in the condiment aisle in front of the ketchup. Not kidding.
But what I learned (and you will soon learn) is that these ingredients are common, even if not yet to you, and once you know where they are located it’s easy to grab them like a rock star! Also, after the first few meal plans, you’ll pretty much have everything you need stocked in your pantry and fridge and all you have to do is buy fresh veggies and maybe some bulk items each week. Easy Peasy!
Stop stressing about buying all new items when you have a pantry full of food. Just use up what you have, and then buy the different kind next time. Example: I used up my regular Worcestershire sauce before buying the vegan version.
- Special Equipment: Use what you’ve already got!
One of my most favorite things about batching is that I’m actually using all the appliances, cutlery, pots, pans, dishes, storage containers, kitchen gadgets, and all those things that just used to sit around ignored. It’s a great feeling!
Now, I will say that I have found that a good blender, food processor, Instant Pot, and cushioned floor mats to stand on, are all necessary items for me. You will learn what you need and what you want and what you have space for as you go along. The whole fucking point is to just get into your kitchen and batch that meal plan!
- Clear your space before batching: declutter and simplify!
For those of us with small kitchens and limited counter space, remove everything that you won’t need (coffee pot, toaster, dog treat jar, mail basket, etc…) into another place. I put everything on the dining room table. Also, get out the things you always use like a few mixing bowls, measuring spoons and cups, etc… It’s just become part of my routine. Just like putting on my sneakers and my apron! It’s a quick way to save time and frustration while batching. Part of my cleanup is putting everything back in its place.
- Get a 3-ring binder for the meal plans if that will help you!
At this point I’m starting to feel a little guilty over the amount of paper I’m using, but I like to visually and physically have that plan in my hand and be able to look back and forth between ingredient lists, batching instructions, and how it’s going to come together on the weekday.
These simple and valuable time-saving tips have helped batching become a more enjoyable experience. You will find your own unique ways of saving time and having fun as you make this part of your weekly routine!
Batching Mindset and Attitude (Part Two)
Ritual is a part of our culture and our society. It has been an important part of life for all of history. Our rituals bring us peace and joy. We find comfort and nourishment in routine and in the traditional customs of our lives. Ritual can be something as simple as enjoying our steaming morning coffee or hot tea in a beloved mug, or collapsing joyously into a favorite chair at the end of a long day. It can also be as deeply personal as our closely-held spiritual practices or as treasured and cherished as family gatherings at holiday time.
Might I suggest that you let batching become a ritual that can comfort, empower, and motivate you to be all that you are meant to be in this life?
Our lives are constantly changing and our days almost never go totally according to plan. We are moving and grooving and then something (or someone!) knocks us down, at which point we must rearrange and readjust, in order to get through the situation. As all of life does, down to the tiniest seedling in the earth, we must revise our routine and adapt to our environment in order to survive. Think about it. We have to be flexible enough to shift and adapt in order to just survive! We adjust and modify our daily routines for the things that are important to us.
I lovingly encourage you to make batching a priority that you must, absolutely must, find a way to make happen on a weekly basis.
We all have different situations, circumstances, and challenges. Some things are just shitty facts of life such as long work hours, unsupportive families, or financial difficulties. However, I’m about to go out on a limb here and say:
TIME should never be used as a reason or excuse for not batching a fridge full of plant based food to nourish yourself and your family.
My wife recently told me that she views my batching as an act of love and as an investment in our future. It makes her happy to hear the slicing, dicing, blending, and chopping of veggies and smell the sensational food as it simmers, roasts, and cooks. It has actually changed the way we interact with each other. It has eliminated the stress of figuring out what’s for dinner every night, and it has lowered our grocery bills. Who needs roses and diamonds? We have CFDG Meal plans!
You make time for what you prioritize in your life.
It’s as simple as that.
Do you want to feel better? Do you want your children and/or partner to eat healthier? Do you want to meet weight goals? Do you want to eliminate medications? Do you want change? Well, my beautiful friend, change requires action. Did you hear me?
CHANGE REQUIRES ACTION!
I believe with all of my heart that if you sit down and really take a look at your life you can find the time to batch cook a meal plan, or the quick batch option, or just a few plant based dishes from the CFDG blog to have on hand throughout the week.
It’s all about choices and priorities.
What’s important to me is maintaining this beautiful new life I’ve discovered through plant based nutrition. It seems so simple, yet this way of eating has allowed me to find glorious freedom from yo-yo dieting, and I’ve watched as chronic medical conditions have either lessened or been eliminated altogether.
Also, it has given me such peace that I’m finally able to align my love for animals and concern for our planet with real tangible action on my part. It brings me such profound joy to batch for my family and friends as an act of love. A firm commitment to batching the CFDG meal plans every week keeps all these things at the forefront of my life. It’s so beautiful when everything falls into place!
What’s important to you?
Now is a perfect time to put your health first, get into your kitchen and batch the hell out of this Smoky Red Pepper Sauce! Use it as a salad dressing, drizzle it over potatoes, use it as a sauce in bowls, dip veggies in it or drink it straight out of your blender, we don’t judge.
Smoky Red Pepper Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups
- 1/2 cup water (120ml)
- 1/2 cup tahini (110g)
- 1/2 cup red pepper, cut into chunks (70g)
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- 1 Brazil nut (see note at end of recipe)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until super creamy and smooth.
If you don't have a Brazil nut on hand, you can skip it. I added the Brazil nut to this recipe because of this study.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with following this week’s meal plan like a boss.