“Are you pregnant?!” “Not that I’m aware.” When I tell people about my peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, inspired by the Mr. Saturns, they’re usually a little boing’d out. When I tell them about how I prep them all at once, eat them because they’re an efficient balance of nutrients, and I like ’em, they usually admit that it’s smart. There’s a “mesmerism” with eating predictable foods at predictable times. I don’t feel hunger often.
I have a bit of hunger right now.
When I batch up the twenty sandwiches, split into four per day, with one split in half so I can eat half after wrapping up my essays like this and the other half I can eat after wrapping up my work for the day, it takes between a half-hour and one hour. I’m getting faster at the process. I’ll buy extras of the midrange-quality bread, low-sugar peanut butter, and block of cheese on my weekly grocery run so I don’t have to worry about running out, and I’ll make them usually the afternoon before my first workday.
The end result feels fantastic.
For years, I struggled with meal options. I’d stow snacks at my desk, in my bag, and binge on lunches. It was expensive in money and time. Though predictable, this predictability enables me to free up my thoughts from “whatever shall I eat?” to “what’s up in “The Story” or what can I downsize next?” I constantly surprise myself with how much mental autonomy I’ve regained through just deciding to hone in this routine. I already prep my clothes the night before.
Why not prep my food the week before?
Thoughts of bacteria developing in the sandwiches by my fifth batch creep into mind occasionally. If I do the best I can to prepare this food with sanitation, why should I worry about hypotheticals? There is more I can do. I can seal the sandwiches in air-tight containers or bleach everything, but I’ve been fine for the few weeks since I started this weekly process.
I used to make the sandwiches the night before.
When I’m already exhausted from a full morning editing and publishing my writing from the day before, writing my daily thing, and working a full-time job, all I want to do when I get home is rest. I’ll still need to row, prep for the next day – mainly streamlined to laying out my clothes, doing any laundry, bathing – and the most important thing: not procrastinating on getting to sleep at a decent hour. Removing the time it took me to make those sandwiches each evening actually helped significantly.
A daily chore became a weekly project.
Along with having a predictable stream of calories, these sandwiches are also fairly inexpensive, totaling less than two dollars daily, if that. Why spend ten to twenty dollars on food? For social normalcy? If I went out to lunch with colleagues, I might reconsider.
Until then, I’m enjoying my continued subtle improvements to my physical fitness.
|Quotes: [1,2] A coworker and me.|
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 222.5
– Last week’s weight: 222.5
– Difference: No weight loss, however, I’m noticing parts of my body are toner. I don’t really do measurements like maybe I should of my stomach or arm circumference, but for me, these more subtle changes are easier to write about than to state in numbers. That said, although I’m at the same weight, I feel like I’ve made progress because I was trying harder to reach my lowest weight possible last week – almost fasting through part of the end of the day – whereas this week I probably would have weighed less had I relaxed more in the evening, got a better night’s sleep, and all that. Plus, I didn’t worry about drinking some extra water.
|Inspirations: Somewhat because of the sandwich teasing, I wanted to write about the “whys” and the “hows” of these sandwiches. Maybe it’ll help you get some inspiration to make your own sandwiches? If so, I’d be happy knowing I helped out. Also, Murakami’s thoughts on mesmerism are a constant motivation. I won’t quote his “writing mode” process, but it’s all about doing predictable things at predictable times to perform at peak mental and physical strength for the length of writing a novel, or here, writing essays daily to eventually break free of my professional purgatory to write professionally, somehow, in whatever form that might take.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Photos: My kitchen counter before, during, and after, followed by my fridge with five day’s worth of sandwiches.|
|Written On: August 3rd [27 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: August 4th [Minor edits when publishing. Otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|