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BPB ALERT: – FOLLOW UP FROM “TWENTY WAYS TO ENJOY COOKING WITHOUT PAIN”…

Only a day after writing the blog post – “Twenty Ways To Enjoy Cooking Without Pain a blogging friend sent me a link to the BBC on an article entitled “Fibromyalgia and pain: How cooking gave me my life back”

In the article Bryony Hopkins BBC Ouch, wrote that Fibromyalgia sufferer Ian Taverner said “When he turned to his cookbooks while managing fibromyalgia, he found the timings unachievable and the expectation of the photos overwhelming.”

“The pain was so bad I couldn’t hold a knife, I couldn’t stand up to cook, I couldn’t carry anything,” he says. “I almost gave up before I started.” “Ian spent years “existing” until the NHS referred him to the pain management programme at the Bath Centre for Pain Services – the last form of treatment available to him.”

Initially, he took to the kitchen alone, but found he needed the support of his wife and girls to make it happen.

“To start with, I thought, ‘I’m not really cooking, because they’re doing it’, but actually the point was we were doing something together.

“We tried some really simple things like boiling an egg and I needed help with the hot water pan because I would drop it. I learnt it was okay to make a mess – the key point was not to give up.”

Slowly, Ian developed methods to cook and realised others could benefit from what he had learned and came up with the idea for a cook book he called Cookfulness.

The recipe book focuses on cooking with a disability or chronic condition. It doesn’t contain any photos of the finished dishes and the timings are adapted to allow a realistic cooking pace. 

“I don’t want people to feel there is a ‘success’ criteria,” he says. “Whatever you come up with – it’s right.” Ian now cooks every day.”

Ian’s top tips are to keep pre-chopped vegetables in the freezer, batch cook, prepare your utensils in advance, use all your space in your kitchen and dob’t be afraid to ask for help. “

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TWENTY WAYS TO ENJOY COOKING WITHOUT PAIN…

One of my favourite pass times is baking but it can literally leave me in agony so it is important to know how to take steps to avoid pain while cooking. I always say that ‘ I will never let the pain beat me’ but knowing my limits is how I can enjoy baking without the consequences.

Preparing the vegetables or decorating a cake can soon trigger off pain, but if you have your kitchen organised in the right way and use specialist types of equipment it will mean that you can spend far more time enjoying cooking.

Since lock down my way of seeing my family, (even though it was at a distance with them at the front door and me outside the gate), was to bake for them. I loved seeing my granddaughters face peeping through the window when Nana arrived with some goodies. However, it has meant that I have had to look at how to make it simpler so I could enjoy my baking without suffering afterwards. Here are my top twenty tips on how to cook without causing too much pain.

1.The easiest way to get around this problems is to plan ahead for the week.

2. If you have some children or a partner at home that can help prepare some meals, then delegate the difficult jobs for them to do.

3. Concentrate on foods with multiple uses by making a stew that can last two meals, like a roast chicken, followed by a chicken salad or a chicken curry.

4. Crock pots can be a godsend for Fibro and Back Pain sufferers, your whole meal all in one pot.

5. Buy frozen or prepared vegetables if you have no one to chop your vegetables for you. We use onions, peppers, mushrooms and mixed vegetables for all our casseroles.

6.Try and have one afternoon where you could cook three or four meals in one hit, using left-overs to make soup or casseroles, and only cook when you are ‘good’. If your best time is in the morning then cook then, if its in the afternoon then cook then.

7. Set your pantry or cupboard out so you can easily get your pans/dishes without the need to keep bending over and moving things.

8. Use pots and pans with two handles, they are easier to hold.

9. Use a stool if you really cannot stand for long at all. They can be a godsend.

10. If you have trouble opening jars then buy a ‘multi bottle grip opening tool.

11. Store frequently used items in cupboards between knee and shoulder height.

12. Buy packet soups rather than tins if you have trouble opening cans, or buy an electric can opener.

13. Create planned leftovers which you can freeze and have available for another day.

14. Store spices in a drawer or on the counter rather than in a high cupboard. I have mine in a small service trolly on wheels which is easy to pull out and get my spices and baking products.

15. Put all your baking utensils into a basket so when you feel you want to bake everything is all together.

16. Spatulas, spoons, ladles, whisks and other cooking tools which feel comfortable in your hand can greatly improve manual dexterity, reduce pain, and compensate for swollen and deformed joints.

17. There are many choices and designs for cooking tools and kitchen aids that can make cooking easier, such as ergonomic, lightweight cooking tools, which have easy grips and non-slip handles. Like these four ergonomic set of wooden baking tools.

18. If you want to try out a new recipe then look for ones that are easy to cook. I have done all my baking with the recipes from the book Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes: Easy Bakes in Minutes. The recipes are brilliant and lots are prepared all in one bowl which is brilliant.

19. Of course the most important one of all is to pace yourself ( I find this very hard). Do everything in stages. Prepare, rest, prepare.

20. When pulling a hot dish from the oven, take advantage of the sliding grate. This allows you to not overextend your back.

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TOP TIPS ON HOW TO COOK WITHOUT BEING IN TO MUCH PAIN…

Coping with Fibromyalgia is hard enough for any of us but one of the biggest problems we face is cooking. It may sound stupid to others but to us its a chore that can leave us feeling exhausted and in pain.

Many of us find that we cannot stand for long periods of time so doing the vegetables or decorating a cake are painful for us.

The easiest way to get around these problems is to plan ahead for the week.

If you have some children or a partner at home that can help prepare some meals, then delegate the difficult jobs for them to do.

Concentrate on foods with multiple uses by making a stew that can last two meals, like a roast chicken, followed by a chicken salad or a chicken curry.

Crockpots can be a godsend in the winter for Fibromyalgia sufferers, just get help with your preparation of vegetables then pop it all in the pot and forget about it until its mealtime.

Try and have one afternoon where you could cook three or four meals in one hit, using left-overs to make soup or casseroles, and only cook when you are ‘in less pain or on a good day’. If your best time is in the morning then cook then, if it’s in the afternoon then cook then.

I get my husband to prepare all the vegetables for me and nearly always make two meals at one time. I love baking (one would never have known!) and keep all my ingredients in a basket which I can put on the table which enables me to sit down to bake.

It is a bit easier at this time of year as casseroles are ideal and you can get vegetable packs for those, just throw in a bit of garlic, a red wine stock pot and bobs your uncle.

Health Central say Why Stand When You Can Sit: The reason why cooking is so painful for most people is the prolonged periods of time standing and walking around. Try moving that cutting board to the table and chop while sitting. Try moving those green beans to the living room and snap while sitting or reclining. Remember to sit properly and get up properly when it is time to stand up.

Eating Well have six great tips on how to avoid back pain while cooking.

Get a supportive mat. Adding soft cushioning beneath your feet in the form of a foam or gel mat may make you more comfortable while slicing and dicing. Use a cookbook stand. Think about how much time you spend hunched over the countertop reading a cookbook. Store heavy items wisely. Quit crouching down low or getting on your tiptoes to reach for large, weighty items like the food processor, panini press, mixer, or bread machine. Be careful when bending. Whether you’re bending down to pick up a dropped carrot or your stand mixer, you want your legs to do the work of lifting, not your back. Speaking of workouts: Exercise your abs. Having a strong core will help keep your back strong, and finally, Take breaks. Often, cooking calls for a “hurry up and wait” approach.