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Cooking Tips for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis

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When Chef and cookbook author Melinda Winner was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), she initially felt devastated and gained nearly 100 pounds from the physical limitations of the disease. But later, she started doing gentle exercises and explored how she could adapt her cooking style around her physical challenges. The result was her book ‘A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking with Arthritis’ (Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC, 2009) – an inspiration to many others affected by arthritis.

Here are a few important tips from the book that can come handy in the kitchen for those with arthritis:

1. Store frequently used things like flour, sugar, coffee and tea in glass containers with lightweight lift-off lids on your countertop.

2. Get an ergonomically designed knife with a large handle that’s easy to hold and maneuver.

3. Store your pots and pans on wall hooks or a pot hanger from the ceiling, to avoid unnecessary bending.

4. When filling or emptying large pots of water, use a plant stand for transport and a small plastic measuring cup to transfer the water.

5. When you have a lot of prep work to do, sit at the table instead of standing.

6. Get a rubber mat to stand on when you are cooking at the stove. The padding helps prevent back and leg pain.

7. Get arthritis-friendly tools: a food processor, standing mixer, lightweight utensils, electric jar opener and rubber-bottom mixing bowls for stability – just to name a few.

8. When you need to shake a bottle of sauce, try rolling it instead. If your hands are sore, use your forearm and the weight of your body.

9. If opening doors and doorknobs is painful, you can replace doorknobs with handles. Another option would be to tie a pretty ribbon or scarf on the closed door or refrigerator door so that you can hook your arm through the ribbon and use the weight of your body to open the door.

10. Arrange kitchen cabinets in such a way that the lighter, easy-to-handle things are on the upper shelves and the heavier items are on the lower shelves.

11. Try washing your dishes by hand. It is a welcome relief to soak in the warm soapy water. This will also help with joint mobility.

12. Freeze fresh herbs and spices in tablespoons, teaspoons and half-teaspoon measurements. Freeze these in water, milk, tea or cream. Also freeze tomato paste. Use an ice cube tray for the perfect measurement. Once frozen, place in marked bags in the freezer. The next time you need a teaspoon of basil, just grab a cube. This is a time and an energy saver.

13. Having problems whisking? Substitute a whisk for a handheld electric drink mixer. They are lightweight and have thick handles.

14. Removing trash bags can be tough. Buy a smaller can and bags that have handles. When it is time to be emptied, just slip your arm through the handles and pull the bag out.

15. To wipe off countertops, buy thick sponges. They are easy to hold and are relatively inexpensive.

About Arthritis Center

This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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