Sometimes cooking feels like hard work, but imagine wincing every time you picked up a pot of spuds, chopped a carrot or twisted a lid. For arthritis sufferers cooking can be a painful ordeal that many avoid.
According to new research from Arthritis Ireland, 75 per cent of people living with the condition find cooking with swollen and inflamed joints a painful and frustrating experience, with 35 per cent opting for convenience food rather than home-cooked meals. More than half – 54 per cent – reported that their arthritis stops them from cooking regularly.
However, as discussed in week’s article ‘Fight arthritis with food’, by nutritionist Judith McElhinney, good nutrition is a vital part of controlling arthritis symptoms. Diet can go a long way toward reducing inflammation and tackling the pain and discomfort associated with the condition – and preparing food at home makes it easier to avoid ingredients that aggravate symptoms and incorporate those that can help.
With this in mind, Arthritis Ireland is rolling out a series of cookery classes designed to highlight the different skills that make cooking with arthritis comfortable and enjoyable. ‘Let’s Cook!’, which was launched by celebrity chef Stuart O’Keeffe last week, will see tailor-made recipes being served up through demonstrations run across the country, with the Mayo ‘Let’s Cook!’ class taking place in The Pontoon Bridge Hotel, Pontoon, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, May 22.
The workshop will include helpful tips on how to make the culinary experience a more enjoyable one, while keeping nutritious ingredients on the menu. Attendees will learn how little things can make all the difference – things like sliding heavy pots across countertops rather than lifting them; using ergonomic, lightweight knives and utensils; and taking advantage of electronic tools such as a food processor instead of cutting, shredding and crushing ingredients by hand.
O’Keeffe believes that the joy of preparing a meal is something that arthritis sufferers do not have to miss out on. “By taking a few extra precautions and by slightly altering the way you work in the kitchen, you can still indulge your passion for cooking and continue to create delicious, healthy food,” he says.
O’Keefe’s tailor-made recipes for the ‘Let’s Cook!’ campaign are available on the Arthritis Ireland website, www.arthritisireland.ie. With dishes like ‘roasted hearty tomato and garlic soup’, ‘pan-fried salmon with walnut pesto and wilted spinach’ and ‘chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding’ on his menu, sticking to an arthritis-friendly diet doesn’t sound all that painful, does it?
‘Let’s Cook’ tickets are free of charge and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To book tickets to the class at the Pontoon Bridge Hotel on May 22, visit www.arthritisireland.ie/letscook, email email@example.com or call 01 6470203. Judith McElhinney’s article on fighting arthritis with food, published last week, is available on mayonews.ie.