The kitchen is the heart of any house but it can also be fraught with dangers and potential accidents. Since developing FND, I have lost count of the number of cuts, burns and scalds adorning my hands and arms where I have lost sensation in my hands and dropped/spilt something or slipped a knife. I addressed this with an Occupational Therapist and asked what interventions she could suggest for those who need to take a little more time in the kitchen.
There are so many gadgets out there that can make your life a little easier. There are tools that take the effort out of chopping veg, food processors which handle all the work for you, electric hand whisks to whip up cakes in an instant, and slow cookers which allow you to sit back and relax whilst supper is bubbling away. Think about the struggles that you have in the kitchen and whether there is a gadget that can help shave time off your preparation.
Get a grip
By this I mean get some utensils with strong rubber handles for you to grip. These can take some of the pain out of the process for you and give you greater control over your cooking and eating.
If, like me, you have lost strength in your hands these rubber openers grip to the slippery smooth surfaces of metal lids and help you twist them off with ease.
Use your good days
When you’re having a good day where you have more stamina than usual, put this to use and prep some veg. You can chop up onions, garlic, pepper, squashes and root veg and then freeze them so when you come to using them, you just have to grab a bag from the freezer and take out the appropriate amount. (I find that green veg like beans and courgettes etc don’t freeze brilliantly because of their high water content, but if you find a way- do share!)
Having a selection of meals ready to go is a life saver for anyone in general, but particularly for those with chronic illnesses. Check out our page on meal prep for some suggestions of slow cooker and ‘dump’ meals for you to freeze in advance. Have a working meal plan on the door of the fridge or somewhere in your kitchen so that you (and others) can see what you're eating that week and ensure that you have the right ingredients or equipment.
Don’t rush at a meal with all guns blazing. Standing up hunched over the work top isn’t going to do anyone any good so make sure you build regular rest breaks into your schedule.
Take a seat
Find yourself an adjustable sturdy, non-slip, high stool or chair for the kitchen. You can perch on the chair when chopping veg, doing the washing up or just continuously stirring the pot. It’s even useful when tackling that pile of ironing. Look for something like this that, though not particularly elegant, can be easily adjusted to the task at hand.
Simplify your shopping
Most major supermarkets do online shopping with delivery to your door, this is an excellent way to ensure that you get the items you need without having to leave the house or lug heavy things around in a trolley. You can book your shopping in advance and this gives you plenty of time to add things to the list as and when you realise you need them (which is really helpful on brain foggy days).
Think outside the box
Instead of following the same way you have approached a task for years, think about how you can make it simpler. For example, these kitchen shears can make preparing meat far easier and safer than using a knife if your hands aren’t responding.