Cooking Tips from People with MS

Here are some more great ideas on how to enjoy cooking again.

Senior woman washing vegetables at kitchen sink
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This continues the tips that readers have shared with me about how they brought joy (and ease) back into their kitchens. (As an aside, the first quote reminded me to share one of my relevant articles, Holiday Hazards for People with Multiple Sclerosis). Enjoy - and use - some of the following tips from others like us:

  • "For the 2nd time since I’ve been dxd, I am hosting the family Thanksgiving. Last time I thought I did really well. I prepared pies ahead of time, had my children peeling & mashing potatoes, Hubby doing things as well. Family all brought covered dishes. While I cooked, I sat and rested between things. And yet by 5:00 I was TOTALLY WIPED OUT. It was the strangest thing. My whole body hurt and I almost didn’t make it to my bed to lie down. Then I was so sore I wasn’t even sure I could rest. So be careful about T-giving!!"
  • "I love to cook, and coming from a long line of great Southern ladies who can cook circles around anyone, it’s in my blood. I was diagnosed in 1998 and fatigue is my greatest symptom. I run out of steam in the mid-afternoon, so some days I will prepare most of dinner in the morning and only have a few things to finish, to put in the oven, or some reheating to do. I also like to do as much prep as I can for the week. For example, cooking a large batch of ground turkey on a Sunday afternoon and then split it up to be used throughout the week (spaghetti, tacos, etc). I also have the added pressure of having a child with food issues (no gluten) so I’ve spent a lot of time adapting favorite recipes so I don’t have to prepare two separate meals for my family all the time."
  • "A few years ago, I created a meal plan on my computer, complete with a shopping list and recipes that would provide for my family for a week at a time. If I am having a rough patch, I can fall back on this list by letting my husband do the shopping. (It turned out to be a godsend for my mother when she took over for me after the birth of my youngest child.) And I always have something in the freezer for my kids, just in case, like their favorite meatballs. When I do my shopping, I write down what I plan to prepare each day on my calendar, then I can help myself remember what needs to be taken out of the freezer, etc. If I don’t write things down, they don’t get done."
  • "I have some cognitive lapses, but I honestly feel that those issues occur more when I “think” a recipe and not “feel” one. This may seem too “crunchy-feeley”, but I feel that I have more dysfunction when I “think” as opposed to “feeling” food! I say to myself: “Why is that ingredient used?  What should it taste like?” Approaching food this way makes it easier to cook for me!"
  • "The best thing I’ve found is to sit at the kitchen table to cut vegetables (I find standing for long in one place very tiring but can get everything done while sitting down). Plus, I don’t prepare the vegetables and immediately start cooking – a short break really helps!"
  • "I am sitting here in front of my computer crying, because I realize for the first time, that there are others with cognitive dysfunction just like me. I live in Germany and this part of my MS has never been treated or even been taken seriously by my doctors. To see that others have the same problems – it’s just overwhelming. Now to cooking – I have a Romertopf here (I’ve just looked it up in Amazon – it is available there). The good thing about it is: You just put everything together in it, put it in the oven, and then forget about it for the next hours. It is a good exercise for the brain to read and make the recipes – especially if I use American recipes, but the biggest problem here is to handle the cup-measuring which we don’t have in Germany. But the cookies are great most of the time and they are freezable – so I bake lots when I feel better, and when I am low I still have cookies for my little son. Greetings from Germany!!!!!"
  • "Growing up with Chinese parents they have always cooked “mis en place” style. It just so much easier to handle the actual process of cooking when all the ingredients are prepared out and ready to go into the wok. I had MS for 8 years now and struggling with cognitive challenges and fatigue, this technique has truly helped me with my own family and I take what I’ve learned with my parents to heart when it comes to cooking."
  • "I look for recipes that are quick to prepare, which means they have fewer ingredients as well as fewer steps. I have discovered kitchenscoops.com as a great source. The claim is that all recipes can be prepared in 20 minutes. That means that for me it will be ready in about 40 minutes! (With this confounded MS we have to laugh as much as we can!)"
  • "My biggest problem with cooking is forgetting to turn off burners when I’m done. Thankfully, my husband knows this is a problem and keeps an eye out, even if he doesn’t understand why I keep doing it. I try to be extra careful when I know he’s not home. This not only wastes energy but is actually dangerous."

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