Hello, Scoliosis Sistas!
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As we know, with scoliosis and/or spinal fusion, even the littlest task can seem daunting. Some days, I don’t even want to get out of bed because of the pain, much less have to cook! But, a girl has gotta eat regardless of chronic pain! Thankfully, Darrel likes to cook and helps take some of the responsibility, but I also want to help contribute to the household in the ways that I can. I love cooking a nice, warm meal for my man on occasion, so I came up with a SMARTER, not HARDER way of cooking!
1.) Curbside Grocery Shopping
Most of us are probably using curbside services because of the pandemic, but I have been using it years beforehand! I can’t see myself doing a big grocery haul any other way. Accessibility in grocery stores is a joke and I get burnt out and trampled on by Karens and shoppers in the first 15 minutes. Why aren’t there benches or chairs in grocery stores? I would much rather pay $5 (if there isn’t a coupon code that makes it free) to have an able-bodied person do my shopping for me. How do I expect to cook if I am already exhausted?!
Here’s $10 to try it out! You can thank me later.
2.) Squishy Shoes and Sit Down
My favorite shoes for cooking and taking long walks down the isles at IKEA are Sanuk Flip Flops! The bottoms of the shoes are made from a yoga mat material that provides the ultimate squish factor for your feet which directly affects your joints all the way up to your neck! I really like the Yoga Sling flip flops because the sling, that holds your foot to the shoe, also compresses your foot in all the right areas for arch support! This is not sponsored, but I have been wearing these since high school!
Don’t be afraid to take a chair, stool, or mobility aide into the kitchen with you! Listen to your body and sit down when you feel the need.
3.) Use Recipes with Built-in Breaks
When researching recipes on Pinterest, look for the ratio of cook time a prep time. The recipe I am using for the example in this post will be my easy, peasy Salmon recipe. All of the prep-work is done before I put my fish in the oven, which means I get 12-15 minutes of relaxation before I plate the food!
4.) Use Cooking Shortcuts That Don’t Skimp on Quality
Veggies can be expensive, especially if you buy them just to rot in your refrigerator. That is why Darrel and I use canned and frozen veggies! I know, the audacity. Canned green beans are so salty, but often there are “no salt added” versions, or you can simply drain the beans and rinse them in cold water to get rid of the excess salt! It works like a charm.
Our most favorite way of getting in our greens is to use mixed frozen veggies in a steam bag! Each bag is only a dollar (with 4 servings, but we usually split the bag between the two of us), won’t rot in your produce drawer, and is ready in only 5 minutes in the microwave. Perfectly steamed, unseasoned, and great quality! You can drizzle olive oil with some salt and pepper in the bag and just shake it!
5.) Utilize Cooking Gadgets
I am head-over-heels in love with my rice cooker, my crock pot, and my kitchen aid mixer! Rice has historically been the bane of my existence, but since we got this bad boy, second hand from a co-worker, rice is always on the menu! It is such a low fuss way of making a side dish. Just put equal parts of rinsed rice and water, cover with a lid, and push the button.
6.) Don’t Cook Meals in Bulk
This tip seems counterintuitive for most, but having chronic pain means you have to take tasks in small bites or you will burn yourself out! If I cook, I am only making enough for a large serving for Darrel and a small serving for myself. This also helps if you have issues with portion control or going back for seconds. To me, using small to medium-sized dishes helps spare my neck from aching after cooking and washing! Plus, I hate having left-overs stacked up in the fridge that I probably won’t want to eat. There’s something gross about eating leftovers to me. That’s part of why I hate meal prep diets. Don’t judge lol
7.) Enjoy the Process
Start off on the right foot! Play some music, light some candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, light one up, or whatever you are into…. Just remember to smile and trick your brain into thinking you love this activity.
It feels so stupid but crazy enough, it actually works! I learned this from one of my favorite workout instructors who makes you smile during the entire workout. If you are like me and your brain doesn’t like to produce dopamine, you won’t feel accomplished after finishing even the hardest of tasks, but when I am smiling, it usually helps me feel proud of myself because of my positive mood and that I didn’t give in to the sadness. Try it out while cooking and let me know if you notice a difference in your mood!
8.) Clean Up While You Cook and Use Parchment Paper
It’s so much easier to line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, than to wash that thing all the damn time. There is no need for that nonsense, just line it and wash as needed.
Also, while you are cooking, immediately rinse any pots and pans to avoid scrubbing stuck food off later. Just put your dishes into the dishwasher as you cook, then after you eat, stick the plates and utensils in there too and hit the start button! That’s another opportunity for you to take a break before unloading the dishwasher!
9.) Don’t Forget Dessert!
I know people aren’t dogs, but positive reinforcement still works on humans and dammit, I want a treat for working so hard!
At the end of the day, I usually have one sweet treat, like an ice cream sandwich or a cookie. I do this as a form of self-care because I have such a sweet tooth, but I don’t want to binge and overdo it. Allowing myself a little something sweet helps with cravings and tosses out the mindset of “bad” and “good” foods. Anything in moderation is fine! I include my sweet treat in my calorie counting for the day. It’s better to have a few hundred calories a day keeping you sane, than frantically binging thousands of calories in “forbidden foods” over the weekend or a holiday.
10.) Be Realistic and have Compassion for Yourself
I am not a chef, nor do I ever want to be one. Cooking is hard work, that is why the Good Lord made restaurants! No one is telling you that you HAVE TO cook all day, every day. If you feel like ass, just order a pizza or from places like Salata and Chipotle, if you are wanting something healthy and wholesome. It’s okay to take a break and rest your back. You deserve it!
What is your favorite meal to cook???? Comment below!
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