Cut up vegetables with a kitchen knife

Getting Help in the Kitchen

Last updated: October 2019

I am one lucky lady. My husband’s parents owned Chinese restaurants while he was growing up. Thankfully, he took over most of the kitchen duties after we were married, even before I was diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. As a bonus, he makes one mean fried rice dish!

The downside: All that good-tasting food can leave me feeling sluggish.

Don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful for any time I don’t have to cook in the kitchen, and his meals are delicious. But, over the years, I’ve come to understand too much fried rice has me feeling blah the next day.

I’ve learned to balance this by stepping up and cooking more of the family meals. Since the kitchen can be a place where I experience the most pain in my joints, I can have a difficult time making the entire meal myself.

Elizabeth Perkins, MD, Novartis spokesperson and Alabama-based rheumatologist, has a few ideas to help psoriatic arthritis patients in the kitchen.

Solicit help

Dr. Perkins suggests that patients spend their time in creative planning and get other people to help with the manual labor. Use your brainpower and energy for planning the meal, and leave more of the execution to other family members.

For PsA patients, grip impairment from the inflammation in the tendons and joints in hands or standing on weight-bearing joints for long periods of time can increase pain. Dr. Perkins suggests someone else do the cutting and the chopping.

“Getting family member to help with the prep work is really a great way to involve others and make sure that, again, you’re not wearing yourself out before your meal is even done,” she said.

She also suggested buying pre-cut food if you don’t have a family member to help. You can often find chopped vegetables or a salad kit in a bag. As for meat, you can use pre-cut, already cooked chicken to make it easier on yourself.

Limit time in the grocery store

Dr. Perkins said it’s really no good for a patient to stand on concrete in a grocery store, only to get home and have no energy and/or sore joints. Making dinner after using up all your energy walking up and down the aisles looking for ingredients is beyond difficult.

“I encourage doing anything you can to plan where you don’t have to be at that front line. Think about your meals and actually spend your energy on the planning side, so that your time is spent really on the part where you’re eating healthy to feel better,” she said.

While I personally haven’t tried this, I know of other patients who rely on and appreciate home delivery grocery services. Often there is a minimum dollar amount to reach before the service is free, but it might be worth it to investigate these types of services in your area.

Gadgets and gizmos

Dr. Perkins said there are all kinds of modern technologies patients can use in the kitchen. These include using spoons and tongs with rubber grips to make it easier to hold, an electric mixer to give your wrists a rest, and a crockpot or steamer to limit the amount of time in the kitchen — all things Dr. Perkins said are designed get you out of the front line of crushing, cutting and cooking manually.

Both the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation recognize products that aim to benefit patients and make their lives better. For a list of products, including those to use in the kitchen, check out these links:

Do you have any kitchen hacks? Share your ideas with the community and help out other psoriatic arthritis patients.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?