Making Cooking Easier When You’re Chronically Ill

 

A healthy, balanced diet is vital for everyone. It provides your body and mind with the fuel they need to function optimally. However, when you live with a chronic illness, it becomes even more important to ensure you’re eating well. That’s often a lot tougher than it sounds. 

Why a balanced diet is important

It’s important to note that when we’re talking about diet, we simply mean the foods we choose to eat, rather than any type of food restriction. As well as the usual health benefits of eating well, there are many reasons a balanced diet is important for those with chronic illness. Firstly, fatigue is a common and debilitating symptom of many chronic illnesses. Therefore, giving your body as much energy as you can help to set you up for success and enables you to tackle fatigue as much as possible. 


Often those who are chronically ill have a weakened immune system. Eating a healthy diet can help to combat this by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to fight off illness. The right diet also helps our body to heal and repair itself and promotes stronger bones. 


A healthy diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which becomes even more important if you have joint problems. More weight on your joints with conditions such as arthritis, often makes movement mobility more challenging. When you live with chronic pain,  your stress levels are often high. These prolonged stress levels can cause other physical issues (such as problems with your heart), which a healthy diet can help to combat.


Many of us who live with chronic illness struggle with cognitive issues. For example, I live with fibromyalgia and struggle with ‘fibro fog’, which makes memory, concentration, and thinking clearly challenging. Eating a healthy diet helps your mind to function properly and plays a part in tackling cognitive issues. 


Eating the right balance of foods can help to combat inflammation. This is particularly useful for those with chronic pain because inflammation can cause and worsen pain. Lastly, chronic illness can sometimes make you more susceptible to developing other health issues: a healthy diet plays a part in preventing this.

Easier said than done.

Knowing all of this is great, but it’s so much easier said than done! When you live with chronic illness, so much of your time is spent surviving, managing your symptoms, and doing your best to function. It’s hard enough to cope without trying to add extra tasks to your list. 

If you've heard of the spoon theory, you’ll know that we only have so much energy in a day. If you’re a spoonie yourself, you’ll already know how draining just living is! It’s hard to dedicate much of our energy to cooking and preparing food, when you have other priorities. Taking the time to regularly cook homemade meals can feel like climbing a mountain, and is often simply not realistic. 

Tips to make cooking easier 

Thankfully there are ways to do the cooking and eating a healthy diet more realistic and manageable. Let’s take a look at some tips:


Shopping online

Going out to get your food shopping can take up so much energy. You can save those spoons for other tasks. Instead, shopping online can be so much easier. You can do it on your sofa or your bed. It allows you to take your time to think about what you want to buy (instead of grabbing for less healthy alternatives). 


Best of all, your shopping gets delivered to your door. Don’t be afraid to ask the delivery driver to bring your bags right into your kitchen for you, and even to set them on the counter to save you from bending down. You can always ask a loved one to help you unpack your shopping. If you don’t have help, start with putting away your frozen and fridge stuff and then you can take your time after that. Allow yourself to take breaks and cheer yourself on. 


Buy pre-prepared foods

There are so many supermarkets which have pre-prepared packets of food. This isn’t referring to ready meals (although these can be helpful too at times), but rather pre-prepared ingredients. For example, you can buy chopped, peeled and washed vegetables, or ready chopped fruit. This saves so much time and energy! 


Depending on where you shop, you might also be able to buy pre-prepared meat which is seasoned and chopped. These options allow you to just open the packet and start cooking, which can be much more manageable.




Batch cook

If you get a burst of energy, it’s important not to overdo things, but it’s a great idea to utilize your ‘good days’. It can be useful to cook healthy meals in batches which you can put in the fridge or freezer. That way when you’re having a hard day, you just have to quickly heat them up. This stops you reaching for unhealthy options, but is still convenient and quick. 


Use kitchen gadgets

Don’t be afraid to use kitchen gadgets: they can make life easier and aren’t always very expensive. A great option is a slow cooker. This allows you to put in all of your ingredients and simply leave it to cook for the day. At the end of the day, you have a warm, healthy meal just ready to serve. There are lots of great simple recipes online, or you can experiment. Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you can even use it to cook in batches.


Another useful cooking device is a steamer. You can pop fish, vegetables, meat, and all sorts of other ingredients in there and leave it to cook. It cooks quickly, and is very healthy as you’re not using any oils or fats to cook with. 


There are lots of other helpful gadgets you might find, such as an electric can opener (this can save energy and be great if you struggle with pain in your arms and wrists). There are also plenty of easy-grip options for knives and other utensils. 


Sit down

When possible, sit down to do your cooking. No rule says you need to be standing in the kitchen. You may even be able to buy higher stools to allow you to sit at the right height for your kitchen counter if stools are comfortable for you.


Keep meals simple

Healthy eating doesn’t mean that things have to be complicated or fancy. Choose simple meals with few ingredients to minimize the time and effort you need to put in. This also tends to reduce cost. Simple meals can be just as tasty, filling, and healthy. 


Ask for help

Asking for help can be really tough in any area of life. Sometimes chronic illness can feel as though it has taken a lot of your independence away from you. There are a lot of emotions which can come along with asking for assistance. However, learning to ask for help when you need it can be really beneficial.


You could ask loved ones to help you batch cook or pre-prepared meals so that you just have to heat them up. If you’re having a tough time, you could ask them to cook some meals for you. Remember that there’s no shame in allowing others to be there for you.

Cooking is achievable 

Although it can be tough to prioritize cooking and eating well, it really can make a difference and is so beneficial for your health. There are ways to have tasty healthy meals without it costing a fortune or taking up all of your energy for the day. By making things easier for yourself, cooking healthy meals can be an achievable goal!


Lastly, remember not to be too hard on yourself. If you don’t have the energy to cook this week, take a rest instead. If you order a takeaway, enjoy it guilt-free! If you have a treat, don’t be harsh with yourself. Life with a chronic illness is hard enough: you deserve a treat now and then. You’re doing your best, and that is more than good enough. Be kind to yourself and encourage yourself. 


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Autumn/Winter Season Must Have Essentials Survival Kit

 The Cold of the winter, is followed by the warmth of spring, which is followed by the heat of the summer and then comes the chill in the air that signifies autumn is officially here and I for one is already noticing the effect from the weather change on my well-being.

Between lack of sunlight (Vitamin D) and the colder weather, my energy levels go lower than usual, so getting up in the morning is absolute torture, and after work as soon as I get through the front door I'm in a straight into a hot bath, warm jimjams and my bed.

So I suffer from a condition called Lupus that also brings its own problems, some symptoms being stiff joints, muscle weakness, Raynauds phenomenon causing numb fingers and toes, basically I just want to curl up in bed with some snacks, an iPad and hibernate till spring.
Of course, becoming a hermit is not a viable option financially, mentally or physically but not to worry I have a few tips to share that will hopefully take some of the chill off all these woes.

AutumnWinter Season Must Have Essentials Survival Kit

Hot Beverages
Hot chocolate, English breakfast tea, green tea berry tea, Ribena you name it I will drink it – except coffee yuck!
Something is relaxing and comforting about hot drinks and what's not to love about that warm feeling you get in your tummy
My fave thing to do on a frosty morning is sip something toasty from a travel thermos while I wait for my car to warm up and I wake up slowly.

Oversized Cardigans
Comfy woolly over sized cardigans are my number one solution during cold snaps, especially in places when I am not in control of the heating like work or if I am going somewhere where the temperature will be changeable because you can easily take them off and put them back on when you need to plus they are a lot lighter than coats.

Candles
Nothing better than enjoying a warm scent on a cold night to help relax, or even better while soaking in a hot bath while downloading all of my thoughts and feelings from the day.



AutumnWinter Season Must Have Essentials Survival Kit

Friends
Even though often want to skip meeting up with friends I'm mindful not alienate myself from loved ones.  I try to think of creative activities to do with my friends to keep interesting at least once a fortnight 


Electric Blanket
This could very well be the reason I go straight to bed when I get in from work. What can I say I love the feeling of getting into a warm bed, no rubbing my feet together to generate heat for me?

AutumnWinter Season Must Have Essentials Survival Kit

Hot Baths
Slipping into a warm bath after a cold day… I'm not even going to go into it but feel free to check out some of my previous posts:






Lee-Anne x 

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Creative Interior Ideas for Free Time During Covid-19 Lockdown



Thousands of people are practicing social distancing worldwide during COVID-19 pandemic but this is not stopping them to use their creative potential and turn it into something productive like organizing or decorating their homes. 

At this time, our lives need a little bit of refreshment so why not pamper our homes with the same kind of love. If you are looking for some creative ways to spend your new-found free time creatively, here are some great ideas for you:

4 Positive Things To Do In Your Home During Lockdown


 Clearing clutter from your home and your lives declutters the mind and provides you a peaceful joy. Declutter your home and organize all of your stuff by category. Once the lockdown will be over, you’ll be proud of the time you spent in making your home fresh and clean.


   Make use of old items you have in your home and view some DIY tutorials to turn them into useful objects. You can create a lot of DIY stuff by recycling the things you already have.

creative, painting

 Beautify the walls of your home by rediscovering your long-lost hobby of painting. Play with colors, make art, frame it, and then hang it on the walls of your home. Art will not only help you to spend your time creatively but will also add some beautiful and personalized decor items in your home that you have made with so much dedication and purity.



 You can also rearrange the furniture in your home and change the layout to create an entirely new look as changing the place of different objec is a super quick an easy way to add a sense of newness to your home.

What creative changes have you recently made to your home?


Please comment below 


Love Life |Love Health | Love Beauty| Love Creativity 

Lee-Anne x 

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Yoni Steam Benefits

Yoni steam in someone's hand
Benefits Yoni Steam

           Yoni steaming is an age-old practice that uses steam infused
with herbs and medicinal plants to restore and heal the vagina.
 In in my case has been recently made popular by reality tv shows such as Housewives of Atlanta, 
Love and Hip Hop of course YouTube and has even been endorsed by celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow. 

This process said to help in the detoxification and improve the health of the reproductive tract so that you can have a happier and
healthier cycle. 

Yoni steam has been practised for centuries in different
cultures, and it is a gentle and effective way to improve the menstrual cycle
and promote fertility.

How Does Yoni Steaming Work?
Women shed their uterine lining every month as menses, and
this allows the uterus to prepare for ovulation and implantation. Sometimes
this uterine lining is inefficiently shed, which results in a build-up of
endometrial tissue and blood in the womb. This build-up tissue encrusts over
time, forcing the uterus and pelvic muscles to contract forcefully in an
attempt to expel the tissues from the body. This results in painful cramps,
fatigue and pain during our periods, and we all know how uncomfortable it can
be! 
Girl is lying on the bed
Yoni steam is terrific to relieve these symptoms, and the
heat soothes the vulva and exposes the labial membranes to the medicinal plant
and herb extracts.  These beneficial
extracts reach the uterus via the bloodstream and act to gently cleanse the
built-up lining. This process dramatically reduces cramps and pain during
periods and helps in implantation if you are trying to get pregnant.

As someone that has always suffered from painful periods I was
more than eager to explore the many benfits of Yoni steaming which include 

Reduction of the unpleasant symptoms associated with periods, including cramps and pain
Reduce the menstrual flow and decreases blood clots that cause discomfort to many women
The potent plant extracts regulate the cycle and help to resolve irregular periods
The steam improves fertility by aiding implantation of the egg
The soothing herbs help the reproductive system to heal and recover after giving birth
It helps to restore the vagina and heals vaginal tears or episiotomies
It is proven to soothe and relieve the pain associated with haemorrhoids
The steam is beneficial for chronic vaginal infections, and it helps to clear the disease while reducing pain
Relieves vaginal dryness or discomfort that may be associated with menopause, and aids to increase the natural lubrication
Aids in detoxification by cleansing the uterus and ridding the body of harmful toxins

How can you do it at home?
YES!
Yoni steaming is a very simple process, and with the right tools, you can easily do it at home! 
Packet of Yoni steam

I found these amazing Yoni Steam Packs on amazon which are basically like little tea bags and have 100% Natural Steam Herbs Ingredients: Formulated with motherwort, rosemary, mugwort, lavender, calendula, rose petals, albizia, oregano, basil, aloe vera. The steam of this natural organic blend helps women clean and rejuvenate vaginal areas balanced and comfort. 
Telling Tricks on how to do this

   Your ready to get steaming!
Start by boiling some water and pour into a large pot or heat proof container add the Yoni Steam Pack and allow to cool down  slightly before transferring the liquid to the  Bidet which should already be placed over the toilet. Sit over the steam for 30 minutes with a towel around your waist, and allow the steam to work its magic in this time you should mind, meditate and think about your intentions.
Vola 
My thoughts on the Yoni Steam
I found the Yoni steaming to be quite nice, of course I was very carefully to avoid making any sudden or jerky moved which could result in scolding down there.
 The instructions said that that after a steam, you should get into bed with blankets, or a warm bath, and then fall asleep, so the magic of the herbs can work their way into your soul overnight for optimal healing and results. I indulged myself with a hot bath and then it was off to bed and the land of nod for me.
It's too early to tell if my the yoni steam has made any difference to my menstrual cycle but I will be happy for any kind of positive change I can get.  In regards to my previous promise to practice self-love and be kinder to myself, doing the Yoni steam was far from a waste of time and I will defiantly be adding it to my regular routine. What’s not to like about a dry bath for half an hour, and dedicating some though and time to an important part of my body that frankly doesn’t get it enough lol!

Have you ever heard of a Yoni steam and would you consider doing one?
Please comment below with your answers 


Lee-Anne x 

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