It’s Fab Friday (Saturday, oops), and this week I’ve rounded up my favorite kitchen gadgets that help make cooking easier for me as a Spoonie! Hopefully some of these suggestions might be helpful for others of you out there in the chronic illness/mental health community. Here are 13 Essential Chronic Illness Kitchen Gadgets!
Have you ever literally broken down in tears just thinking about the task of making dinner?
Spoonie friends, I’m willing to bet you have. For those of us with chronic illness and/or mental illness, there are some days where the thought of having to come up with something to eat—even if it’s just for yourself—is enough to break you. Severe fatigue, pain, and mental fog are a daily reality, and they can prevent you from taking proper care of yourself. As spoonies, we’re all probably aware that it’s better to eat fresh, healthy foods and home-cooked meals, but there are times when that ideal seems laughable. Heck, I’ve had days where I knew I had a frozen burrito waiting for me in the freezer and that all I had to do was get up and stick it in the microwave, but you know what? Even that seemed too hard. Reader, I cried.
I cried because a frozen burrito didn’t seem worth the effort. I didn’t really want to eat it.
I cried because it seemed like the only option.
I cried because we were out of eggs and tortillas and cheese and I was too tired to go to the store.
What I’ve learned since then is that when you live with chronic illness, you need to plan ahead knowing that your best intentions may fail you. If you know yourself and can plan for your needs, you’ll find you’re much better equipped to take care of yourself on the days where everything is difficult.
On the “Day of the Burrito” my planning failed me because my plan hadn’t taken me into account. I had stocked my freezer with burritos because they were cheap and easy, not because I actually wanted to eat them and definitely not because they were good for me. Pro tip: when your body already feels crummy, don’t feed it $0.50 burritos. Your body needs and deserves more from you.
The other thing I’ve found that makes dinner so difficult some days is the process of deciding what to eat. When you’re over-tired and clouded by mental fog, no amount of staring at your pantry or fridge will make your decision about what to eat easier. So I find that having a list of go-to options combined with keeping a well-stocked pantry and fridge is a huge help in avoiding dinner-prep tears. With that in mind, today I’m sharing my top five fast, easy, low-spoon dinners.
I know what you’re thinking—another baby gear list? Yeah, that’s exactly what the internet needs. I know, I know, but give me a chance! My mission here at Thriver Guide is to help find ways to make life easier, more beautiful, and more joyful for those of us with chronic or mental illness, so to that end, this list of baby essentials is something I made with spoonie parents in mind.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s Fab Friday roundup:
Me: Hey you! Are you currently a pregnant person?
Me: You should make sure you get a breast pump!
You: Uhhhh, even if I plan to exclusively breastfeed and want to forgo bottles?
Me: Get yourself a breast pump!
You: I feel a little uncomfortable discussing my breastfeeding choices with a stranger—
Me: *stomping feet and punching the air* Get! A! BREAST PUMP!!!
I don’t actually yell at people on the street (just on the internet). But you can bet I’d give this same advice to any and all of my pregnant friends. Get a pump, any pump, although if you’re a spoonie like me, definitely go for an electric one if you have the option (old “arthritic hands” over here can’t reliably operate a manual one!). At the time of writing this post, all insured pregnant people are entitled to a free breast pump as a result of Obamacare provisions. The type of pump might vary from insurer to insurer, but I know a lot of people who have been eligible to receive a double electric pump of high quality for free through their insurance. All I needed personally was a prescription from my doctor and a list of approved vendors from my insurance company, and then I picked out my pump and ordered it online and had it shipped to me for free. It was actually really painless. I have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump Starter Set, and I have zero complaints. It’s pretty cushy, actually. I use it 3-4 times per week now that I’m back at work part-time, and it has been great. I haven’t even had to replace any parts yet, and my son is nine months old.
Why should you get a breast pump? I know someone reading this is going to be all like, “women have gotten along just fine for thousands of years without breast pumps.” You know what else we’ve gotten along fine without for thousands of years? Cars, airplanes, grocery stores, antibiotics, the internet. I’m going to guess that you use at least some of those things and don’t find the argument convincing that you should do without them just because they were invented in the last two centuries. So let’s just agree not to be Luddites, here…
Today we’re going to talk a little about spoon theory. Credit for this theory belongs to Christine Miserandino over at butyoudontlooksick.com. If you haven’t heard of spoon theory before, I highly recommend clicking over there and reading her essay explaining the metaphor and its origin. It isn’t very long. I’ll wait.
Okay! Spoons! [Continue Reading…]