Celebrity chef Stuart O’Keeffe this week launched ‘Let’s Cook!’, a series of free cookery classes for people with arthritis. This innovative initiative, developed by Arthritis Ireland with the support of healthcare company Abbott, will serve up a series of tailor-made recipes through demonstrations run across the country, with a Galway ‘Let’s Cook!’ class taking place in The Carlton Hotel, Dublin Road at 7.30pm on Monday, May 21.
Although eating healthy foods is an essential part of controlling the symptoms of arthritis, new research shows that 35 per cent of people living with the condition opt for convenience food rather than home-cooked meals. Seventy five per cent of people reported that they found cooking with swollen and inflamed joints a painful and frustrating experience with 54 per cent saying that their arthritis stops them cooking regularly. The free workshops which will take place around the country are designed not only with nutrition in mind, but will also share helpful hints and tips on how to make the culinary experience a more enjoyable one. Attendees will learn how little things, like sliding heavy pots across countertops rather than lifting them; using ergonomic, lightweight knives and utensils; and taking advantage of electronic tools such as a food processor instead of cutting, shredding and crushing ingredients manually, can all make a big difference in the kitchen.
Mr O’Keefe explains: “When people are diagnosed with a chronic condition like arthritis, naturally they might feel concerned about how it will impact their enjoyment of things that they love doing, such as cooking. But food is such an integral part of life that by taking a few extra precautions and by slightly altering the way you work in the kitchen, you can still indulge your passion for cooking and continue to create delicious, healthy food. Although arthritis-related pain often makes you want to avoid certain activities I firmly believe that by learning how to prepare and cook the right foods, it is possible for people with arthritis to cook in a way that they feel comfortable and enjoy.”
Mr O’Keefe has created a series of tailor-made recipes as part of the ‘Let’s Cook!’ campaign, incorporating foods and cooking methods which will help people to learn the tips and techniques to cook comfortably with arthritis and encourage them to eat a balanced diet that will help control their condition. These recipes will be available on the Arthritis Ireland website www.arthritisireland.ie
‘Let’s Cook!’ supports the Treat to Target programme, an international initiative which encourages those living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA ) and their clinicians to take a holistic approach when treating the symptoms of RA by looking at a variety of factors including medication, exercise, diet and lifestyle to set realistic treatment targets in ensuring a better quality of life. Treat to Target is supported by an educational grant from Abbott.