Chronic Illness and Cooking

fresh produce

n this article we are exploring cooking techniques that can make meals easier to make for those who suffer from chronic pain. The reality is that some days cooking is more of a possibility than other days. Here are some cooking techniques for you to try on those days when you don’t have that much energy.


The most important thing in all cooking techniques is preparation. Chefs use the french term Mise en place, and it means ‘everything in its place.’ the idea is to make sure that everything is cut, diced, peeled, chopped, etc before you start cooking. This is stuff that can be done on the weekend or earlier in the day to make the cooking easier later. Often times, I will work on dinner all day when I am home. I do a little at a time through the day, so that putting it all together is easier later. There are several tools that can make prep easier as well. A food processor makes chopping veggies easier. You will not get the super uniform dices or juliennes that you can with a knife, but it will save you time and pain. A garlic press is another gadget that will save time. There are so many gadgets out there that will save you time. Also, you can chop veggies and freeze them ahead of time, or you can buy chopped onions and bell peppers in the frozen section, or pre chopped veggies in the produce section. These products will save you even more time than doing them yourself. Prepping makes it easier to throw something together quickly, and with the right tools, you can make the prepping easier too.

Cooking Techniques for Easy Cooking


There are few cooking techniques that can impart as much flavor to your food as roasting. This is one of those techniques that is basically set it and forget it. All you need is food, oil, and seasonings. I often make whole meals in the oven because it is delicious and easy. The oven is a dry heat method. This means that it does not use water or oil to transfer heat to the surface of the food. However, to get the most effective results when roasting food, you need to use oil or water to transfer the dry heat more efficiently and to promote browning. The easiest way to do this is to either drizzle oil on the food or toss the food in oil. Then, it only requires seasoning to make it tasty. To use water to cook your food you would need to get oven bags or make foil or parchment pouches. In this style, you are trapping the water in the food from escaping. This creates steam and pressure that cooks the food. The easiest way to make a pouch is to wrap it in foil. When you prepare your pans for roasting, you can add parchment or foil to the pan to make clean up easier as well.

Slow cooker

We have a whole article dedicated to this cooking style. A slow cooker is a tool that every person with chronic pain needs to own. there are TONS of slow cooker recipes online that you can use to make meals quickly and easily. This is usually a wet cooking style that uses water to cook food. However, you can also cook things like “roasted” sweet potatoes and desserts in the crock pot. For this cooking method, you add all of the ingredients into the pot and it cooks all day while you are doing other things. It is a tool that you cannot afford to not have.


Dinner does not always need to be meat, veggies, and starch. Often times we have these ideas of what a meal needs to be. It is often easier to make breakfast foods than the full on meal. You can also use the oven to cook breakfast meats to make it even easier. Cereal is always the go to when we just have no strength to make a meal, but with just a little more work you can have scrambled eggs.

Whatever you decide to cook, the important thing is, to be honest when assessing your limits that day. There is nothing worse than getting right in the middle of cooking a meal and realize that you bit off more than you could chew (no pun intended). Make these tasks as easy as you can for yourself, and if you are just not able to make food that day, preparing ahead of time can make it easier for the other people in your house to make a meal for you.

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