Self-Care is Healthcare, Part 1
When you are living with a chronic disease, or caring for a chronic disease patient, taking care of yourself needs to be a priority. For patients, self-care means more than the obvious tasks of taking medication and staying on top of medical appointments. Taking care of yourself also means maintaining proper nutrition, within the bounds of any special diet their condition requires. But how do you prepare healthy food when you are tired, in pain, or overwhelmed with symptoms? First of all, give yourself a little grace by allowing yourself to take it easy.
Healthy food does not necessarily mean a lot of work. Feel free to take advantage of ready meals. Supermarkets offer many choices of healthy proteins like fish and chicken already prepared and seasoned so you can simply pop them in a pan or the oven. Vegetables can be purchased already cut up and ready to be steamed or oven roasted with minimal effort. Many frozen food options are available ask well; just make sure you read the labels and choose options without those ingredients we all try to avoid. Small kitchen appliances like air fryers, slow cookers and even the microwave can make cooking quick and easy. (To give you a little inspiration, here is a link to one of my favorite air fryer cookbooks with hundreds of quick and delicious recipes!)
If you are up for a little cooking, but not so much shopping, try a meal kit delivery service. There are a multitude of options out there, from gourmet to super affordable, and many offer a choice of menu types and subscription levels and frequency. These services allow you to experiment and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques, without the trip to (sometimes multiple) stores or the inconvenience of realizing you need to run out for an ingredient you forgot. Several also offer ready made or easy prep means for when you need a break.
It is important to consume several servings of fruit and/or vegetables per day, but this can mean frequent trips to the store or farmers’ market and lots of preparation. Do not overlook the benefits of frozen and dried options. These contain many of the same nutrients, and allow you to stock your pantry with healthy choices that do not require a lot of work to prepare.
And don’t forget to drink enough water! That requires no preparation.