About Me


From a very early age, I have loved cooking. It started with hot-pink, microwaved flour and water cakes and hopefully has got tastier from there (if less colourful). But having arthritis hasn't always made messing about in the kitchen easy. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at 26 years old, after seven years of unexplained pains and mysterious 'sporting' injuries. I also have osteoarthritis in my lower back (spondylolisthesis to those of you who know it!). Having had operations on both my hips and jaw, I really do know 'Arthur' (my not-so-affectionate pet name for arthritis) and I know just how frustrating he can be.

Part of handling that frustration has been learning to live with the condition. When you are diagnosed with any chronic condition, you hear a lot about ‘management’ (no power suits involved). Self-managing a condition means learning to listen to your body, exercising it to make it stronger and giving it the right kind of fuel. It helps give you a bit of control over Arthur – and, in my mind, anything you can do to kick him into shape has to be worth it.

The only thing I find more frustrating than Arthur is the amount of complete rubbish written about diet and arthrits. I got fed up reading that if I cooked with vinegar and raisins I would be cured! Equally, watching TV chefs happily 'julienne' vegetables or whisk-up sauces when I could barely hold a fork made me miserable. 

Arthritis can take so much away from you but I was determined to not let it ruin my enjoyment of good food. So, I went back to school (to study clinical nutrition), as well as to the kitchen to tackle those frustrations. I wanted to put together everything I have learned to help make cooking fun, achievable and healthy again. Now, I mess about in the kitchen and cook myself better - I hope Cooking with Arthur will help you do the same.

20 comments:

  1. I really love your blog - well written and interesting too. I have palindromic rheumatism and I too am fed up of people telling me that if I only gave up tomatoes/aubergines/chickpeas and drank vats of vinegar I would be cured. As my rheumatologist says - if only it was that easy.
    The other thing that's worth mentioning is the effect that inflammatory arthritis can have on your energy. I often end up eating more convenience food or takeaways than I would like to, simply because I'm just too tired to cook at the end of the day. When I do manage to cook a really nice meal from scratch, it's a huge achievement and I feel so happy about it! So some nice and easy/quick recipes would also be really helpful for those of us with poor energy.

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  2. Thank you for such a lovely comment. Really nice of you and thrilled you like the blog. The tiredness is rubbish isn't it? No vat of vinegar could cure it ;). I hope the recipes help a bit , I'll try do a guide to how to pick healthier takeaway or ready meal options too for those exhausted days.

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  3. Yep .... very true Ruth. What you said re cooking, etc. When you are so sore and swollen from various forms of arthritis .... it is exhausting. There are some days (most all of them!)I cannot think straight because you spend so much time thinking and coping with pain, pain and more pain. Just never goes away.

    I stay away from red meat. It seems to interfer with joints/walking. From time-to-time 1/2 chicken or turkey burger is okay.

    Who knows what to do? Everyone has their own and different story. I really hate this arthritis. Prevents me from living a decent life. It's almost 1-1/2 months since I was out shopping or visiting friends, my niece, etc. No energy.

    I like your blog very much Kate.

    Marcee .... ILLINOIS

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  4. Hi Kate, I came across you blog from the BBC article on you. I'm from the UK too and also have PSA. I was diagnosed when I was just 13 in one or two fingers in my left hand. It continued that way until I was 22 or 23 when I had my 2nd child. Both my knees ballooned and I had to have them drained and cortisone injection. Since then, it has progressed to almost every single joint in my body, numerous fingers completely fused in odd angles, wrists (one fused recently within a week of pain starting), elbow, shoulder, neck, upper and lower back, knees, ankle, and toes (a couple fused again). I'm in constant chronic pain despite being on masses of painkillers (including BuTrans!) I take MTX which you will probably too as well as Enbrel injection. I'm constantly exhausted even after getting a good nights sleep and having naps. It drives me crazy!!

    It's all got so bad that I had to give up my hobby of photography. At the time, I had just started doing it as a business but got too ill to continue and the camera alone was too weightily. Fast forward a few years and more bones effected and I'm more or less housebound. I was getting super bored and like you, loved cooking but was single at the time with 3 children. It was all getting too much. That's when I opened my blog about food too. I started baking in December 2011 which has helped me tremendously. Of course, there are the days when I'm too ill to bake but now I'm aiming on posting 3 times a week, 2 at least. I bake desserts and post the recipes and it's also given me a chance to get back into my photography again without having to lug my professional camera, lenses, etc. far.

    I still find it very hard to take the photos but my partner is understanding and helps with some of the things I can't do myself.. for example, chopping up chocolate bars. It has become my passion too.

    It has wonderful to find you. I will be following your blog now. I hope we'll be able to keep in touch and chat about our illness. If you get chance, please do stop by my blog too. Take care.

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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    1. Hi Lisa. The photos on your blog are beautiful. Wish I was that good. You will have to give me some tips as I'm still using a point and shoot! Nice to hear you can still enjoy cooking too but sorry your arthritis is so horrid. I take MTX but hate it - I also take sulfasalazine and humira which I get on with much better. Keep in touch and I will try one of your recipes soon.

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  5. At last! A fellow PSA sufferer gives truly helpful tips and insight into everyday coping strategies - well done Kate! I was diagnosed with PSA at 25 (started with a painful heel, could barely walk 4 months later) and have tried all the drugs & injections over the years (will be starting on one of the biologicals shortly, after having all the bloodtests & chest x-rays). It would be interesting to hear from anyone who is on the biologicals, go get their feedback on their effectiveness. Donna x

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    1. Than you Donna - that's very kind. I'm on Humira and it has really helped me so I hope the biologics can do the same for you. Maybe I should do a post about them...

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  6. Hello !
    I am also a fellow arthritis sufferer, although my diagnosis wavers between Rheumatoid and Psoriatic. I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 18, and my condition has worsened even though I've been on methotrexate for a year. My relationship with food has become more and more complex, with long phases of being "off" food completely, causing me to lose weight drastically (I have dropped from 8.6 to 7.4 stone over the past 2 months).
    Thank you so much for this blog, I am so happy that I have finally found some recipes with the condition in mind. It will definitely be less hard for me to enjoy food with such scrummy looking recipes !
    P.S : Hi Donna, I too am starting the biological drugs in about a month's time - fingers crossed !

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    1. Hi Clara. I hope the biologics help you too. It can be really hard eating with arthritis - I tend to lose weight too when I'm unwell, partly because I have it in my jaw and partly because I MTX and things make me feel awful. I hope you find some tips on here that help and best of luck with the new drugs. I'll have my fingers crossed for you!

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  7. Hello,
    I just found your blog and am adding it to my own blogroll. I was diagnosed with RA in my thirties and I have changed my diet to help reduce the flares. So great to see a site that helps people with their dietry decisions.
    Be well,
    J.G. Chayko
    theoldladyinmybones.com

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    1. Thanks - glad it has been useful for you and thanks for adding me to your blogroll!

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  8. Hi Kate, I have just found your blog and think it is terrific. I would really love to let the readers of our newsletter know your details and give them the opportunity to view your blog too. Please can you email me on julie.s@arthritissupermarket.co.uk to discuss this further. Many thanks and keep it up

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  9. Hi Kate, I have recently found your blog and think its great. I've had PsA for 2 years and am on Humira and MTX. I have just started high dose Omega 3 to see if I avoid upping the MTX as I too can feel yuk with it. Its just swallowing the Omega capsules - they are pretty big!

    Amanda

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    1. Thank you. MTX is gross really isn't it?! Hope the omega 3 helps you, I'll try do an omega 3 rich recipe soon for those days you don't fancy swallowing horse pills

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  10. this is Just the kind of blog that we all need. I too am a younger person with advanced P.A I also have a myriad of food allergies and I have just never liked eating full stop! but it is important that we do. So your guide makes it interesting to know that we are not alone! and there are things we can do to lift the mood and carry on. I also have been given Humira and haven't seen any glaring results as yet, how long did it take with you? one things for sure im not doing the whole methotrexate injection thing every again! it is terrible stuff :-( thanks again,

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    1. Thank you! Probably about three months to work but it definitely works better for me with methotrexate (boo). I hope you get some results soon.

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  11. Hi there, just found your blog and think its fab. I suffer with Systemic Lupus and subsequent autoimmune arthritis (currently taking hydroxychloroquine and mycophenolate) and find that with suppressed immune system I catch every little bug going, its a real pain! Your blog has given me some great ideas for moving forward. Thanks for all your time and effort :)

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    1. I'm really pleased you found me and thank you for the nice comments. I hope you find the blog useful. Immune suppressants are pretty tedious sometimes, aren't they? Hope things improve for you and keep stopping by.

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  12. Thank you for your blog. I was diagnosed with PsA in my early 20s - I'm 62 now- and well remember Drs telling me I was too young to have arthritis.Well I did and still do. I'm on Humira now and worry about the long term side effects but do have some quality of life now and still enjoy my cooking and reading your cooking tips.

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    1. Thank you! I know what you mean about being concerned about the long term effects of humira...Hope you keep enjoying cooking and keep visiting the blog.

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