Inflammation and Back Pain | Tips for Cooking When You Don’t Feel Like Yourself


It happened: You went to pick your kiddo up and your back spasmed with pain. For the rest of the day, you limped along, trying to go about your routine while feeling awful. By evening, the last thing that you want to do is stand over a hot stove, but you have a family to feed. Do you give into temptation and order delivery, or do you figure out how to put together the cheapest, healthiest meal you can without putting too much strain on your body? If you’re suffering from back pain and inflammation, here are some cooking tips so that you can still get a meal on the table that your family will enjoy.

Tip 1: Sit When You Can

Believe it or not, you don’t have to stand the entire time that you’re cooking. If your back is killing you, cut yourself some slack. You can easily sit at the island or dining room table with a cutting board while you chop vegetables. If your back pain is really bothering you, you can even bring a barstool over to the stovetop so that you can sit while you boil water or brown hamburger.

Tip 2: Done is Better Than Perfect

You might be the type of mom who likes to cook everything by scratch using only organic ingredients—and that’s great 90% of the time. But during the 10% of the time when you don’t feel like yourself, getting any dinner on the table that you cook yourself is going to be more cost effective (and probably healthier) than if you order out. So, cut yourself some slack in the kitchen and realize that the saying that circulates the mom world—“done is better than perfect”—is so true when you’re not feeling well.

Keep in mind that you can get healthy-ish even without a lot of effort. Many grocery stores sell frozen riced cauliflower or zucchini noodles so that you can pack your meals with veggies without a lot of elbow grease. A great mom-tip is to keep your freezer stocked with these types of foods so that you can pull them out in a cooking emergency.

Tip 3: Set It and Forget It

If you start your day off knowing that your back is hurting and that you’re not going to want to cook that night, prep something easy that can cook all day. Crock pot meals are your friends on these days. If you don’t realize until later that you’ve done something to your back, casseroles can also give your family a good nutritional punch without you having to baby them by standing over the stove.

Tip 4: Stick to Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Most back pain is caused by inflammation. If your back is already hurting, the last thing that you want to do is make it last longer or make it worse by eating the wrong foods. Stock up on foods that help with inflammation, and avoid foods that would make it worse.

So what foods should you eat? These foods are great for reducing inflammation:

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Avocado

Meanwhile you should avoid these ones:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Potatoes
  • Rolls
  • White Rice

Looking for an easy meal that would help reduce inflammation? Brown rice and beans would be a great choice. Another option would be black bean burgers and a side of fruit salad.

Tip 5: Treat the Underlying Problem

Often, when we pull a muscle, we take a “wait for it to go away” treatment approach. Unfortunately, back pain is often a symptom of an underlying problem that includes tense muscles and inflammation. If you don’t treat the underlying problem, you could end up with more and more frequent bouts of back pain. While it’s great to have some cooking hacks to help you get through the day in the short term, in the long term, your goal should be to reduce the number of days that you suffer from back pain. Free Your Spine has some great information about reducing chronic back pain and freeing yourself up to enjoy life more.

Anyone with chronic pain will tell you that the worst thing about it is feeling like the pain is winning out over your ability to enjoy life. If you are dedicated to providing your family with healthy, affordable meals, you don’t want to let back pain get in the way of that. These tips will help!


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