“The best part of being a chef is that I get to do what I love,” says Seamus. “Nothing gives me greater gratification than making someone happy through food. I could have been a dentist or lawyer but those things didn’t satisfy me in the same way it does to cook for someone and see the smile on their face. Giving someone delicious food helps me deal with the physical stress and intensity of the job. While being a chef can be difficult, challenging and painful, it is never a chore.”

 

Kitchen-Friendly Strategies

RA doesn’t have to keep you out of the kitchen. Here are Seamus’ tips for easy, pain-free cooking:

• Use a cheater to open jars. Seamus swears by Good Grips. Another option: an electric can opener.

• Get a food processor or a manual vegetable chopper. Instead of slicing and dicing by hand, let the machine do the work.

• Choose large-handled utensils and knives with ergonomic handles for easy gripping.

• Keep appliances on the counter at waist height instead of a cabinet below. “That way you don’t have to bend down,”says Seamus.

• Buy lightweight cookware with two handles for easy lifting.

• Carry water to your pot in a light container. It’s easier than filling a metal pot and then hoisting and carrying it to the stove.

• Line roasting pans with foil for easy cleanup.

• Store spices on the counter or in a drawer at hip level instead of in an overhead cabinet.

• Stand on a rubber mat to lessen stress on your feet and legs.

• Keep a stool handy so you can sit when you need to.

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

Seamus Mullen’s Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Chef Seamus Mullen believes food that’s grown locally, is pesticide- and antibiotic-free, is fresh and in season can fightinflammation. Here are a few of his favorites:

• Shell beans, both fresh and dried. “They’re an incredible source of protein and omega-3s,” he says. “They are also delicious and versatile.”

• Sweet potatoes. “They’re packed with protein and potassium – all sorts of good stuff.”

• Squash. “I love Hubbard and Kabocha,” he says – including the nutrient-rich skin and seeds.

• Strawberries. Seamus favors berries that are fresh, organic, in season and vine-ripened. Freeze for year-round eating.

• Green leafy veggies. Kale, collard greens, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts are packed with folic acid.

• Anchovies. These “unsung heroes” are high in omega-3s.

• Parsley. “It has incredible flavor and eases inflammation,” says Seamus, who drinks parsley juice if his hands hurt. He tosses parsley in a juicer and adds lemon juice and apple slices for sweetness.