Those with the arthritis might say it is the mother of invention. Chef and cookbook author Melinda Winner couldn’t agree more. Winner was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) more than 25 years ago. Feeling devastated and defeated after gaining 100 pounds from years of eating poorly and being sedentary due to the pain and physical limitations from her RA, Winner knew it was time for a change.

“I had three children, and between the pain and the weight, I couldn’t even pick them up,” says Winner. To regain the active life she once enjoyed, she started doing gentle exercises and exploring tricks in the kitchen to adapt her cooking style to help her work around her physical challenges. “I'd loved cooking by my mother’s side when I was a child and wanted to get back to it.”

To help others with arthritis regain independence in the kitchen, she authored A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking With Arthritis (Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC, 2009). Here’s an excerpt from her book highlighting 20 tips to cooking with arthritis.

1. Store things such as flour, sugar, coffee and tea in glass containers with lightweight lift-off lids on your countertop.

2. To accomplish your cutting and slicing needs, purchase an ergonomically designed knife with a large handle. This allows you to have leverage and stability using your body weight to maneuver the knife.

3. Store your pots and pans on wall hooks or a pot hanger from the ceiling. This will eliminate unnecessary bending.

4. When filling or emptying large pots of water, use a plant stand for transport and a small plastic measuring cup to transfer the water.

5. When you have a lot of prep work to do, sit at the table instead of standing.

6. Purchase a rubber mat to stand on when you are cooking at the stove. The padding helps prevent back and leg pain.