Ian Taverner has created a unique cookbook aimed at helping people living with chronic health conditions get back into the kitchen. Cookfulness takes a therapeutic approach to cooking and breaks down the recipes and methods into manageable processes, ensuring you can make a health meal, even on a bad day when you have run out of spoons.
In his mid-thirties, Ian began to experience chronic pain, anxiety and depression, and was subsequently diagnosed with chronic fibromyalgia and arthritis. He attended an exclusive programme at the NHS National Centre for Pain in Bath, and this programme gave him hope and drive to find a way to live with his condition.
This course is also the reason Ian began cooking again and he it ignited a passion in him to get back into the kitchen to cook for his family. Seeing his family enjoying the food he made, cooking with his children and being creative in the kitchen gave him back his family and gave him a renewed purpose in his life.
Ian has taken this drive and passion and channeled it into creating a book that will help and encourage individuals living with chronic conditions start cooking. He comments: “Chronic pain and mental health sufferers can see wanting to cook as the biggest hurdle. Not being able to, or wanting it is the biggest hurdle. I wanted to create a new kind of cookery book which is optimised for symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog to make the barriers to benefiting from the therapy of cooking as few and as easy to navigate as possible.”
The book itself has a unique content layout to help make the prospect of cooking less daunting and more enjoyable as an experience. It is different o your usual cookbooks and there are no images of final dishes, removing the pressure some people may feel on how the dish is supposed to turn out.
Ian is ceoliac, so all the recipes are aligned to this diet, meaning no wheat or gluten, but you can add in gluten or wheat products where appropriate if you wish to do so. The recipes are designed for the whole family to enjoy and are thoughtfully created to be as simple as possible, ensuring anyone can cook good, nutritional, home-cooked meals.
The book includes great tips for helping people to conserve energy when needed. Ian recommends keeping chopped frozen vegetables in the freezer for the days when you are low on energy or experiencing pain in your hands. He has also created the ‘Give Yourself Time’ section for each recipe, for when you are experiencing a ‘bad day’, this you still cook at your own pace.
Each recipe also has a list of all the utensils you will need to make the dish so you can get everything out before you start, and there is a difficulty rating and hints and tips for each dish too. The key important elements are highlighted throughout each recipe to keep you on track even on days where brain fog seems insurmountable.
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