Friday, December 6, 2019

Cooking with Chronic Illness

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

As you get older do you find you decorate less, bake less and shop more?

It was submitted by:


I don't know if any of this is true for me. Haha.

Am I older? Am I getting older? I don't know. I feel like even with chronic illness I've never been as good as now in my 30s. Mentally. And physically maybe I'm just a tad, a decade or few, older than I should be perhaps.

I guess the point is that, for me, age isn't really a factor in my answer. It's more about my physical limitations and really my budget whether we are talking about every day or the holidays.

I cook often. My house isn't really a sweets house. We don't have dessert often or anything, but I do cook regularly. I can't physically cook a small meal every day so I typically do recipes that can be doubled easily and cheaply and can last several days then freeze what leftovers there are to make a base for something else. If I make taco soup, for example, I always freeze the leftovers to add to rice for burritos or reuse for nachos. This means I can still make exceptionally tasty meals with love that are healthy and all that jazz without it killing me. It's pretty hard to move around the kitchen with a cane. So limiting the days I have to do this really saves me while helping me provide home cooked meals. That's important to me. It may not be a big deal to everyone, and I'm in no way condemning people who can't or don't care about it, but for whatever reason I do. I think it has to do with changes after my parents divorced. My mom went from cooking for us--something we maybe took for granted as kids but felt the love from it all the same--to eating out with my stepdad every night in a relatively short amount of time, and I wasn't invited to go because of how I dressed. So I had to make my own dinners. Cheese sandwiches, egg noodles with butter, or vegetarian tacos if I could get my hands on what I needed. And while my kid can make a few things on his own like that if he doesn't feel like leftovers, I like having food here that I've made that I know he enjoys and that I know has more of the sustenance he needs.

The thing of it is...I can't even eat any of it myself. My chronic illness comes with a myriad of gastro intestinal issues which means the types of foods I can eat without issues is very limited. Sometimes depending on the meal I can make a variation of whatever I'm making that will fit my restrictions, but a lot of times I have to opt for a can of soup or a baked potato for myself. So most of the time he knows I'm making stuff for him that I won't even be able to eat, and I hope he looks back on that with some kind of appreciation even if he doesn't always have it now.

In terms of holiday cooking, my mom hosts so I've only ever made desserts and cheese pennies (basically cheese straws), but since my brother got married, his wife can't stand for anyone else to get any attention whatsoever, so those two just stopped eating anything I brought for dessert entirely and brought their own and got mad if someone didn't eat theirs over mine. Yes, if you're thinking that is absolutely petty, childish, and shitty, you would be right. I don't see much of them anymore or any of the family except holidays now, and it makes the holidays SO MUCH FUN. Family tension really makes the holiday season special.

Living on a budget also has an effect. I can't really afford a bunch of convenience meals that might actually be healthy. It's by far cheaper to make food when I can and excess shopping is out of the question especially since I'm basically homebound. I might get out once a month? Every couple months? And when I do I have to medicate myself to the gills to be able to handle it. Motion sickness meds, anti inflammatory meds, ginger, CBD oil, and pack migraine meds and ginger candy plus another dose of motion sickness meds to take before I leave wherever I'm going. It would be impossible and very hard on my body to do that every couple days or even once a week. So I don't shop more. Maybe I do buy more now that I have more than myself to cook for and can afford better than the poptarts, popcorn, and ramen I lived on when I was first living on my own.

I also can't really afford to shop more than I already did for Christmas. I've had a pretty solid budget for years and luckily my family isn't growing anytime soon. If ever. My child is only 14 and more into boys than girls with zero interest in being a dad so far, so no worries about being a grandma any time soon. And we've hopefully gotten past the point of my brother having a 5th child.

As for decorating...well, it's Halloween all year at my house. I've occasionally put up a tree, but with cats, it's always a disaster and I don't have the energy to clean up the mess every morning, so we haven't done that in a few years. Trust me when I say no one is sad about it either. Haha.

I suppose the one holiday tradition that will never change is how many Christmas movies and specials I love to watch even if I'm not really a person who celebrates. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, the Grinch, Frosty, Garfield, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...I love them all even at my age, and I hope I never grow out of it


  1. I'm sorry that you're so limited and want to do more but I'm amazed by how much you get done. I've always thought food was an expression of love to those I cook for, but you take that to a whole new level if you can't eat what you make.
    Enjoy those movies, we never outgrow them, do we?

  2. I am self-made homebound. I have let me anxiety push me into being at home. When I go out it makes me nervous and usually sick. I go out about once every two weeks. My poor husband does that laundromat, the grocery all of that stuff. I used to cook every night when my kids were still at home but I seldom cook anymore and I also don't have a tree up this year. (Rena)

  3. We do finger foods at my moms then let the slow cooker or roasted do the majority of the cooking at home. We decorate...we are a big Christmas family. We tend to over do it.

  4. Respect for your stressing to cook for your son even though you can't even eat it yourself. I can't believe your parents would rather leave you home alone than to take you to dinner with them. How old were you and what the heck did you wear??
    Enjoy your Holiday movies!

  5. Holidays can be stressful for so many...guess I'm glad I'm in my 70s and don't live close enough to family to deal with it all. Like you, I love the Christmas movies!

  6. For me cooking is passion of life. I live in Europe, so there CBD is fully legal. I use cannabis for cooking activities too!