After his MS diagnosis Nick adapted the way he cooked. He’s keen to spread the word that disability doesn’t have to stop you doing what you love. Now he’s got rather a lot on his plate – his Facebook page ‘My Easy Suppers’ has around 17,000 fans.
I have primary progressive MS, I’m 61 and I live on my own. I’ve always enjoyed cooking. Why eat out when you can make quality fresh and tasty food at home?
I was diagnosed in 2009. I struggle to walk and have ataxia and spasticity. (When I get up from writing this I will probably get involuntary muscle spasms in my legs and won’t be able to walk at all.)
It’s affected my ability to cook because I can’t stand, but I still manage to cook every evening – and photograph the end result for my Facebook page My Easy Suppers. I’ve photographed over 500 of my suppers and posted them online to inspire others. All my recipes are intended to be easy and quick to prepare as well as tasty.
Adapting in the kitchen
Because I can’t stand unaided, I perch on a high stool to cook. I have a small kitchen and the stool is always positioned so I can reach everything without getting off it (within reach of the cooker, chopping board, sink, waste bin).
The hardest part is carrying my dinner to where I photograph and eat it. Only four metres! I have sometimes fallen to the floor with the plate. As I’m 6’1” tall that’s quite a drop! I’m proud to say that each time I fell I managed to keep my plate horizontal… But now I put the plate on the floor and push it over to the table. Not elegant, but practical.
To start with I occasionally posted snaps of my supper onto my personal Facebook page. They proved popular with my Facebook friends who told me they found them inspirational. So I took notice and started My Easy Suppers as a Facebook business page. My premise is that if can cook fresh, interesting suppers every evening despite having MS, then anyone can.
People have left some great comments on my page. One person said, “I have fibromyalgia and you inspire me to keep pushing to cook.” Another lady said, “I have a chronic illness too and know the importance of good nourishing food even when it’s the last thing on your mind.” It’s brilliant to feel like I’m helping so many people, and inspiring them to cook, whether they are disabled or able bodied.
MS creates huge pressures physically, emotionally and financially. It’s all too easy to let it get you down. But out of my hobby I’ve created something I’m very proud of and which helps me overcome my physical limitations.
It’s given me constant mental stimulation, a virtual social life with the thousands of people interacting with my page, and financial ambition. I’ve written two recipe books which people can buy online, and people can also donate on my website to support my page.
I find having a positive mental attitude really benefits me. Never give up! Even if you find it hard to get about, using the internet astutely can help you pursue your interests and hobbies, whatever they may be. Go for it! And have fun.