Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis does not mean all activities in your regular life have to stop. With slight modifications and alterations, you can carry on with your life just fine, even going for grocery shopping for healthy food becomes a piece of cake.
It may seem like a herculean task – long aisles to walk through and reaching out for items on high or low shelves. Don't forget, there’s the bending and lifting of groceries first from your cart onto the checkout counter, and then again into the car. By the end of it all you’ll find your joints creaking with pain and pleading with you to get home from this chamber of torture!
However it does not have to be this way. Here are some tips to help you on your trip to the supermarket for healthy foods –
• Lessen your woes by buying trimmed food. Know your grocery store thoroughly so that you can pick up food items you need. For instance, buying bags of pre-cut carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and such other vegetables in large supermarkets is a smart RA option. When it comes to meat, you can even buy thinly sliced raw chicken breasts to stir fry, or cubes of lean beef to prepare stews .
• Pre-cut is good, pre-washed is even better. Nowadays, salad bars are a great option to shop for healthy foods and convenience – vegetables are all pre-cut, pre-washed and ready to go. The only downside to this is the slightly higher prices, though the convenience of ready foods may be worth the few extra bucks for RA patients.
• A pain-easing tip while shopping can be opting for smaller packaging. It helps to bring someone along for shopping and if there’s no one, you have to resort to techniques that do not stress your arms and joints. Of course, buying in bulk is economical, though not worth the creaking joints you’ll have to deal with later. And another thing, time-saving techniques like unloading the car in one go can be very unhealthy. Here again, make several trips to the car if necessary, or better still get a cart to ferry your groceries into the house.
• Always get your own shopping bags. Instead of choosing between paper and plastic, opt for reusable, environmentally friendly shopping bags. These are not just good for reducing waste but for RA patients. It is especially helpful as they have longer handles which can be used to hang them on a wheelchair or walker. For those with painful wrists, carrying these bags in the middle of the arm where the bone is the strongest helps.
• Bring your friend or partner along. They can help you pick up the heavier foodstuff like potatoes or grains. If there is no one, you can always ask for a personal shopper which some supermarkets provide free to the customers. And tipping is optional!
• There are also other fun ways of getting your meals – though not too imaginative. Ordering out once in a while may save you the trouble of going grocery shopping as well as cooking when the refrigerator is almost empty. Think of it as a treat and a break from the regular monotony.
• Most imperative of all – pay attention to your body. Of course, it is beneficial to your health if you get the exercise, as well as to your self-image if you can manage independently when you go out shopping. Though, if you feel your bones are not going to be supportive, do not push yourself and get someone else to do your shopping for once.
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