It's time to tackle the rooms! Let's start with the kitchen today. Remember during any of the de-cluttering steps to ask yourself questions if it needs to stay or go.
Let's get started:
Clearing out the Bakeware & Baking Equipment
Let's start with the Bakeware and things we bake with:
A typical inventory for the family cook and occasional baker would be:
Everything else can be sold, donated, or tossed.
De-cluttering your Cookware & Cooking Equipment
What do we really need for our everyday cooking?
De-Clutter the Small Appliances
Don't we just love small appliances? We end up buying specialty appliances that will "make our lives easier". But you and I know they end up in the back of the shelf or collecting dust in the corner.
Let's go through what we really should have:
Think about how often do you use these items? If it's been more than 6 months, maybe it's time to clear it out. There are also other ways to accomplish the same cooking process, for example, I cook rice in the pot and not a specialty cooker. You can also get a combo food processor/blender that uses the same base - this would save on a lot of room.
De-Clutter your Pantry
Now let's go through our cupboards and pantry:
Don't forget I did post about de-cluttering your fridge.
I think that does it for the kitchen! Good luck!
It's been such a long, dreadful winter. Then suddenly we skip Springtime and went straight to Summer in most areas across the United States.
Now the temperature is rising quickly and it's predicted to be a long, hot summer. One sure way to stay cool and be healthy is to include plenty of summer fruit in our daily diet.
Here are 7 of them:
Of course, we all think of watermelon as a fun summer fruit. We eat them at picnics, outdoor BBQs and holiday celebrations.
Watermelon is in season from May to September (depending on where you live) and can be bought with or without seeds.
The nutritional benefits include:
Another well-known fruit we eat, sometimes year round but more popularly in the summertime. We make fruit salads with it, make desserts and even drinks with this popular fruit. Pineapple is grown year around but its peak season is from March to July.
Eating pineapple helps us:
Another highly popular summer fruit we see in stores and farmer markets around June, but late-bearers can produce as late as Fall.
Nutrients in Strawberries include:
Mangoes are as popular as the others mentioned above, but they're a great summer fruit to include. Mangos in the United States are mainly grown in Hawaii and are harvested from May until September.
Eating Mangoes will give you:
These are actually the most popular melon in the United States. They're related to Watermelon and Honeydew melons.
Eating a cup of Cantaloupe gives our body:
We see blueberries popping up in farmers markets and in the wild around May to August. Again it depends on where you live.
Adding blueberries to your daily summer diet can be beneficial as they contain:
I'm not talking about the maraschino cherry on top of your ice cream sundaes. I mean the whole fruit, especially the tart ones.
Not only do they have similar benefits to all the other fruits mentioned but they're unique in that:
As you can see, they don't just taste good but they have many different health benefits.
You might get tired of eating them raw daily, so here are some fun alternatives to try:
Also check out these awesome recipe books!
Let's continue with the Kitchen and talk about cooking, eating, and other tips.
You may remember in Part One I explained about cooking on appliances and alternate cooking methods. Now I'm going to give you more tips about cooking:
1) Instead of fighting to drain a pot by holding its lid against it, just dump it all into a colander. Saves from accidents, burns, dropped food and is just so much easier. If you're saving the broth, put the colander in a large bowl.
2) The above suggestion also goes for draining fat from meats and such. I use an old large coffee can, put the colander on top and just scrape the pan into the colander and let it drain there.
3) Use extra long oven mitts, preferably non-slip types that can cover your forearms too. With low vision comes trouble with depth perception and I have burned my forearms on a hot rack because I misjudged the distance.
4) For turning food, and for serving, use a double turner spatula for better control of the food.
5) Telling if the food is done is hard to do with low vision so you can use a variety of other ways:
The number one thing to keep in mind while cooking is making sure your paths and areas are clear before moving pots and hot food and such. That includes making sure other people and pets are out of the way (or out of the kitchen).
Now, let's move on to enjoying everything we cooked!
1) Place settings should be simple and contrasting colors, like the photograph above. A dark tabletop with a light plate. If this isn't possible, then use a contrasting color place mat underneath to see the plate clearly.
2) Try an use solid colors or simple design plates. Busy designs and multiple colors adds to the visual confusion and it becomes hard to see the food on the plate (or to tell if there's still food left).
3) For the love of God and everything sacred - do NOT offer to cut their food for them! We just have a vision loss, not a "faculties" loss.
4) When serving a full plate (as in a restaurant setting), you can offer to describe the plate for them. Describe the food layout according to a clock face. "Meat is at 6 o'clock, vegetables at 3 o'clock...".
5) It's best to use plastic or colored glass drink ware. Or at least use a contrasting color coaster underneath for easier finding.
Other Kitchen Products and Tips
Now how about some other ideas for the kitchen?
1) Pouring a cold drink, keep a finger over the lip of the glass (down to second digit) while pouring. When your fingertip gets wet, you've reached the top.
2) Another tip for pouring, use a contrasting color glass or mug from the color of the liquid being poured for easy visibility. (Coffee in a white mug, orange juice in a dark cup).
3) It may help instead (especially with hot liquids) to get a level indicator alert, models can come either with a sound or vibrating alert.
4) Another tip I mentioned before (with measuring ingredients), is to pour over the sink to lessen clean-ups.
5) A trick I created for the coffeepot - as you can see by Photo 1 below, that many coffeepot tops look all solid without a clear indication of shapes or edges. So, to combat this I place my fingers on the edges (as shown in Photo 2), and pour my water in between the two fingers.
Cutting Food on the Plate
As I mentioned above, don't let someone patronize you by offering to cut your food for you. You deserve more respect than that!
So, here's some tips to do it yourself:
1) Use your fork and tip of the knife to slowly "feel" around your plate and locate food, as well as pushing food back towards the center.
2) Use the tip of the knife to feel how large the piece of food is before you cut and cut away. The weight of the food on your fork is an indicator of the size of the food and whether or not you need to cut it smaller.
3) To check if the knife blade is up or down before slicing, rock the knife back and forth on it's tip, if it rolls, it's blade down, if not, its blade up.
4) Cut meats at the 6 o'clock position, so you're not reaching over other food, and reduces spillage.
5) To check if the food is completely cut through, stick your fork, or scoop with your fork and check for a "dragging" sensation. This indicates that there's still food "attached".
6) Use heavier, "solid" food as a buffer to scoop up food, such as pushing vegetables up against mashed potatoes to scoop easier.
7) If you're at a restaurant, you can request the Cook cut the meat before it's brought out (if it'll help with awkwardness in public).
Now for some odds and ends....
1) For salt and pepper onto your plate, sprinkle into your hand and then pinch some up to sprinkle onto your food. This way you can control the amount as salt and pepper shaker flow amounts vary all over.
2) If passing food around the table, have the person identify the contents, do the same when you pass it to the next person as a reminder as well.
3) When receiving a serving dish, run your finger around the edge to locate the serving spoon, and with the other hand, slowly locate a spot for the food and then scoop the food and move towards your located finger (or 2 fingers like I demonstrated for the coffeepot).
4) It's perfectly okay to feel around the table and around your setting to locate things:
I hope all these tips and products for your Kitchen are useful and help you gain confidence in cooking again!
The next section in the Series will be for the Bathroom.
Feel free to send me any questions and have a great week!
Note: Many adaptations in this series can be found in my eBook.
Disclosure: Some text contains Affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
Welcome to the second part of this series, the kitchen!
The kitchen is usually the heart of the home, families gather to eat and share about our day's events, friends gather and gossip over coffee, and of course if you're like me - you like baking and cooking.
But for some of us with low vision, especially those newly diagnosed, the kitchen can be a large source of frustration and accidents. It doesn't have to be that way and meal prep and cooking can be enjoyable again!
I'm listing a variety of tips and products for you to pick and choose from and they vary due to 1) amount of vision loss & 2) skill level in the kitchen.
If you're new to experiencing low vision, I highly recommend getting some independent living skills training.
Again, many of these tips can be found in my eBook.
Disclosure: Some text contains affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
As I mentioned in the first part of the series - the living room, the easiest adjustment for vision loss is to have less clutter.
Now, let's use the picture above as a good layout for a kitchen:
1) Lots of natural light as well as several lighting options throughout.
2) Cupboards and drawers have contrasting color handles and knobs for easy viewing.
3) Appliances are easy to notice between cupboards (I hate those makeovers where they cover the appliances with the same "covering" as the cupboards).
4) Paths are clear and chairs are tucked in properly - no tripping hazards. Also all cupboards and drawers are closed. (Number one rule in my kitchen).
5) It seems the kitchen table is the same color as the floor, you can remedy this by putting a contrasting table cloth on it, or using a contrasting area rug (secured to floor well) under the table.
This section is on prepping food and the different tips and products that will help you out.
Again, I encourage getting some independent living training to help boost your confidence and reduce your reliability on someone else. If you don't feel confident enough, please check out this correspondence course "Self-Esteem and Adjusting to Blindness" from the Hadley School.
1) Cut food in a well lit area, or use a small desk lamp for task lighting.
2) Use contrasting color cutting boards to highlight the food. Use a light colored cutting board for dark colored foods and a dark cutting board for light colored foods. (Please remember not to cross-contaminate).
3) Tuck the knife blade under the cutting board when not in use to prevent knocking if away and prevent cuts.
4) If you're not comfortable with your knife skills yet, you can opt for a manual dicer instead.
1) Be the one to put all the groceries away - that way you'll know what was bought, do any labeling if necessary, and you'll put it away yourself (so, now you know where they are).
2) If it's hard to read labels (or cooking instructions), there are several options you can choose to do:
3) Gather all the ingredients for your recipe ahead of time on the counter. You can choose to pre-measure ingredients into bowls and cups and such. Once you've added an ingredient to your recipe, put it away! This helps prevents double dosing as well as being easier to find the next ingredient.
4) Use large print measuring cups and spoons for easy viewing. One thing I always do while measuring ingredients, especially liquids, is to pour over the sink. With low vision we don't always see or react quickly enough to prevent over-pouring. So, doing it over the sink makes clean up a lot easier!
5) Put all utensils, dirty dishes and so on, in the dishwasher or in the sink and out of the way. Again, my mantra - "the less clutter there is, the easier it is to see".
Here are a variety of things to do with your "standard" appliances, the ones we are accustomed to - fridge, stove, microwave:
1) If you'r appliance is fairly new (this century), some manufacturers have a tactile (Braille) dial available for some models that you can switch out for to "feel" where the settings are.
2) Get puff paint, or tactile dots, to apply to your favorite settings on your appliance for you to easily feel and push.
On the right is a picture of my microwave with some puff paint on the following buttons:
Sure, it's not pretty, but it is very effective and I no longer spend time straining to look from different angles to find each button.
3) For the stove, don't start burners until you've placed the pot on first. Turn burners off before removing pots too. Turn pot handles inward away from edges to prevent accidentally bumping them.
Alternate to Appliances
If you're not comfortable using the standard equipment, there are several cooking alternatives to use:
1) Slow Cooker - Everything gets put into the pot while it's cold and left all day to cook on it's own and it's ready to serve. This reduces the chance of burns, and does not need a lot of "supervision" over it.
2) George Foreman Grill - Again, food can be placed on here while it's cold and then closed and started. Less chance of burns plus no fighting to flip food as it cooks both sides.
3) Air Fryer - Again, food goes in cold, turned on, check the temperature and texture of food and the handle stays cool to transfer to a plate. I have one and love it! You can read my review and a recipe too.
4) Cobolt Systems - this is a company that sells talking versions of various products such as a Combination Oven, Microwave, a single hotplate and a double hotplate.
Well this post is getting a bit long, I'll save Part Two for next time where I'll give tips and products for Cooking & Eating.
Thank you and feel free to ask me any questions!
Everyone enjoys a good homemade meal, but before you can dig in, you have to prepare it first. Cooking can be a hard task, especially if you have vision or hearing loss. However, if you only make a few adjustments to your kitchen and get a few aids, you’ll be preparing delicious meals in no time.
Here’s what you can do to create a functional kitchen for people with vision and hearing loss.
If you want to make cooking and navigating your kitchen even easier, you might consider removing all sharp edges and opt for rounded tables and countertops. These will cause less painful bumps and fewer spills caused by bumping into something.
Also, pay attention to how you orient your pot and pan handles on the stove, since knocking them can cause severe burns. Additionally, make sure you don’t have any wires and cables over the floor because they can be serious trip hazards.
Smooth and shiny surfaces for countertops, flooring and appliances easily reflect light and create glare. Additionally, glass cabinet doors and clear glasses can also cause glare, but more importantly, they are completely invisible which makes them a hazard unless you mark them clearly.
Adjust the lighting
When you have vision loss, every space needs ample and appropriate lighting, especially a kitchen with all those knives and appliances. Increased illumination makes it easier for people with low vision to navigate their kitchen and prepare food.
On the other hand, poor lighting increases the risk of falls, bumps and even more serious accidents. So, your best bet is to invest in good lighting for your kitchen. Fluorescent strip lights with diffusers offer great distribution of light while spotlights direct ample light in all directions.
Also, bringing light closer to the task at hand is a great way to improve visibility. For instance, installing strip lighting under the kitchen cabinets will provide good lighting in the countertop area. You can also install some lighting in your cupboards and on the shelves for easier food identification. If you combine these lighting fixtures with some standard lamps and hanging pendants, you’ll get a well-illuminated space ready for meal prep.
Another way to make food preparation easier for people with vision loss is to create contrasts. Painting doors, cabinets and walls in contrasting colors with respect to the rest of the room will make them stand out more and make the space easier to navigate.
You can opt for neutral colors and go with dark colors against bright colors (black and white contrast, for instance) but combining darker and lighter shades of the same color can also work, it all depends on your vision level and your personal preference. You can also invest in appliances that have contrasting surfaces such as colorful Viking refrigerators that come in icy white, black, gray, red, blue and beige. Additionally, get contrasting cooking utensils, such as chopping boards, bowls and knives, which will also make it much easier to locate and handle them.
When choosing appliances, make sure they have some sort of contrast on controls to make setting the dials and pressing the buttons simpler. You can also use tactile markers, such as bump-ons or Velcro dots, and apply them to the controls.
Adapting the kitchen for hearing loss
People with limited or no hearing can also benefit from some easy kitchen adaptations. The main issue in the kitchen is the fire alarm. However, there are gadgets that will send visual signals instead of audio ones if there is a fire situation in the kitchen.
People who are deafblind can find vibrating pagers that will alert them of any kitchen happenings, from fire alarms to oven timers. All of these easy fixes will make cooking a much easier, safer and less stressful experience for people with hearing loss.
Don’t be afraid to venture into cooking waters. These kitchen safety tips will keep you safe, so all you need is some inspiration and a good appetite.
Have you or someone you know lost some vision?
Had some loss for some time and want to gain more independence?
Whatever your circumstances, you can shop for groceries on your own independently with very little help. Wouldn't that be awesome?
There are many ways to shop for groceries when you have vision loss, all with varying degrees of monetary costs and help involved:
Local Delivery Service
Many cities and even small towns have a delivery service / taxi service that can make small deliveries. I would only recommend this for the occasional item that you need "now" - such as a missing recipe item.
Another similar service that you may want to know about is UberEats for food delivery from restaurants that don't offer delivery.
Walk or take Public Transit
If you live close to a grocery store, consider walking there, you'll get good exercise, orientation and mobility (O&M) practice, and get familiar with your neighborhood.
The same goes for public transit, take a bus tour of your area and find a grocery store that's convenient on your route. Some advice, the best grocery store on your route may not even be the closest one to your home - pick a store that's easy to stop at and has a return route without many "exchanges" or long wait times.
Grocery Store Fulfillment Service
Some grocery stores have shopping fulfillment services - you call or fill out an online form with your shopping list and can just pick it up at the customer service department. Wal-Mart offers this service in some places and will even put the groceries in your car for you. So use a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, or your taxi and just have them wait while you go in and claim your order. No long hassle of searching for items on rows and rows of shelves.
If your local grocery store doesn't offer a fulfillment service, you can call ahead and request a personal assistant - an employee that will walk with you and either read you prices and items, or fetch them for you. This also saves time hunting around for items when you can't see things well.
Shop in Bulk
Shop in bulk when you have a ride with a friend or relative. Grab all the big bulk items like toilet paper, paper towels, canned food, pantry items like flour, sugar, coffee, etc. This way you won't have to struggle with getting these heavy or awkward-sized groceries home on your own - whether you're walking, taking the bus, or ride-share.
This way you have -
Use Amazon Fresh
Another new service you may want to check out is Amazon Fresh. A produce and grocery service offered by Amazon.com. They offer an unlimited service for only $14.99 a month and the food is delivered right to your door!
BONUS - Grab some Promotional Codes!
For some extra savings, use these promotional codes when you shop on Amazon:
15% off Peet's Coffee k-cup packs - 15BRAZIL32CT
20% off Gillette Venus Women Razors with Olay - 20VENUS
20% off Gillette Fusion Gel - 20GILLETTE
$30 off Tiger JAX rice cooker - 30TIGEROCT
20% off Global Pet Nutrition soft chews - 20GPN
So, there's many ways to shop when you have vision loss and without losing your sense of independence as well.
What other ways do you do for shopping? Share your experiences!