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Lia’s breaking down barriers one recipe at a time

Lia Sintras is a guest blogger, CPA client, brand ambassador and disability advocate.

Ever since I was a kid I have always loved food, cooking and trying new recipes. I love the way food can bring people together and there are so many cultures and cuisines to choose from. Being Greek there is always so much food no matter how many people or what the occasion is. One of my favourite things to do is cook with my Grandma, hearing the stories of how she learnt to cook some of my favourite recipes. There is something amazing about the smell of Greek roast lamb in the oven with some vegetables.

Living with cerebral palsy makes cooking very difficult as it affects my fine motor skills, dexterity and muscle spasms in my arms and legs.

Another barrier is the kitchen as it may not be equipped or accessible for me to be able to cook a recipe from start to finish. I am lucky that my kitchen at home has a lower bench for me to prepare meals. I do struggle with cooking the food as there are hot pans and there is a high chance that I will drop a hot pan and burn myself.

Over the last year I have been working hard in the gym with my exercise physiologists to improve my fine motor skills and dexterity for me to be able to prepare a meal and improve my ability to cut up the ingredients for the recipe that I have chosen. Also learning to control my spasms and reaction times to help with cooking.

There is a common misconception out there that the gym is just about lifting heavy weights and pushing yourself. This is somewhat true. However, for me living with cerebral palsy the easiest task is often the hardest. There is so much that can be done in the gym to break down a goal like cooking to make it possible.

I started by picking easier recipes that asked for quite a bit of rough chopping of the ingredients until I got used to it. For example, a garden salad or Greek salad or a tray baked chicken with vegetables as it is in one pan. Then I will pick a recipe that needs me to finely chop or dice the ingredients. For example, a fried rice. I will spend a couple of months on each skill until I get better at it. Then I will move on to a slightly harder skill.

My auntie recently bought me a chopping board that has several small plastic trays that sit at the side of the board. I can just chop the ingredients and slide them into the tray. It also has four rubber legs which really helps to stop the chopping board from sliding off the table.

I have always loved cooking and food this passion has only grown over the years. It is due to all the hard work my team at CPA and family have put in over the years. It has made me more independent and proven once again that nothing is impossible you just need positive people around you.

I can’t wait to keep cooking and making new recipes for my family and friends. Here are some of my favourite recipes:

Lady with dark hair and a striped tshirt, seated preparing food.

Work with our exercise physiologists on your goals. Explore our Lifestyles programs to learn a new skill or hobby.

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