Blogger Spotlight: TV Dinner

CNN
Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 4:45pm

We're highlighting local and regional bloggers we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should. And if Jamie Shupak's face seems familiar, it's because you may have seen the Emmy-nominated reporter delivering traffic news on NY1.

Who: Jamie Shupak, of TV Dinner

Where: New York City

Twitter: @JamieShupak

My rheumatoid arthritis used to be so bad in my hands -- in particular my wrists and fingers -- that I could barely cook. My knuckles were so inflamed they looked like giant red Gobstoppers. I'd still try, struggling to lift heavy pots and pans, prying open boxes and packages with my teeth, and most of the time I'd succeed. But it was exhausting, frustrating, and painful.

I grew up in a house where my mom cooked for my dad, two brothers and me almost every night of the week, so ordering in or going out all the time just didn't register with me. I've always loved the whole process of dinner time: from meal planning to grocery shopping, preparing and cooking, and then, naturally, eating. There's something so satisfying about creating a meal for someone you love.

This is why I fought through the pain on a daily basis. But when I looked for resources for cooking with RA -- tips, tricks, anything -- I found nothing. That was the first time I wanted to start a food blog. Sure, sharing recipes would be fun, but I wanted there to be a community where people shared stories and knowledge as well.

My first bit of knowledge came from an acupuncturist who told me that meat and dairy were killing my body. I went vegan and it cured all my pain, taking it from a 10 to a zero in days. I've since added fish, other seafood and eggs back into my diet, but I never cook other meat or use any dairy. When I do, my joints hurt and I feel more like 81 than 31.

About six years and dozens of recipes later I finally decided to start TV Dinner, in part because of encouragement from my boyfriend, Brian, who had probably just heard enough of my ruminating about it. We came up with the name, from me being on TV and him writing about TV, but also because we wanted to reinvent the idea of that old TV Dinner you knew from your childhood. No more snack tables, processed food, or buttery side dishes; these meals would all be simple, healthy and delicious.

At first I just wanted to share all my easy, healthy recipes. I loved having a place where I could write as little or as much as I wanted, and as often as I like. I love the stories that food and meals tell because they're so revealing about your emotions and where you're at in life. But it wasn't until I started talking about my RA on my blog that I really tapped into that original desire for a community.

I've received such overwhelmingly positive responses, some from people who tried a vegan diet, and others who were simply happy to read about the connection between diet and disease. Those are my favorite posts, by far -- the ones where I can provide a resource for people, in a place that was devoid of it for so long.

I hope TV Dinner will always be about healthy food and how it brings us together. Cooking for Brian is easily my most favorite thing to do. Sitting down to dinner each night, like I did growing up, is a beautiful thing. It's a time to reflect and catch up with each other. Sure, sometimes we're both scrolling through Twitter, or he's scarfing it down to finish a story, or I have to run to blow dry my hair and get to bed.

But I'll take those few precious moments, because then they turn into so much more when I share them on TV Dinner.

Looking for RA-friendly recipes? Jamie recommends: Scorching scallop ceviche, Roasted shrimp tacos with mango avocado salsa and Coconut curry swordfish.

Do you read a local blog that you'd like to see featured? Send 'em our way for a chance in the spotlight.

Related: Fatty fish may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis

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