Cooking is a physically demanding activity. You may have to bend, lift, and twist just to boil pasta. Back pain sufferers may also have to moan and wiggle a lot. NPR’s Pien Hui tells us about the new cookbook that has recipes designed to reduce strain on a cook’s back.

PIEN HUANG BYLINE: The cookbook is called “The Health Back Kitchen” and it’s produced by America’s Test Kitchen. It’s for Julie Bozzo Cote. She has suffered from back and neck pain that has severely limited her ability to cook for the last 15 years. Her family’s typical dinner is…

JULIE BOZZO COTE: Frozen pizza. It’s a lot frozen pizza, salad, mac and cheese or angel hair with salad.

Cote is a chef at America’s Test Kitchen. She didn’t work on the book but received an early copy for review. She wants to cook but is unable to due back pain.

COTE: It’s intimidating to chop up a whole chicken for soup or to roast a chicken on a weeknight. You have to think about using the knife as leverage and standing while pushing.

HUANG: A butcher can spatchcock a small chicken purchased at the grocery store. This is just one of the many suggestions in the book that will help you reduce the strain on your back when cooking. Along with clear, glossy food photos and recipes, there are also lessons on spinal anatomy. It was written in collaboration with Dr. Griffin Baum a spine surgeon from Northwell Health, New York City. He says that it is a reflection of two realities in life.

GRIFFIN BAUM GRIFFIN BAUM GRIFFIN BAUM GRIFFIN BAUM GRIFFIN BAUM GRIFFIN BAEM: All humans have to eat. You have to eat. All humans will experience back pain. It’s part of life. No one can live their entire life without experiencing back pain.

HUANG: This book is for people who suffer from chronic back pain. It’s often caused by arthritis of the neck and spine. Baum says that this condition cannot be cured. It can only managed.

BAUM: That’s our approach, not like, how can you eat better for back pain? No, the question is how to make changes in the kitchen. How can you manage your back pain by cooking and eating?

HUANG: It’s done by preparing ingredients while seated and using a rolling trolley to move tools around the kitchen. Baum says that they spent weeks trying to figure out how to load a oven without bending.

BAUM: We came up with a pretty cool solution on how to remove the rack from a 350 degree oven when it is sweltering hot. How do you set up the stool? What’s the best size and how do I set something on it?

HUANG : Baum claims that standing for longer than 10 or 15 minute intervals can cause back pain. The recipes are designed with breaks. On good days you can chop up extra onions and freeze. On bad days you can be extra gentle and toast nuts in the micro. This could be helpful for people with other ailments. Dr. Linda Xu, a primary care doctor at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, teaches cooking to patients.

LINDA XU : I agree with the idea that we should simplify this recipe. Let’s give you, you know, lighter, easier to use cooking equipment. In many cases, these sorts of streamlining would be applicable.

HUANG: Anyone who has difficulty cooking, whether they are recovering from surgery, or have mobility issues. The book is more than just a collection of recipes and tips for Cote. It gives her hope she can cook healthy meals and still have energy to do other activities.

COTE: We can have dinner, then go outside to play, or go on a bicycle ride before dinner, and then quickly put together the meal. Again, it’s not just frozen pizza.

HUANG: Her neck pain is bad today, but she will spend 15 minutes this morning chopping leeks and onions. She will take a long break from standing up before preparing a rich, creamy soup of cauliflower for dinner.

Pien Huang, NPR News.