Smart Health: I Tried the Multo by CookingPal to Cook With Rheumatoid Arthritis — and Here’s What Happened

Can an ‘all-in-one’ kitchen solution make meal prep easier for people with rheumatoid arthritis–related hand pain, fatigue, or brain fog?

Fact-Checked
The Multo by CookingPal
This countertop device has more than 15 cooking functions, some of which might be helpful for people with RA.Courtesy of CookingPal

Name?Cheryl Crow

Age?40

Conditions?Rheumatoid arthritis, gastroparesis, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), anxiety

How long I’ve been living with these conditions?19 years

As someone who’s lived with rheumatoid arthritis and gastroparesis for 19 years, I’m no stranger to the challenges that inflammatory arthritis can pose in the kitchen.

Since my fingers (specifically the knuckles and thumbs) are the most consistent area of pain and inflammation, I often find the physical demands of cooking to be cumbersome.

Additionally, since rheumatoid arthritis can cause systemic fatigue and brain fog, sometimes I simply find the thought of cooking to be overwhelming.

I was intrigued by the Multo from CookingPal because the device seemed to address all three of my rheumatoid arthritis–related issues in the kitchen: hand pain (an all-in-one system rather than lots of different parts to lift, carry, and clean), fatigue (less lifting and carrying demands, eliminating the need to walk around the kitchen to different areas constantly to get different items), and brain fog (the little “Smart Kitchen Hub” tablet-like device that could walk me through the steps of cooking).

What Is the Multo by CookingPal?

It is a cooking device that sits on your countertop and includes a large base (a little larger than a standard stand mixer), a bowl, a computer tablet with a smart connection to the base, and some additional accessories. It has more than 15 functions, including: sauté, steam, knead, chop, scale, boil, whisk, grind, mix, stir, and clean.

Here’s What Happened When I Tried It

When the Multo first arrived, my excitement turned to dread as I realized I had to actually carry it into the house — those who have RA will know this familiar feeling! Fortunately, my husband was able to provide some assistance and unbox it for me.

Some of the pieces were heavy to lift from the ground to the counter, but once I got everything laid out there, I found it easy to turn on the Smart Kitchen Hub tablet and sync the hub with the main unit (which involved hooking both up to my Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).

Once I figured out the user interface, I found the experience of cooking with the Multo to be easier in some ways than traditional cooking and harder in others — read on for what I liked and didn’t like about it!

3 Things I Liked About the Multo

  • Once the parts are in place, it is easy to use if you have hand pain. Parts of the design are very arthritis-friendly. For example, you can simply pour ingredients into the main cooking bowl in order to measure them by weight, rather than fiddling around with multiple different measuring cups and spoons.
  • The Smart Hub makes cooking easier if you’re experiencing brain fog. The Smart Kitchen Hub walks you through recipes in a step-by-step manner with helpful visuals (for example, pictures of what the food is supposed to look like after you’ve chopped it). This reduces the mental demands of cooking because I don’t have to rely on my working memory to remember which step I’m on.
  • The Multo has a lot of different functions in one product.?It can blend like a food processor, steam vegetables and meats, cook chicken stock, and more. Some of the recipes turned out better in the Multo than when I’ve traditionally made them in the oven, for example the chicken with pesto.

3 Things I Disliked About the Multo

  • Some parts are heavy and difficult to move. The large base of the product has suction cups on the bottom to keep it anchored to the counter, which is great once you have it in the right place, but it was difficult to move it from one spot to another because of the product’s weight and the strength of the suction. More importantly, the main bowl that you use to chop, mix, steam, and knead is heavy to lift in and out of the pot. This wouldn’t be too bad if you only needed to move it once at the end of a recipe, but for most of the recipes I tried, I needed to move it multiple times for one dish. This is probably the biggest downside to me as an arthritis patient. For example, I have purchased all lightweight pots, pans, and skillets for cooking at home, and I also have a stand mixer with a lightweight bowl. Lifting my stand mixer bowl in and out of the sink is far easier than the Multo bowl, which is not only heavier but also has an electrical component on the bottom that can’t get wet. For certain recipes, like the chicken with pesto, I found it tiring and painful to have to lift the bowl out of the base in order to get the pesto out, then carry the bowl to the sink, then rinse it out and fill it up with water and soap, then bring it back to the base to put it on clean mode, then once it was clean bring it back to the sink to pour the water out, then move on to the next step.
  • Instructions and user interface may be confusing.?As someone living with brain fog, I found it difficult to find things at times. For example, while making the stuffed chicken breast recipe, at first I found the directions too simplified until I was able to locate the “detailed directions” option which was in small print. I also needed to steam the chicken, which I tried to do after watching the tutorial. But I got an auto message that the steamer needed to heat up first, which ended up taking 10 minutes and partially cooking the chicken. I was confused at this point about how long I was supposed to keep the chicken in the steaming tray. I then realized that if I clicked “download recipe,” I would be taken to the option that is truly user-friendly and walks you through each recipe. This was a game changer for my enjoyment of the Multo, but it was not intuitive for me to figure out in the first place.
  • Measurements for recipes have a learning curve. I am used to measuring ingredients in terms of cups and teaspoons, and the Multo recipes give ingredients in ounces and grams only. Also, the icon for “scale” on the directions showed a traditional scale, but with the Multo, you use the main cooking pot as a scale, so that confused me at first. The device itself does measure for you, which is a really nice function especially for more gourmet cooks.

My Personal Take

Overall, I have mixed feelings about how useful the Multo will be to someone with rheumatoid arthritis and hand pain. If your pain is well controlled and you can tolerate the number of times you need to lift the main bowl into and out of the base, or if you have a partner or someone else in the home who can help you lift, then this could be a very handy kitchen gadget. It could be particularly helpful for someone who wishes to make lots of different dishes in one device rather than having multiple different kitchen gadgets, or for someone with a small kitchen. I also think it can help people with brain fog or difficulties with concentration and focus (once they figure out how to get to the step-by-step direction menu!).

Unfortunately, the weight of the main mixing bowl is the biggest downside of this device at this time, particularly since, for many recipes, you need to repeatedly move it back and forth from the sink to the base. For example, I make chicken stock routinely in a Crock-Pot, which requires simply throwing all ingredients into the pot, turning it on and then cleaning it once at the end. With the Multo, I had to move the bowl a few times to clean it in between steps, which was less convenient and also harder on my joints. I think people with active arthritis who don’t have someone else to help them move the bowl might find that a deal-breaker. On the other hand, they may also find a set of recipes they really love making that don’t require as much lifting.

Other Ways I Manage Cooking With Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • For hand pain?I’m a big fan of simple kitchen gadgets like opening aids. I also select lightweight pans and bowls to reduce the amount of force on my hands while lifting. And I routinely use workarounds like pre-chopped veggies, grocery delivery service, ready-made meals, and more.
  • For fatigue?A little bit of breaking up tasks and pacing myself goes a long way — preparing some ingredients in the morning and the rest in the afternoon or dinnertime helps spread out my energy over time. For fatigue, I also make simple recipes, bulk cook, and freeze some to save energy.
  • For brain fog?I’m also a fan of simple recipes versus complex ones, and for making the same set of recipes routinely rather than switching things up all the time.

Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.