Saturday, August 1, 2009

The 30-Day DomesticMuse Dairy-Free Challenge!!

Life continues, with Bell's Palsy. I'm feeling a whole lot better! This is Day 15 for me. I am so grateful for everyone's good wishes, supports, prayers, good vibes, and great mojo you are sending my way! I'm here to tell you, it's working!!! So thanks, and please, keep it coming! It takes most people up to 3 months to recover completely (some more, some less of course).

At the point where most people with Bell's Palsy are still getting WORSE, I am about 50% recovered. I've regained a lot of movement and symmetry. And joy of joys, my left eye closes and blinks normally, so I no longer have to sleep with a patch!! Hooray!!! If you want to see the gruesome pics, they are posted on PhitDiva. I'll warn you, I am definitely not winning any beauty prizes with those photos. On the plus side, I figure, this is as bad as it gets!!

I have learned an incredible amount about Bell's Palsy over the past 2 weeks (gee, somehow it seems longer... ;) ) and really want to give a shout out to the Bell's Palsy Network for keeping me sane. I don't know what I would do without their support and knowledge about this strange condition that even most drs. know little about. I am grateful that my recovery is going well, and I've had minimal pain. The biggest issue (besides the obvious disfigurement) for me has truly been fatigue, which is overwhelming at times. But that is getting better too.

After a lot of research and listening to other people's stories, I learned that acupuncture can be very helpful in treating Bell's Palsy. So this week I decided to go for it, and scheduled an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist/Doctor of Oriental Medicine in my area. I had a treatment for the BP, which really helped a lot-- we noticed a lot more movement after the treatment. The treatment itself was a piece of cake-- not painful and actually very relaxing.

The dr. did a thorough evaluation of my overall health and in addition to treating the Bell's Palsy, is also going to address and treat some of my other longstanding and related health issues.

The biggest one for me is allergy and sinus problems, which I feel directly caused me to come down with the Bell's Palsy, so it's all related. Conventional medicine hasn't been able to do much for me except to put me on allergy meds, and I immediately get sick if I don't take them even for a day or two. I'm tired of the endless cycle of medication, sinus and ear infections, and antibiotics several times a year, and of course MOST eager to avoid getting Bell's Palsy again.

The dr. explained to me that according to Chinese medicine, I am showing a pattern where the liver and spleen are in disharmony (I can't recall the actual name of the diagnosis) and producing a condition of too much "dampness" in my body, leading to the production of phlegm, which in my case has thickened and is causing sinus problems. (This is consistent with what my regular dr. tells me-- that my sinus/ear fluids are too thick to drain properly and cause infection.)

Anyway, to finally get to my point, part of the treatment plan is to eliminate dairy products and sugar from my diet. The phlegm is apparently an allergic response to these elements in my diet. I actually was not surprised to hear this, as I suffered from extensive food allergies as a child. However, I must say, I was not thrilled to learn that 2 of my most favorite food groups ever have got to go. Cheese. Yogurt. Ice cream!! I practically live for the stuff!! And come on people, I am from the South-- a HUGE sweet tooth is my birthright!!! A world without cheese and dessert?? A world without sunlight!! A culinary wasteland!!

After my initial shock, I decided I CAN and WILL do this. My health is important. I should at least give this a try. Other people, people who love food as much as I do, have been able to make this kind of thing work. We've all seen the terrific gluten-free blogs out there! (Not that I have to eliminate gluten, thank God!) What's more, I'm going to take my dr.'s suggestion and try it for 30 days.

However, not wishing to completely lose my mind, I am going to do this in stages. First, I'm going to work on getting rid of the dairy. Then I'm going to work on REDUCING the amount of sugar in my diet significantly. Say, by 90%. I really don't think I can totally eliminate that, because it's in just about everything, including restaurant food. And I am not planning on giving up eating at restaurants! And it is just not realistic to think I will NEVER eat the many sugar-containing foods I love. But I CAN work on eating less of them, less frequently.

So, here goes!!! I'm going to undertake the first-ever DomesticMuse 30-Day Dairy Free Challenge. I will post every day for 30 days about my experiences and include dairy-free recipes for all of the delicious new food I'm going to learn how to cook. The first thing I have to do is pick up a couple of cookbooks and probably stock up my pantry, so I will probably have a couple days of prep before I am ready to go dairy-free. But if there's anything DomesticMuse loves, it's a challenge!!

Who wants to join me??? C'mon, this will be fun!

JOIN THE CHALLENGE!!! Win A Fabulous Prize! It's easy and fun.

Here's how YOU can participate! Prepare ONE dairy-free meal during the month of August and post it on your blog. Link your post to this one. Send me the link to your post and a photo to DomestickMuse at Gmail dot com, and I will post a round-up at the end of the month. We will vote on winners, and TWO lucky winners will receive a FREE copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

That's it!!! Hopefully we'll collect lots of great recipes and have some fun. If any of you are interested in guest posting, shoot me an email (DomestickMuse at

So come on, people! Let's get movin' and groovin' on the DomesticMuse 30-Day Dairy-Free Challenge!


  1. Sorry to hear about the BP but what a way to use diet to help you! Good luck with this. I'm going to try to make something!

  2. Karen- Youve been in my thoughts and I am inspired by your strength and glad to hear things are looking up. I will try and think of something also to make. XXOO

  3. I'm sorry to hear about Bell's Patsy but I'm glad you are doing better. I go through lactose intolerance stages at various times, so I'm pretty adept at a dairy-free diet. Will try to cook something non-dairy for you.


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