When Life Gives You Lemons…

When I finished classes at the beginning of March I had grand plans – plans to complete my required externship hours as soon as possible, plans to get back to creating new recipes and use my CSA deliveries creatively, and then…life happened, as it tends to do.  I woke up last Sunday and thought that my face felt a little funny.  At first I chalked it up to sleeping in a weird position or something, but after a few hours when I noticed that it was difficult to eat and one of my eyes wasn’t blinking properly, I really started to freak out.  Dave took me to the ER and I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition where the nerve that motors one side of your face becomes inflamed.  The visible symptom is that the right side of my face is mostly paralysed – it looks like I’m winking at everyone!  It is certainly no fun, but Bell’s Palsy usually cures itself after a few weeks to a few months, so I’m trying to take it easy and hoping for a speedy recovery.

How this relates to food is that I’ve found it a little difficult to eat, what with half of my mouth not really opening or chewing very well!  So, I have been making foods that I can eat with a spoon or through a straw that don’t require too much chewing, while still trying to take in a good amount of nutrition.  I have been able to eat some solid foods by cutting them into small pieces, but it’s really much easier to just slurp something up.

Mushy is easy for breakfast…

Good ol’ grits with nutritional yeast.

Amaranth with strawberries and coconut kefir.

Super smoothie – First I juiced some red cabbage, celery, ginger and swiss chard, then I blended the juice with a banana, kiwi, frozen strawberries and mango, hemp protein powder and coconut kefir.  Odd maybe, but good!

A coworker mentioned that when her mother had Bell’s Palsy she ate a lot of applesauce, so I took applesauce to the next level.  This is store bought applesauce, warmed up, topped with peanut butter, ground flax and maple syrup.  It was like a warm pb & apple butter sandwich without the bread.

Luckily, I’ve been able to work from home since my diagnosis, so my lunches have been quick and simple.

Broccoli-Avocado-Lemon Soup.  I steamed a bunch of broccoli well then processed it with three small avocados, the juice of one large lemon, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt, white pepper and nutritional yeast.  Yeah, perhaps it looks like something from The Exorcist, but it tasted nice and simple.  I wanted to bulk up the soup, so I toasted a piece of Ezekiel bread, tore it into small pieces, and soaked it in the soup until soft.

Purposely overcooked brown rice pasta with jarred sauce and nutritional yeast.  Appetizing, no?

Dahl for dinner.  I’d never made dahl before (and I was out of curry powder – doh!), so this was my thrown together version with garlic, ginger, fenugreek seed, mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cilantro.

With the dahl, I had some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever made.  I cooked baby red potatoes until very soft, then mashed them with a few spoonfuls of Cheddar-Style We Can’t Say It’s Cheese.  So good!  Now I understand why people put cream cheese or sour cream in their potatoes.

And for dinner tonight, to use up some sweet potatoes, I made Sweet Potato-Lentil-Wild Rice Stew, seasoned with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and coriander.  Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, so I’m telling myself that eating them will help my swollen nerve calm down!


  1. I’m sorry to hear about your bells palsy, but it looks like you are eating well at least! i hope you are on the shorter end of recovery. feel better soon 🙂

  2. Megan said

    Apple sauce with peanut butter?! Genius!!

  3. Babette said

    I’m sorry for your Bell’s Palsy. That really sucks, or is it life that really sucks? I just learned I probably have MS, so really I shouldn’t be that negative… but I can’t help it.

    Your food looks really awesome though. I wouldn’t feel sad eating that =)

    • veganhomemade said

      Sorry to hear that too, Babette. I had an MS scare a few years ago. I hope life looks better for you soon!

  4. Jennie said

    Hi! I’m de-lurking to say that Bell’s palsy is a rough break, but it will get better. I had it when I was 12- right before my first musical. It turned out to be a real learning experience for me, and in hindsight I’m sortof glad it happened. It taught me to be much less concerned with my appearance and to be more genuine. I love your blog and all the wonderful food. Hang in there, and do some facial exercises!

    • veganhomemade said

      Thanks Jennie! It seems like almost everyone I talk to about it knows at least one person who has been through it, so that’s a little comforting I guess. De-lurk again any time 🙂

  5. Mandee said

    You poor thing, I hope you are feeling better now, I’m sending positive thoughts your way 🙂

    And at least you are eating really well, I particularly like the look of the dahl!

  6. mihl said

    That sounds awful, I am very sorry!
    Still, you’re making some awesome food. Those mashed potatoes look absolutely perfect.

  7. Melisser said

    Wishing you a speedy recovery! Your mushy food all looks super tasty.

  8. […] slept on it funny?  My body has a interesting way of telling me when to take it easy…like when I had Bell’s Palsy a few years […]

  9. Smile when it hurts most. – D.a. Chapple

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