Just over a year ago, I reviewed Ricki Heller’s spectacular cookbook, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. Now, Ricki is celebrating the release of yet another book – Living Candida-Free. Actually, Ricki began celebrating back in January, I’m just late to the party.
If you own NS&GF, this new book is different. Living Candida-Free is more of a dietary guide than a dedicated cookbook. However, it does include 100 recipes as well as some recipe photos – so it’s a cookbook within a comprehensive lifestyle program.
This book delivers a 3-phase program to eliminate candida and restore health. What is candida? Candida is a naturally occuring yeast in our bodies that is typically harmless. However, if candida becomes unbalanced, it feeds off of extra sugar in the body and multiplies, with serious health consequences. The symptoms can be so wide-ranging that it often goes undiagnosed by doctors. In this book, Ricki Heller outlines a detailed health plan and diet regimen designed to help people combat candida.
Even if you aren’t dealing with candida overgrowth and don’t need to follow the 3-phase program, Ricki shares knowledge and experiences that will interest you. If you are eating a vegan, plant-based, or gluten-free diet, and seeking optimal health and lifestyle balance, you’ll learn from Ricki’s insights. For instance, Ricki discusses strategies for quashing sugar cravings – which are useful for us all, and those approaches can be applied to other food habits and cravings we’d like to reduce. Also, Ricki thoroughly covers the anti-candida diet pantry list – and how to make cooking and baking substitutions for foods that aren’t permitted on the program. Beyond dietary considerations, Ricki also explains how to combat environmental conditions that can affect candida overgrowth.
Then, of course, there are the recipes! Ricki is a gifted recipe developer, and your tastebuds will not be disappointed with these wholesome, sugar-free recipes! I’ve already tried the cookie dough truffles and the crumble recipe (below). Both were incredible, and I’ve marked many more to try. Ricki focuses on flavour as well as wholesomeness, so you can count on her recipes tasting great.
If you are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free – or just plain food curious – pick up a copy of Living Candida-Free. While you wait, indulge in this delicious crumble recipe that Ricki has allowed me to reprint…
Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble
This fresh, not-too-sweet dessert is a great way to enjoy fruit once you reintroduce it to your diet. Because the topping is grain-free, you won’t need to worry about consuming your coveted grain servings for dessert. Makes 4 or 6 servings
Coconut oil, for pan
2 small or 1 large sweet apple (I used Gala) or pear, cored and diced very small (about 1/2-inch [1.3 cm] cubes—feel free to leave the skin on)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) mixed fresh or frozen berries (not including cranberries)—I use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries; if cranberries are included in your mix, use 2 cups (480 ml) total
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
30 drops plain or fruit-flavored pure liquid stevia (I use 20 drops lemon and 10 drops cherry-vanilla)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) psyllium husks (optional—it prevents the juices from becoming too watery)
1/3 cup (55 g) raw natural almonds
1/3 cup (55 g) raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut flour
1/16 teaspoon (0.25 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure liquid stevia, or to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) fine sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic*
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 4- to 6-cup (1 to 1.5 L) casserole dish with coconut oil.Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples, berries, cranberries, lemon zest, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, water, stevia, and psyllium, then drizzle over the berry mixture and toss again to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. (Note: You can just toss everything in the casserole dish instead of dirtying a bowl, but I found the mixture very hard to coat evenly when the ingredients were so cramped in the dish!) Make the topping: In the bowl of a food processor, blend the almonds, seeds, coconut flour, stevia, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the coconut oil and process until it’s incorporated. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling in the casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the dish about halfway through baking, until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool somewhat before serving. May be frozen. From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015.
*Note: If you prefer not to use oil, try 1 tbsp nut butter – I did, and it worked fabulously!
Ricki’s book has gotten a lot of blogging love in recent months. Here are some additional recipes and reviews to check out:
Single-Serve Pancakes, Chard and Chickpea Soup, Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles, Creamy Crimson Mousse, The Toronto Sandwich, Herbed Grain-Free Gnocchi. Also some reviews to check out about Ricki’s book.
Have you tried any recipes from Living Candida-Free? If so, please share your favourites!