It is no great secret that I am a very longtime fan of Ricki Heller and her work. Ricki’s website (formerly Diet, Dessert n’ Dogs) was one of the first vegan blogs I found. I loved Ricki’s literary writing style, the sweet and humorous narratives she used to introduce each recipe on her site. I loved her wealth of health knowledge (Ricki is natural nutritionist, as well as a cookbook author and recipe developer). And I absolutely adored her recipes. Ricki makes it look easy to create food that is hearty, tasteful, and evokes everyone’s favorite meals (pancakes, casseroles, wonderful desserts) while also being health-oriented and mindful of special diets, including food sensitivities.
Ricki has also developed an incredible talent for using food and diet as a tool to manage candida overgrowth. Candida albicans is a microorganism–a yeast–that dwells in our digestive tracks. Some of it is necessary, but if it multiplies too much, it can cause a number of health problems. In cases of candidiasis, c. albicans causes a fungal infection in a particular part of the body. (In the mouth, it’s commonly called “thrush,” and in the vagina, we all know it as a yeast infection.) In other cases, there can be systemic candida overgrowth that becomes chronic. Symptoms attributed to this kind of overgrowth include skin rashes, fever, fatigue, vaginal and/or anal itching, and digestive issues.
In my nutrition work, I’ve seen clients with candida overgrowth. I also see many clients who have been told they have it, or who have self diagnosed, without any subsequent testing to confirm the diagnosis. Because the symptoms of candida overgrowth are similar to those of many other chronic health conditions, it’s important to get tested, especially since following an anti-candida diet can be somewhat difficult and/or stressful.
Fortunately, those who are struggling with candida can now rely on Ricki’s wonderful cookbook, Living Candida Free, which includes 100 recipes and a 3-stage health plan designed to help readers combat the immediate and longterm symptoms of candida overgrowth. Ricki’s passion for crafting food that aids in the healing process has grown directly out of her own struggle with candida, and the personal sense of commitment that she brings to helping others is very clear. To manage candida, it’s important to limit sugars and starches, which is no easy task. That Ricki has created 100 recipes that are both anti-candida diet friendly and also delicious–recipes that anyone would love to eat–is a testament to her unique blend of culinary experience and health awareness.
It’s also worth saying that a great many–I’d actually say nearly all–of the candida resources available are not particularly easy to adapt for vegan diets. Most of them restrict grains completely, and many restrict legumes as well. Ricki’s cookbook accommodates both of these foods (though she emphasizes moderation), which is great, because they’re both important parts of well-rounded vegan diets. And the stages she’s created are designed to help readers ultimately reincorporate a lot of the foods that are initially restricted, including fruits. This is the first and only vegan candida resource, in other words, and it’s long overdue.
Lest you be wondering how an anti-candida diet can also feel abundant and totally fulfilling, let me share some images from Ricki’s book (my friend Nicole Axworthy did the photos, and they are beautiful):
Single serve pancakes with gingerbread pecan butter
Raw chocolate chip cookie dough truffles
Grain free berry crumble
As you can see, Ricki has a special talent for sweets and desserts; in fact her last book, Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free (which I reviewed here) is a dessert and sweets book. I should mention that many of the sweets in Living Candida Free contain stevia, which I am no great fan of. Plant derived or not, I consider it to be an artificial sweetener, and my own philosophy is to use natural sugars in moderation over artificial ones (I haven’t bought it stevia in years, though I will occasionally still have it if it appears in a protein powder or another product that I like otherwise). Still, I don’t have candida, and this book is designed for people who do; in their cases, sugar in moderation isn’t an option, and stevia is the best alternative. Ricki is a wizard with using stevia in recipes, too, so you can rest assured that the taste of her sweets is entirely authentic!
Still, Ricki’s savory recipes have always spoken to me the most, and so I wanted to choose one of her savory dishes from Living Candida Free to share with you all today.
I chose her “Toronto Sandwich,” a perfect example of how Ricki creates totally satisfying and simple meals that are also health-forward. This sandwich is really more of a crepe creation, and the base is a simple chickpea flour wrap. The filling is a wonderfully salty and satisfying mixture of sauerkraut, tempeh, and greens–just my kind of meal. I hope you’ll all be as struck by the recipe as I am!
Whether you’re struggling with candida or not, Ricki’s cookbook is a worthy addition to your collection. For me, this book has been a joy because it contains so many savory breakfast ideas; I adore savory breakfasts, but I get really lazy about preparing them sometimes (it always feels easier and more automatic to make oats), and I’ve so enjoyed her collection of hashes, fritters, sweet potato rounds, and other savory options.
So that one of you can experience Ricki’s lovely book, too, Ricki and the generous folks at Da Capo are offering one CR reader a complimentary copy. Enter below to win! (US and Canada only, please.)
Before I go, I want to thank you all so much for the generous and kind responses to my own green recovery story. I was, of course, nervous to put it all out there, but your insights and kind words made me so glad that I did. I look forward to posting weekend reading tomorrow.
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Healthy and tasty grilled salmon: http://lightfeeding.com/recipe/you-need-to-try-a-grilled-salmon/
I would love this book! My fav is toast with avocado and hemp hearts.
I love a sweet potato and tomato tofu omelet with oregano. Not just for breakfast and good and savory with onions.
Oh, it sounds adorably! 🙂
My favorite breakfast these days is oats with Chia seeds and coconut silk milk with a cup of blueberries stirred in and a packet stevia! It’s a huge bowl full of delicious!!
Favorite savoury breakfast is an obvious one – avo toast! Of course (duh!)
Eggs & spinach
my fave savory breakfast is a tie between tofu scramble and avocado toast; don’t make me choose!
I saw Ricki’s presentation at Toronto Veg Fest last year – she rocks!
Lately, I’ve been having a lot of smoothies for breakfast – usually green ones, but sometimes beet smoothies or chocolatey ones with raw cacao. However, a few of my fave savoury breakfasts are Terry Hope Romero’s Gallo Pinto and Oh She Glow’s Red Lentil Bowl and her Jumbo Chickpea Pancake.
My fave savoury breakfast would definitely have to be toasted whole grain bread topped with tons of veggies and avocado. I rarely ever eat savoury breakfasts though, I tend to rely on smoothies!
I always loved breakfast burritos! I used to make them with my now passed grandmother every weekend: tortillas and salsa, some eggs and cheese, but that was back when I ate all those things. It would be neat to know how to make that in a raw spin off (: Any ideas?
Wow- what a gorgeous looking cookbook. I would love to check out all of the recipes, but am happy that you shared one with us. YUM!
A tofu scramble with a lot of veggies.
For a savory breakfast item, I would have to say anything Indian! I feel like they have breakfast food down in India! Dosas and idyll’s are really tasty, gluten free and satisfying! Now, if only I could make them. 😛
I would love to win this book! I’m dealing with candida and am a vegetarian, so have a really hard time.
I’m more of a sweet breakfast girl…but here’s to hoping this book may convert me 😉
My favorite savory breakfast is miso soup with vegetables. Yum!
Socca is really nice as a savory breakfast. Turning it into Ricki’s Toronto sandwich would make it even better!
The Toronto Sandwich looks really easy to make. The addition of the fresh veggies make it look delicious and remind me of spring.
I love your blog as well as Riki’s. I do not have candida but another strain of bacteria overgrowth and am currently sugar free!
My favorite savory breakfast (savory is the best!) is mushrooms with winter squash, spinach, peas and pesto!!!
I have such a terrible sweet tooth! I even go for pancakes or oatmeal at other times of day. But if I had to go savory I”d go with a vegan eggs benedict sandwich or breakfast taco since I am in Texas after all 😉
Hash browns or any kind of potatoes.
I usually have green juice in the morning, but I love the idea of a chickpea wrap! Wish there was a way they could be made ahead and stored. Thanks so much for sharing with us 🙂
OhSheGlows Red Lentil Oatmeal bowl. Delicious!
My two go-to breakfasts are a paleo butternut squash & carrot souffle, and a Greeek-inspired quiche with diced white potato, and spinach, grass-fed ground beef seasoned with greek seasonings; to save time I use a pre-made gluten free frozen crust from Whole Foods.
I enjoy eating sweet potato oatmeal for breakfast.
Tofu scramble! This book looks amazing. Thanks for doing this giveaway!
I love leftovers for breakfast!
Maple syrup is close! I love having baked beans with maple syrup at this time of year.
great review gina – you really do a great job of writing it up from a practitioner point of view which is really useful – I don’t like the taste of stevia but agree that I can cope with a small amount in ricki’s recipes (having been a tester for the book) but I am also a huge fan of her savoury recipes and the toronto sandwich is delicious – though I think I love the beans on chickpea flatbread even more!
Hash browns, pancakes & eggs.
I have been following Ricki’s blog for a while. The recipes are great! Thanks for profiling her so nicely here.
After the weekend farmer’s market, I roast a TON of veggies in my crock pot. I use them all week, but my favorite is Sunday morning eggs stir fried with a mixture of all my veggies. I experiment with the spices every week so I never get bored.
It would be great to have this for my daughter who seems to constantly fight candida.
I rarely eat a fully savory breakfast, but my favorite is a kickin’ veggie-only juice on days I want something light.
I have wanted to experiment more with chickpea flour! Right now my favourite savory breakfast is toast — keep it simple!
I used to be all about sweet breakfasts (waffles, buckwheat bakes, oatmeal) and switched over to savory last January. It’s been life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. Nowadays, I eat avocado toast with an egg over it…delicious!
My favorite savory breakfast is a savory gluten-free crepe with steamed spinach and mushrooms.
That sounds like the one I had in NYC, Liz (and yum!). So nice to see your name here–hope you’re doing well! 🙂
I adore scrambled eggs for the breakfast 🙂
Ricki was one of the first blogs I starting reading too! (Diet Desert and Dogs! I still think of that name when I go to here blog!)
I love a good chickpea flour scramble!
That’s too funny, Rebecca! Ah, yes, I remember those days as well. . . ! 😉
Thank you so much for this thoughtful review. I love that the savory breakfasts speak to you! And so glad you think the book will be helpful to anyone struggling with candida overgrowth (I really think holistic practitioners need to coin a new term for this syndrome, as it’s so different from what allopathic doctors mean when they say “candidiais”!). And as far as I know, yes, this is the only plant-based approach to healing from candida; I’ve never seen another program that doesn’t prescribe mostly animal foods (which, obviously, don’t contain starches or sugars). But I’m proof it can be done on a plant-based diet! :Glad you enjoyed the TO Sandwich, too! xoxo