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Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free Giveaway!

Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free - Vegan Desserts

Gluten-Free AND Vegan Desserts and NO Refined Sugar!

Today, I am sharing my new favorite dessert cookbook with you. This one will be a perfect book to get into your collection right before all of your holiday baking. Written by renowned cookbook author, Ricki Heller, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free is packed with 100 gluten-free, vegan, and allergy friendly desserts. The best part is that all of the recipes in this book are actually healthy and contain no gluten, dairy, eggs, OR refined sugar.

I have gotten to know Ricki over the years and I feel that it is a must that I first mention that she is just an incredible soul from the inside out. She is kind and generous, super witty, and has an amazing knack for developing some delicious recipes…

I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book because I knew there would be so many gems waiting inside.

Some of the recipes that caught my eye (just to name a few):

  • Oatmeal Poppy Seed Scones
  • Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cinnamon Coffee Bars
  • Apple Pumpkin Crumble Bars
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
  • Chocolate Mystery Cupcakes

And the recipe images in this FULL-COLOR cookbook are totally stunning as well…

I have included a little sneak peak at some of the images that you’ll find inside (posted with permission from the publisher, Sellers Publishing). They are peppered throughout this post to tease you and perhaps even make you drool a bit.

Photo credit: Photos by Celine Saki, as seen in Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free)

Like these Chocolate Layer Cupcakes….

Vegan Desserts

or these Dalmation Cheesecake Brownies…

Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free

(And just to note…. while I did receive an advance copy of the cookbook, I was not paid for this review and the opinions are entirely my own. The cookbook included in this giveaway below is being provided entirely by me)

Recently, I had the chance to interview Ricki about her new book. I thought I would share part of my interview here to help you get to know her and learn a bit more about Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free

Before I do… I just want to remind you that one lucky reader will be winning a copy of Ricki’s new book, so do not forget to enter down below!!

Okay… now for a bit about Ricki….

ME: What were some of your symptoms that led to your Wellness Crossing to a plant-based diet that is free from gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugars? Considering all of the other diets out there, how did you come to choose to follow the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD)?

RICKI: I actually began to eat a plant-based diet long before I had symptoms. I’ve always been naturally drawn to a vegan diet and just prefer vegan foods to meat-based dishes—even though my dad was a butcher and we ate meat virtually every day when I was a child!  As I mention on my blog, I think my mom was a latent vegetarian, so I must have inherited that tendency from her! When I lived in residence at university, I ate what was pretty much a vegan diet without even knowing what the word “vegan” meant at the time.

In my late 20s, I began to have strange digestive symptoms and was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Because I was on medication to control the symptoms, I foolishly assumed I could still eat whatever I wanted. Big mistake! Things only got worse, and by my early 40s, it came to a crisis point when I suffered from four sinus infections in the space of three months. I ended up on six or seven courses of antibiotics. Of course, the antibiotics wreaked havoc on my digestive system even more, and eventually I was diagnosed with candida, an overgrowth of yeast in the body.

As part of my treatment, my naturopath prescribed the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD). Part of the ACD involves cutting out all potential allergens along with all sugars, so I didn’t have eggs, dairy or gluten during that time, either. At that point, since I had no desire to eat meat anyway, I was on an essentially a vegan diet. When I studied holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and learned more about how meat, chicken and dairy are produced, I decided I would just continue with a completely vegan diet. I never went back to sugar after the ACD, either, and have continued to use lower glycemic sweeteners.

I’ve been eating this way for over 10 years now, and it feels right for me. I feel best when I eat a plant-based, whole foods diet.

Fluffy Fruited Pancakes

Vegan Desserts

ME: I love the opening section of Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free titled “Making the Leap to Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free Desserts”. It is packed with such a wealth of information.  Starting on this new path of healthy eating can often seem overwhelming in the beginning. What is the one thing that you want readers to get out of this section of your book?

RICKI: Thanks so much, Kim! My hope is that readers come to understand that it’s really and truly not as daunting as they may think, and that they can easily create delectable sweet treats that look and taste like their old favorites. And they will come to love cooking, baking, and eating this way—really!

I provided that section to show how simple it can be to switch out one sweetener, or one flour, for another. Honestly, once you mix up your all-purpose flour (or else buy a bag of gluten-free all-purpose flour from the grocery store), you can simply swap out one cup of the all-purpose for one cup of your old wheat flour. The same applies to sweeteners, egg replacements, and so on. It’s just a matter of learning about the different options, how to measure them and when to use them. Before you know it, you’ll be mixing up amazing baked goods that everyone can enjoy!

Like these Apple Pumpkin Crumble Bars…

Vegan Desserts

ME: As the author of numerous other cookbooks and ebooks, how is Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free different from some of your other books, such as “Sweet Freedom” or “Desserts without Compromise”?

RICKI: This new book is different in quite a few ways.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the various books reflect the kind of diet I was following at the time, and the progression is kind of an illustration of my own culinary evolution.

My first full-length cookbook, Sweet Freedom, was filled with whole-foods, vegan recipes and natural sweeteners, but at the time, I still ate gluten, so very few of the recipes were gluten-free. I also still used higher glycemic sweeteners like Sucanat, maple syrup or dates. Those are still healthful, all-natural sweeteners that are much better for you than white sugar, so for anyone who can have sugar, the book is still a great collection of recipes, but I no longer eat that way.

The three shorter ebooks are each designed for a different stage of the anti-candida diet. So the first one, Anti-Candida Feast, provides recipes for people on the very first stage of the diet, when they can’t eat any sugars at all, even fruit (and of course anyone on the later stages can have these recipes, too). The second book, Desserts without Compromise, is filled with dessert recipes for people on the ACD.  Finally, the third ebook, Good Morning! Breakfasts, offers breakfast recipes for people on any stage of the ACD.

With Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, I’ve gone beyond the ebooks and feature recipes that anyone can eat, whether or not they have food allergies, or whether or not they’ve followed an anti-candida diet.

The recipes are all gluten-free and vegan (that is, without eggs or dairy), and they are also free of corn, with easy substitutions for soy and most nuts in the recipes, so that people with multiple food allergies can enjoy them.

Because I use lower glycemic sweeteners in all the recipes, they are also suitable for anyone with Type 2 Diabetes, or anyone who has completed a candida diet (like me), but still wants to consume a lower level of sugars to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.

With recipes from Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free,  you can feel confident serving these treats to anyone, even if they already consume gluten, dairy, eggs, or sugar, and people will be more than happy to share them along with you; they won’t even know they’re eating a “special” treat.  Many of the book’s testers served up the desserts to their families and co-workers—and none of them realized they were testing “healthy” recipes!

And just a little more about Ricki…

Using only whole foods ingredients, a generous pinch of humor and input from her two chatty canines, Ricki shares gluten-free, allergy-friendly and sugar-free recipes on her blog,

Ricki’s second cookbook, Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free, will be released in September, 2013. Her first book, Sweet Freedom, is one of only three cookbooks recommended by Ellen DeGeneres on her website. Ricki is also an Associate Editor for Simply Gluten-Free Magazine and has written for Clean Eating magazine, Allergic Living, Living Without, VegNews, and many other publications.

Gluten Free Desserts from Ricki Heller

Ricki lives near Toronto, Canada with her husband and two dogs.


If you would like a copy of this book, just simply do One, Two, or all Three of the following for a chance to win one. Just leave A SEPARATE COMMENT for each one that you do so that you can earn an extra entry for each.

1. Tell me what intrigues you about this cookbook!

2. Follow Cook It Allergy Free and/or Ricki Heller on Facebook, or tell me if you already do.

3. Share this post with your friends on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or other social media and leave an additional comment saying you did so. Help spread the word about this great new cookbook!

The contest will end on Tuesday, October 8th at 9am PST. The winners will be announced then. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.


  1. On October 2, 2013 Andrea MacDonald said

    I follow you on facebook!

  2. On October 2, 2013 Andrea MacDonald said

    I pinned this post on pinterest.

  3. On October 2, 2013 Marianne said

    If the reviews and the amazing photographs are any indication, I’m going to love it!

  4. On October 2, 2013 Marianne said

    I follow Cook it Allergy Free and Ricki on FB.

  5. On October 2, 2013 Marianne said

    Shared on FB.

  6. On October 2, 2013 Debbie Phillips said

    I already liked Cook It Allergy Free and Ricki on fb and I shared on fb and twitter!! I would love to have this book…my daughter and I have gone gf, df and processed sugar free since her diagnosis of MS at at 17….cookbooks like this save us!

  7. On October 2, 2013 Deborah Newport said

    I follow cook it allergy free and Ricki on FB

  8. On October 2, 2013 Elizabeth said

    I am intrigued my the “naturally sweet” part of the cookbook. I am gluten free and the one thing I help with is getting the sugar out. I’m finding my sweet tooth is taking control of me & getting harder to satisfy. Looking forward to naturally sweet & gluten free recipes!

    • On October 2, 2013 Elizabeth said

      *need* help with :)

  9. On October 3, 2013 Kelli Goldin said

    I can’t wait to try the recipes in this book! I’m fascinated by the delicious photos and knowing that they are treats I could have! Thank you!

  10. On October 3, 2013 Jodi said

    Would love to have this because we are dairy, gluten, egg and refined sugar free…looks so awesome!

  11. On October 3, 2013 Jodi said

    I follow cook it allergy free and Ricki on FB

  12. On October 3, 2013 Chelsea said

    What intrigues me about this cook book? I’ve been trying to eat more gluten free, but haven’t had a stab at gluten free baking yet! And I’m definitely on board with naturally sweet :)

  13. On October 3, 2013 Abby said

    This cookbook looks wonderful! Having a chronic illness, I eat gluten-free and stick to low-glycemic sweeteners the majority of the time. I am always thinking of things to make, healthy and good-for-you, yet delicious! I would love having a book like this

  14. On October 3, 2013 Abby said

    I liked you on facebook

  15. On October 3, 2013 Abby said

    I also pinned this post on Pinterest

  16. On October 3, 2013 sarah said

    I just really loveee to eat!

  17. On October 4, 2013 Maria said

    I am intrigued due to the aspect of cutting out refined sugars. My family navigates multiple severe food allergies but we are still exposed to refined sugars. I find my 5 year old has less emotional fluctuations and eczema flares when we cut out sugar, especially refined sugar. I am also nursing my 4 month old who has some allergies and, of course, I would like to limit his exposure. My dad was recently diagnosed as Pre-cancerous for colorectal cancer and so we are trying to cut out gluten and all refined sugars (working up to all sugar) and gluten from his diet. Since I am used to eating and baking this way, except the refined sugars, this would be a great book to help me bake treats for my dad occasionally since he believes his life is horrible due to his new restricted diet. Also, my mom is frustrated and at a loss trying to help him transition, so this would benefit her greatly. Thank you for the opportunity to enter.

  18. On October 4, 2013 Maria said

    I follow you on Facebook.

  19. On October 4, 2013 Maria said

    I follow Ricki on Facebook.

  20. On October 4, 2013 Laura J said

    I’m most intrigued by the natural sugars used in this cookbook. I would love to have some dessert options that are just a bit better for me in that way.

  21. On October 4, 2013 Glenda said

    I follow you on Facebook

  22. On October 4, 2013 Katie said

    Epic Butter Tarts. The guilty pleasure of Christmas :)

  23. On October 4, 2013 Carissa Lundmark said

    This cookbook would be a great recipe book for my kitchen.. as it would give me easy go-to’s for making deserts that I rarely make! LOL

  24. On October 4, 2013 nalea said

    Follow both on fb. Hope I win since this new diet is new to me.

  25. On October 4, 2013 Joyce Donahue said

    I just followed Ricki on Facebook. As a newly diagnosed celiac I need all the help I can get!

  26. On October 4, 2013 Shelly Firebaugh said

    I am fairly new to allergy free eating & cooking (since early August) and scour Pinterest and other websites daily looking for new recipes. Besides enjoying cooking in general, I LOVE baking and am known in my circle of friends as the baker of the group. In fact, a friend just told me a couple of days ago, “Shelly, you could bake a phone book and it would taste good!”. I’ve dabbled a little bit with gluten & dairy free baking, but would love to own a copy of your cookbook so that I could expand my very limited repertoire of dessert recipes. Thanks so much for your consideration and the opportunity to win a copy of your beautiful cookbook!

  27. On October 4, 2013 Jamie Bowman said

    I am so happy that there are finally really good recipes for GFDF goodies as well as people who continue to improve our menus! Thank You!

  28. On October 4, 2013 Heidi said

    Your cookbook is absolutely beautiful!! I have got to have this, the few pics I saw of whats inside it is driving me to get this gorgeous book and my passion in life is Baking!! I looove to bake for my family and other people!! Awesome job on this book I am gluten free and this would be such a Blessing to me!! I am sharing this on Facebook!!!

  29. On October 4, 2013 Shelly Firebaugh said

    Just liked your Ricki Heller FB page and plan to check it out often to see what new recipes & insights you’re sharing!

  30. On October 4, 2013 Shelly Firebaugh said

    Just “liked” Cook it Allergy Free on FB…what a great page for helpful tips and recipes!

  31. On October 4, 2013 Shelly Firebaugh said

    Just shared this page and giveaway information on my own FB page!

  32. On October 4, 2013 Karen said

    This book sounds amazing! I follow Cook IT Allergy Free on FB already. I also shared the FB post with my peeps on my CeliacGirlRI page on FB, which cross-posts with Twitter. Thanks for the opportunity to win this awesome book.

  33. On October 4, 2013 Teri said

    I shared it on facebook!

  34. On October 4, 2013 Chelsea said

    I just recently discovered I have a gluten sensitivity and I’m at a loss as to where to go from here. Winning this cookbook will be so awesome! I could learn how to cook some of my favorite desserts without ingredients that bother me. Thank you for the opportunity.

  35. On October 4, 2013 Chelsea said

    I just liked you on FB.

  36. On October 4, 2013 Chelsea said

    I just shared this giveaway on Pinterest. Thanks again for the opportunity!

  37. On October 4, 2013 Lena said

    Love the idea of being vegan and no refined sugars.

  38. On October 4, 2013 Bethany S. said

    I am already dairy- and gluten-free, and I usually bake vegan. However, I still have some IBS symptoms, so I’m interested to see if a ACD diet helps. This book would definitely help me start that journey!

  39. On October 4, 2013 Bethany S. said

    I “like” Cook It Allergy Free on facebook.

  40. On October 4, 2013 Bethany S. said

    I shared this on facebook too.

  41. On October 4, 2013 Ann said

    I am so excited to pick up this cookbook. I have shared it on my facebook page for all of my friends that have also found to need to alter their cooking habits… Thank you..

  42. On October 4, 2013 Ann said

    This is the first time I had heard of this author but now that I read your article I have gone and liked all her work and will now follow her also. We are new to the world of allergies but my 14 year old with the allergies loves to cook as much as I do so we are always looking for new great cooking recipes.

  43. On October 4, 2013 Kathy Lowe said

    What a great sounding cookbook. I would love to win.

    I follow you both on Facebook and I added the post to Pinterest.


  44. On October 4, 2013 Melody said

    I “liked” Cook It Allergy Free on FB / shared the article / and pinned. We’ve changed our diet to remove gluten, peanuts, soy, dairy, corn, and sugar and at times it has been difficult to come up with new dishes. I’d love to win this to be able to get some new ideas.

  45. On October 4, 2013 Lydia Claire said

    I am following Cook It Allergy Free on Facebook.

  46. On October 4, 2013 Lydia Claire said

    There is so much that intrigues me about this book. First it’s vegan! But also no refined sugar is great too.

  47. On October 4, 2013 Lydia Claire said

    I am following Ricki Heller on Facebook.

  48. On October 4, 2013 Peggy said

    What intrigues me the most is the naturally sweet part…especially since I was just told I can have no more sugar!

  49. On October 4, 2013 Peggy said

    I shared this link/post on my Facebook page!

  50. On October 4, 2013 Kristin said

    I pinned it! It looks like a fantastic cookbook

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