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….
or these Dalmation Cheesecake Brownies…
(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
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…
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, RickiHeller.com
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.
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!
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.