This is a very special post today, because I get to share a review and host a giveaway for a truly amazing book by Ricki Heller (PhD + RHN), Living Candida-Free. If the name rings any bells, it’s because I’ve swooned about her here on the blog and on twitter on a number of occasions, thanks to her fabulous and inspiring recipes. She is also the author of a number of books that are currently available, such as Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free and Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar.
To celebrate the release of her book on Amazon tomorrow, I’m sharing a very special recipe from her book, and have also been given the green light to spoil all the international readers by opening up a worldwide giveaway of Living Candida-Free, so click and scroll to enter and try out her Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding!
I was lucky enough to receive a copy in advance and let me tell you – all the chills and thrills are very much real! Aside from Ricki’s own personal and thoroughly researched input, there is also a section by functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama, which clearly explains what Candida is for those who are unsure or desperate to diagnose, a very useful yeast assessment form, and of course the mouth-watering photographs by Nicole Axworthy that are sure to inspire the laziest cook to test out the recipes.I have been consistently in the kitchen gobbling up the edible aspects of the book, but also learning so much about Candida and how to live abundantly, whether you have a problem with it or not. Candida is a usually harmless yeast in the body that can sometimes cause a person to become very ill when it starts feeding off sugars in the body and multiplying. According to Living Candida-Free, it is difficult to diagnose and thus treat, but can manifest in different ways and can cause chronic fatigue, depression and allergies, among other things.
Many of us who have food complications know how debilitating it can be to have a disease that cannot simply be cured with a round of antibiotics or by eating less of something. I know from personal experience how utterly despondent one can get when your body seems to be fighting against you and when you have to completely overhaul your relationship with food in order to heal. Sometimes it may just seem easier to carry on in self-destruct mode than to have to make drastic diet and lifestyle changes, even if you know it will essentially cripple your well-being. Ricki’s book truly takes the sting out of Candida by providing a realistic and flexible plan of action, meal plans, and some truly delicious recipes that aren’t only for when the president comes to visit, but also for the busy weekday evening when you just want to eat your dinner in pajamas but still feel grand.Living Candida-Free is vegan-friendly (yay!) and really uses wonderful, everyday ingredients that won’t take a chunk out of your wallet like most “healthy living” cookbooks do. Best of all, the recipes range from the basic, such as making your own ketchup, to the more decadent (but still easy!), such as S’Mores Parfaits (seriously, the name alone makes me glee).
A lot of you may know that I’m all about abundance in eating (2 litre salad servings?), and that there’s absolutely nothing worse than feeling deprived or restricted, especially if you are following a lifestyle or diet for the long-haul, and not just until the symptoms seem to diminish. Although my poison is being predisposed to diabetes, I’ve had health professionals recommend diet or food choices that specifically focused on healing Candida, because they often apply the same principles which tackle disease triggers such as excess and refined sugars. Food and diet is just as important, if not moreso, than simply taking medication to cure disease. So even if Candida specifically is not a problem for you, this book may make you re-evaluate your food and lifestyle choices for different reasons but with the same results: a healthier, more conscious you.Ricki’s book looks at overcoming Candida in three phases – those of us who are glued to her website will not find this to be new, which is great because it means that her book and website are compatible for the long haul and are easy to cross-reference, especially when looking for recipes or tips. She also makes it clear that every body is different works at a different pace, so you can “fast track” through the stages she outlines or simply listen to your body and work at your own speed. Even at the beginning of the healing process there are endless, delicious choices one can make that will allow you to join in on hearty festivities or occasions without fear of unpleasant repercussions. After all, who is going to ruffle their nose at an offering of amazing Sweet n Spicy Chickpeas at a party, or frown upon Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies if you happen to take some along to the workplace?
Again, the book is not just about the food (though of course that’s my kinda language), but also concludes with an incredible section on Lifestyle Strategies for a Lifetime Without Candida – it is this level to attention that truly grabs my interest and which makes me believe that it is a wonderful guide – it doesn’t drop you at the food and wave goodbye in a romantic haze of chocolate and almond butter, but helps to answer the question of “what now” that so many of us face once we’ve rehauled our diets and lifestyles and looked at the life clock, seeing that the sustainability of a path is the only key to true well-being and good mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Of course, some are you are still all about the food, and I’m totally down with that. Some of the amazing recipes you’ll find in the book are:
- Mojito Smoothie
- Zucchini Fritters
- Chickpea Breakfast Scramble
- Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
- Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup with Herbed Dumplings
- Creamy Broccoli Soup
- Fennel, Brussels Sprout, and Edamame Salad
- Emergency Fudge
- Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble
- Super Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Greens and Chickpeas
Anyway, to stop myself from raving further, let me share a recipe I have been dying to try out ever since I scoured the contents pages: Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding. Quinoa is one of those powerhouse ingredients that I always have in the pantry but never have the courage to experiment with, so Ricki’s guiding force inspired me to give it a whirl.Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding:
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- Coconut oil, for pan
- 1/2 cup (95 g) uncooked quinoa (either soak overnight or rinse if dry; see soaking guidelines, page 95).
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) smooth natural almond butter (or use another nut butter if you prefer)
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, or hemp milk, or Homemade Coconut Milk (page 99)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced fresh ginger, or 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 ml) ground
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/16 teaspoon (0.25 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure liquid stevia, or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a medium-size (about 6 cups [1.5 L]) lidded casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the quinoa into the prepared dish. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth, then pour over the quinoa. Stir gently until all the quinoa is submerged under the liquid. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, uncover, and stir; replace the cover, and continue to bake, checking every 20 minutes or so, until the liquid is absorbed and the porridge is cooked and creamy, for 40 to 50 more minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve (this is lovely with ice cream or whipped cream).
Variations: After mixing everything in the casserole dish, add up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) total of any one of the following (or a combination totaling 1/2 cup [120 ml]): walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or Oven-Dried Cranberries (page 105) at any stage; or blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or chopped apple or pear at Stage 2 or beyond.
(Recipe from Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015)
I decided to use the porridge and turn it into a parfait with some carob chia fig compote (recipe coming soon!), and WOW. Alas those who suffer from Candida can’t eat figs, but we’re waging a battle with birds and bees (no double meanings here) so I had to make something jammy and fast! If you have Candida and want to enjoy a parfait try making a cranberry compote, which should be equally delicious!
When I stirred the pot at the 30 minute mark, and then again at 20 and 10, I couldn’t help myself from nibbling and already then I knew I was in for a big treat. Creamy, tasty, and most importantly flavourful!
I must admit I am incredibly stingy when it comes to certain things, and almond butter is one of them. I’ve been hoarding my precious jar that I got as a holiday gift and finally cracked it open to try out Ricki’s Sweet Almond Sauce and now this. There are few people I trust to make a dish worth the sacrifice of almond butter, and Ricki is definitely one of them!
GIVEAWAY! To win a copy of Ricki Heller’s new book, Living Candida-Free, simply leave a comment with your email address saying why you would be keen to receive a copy of your very own. How easy is that? Giveaway starts with this post and ends on Monday, 26 January at 10h00 GMT + 2. Please feel free to tweet about the giveaway! 😀
This giveaway is closed!
Although I received a free copy of Living Candida-Free all opinions expressed are my own.