About Ricki

If you’ve arrived at this page, then you’re probably looking to find out a bit more about me.  So, with the aid of the trusty FAQ format, here’s a basic intro.  

Who Are You? 

 Educator, writer, cookbook author, natural nutritionist.  Lover of all things canine.

At present I am a college teacher who works as a part-time cooking class instructor/chef and a part-time freelance writer (I know, that’s quite a few parts). I hold a PhD in Modern American Literature, which came in really handy the one time my sweetheart and I wanted to book a hotel room for our anniversary, and we got bumped up to a suite instead of a regular room because I had the title “Dr.” on my form.  

Speaking of my sweetheart, he is the guy I live with and have loved for the past decade or so.  We met later in life (after each one had failed at a starter marriage), so no, we don’t have any children.  We live with our two dogs (both mutts: one a Border Collie/Black lab cross, the other a Border Collie/Lab/German Shepherd cross) north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

I refer to my guy as my HH, which stands for “Human Honey,” as opposed to my furry honeys, The Girls. 

Are You a Vegan? 

I follow a vegan diet. However, if I impose a strict definition that encompasses self-care products, services, and anything else that one might include in one’s life, I can’t say that every one of my choices in all of these areas is always 100% vegan.  On the other hand, I don’t wear any clothing or shoes made from animals and attempt to live in a way that doesn’t support or consume animal products in my life.  I’m still evolving, learning, and working on the other stuff.

My taste preference has always been for vegan foods, and my favorite cuisine is vegan. When I think of what I want to eat, vegan foods always come first to my mind.  In addition, I live with someone who eats meat (and pretty much every other animal product), so we try not to impose too many labels in our house. We just are who we are and coexist peaceably (well, most of the time).

You write about vegan food exclusively.  Why?    

There are several reasons I write exclusively about vegan food. But first, you’ll need a bit of background.  

My father was a butcher.  (No, that’s not a figurative expression from a resentful kid who endured a dysfunctional adolescence—I mean that literally).  An immigrant to North America, my father grew up on a dairy farm and originally wanted to be a veterinarian.  When he arrived in Montreal with only 50 cents in his pocket (clearly not enough for veterinary school), he took what work he could get. 

After working his way up from bagger to counter person in the deli section of a grocery store, he had a change of heart about his profession and decided to become a butcher instead (well, you still need to know all the different muscle groups on a cow for both jobs, right?). Eventually he owned his own small butcher shop in the immigrant area of town. As a result of the changing population in the Park Extension area of Montreal over the years, my dad can now say, “Lean or marbled?” and “Can I wrap that up for you?” in French, Yiddish, Italian, Greek, Russian, and Urdu. When I was a child, we ate meat every single day, twice a day on weekends.  

My mother, more than anything else, was a baker. (So much so, in fact, that at her eulogy, one of the major points to be repeated about her was her amazing Chiffon Cake, both because it was astounding at almost a foot high, and also because that’s what people tended to remember about her).  

To my mind, she was also an unacknowledged vegetarian, someone ahead of her time in that area. On occasions when my dad would bring home whole fish that some customer had caught and given him as a gift, my mother would refuse to cook it for him.  When we ate my dad’s homemade vegetable soup, he omitted the soup bone as a courtesy to my mom so that she could enjoy it, too. And although she would occasionally consume the odd can of tuna, I think my mother’s preference was really for vegan food (yes, all you Freudians out there, I realize that is a rather interesting fact, considering what my dad did for a living.) 

As to me, I seem to have inherited something from each parent. After being vegetarian, then vegan for about 15 years, I became quite physically ill. After seeing several traditional doctors and then a naturopath, having many vials of blood taken and undergoing many other unpleasant tests, I was finally told that I needed to incorporate at least some animal proteins in my diet. I never want to be that sick again; consequently, I did attempt to incorporate some animal products back into my diet at that point.  On the other hand, I also most definitely inherited my mother’s preference for vegan foods, and between my distaste for meat, chicken, etc, and my increasingly powerful beliefs about how I want to treat animals and how I want to live my life, I cut them all out again after about two years.  At present, I’m following a vegan diet with increased knowledge as a holistic nutritionist, and better dietary habits; so far, I’m still feeling healthy and my annual physical exams suggest that I’m managing very well this time round, with no animal products (yay!).

So, I write about vegan cooking and baking for several reasons: 

1) It’s my favorite kind of food, what I love to eat, and what I enjoy cooking and eating. 

2) I’ve never felt better since eating 100% vegan.  I think everyone could benefit from a more vegan-leaning diet, too.  We all hear about the incredible benefits of fruits and vegetables, so if I can promote those and help people incorporate them into their diets, what’s wrong with that? 

3) Vegan food is more inclusive than non-vegan food.  An omnivore can certainly join in on a vegan meal, but the opposite isn’t true.  So presenting vegan recipes means presenting recipes anyone can enjoy. 

4) When I started my baking company, Bake It Healthy, in 2005, I focused on whole, natural ingredients, assuming my customers would be those with an interest in healthy diets. I soon discovered that the bulk of my customers were either vegans or people with food sensitivities. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, I took out any last bits of honey from my recipes (which were all otherwise vegan).  I’ve continued to develop recipes that way, so vegan baking is what I’m most comfortable creating.  

Why did you first name your blog “Diet, Dessert, and Dogs”? 

Diet:  I’ve had a weight problem most of my life.  An addiction to sweets, I believe, contributed largely to my many of my health problems back in 1999, the reason why I radically altered my eating habits about that time to exclude refined sugars (as well as wheat).  

After studying natural nutrition at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, I realized how important it was to eat foods that nourish the body and help it heal.  I began to eat a natural, whole-foods diet (read more about the diet here) and effortlessly lost about 25 pounds the year I was in school.  I have since gained some of that back and continue to struggle with my weight. I envisioned this blog as a place to chronicle my (many) attempts to lose weight, rant about diets and dieting, gain control of my sweets addiction and learn to eat like a “normal” person.

[Update, 2012: In February, 2009, I was once again diagnosed with candida, an overgrowth of yeast in the system.  I embarked on an anti-candida diet (ACD) in March 2009, which restricts much of what I can eat (read more here).  Through the diet, I lost 45 pounds (some of which has since returned) and I continue to feel better, but I’m not quite there yet. I still follow a slightly less restrictive form of the ACD and will do so until all my symptoms have disappeared.  In the meantime, I’m still trying to overcome that attraction to sweet foods, even when not consuming them any more.

Dessert: With a mother who was a baker, I first wielded a wooden spoon when I was about six, and have barely let go of it, except to bathe or sleep, since. When I suffered health issues because of my sweets addiction and had to cut all refined sweeteners from my life, I began to search for alternatives that I could bake that (a) didn’t contain any of the unhealthy ingredients I’d been accustomed to using; and (b) still tasted good.  This quest led to a stint baking vegan desserts for a vegetarian restaurant here in Toronto, and later starting my own baking company. I still love dessert and think it can be both healthy and delicious.  Just take a look at some of the recipes on this blog! 

Dogs: My love of dogs dates back to my childhood (some would say all the way back to my birth, a I was born in the Year of the Dog).  My HH tells me I have “dog-like qualities,” and I take it as a compliment.  So, it only makes sense that our furry girls are the center of our universe.  

We got Elsie first, in 2002, then Chaser about five years later. Sworn rivals at first, they’ve come to love each other (even though Chaser torments poor sweet Elsie mercilessly, constantly biting her ear and imploring her to play). Anyone who says dogs don’t have personalities clearly has never lived with a dog. In fact, our Girls have such strong personalities that I felt the need to provide them an outlet in this blog as well. 

Can I reprint your recipe or photos on my site or blog? 

I spend a lot of time creating original recipes and photographing them for this site. Unless otherwise specified, all the material on this site is subject to copyright. Please do not repost anything from this site without express written permission from me.  If you love a recipe or photo and would like to use it, please send me an email to request permission.

Would you be interested in working with my company or reviewing my product, book, or site? 

I’m always interested in working with brands whose products I like and can wholeheartedly recommend! I’d love to discuss being a product ambassador or recipe developer for you, writing sponsored posts, reviews, or giveaways, or how you can advertise on this blog.

If you are interested in working with me or have questions about ads or anything else on the blog, please send an email to rickiATrickihellerDOTcom.  Thanks so much!

Any other questions?   

I’d love to hear from you.  Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or email me at rickiATrickihellerDOTcom.  While I do my best to get back to all emails, it’s now at the point where I honestly can’t keep up any more.  I apologize if you sent me an email and I didn’t respond.  If it’s important and you don’t hear back from me within a week, please don’t be shy about sending me a gentle reminder!

You can also catch up with me on Facebook, twitter,  Pinterest, Google+ or Instagram.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, therapist or scientist.  All information on this site expresses my own personal ideas and experiences. I’m sorry, but I am unable to diagnose or provide medical advice.

Never miss a post–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

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Comments

  1. Just visiting for the second time…we have a few things in common and I think that’s why I like your blog:
    dieting…all my life
    my mom was a butcher
    past vegetarian, feel better vegan but can’t give up animal products entirely
    loving the new dog in our family (Mastiff/St Bernard…it’s a slobber fest but I love her)
    I love the bean brownie idea…I do love beans in any form!
    I’ll keep reading!

  2. Hi Alexsandra,

    Welcome back, and thanks for your comment!

    I appreciate the feedback, and have to agree that’s quite a lot in common (plus living in the GTA, of course). Your mom must have been quite the trend-setter. . . I’m guessing there aren’t that many women butchers out there, even today. And glad you’re enjoying your new dog (I had hoped for a BIG dog too, but will have to love mine as they are. What fun for you, though!).

  3. I just found your delightful blog, and I feel as though I’ve stumbled upon a treasure! I’ve always loved cooking and baking, in particular, but have only recently begun experimenting with baking whole grain, naturally sweetened goodies to feed my raging sweet tooth (I recently added “Simple Treats” by Ellen Abraham and “Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way” by Lorna Sass to my cookbook collection). Your recipes look amazing; what another wonderful healthy baking resource!

    I can’t leave your site without commenting on your dogs. They look so very sweet. What beautiful girls! Truly, dogs are the best. (I myself am owned by a mini-dachshund.)

  4. Tania,

    Thanks so much for your comment, and welcome to the blog! I’m also a lifelong baker, so I understand the impetus. Baking this way gets to be a habit, and feels just as natural as the old way, once you’ve done it a while. Simple Treats is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks–I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

    And thanks for the lovely comment on The Girls. I’ve never thought of it that way, but yes, I do believe I am owned by them, too! :)

  5. I really loved reading your story. We have many similarities in our backgrounds. My grandfather was a butcher and my Mom a “baker”. I also would take having “dog-like” qualities as a compliment, when I was a kid I always wanted to be a veteranarian! :-)

  6. Hi Meg,
    Thanks so much! And what a coincidence that there are so many similarities. Nice to know there’s another “dog-like” out there! 😉

  7. Hello! I found your blog today via Kathryn @ Limes & Lycopene and I’ve been here for a couple of hours now, completely addicted and lots of recipes sorted for next week. Thank you :)

  8. HI,
    I just stumbled across your blog – love the idea and your writing and ideas are fascinating.
    I am on a constant journey of food [especially desserts], life passions and doggie stuff too, and while still an omnivore, I welcome healthy info in all forms.

    Just signed up to get you on RSS feed, so I look forward to more stimulation in a healthful direction!

    Great job!

  9. Ricki, I am besotted with your blog – it’s a joy to find such an addictive combination of vegan/gluten-free food, diet rantings, real human honesty and well-written prose. Thanks, and keep it coming! All the best, Sue

  10. I am so pleased to have found your blog via Eat the Right Stuff.

    I am becoming increasingly (dietary) vegan as it suits my body and metabolism, but I am never going to give up animal products completely as I enjoy them too much, but I do think that meat and diary should be treats rather than every day food stuffs. Its better for our bodies, better for the planet and environment to eat a largely plant based diet.

    And vegan baking rocks! 90% of my baking is now vegan and I far far prefer it as I can now clearly taste eggs where they are used and it just tastes wrong to me. Also you you can bake from the store cupbard and do not need fresh ingredients!

  11. Hi, i came across your site whilst searching for a vegana lternative to ‘pain au chocolat’ which i seem to be in the habit of having each saturday breakfast time.

    Its weird reading all the comments on similarities as i was thinking how chaser & Elsie were such similar names to my cassius & Elsa! Mine are human ( somedays i wish they were dogs!) I pine for my old dog from my childhood and can’t wait to be in a position to have another. ( mine was border collie too).

    I have been a vegetarian for about 22 years & am wanting to be more vegan orientated. I was curious about in what way you became ill & what reasons the doctors gave for needing animal fodstuffs? I have just completed my diploma on nutritional advisor & am very much into experimentation with different diets.

    kind regards, pinx.

  12. Hi Pinx,

    Thanks so much for your comment (and how funny about those names!!.) I’d be happy to “chat” more about the diet, etc. via email, but wasn’t able to find an email address connected to your comment. If you send me an email, I will gladly respond.

    Ricki :)

  13. hi ricki, here is my e-mail. I’ve just managed a vegan diet for 10 days! i know….I don’t think i prepared for it. i’m living in spain at the moment so not the best time to start maybe. There was just something in my mind worrying about the lack of vitamin b12 in plant foods that’s an issue with me. (i do take a multi-vitamin).
    But i also think that you can’t really stop at vegetarianism in this day an age, you have to go all the way.
    I would appreciate any thoughts or guidance. pinx xx

  14. Thanks for e-mail. I’ve decided to try again when i can get a butter alternative back in uk. if i asked for that here in spain, they would cart me away!

    Thanks mostly though, for having a vegan blog that makes it ok for not being 100% vegan. i guess we are all trying to acheive what comes naturally and what suits us as individuals. Trying to shed media & society ideals of whats ‘expected’ of us is a full time job!

  15. Just found this lovely blog….do not know how i missed it though since i love to browse vegan blogs :) but it definitely shall be bookmarked. My family is full of dietary restrictions mine (I slightly guiltily admit) is voluntary where both my parents are not….I am quite excited to try out a lot of your recipes….
    :)
    Barbara…

  16. i love it !!!!

  17. stilllifeinbuenosaires says:

    Ricki, I found your blog through Vegeyum. I am a vegetarian, English professor, and dog lover too.

    I look forward to perusing your stories and recipes. Your whimsical voice is enjoyable. 😉

  18. Hi, My name is Katrina and I met you today at the Vegan Bake Off. I love your website and know that it will be very helpful to me as I am a new Vegan due to health issues. Thank you so much for your help today with egg substitutions. I look forward to making many vegan treats!
    Good luck with your cookbook…I know I will go right out and get it when it is finished.
    Regards,
    Katrina

  19. What a neat intro, loved reading it! As I said, I love healthy food blogs, and am glad to have bumped into yours.

  20. This is an amazing place to gain great information and amazing recipe’s. Thank you so much for creating such a valuable blog. I am new to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and I look forward to experiencing the joy that you have brought to others. Be Blessed!

    Oh, may I also link to your blog from mine? Thanks!

  21. This is my first time on your about page. One of the most amazing bit of writing I came across. Eloquent but not haughty, beautifully written and very very absorbing!!

  22. hi…

    i’ve really enjoyed your blog…i share the same passions as you do…nutrition and dogs…my boyfriend and i have a 5 month old crazzzzzzy hungarian vizsla…my little jackson!

    i am new to the vegetarian/vegan world…it’s the best lifestyle change i have ever made…and it is one of the greatest challenges…

    i’m hoping that since you’ve been a vegan for a while in toronto you can sort of help me and let me know about products/food that are out there that you love and enjoy…i am also from north of toronto…i work in downtown toronto…i am so open to learning and being successful at being a vegan…

    have a wonderful weekend…
    =)

    anyway thanks for sharing your blog!

  23. Courtney says:

    I had not seen this page on your old blog, but it is a great introduction! I am glad I found it :o)

    Courtney

  24. At this stage in my life (female, age 56) I have read with astonishment and happiness some of your posts and recipes. I am an avid – amateur cook/baker – HEALTHY – no white flour, sugars, pasta, etc. and use Spelt, Quinoa, Oats, Oatmeal, Buckwheat, Flaxseed only in my cooking and baking. I also use Agave as a sweetener. THANK you for all you have done. It is so necessary in today’s life for all of us to eat healthy – greens, lean proteins, fruits/vegetables and maintain a normal weight. Vicki Dobkin, Columbus, OH.

  25. I stumbled upon your page quite by accident! i was researching whether or not sunflower seeds are good for dogs and came upon your recipe for the almond feta cheese and the sunflower seed spread. what a find!! I too love dogs, we have three big boys, all mutts of one kind or another, and I’m allergic to dairy and eat a lot of vegan food because of it (but i still love a good burger ha!) I’m excited about trying the almond feta recipe although I am a terrible cook. My husband is the cook and I sent him the link for your website and he loved the recipes too! thanks for a really interesting, eclectic mix of ideas, stories and of course, good food!

  26. Hi Ricki – I found your blog through Meghan Telpner’s and I am really happy I did! I just started the part time program at CSNN and I am LOVING it, so it’s great to read the blog of someone who has come out of the same program as me and is putting it all to excellent use. The recipes look great, and I can’t wait to read more. :)

  27. I’m a blog beginner and Lisa from “My Own Sweet Thyme” recommended your blog to me. Reading your profile is very inspiring! I found out I had multiple food allergies only 6 months ago, and realized that those allergies have caused me digestive problems for years. I’m only 21, not to mention a terrible cook, and I felt so lost and unsure what I should do. I started my blog because I hope to help others in my situation. Reading about your reasons for going vegan are very inspiring! I’m so glad you have shared your story! Also, I’m a dog lover as well, so I can relate on multiple levels. Anyways, thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work :)

  28. I’m so glad to have your blog and read your story. Truly inspirational! I am gluten/soy intolerant so I love your recipes.
    Cheers,
    LC

  29. Ricki! Thank you so much for the great news! You made my day! My email is Leslie.Nipkow@gmail.com. I couldn’t find any other way to send it to you. Looking forward to getting in the kitchen! Leslie

  30. “We just are who we are and coexist peaceably”

    Oh gosh! As a long time vegan I really admire that mindset and wish more of us thought and acted along those lines!

    Glad to have found your blog and look forward to exploring it :)

  31. Heather King says:

    Dear Ricki. Just a note to say I love this site. I keep it open most of the time so I can find cool new recipes. As a vegetarian/candida sufferer and breast cancer patient it’s really thrilling to find so many helpful and healthy recipes. As a human with two feline and three canine kids. I like seeing the dog photos and comments, too.

  32. AlaskaSmiles says:

    Ricki – I too love your site! I’m a candida sufferer (found out with an Alcat blood allergy test in April) after suffering for over 20 years! My husband is a hunter, me a vegan, gluten-free also. I’ve followed mainly Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic diets for the past 30 years, but still had probs until I realized that I might have candida (hence the testing). I tried Raw last summer, and though I loved it, obviously with all the fruit and agave syrup I suffered miserably!

    I’m on the mend, though know it will take a while – still lots of fatigue though it’s sooooo much better. Now, if I could only lose the last 10 lbs I’d love to. I have lost weight, but having been over weight most of my life (40+ years) I avoid scales – too depressing – pant sizes say it all!

    I’m thankful for your site – the ACD is tough! But having Candida is debilitating. I wonder if many who are “diagnosed” with CFS (chronic fatique syndrome) actually have candida? My MD never tested me, but my ND did.

  33. Hi Ricki! I sent a long note to Ellen using their email form. I hope you are able to finally get picked to be a guest to help spread the healthy diet tips to the world of SAD eaters.

  34. Chantal McCallum says:

    Hello Ricki. I bought your recipe book at Artcures in Aurora and absolutely love it!!! My husband and I have a wellness clinic in newmarket and would love to sell your cookbook in our location. Can we buy books from you directly, a dozen or so? Please let me know at your convenience.
    Thank you

  35. Ricki,

    I’m a newbie to your blog and can’t wait to start trying your recipes.

  36. Hi Ricki! I came across your blog when I was looking for gluten-free recipes mostly desserts because sometimes I crave for sweets but have stayed away from white flour and white sugar because I have hyperthyroid so I end up having whole wheat/sugar cane juice desserts which I want to eliminate those too. I have tried some gluten-free desserts from Whole Foods markets, don’t like them very much a little dry but I have always looked for alternatives. I’ve always been interested in healthier nutrition and I’m going to school to study to be a nutritionist, I love it more now! I’m a baker and find it difficult introducing alternatives in baking because it doesn’t come out the way it should. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and want to break free from it. So I started reading your blogs and I really like what I’m reading. I’m not a total vegetarian, but I like poultry, eggs, goat’s milk cheese, and rice milk. I use rice flour a lot but I don’t use soy, I did like it but then I found out it isn’t good for my thyroid. I want to use rice flour and/or other flours together but no wheat flour. So your website is a good read on the different flours you use to re-educate me on baking. I occasionally have caffeinated teas or coffee which also isn’t good for my thyroid. I really want to give up caffeine! I like your website, it inspires me more to give up more of my bad vices. I have only tried one of your recipes, the “Veggie Full Breakfast Hash”. Love it! Yumm!

  37. I’m VERY new to the world of Healthy baking. I’m not vegan, but I am trying to eat more whole foods. For example, I haven’t had a frozen meal, can of soup, can of veggies or store bought treat in a month. I’ve been cooking all fresh foods, and trying recipes for desserts. I love to cook, and I’ll try anything that sounds yummy, but right now I’m on a quest to find wholesome sweets that I can eat.

    The sudden urge for healthy cooking doesn’t stem from an illness, although being overweight can be called an illness. I know I need to incorporate more veggies and better grains into my diet.

    I am a recovering anorexic, who’s first instinct is to still just stop eating. I’m only 30 pounds overweight, so i’m not obese, but I have been trying, unsuccessfully, for the past 3 years to lose these stinkin 30 pounds.

    I’ve begun a journey of research, and everything is pointing towards healthy eating. Whole foods, better grains, veggies, fruits, nuts… eliminating white flour and processed sugars. My husband has enjoyed almost everything I’ve cooked so far, and so far, he’s the only one losing weight. Go figure!!

    I’m so glad I found this site, and I’m having a lot of fun browsing around reading, looking… planning.

    I’m making a pit stop at the health food store on the way home. I may have to just start shopping for my ingredients at Trader Joe’s, it might be less expensive than the health food store.

    I can’t wait to try some of the recipes I’ve found. I’m particularly looking forward to the Cheese and Onion bread.

    • Alicia, thank you so much for this. It sounds like your choices are becoming more and more healthy, and I applaud you for that! Really, “good for you” can still taste great, can’t it? And I can attest that eating whole, healthy foods can lead to weight loss. .. it did in my case. I’m glad you found DDD, too, and hope that you continue to find it useful! :)

  38. Julia Lorraine says:

    Ricki,
    I stumbled across your blog on tastespotting.com, and i am hooked! I, too, am a vegan (though I may begin to incorporate some animal products back into my diet), eat mostly gluten-free foods and am on a quest to obtain optimal health. Not to mention, your writing is addicting.
    Just recently, however, I have become aware of the adverse effects that vegetable oils can have on the body. I was hestitant to believe it when my friend mentioned the fact. She had read the label of my vegan energy bar,approving of all the ingredients except for one: sunflower seed oil. But I did a little reading that confirmed what she said. I thought you might be interested in this article at http://thescreamonline.com/essays/essays5-1/vegoil.html, and that maybe the info could help you in your journey to a healthier self as well! I’d like to hear what you think about the matter.
    In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading your posts; can’t get enough. The Grain Free Lemony Almond Pancakes are calling.

    • Hi Julia,
      Thanks so much, and welcome to the blog! When I first began posting here, I used sunflower seed oil on occasion (mostly because that’s what I’d been using in my organic bakery, for economic reasons). Since I’ve been on the ACD, I’ve elminated that as well and use only extra virgin olive oil or coconut oils. You’ve pointed out what I learned in nutrition school, which is that most vegetable oils are to be avoided (and canola, which is almost always GMO, is the most irritating to me). I’m basically too lazy to go back and change all my recipes now (I’d have to remove gluten, sweeteners and oils at this stage), but as I go through the archives, I will revamp the ones I still want to eat now. Thanks for the link! :)

  39. Julia Lorraine says:

    Thanks for your reply!:) That is so fascinating! I’m going into my sophomore year at college next fall, but part of me wishes I could be studying nutrition.
    I would actually love to hear what you know about soy. I’m a little confused about it. Are fermented soy products okay? Or is it better to avoid soy altogether?

    Thanks again!

  40. Julia Lorraine says:

    P.S. I didn’t mention in my first post that I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one whose mid-life crisis came early on. I’m only twenty and this soul searching isn’t exactly fun! How long do these things last? Haha

    • Thanks, Julia. Mid-life crises can be the pits, especially in one’s 20s! It probably took me until around 40-45 to get over it. . . but I am a *very* late bloomer. 😉

      Re: your question about soy, I am hoping to do a blog post that will relate to this soon. If you’d kindly pose the question on the Candida FAQ page, I will answer there so everyone can see it! :)

  41. Julia Lorraine says:

    It would be my pleasure!

  42. Hi Ricki,

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my recent guest post at ProBlogger about 7 Valuable Lessons That Bloggers Can Learn from Construction Workers. I agree that spending more than two hours makes any post better, and two hours is the bare minimum if you want to have content worth sharing.

    Thanks again for your comment. I look forward to keeping in touch. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for my site.

    Thanks!

    Joseph

  43. Ricki Michelle says:

    Hi Ricki!!!

    I have to say I found your page because when I saw your name, I was intrigued! Another Ricki! Who enjoys cooking and healthy cooking, like me. And just poking around, I cannot wait to try your recipes!! Good to meet you!

  44. What is your opinion about caffeine and the ACD diet? I’ve heard both that you can have it, as long as you don’t add milk products, and I’ve heard that you can’t. Thanks! And I love your website. I’m excited to try your recipes, thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hi Keri,
      I think there are differing opinions about this–it depends which ACD you follow. In general, I’ve seen lots of diets that allow green tea, as it’s not fermented, even though it does contain some caffeine. :)

  45. Hi Ricki, Your blog is fabulous. You are such a wonderful writer and I learn something new each time I visit. Congratulations on all of your success!
    -Lisa

  46. Hi, I’m trying to redeem my voucher that I purchased through Vegan Cuts, but cannot find your email address. I saw on another page that you wrote that it was on the “about” page, but I don’t see it here… maybe I am just overlooking it?

    Pam

    • HI Pam,
      It’s right there in bold, at the very top of the page (first paragraph: ” . . . please feel free to email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom. . . . “.) :) However, I received an email from VeganCuts today that they’ve already sent out all the ebooks. Did you not receive yours?

  47. Maegan Hanshaw says:

    Hi – Looking forward to following your blog. My doctor actually suggested I read your writing. I was just diagnosed with a candida infection, gluten intolerance and dairy intolerance all at one time. It’s a very stressful experience and trying to get through this by yourself is very hard. We seem to have a lot in common – I love to bake and I love my dog (standard Poodle named Bella). I look forward to reading more of your page.. I’ve already spent an hour on it.. lol. So thank you for providing a resource for me :)

    • Hi Maegan,

      Welcome to my blog and thanks so much for your comment! And who, may I ask, is your doctor?! I’d love thank her/him!! 😀

      I’m glad to provide this resource for anyone embarking on, or continuing with, the candida diet–because yes, as you say, it’s hard. Do you have a blog? I’d love to see pics of your doggies! :) Good luck with the diet. It does get easier with time!

  48. Ricki,
    I have just discovered you. I look forward to your regular posts. I really identify with you as theis GF vegan has a similar HH love with two furry girls–one a recent rescue–a gorgeous 125lb,2yr, Great Dane, a real jewel,named Juli and the other a longhaired Dachshund, 12yrs, also a jewel named Kali.
    After reading your background–you seem quite well versed–but with illness creeping in I wonder if the vegan is missing something. Are you familiar with John McDougall,MD?,Santa Rosa,CA. He is so tuned in to being a better vegan. Perhaps he could help you look at all aspects of your health.

    • Thanks so much, Yvonne. I love Great Danes! And thanks for mentioning Dr. McDougall–yes, I’m familiar with him and have even used a few of his recipes on this blog. 😀

  49. Hi Ricki,

    I want to thank you for this website! I have found out after decades of being sick and VERY sick for the past 6 years that I have chronic neuro Lyme, a heart murmur and a Candida overgrowth. I have been VERY strict about my Anti Lyme/Anti Candida diet with little cheating the past 2 months. I am looking forward to trying your recipes! My hubby and I have 2 adorable Maltese dogs and are animal lovers as well. My husband is an AMAZING chef and I used to love to bake. I lost that when I got really sick and now even more that I can’t eat anything I would bake. Until now that is! Your recipes look fabulous and it brought a spark back in to me. I have been dreaming of starting a blog/website like this one because my hubby is so creative in the meals he makes for me.

    Thank you for all you do!!

    I can’t say I’m vegan, although I was contemplating vegetarian until I found out I had Lyme. Now that I can’t have any starches, my dr says absolutely no to vegetarian. So for now, I’ll stick to my diet, but I do like fish much more than “meat”.

    Again, thank you!!

    Andi

    • Andi, thanks so much for your comment! So sorry to hear about the Lyme–though it sounds like you are tackling it with gusto. :) I do hope the recipes are useful for you on your diet. And you should start a blog–so many people are looking for healthy recipes for conditions like this! :)

  50. Ricki,

    So happy to have found your blog. I have not been officially diagnosed with candida overgrowth, but I know that I have it from research and symptoms. I believe it started when I took a long course of antibiotics about two years ago. I am very interested in nutrition, and I hope to go to school to study it. Right now, I am trying to figure out what it right for me by eliminating foods and constant research. I am always finding conflicting information, so I just try to form my own opinions based on my body.

    I am struggling with the extreme sugar cravings from the candida. I find that to be the hardest part. I have attempted (and failed) many cleanses, and I try to be strict, but I always fall off the wagon. My symptoms flare back up and then I feel terrible again.

    Just wondering if there is anything you find that helped curb cravings (if you even had this problem.) Up until recently, I was heavily addicted to processed foods. I was raised on it, and I am only twenty, so I have just started figuring out how bad my diet was, and I know it will take a long time for me to heal. I am still addicted to sugar.

    Thanks for the great blog, and great recipes. This will help me tremendously.

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments about my blog–much appreciated! And sorry to hear that you’re going through a tough patch with symptoms and candida. My experience was similar to yours in that I did try many times and fell off the wagon–until my symptoms became so awful that I just couldn’t ignore them any more. After 3 years, I feel like things are more stable, but I do still have some symptoms that may be there for the rest of my life.

      As for cravings, I do still have them. Sometimes I eat a “legal” indulgence (like the carob-coconut sweeties on this blog), and other times I just distract myself or ignore them. Another thing that works for me is increasing the amount of green vegetables and juices I consume in a day–I go crazy on the kale, chard, collards, spinach, etc. when I feel cravings. When I eat a lot of food that’s so healthy, my desire for sugar usually abates.

      I read somewhere that cravings will likely be there for a long time (if not the rest of my life), and like anything else that you learn to cope with, you can learn to cope with them, too. I think the important thing to remember is that just because you feel a craving, it doesn’t mean you have to give in to it! Supposedly cravings only last about 20 minutes–if you can ride it out, you’ll come out the other side. I try to do this now–just wait and tell myself I can make it through those 20 minutes. Most of the time, it works.

      Sorry I can’t offer any better advice than that. I expect you were hoping for a trick to make them go away forever–but I can tell you that in my case, that didn’t happen. But it does get easier to live with them!

      Best of luck with it, and hang in there!

  51. Hi Ricki,

    I somehow stumbled upon your site via pinterest links and was so excited to A)find someone with the same name/spelling as I have and B)This person has battled candida and cooks vegan WHOLE foods!

    I have only been vegan about 2 months but have battled candida for about 10 years (self diagnosed after much research), my biggest frustration with the vegan world is the abundance of vegan junk food ~ so finding your site has been wonderful!

    Just wanted to drop you a line and congratulate you on everything, can’t wait to follow along and try some of these recipes!

    Thanks!
    Ricki

    • Hi Ricki (how weird to write that!),
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your comment! And yes, very cool that we share the same name AND spelling–for most of my life, the only other “Ricki” I knew of was Ricki Lake! 😉 I hope the site is useful for you and that you find lots to cook/make. The anti-candida portion of the blog started in March, 2009, with a smattering of ACD recipes before that. Best of luck with the new diet, too! :)

  52. Ricki Michelle says:

    Wow – I can’t believe there are 3 of us Ricki’s!!!

  53. Hi Ricki!

    Much like The Blender Girl, I am sponsoring a KitchenAid 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer Giveaway and am inviting gluten-free authors to contribute a gluten-free recipe along with a professional-style color photo to be published on my blog during the giveaway. The image should be able to be cropped to approximately 300×211 pixels.

    A press release will be published on prweb.com about the giveaway.

    Of course, you are welcome to blog about the giveaway yourself and link to it. I will provide a link once published.

    If you’d be interested in participating, your submission should be sent to me by October 14, 2012. This will allow any back and forth needed, etc. I apologize for the late notice. Please include any copyright notices at the end of your recipe.

    If you would also like to have your recipe published in an ebook that I will create on Bake Space http://www.bakespace.com for free downloading giving credit to you, just let me know.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

  54. Hi Ricki,
    I just stumbled across your blog and I am on my knees giving thanks for your amazing list of recipes… all things I can eat!! I’ve been gf for 4 years, still having issues so I’m starting a fourth anti-candida diet and I’m hoping I can get through to the other side of feeling good again. Your recipe list will have me busy for a while, I’m so happy to have the resource.

    • Hi Gail,

      Welcome to the blog, and thanks so much for your comment! It’s a tough road (I’ve done the diet twice now) but as you likely know, it does get easier. :) I should point out that not all the recipes on this blog are anti-candida friendly; only those after around March, 2009 are from when I’ve been on the program (I’m working on having the recipe index updated so I can include a key for each recipe once it’s done). As I went through the diet, I posted recipes that I was able to eat, so the first few months after March 2009 are for the first stages, then I moved to Stage 2, and finally Stage 3 about 8 months later. Hope that helps! :)

  55. Hi Ricki,

    I came across your site, randomly so, and am fascinated! I was a student of yours at Seneca – I had no idea that we had so much in common. I’m so happy to hear the story of your adventure into a new way of life.

    I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with your blog and plan to slowly make my way through your recipes :)

    • Thanks, Melissa! And of course I remember you. :) Nice to know we have food in common (always a lovely way to link up!). And I’m off to check out your blog as well.

  56. Hi Ricki, I came across your site and I too am so addicted to sweets and have been almost my whole life (at least as much as I can remember). I started using coconut nectar because I heard so much negative things about agave and the high fructose in it….do you have any thoughts you can share about coconut nectar? Also this is the first time I have heard about candida and I will be doing more research on this matter. Did you do any type of medical treatment for your candida or was it just diet? Thanks so much for your time and your recipes.

    • Hi Brent,
      I use coconut nectar all the time and am very happy with it. The GI (glycemic index) is quite low, around 35, and it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels the way white sugar does. It’s not quite as sweet as sugar, but has a lovely flavor and texture. I talk more about candida in the Candida FAQ page if you’d like to check that out. Let me know if you have any other questions after you read it. :)

  57. Annette says:

    Hi Ricki,

    I love your web site and recipes. Recently it has been brought to my attention that Dandy Blend may not be safe for Celiacs. I’m so saddened by this because I found it through your recipes and love it. But on the Celiac.com forum many people brought up that gluten barley is not accurately measured by tests. Members on the form advised me not to drink it. I don’t know if you are a Celiac or if you gave up gluten for other reasons, but I’m wondering what your take is on all this since I see you know quite a bit about nutrition.

    • Thanks so much for this, Annette. Disturbing! They do say right on the package that they are gluten-free. . . this deserves a little more investigation, I’d say. I am not a celiac, but I do react to gluten and make every effort to eliminate it from my diet, so if this is true, it would mean no more Dandy blend for me, either. (boo hoo).

Trackbacks

  1. […] I mention I have a new BFF? I don’t think she knows it yet, but Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs is saving my life with this Anti-Candida thing!! Thanks a million Ricki! I […]

  2. […] been inspired twice this week by ricki from diet, dessert and dogs. i needed a sweet snack for the kids, and fast so i turned to my trust friend google. in no time i […]

  3. […] been inspired twice this week by ricki from diet, dessert and dogs. i needed a sweet snack for the kids, and fast so i turned to my trust friend google. in no time i […]

  4. […] When she’s not teaching or working as a part time cooking instructor and chef, this PhD in Modern American Literature blogs at dietdessertsndogs. […]

  5. […] To celebrate this big anniversary (it’s a relief to get the first one under my belt) I’m teaming up with Ricki Heller, the awesome blogger behind Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. […]

  6. […] Breakfast Hash from Ricki Heller’s new book Good Morning! Breakfasts without Sugar, Gluten, Eggs or Dairy. This e-book came out […]

  7. […] of my favorite bloggers, Ricki Heller, has a new e-book called Desserts Without Compromise for those of us who are on the Anti-Candida […]

  8. […] discovered this hot cereal on Ricki Heller's blog, Diet Dessert and Dogs, after she tweeted it a couple of days ago.  I've had it for my gluten […]

  9. […] when searching for foods to eat I came across the blog Diet, Desserts and Dogs (by Ricki Heller).  This blog is great!  Solves many of my problems, including my dessert addiction.  When I […]

  10. […] Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe from Ricki Heller’s Sweet Freedom […]

  11. […] 2-week online course led by functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama and holistic chef and educator Ricki Heller. These brilliant ladies are teaming up to offer you a spot in their online course that covers all […]

  12. […] proportions, and yet goes undiagnosed (and ignored) a lot of the time.  Fellow bloggers Gabby, Ricki and Rachel have some fantastic ideas/recipes on the same wavelength, so make sure to check them […]

  13. […] 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 […]

  14. […] I came across the recipe for the cupcake here and the recipe for the icing compliments of Ricki Heller from her site here.  I tweaked it a bit to my liking and here is a cupcake that is safe to eat […]

  15. […] have Ricki to thank for helping me change things up and take another look at how my body functions with […]

  16. […] Ricki lives near Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two dogs.  Learn more about Ricki here. […]

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