A sugar addict from Day One. – Ricki Heller
That’s the header to a section in Ricki Heller’s latest book, Living Candida-Free: Conquer the Hidden Epidemic that’s Making You Sick and I can so relate. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with all things sugary and sweet since I was a little kid – mindlessly ingesting Tootsie Rolls, polishing off rows of Oreos, and lusting after Hostess Ho-Hos or Suzie Qs. But Ricki’s experience with sugar (and other foods) was a bit different from mine. The food she was eating was causing both visible and invisible havoc on her body: rashes, sinus and yeast infections, depression, lack of energy. In her 30s, Ricki was diagnosed with candida and after many years of trial and error (discussed in detail in the book), she has developed a way of eating that has kept the symptoms of candida at bay.
In case you are unfamiliar with candida, here’s a short description of Candida Related Complex (CRC) from the FAQ page on Ricki’s site:
CRC is a condition that arises when someone has an overgrowth of yeast (usually candida albicans) in the body. Although candida usually coexists peacefully with other “good” bacteria in our digestive tracts and on our skin (it’s everywhere all the time) with no ill effects, when it has the opportunity to grow out of control, it can wreak havoc and cause a plethora of symptoms.
Some symptoms of CRC:
- fatigue, poor concentration
- “foggy” brain
- oral yeast infections
- vaginal yeast infections
- skin rashes
- poor sleep
An anti-candida diet (ACD) reduces the presence of yeast in the body by eliminating foods on which the candida yeast thrives – foods like sugar, fruit, and some nuts. It’s also recommended to go easy on beans and gluten-free grains. You can appreciate – especially if you are plant-based (which, after all, is also an elimination “diet”) – how complicated it can be to navigate an anti-candida diet! But thankfully for those who struggle with this issue, Ricki has done the heavy-lifting. With her latest book she presents us with delicious, healing food, both sweet and savory.
Living Candida-Free boasts 100 recipes plus Ricki’s 3-stage program, and it will quickly get you on track towards feeling good again. Here’s a quick look through the book:
Chapters 1-4 explain (in much greater detail than I have here) what candida is and ways to restore balance to your body – as well as give you strategies on how to succeed. Chapters 5 and 6 provide you with a pantry list for your ACD-friendly kitchen and give you ingredients substitutions. There are 15 “staple” recipes here – like nut/seed milks, sauces, veggie broth, catsup, and “butters” – that are the foundation of many of the recipes in Chapters 7-13. In these chapters, you’ll find smoothies, pancakes and waffles, scrambles, kale chips, soups, spreads, dips, salads, “roasts,” gnocchi, grains, fudge, cookies, puddings, parfaits, and truffles. I told you Ricki loves her sweets! Finally, Ricki shares her thoughts on a lifetime strategy for living candida-free.
But – Living Candida-Free isn’t just for those suffering from the symptoms of candida. Ricki’s recipes are 100% vegan, free of refined sweeteners, and are loaded with healthy whole foods, so it’s a wonderful cookbook for those looking to “clean up” their diet. My suggestion: start with Raw Cookie Dough Truffles cuz the recipe is below! (And be sure to visit Ricki’s site for loads of other recipes, including her beautiful Marbled Matcha-Lemon Raw Cheesecake which fits nicely into just about any “diet” you can name.)
A big thank you to Ricki and Da Capo Press Lifelong Books for providing me with a copy to review.
Connect with Ricki:
Other books by Ricki:
Raw Cookie Dough Truffles
- Yield: 30 1x
If you like raw cookie dough, you’ll love these truffles. The texture and fla-vor of cookie dough, combined with a high-protein “secret ingredient,” means this sweet snack provides a hefty nutritional punch, too! The recipe offers two variations: plain cookie dough balls or, for a richer treat, truffles dipped in chocolate. Either way, you will love them! – Ricki
- 1 cup (240 ml) well-cooked and drained chickpeas or white beans
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut sugar (see note)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) smooth natural seed or nut butter (I use almond butter)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla powder
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) vanilla or chocolate-flavored pure liquid stevia, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) coconut flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 ml) unflavored or vanilla raw protein powder (pea or rice)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) plain or vanilla unsweetened almond milk or other allowed nondairy milk or more, as needed
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) homemade carob or chocolate chips or cacao nibs
- (optional; makes enough for about 15 truffles)
- 1/4 cup (30 g) raw cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) coconut oil
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 to 1 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1 to 2.5 ml) pure liquid stevia
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla powder, or 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Make the truffles
- In the bowl of a food processor, process the chickpeas, coconut sugar, seed butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and stevia until very smooth. Add the coconut flour, protein powder, salt, and milk and process until the mixture comes together in a very soft dough. Stir in the chips by hand; don’t process again.
- As a snack, you can eat the dough right away.
- For truffles, scoop about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the dough at a time and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze until just firm, then roll into balls. For un-coated truffles, store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze. If coating in chocolate, return the truffles to the freezer while you prepare the chocolate coating.
Make the coating
- Place a medium-size metal or heatproof glass bowl over a small pot containing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of simmering water (be sure that the bowl is big enough to cover the pot, and that it isn’t actually touch-ing the water). Place the coating ingredients in the bowl and stir frequently until everything is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pot and turn off the heat.
To coat the truffles
- Place a ball on a fork and dip into the chocolate, allow-ing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Tap the fork against the top of the bowl so that excess chocolate drips through the tines and back into the bowl. Slide the ball off the fork and back onto the cookie sheet, and repeat to coat the remaining balls. Return the cookie sheet to the freezer to chill just until firmed up. You may repeat the dipping process for a thicker chocolate coating. Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. May be frozen.
- Note: For Stage 1, omit the coconut sugar and use more stevia, to taste.
- From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015.
CARROT CAKE ENERGY BITES
Pingback: Raw Cookie Dough Truffles from Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller | Harvey Diamond Fan Page
Ricki’s blog was one of the first I ever read!
Wow–!! (Then again, I’ve been doing this a while). . . ! 😀
What a beautiful recipe, and the fact that it’s so beneficial to the body makes it even better!
Annie’s photos sure do make it look beautiful! (And they taste yummy, too). 😉
Omigosh, Annie, thank you so much for this stunning review! And your kind words about the broad range of people who can use this diet (I totally agree–we should ALL be cutting out more sugars). And your photos are GORGEOUS!!! I want to eat all these things all over again now! xoxoxo 😀
Thoroughly enjoyed myself, Ricki! Thank you for your creativity, your love of SWEETS, and for the info/support/love for the candida community!
<3 <3 <3
Always such amazing photos! This book was beyond amazing – I had such a fun time going through it and trying out the recipes (Man-thing certainly didn’t complain!). Nom nom!
Big noms! Ricki is a genius!
Beautiful pictures, Annie. I knew about yeast infections but I didn’t realise candida could be a chronic condition. It must be pretty miserable to live with, so it’s great that Ricki has come up with a book of foods that work for sufferers.
It’s a miserable condition! I feel so fortunate that certain foods do not have this effect on me!
Annie, you truly are the queen of book reviews. I find myself bored to tears when I read most blogs doing a book review but I swear I actually read yours, you do it so well and always do the author such justice. I love Ricki and think it’s amazing the recipes she creates! Everything looks beautiful!
Haha! Thanks, girl! I do get the cookbooks don’t I? I’ve had this one by Ricki for a long time now so it feels great to finally get a review up. Ricki is fantastic and such a wonderful resource for people suffering w/ candida and of course, for anyone who is vegan/plant-based.
I follow Ricki’s blog for a very long time now! Every recipe you have shown here & the appetizing photos inspire me all the time!
These Raw Cookie Dough Truffles look outstanding & very appetizing too! x
Hey Annie: I’ve always loved your site and the fact that you strive to give your readers very approachable information and advice. The only thing is I have a thing about using sugar options. I’m trying to cut sugar from my diet by using other options like coconut nectar or coconut sugar in my dessert recipes. I would like to try stevia, but I don’t like the bitter aftertaste. I know there is supposed to be a really quality stevia that does not have the bitter aftertaste, but isn’t it rather spendy?? I also make raw desserts at a raw health bar I work at. I would love to introduce stevia into some of my products there, but again, it’s all about flavor and I don’t want something that is low in sugar and tastes like it, too! Yuck! What brand do you recommend over others? And where do you get it?
Hi Laura! It’s the eternal challenge, isn’t it?? I think the key to stevia is balance – that is, when I go 100% stevia, that kind-of-hard-to-describe flavor comes through – so I often use it in conjunction with some other kind of sweetener. I still use maple sugar (but it’s quite $$ and I imagine living where you do it would be even more so!) and occasionally xylitol (birch sugar). Xylitol looks like, measures like, and bakes like refined white sugar, but digests slowly in the body so there are no highs and lows. Neither maple sugar nor xylitol are raw, fyi. I’ve been cooking quite a lot with dates and also just recently purchased some dried white mulberries. They have a nice sweetness which isn’t overpowering. Gotta figure out how to use them now ;-). Again – rather expensive. Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern here!
Back to stevia…brands certainly make a difference. I’ve been fortunate to form a relationship of sorts with NuNaturals out of Oregon. I host the occasional giveaway on my blog and they send me a bunch of products. NuNaturals makes other non-sugar sweeteners besides stevia so you may want to research that, plus their stevia products have less of “that taste.” Yes – they’re pricey, but a little does go a long way. NuNaturals is available online on their site. Check out this page for free samples: https://www.nunaturals.com/page/414 It’s also available on Amazon and I’ve seen it at Whole Foods as well.
I’ve got this book and look forward to trying some more recipes – beans paprikash is one of our favourites! We’ve also done the gnocchi and I can’t remember what else. The cookie dough truffles look great 🙂
I love how creative Ricki is with so many daunting restrictions. I need to make that gnocchi!
Wow, love all your photos, Annie!