I was trying to recall how I came to know Ricki. At this point I just can’t recall. I’m sure she either came highly recommended by fellow gluten-free bloggers or I read something she shared and started following her work. I know we both participated in A Gluten-Free Holiday last year. Ricki specializes in sugar-free and gluten-free whole foods. She has just released her 4th cookbook this week, Good Morning Breakfasts Without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs or Dairy. All of her cookbooks are e-books and you know how I love those! Here’s a little info about today’s Food Rock Star.
Name : Ricki Heller
Business and or blog name: Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Location: Toronto area, Canada
Favorite quote: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent (Eleanor Roosevelt).
Focus of blog or business: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, whole foods recipes, anti-candida living, and comments from my dogs.
Social Media I play in: Facebook (dietdessertndogs), twitter (@rickiheller) and (not sure if this counts as social media) tumblr, and LinkedIn.
I started my blog in the month and year: November, 2007
Professional organizations I belong to: Women’s Culinary Network; PWAC (Professional Writers Association of Canada)
Training/education I received: Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition); PhD, Modern American Literature (University of Toronto); Introduction to Pastry Arts (George Brown College).
My favorite healthy food: It’s a toss-up between sweet potato and kale.
My favorite snack food: kale chips.
My top 3 healthiest foods I love to eat or recommend: Sweet potatoes, dark chocolate, avocado.
Childhood ambition: To be a writer.
My favorite cookbook: (Sorry, but I’m obliged): Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar. My inspiration was Ellen Abraham’s Simple Treats.
Wildest dream: To move to Australia and own a small brunch café.
Favorite activity: A long trail-walk with my hubby and dogs in early autumn.
Favorite thing to cook: Anything dessert-like. If I really had to pick, I’d say fudgy chocolate brownies.
Favorite kitchen tool: Gotta be my food processor!
Biggest risk I’ve taken: leaving home to move 1000 kilometers across the country and live on my own when I was 17. Second biggest: moving in with my honey while still gun-shy after a bad divorce.
Favorite exercise: Reading a book while walking on the treadmill.
Proudest moment: Delivering the Valedictorian address to my graduating class from nutrition school.
What I do to treat myself: spend “me” time with girlfriends.
What I do to feel at peace: Meditate—don’t do it enough any more!
Biggest challenge: Staying on the anti-candida diet for more than 2 years.
Favorite vacation spot: (That I’ve been to): a little resort up north in the summer time. (That I haven’t been to yet): Melbourne, Australia.
Craziest thing I’ve ever done: As a teenager: sneaked into ABC Recording Studios in LA and ended up spending the day and evening with Lee Oskar and his band as they recorded a new album (literally—no CDs back then). As an adult: spent 12 straight hours tweeting The Ellen Show.
Health concerns I’ve cleared up: Irritable bowel syndrome, 95% of my candida symptoms, sinus issues.
Books I’ve written: Respond in Writing (a college essay-writing textbook); Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar; several ebooks.
I started my blog to: have an outlet for my (then) frustrations over dieting; connect with like-minded people; keep a record of my recipe creations; keep writing; learn about photography; and provide a venue for my dogs’ overabundant personalities.
What I hope the people that visit my blog find: Delicious, fool-proof recipes without gluten, refined sugar, eggs, dairy; useful information about the anti-candida diet (ACD) and living with food allergies; entertaining stories; and the occasional fix for their cute-dog yearnings.
Products and/or services I offer: My cookbook, Sweet Freedom, as well as three ebooks, are for sale on the blog. I teach cooking classes and offer recipe demos throughout the Greater Toronto Area, though the Loblaws Cooking Schools, various alternative health centers, Great Cooks on Eight (The Bay, downtown) and The Prosserman Culinary Center. There are also a few useful posts introducing the ACD and what it entails. I also provide nutritional information about many of the ingredients I use on the blog.
What I love about what I do: I love that I can exercise my creativity through recipe creation and writing; I meet like-minded people, many of whom have become personal friends; I learn about food, nutrition, health and more; my health issues seem much less overwhelming when I learn that there is always someone else who’s gone through the same thing–and survived.
How am I making a difference in my community: I feel good knowing that I’m teaching people—both through my blog and the cooking classes I teach—how to live with dietary restrictions without feeling deprived or “second rate.” I love when people try my recipes and exclaim, “but this doesn’t taste ‘healthy’!”
My greatest success so far: Hmmm. . . Serving vegan, sugar-free baked goods on The Ellen Show? Oh, wait, that hasn’t happened yet.
In the future I see myself: Doing more of the same. . .hopefully, one day on a full-time basis.