Food Rock Star Ricki Heller

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.


12 Responses to Food Rock Star Ricki Heller

  1. cheryl April 6, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Each time I read more about Ricki I appreciate her even more! As usual, thanks for letting us hang out with folks that are gluten-free rockstars and all 'round lovely human beings, too.

    • Ricki April 7, 2011 at 8:36 am #

      Thanks so much, Cheryl! And you know I feel exactly the same way about you. 😀

  2. Ricki April 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi Diane! Thanks again for including me in this all-star roundup 😀 I don't remember the exact time we met, either, but I think it must have been the Gluten Free Holiday event. Either way, glad we did! I've been enjoying the series and reading about the other featured bloggers–honored to be included.

  3. Shirley @ gfe April 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I am crazy about Ricki! I agree with Cheryl that I appreciate her more the more I learn about her. 🙂 I loved reading this interview! And I'm pulling for her to be on The Ellen Show. Maybe her AND the girls. After all, her blog is Diet, Dessert and Dogs … it makes sense they'd all be on there. Ellen loves dogs, too. She'd go nuts for Ricki's style of vegan desserts!

    Thanks for sharing another rock star with us, Diane!

    • Ricki April 7, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      That makes two of us crazy, I guess 😉 Thanks so much, Shirley. I am hoping that Ellen somehow hears the call (and that I then get the call!). But of course, you will have to come along, yes?

  4. Alisa Fleming April 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    These are so much fun to read Diane! I had no idea Ricki had such an obsession with Australia 🙂

    She really should be on the Ellen Show you know. Ellen, you reading this?

    • Ricki April 7, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it, Alisa! Yes, I'm a little obsessed with the antipodes. . . been dreaming of Australia since I was a kid. Must have lived there in a former life! 😉

  5. Maggie April 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    I love Ricki! We're kindreds I think – so many of her answers would be mine! Thanks for sharing her with us! And Diane, I have a hard time remembering and keeping track of e-books. Got any tips for me? Do you print them out? Thanks!

    • Ricki April 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

      That's so cool, Maggie! But I thought we were kindreds, anyway 😉 (and would love to know *which* answers we share!). Re: ebooks, I do tend to print them out so I have a "hard" copy. I put similar ebooks in a binder together (such as cookbooks) and keep them on my cookbook shelf. Now, if only I had an iPad or something I could keep in the kitchen with me at all times. . . !!

  6. Kim-Cook It AF April 7, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    This is SO fun! I loved learning these little snippets into Ricki's life! And I am pulling for opening that little cafe in Australia. My hubby has a similar dream, but it is to move to Costa Rica and open a little surf school. LOL
    I am putting out the Ellen vibes to the universe. It will happen. Ricki, you should put it on a vision board!!
    Thanks for sharing Ricki with us today, Diane!!!

    • Ricki April 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      Thanks, Kim! Surf school sounds much more fun! I've got a vision board of sorts, if you count an entire blog entry as a vision board–lol! But I'm going to keep putting the vibes out (and maybe another video). 😉

  7. Carol, SGF April 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Thanks for yet another great interview with yet another great rock star! Loved learning these tidbits about Ricki, I feel I know her better now!