I knew of award-winning blogger Ricki Heller by reputation only before she came to New York City last year. I’ve admired her expertise in the areas of gluten-free and candida diets, so when she came to my home town, I was to share a meal with her and other vegan culinary friends at Candle Café West. We spoke about many things, including her then yet to be launched newest cookbook, Living Candida-Free. After reading my review copy, I knew this was a book I wanted to promote. I’ve got some information and a recipe here for you as well as a chance to win a copy of Living Candida-Free.
Many health issues can be linked to the more than seventy pounds of sugar that the average American consumes annually—from obesity and bad skin to diabetes and cancer. But one of the most difficult sugar-related disorders to diagnose can cause many serious complications ranging from chronic fatigue and pain, digestion disorders, and weight gain to brain fog, depression, and allergies: an overgrowth of candida. Candida, a yeast that naturally occurs in and on the human body, is usually harmless; however, once it starts feeding off extra sugar in the body and multiplying rapidly, it can cause a person to become seriously ill. And because the symptoms caused are so wide-ranging, many doctors have a hard time diagnosing it—leading many health professionals to call it a hidden epidemic.
In Living Candida Free: 100 Recipes and a 3-Phase Program to Restore Your Health and Vitality, registered holistic nutritionist Ricki Heller, with functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama, outlines a health plan and diet designed to help readers combat the candida overgrowth that’s making them sick. Heller walks readers through the four principles of the plan: restoring good digestion, detoxifying the body, repopulating the gut with healthful bacteria, and coping with any other imbalances, including anxiety and stress, that the condition has caused.
Heller outlines a three-phase vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) designed to starve the yeast while nurturing the rest of the body, and includes a Yeast Assessment quiz for readers to gauge their needs. Instead of relying on fixed timelines that ignore the body’s signals and progress, the phases of the ACD are flexible and are cued by how readers are progressing.
A guidebook for those needing to cut refined sugar out of their diets, Living Candida Free arms readers with everything they need to retake control of their lives—and their health.
As You Like It Kale Salad
Kale is one of my favorite superfoods, chock-full of antioxidants that fight cancer, anti-inflammatory compounds, a slew of vitamins and minerals, and a good amount of fiber. And best of all, it tastes great! This salad is also infinitely adaptable, depending on which combination of veggies you choose from each category. I generally use whatever I’ve got in the refrigerator that day, and the result is always delicious. As long as you include the base, a few crunchy veggies, and some fresh herbs and nuts or seeds, the rest can be omitted if desired and you’ll still end up with a yummy salad.
Makes 6 to 8 side salad servings or 3 to 5 main course servings.
- 1 bunch (6 to 9 leaves) curly kale or Swiss chard, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (240 ml) mixed baby salad greens, bite-size romaine lettuce, bite-size butter lettuce, arugula (rocket), or a combination
- 1 medium-size carrot, grated
- 1 medium-size beet, grated
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1/2 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored and diced
- Fresh Herbs
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) of at least 2 types of coarsely chopped fresh herbs (my favorites are dill, basil, mint, flat-leaf parsley, and cilantro)
Nuts and/or Seeds
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) total of any combination of fresh nut pieces and seeds (my favorite combinations are walnuts or pecans and hemp seeds; walnuts or pecans and sunflower seeds; almonds and pumpkin seeds)
2 cups (480 ml) total of any of the following (or any combination):
- Finely shredded green or red cabbage
- Fruit (if allowed; otherwise, omit):
- 1 apple or pear, cored and diced; or 1 cup (240 ml) fresh blueberries or strawberries; or 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Other Add-Ins (all of these are optional)
- 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
- 4 to 6 radishes, sliced into half-moons
- 1/3 cucumber, sliced into half-moons
- Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Handful of sprouts (my favorites are sunflower, pea, or alfalfa sprouts)
- 1 recipe Classic Oil and Lemon Dressing (see recipe)
Make the base: Soften the kale: Remove the kale leaves from the stems; discard the stems, then wash and dry the leaves. Stack the leaves, roll tightly (jelly-roll style), then cut thinly crosswise to create long, thin shreds. Chop the shreds into smaller pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
Sprinkle the kale with salt and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil. Using clean hands, “massage” the kale, squeezing it and squishing it between your fingers, until it begins to darken and soften a bit (this breaks down the fibers in the leaves and renders them more easily digestible—but they will still retain a nice crunch). If using chard, wash and chop it using the same method and add to the bowl (it doesn’t need to be massaged).
Assemble the salad: Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl. Drizzle with the dressing, toss, and serve. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days (and will still remain crunchy!).
Note: For Stage 1 of the diet, omit the fruit. It will still taste yummy!
Classic Oil and Lemon Dressing
This deceptively simple and flavorful dressing is a perfect accompaniment to any crisp, leafy green salad, or wherever you would have used a classic balsamic dressing. I also love it as a dip for freshly steamed artichokes.
Makes about 1/3 cup (80 ML) dressing
- 2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 5 drops plain pure liquid stevia, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) dry mustard
- Fine sea salt
Whisk all the ingredients together until emulsified; pour over the salad greens and toss. Store leftover dressing in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipes from Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015.
I have a copy of Living Candida-Free for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions below to enter. US and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on March 22nd. Good luck!
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