Do You Have a Heart for Cooking?

With all this talk we’ve done over the last few months about different food sensitivities and the problems that wheat and gluten can cause in a body intolerant to it, I knew I had to contact Sarah from Heart of Cooking! You see, Sarah is well versed in cooking meals that are free from common allergens like wheat, dairy, soy, and eggs. She also offers a fabulous meal planning service that comes with recipes for each day!

But before, we get into the giveaway (yes – a giveaway!!), I’ll let Sarah tell you a bit about herself and Heart of Cooking:

Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’ve been blogging at Heart of Cooking since November of 2008.

Eating whole foods didn’t really happen all at once for me.  It’s been a process of discovering what kinds of foods really nourish human beings and what kind of diet really supports me.  All of this has really taken some time to learn and discover – as in, the past 15 or so years of my life.  So I’ve gradually moved from eating at Panda Express and other fast-food chains to eating an almost 100% organic, whole-food, local, grass-fed, pasture raised, chemical-free, and allergen free diet.

For me, eating whole foods and sticking to my allergen-free diet is like my life-line.  At this point, I am not sure what I would do if I was stuck in a room and forced to eat food containing my food allergens, chemicals and preservatives.  I would probably have a return of a host of symptoms running from constipation to manic depression.  I would feel hopeless and probably want to die.  I would probably get angry for no good reason and blame the world for all my troubles.

So although it’s taken some time to figure out, the reason why I eat whole foods and stick to my allergen-free diet is because I know what will happen if I don’t.  Life is too good and too precious to waste feeling horrible about myself.  And I can simply do so much more good in the world when I feel good – body, mind and soul.

Presently, I follow a grain-free, starch-free, sugar-free diet called GAPS but I also don’t eat eggs or very much honey or fruit.  The GAPS diet stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it’s based on the Specific Carbohydrate diet.  I’ve been following it for a year now and feel better than I ever have in my life.  The idea is that most people follow the diet for 2 years and then they can start to eat some grains and starches.  However, if I do go back to a more “normal” diet, I plan on following traditional methods of soaking and sprouting grains before eating them.

You can read more about the GAPS diet here:

I have always felt a desire in my heart to contribute something positive and helpful to society.  I believe we all have something to share and contribute, even if it takes some time to discover it.  I believe that is how the world is meant to work – we each discover our God-given talents and then somehow put them to work to help others.  It doesn’t happen over night but it’s a wonderful journey to be on!

And now that we know a bit more about Sarah, let me tell you about the Menu Planners she offers. It’s really one of the best ways for someone to get support when life keeps them to busy to eat well, or they feel overwhelmed while trying to make changes to compensate for food allergies. Don’t worry – she’s got you covered! I’m still amazed at all the different plans she offers, including –

Meat and Seafood Diets:

  • Wheat-free and Gluten-free Menu Planner
  • Gluten-free and Casein-free Menu Planner
  • Dairy-free Menu Planner
  • Wheat/Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Soy-free Menu Planner
  • Nightshade, Wheat/Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Soy-Free Menu Planner
  • GAPS/Paleo and Limited Diet Menu Planner
  • Egg-FREE GAPS/Paleo and Limited Diet Menu Planner
  • Thanksgiving Limited Diet Menu Planner
  • Holiday Limited Diet Menu Planner

Coming soon:

  • Egg-free, Dairy-free and Gluten-Free
  • Nut-free, Legume-free, Wheat/Gluten-free and Dairy-free
  • Kid-Friendly menus for GF and CF diets

Seafood/Vegetarian Diets

  • Wheat-free and Gluten-free
  • Dairy Free
  • Wheat/Gluten-free and Dairy-Free
  • Wheat/Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Soy-free
  • Nightshade-free, Wheat/Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Soy-free – Available Now!
  • Valentine’s Day or Special Event Menu Planner
  • Just Desserts for Limited Diets e-book

Now – before I ever tell you all about a product or service, I always test it out first, and Sarah sent me the egg free GAPS/Paleo week of menus. And let me tell you……I was blown away!


I was expecting a few pages of consisting of a menu and then the recipes. What I received was so much more! In fact twenty-two pages of more! Sarah suggests within the menu plan to print it out – I totally agree. It’s much easier to have something that you can lay out in front of you.

Once I had it all printed out, I sat down on my couch and read it over. I absolutely loved the sections on organizing meals, necessary kitchen equipment, and even the how-to’s on soaking nuts and making bone broth.

The meals themselves are wonderfully planned and include substitutions and even kid-friendly tips for kids who have a picky palate! But the very, very best feature is the thorough shopping list. Not only complete with each ingredient you’ll need – but how much you’ll need as well.


Even more awesome for you….. Sarah is going to giveaway a meal plan to one of my lucky readers! To enter, please go check out Heart of Cooking and let me know in the comments here on this post what benefit of the meal plans that you find most appealing.

*open until Saturday, Oct. 23 at midnight

**also, I am an affiliate of Heart of Cooking, which means that should you buy one of her month-long menu plans, I receive a small commission. I am only affiliates of products I truly believe in and I thank you for supporting this site!

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. I didn’t see anything about helping infertility but I’m trying to get pregnant and I thought having some help with changing my diet could be beneficial. We just started trying but it took 14 months to get pregnant last time and I want to start out right this time.

  2. i lke that it gives you a plan -and its something new! sometimes we feel like we’re always eating the same foods so the variety appeals to me 😉

  3. I can’t tell you what a blessing this would be! We are in the process of considering some major diet changes due to multiple suspected allergies/sensitivities but I don’t know where to start! “Heart of Cooking” sounds like exactly the tool I need to not get overwhelmed in this process. Thanks!

  4. This is the type of thing I have been looking for! I was diagonised with a wheat and casein allergy earlier this year, and it has been nothing but on and off the wagon since. It is so hard for me for some reason. When Sarah described how she use to feel and her symptoms, it felt like she was describing me. And exactly this morning I was blaming the world for my troubles! So this morning I decided I would start a new search on what oculd help me get organized and plan, plan, plan! Im sick of feeling like crap! And than your your email popped in my inbox :) Dont you love how that works out sometimes? My health problems stem from having an autoimmune thyroid disease, so when I saw she has a gluten free, dairy free, soy free…I thought this is to good to be true! And reading the reviews on how easy she makes this for some of us that are beginner cooks has me hopeful!

    Sarah Schatz - Allergy-Free & GAPS Menu Planners Reply:

    Hi Melissa,
    I have recently come across a book about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. It’s very interesting to me because I have all the symptoms of Hashimoto’s and started feeling better when I went grain free about a year ago, which is one diet that is suggested to help heal the gut for Hashimoto’s. I will be getting tested soon to find out for sure, but I just wanted to let you know that a diet change can do wonders for thyroid problems according to Dr. Kharrazian. If you’re interested, his website is: and his book is Why do I still have thyroid problems when my lab tests are normal? I highly recommend it for anyone with thyroid issues and Hashimoto’s disease.

    And yes, it can be hard to stick to a diet at first – so just be patient with yourself. Good luck to you!

    Melissa Reply:

    @Sarah Schatz – Allergy-Free & GAPS Menu Planners,

    Thank you so much Sarah! I will defintely check out Dr Kharrazain’s book. I was first diagonised with Graves Disease, and than after radio active iodine treatement was diagonised hypothyroid. Thats where all my troubles began! The more I research about diet change, the more hopeful I am. For once in a long time I honestly feel I could be healthy again! Your service is a blessing for people like me, who may be struggling and really need to make the changes!

  5. This is amazing! My SIL and MIL are embarking on eating gluten-free to heal some health issues my MIL has. My SIL is super-busy with school, but she’ll be the one who has to make all the food. This would be such a blessing for them!

  6. What an amazing tool!!! This would be a huge benefit to our family because we have begun down the road to gluten/sugar free SEVERAL times but always get stuck not knowing what we should/n’t eat. Several times, I will plan a week of menus and then further research will reveal that there is hidden gluten or sugars in the ingredients I was using. This would be a great way to have somebody I trust do the research and the menu planning so I can focus on filling my families hearts with love, while the menus will fill their bellies with healthy/wholesome food.

  7. Would love to try making nut and seed flours!

  8. Carol Bahr says:

    With her help, this would be the kick n the pants I need to go grain free!

  9. My oldest son was dianosed with Autism, and we have been gluten free for well over a year now. I myself have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. I have recently discovered the GAPS diet, but have been SO intimidated to try it because of the limitations. I’m a momma of 3 kids 3 and under, so this would be what could help me make the leap into the GAPS diet for our family!!

  10. the mere fact that I wouldn’t have to think as much would help with this overwhelming sense of not being able to do all the “REAL” food that I should be!!! thanks for the opportunity!

  11. Helping get over the difficulty of a such a huge food shift by being able to feed allergen-prone family and friends foods that will help them :) It can be so hard to find variety after being so used to cooking with wheat/dairy/soy.

  12. I would love to be able to transition my family w/o confusing myself and tearing my hair out. The wheat-free and gluten-free menu looks like a good beginning.

  13. I would love the dairy free menu! I have no idea how I could live without dairy, although I know I’d be less constipated and iron-rich. My 1 year old was anemic at her 1 yr checkup, the doc recommended iron supplements, but my previous doc had told me that dairy inhibits iron absorption, so I tried cutting all the baby yoghurt, milk, and limiting her cheese and now she’s perfectly healthy! We eat real food but still a lot of dairy and I’d love to have ideas for what to replace it with, since I’m skeptical of over processed soy/fake milk products as well.

  14. I recently started on a restricted diet for infertility and endo. I’d love some new ideas for gluten and dairy free cooking!

  15. I would be interested in the dairy free meal plan, as my daughter has allergies and it is challenging to make meals the whole family would enjoy.

  16. Sarah’s story is great and this looks like a truly valuable product. Recipes are everywhere and easy to find, that is not the value of this product for me. I think it is the planning aspects of the product that you’ve described that makes it sound very appealing. It is often hard to make a solid link between all the ingredients we buy and how they translate into a week-long healthy meal plan. A week of great food lined up and not worrying about what the next meal or next day’s meals would free up precious worrying space for more constructive things!

  17. Catherine says:

    Wow! This would be so wonderful. I have been so sick lately. After I eat breakfast, I can’t even make it up a flight of stairs, I am too exhausted to even pick up my legs to finish the flight. I know it is related to foods, but which one is causing the problem? An allergen menu would be awesome start in the confusing world of elimination diets and it would taste good too! Did I ever mention that I am a challenged cook?!!?? Good tasting , fool proof food would be a life send as I enter my path to healing. Now, how do I go about affording the extra cost of non-allergen food…hmmmm.

  18. Any ideas for the gluten free meal planning would be ideal for me!

  19. Sara Hayes says:

    Thank you so much for posting about this website! I found out at the beginning of this year that I have several food allergies, so I’ve been working all year to completely change my diet. I’ve almost went completely to the GAPS diet. I’m always looking for more receipes that are allergen-free. I plan on getting several of her menu plans!

  20. This sounds like a godsend. I have fibromyalgia, and have been wanting to try a gluten-free diet to see if it will help ease the pain somewhat. I have also discovered, after a misadventure with bowl of ratatouille, that I seem to be allergic to nightshades. The Nightshade-free, Wheat/Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Soy-free sounds perfect!

    Thanks for offering this.

  21. I really like what Sarah is doing with the meal planners!
    We found a green bean casserole that is GAPS friendly and cannot wait to try it!!
    Thanks for offering a free planner too.
    How awesome!

  22. I can’t tell you what a blessing this would be! We are in the process of considering some major diet changes due to suspected allergies/sensitivities but I don’t know where to start!

    “Heart of Cooking” sounds like exactly the tool I need to not get overwhelmed in this process. Thank you so much!

  23. We’re thinking about implementing the GAPS diet soon and I’ve been holding off because I just don’t know what to cook. I love that there are menu plans out there!

  24. I would love to win a meal planner for the Gaps diet! I’ve been on it since the summer and have noticed a difference but have a ways to go. I find that I get caught in a meal slump where I continue to make the same meals over and over. It gets rather boring and I would love to find out more recipes to add variety to my diet! This meal planner would help a great deal, especially since I’m not that creative in the kitchen! thanks for offering the contest!

  25. Nicole Nadeau says:

    We are working hard to have a gluten and sugar free diet for our son with NF1. He has a large tumor that has been stable since six months but can start growing any time. We have been advised to limit gluten and sugar, which can feed his tumor. Additionally, he is a picky eater so food Is always a struggle. In the preschool world filled with goldfish, flavor ice Popsicles and cake parties, it is a constant struggle. These planners would help me take out a big part of the load so I could focus on healthy treat alternatives for him at school, where now, coming up with meals and sides idea every night that will please the whole family seems daunting. Thanks for considering me.

  26. This is just the help that I could really use! I’m looking at the Gaps diet for my family. With six children homeschooling, meal planning is hard enough. Add limitations of a diet and I just might lose my mind! I’d love to try one of her plans!

  27. We’ve been on the GAPS diet for more than a year and half and we seem to have got stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to meals – it would be lovely to use the meal planner to add some variety back into our mealtimes. Many thanks for hosting this ‘Giveaway’!

  28. I have many little people and my family follows the SCD. I think having our meals and groceries all planned out would release A LOT of stress from my week.

  29. I really love that it gives you a list for the store, otherwise I tend to just grab what looks good, without having a game plan.

  30. I have been gluten free for a few years now, but frequently end up eating something I shouldn’t because of lack of planning. Planning ahead is crucial to living gluten-free because you can’t usually just stop in to a convenience store to get a snack if you get too hungry. I am a busy mom so planning all my meals and snacks and leftovers all with one prewritten grocery list sounds like it is just the right thing!

  31. Sarah Cuison says:

    I think these meal plans look incredible especially for people like me who have little ones (2 1/2 yrs and 13 months, plus I keep a 3 month old) and want so much to feed my family healthy. I’m looking into starting the GAPS diet, but am a little unsure of where to start. I have the book and the GAPS guide, but there aren’t alot of recipes. I looked at her sample menu planner and wow! She has everything laid out, including shopping lists, alternatives, and kids friendly ideas. Thanks for the give away and the information.

  32. I have tried one month plus the Thanksgiving menu and I love it!!

  33. Would love some help with menu planning. My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac’s a year ago. She had many problems from years of being malnourished due to the Celiac’s. As a teenager there have been some challenges to a new way of eating. This would be a blessing to our family. Thank you.

  34. I love receiving any help possible to cook gluten-free. I have to eat gluten free but I am the only one in my family that requires such a restriction. I have four children to feed and we are busy, so I could use lots of help to meal plan, especially meals that everyone will eat. I would love to receive one month of meal plans so I can be healthy and not sick in bed because I break down and eat whatever is in front of me. My family will be so thankful!

  35. I would love to have the wheat and gluten free menu :)

  36. Anything to get you out of cooking the same old recipes would be helpful.

  37. Planning an allergen-free meal is a challenge, let alone getting a week’s worth planned! When my husband was tested for food allergies, I had no idea of how complex the planning could be. I kept saying that I needed a personal chef to help me get going so that I could learn how to cook again with so many new ingredients. This sounds great!

  38. well, as someone who has just started on the GFCF adventure, i appreciate having a balanced meal planned out for me. it is hard to keep in mind that my meals have to be gluten free, casein free but also include fiber and nutrients AND be low fat and low calorie! too much for my brain to wrap around! i need all the help i can get!

  39. i’d be interested in the GAPS menu planner as we’re looking into this for my sons! :)

  40. I have actually used Sarah’s Menu Plans before and they are wonderful! It makes it so much easier in a household with many allergies to get a great tasting meal on the table very efficiently! She gives you so many choices and my family has loved every meal!

  41. I want to feel better overall. The GAPS diet has been very intriguing to me. It would be a huge change for our family and I’m not sure where to start. I think Sarah could help.

  42. The best thing is I don’t have to think 😉

  43. I’m loosely following the gaps diet now and I’m finding it enormously helpful in controlling stomach pain that started a year and a half ago. My Thyroid TPO anti-bodies have also gone way down since I stopped eating gluten (i have Hashimotos). I just recently learned the connection between gluten and Hashimotos so having the numbers go down on my TPO anti-bodies was a pleasant surprise. I also just read Dr. Kharrazian’s book (mentioned above) and found it to be a real revelation. He has the most fresh approach to thyroid health that I’ve ever seen. I’ve also been avoiding dairy because I was getting sick from drinking milk. I’m still not sure if it’s a casein issue or lactose.

    I’m eating healthier but I feel like I get stuck in a rut sometimes, eating the same things so I like the idea of getting some new ideas from someone who truly understands my dietary restrictions. Sarah’s meal plan would be great in this regard.

    It’s also hard work making my own fermented veggies, broth etc while trying to make progress on my rug design business, do the laundry, be a good mom etc. etc. so I like the idea of letting someone else come up with the meal planning, shopping lists, recipes etc. once in a while. One thing less to think about is definitely a good thing!!

  44. What I like best about the idea of a meal planner is that it can give more variety to the weekly meals. I know I get in a rut–especially when limited, so this is a great way to add a little spice to our lives. :)

  45. The recipes from Sarah’s menu planners are delicious, creative, incredibly healthful, and always successful. They are the essence of fresh, wholesome food. What could be better?

  46. Caroline Janowiak says:

    It feels wonderful to find Naturally Knocked Up and am thankful for this opportunity to receive one of Sarah’s menu planners for free! Wowee! “I’ve been interested in the “Nightshade, GF,
    DairyF, SoyF” menu planner for months and to try it out finally would be such a huge blessing for our family. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and elevated thyroid several months ago and have recently learned I have sensitivities to over 20 foods I’ve been used to eating on a daily basis. As a busy Mom, my time is finite and this menu planner would allow me to spend more of that precious time where it counts! Thank you Sarah and Donielle!

  47. I just found out I am pregnant with baby #2, so I will probably really need these menu plans soon. Plus my baby #1 has a severe soy allergy so it would be nice not have to worry if the recipes are safe for her.

  48. My youngest has allergies to peanuts, egg, and soy. In addition to avoiding those allergens, I’ve been trying to avoid hydrogenated oils,l additives, prerservatives, and dyes in all of our foods, which has become quite an undertaking! This would be so helpful in planning meals my son can eat, too!

  49. I’ve been wanting to buy Sarah’s menu plan for some time now, but dh just can’t see the point in purchasing a menu plan. I’d love to win the CF/GF menu plan – I think the suggestions and kid-friendly recipes would be wonderful!

  50. I’ve been reading Real Food and several blogs (including this one) for recipes and information and would love to have the meal planners – especially the kid-friendly helps and detailed shopping lists. Thank you for all your hard work (Sarah) and the giveaway (Sarah and Donielle)!

  51. Stephanie M says:

    I just found Sarah 2 weeks ago. I have a son with 11 food sensitivities and it seems like I spend all day cooking or thinking about what I’m going to cook. I took a look at her sample menu and was blown away! A time saver for sure!

  52. thank you for all of your wonderful comments everyone. It really warms my heart to hear how people have enjoyed the planners or how they could benefit your life. I wish I could give one away to each of you!

  53. Who wouldn’t want someone else, with much wisdom and zeal for healthy food, plan a menu and make your shopping list for you? I don’t know of anyone who lives in this busy world, which food intolerances just made even more hectic, who wouldn’t love to have some help in the kitchen. Way to go Sarah! I love it! I would love it for Thanksgiving which as we all know is just around the corner! Ahhhh!

  54. I would love to see some new ideas around the Paleo Diet as well as some fresh easy, middle of the week menu plans! I look forward to keeping up with BOTH of your blogs and websites! Lee

  55. Melissa W. says:

    We are going to start the GAPS diet in January and I’d love to have GAPS meal plans to refer to. What a great resource!


  1. […] wanted to let you know that Donielle at is doing a FREE Give-Away of one of my menu planners!  So if you’ve been meaning to give one […]

  2. […] wanted to let you know that Donielle at is doing a FREE Give-Away of one of my menu planners!  So if you’ve been meaning to give one […]