If your like me it can be a struggle to find healthy gift ideas that are not going to end up as clutter around the house and never get used, and being a health fanatic personally I like to give things that will promote a healthy body and mind.
Here is a collection of gift ideas that I have either personally used, or have researched well (and they are on my Christmas list) and will help to optimize health and fitness.
Good health begins with a good diet, while some people love to cook not everybody gets pleasure from cooking, or even has the time. These first two ideas are my favourite kitchen gadgets which I use most days.
This is something that I use most days to blend up a quick meal, it makes life easy and if I have one smoothie a day that is one less meal that I have to think of making (and more importantly only 30 seconds of cleaning up). You can get the Nutribullet from Amazon
My favourite smoothie recipe includes Super greens, Great lakes collagen, MCT oil, creatine, psyllium husk and frozen berries.
The Instapot Ultra is more than just a slow cooker (though that is what I use it for the most) as it also is a pressure cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, saute/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer.
The pressure cooker and slow cooker features are my favourite, especially now that I am living in Canada and the winter’s are so much colder than Australia. This is great for soups, stews, bone broth, curries and so much more, but the best part is that you can put it on in the morning and forget about it, so when you get home at night after the kid’s activities dinner is ready and waiting for you. Available from Amazon
Old habits can be hard to change, and when people first make the transition to a grain free diet one of the things people miss is pasta! Now noodles made out of vegetables may seem like a second best option, but they actually taste amazing, especially when fried up with some olive oil and garlic and then topped with your favourite pasta sauce. This veggie noodle make is one of the best and available from Amazon
Books make great gifts, I prefer kindle books for most books except cookbooks as I like to see the pictures and it is easier to follow along to recipes. Another option for people who drive a lot, or travel a lot is audible, which is basically where the author reads the book to you.
Here are a couple of my favourite cookbooks, plus a couple of my favourite books that I have read (or reread) this year on getting the most out of life.
NomNom Paleo is one of my favourite websites when checking out interesting recipe ideas, and looking for inspiration when I am looking for something new to make that tastes amazing and is healthy. Available on Amazon
The name speaks for itself, quick meals that will have you well fed in 45 minutes or less. I love cooking and I used to be a professional chef but when I am working and keeping up with family activities I don’t want to be spending hours cooking. Available from Amazon
This is not a new book but one that I reread this year, and while most people are striving to do more this book focuses on focusing on what matters and doing less of what is not important. The focus is on the overworked business person or entrepreneur who is doing too much, but the book relates to all aspects of life and whether you are a college student or stay at home mum it is a great reminder to focus on what matters. Available from Amazon
This is a great book written by a high achieving self help/ meditation skeptic, who after a nationally televised panic attack led him on a quest to quieten the voice in his head, this lead him to meditation. I have been practicing meditation for a long time and have personally experienced the benefits, this book explains the science in a fun and personally revealing way that makes it easy reading. Available from Amazon
This is the latest book from Tim Ferris who is famous for the 4 Hour workweek and “The Tim Ferris Show” podcast. I am about half way through this book and it is a very easy to read (which is good as it is over 600 pages long) Q&A book distilling the wisdom of experts in a wide variety of fields from sport to business, from cooking to religion, basically a book that has something for everyone and will provide some food for though and inspiration. Available from Amazon
Here are a couple of gift ideas that are outside the “normal” but for anyone who is not afraid to try something different and think outside the box, these will make great gift ideas.
This is the new course from “the iceman” Wim Hof, and if you have not heard of this crazy Dutchman before he is worth checking out! To the uninitiated his breathing and cold exposure program called The Wim Hof Method may seem a little odd, but with thousands of people getting amazing results and now science backing up The Wim Hof Method showing that it can boost your immune system, brain function and reverse health conditions.
The new program is a 10 week online course that requires about 20 minutes of practice a day, it is a lot more professionally made compared to the first course and I think anyone could benefit from this. Find out more information Here
I am often recommending meditation to clients based on my own personal experience and the overwhelming amount of science that shows how good meditation is for your mind and body. While most of the world’s top achievers in business and sport practice some type of meditation I get many people who tell me that they struggle to meditate, this is where Heart Math comes in.
Heart Math is a science based meditation program that can help eliminate stress and anxiety within minutes, it helps that you can actually visualize how well you are doing using Heart Rate Variability. There are stand alone Heart Math devices or connections that you can link to your smart phone, for the rest of the month you can get 25% off Heart Math products Here
Whether you are looking for motivation to get fit, or your a seasoned fitness junkie wanting to track your progress there are now a ton of fitness trackers out there, from the super fancy to the basic. Somewhere in the middle is the Fitbit Charge 2 which can track your heart rate, steps, fitness level and also remind you to get moving once you have been sitting for long periods.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is not bulky compared to other trackers, and also doubles as a watch and calendar to help you keep track of where you are meant to be. Available from Amazon
If you are wanting to optimize health (or the health of a loved one) then diet and sleep are at the top of the list of things that you want to get right, yet many people have trouble sleeping and fall far short of the optimal 8 hours a night. Even missing one hour of sleep a night equals missing an entire night of sleep once a week!
Part of the problem that is causing chronic insomnia is our exposure to blue light at night that comes from T.V’s, tablets and smart phones, as well staying up late in well lit houses. While reducing screen exposure before bed is a good idea, another answer is blue light blocking glasses, it may seem strange to “wear sunglasses at night” but the research and the benefits behind these glasses is really solid. Available from Amazon
One of the things that blue light does is suppress melatonin which will affect your sleep quality, high stress will also lead to low melatonin levels as cortisol suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is associated with being a sleep neurotransmitter, but it is also important for immune function, bone health and mood, this is a much better option than sleeping pills to optimize sleep. Available from Amazon
This is one of the most popular tests that we provide at Planet Naturopath, it is the most detailed test to assess your sex hormones and how you metabolize them and also your stress hormone cortisol and night time melatonin levels.
If you have hormonal issues, high stress or chronic insomnia the DUTCH test will help to determine the underlying cause. While not the usual gift, the DUTCH test can help to give you the information to transform your health. Available from Planet Naturopath
This is another category that is probably not normally high on the Christmas list, but optimal digestion is vital for all aspects of health. Imbalances in your gut bacteria, low digestive enzymes and gut infections are associated with mood disorders, autoimmune conditions and other chronic health problems.
These are top of the range digestive enzymes to help optimize the absorptions of vitamins and minerals from your food. There are a number of reasons why you maybe low in digestive enzymes like stress, infections and food allergies and addressing these should be a priority taking a supplement can give great short term benefits. Available from Amazon
The perfect gift if your partner struggles with constipation, not the normal gift I understand but as simple as this device is it is very effective. Western toilets are not designed for optimal bowel function and the Squatty Potty helps to change that. Available from Amazon
This is the most advanced stool test available and will help to identify parasite, bacterial, viral and fungal infections as well as assessing levels of beneficial bacteria. The G.I Map also assesses leaky gut, inflammation markers, gluten intolerance and immune function, another gift that is probably not high on everybody’s list but for anyone experiencing chronic digestion or health problems the G.I Map test can help to identify the underlying cause. Available from Planet Naturopath
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions.
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