The 13 Healthiest Holiday Gifts
Eco-friendly, health-promoting, affordable and useful -- who could ask for more?
Posted Dec 06, 2012
At a time when retailers in want us to worry about holiday gifts, it occurs to me that everyone I know has everything they need – except, perhaps, for health and happiness. So this year, why not give gifts that may – at least to some extent – help your loved ones achieve these blessed states?
They don’t have to cost much, leave but a tiny ecological footprint, and yet can make friends and family feel loved and appreciated.
Here are my three key criteria for choosing gifts:
- The gift should promote the physical and/or emotional health of the person I am giving it to. Since I am a keen promoter of cancer prevention, it should help to bolster its recipient’s defenses against cancer;
- It should be relatively inexpensive, so that the “giftee” is not burdened with a sense of guilt and obligation to reciprocate;
- It should be either entirely consumable, or take up as little room as possible, so as not to clutter up the life of its recipient.
Here goes (by the way, I do not benefit in any way from endorsing these products – I recommend them purely to share the joy of using them with you!).
1. Anti-Cancer Food Basket
2. Glass Food Storage Containers
3. Wooden/Bamboo Chopping Boards
4. Cast-Iron Cookware
5. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
6. Microplane Zester-Grater
7. Miniature Herb Garden
8. Eight-Week Mindfulness Program
9. A Journal
10. Yoga Mat & CD/DVD
11. Home-Made Gift Vouchers
12. Healthy Home-Made Treats (dairy- and gluten-free)
Another favorite holiday gift for The Person Who Has Everything is candy. How about personalizing this by giving them something money can’t buy: healthy, home-made treats? The picture to the left shows elegant dark chocolate thins I often make, called “mendiants”. A mendiant is a traditional French Christmas confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites. Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes with tradition dictating raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for Carmelite.
Mendiants require no more work than melting some dairy- and gluten-free chocolate (go as dark as you dare; I use 80-85% cacao content), tea-spooning it onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkling the wet chocolate with nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice (I used cranberries, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, hazelnuts and almond slivers, but you could also try pieces of fig or prune, candied lemon/orange peel or ginger). After chilling these for 20 minutes, they can be arranged artfully on a plate, covered with food wrap or, more decoratively, with a sheet of cellophane and handed to their recipient.
13. Zest for Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet
My last piece of holiday advice: don’t drive yourself crazy with lavish holiday preparations. It’s not the gifts, greeting cards or decorations that people will remember you for, but the relaxed, convivial, authentic time they spent with you!