9 Healthy Christmas Gift Ideas
By: Brandi Wagner, RHN
1 November, 2012 by
9 Healthy Christmas Gift Ideas
Sun Chlorella USA

Holiday shopping for the health nut can be next to impossible, especially when it comes to stocking stuffers. And while the traditional milk chocolate and candy canes are always a nice, festive gesture, your health conscious relative will politely thank you, and try not to get caught re-gifting them during Christmas dinner.

Surprise and delight your health conscious loved ones this holiday season (or even drop hints for yourself) with healthy Christmas gifts that will support health and wellness. As proof that healthy doesn't have to be expensive, these stocking stuffer ideas can all be found for under twenty dollars (and truthfully, many for less than ten dollars!).

1. BPA Free Water Bottle

This is one healthy stocking stuffer that is sure to be appreciated.

BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical compound found in plastics and tin cans. It was originally introduced to the food industry as a protective mechanism against harmful microbes, but in recent years has been linked to numerous health problems. This is because BPA has the ability to leach from packaging into the food or liquids it's contained in [1].

BPA is a known endocrine disruptor [2], which means it has a negative impact on reproductive hormones and can interfere with their ability to properly function. Cases of infertility, certain cancers and endometriosis have been linked to high amounts of BPA in the body, with dietary factors being the most common source of exposure.

BPA free water bottles can be found at your local natural health food store, and will have clear print or a label stating the bottle is BPA free.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils make a great healthy Christmas gift because they have so many different uses.

Lavender essential oils make a great addition to a bubble bath, while tea tree essential oil can be used in homemade skin care or cleaning products. An essential oil with citrus can be used to energize and invigorate the busy and stressed out relative, and any essential oil can be added to a load of laundry for a fresh, chemical-free scent.

3. Well Well Wow!

Who do you know who needs more energy?

Not only for the health-conscious, Well, Well, Wow! is an all natural energy drink that has absolutely no negative side effects and loads of healthy benefits. When choosing energy drinks, it's crucial to be aware of their ingredients and safety.

The commercial energy drinks that are found at your local convenience store have received a lot of speculation concerning their health risks. This is mostly due to the extreme amounts of caffeine [3] in one single serving, but it's also important to note that many energy drinks contain large quantities of refined sugar.

This is a problem for many reasons. Caffeine and sugar supply the body with a false source of energy, guaranteed to be followed by a blood sugar spike and crash only a few short hours later. This pattern creates the need for another caffeinated or sugary beverage, leading into a vicious cycle that can cause dependency on stimulants for energy. Caffeine and sugar are also dehydrating, suppress your immune system and deplete your stores of natural vitamins and minerals when being metabolised, such as magnesium, potassium and B vitamins [4].

Although not typically sold in convenience stores, there are natural energy drinks available that can invigorate you while supplying your body with nutrition and sustainable, long lasting energy- and Well, Well, Wow! is one of them.

Well, Well, Wow! contains two key ingredients that act as nutritional supplements and energize your body at the cellular level: chlorella and the adaptogenic herb, eleuthero. Chlorella and eleuthero offer extraordinary benefits to an energy drink as they also protect against physical and mental stress and support immunity.

Instead of caffeine, eleuthero is used as the ingredient to provide a subtle energy boost without causing blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Chlorella regenerates your cells and builds up your immune system. Both natural energy supplements provide mental focus and clarity and together create the perfect natural energy drink. Sweetened with a small amount of natural agave, Well Well Wow! still tastes great without any refined sugar added and is 100% nutritionist approved. This is a healthy Christmas gift that keeps on giving!

4. All Natural Lip Balm

Lip balm is a simple yet useful stocking stuffer sure to be appreciated by any family member for the cooler months.

Many lip balms contain harmful irritants and toxins such as petroleum jelly, mineral oil and the bacteria killing compound, phenol. When regularly ingested, these toxins can cause damage to the digestive and nervous systems [5]. In addition to these toxins, fragrances and "color” are often added to the mix, two grey areas that create more guess work of which toxins are in your lip balm.

Gifting an all natural lip balm to your loved ones will not only earn you bonus points, but will also keep their lips healthy and toxin free. When choosing a natural lip balm, look for simple ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, tea tree, beeswax and natural plant extracts for flavouring, such as fig extract or almond extract.

5. Herbal Tea

What's better than a comforting cup of warm tea on a crisp, winter day?

Many herbal teas have health benefits, such as relaxation, stress relief, digestive system support, a happier mood and gentle body detoxification. If you know your healthy friend or relative well, you may want to gift them teas that act as herbal supplements, such as eleuthero tea, St. John's Wort or nettle leaf.

With an incredibly long shelf life, herbal tea is a delicious, healthy Christmas gift that can be enjoyed and shared for months to come.

6. Veggie Spiralizer

When veggie spiralizers gained popularity a few years ago, they opened up a whole new world of cuisine ideas for plant based lovers and meat eaters alike. You may be familiar with "zoodles” (zucchini noodles) that act as a low-calorie, nutrient dense option to flour pasta noodles. Veggie "noodles” are a great way to add extra antioxidant vitamins to your diet, and have fun while eating them.

Perhaps you've also seen colorful spirals of beets and carrots that look like something out of a gourmet magazine. The veggie spiralizer is a simple utensil that adds an element of elegance to veggie based dishes- and motivates you to eat them!

You can find veggie spiralizers online and at your local department store.

7. Milk Frother for Homemade Cappuccinos or Lattes

If your health conscious relative is a fair-trade, organic coffee drinker, they are sure to appreciate a milk frother for their homemade extra foam almond milk cappuccinos or lattes. You could even take this stocking stuffer idea one step further and include a bag of pre-ground, aromatic organic coffee beans.

Milk frothers can also be found online and at your local department store.

8. Dark Organic Chocolate (80% or higher)

Your healthy relative may pass on the milk chocolate bars if they are sensitive to dairy (and to avoid added refined sugar and preservatives), but they will have a hard time saying no to dark organic chocolate.

When dark chocolate contains upwards of 80% cacao, it actually becomes more of a health food than a sweet treat. Cacao contains heart healthy flavanols and antioxidants, as well as magnesium which is why many health foodists will praise fair trade, organic dark chocolate as one of the world's best superfoods. Since dark chocolate is so rich, a square or two each day will suffice as a decadent and nutritional treat.

9. A Mini Bottle of Red Wine

For the twenty one year old and older health enthusiast, you can bet you'll become Santa's favourite helper by placing a mini bottle of red wine in their stocking.

When consumed in moderation, red wine can be loosely considered as a "health food” for providing a dose of antioxidants, such as resveratrol and other heart healthy flavonoids. Resveratrol is often used as a natural supplement to help with anti-aging. And according to The Mayo Clinic, resveratrol may even be helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and reducing the occurrence of blood clots [6].

Flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites that are found in fresh fruits and vegetables that are said to have powerful antioxidant effects. Flavonoids act as chemical messengers in plants and provide certain plants with their colored pigment. There are several different classes of flavonoids that all have different health benefits. As a whole, flavonoids are said to reduce inflammation and allergic responses and improve cellular and heart health.

The key to receiving the health benefits from red wine is to consume it in moderation (4 6 oz. glasses per week is considered an acceptable amount). Like any alcoholic beverage consumed in excess, too much red wine can stress your liver and negatively impact your blood sugar levels. This is why a single serve mini bottle of wine makes the perfect health conscious gift. Bonus points if you can source an organically grown varietal. 

About Brandi Black, RHN
Brandi Wagner is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.

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[1] https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/ 
[2] http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/ 
[3] http://time.com/3510294/energy-drinks-safety/ 
[4] http://www.naturalnews.com/012352_caffeine_coffee.html 
[5] http://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/phenol.html [6] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281 

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