One of the reasons I started The Wellness Project was to try to figure out what products are actually worth the money we spend on them.
For years I felt like I was bleeding green on everything from foam rollers to green juice to magnetic back braces. My experiments were designed to cut the fat and focus on the bigger picture. But of course, despite my attempt to be discerning, I acquired lots of things along the way that, until my move in February, were mostly collecting dust in my hallway.
This year, I’m all for making holiday gifts about the practical things that will actually better your loved ones’ lives on a daily basis. No one needs more crap! Trust me, you will be a healthier human without drawers full of soon-to-be outdated gadgets, useless doodads and weird socks. (Though some would beg to disagree on that last one).
For those of you not leaving your shopping to the Amazon Prime ferries, I’ve put together a healthy hedonist gift guide for some of my favorite wellness products, including a few edible favorites from small batch makers across the country. These are things that still make me healthier, happier or make my life easier on a daily basis. Read on for the full list of healthy stocking stuffers and wellness gifts.
For those of you who want to allow your family member to choose their own wellness adventure, I’ve also included some great gift certificate ideas for everything from fitness to green beauty to yummy yummy food!
From one healthy, gift-giving hedonist, to another,
1. Rishi Organic Herbal Tea Turmeric Ginger . Ever since my vice detox month, I’ve been trying not to get back on the runaway coffee train. Rishi tea has become my morning staple, especially the turmeric ginger tin. Their assorted flavors are a great gift for anyone who has a healthy tea habit (see more ideas below on this theme!).
2. Evan Healy Natural Beauty. I always get asked about my favorite natural beauty products. For skincare, I’m a total devotee of this line. You can get it at Whole Foods, or order online. Switching from my commercial products to her blue chamomile moisturizer and gentle lavender cleansing milk has forever changed my skin for the better.
3. The Meadow Salt Sets. Switching from iodized table salt to mineral-rich sea or pink Himalayan salt is a healthy hedonist power move, especially for those of us with a thyroid issue. The Meadow has tons of interesting salt sets, including one for just smoked or spicy salts. But the basic starter set is a great way to get more high quality salt into your kitchen. I also like this brand for pink salt if you want a one-off gift.
4. Water Bottle Swag: Black+Blum Eau Good Water Bottle, Soma, bobble Infuse or Hydroflask. 2016 has been a huge year for fancy and functional water bottles. Black+Blum is designed to hold a Japanese charcoal stick, which filters your water on the go (more on that here). You can also buy the charcoal stick separately (I like this one) and use it in Soma’s super snazzy glass bottle. Hydroflask has mind-blowing technology that will keep your tea freakishly hot, or your water ice cold. And bobble gives you the versatility to add a charcoal filter or infuse a favorite flavor on the go.
5. Artisan Mustards: Mustard seeds are delicious sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and an easy way to add a little bit of health to sausage or fry-related hedonism. I’m a condiment hoarder and a big fan of Tin Mustard small batch products made in Brooklyn. Edmond Fallot is one of my favorite brands for their tarragon mustard. On our recent trip to Asheville, Charlie and I also tried the most delicious whole grain mustard I’ve ever had from Lusty Monk, which is also just an amazing name for a mustard.
6. ManaTEA or Sloth Tea Infuser. If you’re a big fan of loose leaf tea, which I might add, is both more potent and cheaper than any bagged variety, why not infuse in style with these animal-shaped sachets. They are made out of silicon so you don’t have to worry about the chemicals from plastic leaching into your morning cup. The sloth “slow tea” infuser was an early Christmakkah gift to myself and it makes me smile every day. For a more traditional option, Oxo Twisting Tea Ball is great too.
9. LoveBug Probiotics. I’m not a huge fan of getting my nutrients in supplement form. But my stomach felt AMAZING when I gave these probiotics a try. The founder, Ashley Harris, has had a similar health odyssey to mine and her mission is right on point with these industrious critters. A great gift to pair with the UBiome kit for anyone who’s had unexplained tummy troubles. Or for an upcoming trip to the Third World to fortify your system.
10. Moon Juice Beauty (or Sex) Dust. Like I said: I’m not a huge fan of supplement powders, but Amanda Chantal Bacon knows her shit when it comes to complex herbal blends that can add a little more oomph to your smoothie or tea. Plus, they’re gorgeously designed and will bring a little bit of beauty or sexy back to your counter space. She also just wrote a cookbook!
13. SHED Shrub Set. Shrubs are seasonally-based drinking vinegars, created during the Colonial Era to preserve fruit long after harvest. The ones from SHED in Healdesburg CA, a favorite restaurant/shop of mine, are made using fresh fruit sourced from local farms, vinegar, organic sugar, and aromatics. They’re great for adding a little luscious flavor to cocktails or mocktails without overloading your drinks with sugar. The vinegar is also great for your digestion.
Big Ticket Items
1. Soma Water Pitcher. Filtering your water at home is one of the easiest ways to limit your toxic burden on a daily basis. Soma makes the process even easier by sending you a new filter cartridge every few months so you don’t forget. Their products are also super chic. When we moved, thanks to my new chef’s sink, I could no longer use my favorite carbon block filter attachment. Luckily, Soma now has a family sized pitcher!
2. S+ By ResMed Personal Sleep Solution. Charlie got me this high end sleep machine last year for the holidays, no doubt because he was sick of me tossing and turning next to him. It’s been a total game changer in understanding my sleep habits. Unlike wrist tracking devices, the motion sensors are so refined that they can tell you exactly when you’re in each stage of sleep. The app will also send you daily tips on what you could be doing to better your time under the sheets.
3. Vitamix. I know, I know. This sounds so basic. But believe it or not, this basic bitch did not own a Vitamix until this year. And let me tell you: it’s worth the ginormous price tag! Now’s the time to sucker a family member into footing the bill. It makes a healthy smoothie habit or DIY nut milks that much easier.
4. Nambe Meridian White Enameled Tea Kettle. I found this super chic kettle on my cousin’s wedding registry and had serious tea envy. Luckily, it’s affordable enough that I will not have to wait until I get married to own one.
5. DrinkMate Carbonated Soda Maker. If you’re a big fan of bubbly water but want to skip all the BPA plastic involved in buying it in bulk (not to mention the environmental impact doing so has on the world), this gadget will save you a lot of waste, money and chemicals. It’s more versatile than a SodaStream since it can carbonate anything–including juices and fancy cocktail mixers. It’s also great for creating your own healthy sodas and/or adding bubbles to your homemade kombucha if, like me, you haven’t yet mastering the secondary fermentation.
6. Kombucha Starter Kit + Fermentation Jar. For kombucha addicts with enough counter space, making your own at-home batches is much more cost effective, and dare I say: FUN! I started brewing my own fermented tea at the end of the summer and it’s been an amazing way to get more probiotics in my life. I still haven’t mastered the bubbles, but luckily that’s why I have the item above.
7. The Inspiralizer. This machine changed my life, and has seriously made my holiday cooking ten times easier (bye bye bloody grated potatoes, hello spiralized latkes!). Ali Maffucci’s design is by far the best on the market–it doesn’t slide around the counter, and comes with tons of how-to videos for the gadget-challenged.
Wellness Gift Certificates
1. Mind Body Green. Okay okay, I’m biased, but I think my course on How to Cook Healthy Meals on a Budget and in a Time Crunch is great for anyone looking to get started in the kitchen! There are plenty of other great courses to choose from too.
2. Plated. My course above teaches you how to slice, dice and food shop like a champ. But if you want to take a few steps out of the process, plated is a great delivery service that sends you prepackaged ingredients and easy recipes to execute. Blue Apron is another similar platform, but I used to develop recipes for Plated, so I’m loyal to them!
4. Class Pass. For those in urban areas, ClassPass is an amazing way to start a fitness habit and have a little fun in the process. Without it there’s no way I would have been able to afford trying so many new things for my exercise month.
5. Food52 Provisions. The best place to find all sorts of cool bespoke shit for the kitchen. Also where I sourced the market tote above!
6. CAP Beauty. This is the ultimate site for anyone interested in natural beauty. They have beautifully curated products that are a step above what you might find at Whole Foods, and some great gift sets! Here are some of my favorite natural makeup brands.
7. Thrive Market. This membership is basically Sam’s Club but for healthy food. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to cook better on a budget. And if you sign up using this link, your loved one will get a free jar of coconut oil with the first purchase!
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