Since Valentine's Day is part of sugar season (Christmas to Easter), we felt it was an appropriate time to share healthier ideas for gift giving. Sugar is the culprit in creating inflammation in the body, along with suppressing the immune system and disrupting gut flora. The following gifts can benefit every aspect of a person's life and won't add to the degradation of health.
Dark Chocolate. Who doesn't love this stuff? Even though it does contain some sugar, it is better than conventional milk chocolate when eaten in moderation. However, I’m not talking about Dove or Hershey’s due to the cheap and toxic fillers including genetically modified ingredients. Endangered Species Chocolate is one brand that uses real cocoa, is gluten-free and NON-GMO Project Verified. If your loved one doesn't understand the dangers of genetically modified ingredients, include a copy of Genetic Roulette or GMO OMG in the basket. It is best to purchase over 70% cocoa to reap the antioxidant benefits. Of course, finding organic, nonGMO dark chocolate is even better.
- Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic body care products. Women can come into contact with hundreds of toxic chemicals before they leave their home from their lotion, deodorant and makeup. These endocrine (hormone) disruptors have been linked to many forms of cancer. Spending a few extra pennies on your personal care products for yourself, teenager,s and loved ones will pay off long term and can be one more step to help prevent cancer.
- Essential Oils. I first started using essential oils for the emotional benefits with great results. My favorites are the citrus oils such as lemon or wild orange for under $15 that have mood uplifting properties. Essential oils, if pure, are the lifeblood of a plant that support the respiratory system as well as cognitive function. Essential oils can be used topically, aromatically (diffuser) or externally with some self-education.
- Fresh Organic Fruit Baskets. Our favorite supplier of citrus fruit is The Orange Shoppe. They pick them fresh and ship direct to you. The taste doesn’t compare to store-bought produce and eating them over a sink is recommended due to the juiciness factor! You can mix different varieties of oranges and grapefruit for a practical, nutrient-dense gift. This is the perfect gift for those living in cold climates as they are a slice of sunshine that most of us haven’t seen for a while.
- Infrared (FIR) pad. Infrared heat is healing heat, unlike conventional heating pads. Infrared pads can simply warm the body internally on chilly winter nights to provide relief from colds, flu, aches, pains and fever. The HTE model has a sixty minute timer so you can safely use for children and the elderly without worrying about burning. The average cost is $199.
- Vitamix Food Processor/Blender. I have owned all the other models as well as juicers and none hold a candle to the speed and ability to break down food into the small particle size like the Vitamix. Green smoothies should be a daily part of your diet so you need a machine with a powerful motor that only Vitamix offers. Like any product, you get what you pay for. The Vitamix carries a 7-year warranty. Prices start as low as $399 up to $649. However, I've found the mid-priced unit ($449) has served our family well for almost 9 years.
- Chi Machine. The Chi Machine has helped me, my family and our clients with our wellness goals. It is the simplest form of stress reduction and all you have to do is lay flat and relax. Prices range from $449-$549.
- Healthy Fast (Whole) Food. Juice Plus+ is one of my favorite whole fast food suppliers. The chewables make a wonderful treat for adults and children. Who wouldn't want to receive benefits from 30 fruits, veggies, berries and gluten-free grains? The shake mix comes in French Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate. Did I mention the chocolate tastes like heaven? Each product averages about $2/serving for whole, clean, NON-GMO produce! And we have chocolate and cherry food/protein bars too. Children receive Juice Plus+ free with an adult purchase (between the ages of 4-26 years; must be full time college student if over 18 years).
Our entire focus is on education, empowerment, and prevention. Our wish for you this Valentine's and everyday is to live life with vitality and reduced stress including physical, emotional and nutritional (excesses and deficiencies). Take time to educate yourself because an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure today.