Christmas is nearly here so I thought I’d come up with some healthy Christmas present ideas for you – either for yourself (so you can make some last-minute hints and write your letter to Santa) or to get for your health-conscious loved ones.
I got the idea about writing this blog because people are often flummoxed about what to get me for Christmas, as most of the ‘normal’ gift ideas such as sweets and perfume are out (I generally make my own toiletries from essential oils and other natural ingredients, as I’m a follower of the philosophy ‘don’t put on your skin what you wouldn’t put in your mouth’).
We all know that Christmas is a time when a lot of us overindulge in all the tempting food and drink on offer, leaving us with that guilty feeling and the urge to make amends once New Year arrives. So why not plan ahead get some useful presents to help you get back on track once all the parties are over?
So – now onto the PRESENTS!
10 Healthy Christmas Present Ideas
Rebounders are just the BEST little devices to have around for some quick easy exercise. They are basically a mini-trampoline that you can have fun jumping up and down on, while pretending you’re still 6 years old. Rebounders offer a multitude of benefits, including:
Promotion of lymphatic circulation
Lymph is a really important bodily fluid. A crucial part of the immune system; it acts like a kind of ‘delivery man’ of the body, transporting important substances and collecting waste for disposal. Unlike the blood however, it doesn’t get pumped around; it relies on movement (from you!) to help it circulate freely. That’s why jumping up and down (whether it be on a rebounder, a bouncy castle, or at a punk rock concert) is so very good for you – you are giving the lymph a nice re-invigorating shake up, stimulating your immune system, and generally feeling fantastic. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a stagnant lymphatic system can lead to cellulite.
Support of bone and joint health
Rebounding is very kind to your joints. You can run (on the spot of course) and jump to your heart’s content without having to worry about jarring your joints on unforgiving hard surfaces such as concrete pavements.
It is also good for regaining bone density, which makes it highly useful for sufferers of osteoporosis.
Anything that gets you moving is, of course, going to help you to achieve and maintain your ideal weight. Rebounding is particularly good at losing visceral (belly) fat as it engages the core and tones the abdominal muscles. And as rebounding is such a fun and easy way to stay active, it’s definitely one for the Christmas list!
You can pick up a decent one for less than £100 (beware the very cheap ones, they have a tendency to not last very long). I have the ‘Fitness Mad Studio Pro’ rebounder, it’s lasted well, and I use it pretty much daily.
A tip about rebounders: don’t keep them tucked away in a cupboard when you’re not using them – just set them up and leave them somewhere really obvious, like in the living room in front of the TV. That way you’ll be much more likely to use them every day. I keep mine in my office and I take every opportunity to have a quick bounce on it – it keeps my body AND mind feeling fresh and energised.
What better way to pamper a loved one – or yourself – than a luxurious, relaxing massage? Many massage clinics do gift vouchers, so you can book at your own convenience – maybe in the New Year, when you need a little TLC after all that partying. There are plenty of different options to choose from, such as a gentle Swedish aromatherapy massage, or a vigorous Thai massage for the more adventurous.
Go on – you deserve it!
Blenders, (sometimes called smoothie makers) are the ultimate easy gadget to have in your kitchen to whip up a healthy treat. They’re one of the first items I recommend my weight-loss clients get to help ease them into healthy eating habits.
As with the rebounder, the trick is to leave it out to act as a physical reminder to use it – don’t let it collect dust in a kitchen cupboard.
Blenders come at a wide range of prices, starting at around £20. The nutribullet is very popular at the moment, or if you really want to spoil someone (or yourself!) you could get the the all-singing all-dancing Vitamix.
If you are really serious about your health, you can take it a step further and get a juicer. Nothing says ‘New Year detox’ more than a glass of pure fresh juice for breakfast!
I am a BIG juice fan. I usually drink around a litre of green juice each day, and I feel enormous benefits from it. Cleaning the juicer can be a bit of a chore, but I think it’s worth it 😉
Juicers can range quite widely in price, starting from around £30 for a centrifugal one, or around £180 for a masticating one. I really like the Matstone Juicer, it’s a sturdy little machine and very good value for money. Or if you’re a seriously committed juice fan you could go for the Green Star. I currently use this model, and I find it really does produce great quantity and quality of juice.
Centrifugal juicers are faster to use and easier to clean, but you get a better quality juice from a masticating juicer (plus you can juice wheatgrass too). Juice Producer are a great company to deal with when buying juicers or blenders; their customer service is excellent.
5. Spa Day
Many hotels and health clubs now offer spa days, where you can relax in the sauna and steam room, and use the other facilities such as the gym and pool if you’re feeling energetic enough. Everyone loves a bit of pampering, and you can often pick up great offers from companies like Groupon for discount Spa days.
6. Water Purifier
Good hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle. It’s all very well eating good food and adopting a regular exercise program, but if we’re drinking impure water we’re going to undo a lot of our hard work.
Take a look at this picture. This was water that was left over in my distiller after I’d run a few cycles of regular tap water through it – so it’s basically concentrated tap water.
Not very appetising is it?
Even though I always count myself extremely lucky to be among the privileged few in this world who can simply turn on a tap and get clean(ish!) water, I still like to take steps to remove the toxins and chemicals that have built up (or been added) in the water supply, and I find it makes a big difference to my health (not to mention the taste of my water) when I do this.
There are several different kinds of water purifiers out there, and there’s an ongoing debate as to which is the best. At the end of the day you have to research all the options and decide for yourself.
A basic carbon jug filter will reduce some chemicals such as chlorine from your water. They start at around £10. If you want to ‘splash out’ (ha ha!) on a filtration system that will really do a thorough job in ridding your water of impurities, the ‘Elixir Pura’ water filter is an excellent choice. If you’re set on getting the most pristine water possible then a distiller may be the option for you. I personally use a Megahome distiller and I love it.
This might be a bit of a new one to you, but if you’re into the rawfood diet you will be familiar with it. Basically it’s a way of ‘cooking’ food without actually heating it beyond a certain temperature. So the idea is that you retain all the goodness of the food, without denaturing any enzymes or destroying any heat-sensitive nutrients.
A dehydrator is great for making sprouted wheat bread or healthy crackers (think flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds – what a tasty crunchy way to get your omega 3’s!). You could dry your own fruit and make healthy candy. The more creative culinary adventurers can even try their hand at making raw vegan pizzas or veggie burgers. Or, the raw foodie fave: KALE CRISPS – a savoury tasty treat which is high in iron & calcium, and VERY moreish.
Here’s a selection of dehydrators you can get from www.juiceland.co.uk.
Another ‘weird’ one from the rawfood world, this brilliant little gadget turns the most boring vegetables into bowls full of noodles and pasta, and can make the most simple salad look like a gourmet Jamie Oliver dish! You can pick them up for around £30, so they make a fantastic prezzie for any foodie – raw or not 😉
9. Fermentation Crock Pot
Again, this might be a bit ‘out there’ to a lot of you, but this one would definitely be on my Christmas list – even though most of my family would probably call me a fermentation crack pot 😉 Fermenting food and drink is a huge passion of mine (actually you could maybe call it an obsession!), as it is such a fun, low-cost way of adding highly nutritious foods to your diet.
This one from Happy Kombucha at £65.99 looks good.
10. Yoga Swing
Last but not least, I’m including the Yoga Swing simply because it would be my dream Christmas present! It’s basically a device that enables you to do Yoga – while hanging from the ceiling 🙂 Aerial Yoga is such a lot of fun, and incredibly therapeutic. Unfortunately I can’t have my own Yoga Swing though because we don’t have the space.. booo 🙁
I hope you find this list of healthy Christmas present ideas useful. Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy Christmas, whatever Santa brings you – and I hope that 2015 is the year in which all your dreams come true!
Lisa Murphy is a hypnotherapist & counsellor based in Glasgow, who specialises in anxiety, stress, and weight management.