At the moment I feel pretty calm, but in a couple of weeks I know that I’ll start to panic, wondering whether I’m actually gonna be able to pull this off once again. So many special people to buy for!
If that’s what you’re thinking, I’ve gotcha covered for those people on your list who are into healthy eating and/or fitness – or maybe those people in your life who have said they’d like to make healthier choices but don’t know where to start – here are my top 10 best products for healthy living:
- NutriBullet personal blender: I use my NutriBullet every day, sometimes several times per day. Oh, I’ve got a big fancy Vitamix blender too, but I use the NutriBullet because I make my smoothie right in the same cup that I’m gonna drink it out of. It really couldn’t be any easier: I put frozen fruit and veggies (usually frozen chopped kale) in the cup, along with protein powder (here are some of my favorite recipes!) and voila! Breakfast is served! Cost: $50 – $150 (depending on wattage and assessories).
- An immersion blender: I’m kind of on a blender kick here, aren’t I? I love, love, love my immersion blender and here’s why: when you’re making big batches of soup (check out my fave Black Bean Soup recipe), an immersion blender is the perfect tool for blending soups to just the right consistency. These are made by all the usual kitchen brands and cost anywhere from about $15 – $100. But don’t be a cheapskate and get the $15 one. It’s a gift, remember? Get the nice one.
- Verismo coffee maker: Now, why would I put a coffeemaker on my must-have healthy living product list? Well, because coffee actually has some valuable health benefits (including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, and some protection from heart disease) and research shows that it improves athletic performance by giving us – you guessed it – more energy! Cost: $149.
- Electric popcorn popper: Repeat after me: “microwave popcorn is disgusting.” Seriously, it’s one of the worst examples of how we take a perfectly healthy food and make unhealthy when we process it. Throw in a bag of popcorn kernels, some funky flavored salt and a subscription to Netflix (in case your friend is the only living human being who doesn’t already have one) and you’ve got a great holiday present! Cost: $30.
(Oh dear, please don’t put butter in the top, as shown in the picture above!)
Okay, now for the fitness ones!
- Stability ball: If the person on your list (or you … because who’s kidding who? We all buy stuff for ourselves while we’re out holiday shopping) is building a home gym, a stability ball is one of the best pieces of equipment there is. Stability balls add an element of balance into a traditional move like, for instance, bicep curls. Just sitting on the ball doing bicep curls, as opposed to standing on the floor or sitting on a chair, engages your core and forces you to stabilize your body with all those tiny little muscles that keep us strong and functional as we get older. (Not that I am, ahem.) Cost: $15.
- A TRX suspension trainer: I get positively giddy when I talk about my TRX. The TRX is a perfect gift, even for someone without a lot of room or a dedicated workout space because it takes up no more room than a football when stored, and it can be used anywhere you’ve got about 4” of floor space and a door. With the TRX trainer you can do everything from bicep and tricep curls to push-ups and lunges with your feet in the handles. Let’s hear it for body weight workouts! Cost: $200.
- Good quality running shoes: For about $100 there simply is no better investment in your health. Just none. Running, and especially walking, is available to nearly everyone. You just open your front door and go! But before you go you’ve gotta get a really good pair of shoes. As important as the shoes are, getting the proper fit is equally important and since this can’t be done without your gift recipient there, give them a gift card to a good local running store. Cost: $100.
- Weight lifting gloves: These are inexpensive and great stocking stuffers, and if my family’s reading, I tore my recently and need a new pair. Cost: $15 – $50.
Alright, last two items on the top ten list … are you ready? Forgive a little bit of shameless self-promotion here, but I wouldn’t have written my book if I didn’t think it was worthwhile, so number 9 on the list is my book:
- Eat Like it Matters: How I Lost 120 Pounds and Found My Inner Badass (And How You Can Too!). Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you give a diet book to someone for a Christmas present, but my book isn’t a diet book. It’s really a story of how I transformed my life, not just my body. It’s about digging deep and learning to be honest with yourself about what you value, and then designing a life that is aligned with those values. One of the most important things I learned through my weight loss journey is that when you live according to your values it’s a whole lot easier to make good choices. For example, a lot of us say that we value our health, but we make choices all day long that are in direct contradiction to that value! Once I stopped doing that I was much happier and slept better at night (not to mention, I lost weight). My book speaks to how to start living your values as far as your health is concerned and is available at all the usual online places. It sells for about $12.
- And finally, my new Eat Like It Matters swag, now available on my website: I know, I know, another shameless plug, but seriously you’ve gotta be able to have a little fun with this stuff, right? If you’re giving someone my book for the holidays – because, who wouldn’t want their loved ones to be happier and healthier? – why not give them a “I found my inner badass” t-shirt or tank to go with it? The tees are white and are a very flattering v-neck, and the tanks are an uber badass black. We’ve also got a 20 oz. clear tumbler that comes with a straw and is perfect for putting your morning smoothie in as you run out the door. And because it’s so perfect for your smoothie, my all-time favorite peanut butter and jelly smoothie recipe is printed right on the tumbler. HA! How awesome is that? And finally, we’ve got a great shopping bag, perfect for a quick trip to the grocery store or farmers market. It’s a fun bright green color and has the Eat Like It Matters logo on it, so a great reminder to make good food choices while loading up that cart. Each of the Eat Like It Matters items is pretty modestly priced so check those out when you go to my website marilynmckenna.com to buy the book. Which I hope you’ll do!
Whether you’re checking off names on your gift list or maybe buying something to jumpstart your January New Year’s resolution, these are my drop-dead favorite items for healthy living. The holidays are all about sharing the love and showing our friends and family that we care for them and want them to be with us for a long time to come. That’s why I’m a big believer in giving people gifts that support healthy living as opposed to giving people things that may be yummy and indulgent for now but – ahem – are bad for them in the long run.
Now, go have yourself a merry little Christmas and keep thinking of ways to Eat Like It Matters, because it really does!