Wrapping it Up with Whole Food Gifts for Christmas

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Christmas Ribbon and Christmas Presents

Hmmmm….so it’s already the 16th and you are still not done with your shopping?

Uh – me neither.  But then, we don’t do much shopping for Christmas.  I think I’m glad about that.

It’s a really busy time of the year in our household.  My husband is a professor so he is busily administering finals and grading them along with final papers.  And that in addition to the used van purchase that has turned into a major crisis.  You can see my Facebook post for a few more details.  I should just write a post about this.  And a “where to and where not to shop for used cars” post soon.  :-).  I literally worked on this for 4+ hours yesterday.

Not much time for festivities with that kind of schedule, huh?

Well, it’s still Advent and it’s still Christmas.

So, I just thought that, in case you were still looking for something for that health-focused person in your life, (or that not-so-health-focused person in your life who needs a push in the right direction), or you are being asked what others can get for you,  here is a list of some of what I consider to be Things that I Love list.

First, a few more pricey items and then the less expensive ones – something for every budget.

1.  Excalibur Dehydrator

Excalibur Dehydrator

Yes, you’ve read my posts on why I think the dehydrator is wonderful for everything from making crispy nuts to fruit leathers to dried herbs and kale chips!  Why, next year you could even surprise your friend with some jarred Seasoned Sun-dried Tomatoes that you made yourself!

Visit the Excalibur site or see my Excalibur Saving Page for the best deal on these wonderful machines.

2.  Pressure Cooker

This is something that I use daily.  And I sometimes have 3 going on my stove at the same time!  Read my post on Reducing Pressure in the Kitchen with a Pressure Cooker.  The Kuhn Rikon is the brand that I like (the Ecomatic is much less expensive version), but I have heard great things about others, including  Fissler.  I hope to have a review of theirs and a giveaway in 2012!

3.  Vitamix

Yes – pricey.  Yes – worth it.  We have saved the purchase price many times over with the money that we save making whole food ice creams, shakes and smoothies.  I even resurrected a botched vegan whipped cream recipe in the Vitamix just a few months ago (yes, I hope to share an unbotched version soon!)

4.  Bamix immersion blender

This is a new tool in my kitchen.  I wasn’t planning on buying these but I finally did and I am really glad (I did get mine for a much better price at Williams Sonoma, believe it or not).  It saves the unnecessary step of putting soups in blenders to puree and I used it to blend a chocolate dish  the other night.  That would have been a really messy clean up other wise.  The Bamix is a nice (yet more expensive option) and touts itself as being able to make non dairy whipped creams with very cold milk alternatives.  I will for sure be trying this soon!

5.  Stainless steel mixing bowls

I finally bought a nice set of these about a year ago and I use them all the time.  I like second hand for a lot of things, but I wasn’t happy wondering what my bowls were actually made with.  In the kitchen, it is often better safe than sorry.    Mine are a Kirkland set from Costco.  These from Oxo are a bit more pricey, but they have great reviews.

6.  The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

This book by Cybele Pascal isn’t gluten free and has quite a bit of sugar in it, but a number of our favorite recipes are either from this book or derived from it.  I hope to post on Four Bean Stew, Coconut Bars, Cuban Beans and more.

7.  Nourishing Traditions

I love this book.  Mainly not for the recipes, but for the healthy cooking information.  If you are looking into the benefits of real food and traditional means of preparing them, this is one of the books to get.

8.  – Baking stones and Dishes

Baking Stones

I just love my stones.  I have the round ones and a few baking dishes, but I would get large rectangles now if I could change easily.  From the reviews that I have read, these Old Stone Oven stones are a great choice.  Baking is smooth, burning almost never happens, and clean up is a snap!

The above photo shows my baking stones and my Chantal Baking Dishes.  I bought a few of the Chantal dishes on sale at a local grocery store and then more at Costco when they had an amazing price on some sets.  I love how easy they are to clean.  They are made in China, but I researched their quality control and they are very careful that there is no lead in these products.

9. Glass Water Pitcher

We always have a beautiful pitcher on our counter filled with reverse osmosis water.  Makes staying hydrated a breeze.  The one I purchased is a nice amber color from Kohl’s and I got in on a super 50% off sale.  Sadly, it is no longer available.  It looks a bit this Artland Pitcher on Amazon.

10.  Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
Vegan Ice Cream


I think that an ice cream maker is a must for a family seeking to eat whole foods on a budget.  We have this one and also a hand-me-down one with a compressor inside.  I like the compressor machine like this Secura gives better results, but the Cuisinart does a pretty nice job.  See my recipes for Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Almond Chip Ice Cream for inspiration!

How about you?  Do you have a favorite Whole Foodie gift for giving (or one that is on your list)?

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  1. I’m making up a storm of edible goodies, using my Vitamix and dehydrator quite prominently. I lived for years without them, and am so glad that I do have them. And I _totally_ agree with you that immersion blenders rule. Until I got a Vitamix, my choice was to have an immersion blender: imho it’s both more versatile and more powerful than a carafe blender because you can move it around, but easier cleanup! I often use it in preference to the Vita. Would like to hear how the Bamix works for you: I had a Braun Multiquik for years, literally used it to death, but have just had my third Kitchenaid in about three years die, so decided to change brands. This time I ordered a “Juiceman,” which was well reviewed and more powerful. Missing it, looking forward to it!
    Thanks,
    Ela

    • Hello Ela! Keep in touch about the Bamix. I sure hope it lives up to its promises! Wow – you like the immersion over the vitamix – how interesting! What did you most use it for? I use my Vitamix mainly for sorbets, nut butters and so I need the Vitamix for that. Never heard of the Juiceman. I had a Braun that died very quickly. Cracked. Then I got another at a garage sale and sold it on Ebay b/c I didn’t want another one to break!

      • Hey Adrienne. Yes, I hope you like the Bamix. I wouldn’t give up my Vitamix, I just am really noise sensitive and the immersion blender’s so much quieter, plus we only have very slow running cold water, so cleanup is an issue. I adore smoothies, and go through phases when I’m doing them three times a day (right now I’m eating leftover salad all the time, it seems) and the Vitamix is best for really good smoothies. And I make raw desserts and such that definitely need a Vita. I can’t imagine blending Irish Moss with a weaker blender.

        But I love how I can make a batch of macadamia nut butter, for example, in the Vita, and then I can use that for quick, easy salad dressings with the immersion blender. Simple smoothies without greens are great too. And I love making soup and being able to puree right in the bowl, or avocado based mousse (or any other mousse) right in the serving bowl…

        • Thanks for the info, Ela! As a side note, be careful about those green smoothies. Raw cruciferous veggies are not good for your thyroid. (Kale, chard, collards and cabbages are real no-nos when it comes to raw eating.) I think I recall we corresponded about adrenal issues, correct? They are tied to thyroid so please take care. Also, if you eat a lot of avocado that is heavy in copper and can be very bad for adrenals as well. I didn’t want to know that either. We LOVE avocados. You can have some, but not a lot. Sorry to potentially be the bearer of bad news. But I wish I had known more about how bad the things were that I was doing a lot earlier than I knew. Take care!

  2. Hey Adrienne,

    Don’t worry, you’re not the bearer of bad news–I’m pretty geeky on this kind of subject and always appreciate more information. I’m hypothyroid already (legacy of my eating disorder history), but my ND suggests not to worry too much about the crucifers (although I suspect he’d prefer I ate them cooked). I hadn’t made the connection between avo and adrenal issues, but I really don’t eat much of them anyway, love them though I do, partly because they’re super-expensive and hard to get good ones in AK, partly because I avoid things that are that caloric!

    Speaking of, I’ve agreed with my ND to eat an egg twice a week, and would far rather eat it raw in a smoothie, and I try to minimize blending time and power for eggs to avoid oxidation. If I’m doing it in the Vita, I just put the egg in right at the end and blend on low, but the immersion blender’s a good way to go for that too. Can’t remember if you do raw eggs–I know your little guy has trouble with them but didn’t know if you kept them out of the house completely…
    Take care too!

    • I do eat eggs, but not raw. I’ve thought of it, but I just read that the whites have antinutrients unless cooked. I haven’t done any research on it though. Are you eating other animal proteins? They are typically important for adrenal health from what I understand.

  3. I don’t eat any other animal products–I’ve been vegetarian/vegan my whole life (except for a brief period a few years ago) and just don’t feel ok with it. The eggs are a big deal, but I’ve had past experience of them doing me real good.

    I’ve read conflicting things about egg whites. It’s to do with avidin and biotin and their antagonism. People who recommend whole raw eggs point out that the yolk contains enough biotin to offset the avidin in the whites. But not everyone agrees…
    cheers,
    Ela

    • You may wish to do some reading about adding more animal products (good quality) to your diet. From what I’ve been learning about adrenal fatigue, copper toxicity is a big part of it and zinc is a copper antagonist. So the zinc in animal products is super helpful in dealing with these conditions.

      Take good care,
      adrienne

  4. Thanks for your caring suggestion. I will follow that lead, it’s not one I’ve read much about. I know my ND would like it if I ate some fish. I’m really pretty reluctant to quit being vegetarian, though, and I’m allergic to dairy too…

    • One part of the puzzle appears to be that as we become more ill, our digestion suffers and so we stop eating things that are more difficult to digest – those typically being the animal proteins. So one will stop eating red meat and then chicken and then fish. Then if the person tries eating those foods, digestion doesn’t go so well and so they think, “Oh – these must not be good for me.” If you choose to try, try some fish (I’d just get wild salmon due to the toxins) and then chicken would be next in line. I would also look at a good quality digestive enzyme. There is one on my store page that is simply wonderful (I am not trying to sell you something, I promise). But if you would like to try some please let me know. They really are great. I personally eat very little fish due to the toxins. My post on Mercury in Fish talks about that. There is more that I could write – I think I need to start a Q&A post weekly and start writing more about the adrenals and heavy metals. :-). Are you anaphylactic to dairy?

      • Sorry for slow response–been slammed. I take digestive enzymes but they’re not the best kind–am about to try a new brand. But I have been mostly vegan for the great majority of my life and there are some major ideological obstacles to such a change anyway. I am doing eggs. Living on the ocean in AK, salmon is available but I’ve had Hg poisoning and am concerned about the levels, esp after FUkushima not so far away.

        I’m not anaphylactic to dairy–just makes me sick and also psychotic, which is apparently not uncommon as a reaction to dairy for people with celiac…

        • No worries, Ela. I’ve been quite swamped as well. If you decide you’d like to try another enzyme I’ve been thrilled w/ the digesticol. They are on the Store Page of my blog. I have really sold almost nothing off of there except a few things to local folks, but I am hoping to put a shopping cart on there so people can get things more easily. They really are great enzymes. I feel “lost” whenever I don’t have them with me when it is time to eat.

          I understand the ideological issues about animals and food. I don’t know what yours are, but I would just gently encourage you to think about your health. I didn’t really want to make this move to eating more meat (and I don’t eat that much now), but I really had to. I agree w/ you about the concerns about the poisoning as well. Have you looked at the zeolite on my store page? That has really helped me move metals out. I am not trying to sell you something, just mentioning things that have been really helpful for me. Take care….

  5. Such great ideas! I want a dehydrator so bad! And, I really want a grain mill too. Hope your schedule settles down for you soon!

    • Hi Katie! Thanks – things are a bit crazy still….I’d be happy to talk w/ you about the dehydrator or grain mill anytime. I’ve used a couple of mills so I could certainly give you advice about that. :-).

  6. I am getting a Cuisinart Ice Cream/ Yogurt Maker for Christmas. I’m pretty excited. I’ll check out your recipes!

    • Yeah Rachel! That’s great! It does both? I don’t think I knew that they made one like that! Hope you like the recipe – I hope to have more (and some yummy toppings — hint hint!)

  7. I really like going to Whole Foods for stocking stuffers. They have great soaps, shampoos, lotions and body washes. I love it! Plus, they have great chocolate candy bars too. :)

    Visiting from WFMW, thanks for the ideas!

    Merry Christmas!

  8. LOVE all of your suggestions! I have just bought a pressure cooker, but haven’t gotten a chance to try it. And I would love an immersion blender. Time to start stalking sales at Williams Sonoma I guess!

    • Hi Amy. I don’t have near enough pressure cooker recipes up yet, but I hope to share more. I really am glad that I got the immersion blender now, but until I make a really big pot of something I am thinking that I shouldn’t have gotten the professional model. It did work great, however, making my homemade chocolate chips perfectly smooth. I am not sure if W-S has them on sale, the just had a better deal than Amazon. And maybe even right now they have a deal where you get $10 for every $50 you spend. So you can save that way. :-).

  9. Coming to you from the Friday Fitness Blog Hop!!
    I love these choices! My favorite is the vitamix! So beneficial, there is a reason why it is so expensive! My grandma has had one for years and is more spry than any 80 year old I know

    Happy Holidays!!

    • I can’t really say enough about the Vitamix either. I know it is a big ticket item, but it pays for itself so quickly. Our staples are Coconut Milk, other non-dairy milks, seed and nut butters, coconut butter and shakes and smoothies. What does your grandmother use hers for mainly?

  10. I’m sorry I’m so late commenting on this post! Thank you so much for sharing these great ideas with the Hearth and Soul hop. Happy New Year!