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Ten healthy last-minute gift ideas Dec. 24, 2012
Written by: Marilyn Linton, QMI Agency
 
Because there is life beyond eggnog...

At www.nudo-italia.com you can adopt an olive tree and receive extra virgin olive oil from it (honest!) as it's pressed during the next year. (Fotolia)

It’s hours, not days, until Christmas. But don’t panic. If last-minute Christmas gifts have got you stumped, try choosing one of the following: These ten gift ideas are easy to find, won’t break the bank, and are healthy reminders that there’s life beyond eggnog.

1. Your own olive tree

At www.nudo-italia.com you can adopt an olive tree and receive extra virgin olive oil from it (honest!) as it’s pressed during the next year. Pair a print-out certificate with a bottle of store-bought olive oil or a pretty jar of olives. Olive oil, great for salads or to brush on fish, contains healthy monounsaturated fats that help reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

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2. Tea for two

At any hardware store, kitchen shop, department store or Canadian Tire, you’ll find a selection of inexpensive but pretty teapots. Add some organic, herbal or flavoured teas from a specialty shop or grocery store, and maybe a tin of biscuits.

3. Headbands for health

The iComfort eye and temple massager (recommended by Ryerson University digital media specialist Adrian Bulzacki and available at Walmart) has an ergonomic design which uses mini air bags to relieve eye fatigue and deliver warmth to massage away headaches.

4. Smooth operator

Give your workout partner a single serve smoothie blender (Hamilton Beach , Kitchen Aid or Oster’s My Blend) for fast pick-me-ups any time of day. Add a selection of your favourite smoothie recipes or a great smoothie cookbook like The Smoothies Bible, by Canada’s Pat Crocker.

5. Downward dog

Yoga mats are everywhere, so is the love for this ancient spiritual practice at aims for balance and harmony and has millions of followers. Complete this gift by adding a shawl (useful during yoga while waiting for muscle warm-up) or a best-selling yoga book such as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra.

6. Yakkity-Yak

If it’s Canada, it’s cold and icy somewhere. Yaktrax (www.yaktrax.ca) and several other brands of traction devices are slip-ons that fit any shoe and grip the ice and snow – great for runners or anyone who has to walk a dog on dark snowy nights. Find traction cleats at outdoor shops such as Mountain Equipment Co-Op, The Running Room and some pharmacies.

7. Go nuts!

Easily found and nicely packaged as gifts, nuts contain good fat (though lots of it) and the best ones for health (according to Harvard Medical School) are almonds for their vitamin E, walnuts for their plant-based omega-3 healthy fats, and brazil nuts – their high selenium content protects against prostate cancer.

8. Handy and dandy

Everyone has dry rough hands this time of year, so a gift box filled with scented department store hand lotions or the guaranteed super softees found in any drug store (Eucerin, Aveeno, and Glysomed are all dermatologist recommended) are terrific.

9. Bring on the bubbly

Pack a gift bag with a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine (found at any liquor store) and add a few bottles of bubble bath (Ombra is one brand made with natural herbal compounds such as sage, lavender and rose and green tea, not tested on animals, and found in most pharmacies.)

10. Chocolate

Forget the ordinary bar and go for organic fair trade bars of 70 % dark chocolate (look for bars by Green & Black’s, Godiva, Scharffen Berger or Michel Cluizel.) Dark chocolate has fewer calories than milk chocolate and contains beneficial anti-oxidants.

Still Stumped? Consider…

· A three-month gym membership or membership to a local Y

· Pots of fresh herbs as a host/hostess gift

· Food steamer or rice cooker

· Fitness watch or pedometer

· Health or fitness magazine subscriptions

· Microwave popcorn popper

MORE COLUMNS BY MARILYN LINTON, QMI AGENCY

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