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Now that school has started and the leaves are starting to change to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges in Colorado; it has me looking forward to the holiday season. For us, the holidays mean spending time with family and friends at festive parties wearing hideous sweaters, watching Christmas Vacation for the millionth time drinking out of moose glasses, and enjoying many hours in the kitchen cooking and eating lots and lots of food!
Another thing I look forward to during the holiday season, is finding that perfect gift for those on my list. I have a love/hate relationship with gift shopping though because it can be a lot of pressure to try and find that perfect gift especially for those on my list who seem to have everything.
If you have anyone on your list who is looking forward to January resolutions, is going to embark on a round of Whole30, who lives a Paleo-ish lifestyle, loves to cook and spend time in the kitchen, or is looking to expand their mind and spirit; you are in luck! Here is a gift guide for all of those special people on your list. Included are items we have found to be super beneficial on our healthy journey and think everyone should own!
One of my favorite pastimes is to read recipes and I have a slight, okay a huge, cookbook hoarding addiction. I devour cookbooks like they are the tasty recipes created from those pages. Picking a favorite cookbook can be very difficult for me, it is like picking a favorite child. Although, that does depend on the day sometimes! In no particular order, a few of my recommendations for those who live Paleo, Whole30, Vegan, or just love tasty recipes:
- Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People who Love to Eat – This cookbook has everything from sauces to full meals for your Paleo and Whole30 peeps. There are some recipes that are so hearty and tasty, no one would ever complain about eating Paleo! One of our favorite recipes from this one is Rogan Josh which is a curry dish and not to be confused with Joe Rogan, the guy from Fear Factor who used to make people eat gross things and do scary challenges to win money.
- Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less – Ask anyone who has done a round of Whole30 or eats mostly whole foods and one of the biggest complaints can be the time it takes to cook. We have a crazy busy schedule and this cookbook is perfect for those nights when you need to cook something fast, but still want to make something delicious. Just like the other Well Fed cookbook; this cookbook has recipes that are grain, sugar, legume, and dairy free. I love this cookbook because not only does it contain fast recipes, it includes variations on many of the recipes so you can change it up depending on your tastes or then you can have a different take on it if you eat as a leftover. This is good for us because we do not have time to cook every night and eat a LOT of leftovers.
- Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans – This cookbook has easy to follow recipes with fun pictures and stories about the family behind the recipes. For anyone on Whole30 or starting a Paleo lifestyle, you quickly learn many of your go-to condiments are no longer allowed in your fridge and this cookbook contains recipes for ghee, mayo, and even a Sriracha sauce! If the Sriracha receipe was the only one in the book, that alone would make it worth it to buy this one.
- Ready or Not! 150+ Make Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo – This is the newest cookbook by the Nom Nom Paleo team and it is a winner winner chicken dinner! As in the Ollie’s Cracklin’ Chicken recipe contained in this cookbook. Whole30 and Paleo does not mean you cannot still make some of your favorites like fried chicken and this recipe will prove that fact. (Make sure to buy your cook a Splatter Guard for that recipe!)
- Practical Paleo – This cookbook is probably one of the biggest ones you will ever have on your shelf and is like a Paleo bible! This is a must have! It contains meal plans based on supporting many conditions like thyroid health, autoimmune conditions, and even hormonal issues. This book not only covers a Paleo lifestyle in depth, it also gives the reader the why behind living such a lifestyle. The recipes are super easy to follow and the colorful pictures make you want to cook every recipe.
- Whole30 Cookbook – 150+ recipes that are 100% Whole30 approved from the co-creator of the Whole30 program. This book takes the guess work out of looking at other recipes when you first start Whole30 and are not sure yet what you can and cannot have. Lots of great Whole30 information in this one, as well.
- A few other must haves are: Paleo Soups & Stews (Check out the amazing breads and crackers!), Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook (Pizza Crust! Moo Shu Pork), Thug Kitchen (Must not mind the F-bomb to enjoy this one, but it is hilarious to read and the recipes are sooo tasty!), Against all Grain (Soooo many good ones here!) and Paleo Cooking with your Instant Pot (2 words – Beef Stroganoff and it is dairy free!).
When not reading cookbooks, I love to read other books that encourage me to grow and learn more about myself and how to better interact with others around me. These are some books that are useful for someone who is like me and not only seeks to be a healthy person in the body, but also mind and spirit.
- Year of Yes – Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fans will adore this memoir by the creator of those addicting shows. She spends a year of her life saying yes to everything and anything and it changed her life in many ways that even she did not expect.
- 10% Happier – Dan Harris, a well-known journalist, had a panic attack on air and realized he needed to change his life. His story and how he found a personal spiritual awakening is a great read for anyone on their own such journey or for someone who has a difficult time dealing with stress.
- Better than Before – Another memoir about making and breaking habits and how that can lead to a greater happiness in one’s life.
- Whole30 – This is the complete guide to the Whole30 program. You can get most of the information you need to jump into a Whole30 round on the Whole30 website, but this book is great so you have all of the information needed in one place.
- Food Freedom – After you do a Whole30 round, you reintroduce the foods you did not have in your diet for 30 days and learn what your new diet will be in the future, ultimately leading you to Food Freedom. This books covers how to get to your Food Freedom and to a healthier relationship with food. #lifechanging
- Confessions of a Domestic Failure – If you every need to feel that you are not living up to the Pinterest Moms or just need a good laugh, this is the book to read. The author is so honest and puts herself out there so others can realize they are not alone.
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – For anyone who has self-limiting beliefs and needs help and encouragement to work through them.
- The Gifts of Imperfection – Do you have a perfectionist on your gift giving list? Buy them this book!
- Present over Perfect – Another great one for the perfectionists on your list. The author writes about her journey to stop pursing being perfect and tries to find happiness where she is in her life and not waiting around to find happiness.
- The Pilates Body – You do not have to be a Pilates instructor to understand this book and to be able to do mat Pilates exercises at home. This book has fun cues and visuals to get you on your mat and practicing in no time.
- 40 Days to Personal Revolution – This program is designed to revolutionize ones life though a 40 day journey of practicing yoga, mediating daily, and asking hard questions about one’s limiting beliefs. It explains yoga poses in an easy to follow manner and includes pictures of each pose. When I first started yoga I would often feel lost when they would just say a name of a pose and expect us to know where we were going in a class. I loved reading about the poses to familiarize myself with them and it made me feel more confident in a group class. Within the first week of the 40 days, I had so many amazing breakthroughs and learned things about myself that I had no idea was there.
- Moleskin Notebook – With all of the epiphanies your healthy gift recipient will be having in the next year, they need a place to write it all down! This journal is my favorite to use. I use this journal for my bullet journal; which is a planner, notebook, and journal all in one.
- Washi Tape – This is not a book, but I use in my bullet journal. I love to use washi tape to categorize the different months, topics, or to dress up otherwise boring pages since I have absolutely no artistic ability. Craft stores have soooo many tapes you can pick-up or even Target has some fun ones. Etsy has some original designs that are interesting, too.
Kitchen Gadgets and Small Appliances
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I have probably most every kitchen appliance or gadget they can think of. Not all of them are necessary to keep around and we have been trying to thin out the herd lately. There are some gadgets and appliances I will tell you are must haves for anyone looking to start a Whole30 round or cooks at home on a regular basis.
- Instant Pot – Everyone needs one of these gems!! You can “hard boil” eggs, “bake” potatoes, and make any meal in a portion of the time normally required when you use the pressure cooking setting. Spaghetti sauce that tastes like it cooked all day, but you can have it on a weeknight, yes please! Short ribs done in minutes compared to hours, ummm hello! Get them one and one for you! This is a must have for anyone who lives at high altitudes like we do in Colorado.
- Spiralizer – There are many versions of spiralizers our there and this is the one we love the best. You can make zoodles, coodles, and poodles. Okay, poodles are dogs, but you can spiralize potatoes and make the crispiest hash browns ever! It has three different blades so you have lots of size options. It is easy to use and cleans up super fast.
- Hydro Flask – Anyone who is on Whole30 learns real fast that they need to increase their water intake! These are my all-time favorite water bottles and we have them in every size; the itty bitty ones for the twins, the medium ones for everyday use, and then the growler size to keep in the car when running errands and we all need a refill. Your drinks will stay icy cold for hours, even in a hot car and in the blazing sun! You can get a straw top or a flip top lid. They now even make wine glasses for those summertime nights on the patio (when not on Whole30).
- Cast Iron Skillet – You can make most anything in a cast iron skillet! I love that you can cook on the stove top in it and then throw right in the oven. Bacon crisps up perfectly in a cast iron skillet and so will those hash browns you are going to make with the spiralizer. Word to the wise, do not try fried eggs in your cast iron pan. It will not go well!
- Immersion Blender – This is a must have for anyone who wants to make their own Whole30 and Paleo approved mayo and dressings. This can also be used to blend up soups and to make the “grits” in this Whole30 approved recipe.
- Vitamix – Rob, my husband, is an over-researcher when it comes to most everything. We once had a tiff in Target over a vacuum because he had not researched a $20 vacuum and was not ready to commit. I have since learned to let him take some time researching if I do not want to have a similar episode. When it can time for a new blender, I knew it was going to be a process to choose one. Through all of his research, he decided a Vitamix was the way to go and I cannot tell you enough how happy I am with this purchase. I had no idea a blender could be so cool. This is probably the most expensive item in this guide, but worth every penny. Make sauces, smoothies (not on Whole30), blend up a delicious coffee beverage, nut butter, blend soups, chop ice for those mocktails, and more.
- Brownie Pan – Don’t let the name fool you. Foodies can still use this pan when on Whole30, but it is no longer for brownies. It can be used to make mini meat loafs or individual frittatas.
- Glass Storage Dishes – With all of the cooking and leftovers to reheat, glass storage containers are a must! This set has all different sizes which make it convenient for whatever needs to be stored.
Ever since we had kids, we have learned to appreciate receiving and giving experiences for gifts instead of more stuff! We love being able to use gift cards and other certificates to do things as a couple or a family. There are sooo many options when it comes to giving experiences and will depend on where your gift recipient lives, but here are a few to get those ideas flowing.
- Yoga or Pilates sessions or a membership to a studio – Has your friend been wanting to check out a new studio or expand on their personal yoga/Pilates practice?
- Gym membership – This is a tricky one. You don’t want to give someone a gym membership and have them get offended or have it become like that time your dad bought your mom an appliance for Christmas without her asking for one. Make sure it is something they have expressed interest in.
- Massage or spa day – Does your loved one work-out to the max or need a little relaxation and pampering?
- Paint and make your own pottery – They could make a new coffee mug or an inspiring plate to eat all of their tasty new foods on.
- Rock climbing gym – We have a cool location in our town where you can learn to rock climb indoors – CityROCK. Attached to the center, is a restaurant and bar which would make for a fun night out. They offer classes and lessons, too.
- Cooking Classes – Perhaps your loved one wants to learn how to cook, brush up on their knife skills, or learn how to create food and drink pairings. Cooking classes can be so much fun and depending on where you are located, there is really a class for every experience level. We like to attend Kitchen Table Cooking School in Denver for a fun date night or a girl’s night out.
- Other options – indoor skydiving, rafting trip, zip line tour, stand-up paddle boarding, ski or snowboard passes, or a photography class.
Out of all of the gifts Christmas morning, I think the stockings are my favorite. I love to shop for stockings and getting creative with what to put in them. Also, the stocking stuffers from Rob are always the most random, oddball gifts and I love seeing what he comes up with to put in mine.
- Avocado Slicer – This is one one tool I did not have until recently. I thought using a knife was just as good as such a tool. After seconds of seeing this baby in action at my bff’s house, I was on Amazon and having one sent to my house immediately. It is seriously brilliant and since a plated fat is required at every Whole30 meal, most Whole30’ers find themselves going through a lot of avocados and this tool will make them so happy. Bonus, it is much safer than a knife!
- Banana Slicer – Another tool I did not think I needed, but then my bff pointed out how well it sliced olives and I had to have it. Not for me as I detest olives, but the hubs loves them so this comes in handy for him.
- Egg Slicer – We love eggs and this slicer makes it a piece of cake to whip up slices of eggs for salads in no time.
- Citrus Squeezer – Cooking with fresh citrus juice boosts the flavor in recipes and is great to add to sparkling water for refreshing mocktails which make attending parties while on a Whole30 round a little easier to swallow.
- Nut Chopper – Use this baby to quickly chop any nuts (just remember peanuts are not allowed on Whole30 and strict Paleo diets). Add to salads, zoodles, cauliflower rice, and any dish you want to add nuts to for your plated fat.
- Snacks – In the past, you may have filled up their stocking with candy and treats. Now, fill them up with Whole30 eats. Chomps Jerky Sticks, Epic Bars, Nick’s Sticks, Lara Bars, and RX Bars (not all flavors of these bars are Whole30 compliant). Apples and oranges are old-school stocking stuffers, be retro and bring that back.
- Spices, seasonings, and sauces – look for Paleo and Whole30 approved items. Local spice shops are great for these items or you can purchase online at Penzeys Spices or Savory Spice Shop.
- Nut Milk Bag – That sounds a little dirty, but it is an awesome thing to have in the kitchen if you want to make your own dairy-free milk, cheese, or ghee.
What’s on Your Holiday Shopping List Now?
I hope this guide helped and gave you some ideas for your holiday shopping for those folks in your life looking to get healthier, who love to cook, or just love to eat! I would love to hear if you think of any must haves to add to this list, too. Happy holiday shopping!
This is not a sponsored post, I purchased these items myself and received no compensation for my review. This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps keep my blog running and I appreciate the support!