2011 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide: Paleo Edition

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The holidays are nearly upon us, so now’s the perfect time to start scoping out all of those fantastic gift ideas for your loved ones this season. You can also check out my 2010 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide from last year for more ideas.

Tasty Gifts

100% Grass-Fed Jerky Chews from Sophia’s Survival Foods

Jerky Chews

If I have to pick just one jerky to recommend, this is it. I am a huge fan of this product for it’s overall winning combination of being 100% grass-fed, locally sourced (in California, where Sophia lives), treated with only simple organic spices. I find that Grass-Fed Jerky Chews from Sophia’s Survival Foods are the closest to what you’d make for yourself at home if you had the time and inclination, which is always where my first vote goes!

Grass-Fed Paleo Kits & Grain-Free Granolas from Steve’s Original

If you’re looking for some long-lasting and durable Paleo snacks for on the road, pre or post-workout emergencies or even MREs, Steve’s Original is my pick. Not only are the snacks (including grass-fed jerky, Paleo kits and grain-free granola to name a few) delicious, your purchases of them help to fund Steve’s Club: a non-profit organization that supports at-risk youth fitness.

The Republic of Tea, Double Dark Chocolate Mate

If your friend or loved one is into tea, kicking coffee or love hot chocolate but don’t want the sugar hit from it, this is a fantastic hot beverage option! I’ve been enjoying this one for months now and it’s perfect in the morning or as a treat with some full-fat coconut milk. This tea is also tasty when combined in a mug using one bag plus one bag of licorice root tea. Yum!

Seasonello Herbal & Aromatic Salt

I first tried this seasoning salt when I was staying with Hayley & Bill of The Primal Palate a couple of months ago down in Pittsburgh. It’s a blend of salt with most of the spices I tend to throw onto my food anyway, so it’s nearly perfection in a bottle. If someone isn’t inclined to make their own herb-salt, then this is a fantastic gift for any chef or non-chef alike to make their food taste amazing in just a few shakes!

Kasandrinos Greek EVOOGreek Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Kasandrinos Imports
Now available for orders! 

This oil has turned me into an olive oil-lover once again. I am decidedly a bigger fan of saturated fats than I am of unsaturated, but since olive oil falls nicely in the realm of a high monounsaturated fat and is safe to eat as a cold option over salads or for finishing dishes, I am IN. This oil will knock your socks off with flavor so rich, fruity and spicy that you won’t even need vinegar to balance it out. While I love it paired with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a few pinches of good sea salt are all you really need (or Seasonello) with this oil for a rich salad dressing.

Around the House

Favorites under $15

Julienne peeler.

For making “noodles” out of squash or carrots. I LOVE this tool.  A fantastic stocking-stuffer!

Paleo shopping list notepads.

For making healthy shopping lists or planning meals. Cool!

Soap nuts! Get clothes clean, naturally.

I tossed a VERY stinky gym T-shirt into a load of laundry with these little babies and it came out smelling fresh and CLEAN. I highly recommend these environmentally-friendly, very Paleo way of washing clothes that I learned about from Liz Wolfe of Cave Girl Eats fame. For under $15 you can get 80+ loads of laundry done! WOO HOO!

Favorites under $50

Le Creuset 1-1/4-Quart Rectangular Bakers 

Stone bakeware is perfect for roasting anything from veggies to whole birds to marrow bones. This is a beautiful ceramic glazed pan that’s nice enough to take from the oven to the table for serving.

I also highly recommend a large Le Crueset Dutch Oven Pot for making soups, stocks, stews or any other large dish. You can use an enameled cast-iron pot it as you would a crockpot but in the oven or on the stovetop. These pots are ideal for cooking acidic recipes that include tomato sauce since their surface will not react with the acid in the tomatoes as plain cast-iron would. At just under $250 they’re a big investment but will last a lifetime and countless food-memories will be made within them!

15″ Cast Iron Skillet (pre-seasoned)

I use cast iron skillets for cooking nearly EVERYTHING. From eggs to veggies and burgers to bacon, cast iron is a great, fit. I have several sizes in my kitchen and this one is large enough for a whole family. Get a smaller version if you are cooking for one or want something quick to re-heat food in a pinch.

Books & Cookbooks, Etc.

Make it Paleo by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason

This is hands-down my favorite new Paleo cookbook out this year. It’s a monster at over 400 pages and is filled with exactly the kind of food I eat and that I recommend that my clients eat- CLEAN! Most recipes include very few simple ingredients that you’ll likely have on-hand in any reasonably well-stocked Paleo kitchen. The recipes will keep you creating new and fresh dishes in your kitchen while still keeping it easy without too many tricky steps. There is also a pretty serious section of treats in the back of the book, which also follows suit for what I recommend: when you’re going to have a treat, make it a good one, but keep it grain (especially gluten) free. “Treats and Cheats” are one of the places most people find that recipes help them to re-create common favorites from their grain-eating days, and Make it Paleo will help to perpetuate some old favorites for special occasions so you don’t feel like you’re missing out one bit.

Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

If you’ve been looking for ways to re-create old comfort food favorites while maintaing your new grain and dairy-free Paleo lifestyle, this is the book for you. Paleo Comfort Foods is a great choice for those looking to add a more specialized volume of recipes to their regular rotation and makes a fantastic companion to other Paleo cookbooks in your kitchen.

Wheat Belly by Dr. William R. Davis

For those of you looking to help your loved ones to learn the value of a wheat-free diet, this is a fantastic book written by an MD on the topic. Often we sound like crazy people when we’re out there espousing the merits of a grain-free diet as “regular” people. We also often hear time and time again of medical doctors who not only don’t see the value in a wheat/grain or gluten-free diet, but that fear it’s harmful to us! Wow, this couldn’t be farther from the truth, and now you have a resource to share that’s a fairly easy-read and will get your loved ones to stop and think before scarfing their next bagel.

Paleo Magazine Subscription

As a contributing author and regular reader of Paleo Magazine, I can tell you that if you’re looking to give the gift of a magazine for the Paleo/Primal advocate in your family or circle of friends, this is it. Each issue is filled with a variety of very useful articles that help to make the connections between the theories of our ancestry and the practical application of living more primally on a daily basis.

Paleo Pride Gear

A Balanced Bites “bacon is rad. gluten is bad.” T-shirt.

Is your friend or loved one a fan of a Paleo or Primal diet or lifestyle? Does he or she LOVE bacon and shun gluten and grains? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the shirt to give his holiday season. It’s available in several colors and styles, the most popular being this one for men, this one for women, and this one for kids. It’s also available in long-sleeved, toddler, and infant versions as well.

A Primal Palate “I don’t eat crap.” T-shirt.

This T-shirt lists the most common food additives and chemicals found in processed foods. They’ve also got several other awesome shirts like one that says “The road to hell is paved with gluten.” and the ever-popular “F*#% Grains” shirt.

A Nom Nom Paleo  T-shirt.

There are SO many adorable T shirts available in this shop thanks to Nom Nom Paleo and her fantastic husband Fitbomb (who offers up awesome shirts in the same shop as well). The T-shirts include “Deadlift Girl,” “For the Love of Bacon,” and “Clean Your Plate” to name a few. Fitbomb’s shirts include the “Paleo Plate” rebuttal to the USDA plate amongst many others.

More Great Ideas for the Paleo Gift Giver (mentioned in last year’s post as well!):

  • cooking classes – for them or for two of you together – knife skills is a great starting place!
  • a butchering class
  • a cow, elk or lamb share or portion
  • cook a meal for your friend or loved one
  • make a play-date for a paleo picnic in the park or a trip to the local farm or farmers market with a meal cooked together after

Remember, I have a lot more great gift recommendations over in last year’s holiday gift-guide post that are still going to make this season’s gift-getters smile!

Happy Holidays!