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Sharecare Expert Holiday Gift Guide

If all you want for Christmas is to be done with shopping, don’t despair. We asked some of our top health and fitness experts for a little help in knocking off the hard-to-please recipients on your list. Here are the items they plan to give — or would like to get for themselves! 

Making spirits bright
Yoga expert Kristin McGee suggests a couple of gifts that manage to be naughty and nice at the same time. She starts with sampler packs of heart-healthy red wines, in small “tasting” sizes, from TastingRoom.com—it’s a great way for your friends to figure out whether they prefer a mineral quality to their wine, a hint of strawberry or flavors of the forest floor. For friends and family members who prefer to satisfy their sweet tooth as they coddle their heart, McGee suggests the most satisfying of superfoods, antioxidant-laden dark chocolate from SweetRiot.com. Think your loved one’s heart needs its cockles warmed? McGee loves the exotic yet homey blends at Kusmi Teas.

Fit to be tried
At the top of trainer and fitness expert Lisa Lynn’s wish list is a pair of NIKEiD athletic shoes. They’re customizable! You pick the colors and degree of flexibility and cushioning. Or help your loved one walk or run just a little longer or faster with a recommendation from Charles Sophy, DO: the Nike+ SportBand, a wristwatch that tracks distance, calories burned and pace.

For the skiers on your list, McGee recommends sustainable bamboo ski poles from SoulPoles.com. These “green” poles come in a range of colors and styles.

And for anyone on your list who works at a desk, Barbara Ficarra, RN , BSN, MPA recommends the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. This chair with a stability ball for a seat allows you to strengthen your core while you work.

For snoozing and losing
Sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, has a dreamy gift in mind for your friends and family: a new pillow.  “Most people do not realize this, but you should be changing your pillow about every 12 to 18 months if it’s down or feathers, and every two to three years if it’s foam,” says Dr. Breus. “And if there’s any neck or upper back pain, then the change should be immediate.”

Dr. Sophy recommends a different kind of health energy-booster: the goLITE Blu. It’s a portable light that emits specific wavelengths to ease the winter blahs, improve sleep, boost energy, and decrease carb cravings.

Is a family member or friend trying to slim down? Steal an idea from Robin Miller, MD, who sends a special holiday card to her patients trying to lose weight. “I get the holiday cards that you can record a message in and I have them put them on their refrigerators,” says Dr. Miller. “I record this message: ‘Hello, (Patient’s name), this is your doctor speaking. Step away from the refrigerator!’ If they are going for something mindless to eat, they can open the card, laugh and just walk away. Believe it or not, most of my patients keep it up all year!”

Now they’re cooking
A Williams Sonoma pizza stone, says Mike Dow, PsyD, is a simple kitchen tool can get any family out of a take-out rut and turn pizza from a high-fat diet-buster to a veggie-heavy, cheese-light health food.

Ficarra loves the handcrafted wood nutcracker from Redenvelope. This cute, mushroom-shaped nutcracker does all the heavy lifting so you can enjoy the many health benefits of nuts. Also on her list: the Williams Sonoma Boos Walnut Cutting Board. Its duel-sided design makes it perfect for chopping meats or vegetables, helping you whip up a healthy meal in no time.

Spreading joy further
Sometimes, the most meaningful gift is one that won’t fit into a box.

Nutritionist Rovenia Brock, PhD suggests making a donation in the name of your friend or loved one. “As a nutritionist, access to nutritious food is of paramount importance to me, so I’m donating farm animals to families in villages of Africa through worldvisiongifts.org,” Says Dr. Brock. “One goat and two chickens cost only $100 and provide steady source of meat, eggs and milk to feed children and families in need.”

Psychologist John Preston, PsyD, reminds us that sometimes just telling a friend or family member how you feel about him or her can be the greatest gift of all. “Think of the words or feelings that you have not expressed to friends and loved ones,” he says. “Make an effort to speak to them openly about these things.” 

And don’t forget yourself
Several of our experts agree that the best thing you can do for the people who care about you is to take care of yourself this holiday season. “While the holidays are the season of giving, it’s essential that you take time to think about yourself,” says Ficarra.

If that sounds selfish, yoga expert Kristin McGee wants you to remember that nurturing yourself is a gift to those around you. “If we nurture ourselves first, we are able to be more present,” says McGee. “And that is really the only present anyone wants from us.”

What’s on your list to give or get this holiday? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.

File under: Healthy Holidays, In the News

Contributor

Marianne Wait

A devoted health junkie, Marianne believes that information plus inspiration equals action. She spent many years at Reader’s Digest creating health books designed to help people understand complex health topics and achieve their health goals, from lowering their cholesterol and blood sugar to losing weight to sharpening their brain power.

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