2017 Health Nut Christmas Gift Guide

Last year the gift guide I posted was such a huge hit that I had to do it again!  I broke it down into price points this year from least expensive to “break the bank and spoil your person rotten”.

Make sure you check out last years post too for even more ideas!

High quality chocolate!  I am hard pressed to pick a favorite brand so I included a link HERE to PaleobyMaileo, a site that carries only the cleanest varieties.  All Paleo approved too.  Some of my personal favorites are… Hu Kitchen Cashew Butter and Pure Vanilla Bean Dark ChocolateHeavenly Organics Double Dark Chocolate Honey Patties, and Eating Evolved Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups in Mint flavor (like a healthy york peppermint patty!).  Stuff the stocking with these babies!

Jem nut butters come in two sizes and multiple flavors.  The 1.25 oz jars are perfect for travel, your lunchbox or desk.  Plus the smaller size means you can try the flavors out before purchasing a large jar of it.  Loaded with super foods like maca and camu powder, these nut butters are a perfect stocking stuffer!

Charcoal bar soap!  I have an addiction to natural, clean beauty soaps and charcoal bars top my list!  They are amazing for helping clear up any skin issues and leave your skin smelling clean.  This particular one is inexpensive and has squeaky clean ingredients.

Dryer Balls are amazing! I’ve been using them for years and love them. They eliminate the need for one of the most toxic things in a home…fabric softener.  Yuck. “Hedgehog Dryer Balls, White – Set of 4 – The reusable hedgehog dryer ball reduces drying time, fewer clothes wrinkles and less static cling.”

Epsom salt! Anyone into living a healthy lifestyle would appreciate Epsom salts to soak in the tub with. Plus they’re inexpensive and you can doctor them up but putting them in pretty glass jars with some essential oils! It’s detoxifying and adds much needed magnesium!

Stasher bags!  These silicone storage bags are multi purpose and healthier for you and the environment.  You can use them to sous vide, put them in the microwave, fridge, freezer, and are dishwasher safe!  They come in multiple sizes and colors too.  (I basically want them all!)

Reusable organic cotton produce bags!  I hate using all those plastic produce bags at the grocery store, but I also hate sticking my produce in those dirty, gross carts!  This is the perfect solution.  These bags can be washed, and are very affordable too!

Know Brainer coffee creamers!  I purchased these last year for a vacation and immediately fell in love with them.  The mocha flavor is the only one I’ve had but it was delicious! They are made with MCT oil, clarified grass-fed butter and come in individual little packets.

Green Beauty Makeup like a beautiful red lipstick from Crunchi is the gift that keeps on giving all year.  Lipstick is one of my favorite makeup items and since it is applied to the lips can very easily be ingested.  Be sure to use a brand that is safe and free of harmful chemicals.  This brand is touted by all the green beauty gurus on the internet because it lasts, works, and is safe!  The color Serendipity is calling my name!

Jade Beauty Rollers are more than just for “beauty”.  They also help increase blood flow and lymph drainage, reduce tension headaches, help release sinus congestion, AND reduce the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness and so much more.  It’s so pretty too!  Use the code “LUCKYJADE” to get $7 off.

Perfume that won’t mess with your endocrine system, give a headache, or cause cancer…it does exist!  This sampler “minibar” set of Strange Invisible Perfume is the PERFECT gift.  With 7 different scents to try, plus a $50 gift card towards a full size bottle after you choose the one you love most, this gift is sure to be a winner.  I haven’t worn perfume in years because of how toxic it is, but this one is right up my alley!

Luxurious, natural, cruelty free makeup and skincare products that actually work are at the top of my list.  Beauty Heroes has a monthly subscription service that includes over $90 worth of high end, clean beauty products for a fraction of the price!  I have been dying to try this service!  I’m secretly hoping my husband gets me this for Christmas.  They also have hundreds of other truly amazing products, from all price points to pick from without using the subscription.

A powerful food processor!  For anyone who cooks, at all, this is one tool that is an absolute must and can’t live without!  Breville is a known and trusted brand that lasts and works.  This particular model is 11 cups and has a powerful 1000watt motor.  Any chef/cook/foodie would love this!

The Oura Ring is undoubtedly one of the coolest new gadgets for tracking health.  It measures your movement, steps, sleep, heart rate, body temperature (eliminating the need to take a basal body temperature!!), respiratory rate and SO MUCH MORE!!  They are coming out with 3 beautiful new designs in April but are taking pre-orders now.  This is the IT gift this year for anyone who is a health nut.  Use code “HIH” for 15% off at checkout.

A Breville Smart Oven does it all!  “13 Pre-programmed settings include: Toast 9 slices, Bagel, Broil, Bake, Roast, Warm, Pizza, Proof, Airfry, Reheat, Cookies, Slow Cook, and Dehydrate.”  Yes, it does ALL that!  Which totally justifies it being front and center on the counter.  It would be an absolute perfect gift for any cook, but especially for someone short on space because it does the job of at least 5 appliances.  

What’s Up Wednesday #6


It’s been way too long (like almost a year *palm to face*) since I’ve done a What’s Up Wednesday post!  Zero excuses for it.


Currently my garden is just pumping out the goodness!  Mostly zucchini. Probably because we planted a zillion of them.  I’ve been giving them away and finding ways to preserve and use them.  Zucchini bread=check. I came up with a recipe for the bread that used the pecan pulp from the milk I made.  It was SO good too!  Look for it on the blog soon!  Zucchini chips in the dehydrator=check.  Zucchini cut, steamed, and frozen for smoothies=check!  Zucchini noodles aka zoodles=check.  Zucchini sautéed in olive oil=check check check.  Zucchini fritters=check.


I’ve been getting an overload of cucumbers too!  My fave way to eat them is with grape tomatoes and my balsamic vinaigrette.


We’ve had a garden the last two years but this is the first year that I’ve been really enjoying it!!  I put in my earbuds, crank up a podcast (currently addicted to Do Something Beautiful by Leah Darrow on iTunes), and pull weeds till my back might break.  All while my chickens follow me around or I chase them away from the tomatoes.


Last Saturday my oldest daughter (11) entered the 4H bake-off at our County Fair.  It was her first year entering and she was so nervous!  Thankfully we have some really sweet, neighbor girls that have done it before and gave her all sorts of pointers.  She has to bring literally every-single-thing to make the cookies expect the oven.  She got started, we looked on and then I turned to my husband and said “OH No! She forgot the coconut oil!”  I stood back and watched as she so brilliantly thought to add extra honey.  The contest lasts an hour and when she I was finished she brought us some cookies to try.  They were perfect!!  Talk about proud mom moment!!  She got her results Monday…BLUE RIBBON!


Oh and the cookies she made were totally Paleo. For anyone who hasn’t tried gluten free baking, it’s tricky!!  Not very forgiving like wheat flour is.  Here’s the recipe she used for Uber Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These are a huge family favorite!

Product I’m digging right now… MuffinElse Paleo muffin mixes!  These little babies are so delicious!  But what’s really cool about them is they are individual packets that you pour into a mug, add water and microwave.  So simple, so good, all Paleo!  They also came out with a pancake mix that looks amazing!  I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite flavor because they are all THAT good.  And FYI, I don’t endorse products that I don’t also use and love.

SaveSave

Save Money on Paleo Foods by Shopping at Aldi


I won’t sugar coat it, eating a strict Paleo diet can be more expensive than a standard american diet (SAD).  There are definitely ways to cut costs and make it work with your budget though.  Like eating a diet heavy in vegetables and avoiding processed foods (even the Paleo kind!).  I wont get too in depth with it since there are literally entire blogs by people about just this subject.  What I will tell you is that you should be doing some of your shopping at Aldi!

Seems kinda crazy right?  In the past Aldi was laden with pretty much only junk food.  Things have really taken a turn though and the tides have changed.  As of January 1, 2017 Aldi has committed to removing 8 pesticides from all items in their stores.  As well as really increasing the amount of organic and gluten free items they carry.  Sure I can’t get all the items I need from their, but being able to go every few weeks and stock up on certain things has helped keep my grocery budget in check.

I took a trip there yesterday and picked up some things.  Below are pics and prices for what my store offers.  There are still many more things that are Paleo at Aldi than what I was able to snap pics of.  So be sure to check it out and save yourself some loot!  Side note:  be sure to bring a quarter for the grocery cart (no worries you get it back when you return the cart!) and bring your own bags too!

They don’t have a huge produce section but they actually offer quite a bit and a section of it is even organic.  One way I save money is by working off the dirty dozen and clean 15 list from the EWG.  I buy the produce listed on the clean 15 and only organic for those on the dirty dozen.

img_8898

Organic bananas= $.59/lb  Avocados= $.59/each  Cabbage= $1.09  Green onions=$.69/package  Cauliflower=$2.29

Seafood should always be purchased wild caught and not farmed.  Basically farmed seafood are swimming in a concentrated pool of their own filth.  Juuust let that sink in for a second.  Gross.  Aldi carries wild caught salmon, scallops and a few other fish such as tilapia.  They are even sustainably caught!  Heck yeah!

img_8903

Wild caught jumbo scallops=$9.99/12oz     Wild caught pink salmon fillets $7.39/2lbs

Pasta sauce can get really pricey when you start getting into organic no junk added sauces.    I’ve seen many jars upwards of $6-8/jar!  Ideally we’d all make our own but lets be real, most of us aren’t going to do that.  I’m hoping to this summer but until then I will keep buying the Aldi organic brand and add some extra dried herbs and olive oil to make it taste homemade.

Organic pasta sauce $1.99/jar

Frozen produce is not only a cost saver, it also can be a lifesaver on busy nights or when the fridge runneth empty!  They don’t have a huge selection but they have brussels sprouts and even organic berries!

img_8897

Frozen Brussels Sprouts $.99/bag 12 oz

A new find was this salsa!  They have always carried some really cool varieties but they only recently came out with an organic one and with pretty clean ingredients!

Organic Salsa $2.29/jar

I normally don’t shy away from healthy oils for cooking. I use a generous amount in my food.  However, there are times that using an oil spray is just needed, such as on a waffle iron, or in a muffin tin.  Every oil spray I have seen, that doesn’t also have soy lecithin in it, (Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray does have this) is about $5/bottle.  I was so excited when I spotted this olive oil spray that only has olive oil in it and a steal at $2.49!!

img_8900

Olive oil spray $2.49/bottle

Nuts are typically something most Paleo people keep on hand.  Aldi offers a wide selection of them, just be sure you buy raw ones that don’t have added oils.  They also have cashew butter and almond butter!

img_8899

Shelled Pistachios $4.99/6oz bag

This past year I discovered I don’t react to goat milk products!  It’s been so wonderful being able to eat goat cheese and goat milk yogurt.  I usually snag a few goat cheeses while at Aldi and found a cool red wine variety this trip!

img_8896

Red wine infused goat cheese $3.99   Garlic and herb goat cheese $1.99

A few other things to grab…

  • Coconut oil
  • Guacamole
  • Raw honey
  • Organic applesauce and squirt applesauce pouches
  • Organic baby food pouches (I take these when we travel for times there is literally nothing else to eat)
  • Rice pasta
  • Kerrygold cheese varieties
  • LaCroix is even there on occasion!
  • Organic ketchup (it has added sugar so if you’re looking for squeaky clean Paleo, skip it)

They are always getting new products in and have one time specials so there are many more things than just the ones I listed!  Check them out and let me know what you think!

Saying Goodbye to 2016 and Welcoming 2017. A Year in Review.


It seems as though everywhere I turn someone has been saying what an awful year 2016 was.  By the grace of God I managed to dodge that bullet.  In all fairness, I have had my fair share of rough years.  I mean rough!  So I pray that those years of learning, fighting, heartaches and pains are behind me.  I know I will face difficult patches again at some point, because life, but I have also learned that to get to the best parts you have to go through the worst.  

To those of you currently going through the worst of it, let me be here to tell you, it does get better.  Life isn’t straight sucky.  It really truly does get better, joyous, and even peaceful.  Despite the insanely hectic year we’ve had, I can still call it a peaceful year.   Seems odd, but peace doesn’t come from external things, it comes from within.  Digging deep to let go of the stresses, the anger, the pain, the regrets, all of it.  No life is perfect and no person is perfect.  We are all in this world, this beautiful mess of ups and downs together.  The happiest people I know don’t have what this world would consider “having it all”.  They are the people who choose happiness despite any situation they face.  They may get knocked down but they don’t stay down, they get up and keep fighting.   And we all know those people that no matter how good things are going for them, they choose to focus on the negative.  It’s all a choice we make.

People often spend the few days around New Year’s reflecting back on the past year and pondering the new year ahead.  I spend a lot of time daydreaming, thinking, over-thinking, and reminiscing.  When I think about 2016, I think of it fondly.  2016 taught me a lot, but that’s honestly no different than any other year.    In no particular order here are a few things I learned:

  • Blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes hidden as curses.  Some of the most painful things in life will bring about the most beautiful blessings.
  • People will let you down and break your heart but other people will also be your glue to mend that broken heart.  Let them be your glue, break that wall down and let others in.  It’s worth it.
  • Putting yourself first and being selfish are not the same thing, but if we’re not careful it can become the same thing.  Meaning, it’s good to take care of yourself but don’t cross that line into neglecting others needs around you for your own selfish desires.  I can say with all that I am, the best feelings don’t come from getting, they come from giving of yourself for the betterment of others.
  • Do YOUR thang and don’t worry so much about the opinions of others.  The older I get the easier this becomes.  This year I really honed in on this and damn does it feel good!
  • Something I’m still learning but have made a lot of progress on (the last few years) is getting to know my body and what works and doesn’t work for me.  Gluten, dairy and soy-no Bueno!  Occasional grains and goat milk products-yay for me!
  • Along the same line as above is also physically attempting new things and yet always evolving.  I still love yoga and weightlifting, and I still am NOT a runner!!  I tried stand-up paddle boarding and LOVE it.  Skiing…not my jam, probably because I hate being cold.  My point, you won’t know unless you try!  Don’t be afraid to get out there and see what you’re capable of, what you like and dislike.
  • Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I learned this year, was that I am so much stronger than I believed.  I traveled alone to Costa Rica.  I stopped caring so much what others think of me, and cared more about what I think of me.  I was able to look back on my life and see the inner demons I’ve had to face and conquered.  Doing that is truly a big step for people.  It isn’t easy to see our own faults and then overcome them.

Every new year holds opportunity for growth if we allow it.  I have never been big on New Year’s resolutions.  However, like I said above, the changing of the calendar is a great time for people to reflect and look upon the horizon for new and better things to come.  HOPE is a word that fills my heart, and it’s a much better way of looking at the things I’d like to see come to life in 2017.  Things I HOPE for in 2017:

  • Continue to become the healthiest version of me I can.  Dipping my toes in the Keto-Paleo world and seeing if Keto works for me.  Check out The Medical Medium and the philosophies and teachings behind it to see if that may work for me…per my doctors advice.  These two things will be an all year adventure.  They aren’t a quick fix, not that any successful lifestyle change is a quick fix.  It takes many months to see progress and change, whether good or bad.  After being Paleo for two years, I’m ready to start digging a little deeper and find even more success with my health through diet.
  • Get on my yoga mat. Every. Single. Day!  This is something that to the naked eye looks like a resolution, but it’s so much deeper.  When in Costa Rica on a yoga retreat I learned a valuable lesson about yoga.  It is bigger than the asana-the pose. Yoga is a beautiful way of healing our bodies, the physical and emotional.  I had a particularly life changing class that caused me to break down and cry to the point the woman next to me asked if I was ok.  I was a mess.  A mending, healing, hopeful, heart bursting mess.  There are just some things that can not be put into words and the way I felt during that class is one of them.  For me, the best part of doing yoga isn’t the “workout” or flow, it’s the end, coming into corpse pose and finally letting it all go.  The meditative part of it all and looking deep within, quieting the mind and letting go of anything not serving me well.  I have struggled since that class to achieve that feeling again, and I know it’s because I haven’t devoted enough time to actually try.

Ultimately my hopes for 2017 are for a year filled with answered prayers, health, happiness, and continued personal growth.  I’m excited for 2017 and the promises it holds!  I pray that if you’re reading this, God will bless you abundantly this coming year and you may find true happiness in all things!