Wellness Gift Guide for the Holidays 2020

Holiday Blue Boxes with Linen Cord, Cinnamon, Pine cones, Nuts. Natural Gifts on Wooden Background. Toned

20 wellness gift ideas I curated especially for you.

The holidays are just around the corner! With all the craziness of this year, online shopping has become the go-to for many of us. To make your shopping a little easier, I’ve assembled 20 of my favorite wellness gifts, from sleep aids to books to kitchen gadgets, that you can get delivered to your door.

This 2020 holiday gift list contains some of my favorite things I’ve given or received over the years. As much as possible, these gifts are eco-friendly, natural, organic, or health-promoting.

Important:  If you choose to purchase anything through the links in this article, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!  You can find my full affiliate disclosure here if you like reading the fine print!

 

Without further ado... "these are a few of my favorite things" (Ha! Now you're going to have that song stuck in your head!):

1.  Philips SmartSleep Alarm Clock - Wake up gently to gradual light and sound. This is a game-changer for Highly Sensitive People.

2.  Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp - I love the soothing warm pinky-orange glow from these beautiful lamps. Also makes a great night-light and has a dimmer.

3.  Plant Therapy Essential Oils - Therapeutic grade essential oils with kid-safe and organic options. Plant Therapy has great prices and easy to order (no subscriptions or regular order commitments). They have some great blends for wellness, or holiday scents, as well as lip balms, lotions, and more.

4.  Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler - with straw and removable handle, this large mug keeps things cold or warm for hours.

5.  AirDoctor Home Air Purifier - I've had this filter in my home for 2 years now and I love it! It captures particles 100x smaller than a regular HEPA filter.

6.  Weighted blankets and other sensory comfort products - these make a soothing gift that help you feel calm and relaxed. Weighted blankets have demonstrated benefits for sleep. Especially helpful for people with high sensitivity.

7.  Light Therapy Lamp - Feel blue in the winter? This super-bright light keeps cortisol levels healthy.

8.  Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker - This revolutionized dinner at my house. Cook a whole frozen chicken in one hour! It's also a Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer... hello, extra space in my cupboards!

9.  Good Vibes Adult Coloring Book - Coloring isn’t for kids anymore and studies show it may reduce stress levels. 

10. Shiatsu Massager - With heat and plush cover to relieve muscle pain, this rivals an actual massage for half the price!

11. Stainless Steel Water Bottle - The water bottle I use that keeps water cold all day, with a one-handed flip-top lid for easy access!

12. Leather-Bound Notebook - A beautiful leather journal for sketching or journaling.

13. Plant Therapy's Essential Oil Diffuser for Kids - a plush animal along with a KidsSafe Oil blend. I love Plant Therapy's KidSafe products

14. Vitamix Blender - This is their basic model, but still professional-grade. It's an amazing blender that will last for years

15. Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lids - Turn your mason jars into endless opportunities for drinking, pouring, or storing

16. Portable Hammock - It's sooo relaxing and the kiddo has a swing to play on wherever we go camping. 

17. The Four Agreements - One of the most popular book recommendations because really... everyone should read it.

18. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? - It can be so confusing to know what we should eat. Dr. Mark Hyman has written an extremely practical, helpful resource book backed by scientific and nutritional research, to set the record straight.

19. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You - This book is a valuable resource for Highly Sensitive People, as well as those who are trying to understand the trait.

20. Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom - First published in 1994 and now in its 5th revision (2020), this book has remained the veritable bible of women's physical and emotional wellness.

 

To your High Vitality Life,

Signature Shannon transp

 

2 WAYS TO GET MORE VITALITY IN YOUR LIFE FOR FREE:

  1. Join one of my private Facebook communities:

    • Click here to join "High Vitality Life Revolution" - for women who are taking control of their health and happiness, with free daily support, tips, resources, inspiration, mini-challenges, and more, OR...

    • Click here to join "Wellness Collective for HSPs" - for Highly Sensitive People and Empaths who want to thrive, with daily support from me and other HSPs, plus tips, resources, inspiration, and mini-wellness challenges for a holistic approach to inner peace and a lifestyle that supports your unique needs for the long term.

  1. Click here to get a free "Vitality Session" with me - where we will put our heads together and figure out how you can make some real strides towards a more peaceful, happy, healthy life. With over 30 years' experience, I guarantee we will increase your vitality.

 

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Buddha Bowl

dish food Carrot and red lentil soup cuisine bisque ingredient 1615292 pxhere

As a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, the name of the game for meals at my house is FAST and EASY! 

Here's a stand-by that can be recreated in so many different ways that it never gets boring.

Try switching up the veggies or the dressing to anything you like and you've got a brand new meal.

Honestly, just use what you've got in the pantry or fridge. You can't lose.

This recipe is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Enjoy!

 

Buddha Bowl

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (if you have to cook the quinoa today)
Servings: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup baby spinach 
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa (cold or hot)
  • ½ cup chickpeas (canned)
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 dash salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make quinoa if you don't have leftovers in the fridge.
  2. Put spinach in large bowl 
  3. Top with cooked quinoa, chickpeas, red pepper, and cucumber.
  4. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil. Add dash of salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy!

NOTES:

You can add anything you like to this Buddha bowl! Why not try:

  • Veggies - like carrots, lettuces, roasted broccoli, etc.
  • Protein - like salmon, chicken, tofu, beans, etc.
  • Healthy fats - like avocados, hard boiled eggs, etc.

 

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8 Tips for Choosing Supplements Wisely

 Variety of dietary supplements, including capsules of Garlic, Evening Primrose Oil; Artichoke Leaf;  Olive Leaf; Magnesium and Omega 3 Fish Oil.Selective focus. Taken in daylight.

We all know there’s a huge selection of supplements on the market today. It seems that new ones are launched every day and there is more and more marketing lingo that promises to save your health.

But you are a savvy health-conscious consumer. You want to make sure you're making wise choices with your health (and money).

Here are eight expert tips for you when choosing supplements...

 

Tip #1: If you’re in a country that licenses or pre-approves supplements (like I am in Canada), then make sure you’re getting the real thing, and not some illegally imported bootleg of a product.

Why?

This is your health, and it’s important enough to make sure you’re getting a product that at least meets the minimum requirements in your country. There are always recalls and safety alerts issued for contaminated supplements or products that don’t even contain what they say they do.

Don't get me wrong! This health authority approval is not a perfect gauge of quality, but it does have some benefits worth considering.

How?

In Canada, you would check its approval by making sure it has an 8-digit “NPN” (National Product Number) on the front label. This number means that the company meets the required standards (including quality standards and the truthfulness of their labeling). And, if something does go wrong, there is someone who you can complain to (the company or Health Canada's MedEffect program) and who is responsible (the company).

If you’re not in a country that pre-approves supplements, make sure what you buy meets the regulations of your country. If you have to look up the company or product online or call them, please do it – don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions before you use any health products. If the only address or phone number is not in your country, then steer clear, because if something goes wrong it’s possible that nothing can be done about it.

 

Tip #2: Read (and heed) the warnings, cautions, and contraindications.

Why?

You don't want a reaction, right?

How?

Check the label for things like:

  • To consult a healthcare practitioner if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or
  • If you have certain medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, auto-immune disease, diabetes, ulcers, etc.), or
  • If you are taking certain medications (e.g. like blood thinners or immune suppressants, etc.) or
  • If you are taking other supplements, or
  • If you shouldn't take it for more than a certain length of time (e.g. 6 or 8 weeks).

 

Tip #3: Look at the medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients for things you might be allergic to or have reacted to in the past.

Why?

Just as you would do this with foods, do this with supplements. Again, you don't want a reaction, right?

And even if you've used a product before, check it each time you buy it. Manufacturers may make changes to ingredients from time to time.

How?

Any credible supplement company will list every active ingredient, as well as the inactive ingredients. The print may be small, but worthwhile.

Info not there? Give them a call. Most reputable companies have a toll-free number on the bottle or at the very least their website address.

PRO TIP: You can look up any Canadian NPN number on Health Canada's database here:

https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/index-eng.jsp

NPN search

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to this in the USA. The closest to it is the Dietary Supplement Label Database from the National Institute of Health, which is proactively gathering label information for most of the dietary supplements sold in the United States.

The US Dietary Supplement Label Database is here:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/Research/Dietary_Supplement_Label_Database.aspx

 

Tip #4: Read the labeled “Indications” or “Uses” (a.k.a. How can this product help me?).

Why?

Bullshit alert. What is the company claiming their product can help you with? Beware of people who tell you that this product can help you beyond what’s on the label. If they heard about it or found it in a book, that may or may not be reliable information.

How?

Ask for scientific studies, or look it up on credible websites that don’t make money from selling supplements (such as Examine, or the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements).

 

Tip #5: What “dose forms” can you get (i.e. tablets, capsules, powder, liquid, etc.)?

Why?

I personally prefer capsules. This is because tablets and caplets are not very easy to absorb because they’re compacted into a hard rock-like form that sometimes doesn't break down in your digestive system.

Powders and liquids are easier to swallow and to absorb, but they can go “off” quicker because every time you open the bottle, you’re exposing all of the contents to the oxygen, moisture, and microbes in the air. They can also be difficult to get accurate dosing (especially if they need to be shaken well).

Capsules (my preferred form) are powders placed into tiny dissolvable...capsules. You can get vegan capsules or gelatin capsules. They’re not compressed, so they're more easily absorbed (they're still loose powder), and the capsule itself provides an extra layer of protection from oxidation and contamination from the air.

How?

The front label should mention this loud and clear. Along with how many are in each bottle.

 

Tip #6: How much/many do you need for a recommended dose?

Why?

This is important to keep in mind because you may not want to take several capsules per day in order to get the recommended dose. Plus, many (but not all) bottles contain a 30 day supply. This helps you see how much you need to take, as well as the real cost per serving/dose.

How?

Read carefully.

Is the label information based on one capsule, two...maybe six? The amounts of each nutrient listed on the label may be based on each dose or the entire daily dose.

For example, if a label recommends you take 2 capsules per day, the active ingredient amounts listed may be the total amount in those 2 capsules, unless it says "per 1 capsule".

Yes, for this one you do need to read carefully.

 

Tip #7: Check the storage requirements and expiry date.

Why?

These two go hand-in-hand because the expiry date is based on how that supplement degrades over time at certain temperatures, humidity, and light exposure.

How?

If the bottle says that it should be refrigerated, make sure it’s in the fridge at the store or shipped in a refrigerated truck.

If it says to refrigerate after opening, then make sure once that seal is broken, you keep it in your fridge.

If it says to keep out of sunlight, make sure the store/shipping company is doing that, and that you do that too. This is sometimes why supplements are in dark or opaque bottles – to prevent sunlight from degrading it before the expiry date.

And, of course, I wouldn't recommend taking supplements past their expiry date. After this date, the manufacturer does not guarantee the quality or dose of the product.

 

Tip #8: If you’re trying a new supplement for the first time, start slow.

Why?

Keep an eye out for both positive and negative reactions, and act accordingly.

How?

You don’t have to dive right into a full daily dose on day 1. Try starting with half-doses or skipping days in between doses for a week or two before ramping up to the recommended dose.

I hope these eight tips serve you well!


Yours in health and wellness,

Signature Shannon transp

 

2 WAYS TO GET MORE VITALITY IN YOUR LIFE FOR FREE:

  1. Join one of my private Facebook communities:
    • Click here to join "High Vitality Life Revolution" - for women who are taking control of their health and happiness, with free daily support, tips, resources, inspiration, mini-challenges, and more, OR...
    • Click here to join "Wellness Collective for HSPs" - for Highly Sensitive People and Empaths who want to thrive, with daily support from me and other HSPs, plus tips, resources, inspiration, and mini-wellness challenges for a holistic approach to inner peace and a lifestyle that supports your unique needs for the long term.
  1. Click here to get a free "Vitality Session" with me - where we will put our heads together and figure out how you can make some real strides towards a more peaceful, happy, healthy life. With over 30 years' experience, I guarantee we will increase your vitality.

 

Free Vitality Session button

 

 

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Meal Planning for Busy People

Eating

You want to eat healthier, but you’re super-busy.

You eat out or order in several times a week because that’s what you have to do. That’s what works for you and your family (when it comes to time and convenience).

But you probably realize it’s not working great when it comes to your health goals (not to mention the finances).

You want better health. You want to eat better. You don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food as much anymore. And you DO want to save time and money.

I get it!

So, as a health and wellness coach, I am here to help you.

I have a simple strategy that I’m more than happy to share with you. It will help you to plan and prepare healthy meals for the week.

Now, you don’t need to completely abandon your regular meals out. You could use my strategy to help you eat out just one or two fewer times per week. It’s up to you.

As with any lifestyle change, starting gradually helps build consistency. The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again.

Let me walk you through my simple meal prep system, and how this can work for you.

PLAN MEALS FOR THE WEEK

I prefer to do this on the weekend. I’ll flip through my recipes and choose a bunch to make that week. I’ll even pick which days to have which meals if I’m feeling overly ambitious, but that’s not necessary if you’re new to this. I’ll bookmark the pages and write my chosen recipes down in a notebook or on a sheet of paper to put on my fridge. I like to have at least one crock pot meal each week because they’re so easy, and dinner is ready and waiting at dinner time.

Then I create my grocery list. I take a quick look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, and list the recipe ingredients that I need to buy.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure you have enough of an ingredient already, consider buying a “backup” one just in case. I’ve had times where the tomato sauce I planned to use was a bit short of what I actually needed. Having to run out in the middle of meal prep can be very frustrating.

Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have twice the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so all you need to do is heat it up when you’re ready.

Once you have your handy-dandy grocery list ready, hop on over to the store and pick up your essentials. If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a fan of washing and chopping produce, then consider buying them already pre-washed and pre-chopped, or even frozen. You can make your meal prep even easier if you don’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars.

PREPARE MEALS FOR THE WEEK

Since you’ve already chosen your recipes and have your groceries, let’s get started on prepping some of the ingredients.

I like to book off 2-3 hours one afternoon for this. Get your recipes ready, clear off your counter, and play some music (if you’re so inclined).

At this point, depending on time, I’ll either prep the ingredients, or pre-cook the entire recipe. Sometimes just washing and chopping produce and putting it in containers is a huge time-saver for weeknights. Or, you can go through and make a whole meal, and divide it up into portions and refrigerate or freeze. It’s really up to you, because the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.

AWESOME MEAL PREP TIP

There is one meal that is easiest to plan and prepare in advance. It’s one that’s also often the most difficult to eat at home if you’re busy.

That’s breakfast.

Planning some overnight oatmeal is a great start to any day. Simply place ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup your choice of milk, 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds, and maybe some spices (cinnamon or vanilla are our favorites) into a container (or make 5 for the whole week). Then place the lid on, shake them up and put them in your fridge. In the morning you can quickly heat them up or even eat them cold (the oats will have absorbed the milk). Top with berries, chopped fruit, nuts or seeds and enjoy.

With a little planning, you’ll be able to eat healthier while you save money and calories.

This may take some getting used to, so if I can be of help, please reach out and let me know.

REFERENCES: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekly-meal-prep-infographic


Yours in health and wellness,

Signature Shannon transp

 

2 WAYS TO GET MORE VITALITY IN YOUR LIFE FOR FREE:

1. Click here to join my tribe, High Vitality Life Revolution - where likeminded women are taking control of their health and happiness, with free daily support, tips, resources, inspiration, mini-challenges and more!

2. With over 30 of experience, I guarantee we will find a custom solution to increase your vitality today. Click the button below to get a free vitality session with me.

 

Free Vitality Session button

 

 

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Carrot Lentil Soup Recipe

dish food Carrot and red lentil soup cuisine bisque ingredient 1615292 pxhere

 

It's feeling like fall here in Canada, and with the cooler weather this month I've been making lots of soups! 

This one is a favourite because I always have the ingredients on hand, it's nourishing, and it's quick and easy for those busy days.

I typically make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for lunches or another quick dinner with some homemade biscuits or sourdough bread.

These days it can be pretty hard to come up with meals that suit all the needs of my family. My son is vegetarian, I'm gluten-free, and my husband is currently avoiding nightshades (it's shocking how many of my stand-by recipes have been omitted from circulation because they have tomatoes in them!).

This recipe is vegetarian, dairy-free, nightshade-free, grain-free.

Enjoy!

 

Carrot Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, no added salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, black pepper and carrots and sauté for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add lentils and stir to combine. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, until lentils are cooked and carrots are soft.
  5. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree soup until smooth.

NOTES:

  • If you don’t have fresh ginger, substitute it for ½ tbsp of ground ginger.
  • Substitute the garlic cloves for ½ tsp of garlic powder.
  • Time saver: double this recipe and freeze leftovers.
  • Try serving with a dollop of lower fat plain yogurt, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, or feta.

 

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