Gift the gift of good health this holiday season with festive treats for healthy bodies

Gift the gift of good health this holiday season with festive treats for healthy bodies 11/28/2007 -LAS CRUCES – You may think visions of sugar plums and video games dominate local wish lists, but there are lots of ways to put some health in your holidays.

The best gift you can give yourself and others is to start with honest, realistic expectations about the whole gift-giving process, said clinical psychologist Al Galves of Las Cruces.

“The simplest way to have healthy, happy holidays is not to get too excited. It’s pretty simple, if you don’t have too high expectations and know that holidays put a lot of pressure to be happy and to be “up.’ Be aware of the tension and pressure on giving gifts,” Galves said.

Both giving and receiving can be fraught with trials and tribulations.

“It can be really hard to deal with the disappointment of getting gifts that aren’t what you wanted and you’re trying to be nice about it,” said Galves, author of “Lighten Up. Dance With Your Dark Side” (Tasora, ), in itself, an opportunity to give the gift of self-awareness and help those who suffer from seasonal angst and depression. The book offers helpful information and exercises for discovering, acknowledging and coping with and transcending emotions like anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy, sadness and guilt. His book also includes relaxation
and meditation techniques.

Galves thinks honesty can be the best policy with loved ones, even at Christmas, and notes that one year, tired of getting the same old gift from his nearest and dearest, he decided it was time to say something.

“After getting underwear again, I finally spoke out and said, “I can buy my own underwear,'” and the issue was resolved, he said.

Galves has recommendations for gifts that are likely to nurture health and good feelings.

“Give people sessions at a spa or fitness clinic, or a certificate for a massage. Giving people things they can use to do something is a good idea,” he said.

Being active can help people cope with holiday stress, he said, but added that the holidays can also be a good opportunity to enjoy time alone or with friends and family.

“Take some time during this time of year to sit back and relax and get off the train,” he advises.

With a little planning, you can even enjoy – and give – healthy goodies.

Mountain View Market, 1300 El Paseo Road, will custom make or help you assemble special gift baskets for people with allergies or who are on special diets.

“Our baskets are for people who have special needs. We can put together all kinds of foods for vegans, diabetics and people with celiac disease, for instance, so they can have fun, too,” said Kathy Stott, who manages Mountain View’s vitamin, supplement and health products area.

She led a tour of the store’s “grab and go” section, which offers yummy baked treats like vegan oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies, and wheat- and gluten-free muffins in exotic flavors like pumpkin spice and mesquite banana, which is made with brown rice flour and mesquite meal.

“People should be able to have real goodies, not things that are bland or don’t have the consistency of the real thing. Now we have lots of choices and we all have all the ingredients if people want to make their own healthy treats,” Stott said.

For those who are concerned about a healthy planet, the cooperative market also has organic wool and cotton socks and clothing, environmentally friendly cosmetics and cleaning products, and recyclable cloth gift and tote bags.

Festive treats for healthy bodies range from gift baskets filled with tinctures, lotions and balms blended by Trish McCaull of Las Cruces to classics like Dr. Bonner’s peppermint soap, a perfect holiday stocking stuffer.

Inspire kids and couch potato adults to move away from the video games with gifts that encourage movement. Find out about their hobbies and favorite sports. Gift choices could include anything from footballs and basketballs to golf or fishing equipment, inline skates, a family trampoline and bike or ski accessories or something as simple and inexpensive as a jump rope and free weights.

And stylish new workout gear could fortify New Year’s resolutions. Choices include new hiking boots, swimsuit and goggles, dance leotards, warmup suits or chic sweats. Package with exercise DVDs or gift certificates for a session with a personal trainer or a series of yoga, dance, Tai Chi or other exercise classes.

Books are also a nice way to share some healthy tips and concepts, particularly if you know your recipient’s tastes.

Oprah’s popular health guru, Dr. Mehmet C. Oz and his coauthor Michael F. Roizen, have followed their bestsellers “YOU: The Owner’s Manual” (Free Press/Simon & Schuster) and “YOU: On A Diet” with a title that should appeal to all the aging Baby Boomers on your list: “YOU: Staying Young: An Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty.” There is also a “YOU: Staying Young” workout DVD.

“Healthy & Fit After Fifty” (AuthorHouse) by Steve Fisher, discusses “ways to improve physically, emotionally and spiritually to help readers look and feel better, live longer and with a higher quality of life, overcome lifestyle sickness or disease, remain physically active and have better sex,” according to Fisher, a doctor of naturopathy.

Inspire some open minded investigations of alternative medicine with “What Your Doctor Hasn’t Told You and the Health Store Clerk Doesn’t Know: The Truth About Alternative Treatments and What Works” by Edward L. Schneider, M.D., and Leigh Ann Hirschman (Avery Press).

Or explore the world of herbal medicine, curanderas and folk healers and their tradition in “Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition” by Eliseo “Cheo” Torres (University of New Mexico Press), who includes a glossary of helpful herbs.

Take a fun approach to inspire and fortify New Year’s resolutions with innovative books on diet and weight loss.

“Our Lady of Weight Loss” by Janice Taylor (Viking Studio) is a spiritually-oriented artist’s approach which promises “Miraculous and motivational musings from the patron saint of permanent fat removal.” For more fun, check out Taylor’s Web site and online support system and e-newsletter Our Lady of Weight Loss Kick in the Tush Club at www.

Spice up dieting with offerings like “Mexican Light” (Cocina Mexicana Ligera): Healthy Cuisine for Today’s Cook” by Kris Rudolph (University of North Texas Press). This bilingual guide offers healthy recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, entrées, side dishes, desserts and beverages with added tips for low-carb, low-fat options, information on do-ahead party planning and a special section devoted to varieties and preparation methods for our No. 1 regional health food: chiles.

For an extra treat, package a healthy cookbook with a basket stocked with cooking utensils and ingredients for one or more of the recipes in the book.

Healthy gift ideas

• Health club membership

• Gift certificate for massage or body work

• Sessions with a personal trainer

• Exercise and sports equipment

• Workout clothes or footwear

• Health oriented books

• Custom gift baskets with healthy foods or cosmetics

• Cooking items: cooking classes, healthy food prep items like steamers and low-fat, sugar free, light and other healthy cuisine cookbooks
By S. Derrickson Moore Sun-News reporter
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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