Gifts for the health-conscious

From stylish diffusers to workout passes, there's something for all of your fit and wellness-obsessed friends

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      Health-conscious loved ones can be tricky to buy for: you want something that supports and shouts wellness, but you can’t exactly give them a jar of vitamins. A kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) might be all they crave, but the so-called “mother” culture could be a little tough to wrap.  And chances are your healthy-living BFF already has her own yoga mat, block, and bolster cushion.

      Fret not: we have you covered with these gift ideas that will warm the hearts of even your fittest, healthiest pals.

      THE OIL OF HEALING

      Get this: the global essential oil market is expected to reach $12.85 billion by 2023, up from $5.91 billion in 2016, according to Stratistics Market Research Consulting. This holiday season seems like as good a time as ever to get into the aromatherapeutic trend, in which concentrated plant extracts are inhaled or diluted then rubbed onto the skin. They’re said to have a whole host of health benefits, depending on the plant in question; lavender helps with stress relief, while tea tree may boost immunity.

      Shaped like a Maghrebi tajine, Auria’s Taj Ultrasonic Diffuser ($79.50 at Indigo [various locations]) will infuse a space with all manner of aromas. With a mist that lasts 16 hours, the unit comes in seven colours, including white, grey, and wood. To go with it, pick up Saje Natural Wellness’s holiday Diffuser Blend Collection ($44.95 at Saje [various locations]), consisting of four five-millilitre bottles of uplifting oils, including tree scents and peppermint twist.

      NATURALLY LOVELY LOCKS 

      Plant-based goodness isn’t limited to health-focused foodies; it’s good for your hair, too. Consider a basket of bottles from Vancouver-based AG Hair’s vegan-friendly Natural line, which is 98 percent plant-based. Apple-cider vinegar is the “holistic hero ingredient”, the substance’s acidity acting to lower pH levels, making hair shinier, more manageable, and less frizzy, all without nasty chemicals.

      The AG Hair Natural Holiday Duo consists of Natural Balance Shampoo and Natural Boost Conditioner, both formulated for all hair types, including colour-treated hair ($48 for both 355-mL bottles at salons or www.aghair.com). This gift is made more perfect by the fact a portion of sales goes to One Girl Can, which was founded by one of AG’s owners and builds schools for girls in Kenya and Uganda.

      BEYOND A BLENDER 

      Most healthy individuals have soups and smoothies on regular rotation. But some soups and smoothies are genuinely smoother than others. The grand master of small kitchen appliances, Vitamix is the gift to splurge on when you want to win a health nut’s heart. In no time, they’ll be whipping up nut and seed butters, non-dairy milks, baby food, dips, sauces, dressings, alternative flours, and more.

      There’s a range of options: the newest model, the Explorian, has a 2HP motor 5), while the premium Ascent A3500 kicks it up to 2.2HP ($399.9 and $749.95 respectively at Gourmet Warehouse [1340 East Hastings Street], other kitchen stores, and www.vitamix.com/ca). Both have a self-cleaning option, aircraft-grade stainless-steel blades, and a cool-running motor that can pulverize ingredients for up to six minutes at a time.  The latter has a programmable timer and built-in wireless connectivity that automatically adjusts to the container size you select.

      Bonus: with food waste becoming a real concern worldwide, putting this item under the Christmas tree will help your lucky loved one use up every last carrot top and kale stem in their healthy, home cooking, boosting nutrients and diminishing their output of kitchen scraps.

      A HUG IN A BLANKET 

      It’s not unusual for people to have trouble getting a good night’s rest, but what is rare is having a specially designed blanket to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. The Gravity Blanket ($279 at Indigo [various locations] is a weighted blanket that uses proprioceptive input (aka deep touch pressure stimulation) to simulate the feeling of being held or hugged, which is said to induce relaxation and diminishes stress. The result? Better Zzzs.

      The blanket comes in three weights (15, 20, and 25 pounds) and has gridded stitching to ensure that the microbeads inside stay evenly distributed. The exterior is a machine-washable microfibre duvet cover that comes in space grey, galaxy blue, or moon ivory.

      A SWEATY CHRISTMAS 

      If you’re buying for someone who takes their fitness as seriously as their food and who likes to shake up her workout routine, consider a trip to TurF (2041 West 4th Avenue)--a café, fitness studio, and boutique shop all in one—to pick up a TurF Starter Kit ($75). It includes a Turkish towel and three studio passes. With fitness classes at the Kits hangout ranging from power yoga to boxing to strength, there’s something for everyone, as long as they’re willing to sweat.

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