Food Babe’s Holiday Gift Guide

You have the opportunity of doing something LIFE CHANGING for someone – Give The Gift of Health this Holiday Season!…

Below are my favorite Stocking Stuffers and Gifts for Under the Tree – I’ve included the links where you can find these items in the new Food Babe Shop or elsewhere!

Here’s to Healthy Shopping!

Food Babe’s Favorite Stocking Stuffers:

Yoga Classes – Buy one or buy many, Yoga classes are the perfect gift to give someone who’s been wanting to try Yoga or for a loved one who is a long time Yogi. There are so many great studios where I live – Yoga One being my absolute favorite – classes start as low as $5-15 dollars! Like Johnna reminded us in class today – The physical benefits of yoga is just the icing on the cake, practicing Yoga’s primary purpose is to detox your body from the inside out. Imagine awakening this in someone who has never tried it before?

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Scuba Diving Lessons – Scuba Diving has changed my life. I only wish I found it sooner. Did you know you can be as young as 13 to get Scuba Certified? It’s one the activities that I plan most of my travels around and fills my life with so much joy. There are so many amazing things to see under the sea. The first time I swam with a school of sharks, I found beauty that I never thought I found find. Sharks are such calm and graceful creatures, completely opposite from what I had in my imagination. Lessons make the perfect gift for an adventure seeker in your life! Also – This is a perfect activity that will keep you active while on vacation burning hundreds of calories. I received my scuba diving training here in Charlotte at Paradise Island Divers.

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Vegan or Juice Cleanse – After witnessing the miracles that can happen to people after going on a Vegan and Juice Cleanse – I seriously couldn’t wait to put this on my list. Elle Palmer is the perfect coach and leader who does Vegan Cleanses locally here in Charlotte. Vegan Chef’s Rian and Ami from Home Healthy Market run an amazing 5 day Juice Cleanse. If you’d like more information let me know. If you don’t live in Charlotte – search the internet for others like them that lead people through cleanses in your area. Buy one cleanse for yourself and a loved one to do together!

Tarte Cosmetics – Looking for a lead free and toxic alternative to lipstick and lipgloss? Tarte Cosmetics make the most awesome Lip Tints that stay on your lips for hours and look FABULOUS. I own every color

:) I am obviously a huge fan!

Pacari and Righteously Raw Chocolates – Looking for a small editable gift to give? Convince a loved one they don’t need dairy or refined sugar in their chocolate to taste good! These are my favorite organic chocolate products on the market. The chocolate covered golden berries from Pacari and the Goji Righteously Raw bars are delectable. These sweets will look so adorable tucked into stockings or wrapped and tied into cellophane gift bags.

Organic/Local Food Gift Cards – One of my favorite gifts to give every season is the gift of experience. Treat your family and friends to an organic or farm to table restaurant gift card. Or even a personalized dinner created by a local vegan chef like Julia from Ethical Glutton. My favorite restaurants picks in town are – Luna’s Living Kitchen, Woodlands, Fern Flavors from the Garden, The Liberty, and Halcyon Flavors from the Earth.

Organic Food Delivery or Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) Subscriptions – Can’t convince a loved one to buy only organic? Sign them up for an organic food delivery like Absolute Organics or a local CSA. They will soon get hooked on the taste, variety and freshness of their order each week. The more we support organic food the more we reduce the use of pesticides on our earth. You’ll being giving a gift for someone and the environment.

Food Babe’s Gifts for Under the Tree:

A Juicer – Juice is medicine, plain and simple. This may be the most powerful and rewarding gift you could give yourself or a loved one. Drinking green juice will awaken you to health, vitality and wellness. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without juice and will certainty thank the person who bought you the juicer until the end of days. For more information on juicing – check out my past posts on juicing here.

Bodum Jars – Storing your juice, Hari Shakes or other green smoothies is easy thanks to air tight Bodum Jars. Having these jars are a real luxury, making it a perfect gift. I discovered these jars long ago when I received a wedding gift from my cousin in Louisiana. She filled each jar with the dry ingredients to a cookie recipe. Incredible! You could even fill these jars with organic hard candy like butterscotch and cinnamon candies from Yummy Earth and wrap the outside with a ribbon before you put it under the tree.

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Green Pan – This pan is a must for any healthy kitchen.  It is non stick but isn’t coated with toxic teflon and can help you reduce the amount of oil you use in your cooking dramatically – I stir fry things almost dry using only a 1/2 teaspoon of oil or vegetable broth without anything sticking. It’s completely safe and eco-friendly. I have both the Wok and Crepe Pan.

Superfoods – I bet there are lots of people in your lives that have never tried a goji berry or raw cacao nib. I am always introducing superfoods like these to my family and friends any chance I get. A perfect gift would be to get a cute basket from a craft store and fill it with different packages of superfoods. Navitas Naturals and Sunfood are my favorite sources for the best quality organic ingredients. You could also make mix the superfoods in a trail mix and put them in Bodum Jars too!

Klean Kanteen Reusable Bottles – Have a loved one who wastes countless hours buying cases of bottled water and filling landfills with plastic bottles? Get them a nice BPA free reusable stainless steel bottle they can carry with them everywhere. I carry my Klean Kanteen 64 ouncer to work with me everyday. There is nothing better than having fresh filtered water from home with you ready to go – I try to always finish the whole thing before coming home. This makes knowing I am fully hydrated very easy – especially taking those Hot Yoga classes after work. They make all sorts of sizes – my next favorite is 48 ounces – perfect for workouts at the gym or yoga studio and keep in the car for long days running errands.

Pure Olive Oil Soap – Don’t show up empty handed at a party this season. Pure Olive Oil Soap is the perfect for hostess gifts. Wrap three in a cute reusable kitchen towels for a nice eco-friendly wrap.

Reusable Ziplocs – Ever count how many ziplocs you and your family go through in one week? Imagine the waste and money you will save if your family just adopted Lunch Skins. This super eco friendly item is a reusable snack and/or sandwich bag that you can use over and over again and can get magically clean in your dishwasher. They come is so many cute patterns. I recently bought some from Ecolicious in Plaza Midwood. The shark pattern is my FAVORITE! Perfect for little kid’s lunch boxes too!

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Heart Rate Monitor – Not knowing how hard you are working in the gym is a big mistake if you are serious about getting in shape and continuously trying to challenge yourself to see results. This is one of the best tools I ever bought and now I am in the best shape of my life because of it. It gives me instant feedback on how hard I am working and how many calories I am burning. Having this watch on my wrist is a constant reminder to make each minute count when I am working out.

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Hot Water Kettle – I have 2 hot water kettles. One that I keep at home for morning hot water with lemon and hot tea and another one at work so I can enjoy fresh hot tea anytime I like. Breville has a few versions of kettles that I highly recommend that are BPA free – all the way from a basic stainless steel water kettle to a tea maker that does everything for you.

Glass Drinking Straws – This gift will be perfect for your favorite eco-friendly smoothie drinking friend or family member. The more plastics you can eliminate in someone’s life the better!

Stainless Steel Lemon Juicer – Teaching someone about detoxing first thing in the morning will be a lot more fun if you give them this gift. I love this lemon juicer because it is stainless steel, isn’t made of plastic or painted with potential harmful chemicals that can leach into your water or food. Hot water with lemon in the morning will be an easy ritual with this!

Knowledge – There may be no better gift, than the gift of knowledge. Give your loved one a favorite healthy lifestyle book. These are some of my favorite books to give right now -

Got other organic, healthy, holistic, and eco-friendly gift ideas? I’m all ears! If I like your product or suggestion and feature it here on the gift guide and you will receive a holiday gift from me!

Just submit your ideas on my Facebook Fan Page or comment section below or via email!

Wishing you Good Cheer, Lots of Healthy Eats, and Peace this Holiday Season!

Food Babe

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Thanksgiving Eats & Aches…

Thanksgiving Morning started out so great….

I started off my morning with the usual hot cup of water with lemon, a big cup of green tea, a Hari Shake and…. an unusual roaring oven set to 500 degrees….

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Got the nicely brined organic turkey in the oven to crisp the skin for 30 mins….

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Enjoyed another cup of green tea while watching the oven roar….

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Turned down the heat to 375, set up the turkey thermometer with an alarm to go off at 161 degrees and then headed downstairs with Mini me (my cousin) to get in a workout before the big feast….

We ended up doing iMax Cardio Conditioning from the Insanity DVDs…I felt a bit off and we ended stopping a little early…I figured all that cooking the day before and getting up early in the morning to put the turkey in must have worn me out…

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After working out and showering, we enjoyed watching the festive Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade parade on the balcony while waiting for the turkey timer to beeeeeep!

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I enjoyed a big nice pressed juice while jamming with all the band beats – Dandelion Greens, Lacinato Kale, Cucumber, Celery, Garlic, Ginger, and Lemon….

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Gnomes like Green Juice too…

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Turkey done – now time to get the drippings, make the gravy …

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Stirring the gravy is the hardest part…

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My Mom and Dad were hosting Thanksgiving this year – it’s a tradition to have it at their house, but the last couple of years we got thrown off a little from our traditions…it was so wonderful to have everyone back together again at the place of so many childhood memories…

Before we packed up the steaming hot turkey and gravy – I got a stash of digestive remedies together just for emergency purposes….the last couple of Thanksgivings, I remember completely overdoing it and ended up in stomach agony.  I wanted to be prepared this time!  One year at my in laws house, I remember having 3 pieces of pumpkin pie and felt so bad that I actually literally got sick – like really sick…like not holding down my pumpkin pie sick. SO EMBARRASSING. Since then I haven’t been allowed to have more than one piece. True Story.

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We got to the house right on time….Everyone contributed to the feast – my brother walking in with my sister in law’s famous made from scratch mash potatoes and mac and cheese. I was happy to find out everyone had gotten mostly organic ingredients for the feast – (I couldn’t help but smile…thinking that this blog must have had some influence in my family’s purchasing decisions)

:)

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My Mom set an absolute gorgeous table – Here she is with my Aunt and Uncle awaiting the feast…

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My contributions to the meal were made possible by the help of Mini Me – my amazing and adorable cousin.  She and I spent the day before and all morning making sweet potato casserole (2 ways – one with vegan marshmallows and one with pecans), Corn Bread Stuffing, tomato soup and the turkey and gravy.  I also made my Cranberry Sauce and
Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake earlier in the week… My mom, sister in law, and aunt made everything else…

IMG 2546We ate over 2 and half hours – it was such a lovely meal… it all started with a huge array of 4 different kinds of salads, lots of raw veggies, homemade breads and rolls, and a spicy tomato soup… (recipe to come!)

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My Mom’s traditional spicy corn bread…

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This is was my starter plate – my favorite part was the huge radish, asparagus, spicy corn bread and…at the bottom of my salad bowl was a scoop of my aunt’s amazing salad – so many crunchy additions like marcona almonds and rice noddles – it was so mmmmm good!

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The sides are always my favorite at Thanksgiving…My mom makes the BEST vegetables.

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This was plate – I loaded it up with everything – Lots of green beans, corn, broccoli, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic roasted potatoes, Corn Bread Stuffing, turkey (OH I haven’t had it in SOOOOO long…), Cranberry Sauce, and gravy…. I tried to finish my whole plate – but totally couldn’t. Fail. Major Fail. This was so strange – all of Thanksgiving pasts – I could eat two plates like this…

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After eating, this is all I could do – I started to get really achey – my legs could not stand up any longer and I just wanted a hot cup of ginger tea and a blanket…. We sat in the family room forever catching up and chit chatting about everything while the boys watched the games and others looking through sale ads.

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Later in the evening – everyone went for dessert – but I still couldn’t even look at any.  I was so full from earlier and kinda lost my appetite.  There was so much dessert too – My Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake, 3 pies (pumpkin, pecan, and apple), pumpkin bread, apple bread, watergate salad, my aunt’s famous tres leche, and more…

Later when most of everyone left – I finally got enough energy to get up off my butt and try a slice of pumpkin pie and apple pie – I had one measly bite of each before putting both down.  Something was seriously wrong….and then my aches and pains got worse.

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My husband and I got home late in the evening. I originally had plans to visit my best friend Nicole and her family before going home but instead had absolutely no energy to do anything else but get home and curl up on the couch. The serious chills and aches continued to get worse – my husband sat next to me, felt my head and said you are “REALLY” hot… I said…”ut oh….do you know where the thermometer is?”  - both of us had no clue.  I hadn’t had a fever in probably over 15 years. We talked about using the turkey thermometer – but luckily we found a human one in an old box of expired medicines under the guest bathroom sink. He took my temperature and it was a whopping 102! Holy Crap…. All I could think was…..”I just made a LOT of food for my entire family…. a sick person who now has 102 degree temperature….oh $hit!!!! ” This was probably one of the worst case senarios I could ever imagine. I prayed for several minutes after …. praying for my family’s health and well being and praying they don’t get sick from me.

So what did I do naturally to feel better? I wasn’t taking any greenish blue bills called Advil and there was no way I was taking any liver damaging Tylenol…. After calling my parents to tell them why I didn’t move off the couch….my Dad immediately wanted to talk to my husband to tell him what they used to do in India when someone had a fever – he said I needed to start with remedy of a cool cloth on the forehead… Which worked to reduce my temperature by a few points within an hour to 101.5. I also took a major dose of Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien - 6 tablets before bed, 4 in the middle of the night, and 4 more in the morning… I also put hydrogen peroxide in each ear like Dr. Mercola explains is a remarkable cure to the flu. The night was ROUGH – very achey, lots of tumbles, turning and waking up my husband with moaning… (poor thing – he didn’t get any sleep)… I woke up at about 11am with a much lower temperature of 99.6 and as of 6pm tonight – I am back down to 98.4 – Yes .2 degrees below normal.

I also had more green juice in the morning (with lots of garlic!!!) and I’d like to report I am feeling much better! So better that I am writing this post right now!  I am pretty amazed how fast I have turned around in the last 12 hours.  I am totally convinced natural remedies work. I was really really really worried I had gotten the flu or something worse. Maybe I do have the flu? Who really knows? All I know is my body fought back hard and won!

And I’m excited to report – My appetite is finally back. Thank goodness for left overs.

Hope your Thanksgiving was painless

:)

Love,

Food Babe

P.S. Thinking about a Flu Shot? Read this. Or want to boost your immune system naturally? Read this.

Not your Baskin Robbin’s Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake…

The theme song for the Baskin Robbin’s commercial has been running through my head ever since I made this pumpkin ice cream cake last night. (Here it is, if you don’t know what I am talking about…)

That song is so catchy isn’t it?  You gotta love the marketing that goes behind Baskin Robbins cakes. There is a lot of other things too, lurking behind the fun, care-free appearance of their cakes – lots of preservatives, food coloring, growth hormones and antibiotic filled dairy, pesticides, GMOs, corn syrup, trans fat and other man made toxic chemicals!

Check out the list of ingredients in a typical mint chocolate chip cream cake…

Ingredients: mint chocolate chip ice cream: cream, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, chocolate liquor processed with alkali, milkfat, cocoa butter, soy lecithin an emulsifier), whey powder, emulsifier/stabilizer blend (mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, guar gum, carrageenan), natural flavoring, artificial color (blue 1, yellow 5). ganache cake coating: sugar, coconut oil, cocoa (processed with alkali), peanut oil, whey, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), salt, natural flavor. chocolate cake: sugar, bleached wheat flour, water, egg whites, soybean oil, cocoa (processed with alkali), buttermilk, contains less than 2%: leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), natural and artificial mocha and vanilla flavors, salt, artificial color (red 40, blue 1, yellow 6), modified corn starch, monoglycerides, propylene glycol monoesters, stearoyl lactylic acid, corn starch, cellulose gum, preservatives (ascorbic acid, citric acid, potassium sorbate).green drizzle: coconut oil, sugar, nonfat milk powder, whey, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, soy lecithin an emulsifier, titanium dioxide (for color), vanillin (an artificial flavor), artificial colors (blue 1, yellow 5).

Can you believe this cake has so many detrimental ingredients to your health all in one slice?

Once you understand what is in Baskin Robbins, and other conventional ice cream brands, I hope you think twice about your support of these establishments, even “once and a while.” I don’t call going to Baskin Robbins or anywhere else that uses these types of ingredients “a treat.” Why would I want to treat myself with carcinogenic toxins (propylene glycol, growth hormones), increase risk of heart disease (partially hydrogenated coconut oil) and other potential ailments…(corn syrup, blue 1, yellow 5)?

This is why I find it so hard to understand people when they say they just eat <Insert Dead Toxic BIG FOOD company product here> “once in a while” to “treat” themselves.  There are so many good sweet delicious desserts that won’t put your life and health at risk. Remember voting with your dollars is the only way we are going to stop the production of toxic chemicals into our food supply. Support local bakeries that make good ingredient decisions, buy your cakes from natural food stores, and eat out at restaurants where they make their own desserts from scratch….And do the unheard of!  Make your own freakin’ ice cream cake!

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake – Voila!

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This recipe is easy and the outcome is REWARDING (in big caps – because everyone will think you are genius cook after making this….).  I just had a piece of this incredible cake today and let me tell you: IT WILL IMPRESS, DELIGHT and EVERYONE WILL WANT SECONDS (I certainly did!).  The best part? You don’t just have to “treat” yourself “once in a while” with this cake, you can have it more often than that because it is vegan, free of refined sugar and contains ZERO harmful chemicals! Amazing, I know.

I made two cakes last night, one for me and my husband and one for Thanksgiving on Thursday… The one for us is already half gone and if I don’t take the other one to my Mom’s house tomorrow to store in her big freezer, it might not make it until Thursday! Wish me luck!

3.7 from 3 reviews
Food Babe's Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Pumpkin Cake:
  • 3 cups of flour – A mix of 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup oat flour works well
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅔ cups coconut flakes
  • ⅔ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 6 dates chopped
  • 6 prunes chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • For Ice Cream Cake Assembly:
  • 2 pints of store bought organic vanilla ice-cream or 2 batches of homemade coconut ice cream
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease large baking dish (9×13)
  2. Sit containers of ice cream out on counter to soften/melt
  3. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, salt, and spices)
  4. In blender combine all sweeteners & liquid ingredients (pumpkin puree, coconut oil, coconut milk, dates, prunes, bananas, maple syrup and vanilla) – Blend until smooth
  5. Slowly stir and incorporate liquid mixture into dry ingredients – fold in dried coconut until moistened
  6. Pour batter into large greased baking dish
  7. Bake for 30-45mins – check doneness with a tooth pick (it will come out clean)
  8. Allow cake to cool before starting assembly with ice cream
  9. In a 8×4 baking dish – layer bottom with soft or melted ice cream and sprinkle top with some cranberries
  10. Slice cake pieces to about ½ inch thick and layer on top
  11. Repeat layer of ice-cream, cranberries, and cake one more time until you end with ice cream on top, finish with cranberries and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  12. Freeze assembled cake for at least 4 hours
  13. Take cake out of the freezer for 5-10 mins before serving and slice into thin pieces
Notes
Recipe makes enough cake for 2 ice cream cakes (Two 8×4 baking dishes). This is a perfect dish that can be made ahead a week or two before a holiday gathering! ***Please buy all organic ingredients if possible***

 

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I wish I could see and hear you taste it. I am imagining a big Ooooo and a big Ahhhhhh when you do…

Love y’all so much!

Now Do the Icecream & Cake!

Food Babe