Healthy gift ideas for people with autoimmune disease

Are you looking for healthy gift ideas for someone with autoimmune disease? People with health issues can be tricky to shop for, right? They avoid chemicals, eat “weird” diets, and typically stray away from alcohol. They may or may not spend a lot of time sleeping, avoid normal activities for people their age (ie: bar hopping), and love to snuggle. Wait, is that just me?

They aren’t weird, by any means, but they do operate outside of society’s norms when it comes to diet and lifestyle. It’s for a good reason, too! A recent study showed that diet and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact in the reversal of autoimmune disease (with more to come).

So, before you go shrugging your shoulders and purchasing another gift card to a store they probably won’t shop at, take a peek at my healthy gift list for people with autoimmune disease. Below are items perfect for your friends and family who have embarked on the holistic journey of healing. Side note: if you want to get crazy, you should combine some of these items to make the ultimate healthy gift basket!

 
Beautycounter.com/whitneyshook
 

Beautycounter - If the person you’re buying for enjoys makeup and skincare, this is the perfect spot to shop. Beautycounter has banned over 1500 potentially harmful ingredients from their products making them safer for people to use.  A lovely moisturizer or gorgeous lipstick (click HERE to see my top picks for Beautycounter products under $50).

 
 

Manduka Yoga Mat - Exercise can be very theraputic to those with autoimmune disease if it is done gently and gradually. For many of us, gentle exercise can bring back a sense of normalcy. This yoga mat is made from biodegradable, non-Amazon-harvested, natural tree rubber so it’s also a gift for the environmentally conscious people in your life! ($44)

Gift Ideas for Healthy People
 
Healthy Gift Ideas
 

Essential Oils - Essential oils are a great addition to anyone’s healing protocol. Personally, I don’t think you can ever have enough of them! Lavender, bergamont, and neroli are wonderful for stress and anxiety management. I like Nature’s Fusions because they’re committed to sourcing from sustainable farms and only use steam distillation instead of harmful chemicals to extract the oils from plants. ($9-$52)

If you’re gifting essential oils, a great way to make a healthy gift basket is by pairing them with a diffuser. Diffusers disperse the calming smell of essential oils into the air and they’re great in lieu of toxic candles! I love this ceramic diffuser because it’s so pretty and blends right into home decor. ($119)

 
Healthy Gift Ideas

Air BNB gift card - Air BNB is an online marketplace that lets people rent out their properties. It’s a perfect place to stay while exploring because many hosts leave recommendations for the best things to do in the area.

When you’re living a healthy lifestyle while traveling it helps to have a kitchen where you can prepare your own food. It’s also nice to have a cozy space to relax if you’re too tired to explore. ($25-$200)

 
 

Instant Pot - People working on healing their autoimmune disease need to make many of their meals at home. This can be tricky since severe fatigue is a common autoimmune symptom. The Instant Pot makes it possible to cook with very little effort. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer all in one appliance! ($99)

Consider pairing this with this Paleo AIP Instant Pot E-Cookbook. ($17.95)

Healthy Gift Ideas
 
Healthy Gift Ideas
 

Thrive Market Membership - This is an AMAZING gift idea. Thrive Market is kind of like Whole Foods meets Costco. There are tons of organic, non-GMO foods that are way less expensive through Thrive than they are in regular grocery stores. You can auto ship items you use regularly or just do your shopping online whenever you need something. It definitely makes life easier and tastier!

Bonus? They have entire sections dedicated to Autoimmune Paleo and Paleo foods. ($59.95)

 
 

Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer - Healthy people, or people aspiring to be healthy, love collagen. These creamers have 10 grams of collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. They’d be great as a stocking stuffer!

If you’re buying for someone in the elimination phase of the AIP diet, opt for the vanilla and coconut flavors! ($29.00)

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Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Pendleton Blanket - I’m obsessed with Pendleton blankets. They’re VERY high quality, are super warm and cozy, and are perfect for the autoimmunie who loves to snuggle up with a book. ($99-$299)

My husband bought me one last year and I wish I had one for every room in the house. They’re absolutely stunning. I highly recommend purchasing from their American Indian College Fund selection so your purchase goes towards supporting people from the culture that created these beautiful patterns.

 

Beautycounter Gifts $50 and Under

If you didn’t know, Beautycounter is a company that’s pushing boundaries when it comes to regulation in the personal care industry. They go far beyond the safety measures required by the United States to ensure their products don’t cause harm to those who use them daily.

Natural skincare and organic makeup are not very regulated by the FDA and just because a product labeled “natural” doesn’t necessarily make it “healthy.” Beautycounter is devoted to using high-quality ingredients that have been tested rigorously for safety. They are perfect for anyone trying to live a non-toxic life and improve their health!


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Baby Daily Protective Balm -  This is a seriously protective moisturizer that’s perfect for the people in your life with dry, cracked hands. It’s really thick so it creates a shield for your hands throughout the day. My sister has eczema on her hands and she swears by this stuff (it was supposed to be for her son but we aren’t judging, right?). ($22)

 
 

Go & Glow Mini Face Oils - These are our best selling face oils! They’ve been rated by several beauty magazines and now you can try all three for a super affordable price. The full sizes are $69 so this is a great way to try before you go all out. You could also split the oils up to use as stocking stuffers. It’s a steal! ($30)

Beautycounter Gifts Under $50
 
Beautycounter gifts under $50
 
 

Transforming Duo - People are OBSESSED with this stuff. It’s kind of like a mood ring… but for your lips. Each person puts it on and has their own unique shade of pink lips. It comes with a gloss and is a great present for your friends who dig more of a natural look. ($30)

Sheer Lipstick - This lipstick is pure magic. Before I started selling Beautycounter products I would only wear lipstick on special occasions because it felt too bold for me day to day. Then I met Sheer Lipstick and now I wear this stuff every day. It provides a little more color than lip gloss, feels like a chapstick, and doesn’t make you look like you’re trying too hard. Not sure which color to get? Rose looks good on everyone. ($32)

 
Beautycounter Gifts Under $50
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Travel Body Essentials - I got this as soon as it came out! It includes our soap bar, hand lotion, body lotion and body wash in citrus and mimosa. Perfect for anyone in your life who loves to travel or who wants to test out Beautycounter products. ($35)

Stardust Cream Eyeshadow Set - You get five beautiful cream eyeshadows in this set and the colors are gorgeous! Cosmos and Orion give you a natural look that you can build into something more smokey with Celeste, Luna and Orion. ($39)

Beautycounter Gifts Under $50
Beautycounter Gifts Under $50

Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass - I first tried this product at a Beautycounter pop up in one of my favorite paleo restaurants. It smells mind blowingly delicious and leaves you feeling silky smooth. It’s nice to have by the sink to take care of rough hands or you can add it to a loofa for a full-body exfoliation. ($40)

Clean Beauty Go-Tos - Do you know someone in your life who struggles with oily skin, acne and clogged pores? This is an amazing gift for them! It includes our new clear pore cleanser that smells like citrus and gives your skin a deep clean, a high-performing spot treatment, safer mascara and a moisturizing lip gloss. What’s not to love? ($45)

Beautycounter Gifts Under $50
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Charcoal Essentials - These are the two products that made me fall in love with Beautycounter. When used on a regular basis they transform your complexion by drawing out impurities and making your skin bright. If your bestie has been complaining about having clogged pores or dull skin, this one is for her. ($49)

Countermatch Adaptive Lotion - Honestly, I’ll probably never use another moisturizer again.  I love it because it hydrates your skin without leaving you with that sticky, heavy feel you get from most moisturizers, helps brighten your skin, and evens out your complexion. Bonus? It’s made with sweet plum oil and has a nice, subtle fragrance to it. ($49)

Beautycounter Gifts Under 50
Beautycounter Gifts Under $50

Velvet Eyeshadow Palette in Statement - This palette is super pigmented so a little bit of shadow goes a long way! At first glance it may seem a bit over the top (hullo, teal?), but you can use it to create something subtle with just the neutral colors and then use an eyeliner brush to line your upper lid with something a bit darker. Or, if you’re getting fancy, you can bump up the drama by using the more pigmented colors for a bold, smokey look. It’s perfect! ($50)




How Obsessing Over AIP Hurt Me

Healing is all about B A L A N C E. It's like we're walking on a beam, trying our fucking hardest not to sway too much to one side because falling off means we find ourselves in the middle of a flare. What keeps us steady is maintaining a diet that works with our body, exercising enough (not too little and not too much), drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol, balancing our blood sugar, regulating our hormones, taking dumps that would make our Nutrition Therapists proud… whew. That’s a lot.

In the beginning, the hardest part is figuring out how to stay on that damn beam. What works for some people doesn’t work for all of us (hellllllloooo bioindividuality), yet we get lost in articles making blanket statements about what we HAVE to do if we want to heal our bodies. 

Let me tell ya something. When I first started the Autoimmune Paleo Diet I was a crazed lunatic about it. Like, I flew home from a trip and my husband had made me some salmon. He made the salmon with olive oil though, and I refused to eat it because it had been broiled -- and I read that olive oil should be used at a low heat -- and basically EATING THAT SALMON WAS GOING TO RUIN MY PROGRESS.  My husband had done something so kind for me and I ended up feeling resentful towards him for not knowing exactly how to prepare my food. 

I also avoided a lot of social gatherings because I felt uncomfortable about my diet. One night, our friend-family was heading out to Dim Sum to celebrate someone’s birthday. I agonized over whether or not I should go for days (it even interfered with my sleep).. and ultimately ended up staying in because the restaurant cooked with non-compliant oils and I couldn’t find anything I could eat on the menu. I’ll never forget how I completely unraveled in our living room seconds after my husband left to meet up with everyone. I felt so very much alone. (More on how I bounced back and started to find social balance another day.)

I was so fixated on not breaking AIP, that in addition to being chronically ill, I was becoming chronically stressed (which does NOT help your gut heal, people). It was heartbreaking that my means to healing was only creating more sadness for me. My approach was all wrong.

When we read about the Autoimmune Paleo diet we’re told that we CANNOT break it, ever, or we technically need to start over. I was obsessed with this idea. I believed that one slip up would ruin my progress and I would have to be on AIP forever. If I approached the diet with that rigid perspective, there was no way I was ever going to be able to handle the pressure of being perfect (soooo not a perfectionist).

I finally started getting better when I began looking at healing as a journey. I knew that AIP was the roadmap I would follow to get better, but think about it.. when we're on a road trip, things come up! We have to pull over for gas (heated olive oil), possibly get a flat tire (gluten free pizza), or veer off the highway to check out some weird dinosaur attraction (I mean what? I’ve never done that…/glass of chardonnay). Do those things slow us down? Sure. Do they stop us from getting where we want to be? Not when we get right back on the road and avoid any potholes (or pizza joints) in the future.  

I mean, I’m not telling you to go binge eat a large pepperoni pizza and wash it down with a couple of beers. I just think that everything we do once we decide to start healing is teaching us something. Like, say you’re on AIP for a month, you’re feeling SO great and you are like “maybe I can handle one glass of dry white wine” and you drink it. Maybe you end up feeling like shit for a a few weeks (sadly, this can last longer for some) and decide not to do it any more. Cool. You learned a lesson that drinking doesn't work for you and go back to square one with your protocol. The world didn’t end, did it? The opposite might happen, too. You might feel great drinking one glass of chardonay because it makes you feel NORMAL. You know that it causes inflammation and isn't helping your healing process, but feeling normal was so good for your mental health that you decided to give it a try. Will it RUIN your progress? It might. Alcohol isn't great for your gut health or your immune system, but you CAN get back on track afterwards. I've allowed myself a few glasses and my thyroid antibodies STILL went down (but again, all of our healing journeys will look different).

The point is, you are on this healing journey for the LONG HAUL. Everything you do once you start is teaching you a lesson about what does and doesn’t work for you. I believe the most important part of healing is listening to what your body is trying to tell you and balancing your emotional and physical health. You know yourself better than any doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist or acupuncturist ever will.

If I sense myself wanting to have a food that doesn't align with my diet, I ask myself if my body really wants it/needs it (usually no), or if I'm craving it because I'm bored, tired, sad, or want to feel normal. My body typically craves non-compliant foods for an emotional reason and I have to determine whether the repercussions of eating it are worth it.

 I made a little flow chart to encourage me to stop and think about the consequences of breaking my protocol and ultimately help me decide whether it’s worth it. I figured I’d share it with you guys!

Enter your email to see how I make my "breaking diet" decisions.

Grab my "Should I Eat That?" flow chart

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    I want you to know that doing a strict AIP elimination diet, without budging, is the fastest way to figure out your trigger foods. It allows you to go forth as an empowered eater knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into with every bite. I also want you to know that if you have a few hiccups, you’re still on your way to healing. You’re just taking the scenic route.

    Have you guys read my story? Check out an abbreviated version of my health journey here and a more in-depth look at my life here.

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    AIP - Paleo Pumpkin Waffle with AIP Modifications

    'm a firm believer in everyone being able to eat a waffle. Well, what I mean by that is no matter where we are on health journey I think we all deserve to feel normal. It can be challenging if you're on a restricted diet because of your health, especially when everyone around you can eat whatever the eff they want. I'll never forget in the midst of my strict AIP elimination phase how freaking AWESOME it felt to go out to dinner with my husband and my pal @sarieperrie. We went to a vegan restaurant in Denver where I got kombucha and a seasonal salad with a few adjustments. It helped me remember what it was like to feel normal and taught me that even in the depths of my illness and restrictive diet, I should make an effort to maintain bits of my old lifestyle. I went home immediately afterward (cuz chronic fatigue, ya know?), but the memory of how good it felt to get out has stuck with me.

    Read More

    AIP - Bone Marrow Fried Rice

    The morning is gray and my heart is full as I write this.  I’ve got a steaming cup of chai tea made creamy with coconut milk, my favorite band playing in the background, and a couple of dogs at my feet. What could be better?

    I enjoy blogging and using social media to gain followers. Sometimes I have a tough time with people’s social media presence because it can come off as artificial. I often find myself asking why people spend all their time talking to an audience on their Instagram stories instead of, like, living? I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn’t get too caught up in that, but I’m having A LOT of fun checking my Instagram every day to see who else decided to follow me on my journey.

     I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this is all so fun for me, but I think I’m realizing it’s because I’m super passionate about nutrition and helping people. If even a tiny piece of my story resonates with someone and makes them feel less alone, that brings me an abundance of joy. The connections I make through my blog and Instagram are a direct result of me doing something I love, a reaction to something I’ve created, and all of that makes me feel incredibly lucky.  

    “Everything is energy and that’s all there is. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” –Albert Einstein

    So, what are you going to put energy into today? Think back to when you were a kiddo, what made you happy? I loved building spaceships out of boxes, singing, dancing, running around the neighborhood with my best friend and turning his front porch into a pirate ship. I’m trying to cultivate a life that nourishes the creativity I enjoyed as a child. What does that look like? It looks like carrying around a little notebook where I write down meals I want to make AIP and Paleo. It means blasting T-Swift on a Friday night and dancing around the house with my dogs as I belt out “Welcome to New York” over and over and over again. It means I let the dog hair on the floor collect for a fucking week because I’m busy making food, taking photos, blogging, connecting with people on the internet who suffer from autoimmune disease, and working a fulltime job. Oh, and I’m watching New Girl because no matter what people say, Zooey D. is a queen.

    Anyway, here’s a recipe I’m REALLY excited about. Roman (my husband) and I went out to a fancy dinner the other night at Hop Alley in Denver and I had some BONE MARROW FRIED RICE. What? That’s a thing? Yes, yes it is. It was SOOOO freaking delicious, but my digestive system was off for a week after eating grains. I decided to give it a try at home using AIP ingredients and it turned out pretty darn good. If you’re not AIP, crack an egg in there and you won’t regret it.

     

    AIP Bone Marrow Fried Rice

    Ingredients:

    -          1-2 pig femur bones for marrow (ask your butcher to cut these in half - -the more marrow the better!)

    -          ½ cup red onion

    -          ½ cup shredded carrots

    -          ½ cup diced mushrooms

    -          1 cup fresh peas

    -          5 cups cauliflower rice

    -          1 egg (optional)

    -          2 Tbsp minced garlic

    -          ¼ cup coconut aminos

    Method:

     

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Place bones in cast iron skillet

    Bake bones in oven for 20 minutes

    Once marrow browns, remove it from the bones onto cast iron skillet ( aim for about 3 TBSP)

    Put bones in the freezer to use for  broth later

    Turn heat to medium-low heat and sauté onions until translucent (about 5 minutes)

    Add carrots and peas and sauté another 2 minutes

    Add mushroom and cauliflower, sauté another 2 minutes

    Add coconut aminos and garlic, stir, and place lid on skillet, check back in 3 minutes

    Taste test cauliflower intermittently to see if it’s the texture you like (I prefer mine al dente)

    If adding an egg, create a hole in the mixture, crack egg into it, whisk it up, and let cook for about a minute, then stir scrambled egg into the rest of the mixture

    Salt to taste

    Tadah!