Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2016

December 8, 2016
Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

It’s baaaack!! My annual Healthy Holiday Gift Guide is here!

Looking for a special gift for your friends and loved ones this year – why not give them a gift of health?  

These gift ideas include items that can de-stress, keep your groceries cold, or beautify – I am sure there is something that will delight your friends and loved ones!


Annmarie Skin Care: for beautiful skin

Now 25% off using code GlowOnceMore (end Dec. 13th)!! 


annmarie skincare 2016


Do you have someone special on your list who wants to have beautiful glowing skin, and also wants to avoid common chemicals included in many skincare lines?  Then Annmarie Skin Care is the solution – you’ll be amazed to find that you don’t need all those nasty chemicals to make really good, spa quality skin care products.  And with sample kits starting at just $10, there is something for everyone and for every price list from Annmarie Skin Care.

  • Skin Care Sample Kit – Try 3 products for just $10/each.  Sample kits come in beautiful boxes and make great stocking stuffers or gift for a cousin or a teacher. Choose the Restore sample for mature skin types, Balance for normal or combo skin types, or Purify for oily skin types.
  • Other Sample Kits – $20/each.  The Getaway kit is like a spa on the go – it lets you try 8 products. The Make up Kit lets you try 8 shades of make up so you can find your perfect shade. The Essential Oil Sample Kit gives you 5 essential oils to try.
  • Travel Kits – Prices range from $24.95 – $49.95.  These kits are larger than the sample kits, but still small enough to throw in your luggage for travel.
  • Gift Sets – Prices range from $142.95 – $272.95. The Balance Gift Set is great for all skin types and includes an Aloe Herb Cleanser, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal & Combination Skin, and Purifying Mud Mask which all work together to leave your skin fresh, moisturized, and glowing.  Comes with a Limited Edition Holiday Let it Glow Tote Bag! (A $19.95 value)


Matcha Source – for focus and energy


Matcha Source Holiday

If you know someone that likes to start their day with a little boost of focus and energy, but doesn’t want to feel jittery? Then look no further than Matcha tea!! Matcha tea is the highest quality green tea and contains an amino acid that promotes a calm, focused feeling – called L-Theanine. You can brew it hot, or you can blend it into a matcha latte smoothie.  Matcha boasts a lot of other health benefits, read: Why Everyone is Drinking Matcha Tea to learn more about this amazing superfood.  Matcha Source is a great place to get your matcha tea gifts – with gift sets ranging in price from $45 to $138.00, Matcha Source has something for many different budgets.  Unlike other green teas which are steeped, matcha tea is ground into a fine powder – so it is added to water, and then whisked in to blend it in – so it is good to get someone started with a gift that contains everything they need to make matcha tea:

  • “The Froth It” kit – on sale for $45.90. A good gift set for somone new to matcha tea, and wants to whip it up quickly – this comes with matcha tea and an electronic frother.  The frother can also be used to froth your almond or coconut milk for your matcha latte!!
  • The Matcha Source “Whisk It” Kit – starts at $59.00. This is good for someone that wants to go the more traditional route with the whisk –  includes a whisk, a celadon whisk holder, and your choice of matcha tea.
  • The Focus Tea Gift Set – starts at $99. The ultimate matcha gift set, which includes one matcha tea bowl, a bamboo whisk and celadon whisk holder, a tea sifter, a bamboo tea scoop, and your choice of a 30g tin of matcha.


Pack It Bags: stylish bags that keep items chilled!


Here in California, plastic bags have been given the heave ho – so if we don’t want to have to pay 10 cents each time we need a brown bag at the grocery – we’d better bring our own.  If you are looking to invest in or gift some reuseable grocery bags – let me recommend Pack It cooler bags – they are not only reusable, they are like mini portable refrigerators!   They are really strong, stylish, and they fold down flat so you can store them in your freezer.  Take them to the store – and they will keep your items cold for hours!!  These are great for soccer moms that like to do errands, but can’t get right back home.  Also great for taking to the beach, pool, or parties too! They also make wine bottle cooler bags (perfect hostess gift), lunch bags (kids love them!), and many other items.  I have used Pack It cooler bags for years, and I get compliments on my bags every time I use them!  Pack It’s prices are great too – learn more or order at

  • Freezable grocery bag – $24.99 – grab one for yourself and a few for your friends.
  • Freezable Wine Bag – $15.99 – fabulous hostess gift!!
  • Freezable Lunch Bags – prices range from $14.99 for the salad bag to $24.99 for the Uptown or Deluxe Lunch bag. Great teacher gift! 


Nervana – stimulate serenity (and digestion)!



Have you heard of the Vagus Nerve? It connects our brain and our gut – and when it is not optimized, it can lead to a myriad of symptoms including anxiety, poor focus, slow gut motility (constipation) and more. This exciting new product called “Nervana” stimulates the vagus nerve while you listen to music – it can help to balance neurotransmitters, the nervous system, mood, boost gut motility, and much more!! This is a really unique and helpful gift for someone suffering from high stress levels, anxiety, sluggish digestion, focus issues, or just wanting to optimize or ‘biohack’ their overall health. I vew the Nervana device as kind of like a “workout” for my vagus nerve.  Why would I want to work out my vagus nerve you might ask?  According to Vagus Nerve Stimulation, a New Tool for Brain Research and Therapy, “clinical and animal studies indicate that VNS likely results in changes in serotonin (Ben-Menachem et al 1995), norepinephrine (Krahl et al 1998), GABA, and glutamate (Walker et al 1999)—neurotransmitters implicated in the pathogenesis of major depression.”  So stimulating the vagus nerve could be a factor in resolving mood imbalances.  And according to this study, while exercise is important for proper gut motility, “vagal nerve regulation is essential for the increase in gastric motility in response to mild exercise.”  Learn more about Nervana here.  See more articles and research on the vagus nerve at the bottom of this article. 

Note: I have been testing out a Nervana device personally for a few days – and even though it has been less than a week – so far I have been impressed!!  Stay tuned for a blog about my experiences with Nervana soon.

Nervana units start at $319.00 (they are on special now for $289.00).  See below for some links to research on the vagus nerve.


Cultures for Health – gut happy fermented foods!


Fermented foods boost healthy digestion, have been linked to improved mood, and also may support a healthy metabolism and weight.  Do you know someone that loves to buy kombucha, kefir, saurkraut, and kimchi?  They might want to make their own!  Making your own fermented foods is kind of like having a science experiment in your house that tastes great, and makes you feel great when you eat it.  I have made my own kombucha, kefir water, kimchi, and saurkraut – and I find the easiest one is kefir water.  But I have always wanted to make my own sourdough bread. There is a lot of evidence that fermenting the wheat makes it easier to digest and even some people who have senstivities to regular wheat bread can tolerate sourdough fine (if you have celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance, please go with the gluten free version).   I would love to find a sourdough culture under the tree this year…hint, hint honey. Cultures for Health offers gifts in all price ranges – single cultures start at just under $10 – you can get a sourdough culture for $13.95.  Or you can get a full Kit like the Ginger Water Kefir making kit for $39.95, or the Homemade Kimchi kit for $49.95.  Learn more/order here:

My Intent – Wearable Mantras!



I love these wearable mantra bracelets from My Intent.  My Intent is not just a jewelry company – they are an “intentions project.”  My Intent wants their jewelry to be a catalyst for “meaningful conversations and positive energy.”  They believe there is “purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.”     Prices start at just $12 for a keychain, and $18 for a bracelet.  You can even buy the stamper to make your own mantra jewelry!   These bracelets are big with the Hollywood set – with Jay Z, Beyonce, and Kayne seen wearing them (even seen on the cover of Time magazine). Check out this story about My Intent bracelets on The Today Show.   In my Break up with Sugar program, I encourage participants to pick a mantra to help guide them and stay focused on their purpose and truth – I love that we can wear our mantra and keep in the forefront of our mind.  What would your word be?


Essential Oilsharness the power of nature for your health!

essential oils

Essential oils are a powerful natural way to support health – they have been shown to support mood, immunity, energy, focus, and much more.  Essential oils can be diffused, used topically, they make wonderful cleaning products, candles, and soaps; and some can also be used internally – but it is important to make sure to use only the highest quality therapeutic-grade essential oils.   Prices start at $10 for some single oils and go up from there!  I like to add a drop of lemon essential oil to my water, diffuse oils for calm, focus, and energy – and also to clear stinky kitchen smells!  You can add lavendar to your bath for calm, and even put some on your pillow for sleep.  One of the most important thing that essential oils do – they can replace chemicals in your life – see articles and references below about chemicals to avoid.

Interested in learning about essential oils?  Contact Sara Vance at or visit

Meditation Studio – Guided meditation and courses

mediation studio app

Someone on your list interested in meditation, but don’t really know where to start?  This Meditation Studio app offers a diverse selection of over 200 guided meditations featuring different teachers and styles. Focus on your intention or dive deep into a meditation topic with exclusive collections and courses. Meditation Studio is a great gift idea, and it is just $3.99.  Featured by Apple as “10 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, one of TIME’s “50 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, and recommended by: Forbes, Inc., Refinery 29, Huffington Post, Well and Good, Greatist, Celebuzz, Yahoo! Beauty, and many more!   Find out even more and try a meditation at

Coming soon…my Healthy Cookbooks and Books recommendations!!

Do you have a loved one that likes to read, and is interested in improving their health?  Books are a great gift – because they are budget friendly and provide hours of entertainment.  Or maybe you have someone that loves to cook – cookbooks are also a great gift.  Selecting a healthy book or cookbook could have a huge impact on someone’s life and health – and their families’ too.  Stay tuned, my next blog will include my top recommendations this year – several of these will be featured in my FREE Book Club – learn more/sign up here.

Related articles/research:

Vagus Nerve Articles and Studies:

Essential oils articles:


Affiliate Disclosure: Sara hand selects the products that she recommends, and only recommends products that she has used (or would use) herself, and with her family.  Sara does her best to research each company and product to ensure that it uses the best in ingredients, quality, and safety.  But she also suggests that the buyer also do their own research to make sure each product and company is right for them before buying.  Sara is not connected to any of these companies, and any customer service issues or concerns should be directed at the companies/manufacturers.  Some of the companies that Sara recommends offer affiliate programs – which means that she is paid a small commission for any sales that she refers, this does not affect the consumer’s price of the product in any way. 


Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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