Looking for some fun gifts that will inspire those on your list toward better health? Try these:
1. Fitness hoops for the young at heart
All kinds of people who never dreamed they could hula hoop are taking up fitness hooping after trying these oversized, weighted hoops that make it fun and easy to burn up to 600 calories an hour.
Fort Wayne Hoopnotica instructor Linda Duesler custom designs hoops to your size and color preferences — and she's still taking orders for Christmas. Adult hoops are $20, kid sizes are $15. Call 602-1771.
If you like, pair this with “Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program” (book and DVD), $10.85 at Amazon.com. Don't forget to ask Duesler for the January schedule for Fort Wayne Hoopnotica, where newbies can have fun and learn for free.
2. Tasty low-cal fuel: Chocolate PB2
Here's a great stocking stuffer for Nutella addicts who can't keep the chocolatey spread around the house lest they empty an entire jar in one sitting: New chocolate-flavored PB2 comes in powdered form with most of the fat pressed out along with the liquid.
Mix 2 tablespoons powder with water for a peanut spread that's only 45 calories with 1 gram of fat and a mere 6 carbs. Available at Kroger in the health foods section for around $5.
3. For the nutritionally adventurous runner
Pair vegan ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek's new book “Eat & Run” with some of the funky ingredients used in his recipes.
Jurek used to dine on steak and fast food, but it wasn't until he switched to a diet devoid of animal products that he became a truly elite runner, winning the 100-mile Western States endurance run seven years in a row.
Nutritional yeast helps give a nutty, cheesy taste to Jurek's tofu feta, which he puts on his long-run pizza bread. Spirulina powder is a primary ingredient in his “green power” pre-workout drink; chia seeds go in coco rizzo coolers and carob chia pudding. These ingredients and more can be found in the health foods sections of most larger supermarkets or at the Three Rivers Food Co-op and Natural Grocery on Sherman Boulevard.
4. An inexpensive pool pass
Did you know the general public can use the pool during open swim hours at Crossroad, the youth treatment facility at 2525 Lake Ave.? For $20, you can get a pass good for 13 individual swim sessions plus one “family” swim for up to four people; $40 buys a pass for 32 individual swims plus three family swims of up to four people.
For more information, call 484-4153, Ext. 2036, or go to www.crossroad-fwch.org.
5. A guide to developing superpowers
Whether you want to learn how to hit a baseball farther, lose 100 pounds, master the NFL combine or just “hold your breath like Houdini,” there's something for everyone in “The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman,” by Tim Ferriss.
This giant book is irreverent, fun and motivational — an a la carte-style compendium of the best tools and techniques for getting the most out of your body. (Warning: As the title suggests, there's also a section on enhancing your sex life, complete with fairly graphic illustrations.)
Hardcover is $17.27 at Amazon.com. Pair with another item to bring your total to $25 and get free shipping in time for Christmas.
6. The $20 arm makeover
Speaking of “The 4-Hour Body,” the kettle bell is one of Ferriss' favorite fitness tools, featured in both the section titled “Michelle Obama's Arms” and “How to Lose 3% Body Fat in One Hour a Month.” These can be expensive at sporting goods stores, but you can find 5-10 pound models complete with instructional DVD at Walmart for less than $20.
7. Hip office chair tones while you sit
Part fashion statement, part toning device to work your core while you work on the computer. If you've got $89 to spend, Target.com offers a funky, functional Health Mark Swiss Ball Chair that comes complete with wheels.
But a regular stability ball works just as well, comes in a variety of fun colors and costs $20 or less.
8. For the java-loving cyclist
Sip, Clip and Go! coffee was designed by a pair of bloggers immersed in the culture of both cycling and coffee. Coffee varieties include Carbon Free Commuter, Off the Chain and Crank Set at $12.99 for a 12-ounce bag or $35.99 for the three-pack. This coffee is 100 percent organic and fair trade, and 1 percent of the profits go to the nonprofit Bikes Belong. Pair with a Sip, Clip and Go! travel tumbler for $10.99. Available at http://sipclipandgo.wordpress.com.
9. For the triathlete
A great stocking stuffer: Yankz, colorful shoelaces that don't require tying, make it easier and faster to slip on shoes in transition. Available for $8 at www.yankz.com.
You can also find a wide variety of fun and inspirational T-shirts for triathletes, runners and cyclists at www.cafepress.com.
10. Meatless manifesto
If you think veggie burgers come only in frozen disk form, then you obviously haven't tried the Ravioli Burger, Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger or the Peaches and Cream Burger, all recipes in “The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet,” by Joni Marie Newman. (Actually, that last one is more like a pancake — Newman takes a few liberties stretching the boundaries of what constitutes a “burger.”)
Lots of cool photos here to stimulate the imaginative, out-of-the-box cook.
Warning: No nutritional information is included, so don't assume just because it's not meat, you're saving calories. We tried the burger that's supposed to taste exactly like a Carl's Junior Western Bacon Cheeseburger, and while it was scrumptious, it also packs nearly 20 Weight Watchers points.
Tanya Isch Caylor, a News-Sentinel copy editor, blogs on diet and fitness at www.90in9.wordpress.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.