Effective Dec 3, 2019, Dr. Laura is no longer booking patient appointments. Online wellness programs will remain available.

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2017

fave things gear guide Dec 08, 2017

The holiday season is upon us! If you've been following me for any length of time, it’s obvious that I LOVE anything wellness related - how could one do better than seek things that make us feel healthier, happier, and like our best self?!

While I believe wellness should be a priority year round, this is the perfect time to give that gift of wellness and health to your loved ones (or yourself)!

Heads up: The 7 Day Naturopathic Detox is coming up for January 2018! Perhaps a great gift for yourself and your girlfriend for post-holiday health recovery?

Here are my fave healthy holiday gift ideas this year, this list includes a little something for everyone regardless of where they are on their wellness journey.

**Heads up: First and foremost, these are products I use and love myself or am excited about and I wanted to share with you. Some (but not all) of the links below are affiliate links. (That means I get a small commission if you purchase something when you click on a link.) No pressure to purchase via my link of course. 

So without further adieu...

Here’s the "Dr. Laura Approved" guide to the best wellness-centric presents you can gift your loved ones this year.

I love giving experiences and a float in a sensory deprivation tank is an amazing one! The water contains magnesium-sulphate aka epsom salts, which relaxes muscles and the dim lighting creates an enclosed comfortable environment — meditation and relaxation practice is next level with a float.

Previously, you could only experience this if you went elsewhere... In St. John's Winterholme Wellness Center and Spa started offering these as a new service earlier this year! I haven't been to Winterholme's tank personally yet, but it's on my list of to-do's for early 2018. It's first on my list because I am so excited about this one!


This gift is a no-brainer for instigating a healthier lifestyle. Having a reminder on your wrist that you need to move a little more each day has hands down motivated many of my patients to get their exercise in. It becomes like a game you play with yourself - almost cajoling you into doing better or hitting your minimum targets.

There are multiple models to choose from with differing features, but I recommend the Alta HR. It's slim with a simple design and carries the essential features for getting your butt moving. (Click here to check it out on Amazon).



There is nothing quite like the beautiful feeling of feeling warm in our blustery Newfoundland winters. Honestly, a hot yoga class sometimes feels like the only time I relax my shoulders down out of my ears and stop bracing for the wind and cold. Even better, the sweat you get going at the class really helps detoxify the body of waste metabolites and the heat deepened stretch puts the vim and vigor back into those stressed out muscles and joints.

Personally, I love the St. John's Mokha Yoga Studio's classes. The basic sequence they use is good for beginners and advance yogi's alike. Even better, the studio offers a great introductory month so you can get started and class passes so you can buy in bulk when you get hooked.


This product is an essential oil skin balm/body bar with great moisturizing ability and the easiest application of a moisturizer I've ever come across - it's in a deodorant style applicator, which means no greasy hands. :) After shower simply apply to freshly towelled off skin. I love the smell too - botanical but gentle.

Honestly, I've never had a leg moisturizing product work as well as this one in the winter to save me from scratching my poor little legs off. (Especially at night as you crawl into bed, am-i-right?!) Added bonus? It's solid - so it can travel with you and you don't have to use up any precious "liquid-space" in your carry-on luggage. YES! (Click here to check it out Saje's "Shaver Saver" body bar.)



Everyone knows you should be drinking more water. (Ideally 2-3L per day, fyi.) Did you know that the use of plastics for food can be problematic to hormone balance? Plastics leach (i.e leak) these chemicals into your food - even the BPA free ones. The best toxin free strategy is to convert everything that holds/cooks/serves food into either glass or stainless steel. 

Personally, I use a Hydroflask for my daily water bottle. I like this brand because it's double walled/insulated stainless steel, widemouth version, and it has a flat base. Double-walled means it can hold hot or cold liquid. Widemouth style means easier cleaning. The flat base means I can drop it a bazillion times and it will not dent and will always stand up straight. Plus, it will last me a lifetime. (Click here to check out all the colours and options of a HydroFlask)


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Once you use one, there really is no going back! I'm usually a fan of frugality in general, but sometimes, you just need to invest in equipment. A Vitamix is fabulous for preparing green smoothies, nut milks, salad dressings, soups, etc. and will likely become one of your most used appliances. Be sure to get one of the professional series machines - they are still built with durable, powerful metal parts on the inside. According to reviews, some of the newer (and less expensive) versions are not as long-lasting as the originals.

I use my Vitamix almost daily. Smoothies, pancake batter, blended soups, you name it. The major benefit above a regular blender is how smooth it blends your food. Green smoothies are no longer lumpy and my soups are so silky they feel creamy on the palate (but of course - dairy-free in my house). Here is a link to the exact one we chose for our household after researching it.



Meditation is really about training yourself to "flex" your mental relaxation muscles. Most of us just let our thoughts spin along as fast or slow as they like without any intention or control. Here's the thing - you do have control over that, but it's a skill that takes practice. Meditation has been shown to help erase the effects of past stress and to improve resilience to new stress moving forward.

Two great options to learn how to meditate in St. John's that I know are good from personal and patient experiences: Seva Meditation (teaches a mantra-based style) and Andrew Safer Mindfulness (teaches a mindfulness-based style). Both styles have research to back them up, so it's really about personal preference. Try a class of either (or both)!



This is currently the "IT" kitchen tool in the wellness industry. It’s a 7-in-1 gadget but it's main functions are slow cooking, rice cooking, and pressure cooking. It allows you to whip up simple, quick, healthy meals. (Did I mention QUICK?). Studies have shown that pressure cooking is the best method to retain vitamins (beta-carotene and ascorbic acid) compared to other forms of cooking. If there is someone you know who is trying to eat healthier, this gift can support that habit.

Admittedly, I don't have one myself (yet), but my patients and colleagues swear by them. Hoping to find one under our tree so I can eliminate the "cupboard clutter" of at least 3 of my other appliances... Click here to check 'em out on Amazon.ca.



Written by my colleague, Dr. Carol Morley, ND. This cookbook is on the counter almost daily at my house! Yes, it's designed for use from front to back during detox weeks, BUT the recipes in it are so healthy and more importantly tasty, they've become household favourites. You know a good cookbook in a friends kitchen because it's covered in food smudges... This is one of those cookbooks. (Tip: If you are planning on joining in on the 7 Day Naturopathic Detox in January 2018, you'll want this reference on hand for your meal planning!)

Click here to order Dr. Morley's Delicious Detox Cookbook. (She sells only directly from her practice, no where else.)



If you're dairy-free, Christmas morning coffee just got better! I was so delighted to discover this little gem at the Liquor Store this year. While alcohol is not necessarily "healthy", it is healthy to have to celebrate over the holidays. Boozy coffee is a tradition in my household for vacations and holidays - we make it special. I'm so excited to have this option again!

Click here to visit NL Liquor Store and check it out.


I hope you enjoyed this list and find it helpful when shopping for your favourite Wellness Warrior (or yourself) here in St. John's. Happiest of holidays to you and your loved ones. Thank you so much for reading and being a part of my community.


Dr. Laura Nurse
Naturopathic Doctor, DrLauraNurse.ca


Other episodes you might enjoy : 

7 Easy Morning Habits For Optimal Wellness

Why You Should Give Meditation A Try (Even If You Think You're Bad At It)

Get On Track With Healthy Habits


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