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Gluten-free Giving

Don't feel like holiday shopping in the malls? Head over to your local natural foods store where great gluten-free gifts abound

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When choosing presents for friends or family members who eat gluten free, a natural foods store is the easiest and best place to find safe food and personal care goodies. Just check out a few of our favorite finds:

Tea. Nothing warms the body and lifts the spirit quite like a cup of tea. Try a gluten-free seasonal tea, such as Republic of Tea Comfort and Joy Holiday Spice Blend Tea Bags featuring the flavors of the holidays: cinnamon, cloves, apples, and licorice root blended with black tea. For a caffeine-free organic treat, try Ginger, Chamomile, Peppermint, Rooibos, Rooibos Superfruit, or Rooibos Chai by Choice Organic Teas. For the person who likes variety, consider a tea sampler, such as the 8-count Numi Organic Tea Inspired Moments Mini Sampler, or the 18-count Numi Collection, with green, black, pu-erh, white, and herbal teas.

Nuts or Sweet Treats. Nuts, such as organic shelled pecans, are a great snack, appetizer, or ingredient for recipes, so they make a good gift, especially for low-carb gluten-free eaters. For those who want to celebrate with a little more sweetness, choose nutrient-packed sweet treats such as Bites of Bliss Superfood Bites (in Carob/Almond Butter, Pineapple/Coconut, or Goji Berry varieties) or Hail Merry Vanilla Maple Almonds or Blonde or Chocolate Macaroons. The Hail Merry items come in small packages that make perfect stocking stuffers as well as large holiday tins.

A gluten-free book. A gluten-free diet book or cookbook can make against-the-grain living a whole lot easier-especially for beginners. Living Gluten-Free for Dummies, Gluten Free Throughout the Year, The Grain-Free Gourmet, and Cooking with Coconut Flour all feature gluten-free how-tos. For an extra-special package, try pairing one of the above with baking supplies or snacks that compliment the book’s recipes or tips.

Gluten-free Beauty. Not everyone who eats gluten free uses gluten-free personal care products, but if you’re considering a health and beauty aid gift, it’s a good idea to buy one that’s clearly labeled free of gluten just in case. Consider EO Chocolate & Mint shower gel or EO Time Out Vanilla & Coconut with Tangerine bath salts or bubble bath. Also great is Home Health Almond Glow Almond Skin Lotion, a nourishing moisturizer that leaves skin satiny smooth. Almond Glow makes an ideal massage oil.

Stocking stuffers. Good gifts sometimes come in small packages. Stocking stuffers to consider include: gluten-free lip balm, such as Primal Life Organics Grunt Primal Lip Balm or Badger Certified Organic Classic Lip Balm; travel-size toiletries, such as EO Products 1.5-oz. sizes of French Lavender Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, and Body Lotion; organic cotton socks; and small-size gluten-free (and non-GMO) sweets, such as Endangered Species Bug Bites Organic Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate, Coconut Secret Classic Coconut, Almond, Macaroon, or Mint Bars, and TruJoy Sweets Organic Candy Canes.

A gift certificate from a natural foods store. The perfect choice when you’re unsure about what to buy, a gift certificate lets the recipient choose exactly what she or he wants-from a special cut of grass-fed meat, to gluten-free crackers, to organic clothing that’s just the right size!

Festive Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts*
Serves 4

In a rush during the holidays? Here’s an easy-to-fix, refreshing, super-nutritious salad that’s perfect to serve as a starter for a holiday meal or to bring to a holiday get-together.

½ cup organic walnut halves or pieces

1 large bunch organic lacinato or dinosaur Kale

1 organic orange

¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. orange juice (squeezed from ½ the orange)

1½ Tbs. lemon juice

Unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste

½ cup organic dried cranberries

  1. Preheat over to 325°F. Place walnuts on baking sheet, and toast in oven 10 minutes, or until fragrant and crisp.
  2. Wash kale, and pat dry. Remove center ribs, slice leaves into thin strips, and place in large salad bowl.
  3. Zest orange, and reserve fruit. Place orange zest, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into cup or small jar, and mix.
  4. Add cranberries and toasted walnuts to salad. Add dressing, and toss to coat thoroughly. Let stand on countertop at least 1 hour.
  5. Peel rind from remaining orange, and chop fruit into small pieces. Add to salad, and serve.

PER SERVING: 336 cal; 7g pro; 23g total fat (3g sat fat); 31g carb; 0mg chol; 59mg sod; 5g fiber; 12g sugar

* Recipe reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2012.

Melissa Diane Smith, a holistic nutritionist who specializes in personalizing the gluten-free diet, offers long-distance telephone counseling and coaching services to clients internationally. She is the author of Going Against the Grain and Gluten Free Throughout the Year: A Two-Year, Month-to-Month Guide for Healthy Eating. To learn about her online “Going Against the Grain Group” or her free newsletter, visit For information about her books, long-distance consultations, nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit

Copyright ©2012 Melissa Diane Smith. This article and recipe may not be reprinted on other sites without written approval and permission from the author. For more information, please email