Sarah’s Favorite Things 2018 | The Healthy Home Economist

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favorite things 2018


Last year, I wrote an article itemizing my favorite things from 2017. This list of food and home products was popular with those of you searching for health related holiday gift ideas, so I am continuing the tradition this year!

Many of you are already familiar with Oprah’s favorite things, which she puts out annually. The good news is that my list is actually affordable for a family on a modest budget. These ideas are also all planet friendly and health enhancing.

I published last year’s favorite things list a bit late in the holiday season. Some of you emailed asking if I could please write it earlier this year. So here we are already … three days before Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy browsing through!

Portable Near Infrared Sauna

The benefits of near infrared heat and light are well established in the scientific literature. Near infrared saunas are a great way to enjoy these health benefits, which have at least 9 distinct advantages over traditional and far-infrared saunas.

Every member of our family uses our near infrared sauna. Even our pets love it. You can see one of our cats enjoying a sauna above. The unit she is cozying up to is a portable infrared sauna that is brand new this year (we also have the full body near infrared sauna).

This portable device makes it easy to enjoy the health benefits of near infrared heat and light while working at your desk, reading a book, or just relaxing on the couch. You can move it around to any spot in the house that is convenient.

For those of you who travel, take it with you on the road as it comes with a handy carrying case!

This portable sauna model (incandescent bulbs only!) is a good alternative to a full body near infrared sauna if you just don’t have 20-30 minutes to spare on any given day.

If you are on your feet all day, try placing it on the coffee table or ottoman and prop your feet up about 8-12 inches away for a foot detox that feels amazing.

Pre-Soaked White Kidney Beans

Jovial Foods has an organic line of pre-soaked and cooked beans that are indispensable for the traditionally minded cook.

In particular, I love the white cannellini (white kidney) beans. I use them to make a fast pot of chili without all the effort of soaking the beans first.

If you’ve been wanting to switch to soaked beans to enhance digestion, nutrient absorption and reduce the potential for gas/bloating, try them. They come in glass jars too which eliminates the toxin risks from packaging materials.

Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

If you’ve been wanting to try activated charcoal for natural tooth whitening but prefer toothpaste, try Magic Mud Activated Charcoal toothpaste with coconut oil and bentonite clay. I love this stuff for traveling.

It comes in cinnamon, wintergreen, peppermint and spearmint flavors. Our family has tried and likes them all (my favorite is the wintergreen and cinnamon).

Fluoride free, NonGMO, and no glycerin or SLS.

Grain Free Tortillas

Finding low carb or grain free tortillas that don’t contain junky ingredients or additives is tough.

This year, I discovered Siete Paleo Tortillas and absolutely love them. By the way, Siete also has a healthy line of grain free tortilla chips too.

Choose from tortillas made from cassava or almond flour. If you are sensitive to xanthan gum, choose the cassava chia seed tortillas.

GAIAM Foam Roller

The Gaiam Foam Roller is a simple device that you can use to give yourself a therapeutic massage anywhere you need it.

You simply use your bodyweight to roll out your back, glutes, legs (front or back), and shoulders to give yourself a gentle, effective and penetrating muscle rub.

Each foam roller measures 18×36 inches and comes in a variety of colors.

Fruit Sweetened Chocolate Syrup

If you are sugar free, enjoying a treat that contains quality ingredients and is sweetened only with honey or fruit is a challenge.

My favorite sugar free chocolate treat is Date Lady’s Chocolate Date Syrup. Sweetened only with dates, it is the perfect topping for strawberries, sliced bananas or homemade ice cream.

Or, just enjoy a bit straight off the spoon!

Moon Cheese

Moon cheese is dehydrated cheese bits. That’s it.

It is completely shelf stable for months and comes in small, reclosable pouches that you can take anywhere for a fast, satisfying and nutritious snack. Great for lunchboxes too.

Moon cheese comes in cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, sriracha and pepperjack.

Bone Broth Soups

Finding soup made with real bone broth is next to impossible unless you are lucky enough to have a traditionally minded cafe in your community.

This year, Bonafide Provisions has come out with a tasty line of 7 different soups made with REAL bone broth. Check them out here.

I keep a half dozen of so bags of these soups in my freezer for quick lunches when I am out of soup and don’t have time to make a pot.

Note: I have checked with the company and these soups are cooled to room temperature BEFORE packaging. Also, the soups and broths gel in the refrigerator just like homemade. They are NOT watered down like other brands.

These bone broth soups are not on Amazon, but if you order off the Bonafide Provisions website, use coupon code HEALTHYHOME to get 20% off your entire order (plain broth too!).

Grassfed Meat Sticks

If you don’t like the firm. chewy texture of jerky, finding decent tasting meat sticks with a softer consistency is difficult.

This year, I discovered Paleo Valley meat sticks that are the perfect size (about the same as a cheese stick) for snacking or lunchboxes. My son has a stash in his college dorm room which he eats for fast breakfasts too!

They come in beef and turkey. Both are equally delish.

Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

Finding decent hot dog and hamburger buns at the healthfood store with no additives and a soft texture is impossible in my experience.

Even Rudi’s organic brand from Whole Foods and other healthfood stores contains unacceptable ingredients such as added sugar and vital wheat gluten (seitan).

If you are looking for quality hamburger and hot dog buns that are soft like commercial brands, try Organic Bread of Heaven. Their buns are made with organic flour and a few other quality whole food ingredients. No added gluten or sugar!

What I do is ship in a half dozen freshly baked bags at a time and freeze what I won’t use in a week. Yes, you can get freshly baked bread shipped right to your door affordably! These buns are only about $5 per bag!

Use coupon code MYFIRSTORDER at checkout and get 10% off.

Note: these buns are not sourdough with a chewy texture. They are very light and soft like conventional buns. If you eat buns frequently, I suggest the sourdough pretzel rolls instead.

Foam Bed Wedge

One of my children sprained his knee last month. When this happens, elevation is important to help drain the fluid, reduce swelling and speed recovery.

To achieve these goals, our Physical Therapist recommended placing a Foam Bed Wedge under the mattress. This device angles the joints properly to minimize swelling and help drain fluid at night.

This wedge has helped tremendously with healing. If you have any family members recovering from knee, ankle or back injuries, this device might prove helpful.  It could prove beneficial post surgery and for those suffering from acid reflux too.

I hope you’ve found some good ideas scanning this list of some of my most favorite finds over the past year.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.

Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.



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