Health Books for the Holidays? Be careful, but do it anyway

Giving a diet book as a gift is dangerous, but if you’re careful you can give a book that’s healthy to a loved one without sending the wrong message.

The holidays are here, so it’s gift-giving season.

We’re all about books, health, and wellness here, but we realize it can be a bit tricky to give some healthy items as gifts and not offend.

Remember Father of the Bride, when Bryan gave Kimberly a blender?

He didn’t want to domesticate her, he just wanted her to be able to blend her smoothies before her morning runs. But people can jump to conclusions based on the gift, and a good blender is a great gift. You can blend stuff with them!

And that’s just a blender.

Years ago, my step-dad gave my mom a Thighmaster for Christmas. This was long before Amazon wish lists, and she clearly didn’t want one.

Remember this?

Yeah, Christmas was lovely that year

Now imagine giving your mother-in-law – who mentioned at Thanksgiving that she wants to go gluten-free after all the leftover stuffing is gone – our best-selling nutrition book, The Real Food Reset.

“Are you saying I’m fat?”

Or giving your Uncle Bob our ever-popular men’s health book, Man on Top, because you heard him say he wants to work out in the basement.

“Are you saying I’m fat?”

He was just saying he wants to work out, by the way. He doesn’t really.

With these scenarios in mind…

There ARE great healthy gifts you can give those you love

…without [much] fear of repercussion.

There’s always some risk because even though you might want to help somebody blend something, they can always jump to the conclusion that it’s the patriarchy at work behind the scenes. Or, they assume that you think they’re fat when you really just love the book and want the best for them.

Still, choose wisely, with a little help from my list

My best tips for giving gifts that are healthy is to focus on things I call ‘stealth health.’

Stealth Health Gifts are healthy, overall, promote a healthy lifestyle, but without too much focus on things like losing weight, fixing them, or changing their appearance.

A book on losing 30 pounds in 30 days sends a message.

A cookbook sends a better one.


Here are some sweet book suggestions to get you started.

Oh, we are affiliates for some of the stores in the links below, which means we can make a small percentage when you purchase, but there’s no additional cost to you.

Ready? We’ll start with the best 😉

Seriously, if you don’t think your own book is great, why would you write it and put yourself out there?

Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well is our best book yet, and we are very, very proud of it.


Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well – 52 Ways to feel better in a week

Galina and I wrote the book with ‘stealth health’ in mind, even if we didn’t use that phrase.

This is the perfect book for people who want to just live good health, and explore what it means to be healthy. 52 chapters of simple, non-preachy, stealth-health habits.

We cover cooking, fun and unusual ingredients, movement habits, mindfulness, and more. All these things are simple and easy, but add up to a powerfully healthy life.

Until we write the Big Bathroom Book of Health, this is it. And you know people will read it there. Talk about stealth health!



Dawn Again – Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild

Our friend Doniga is a sustainable rancher, wildlife tracker, wife, and mother. Her book takes readers along on her journey: the wilderness immersion school where Indigenous elders and wildlife trackers were among her teachers, hitchhiking across the pacific northwest, the moment she first connected with a deer using owl eyes and fox walking techniques, and to Alaska where she fell in love with tracking white wolves and the rigor of wilderness survival.

With chapters on food, permaculture, and more, Dawn Again dives into Doniga’s real-life experiences while equipping readers with practical knowledge.



Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement

Our friend Katy Bowman  asks “What if we can make ourselves, our communities, and our planet healthier—all at the same time—by moving our bodies more?”

That’s what she explores in Movement Matters, her collection of essays investigating the mechanics of our sedentary culture and the profound potential of human movement. Katy invites us to consider our personal relationship with sedentarism, privilege, and nature. Katy reminds us that living a movement-filled life is perhaps the most joyful and efficient way to transform your body, community, and world.


Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

This is one of our favorite food books!

Ever since farmers first planted seeds 10,000 years ago, humans have been destroying the nutritional value of their fruits and vegetables. Unwittingly, we’ve been selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar and low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for more than 400 generations.

Jo Robinson reveals the solution–choosing modern varieties that approach the nutritional content of wild plants but that also please the modern palate. Many of these varieties can be found in supermarkets and farmer’s market! Jo gives you simple, scientifically proven cooking and prep methods that enhance flavor and nutrition, too.

Reclaim the flavor and nutrients we almost lost.



The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs

It can be hard to choose a cookbook for someone because you might not know what they like, what they cook, and what their dietary limitations might be. That’s why we LOVE The Flavor Bible as a gift.

There are recipes in there, but the book is primarily a matrix of which ingredients go best with the others.

Do they have fennel growing in the garden but don’t know what to do with it? Flip to the fennel page and there’s a long list of meats, veggies, herbs, and spices that complement their mystery herb.

Oh, wait, fennel is also a vegetable? Who knew? The Flavor Bible, that’s who. The authors, I guess, since books don’t actually know things they just store the things we know.


Did you know that one of our top suggestions to ALL of our clients is to cook more?

Cooking your own meals, even fancy stuff

  • saves an average of 134 calories per meal
  • increases veggies consumption by 28%
  • and moves one’s Healthy Eating Index up two whole points (poor to fair or fair to good)

And that’s without even trying.

Yep, if you want to give stealth health, there’s no better book than a cookbook or a book that promotes new and fun ways to eat.

Any of the books above can be helpful, but they are also beautiful, well-written, impressive and just make wonderful gifts.

Other healthy gift ideas

Look, if you know someone really wants a health-related gift, even a diet book, by all means, give it. Just be careful.

Final tip – Just like cookbooks, cooking items like spices, tools, and other ingredients make great gifts, stealth health agenda or not. Gifts don’t always have to have an agenda, but when they do, hidden is best 😉

For more ideas on healthy gifts that aren’t just books, check out our last gift guide, which is still awesome.

Talk soon,



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