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Bubbly kombucha rises up

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Makers of America’s latest craze in probiotic drinks mix up new flavors to satisfy edgy tastes

Last month New York Times readers called out the newspaper over its coverage of bubble tea, which was becoming “mainstream,” commented a writer, seemingly unaware that the drink has been popular in America for nearly a decade. The same could be said for Kombucha.

For many this probiotic fermented tea is an exciting new elixir, offering the promise of untold health benefits, and requiring an acquired taste. While kombucha may just be getting its 20 minutes in the US, the lightly effervescent, yeast- and good-bacteria-laden drink is thought to have first been imbibed in 220 BCE, and for centuries it has been a favored therapeutic beverage in Manchuria, Russia and eastern Europe.

While some may be late to the tea party, kombucha companies have stayed on top of the trend, with new inventive flavors bursting onto the scene to suit every adventurous taste.  KeVita has brewed up some of the most creative batches of kombucha on the market, with its newest flavors including blueberry basil and roots beer.

“We know that fans of KeVita, and kombucha drinkers in general, tend to be culinary adventurers,” said Andrew Thomas, director of marketing at KeVita. “We are thrilled to delight these consumers with unique flavor pairings that reflect some of the most interesting elements of today’s food culture.”

 Other blends in the KeVita’s portfolio of two dozen flavors include Ginger, Pineapple Peach, Tart Cherry, Dragonfruit Lemongrass, Citrus and Raspberry Lemon.

One would be hard pressed to try all of the latest cold-pressed, fermented and otherwise imaginatively processed new-fangled drinks, but the only way to get to the bottom of them all is to drink up!

Personal trainer and nutrition specialist Daniel Carrilho samples the latest kombusha offerings from KeVita.
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Eat & Drink

Stranger things, that are good for you

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Odd foods that can turn traditional staples upside down


While you are binge watching Netflix’s most esoteric series, Stranger Things, try snacking from the upside down. There is a whole world of strange – or at least unusual – foods, that you might not have ever heard of, that are good for you and just might turn everything right side up in your universe.

Go Bananas

If wheat chafes your hide, separate yourself from grain flour with Edward & Sons Organic Green Banana Flour.  This gluten-free alternative to wheat flour bakes up beautifully in cakes and pastries, and it can substitute for grain flour in gravy and other recipes. It can also boost a smoothie or shake for those who want to bulk up their nutritional profile. Available from www.edwardandsons.com

Almonds make a meal

By now almond butter is practically passé, as peanut allergy sufferers and anyone else just tired of peanut butter discovered it as an alternative to America’s most overused spread. Barney Bakery just upped the ante with Natural Almond Meal, a gluten-free, slightly sweet and nutty pantry staple that can coat your chicken tenders or give a crunch to your dessert crumble. Find local grocery stores that carry Barney products at www.barneybutter.com

Tea up

If traditional, boring old tea is not your cup of tea, try Primal Essence Super Teas. These flavorful tea sprays are made from whole-plant extracts and come in flavors such as Ginger Zing or Classic Chai. Squirted into hot or cold water, they transform your drink into a luscious healthy beverage bursting with herb flavors and spices. Available at www.primalessence.com

Jackfruit be nimble

If meat slows you down and chugs through your system, Native Forest Organic Young Jackfruit may help you be nimble again. This meat-free alternative to soy, plucked from the orchards of Sri Lanka, is a great gluten-free base option for sauces and seasonings and a hearty filler for vegan tacos, sloppy joes and other recipies that call for shredded meat. Available at www.edwardandsons.com

It’s the season

Don’t just sprinkle on any salt. Season your food with sea salt from the still pure waters of New Zealand, with New Zealand Pacific Sea Salt. Add a little more flavor with Mesquite BBQ variety or Chipotle BBQ, or try something with a little more texture, such as BioGro Certified Flaky Salt.  Available at www.shoppri.com

Who’s your honey

A spoonful of honey makes the medicine go down, especially if the medicine is the honey.  Manuka Honey, made by bees that collect nectar from the flowers of the New Zealand Manuka tree, is the only honey found worldwide that exhibits non-peroxide activity. This cool-pressed, 100 percent raw honey is a powerful digestive aid, assisting with allergies and immune defense, and it is a potent anti-bacterial agent when used topically for minor wounds and burns. Available at www.shoppri.com

Up your cup with a coconut

Okay, so coconut as a cooking oil was somewhat debunked as a miracle elixir, but it’s still fabulous for skin and hair care, and it also makes a wondrous sweetener.  Munkijo Organic Coconut Nectar is Naturally low-glycemic, gluten-free, vegan, Kosher and non-GMO, and an ideal alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. It’s a and a perfect complement to pancakes, waffles, cereal, teas, coffee and ice cream, and it can be used as a 1:1 substitute for liquid sweeteners in baking. Available at www.munkijo.com

Mystery meat you love to eat

Giving up animal products in your diet does not mean giving up tasty foods like steak and drumsticks. Vegetarian Plus redefines the vegan diet with delectable, low-sodium frozen entrees like meatless Kung Pao Chicken, Citrus Spareribs and Black Pepper Steak. With textures and flavors that are surprising authentic, this vegetarian food is not only healthy but better than good enough to eat.

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HealthLifestyleThought

Working out with your mate leads to better body and mind connection

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From Soul Mate to #SWOLEMATE: Benefits of Working out with your Sweetheart

by Denise Locsin

Looking for a way to bond with your sweetheart? Turn your soul mate into your Swolemate! Studies show that couples that workout together enjoy a deeper connection, are more physically attracted to each other, and have improved confidence. The benefits of regular exercise goes well beyond weight loss and a fit body. The greater benefit is a boost in your love life as you experience a richer, more emotional bond with your honey.

I learned this first-hand the year I was married to (my now swolemate) Danny Locsin. Danny and I we weren’t always swolemates. Our exercise routines differed greatly both in style of workout and intensity…but we noticed that when we worked out at the same time and in the same vicinity, our relationship was better. On the flip side, when life got too busy and we didn’t make time for even an evening walk together, our relationship felt fragmented and we were more irritable with each other.

To understand these effects, let’s think physiology. Our bodies have energy, and when you exercise, that energy escalates. If you and your swolemate are both exercising, the high vibrational energy from both of you meet in the middle and naturally become in sync. Your brainwaves, heartbeat and energy become cohesive over time, as long as you both feel safe.

One of the most exciting benefits of exercising with your sweetheart is that they begin to see you with a new lens of attractiveness. When you exercise, the physiological effects mimic the same effects of romantic attraction: sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and a flood of feel good hormones to the brain.

Here is the secret: the chemical benefits of exercise lasts well beyond the workout. The magic of exercise doesn’t happen during the workout it happens after and has an accumulated effect over time.

How do you get that benefit? Start simple and do something enjoyable like evening walks, 20 minutes together in your home gym, take a dance class, or do a home fitness video together. Most importantly remember to accept each other’s fitness level and ability. Each person must feel safe without judgment or criticism. Your goal is showing up and doing your best. Focus on the benefits of connection and energy and you just may see a wonderful benefit of weight loss and a fit body.

Today, Danny and I have been swolemates for 28 years and counting. We are both fitness trainers and we teach couples as well as families how to enjoy a richer bond with each other through exercise.

ABOUT DANNY & DENISE LOCSIN:
Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.
After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.
For More Information Visit: http://yokebar.com

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HealthLifestyleOutdoors

I’d rather be spinning, said no cyclist ever

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Cycle right for stress-free riding

Whether for recreation or a mode of transportation, bicycling is an excellent way to get exercise and get where you want to go. Cycle safely by following riding rules for the trail, the street or anywhere your two-wheeler takes you.

Be a helmet head

A helmet is a no-brainer, and it’s the cheapest form of head-injury insurance you can get, yet many riders forgo a helmet thinking unless they are performing extreme BMX tricks that they don’t need it. No matter if you are on a short ride around the block or a rocky single-track, cover your head.

Check it out

Check your equipment before every ride. Make sure tires are inflated properly, and test out your brakes, handlebar, and shifting to make sure it’s in good working order before you ride. Make sure your bicycle is in good mechanical condition with a regular checkup and tune-up by a certified mechanic.

Best buddies

Always bring your phone and ID, and ride with a buddy. If you break down or are injured, your riding companion could be a lifesaver. Coordinate with your partner before you set off as to your riding plan, and make sure your companion knows what hand signals you will use for turning, slowing and stopping. Also, tell others when you are going for a ride, where you plan on going, and when you plan to return.

Hydrate your ride

Bring along plenty of water. Most bicycles have cages to keep a water bottle or predrilled outlets to mount them. If you don’t want the extra weight or the obstacle of a water ball bottle mounted on the bike itself, or if you want to be competitive and streamline your ride without water breaks, Camelback and many other brands make backpack style hydration systems so you can sip while you ride.

Get lit

When driving at dusk or dawn or in traffic, use a bike light. The safest lighting systems are those that are always on, like car running lights, with front- and rear-facing daytime lights which have been proven to decrease the likelihood of a collision up to 33%.

Bontrager Flare R bike light is one of the best for daylight visibility, as demonstrated in this video:

 

Dress up

Wear contrasting clothing and gear. Accessorizing in tennis-ball-bright fluorescent and reflective gear and apparel has been shown to decrease a rider’s risk of incident by as much as 53% during the day and makes you 72% more noticeable at night.

Proper biking attire is not just for fashion. Wear appropriate clothing for cycling that is snug to the body to prevent it catching on saddles, handlebars or other bike parts. Fear not, you do not have to look like leg-warmer-wearing extra from Glow. Many cycling apparel brands make functional but decent looking hoodies, sweatshirts, jerseys and other performance wear that you might even wear out after your ride. Never tie clothing around your waist, wrap clothing around handlebars, or otherwise attach items to yourself or your bike where they can come lose and catch in moving parts.

If you are riding with clipless pedals, make sure your shoes are properly fitting and cleats and clips are free of mud and are in good working condition. Practice snapping in and snapping out of them before each ride to make sure you are able to clip out in a hurry if needed.

Map it

Know where you are headed. There are many mobile GPS tools like Avenzamaps can help you map and mark your way so that you don’t get lost on the road, woods or mountains. Make sure you are riding for your skill level.  Rails to Trails Conservancy has ratings and reviews on many trails to guide you in choosing your riding terrain.

Road rules

 Stay on designated trails. Wherever there is a marked bike route, use it. But be aware of vehicles around you at all times, even if you are in a bike lane, as motorists don’t always yield right of way. Obey traffic signs and follow the rules of the road the same as if you would behind the wheel. Ride in the same direction as traffic, on the right side of the road. If there is no bike lane, ride on the shoulder, but ride slightly in the lane rather than the edge of the road, which will cause cars to cautiously pass you, and you will have room to maneuver or bailout if needed.

If you are at an intersection with a traffic light but your bicycle will not trigger the sensor for the light to change, the best option is use the crosswalk as a pedestrian.

Listen up

If you want to listen to music while you ride, wear wireless headphones that can’t get tangled on handlebars and use an earbud with an open design that allows ambient noise so that you can hear your surroundings.

Even if you’re on a biking path, you must still follow the rules of the road. Use an audible signal when you are passing, and only pass on the left. On single-track mountain biking trails, the uphill rider has the right of way. Ride single file and give hand signals when turning, slowing and stopping.

Follow your heart

Nobody wants to be so concerned about safety that bike riding loses its fun. If you have the correct gear, in working order, and you know where you are going and the rules of the road, you will be relaxed on your ride, so plan ahead, so that you can get rolling with ease.

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HealthUncategorized

Get on a (foam) roll

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How to use a foam roller to relieve muscle stress and soreness

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Dr. Michelle Beamer, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, ASTYM, Rapid Rehabilitation guides me through my roller routine.

 

When we hear the term DIY, we usually think of home improvement, but in an age when insurance coverage is uncertain and responsibility for one’s own health care is more important than ever, it is empowering to know there are many things we can do at home to take care of ourselves.  Recently I discovered a physical therapy tool that I now use daily to maintain the progress I made in therapy sessions.

Everyone likes a massage, and now you can do it for yourself with a number of tools designed for self-massage. The most common of these are foam rollers, which can be used for a variety of applications that can release muscle tension, stretch tense areas and rub out sore spots.

Manipulating your body on a foam roller gives you a sense of control over what muscles need the most work and how much pressure to apply.

A company named OPTP makes a wide variety of these rollers. They have rollers of different density and firmness, different textures, sizes, links, and even an assortment of colors and patterns. For just about every musculoskeletal ailment, they make a roller for that.

My roller of choice Pro-Roller soft style, which runs $22.50 to $36. Since I am a bit of a light weight when it comes to “no-pain, no-gain,” I prefer a softer consistency roller which I find more comfortable, particularly on my neck and back where I have chronic soreness and stiffness.

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Rollers come in a variety of firmnesses, textures, sizes and shapes.

 

The soft compression of this roller works well on tight and rigid areas and is ideal for lying supine. In this position I use the roll like a weight bench, using light dumbbells to do chest flies; or I edge up to the top of the roll to do neck extensions.

For these exercises I lie with the roll in the middle of my back, cushioning my spine. This is also a great position to do core exercises where I lift one arm off of the floor and raise the opposite leg, holding that pose while balancing to keep the roll in place.

A terrific feature of foam rollers is that they are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, easy to store —  hidden away under a bed or desk, and you can conveniently use a roller several times a day without a lot of set up, to get in a little relief or relaxation when needed, even at work, if you have the space and privacy where you can lie down on a floor.

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Rollers can be used to perform core exercises for balance and strengthening.

For those people who like to have someone walk on their back to crack it, rollers let you achieve this same effect using your own weight against the roller, and if that is not enough pressure you can apply force as you roll. When I first began rolling, my back would crack frequently; then, as I rolled more often, the cracking diminished, as my alignment improved.

There are plenty of online videos and articles about roller exercises, though I would advise getting a baseline program from a professional physical therapist who can tell you if there’s any contraindications with your particular condition. My physical therapist provided me with an illustrated printout of base exercises which I have built upon, and already within six weeks I have seen measurable improvements of 30 and 40 percent in my flexibility and range-of-motion in my problem areas. Clearly, I am on a roll.

 

 

 

 

 

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HealthOutdoors

Taking up mountain biking? Get the right gear for your ride

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I was an avid mountain biker in my early 30s, and once again I have taken up the sport, more than a decade later, to find that lots has changed. The trails and techniques have not changed much, but I have. Luckily, mountain bikes have changed too, and newer models are much more suited for people at various stages of life and skill levels.

The Mongoose Switchback Sport ($399) women’s mountain bike is a great bike for a new or returning mountain biker. The Switchback is tall, with its 27.5-inch wheelbase and a raised handlebar stem, and it allows me to sit high and upright. As I have gotten a little older, my neck and back sometimes feel stiff and painful, so this more erect posture is exceedingly more comfortable than the hunched-over downward-facing position of older mountain bikes.

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The front suspension fork absorbs shock and offers a lower-impact ride than a fixed fork, so again, for an older body, this is more comfortable. The fork features a lockout knob, so that if you are on a paved surface and you don’t require the benefits of suspension, you can change over the fork so that it performs like a fixed fork, which offers a less laborious ride.

The pedals on this bike feature standard platform pedals. When I was a more aggressive mountain biker, I used clipless pedals, which required me to have special shoes with clips, and when clicked into the pedals, my pedal stroke was more efficient. For serious riders, clipless pedals are a must, but for a weekend rider like myself, the platform pedals are more suitable. As I am out of practice with the clipless pedals, the platforms gave me less anxiety. There is nothing worse than not being able to clip out of your pedals in time when you stop, and tipping over like a bad scene from Laugh In.

As this bike is tall, I appreciated the girls’ style lower top tube. While in my younger days I would easily swing my leg over the seat, now I am glad to be able to have the option of stepping through the bike to mount it.

One thing that will take some adjustment for me is the width of the handlebars. Because of the gears and their positioning on the handlebars, I am not able to place my hands close together. At first I felt like my grip was too wide, but I am getting use to this stance.
The aluminum frame keeps the bike lightweight, which is not only good for quick riding on the trails, it makes it easier for me to lift to put on a bike rack on the back of my car or to hang on a rack in my garage. It’s the small things that are important! One non-standard component that I will add to this bike is a kickstand. I’m aware that true mountain bikers do not have kickstands on their bikes, as it could be dangerous if it snags on roots, rocks or other obstacles on the trail, and it also adds a minuscule amount of weight to the bike, but I prefer the convenience of a kickstand to leaning my bike against a pole or a tree, or having to lay it on the ground.

The components on this bike are high-end for the price point. The Shimano Tourney 3_7 drivetrain with Shimano EZ-Fire shifters make shifting smooth and easy, and the mechanic disc brakes with 160 mm rotors are responsive without seizing up. At around $399, this is a great entry-point hardtail bike for a rider who wants the bells and whistles of a specialized bike but who is not yet willing to invest in a bike costing upwards of $1,500 for features like rear suspension. If I continue riding and want to become more competitive, I can always upgrade this bike, or trade up to a more advanced model.

For my weekend jaunts on and off single-track and paved trails, the Switchback is ideal. It is a serious enough bike, loaded with high quality Shimao and Xposure components, that I am not embarrassed riding among avid cyclists on the popular local trails, whereas on my comfort bike I felt a little like an oddball. It has performance features that make it enjoyable to ride but not too high maintenance for someone like myself who just wants to have a great time and not make a career of tinkering with my bike. This particular Mongoose model is among the higher end of the brand’s offerings. Mongoose also makes less expensive models, though for anyone who wants to get carefree, long use out of their equipment, I recommend going with one of their upper-end models. It might be another $100 to $300 to buy the better bike, but in the end you will get your money’s worth.

While certainly the hardware of mountain biking is the most significant investment, the apparel you wear while will riding can make your experience much better. Biking apparel today is nearly as technical as bikes themselves. The high tech fabrics have evolved and to provide more efficient wicking of perspiration to keep you comfortable when you work up a sweat, and they have features that allow you to adapt them as you progress in your ride or the weather or riding condition changes.

Sugoi, a brand that was forged in British Columbia, Canada, is designed to give you all optimal comfort and performance no matter what the weather. They make a great all-around Coast Hoode ($120), featuring a Aero fleece fabric that is a bonded knit with DWR, so that it protects against wind and water. It’s lined with a dry active jersey fabric to keep you warm, and it has two hand pockets for when you’re off the bike, and an inside pocket perfect for a cell phone or wallet. The collar features a media management system so you can secure headphone cords. When wearing this jacket, it is clear it was designed by true bikers, who thought of everything.

For early fall riding were days when it is less cool, the Coast Long Sleeve shirt ($65) is a great option. It also has great styling, so if you slip into a café on a rest break, you’ll fit right in and not look like your necessarily wearing a bike jersey.

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For safety, Sugoi also makes an excellent reflective Zap Training jacket that makes you stand out like a radioactive rider when headlights hit you, if you ride after dark.

As I is a have always been a believer in dressing for success, it is my philosophy that if you have the right gear and clothing, you will perform better, and you will get the most out of your ride, whether that it is pleasure or trying to meet a training goal. When you feel comfortable on your bike and in your riding clothes, and you feel confident about your equipment, you can focus on your ride and getting the most benefit from it. As I gear up to get back into mountain biking, and now I have a nine-year-old son to keep up with, I am thrilled to be back in the saddle, and I am ready to roll.

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Eat & DrinkHealth

7 savory snacks for the holiday season

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There are plenty of goodies to nibble on and imbibe during the day holiday season to fill you up like a bowl full of jelly. Here are some sweet snacks and twists on traditional treats and drinks for you and your guests that taste good and will get you on the nice list.

Party poppers

Want to bring a little, little hostess gift?  Pack along a bag of The Little Kernel mini popcorn. These tiny sans-hull crunchy popped corns, in six flavors– Truffle Sea Salt, Sweet and Salty Pink Himalayan, White Cheddar, Butter and Naked, made with 100% pure olive oil and are gluten-free, dairy-free, whole-grain and non-GMO. And for a conversation starter, the snack company was founded by Chris Laurita of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and business partner Andy Epstein. $3.99, Giant, Sprouts and other select grocery stores nationwide.

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Just like Grandma made

Serve up nostalgia at your holiday with a tin of Malt Shop Cookies. These retro treats made with real malted milk are beloved by baby boomers as well as Gen Xers and millennials who crave the malted milk finishing touch. The cookies come in a gift tin with a personalized message label and are available in chocolate chip, double chocolate and mocha chocolate flavors.  $24.99, $29.99 and $39.99 for a small, medium or large tin of 12, 18 or 36 cookies.

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Nuts to go

Grab some snacks for the long ride to the relatives for the holidays and crunch down on Nuts About You, handcrafted small batch treats, and with five delicious flavors of Fireball Almonds, Green Tea Almonds, Coconut Almonds, Cookies N Cream Almonds, and Sweet Sriracha, there is a nut flavor for every taste, from fiery to savory to sweet. Sampler of all five flavors, 4 oz. bags, $32, www.nutsaboutyoula.com.

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Snack like a Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and now anyone can eat like a Mediterranean. Mediterra, the latest in healthful, all-natural snack bars, offers savory bars including flavors such as Bell Peppers and Green Olives, Black Olives and Walnuts, and Kale and Pumpkin Seeds, all with less than 4 grams of sugar and packing in 5 grams of protein. They’re rich in vegetables, nuts, herbs and seeds and contain protein-rich pea crisps, amaranth and olive oil, and all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, certified kosher, dairy free and vegan. $1.99 each 1.23-ounce bar or three bars of each flavor in a variety pack of 12 for $23.95. Available at Safeway, Whole Foods, Wegmans and other grocers nationwide or www.MediterraNutrition.com

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Got nut milk?

Don’t leave Santa a boring glass of 2% dairy milk, make him jolly with the treat of MALK.  This wonderfully delicious and healthy nut milk is made with more than one cup of sprouted and organic nuts and is cold pressed to keep it fresh. The various MALK products are made from organic pecans, almonds, and cashews, and each MALK product is less than 7 grams of sugar. The nut milk flavors are perfect to drink by themselves or to stir into egg nog, smoothies or hot cocoa. $6.99 per 28-ounce bottle.  Available nationally, including all Whole Foods and Ralph’s Grocery Stores.

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Cider in the house rules

When traditional spiced cider just won’t do the trick, Sonoma Cider offers a punch, from the latest style of cider drink, hard cider. With certified organic ingredients and distinctive flavors, including The Wimble, which is a variation on gose, an old German-style beer known to be sour and briny with a lingering and addicting harmonic tartness with notes of rhubarb and apple, The Crowbar, a habanero lime cider, and The Pulley, a crisp, refreshing apple cider with overtones of black licorice and a hint of anise, the botanical heart of absinthe. Four 12-ounce cans in a pack for $10.99, or Four bottles for $9.99. Target, Whole Foods, Food Lion and other grocery and liquor stores nationwide.

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Ice is nice

Make your holiday cocktails bright and cheery with a splash of color and flavor with ICE Sparkling Ice beverages. These light and refreshing sparkling waters, teas and lemonades contain real fruit flavor in unexpected fruit combinations, like Black Raspberry, Orange Mango, Pink Grapefruit, Kiwi Strawberry, and Coconut Pineapple, without all the calories. They make flavorful mixers for your party drinks, such as a yummy pomegranate wine spritzer, with Riesling, Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling ICE, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, a teaspoon of agape, and mint. Available in 12 packs for $12 at grocery stores nationwide.

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GiftsHealth

Personal holiday gifts that show you care

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Giving someone a personal care gift can be touchy. For instance, unless a woman has asked for a cellulite massager, she might take it the wrong way. Here are six non-offending personal gifts that loved ones are sure bring comfort and joy.

No Pain, their gain

The Oska Pulse device is the latest technology in pain relief. About the size of a large computer mouse, the device can be strapped to the body with the included sling or even placed under the user’s pillow. Employing pulsed electromagnetic field energy, the same technology used by NFL players and the military special forces to promote healing at the cellular level, the device glows and works its magic, painlessly, silently, and with no side effects. It also has a moneyback guarantee if you do not get relief. $400, www.Oskawellness.com

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Smooth Shaving

You may not think a man’s bald head and a woman’s legs have much in common, but the makers of Skull Shaver electric razors get that the delicate knees, ankles and other contours of a woman’s body deserve the same gentle care as a man’s head when achieving a close, smooth shave. The mushroom-shaped cordless Butterfly Shaver has five flexible rotating heads plus a foil head attachment for bikini and under arms. Holiday sale price $54.99, www.skullshaver.com

Smile Pretty

With all the “to floss, or not to floss” debate, only one thing is for certain, debris between your teeth is unsightly and unhealthy. The Oral Irrigator, despite its aggressive name, gently removes particles from teeth and gums with a stream of pulsed water. Unlike bulkier dental devices with cords and separate tanks, this pulsing water device charges up and then can be picked up and used like an electric toothbrush. It has three settings and a two-minute auto shut off and is safe for braces implants and bridgework.  $49.95, www.toilettreeproducts.com

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Sock it to me

Socks might seem to be a rather pedestrian gift, but not when those stockings are ready for the cat walk. Lily Trotters are fashionable high-performance women’s compression socks that look as good as they work.  Lily trotters are designed thin so they can pair easily with running shoes or boots, and despite their snug squeeze, they are easy to get on and off and can be worn comfortably for hours on end. They may be just what you need to slip into for recovery after exercise or during pregnancy or air travel when it’s most important to keep blood circulating in the lower legs for vein health and to keep legs feeling refreshed and energized. Available in dozens of sassy styles. $48, www.LilyTrotters.com

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Pillow talk

A good night sleep can improve productivity, mood and general health, and it all starts when you lay down your head. The Sleep Innovations Versacurve memory foam pillow, engineered by a team of sleep experts who studied people while they slept, cradles your cappie with gentle therapeutic support and a curved design that accommodates those who change sleeping positions from side, back and stomach during the night, promoting a sounder sleep. $38.99, www.Amazon.com

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Cool it

If someone you know has a hothead, or hot body for that matter, MISSION’s EnduraCool neck towels ($14.99-$29.99), will cool them off.  The MISSION line of athletic accessories are made with dry-to-cool wicking fabric technology embedded into wraps and other gear such as hoodies, hats, headbands and helmet liners use patented technology that can lower the fabric’s surface temperature by up to 30 degrees when activated with water, and the technology is embedded in the fabric so it can’t wash out. Available at www.mission.com

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Editor’s note:  Sample items were provided for consideration in this gift guide.  All opinions expressed are the author’s own.

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