December 2011 - This Holiday Season, Give Gifts of Good Health!

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Every year, Americans spend millions of dollars on Christmas gifts. Many are things advertisers have convinced us we really need but in fact, we don't. Expensive gift-giving may not be the best way to show how much you really care.

If you want to show someone your love and concern, why not give them something that will contribute to their good health and well-being throughout the coming year? Following are gift suggestions for any budget that really are worth giving. While these gift ideas may lack the "bling" factor, they do say "I love you, I care about you and I want to have you around for many more years." What could be a more sparkling gift idea than that?

Healthy Cookbook
For those who love to cook or for those who want to learn how to prepare traditional foods in healthy ways, I suggest Month of Meals Soul-Food Selections by Roniece Weaver and Fabiola Gaines. This cookbook presents traditional soul food favorites prepared so you won't taste the difference. Delicious! Autograph it with your personal message of inspiration.

New Dining Experience
For friends and family who love to eat out, try a gift certificate to a vegetarian restaurant. Include a sample menu along with dish suggestions as this will likely be a new-and hopefully enjoyable dining adventure.

Sponsor a Senior's Meds
The cost of prescription medications force many seniors to decide between buying food or medicine. Purchase one (or several) months of medicine for a senior (or anyone) who really needs the help.

Schedule and Pay for a Health-Screening Test
Many African-Americans don't get cancer screening tests to detect health problems early. As a result, we're often sicker and die earlier. Help those you love avoid becoming cancer victims because the disease was found too late. Schedule and pay for a mammogram, colonoscopy, or a prostate specific antigen (psa) test with your loved one's doctor, local clinic or hospital.

Quitters Win
Lung Cancer accounts for the largest number of cancer related deaths among men and women. Moreover, smoking contributes to heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular illness. So if you care about someone who smokes-what better way to show your love than to help them kick their habit? Give a 6-month supply of nicotine gum or patches, or enroll them in a smoking cessation program. (If you're a smoker, you might want to show yourself some love as well!)

Work It Out
Fat is killing Black folks. Obesity related conditions such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes contribute to our high death rates from heart disease and stroke. Combat obesity with daily exercise. Gift options might include a gym membership, exercise classes at a YMCA/YWCA, sessions with a personal trainer, an exercise DVD, a basketball, or a bicycle. The point is to get (and keep) them moving!!

Words to Eat By
Consumers often have a hard time keeping up with the latest nutrition information - we may think we're eating healthy when we're really not. It's not because we don't want to, it's because we don't know. One great source of information is the Nutrition Action Newsletter. This monthly publication is full of useful information about foods and beverages we consume on a daily basis in a fun, fast, and easy to read format. Go to to subscribe. At only $10 a year, it's a healthy bargain.

Fun & Juicy!
Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables is a wonderful way to cleanse and nourish the body. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables allows your body to absorb vegetable nutrients easily and efficiently. Gift someone with a good quality juicing machine this holiday season along with a book of juicing recipes. It's a tasty, healthy gift for the entire family!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

With you on your Journey To Wellness...
Dr. Mary S. Harris

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