Finding the “perfect” gift for someone with food sensitivities

As if finding the perfect gift wasn't hard enough, add food sensitivities to the mix and many may say it is impossible to find that special something.  Of course, that's not true…but it does make the search a bit more challenging!  (And, really - do we need to use the word "perfect"?!)

To help in your search for a gift (or a loved one's search for a gift for you!) I'm going to lay out some rules of gifting for those with food sensitivities.  And I have a few suggestions for items in an effort to simplify even more!

First…the Rules of Gifting.
  1. Just because an item says it is "allergen-free" does not mean it won't cause problems for some with food (and environmental) sensitivities.  
  2. Many individuals with food sensitivities also struggle with environmental sensitivities.  What does that mean?  Gifts with an odor or even a floral smell can be enough to trigger a reaction for some.  Avoid lotions and candles and essential oils.  Look for something with no smell.  
  3. Even though it is so easy to give nuts or sweets or a homemade something using your mom's recipe, skip the edibles for those on your list with food sensitivities.  Unless, of course, you absolutely know you have the perfect trigger-food-free item.
  4. And here is the biggest rule - respect what the recipient shares as their restrictions.  If they say they react to chocolate, don't give them the newest, neatest dark chocolate.  Ultimately, finding the perfect gift means you know the person well enough to understand what they would enjoy and what they will not…that means listening!  
Second…the Rules of Receiving.
  1. If you have food sensitivities and you know friends and family have a hard time finding gifts for you, give them a list of suggestions.  And make sure you include items from varying price-points.  
  2. Be really clear on what you can and cannot eat when it comes to edible gifts (or even get-togethers!).  Frequently, it makes more sense to focus on what you CAN eat or what you DO enjoy.  Provide brand names and pictures of labels.  You know how it goes, say you can't have one thing to eat and that's the only thing you can think of to eat.  
  3. Stay true to you and your needs.  If someone gifts you something you know will cause a reaction or miserable symptoms, don't eat it just to please the gifter.  
And finally…here are some ideas for Food Sensitivity Gifting.  

Some of these may seem a little off-the-wall, but for those of us living with food sensitivities and histamine intolerance, these just might be the best gift ever!

You might notice a general pattern in these items - many are tools to help manage or minimize stress.  If you are or you know someone with food sensitivities, I can promise you/they are stressed.  Physiologically, emotionally, mentally…all the ways.  And stress will only aggravate food sensitivities!  Why not gift them with tools to help address one of the root causes of food sensitivities?!

If there are any links included here, they are not affiliate links.  Just links to cool stuff I found.  Happy Gifting!!!

  1. A weighted blanket is both cozy and an excellent tool for calming the stress response.  The challenge with this one - be sure to look for one which includes machine wash instructions.  
  2. A hand-warmer can be really nice for those with significant histamine intolerance because hands and feet tend to be cold and clammy.  This rechargeable one is cute and it has a flashlight!
  3. Along those same lines, a foot-warmer or a pair of warm and fuzzy socks.  Add in a voucher for a foot rub every day for a week.  
  4. A One Line A Day journal is one of my absolute favorite things to gift!  Use it for jotting down daily memories, gratitudes or personal wins.  All are special pieces of life which are frequently forgotten in the midst of the day-to-day craziness.  And there are many different covers from which to choose!
  5. 60 Ways to Relieve Stress in 60 Seconds by Manning Rubin.  My mom gave me this little book when I started college MANY years ago.  I still have it and periodically pick it up to get some stress-busting inspiration.
  6. A gift card for their favorite (not yours) restaurant or coffee place.  And if you know their preference is to eat or coffee alone or with a friend, you can honor that with this gift - enough for them to go solo or an invite to meet you and share the experience.
  7. A gift card for their favorite hobby shop for a class or materials.  If they have a hobby, encourage it!  If they don't, help them rediscover something they used to enjoy - reading, painting, pottery, stained glass, etc.  
  8. A gift card for a massage, rolfing, Feldenkrais or preferred bodywork.  Definitely save this one for someone with whom you have discussed different kinds of bodywork because it's not for everyone!  In fact, someone I know would prefer to get her hair washed and styled periodically, even if she's not getting a haircut, because they give the BEST head massages!
  9. An air fryer or Vitamix blender is for the frustrated foodie with food sensitivities.  Both of these (and at very different price points) open doors to new food creativity.  And, yes, the Vitamix really is better than other blenders!
  10. Water bottles and cups are always popular.  Even stainless steel straws!  They make a great gift but consider also including silicone straw tips.  If you've ever hit your teeth with a stainless steel straw, you know.
  11. A small alarm clock with instructions to set the alarm for a time every day to stop and take a 10-30 minutes break for themselves.  Talk about indulgence!  Most of us don't take 5 minutes a day for ourselves, let alone a true daily break.
  12. A doorknob hanger declaring a personal time break is wonderful for shared spaces and big families where boundaries may be a challenge.  Sometimes it just takes a little bit of permission, like a doorknob hanger, to start a self-care practice.  I would run to Etsy in a heartbeat for this one!
  13. Membership to a meal-planning program like Clean Food Dirty Girl or the like where there is plenty of support for changing up recipes and exploring with flavors.
  14. An online course or program on a topic of interest.  The internet is FULL of online courses and programs - like Susan Garrett's Homeschool the Dog and other dog-training programs, Marie Schlemm's chocolate truffle-making class, Anne Merete Fjeld's knitting courses or even my own Food Sensitivity Code.  And even if a particular program isn't available when the gift is needed, consider providing a "gift voucher" for when the program/class is next open. 

Even if the perfect gift for your someone wasn't listed here, I hope you've gotten some inspiration just reading through my suggestions!  And just remember, frequently a smaller, thoughtful gift is much more perfect than the most expensive and in-demand trend.  

Sixty-second Self-care Tip…

If you're here looking for gift ideas, you have some big something coming up - holidays, birthdays, gotcha days.  Something.  And you're likely running around trying to get all the things done so the big something will be PERFECT.  

Can I tell you a secret?  No one remembers perfect.  Or, I would pose, we don't remember perfect as well as we remember the absolutely-not-perfect.  The not-so-perfect typically triggers more emotions (which can be good or bad...) which builds stronger memories.  

I'm not opposed to perfect - but, as Voltaire said, don't let perfect be the enemy of good.  Remember to enjoy the holidays and birthdays and gotcha days - and let go of the pursuit of perfection.  

Give yourself permission to let go of perfect and simply be the wonderfully imperfect You!  

I know the holiday season can be overwhelming with all of the to-dos and to-makes and to-buys.  If you want a pretty quick, 3-step process to help you keep things from being so overwhelming this season, request my FREE download here: 3 steps to doing less with more joy.  It's something you can use in any situation to help keep you focused on what is most important to you!


60-second self-care, gift ideas, gifting, self-advocate

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