WASTE-FREE Giving (Heal The Planet; Heal Ourselves)

Did you know that at Christmas in Canada alone, we throw away the weight of 100,000 elephants (or about 540,000 tonnes) in wrapping paper? I can’t honestly even get my head around that. That doesn’t factor in tape or ribbon or cards or bows or boxes or the actual gift inside; that’s JUST the wrapping paper. It boggles the mind. Food waste is also a problem, as we tend to buy 25% more food during the holidays and end up throwing a lot of it away (at ALL times of year, we tend to throw out half the produce we buy–UGH).

So, I’ve been thinking, and I wanted to share what’s come up…

I feel there is an important connection to be made between the way we treat our bodies and the way we treat our planet. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how I feel about nourishing my body with nutrient-dense, high quality foods and fresh, clean water. You’ll know that I value exercise for the mental and physical health effects it has on me and you’ll know that reducing stress is a priority, and so I meditate daily, walk in nature, and practice deep breathing in order to feel a deeper sense of calm.

The holidays can be a time where we indulge in foods and drinks that steer us farther away from our health goals, and we can trade workouts and walks for parties and shopping. All the financial, emotional and physical stress of the season can leave a lasting negative impact on our well-being, and so, in an effort to prioritize my health every day of the year–not just when it’s convenient–and in an effort to show a deeper appreciation for this beautiful planet we get to call HOME, I realized that the things that are good for my BODY are also good for the PLANET.

It just seems so…simple.

This holiday season, I am pushing back on all the marketing and societal pressure and I’m keeping things really, really simple. I’m reducing my carbon footprint by not buying or wrapping physical gifts, but rather, gifting money, meals or experiences (or nothing at all to those I’ve sometimes just felt pressure to buy for) and I can tell you, I already feel less stress. Sure, there’s a little anxiety around not doing the “usual” or “expected”, but I am ok with that. I have expressed my desires to loved ones and I’ve also asked that they not gift me/us with anything physical, either. We simply must “be the change we wish to see” and if I want to enjoy living on this planet for my lifetime and see it continue for many, many more lifetimes, it starts with ME. I can’t keep waiting for others to “fix” the problem.

So, today, I wanted to share some holiday gift ideas in all sorts of price ranges that allow us to stay mindful of what REALLY matters during the holidays—time with friends and loved ones, time to slow down, time to relax and enjoy the season, time to show ourselves more love and compassion, and, time to show this planet that we really, really DO care.

Here goes! I’d love to hear if any of these ideas inspired you. If so, or if you have other ideas, please comment below.

It's About The EXPERIENCE.

We often feel we need to hand over a physical gift, but what I’ve found time and again is that experiences are far more appreciated and enjoyed. Here are some ideas:

You can invite your friends or family over for a meal. Feeding people is my love language and it lights me up to have people around a table, enjoying conversation and tasty bites. This Boxing Day, Roger and I will host my mother and her partner, my brother and family, and I’ll be doing a charcuterie board so we can nibble away and chat. I’ll also have my home made Caesar salad, leek soup, Curried lentils, and my healthy peanut butter balls for dessert. Having people over for a meal IS a gift, and it’s really all you need to give.

You can write up certificates to do nice things for your loved ones using old holiday cards and writing on the blank side. Offer to take out the recycling and garbage, do the grocery shopping, clean out a bookshelf or closet, do the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry or clean/wash the car. Offer to babysit for a friend or loved one who doesn’t often get a night off. For added value, clean up the kitchen while they are out and they will be blown away to come home to a clean kitchen and sleeping children. HEAVEN!

You can send a loved one for a massage, mani/pedi, facial, acupuncture, reiki, or other alternative health treatment. You can offer a service you deliver yourself (I love giving Roger at-home facials, massages, etc. and he’s forever giving me foot rubs) and write up a certificate for it. 🙂

You can gift tickets to concerts, sporting events or comedy shows (Yuk Yuk’s and Absolute Comedy clubs only charge about $8 a ticket, so it’s a fun night out without breaking the bank!)

Gift cards are a common gift, but to make it more about an experience, rather than a way to buy more stuff, consider picking up a gift card for restaurants, book stores, or the Apple iStore. I love gifts where we all get to enjoy the fun! It’s been a long-standing tradition to treat our family to see the latest Star Wars movie at Christmas. Movie passes make a great gift for movie lovers.

Other ideas are passes to museums, making a donation to and visiting an animal sanctuary or SPCA, or simply going for a family hike or walk in a nearby park.

You can plant a tree or donate to a favourite charity in your loved one’s name.

You can gift your loved one with a membership to a gym (if they’ve expressed interest but perhaps don’t have the budget) or for their favourite sport like curling, skiing (or just a day pass), tennis or golf at a nearby club (or even just one round of 9 or 18 holes at their favourite course).You can buy a membership to a local pool or recreation centre, to zoos, museums or amusement parks.

I’ve been gifting my niece and nephew with money for their education fund every Christmas since they were born. Consider asking parents if this is something that would be appreciated and decide what might be best (savings accounts, mutual funds, stocks or bonds.)

Insight Timer and other meditation apps are great for gifting to those who enjoy meditating (or who want to start). Yoga or workout apps are also really popular for those who want to do an at-home sweat session. You can gift someone with a session with a spiritual healer (think astrology, a tarot card reader or psychic medium).

You can gift a subscription to Food Matters TV if your loved one enjoys watching documentaries on topics surrounding health.

There are loads of online programs out there designed to help people live their best lives. I believe that the gift of personal development is the most valuable, as it not only helps the individual, but the world. There are programs for helping people get sober, lose weight, heal their finances, improve their time management, learn a new skill (like the ones found on Masterclass) and everything in between, My program, called One Bite at A Time (OBAAT) is a 12 week online course that helps people create a life they love with a focus on food, sugar, body image and habits. It makes a great gift and it teaches people to not only heal their relationship with food, sugar and their bodies, it helps them to become FEARLESS in the kitchen with easy-to-follow cooking tutorials. 🙂 Maybe this one can be a gift from YOU to YOU as we make 2020 YOUR year!


Let your friends know you are gifting experiences only this year, or suggest “no gifts” and reiterate that it’s not only about cost but also the waste. We can all respect a desire to reduce waste. If you’re a family who tends to use disposable plastic plates, please swap them for paper (at the very least) and preferably, swap for china. Ask friends to bring their own plates if you are having a crowd and don’t have enough. People will appreciate what you are doing more than they’ll judge you for not having them! Same goes for cutlery, cups etc.

Remember that the “3 Rs” are now the “4 Rs” and are a hierarchy, with REFUSE being at the very top (followed by reduce, reuse, and recycle). If we can refuse to bring things into our lives that cost money, add stress, and harm the environment (think buying waaay more food and “treat foods” than necessary, which is expensive, costs us our health and then creates more garbage), we will be doing so much good for ourselves…and the planet. Did you know we throw away 40% of the groceries we buy? It’s crazy. Let’s treat our planet–and our bodies–with the respect they deserve. Let’s make our own treat foods and reduce all that plastic packaging altogether (those crinkly wrappers can’t be recycled). Join me on Wednesday, December 18th at 1:11 pm ET while I make my Healthy Peanut Butter Balls (including variations for chocolate covered, Truffles, and healthy “Toffifee”)! I’d love to have you with me. It’s all happening over on Facebook, so if we’re not already friends, let’s fix that now!


Let's all do our part to enjoy a healthier holiday season...in all the ways: mentally, emotionally and physically, while reducing our carbon footprint.

I want that for me. And I want that for you, too.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Just a reminder that my One Bite At A Time (OBAAT) group Coaching program starts on Monday, January 6th, 2020. If you (or a loved one) would like to join me for 12 weeks on a journey inward, I’d love you to experience OBAAT where we talk food and sugar and body image, and we also go SO much deeper, in order to uncover the root causes behind our behaviours. Visit ObaatCoaching.com to learn more, or feel free to email me at Sarah@SarahTalksFood.com. 

P.P.S. If you’d like to learn more about my work around food and sugar and body image, I did a live training called:The Truth About Sugar and How To Live A Life Of Freedom Around Food.


P.P.P.S. If you’d like to prioritize your health for 14 days, I’d love for you to sign up for my 14 Days of Wellness. Simply enter your name and email address up on the right to begin receiving the messages today. It’s FREE, with no diets, products, challenges or catches…just a chance to remember how amazing you are…for 14 days.


P.P.P.PS. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. Plus, as a thank you for joining, you will receive my 14 Days of Wellness. 

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