The pressure is on to check off everyone on your holiday gift list, and from hostess gifts to stocking stuffers, festive foods and beverages tend to be safe bets. For the more health-conscious loved ones on your list, gut microbiome-friendly treats can be a more thoughtful twist on a holiday snack pack. With this in mind, here are a few of our favorite gifts to say, quite literally, “I love your guts”.
You can’t go wrong with a benefit-packed beverage. This fermented tea is made using natural ingredients such as black or green tea, fruit, juice, spices, and other flavorings. Beneficial bacteria are also formed during the fermentation process, which can help support your gut health.
Our local fav: Harvest Roots Ferments specializes in owning seasonal flavors with locally grown ingredients, and is our go-to for a bucha brew! If you’re really feeling fancy, their limited-release Leaf Drop brews showcase local fermentation and native plants in elegant champagne bottles. What a great way to toast the nature enthusiast in your life!
I know what you’re probably thinking… no, we’re not talking about a perennial woody plant. These fruit-infused vinegars can be used in salad dressings to sparkling beverages. Shrubs pack a nutritional punch and are typically made with apple cider vinegar, which yields several health benefits. According to research, apple cider vinegar is good for killing harmful bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels, and helping with weight loss.
Our top pick: We’re big fans of Santa Barbara-based Sideyard Shrubs, a small batch producer that celebrates local farms and curates delicious recipes for their shrubs.
Pickles and Sauerkraut
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, and maybe he gifted what he didn’t keep for himself. Pickles and relishes are an excellent gift for the taste factor and the added health benefits. During the fermentation process of pickling, healthy bacteria (also known as probiotics) break down natural sugars. Fermented foods, such as pickles or sauerkraut, can support your overall health with anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic activity.
Our local fav: Stone Hollow Farmstead Pickles & Relishes are handcrafted using pesticide-free produce from farms just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. You don’t have to be local to enjoy - the pickles, every which way, are available on Food52.
If fermentation isn’t your persuasion, prebiotic superfood bars are another option. Prebiotics are forms of fiber that the human body can’t digest, but bacteria can. Probiotic bacteria have been known to ferment these fibers and produce short-chain fatty acids and certain B vitamins. Prebiotic foods can help improve metabolic health and support digestive health.
Our top pick: Rowdy Bar offers superfood bars and powders packed with prebiotic fiber. The bars come in a variety of flavors to support gut health.