We've all got that one impossible foodie friend -- the one who won't eat anything unless it's vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free/carb-free/paleo (fill in the blank food restriction). Name the deprivation diet, you probably know someone who's on it.
But what are you supposed to buy for these infuriatingly picky people (of whom I'm one, I might add)? Sadly, it's not as easy as a Starbucks gift card or a bacon-of-the-month subscription. Dealing with dietary challenges means getting a lot more creative. So here are our picks for the culinarily challenged.
Just because someone is vegan doesn't mean they don't dig the taste of meat. Maybe they just like their animals better alive. So snag your flesh-deprived loved one a gift basket from FakeMeats.com. The site even offers a $35.99 Converter Vegan Gift Basket if someone has just made the switch and in need of some meat-esque comforting. There are a bunch of other options, too, ranging in price.
Cavemen had huts and fires, so they must have had comfort foods too. Nothing like a leg of buffalo to make you feel all warm and buzzy. So eating like one shouldn't mean giving up those yummy home-cooked faves. Get your paleo pal a Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. At $20.76, it's an easy and less-than-expensive way to help 'em get through the holidays without feeling deprived. And let's face it, Mother Nature is the ultimate home cook anyway.
Vegetarianism can get tiresome when one is a less-then-creative cook. After all, there are only so many ways to microwave a bowl of Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup. But with a subscription to Vegetarian Times, your veg-head friends will have plenty of ideas to keep them busy in the kitchen. Even if it's making only mac and cheese. A year's subscription is a supercheap $14.95.
Bread is probably the most bemoaned sacrifice gluten-free eaters make. And despite the difficulty, it is actually possible to make yummy gluten-free grub. Pick up some mixes from the gluten-free gods at Bob's Red Mill. A sampler includes cinnamon-raisin, cornbread, "wonderful" bread, and whole grain, all for just $20.87.
Sugar is in everything, so it's likely any sugar-free friends of yours are in savory hell over the holidays. Luckily, there are some creative folks who make delicious eats sans refined white sugar. Treat your buddy to a sugar-free snack tower. It's piled high with treats they probably don't come across too often -- brownies, cookies, chocolates. At $49.99, it's a small price to pay to add a little sweetness to someone else's life.
Although the Atkins obsession has died down over the years, there are still a lot of folks choose to steer clear of carbs -- much to their palate's displeasure. But luckily there are some tasty edibles of the nonbread variety. Olives, for example. Grab some bottles of gourmet olives in flavors like jalapeño Mexican lime stuffed ($9.95), Maytag blue cheese ($10.95), or wasabi ginger sake stuffed ($9.95). That oughta cure their carb-less boredom for a while.
If there's one thing that's key to a raw dieter's menu planning, it's juice. So a juicer basically ranks number one as a kitchen essential. Of course, a good one ain't cheap, so hopefully this person is worth the bucks. For $259, you can get 'em the highly lauded Omega J8005 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer. That's a mouthful.
For the eater who's terrified of genetically engineered frankenfoods, there's nothing better than locally grown eats. A membership to Teena's Pride CSA means a weekly delivery of farm-fresh produce, free from the frightful influence of big ag and mad scientists. This time of year, there'll be tomatoes, cilantro, salad greens and other delicious greenery. There are several size options, from a quarter-share to full, ranging in price from $44 to $88 biweekly (or a little cheaper paid in full for the season).
Some people think kombucha tea tastes like fermented ass. Others think it's the Holy Grail of healthiness, and if you've got a dairy-free friend in your life, they're probably into it. So, get 'em a Kombucha Tea Starter Kit, and they can make their own instead of shelling out $3 a bottle at Whole Foods. At $21.99, it's an inexpensive way to show some love to your lactose-free friends.
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Organic living isn't cheap, but it's worth the peace of mind knowing your edibles aren't doused in poison. Eating insecticide can be a real buzzkill. So help your favorite organic eater extend their clean living past food and into skincare. Male or females alike will go apeshit over Josie Maran's skincare line. Who wouldn't want to look like her? Score some 100% Pure Argan Oil (maybe the best moisturizer ever) for $48, or some Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist at $22. Either way, it's supermodel-approved.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.