Holiday Gift Guide For Your Friend With Cancer (Or Anyone Who Wants to Prioritize Self-Care)
Welcome to my Holiday Gift Guide. Going through cancer treatment — or any chronic illness sucks. During my treatment, a lot of people reached out and wanted to buy me gifts but didn’t know what I wanted or needed while battling cancer. Truthfully, I didn’t know either, I had never done it before! As it turned out, some AirPod Pros my ex-boss sent and a pair of cozy sweat pants ended up being my cherished possessions while undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for Stage 3 cancer. Below, I’ve listed several gift ideas for people on or off treatment that have become staples in my everyday life … especially now that I am focused on healing and wellness, not just cancer. Hope this helps!
2022 Update: I’ve added and updated gift items for 2022!
Holiday Gift Guide from TheAntiCancerLife
I am obsessed with using healing teas at the moment. I have three that I love for this winter season from Full Leaf Tea Company:
The Oolong Cinnamon Spice Skilly Tea: helps with digestion and blood sugar control.
Organic Anti-Inflammatory Tea: Sencha, Ginger Root, Cinnamon Chips, Rose Hips, Holy Basil, Turmeric, Black Pepper.
Organic Flu Remedy: Astragalus, Holy Basil, Black Pepper, Cat Nip, Cinnamon, Echinacea, Elderberry, Ginger, Spearmint.
Since I’m immunocompromised, I drink this stuff all day long. I also love THROAT CLARITY and FERTILITY.
Use THEANTICANCERLIFE for 20% off.
I don’t know what it is about chemotherapy and cancer treatment, but I was cold all the time. In fact, I would get so cold, the only way to warm up was with a hot bath. Enter the heated blanket. I was gifted a heated blanket during my cancer treatment and still use it to this day. Likewise, when I get infusions, I use a heating pad for comfort and a heated blanket works much the same way.
Hoplark Hop Tea
Once I was diagnosed with cancer I stopped drinking alcohol — but I do miss fun sparkling drinks. Enter Hop Tea. These are the most delicious teas I’ve had. In fact, I bought my brother some as a gift and now he’s hooked. They come in green tea, white tea, black tea, and chamomile varieties, and of course, each flavor is blended with hops. Usually, hops are used to make beer — it’s why IPAs have such a “dank” taste. This can satisfy any beer craving and they’re actually good for you.
2022 Update: Still obsessed with Audible. Currently listening to The Song of the Cell | Book by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
During cancer treatment, it’s really important to walk every day, no matter how crummy you feel. You gotta get your body moving. I put an Audible subscription on here ($14.99/month) because I love loading up an audiobook and walking for an hour. I recently listened to “The Emperor of All Maladies”, a biography of cancer, and it was 18 hours of pure enjoyment. Walking while listening to your favorite books (I highly recommend comedian-author audible books, like Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants”) is a fantastic way to spend the day.
Amazon Gift Card: https://amzn.to/3EnF9Pk
I recently wrote a blog post on the power of Epsom Salt baths, but these babies got me through cancer treatment. During my chemo-radiation days, I was taking two baths a day. When migraines kept me up at night, I’d pop in the bath and get at least 30 minutes of reprieve. If you are not bathing in Epsom Salts, there’s no better time to start than now. It’s instant pain relief — even if short-lived —and it’s absolutely worth it.
I often use Dr. Teals Epsom Salts.
Bonus Idea: CBD Bath Bombs! These soothing bath bombs usually contain around 25mg to 100 mg of CBD and are perfect for pain relief.
Healthy Living Books
There are a few books I read during cancer treatment that really helped me in my journey. I’ve listed them below. Any of these make fantastic gifts for patients or caregivers.
Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To by Dr. David A Sinclair
Meal Service Gift Card
Since I have a pretty strict diet, I cook a lot, but I also get meals sent to the house. This allows me a couple of days off from having to prepare food. I have found two services that I particularly love.
I am a big fan of Thistle because it’s a plant-based (if you choose the vegetarian) option, full of unique recipes, and doesn’t include microwaving. The con to Thistle is it’s a little pricey (around $14 per meal) and there’s no “fish only” option so I lose out on some protein. However, they have a plethora of protein substitutes (usually pea protein crumbles or tofu) that are very good.
*Get $50 with this code: TARYN8ZIB
Factor 75: This has by far been my favorite meal service. The meals are delicious and they use wild-caught fish (a must), antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat (once in a while I order chicken), and they almost never use added sugar (amazing, since I am on a “no added sugar” diet).
*Get $40 with this link: https://bit.ly/tarynfactor
The con to Factor is that the meals are pre-made, but their ingredients seem to be very high quality. The other con is they do a lot of “keto-friendly” food, which means it’s very high in saturated fat (again, I always remove the butter and appreciate they make it removable). Lastly, in the con section, you use a microwave to heat the food. You could potentially remove the contents and use your oven, but for me that’s unrealistic.
A big part of the AntiCancer lifestyle is making a daily smoothie. Because the smoothies I make are full of fruits and vegetables, it’s important to have a blender that can smooth out all that fiber. Especially for smoothies heavy in greens — like celery and kale. I found that Nutribullet is the best bang for your buck. It gives you that smooth, Vitamix texture, without breaking the bank :)
Large Nutribullet ($134)
Little Nutribullet ($42)
At $18 per month, this subscription could be pricey as a gift, but it’s worth it. One thing that’s really difficult after cancer treatment is getting back in shape. Many people are immunocompromised, so going to the gym is out — especially during Covid. Supernatural is an extremely fun way to work out in your own living room — the catch is you also need an Oculus Quest VR system ($299).
There are two options for the workout — the classic, where you hit flying targets while rocking out to your favorite music; or the new boxing addition. You’ll be sweating in no time :)
2022 Update: Still use these products and love them. They often have them cheaper at stores like TKMAXX or MARSHALLS.
Okay, let’s talk about chemo skin … it sucks!
During treatment, you turn into this puffy, white, pasty person that you barely recognize. I found these FirtstAid Beauty products and loved them. My favorites are below … but really anything that’s free of parabens and hydrating is great for cancer patients. (Sidenote: If you’re getting radiation, wait until treatment is over to use products in that area.)
I am obsessed with the Radiance Face Pads! And face cream with SPF is a must. (You must wear sunscreen every day to prevent cancer!)
Even better FAB products are allergy-tested, free of Parabens and Artificial Fragrance, and safe for sensitive skin. Plus, they’re cruelty-free.
The 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask ($17): A super fun face mask that makes your face GLOW!
Radiance Face Pads ($25): Super hydrating and always makes my face look fantastic after use!
Face Cream with SPF 30 ($28): All their creams are super hydrating (which cancer patients know is a problem).
NutriBullet EveryGrain Cooker
2022 update: I received this grain cooker for Xmas last year and LOVE it. It makes cooking grains and steaming vegetables VERY easy, which is nice if you’re going through chemo.
Full disclosure, I do not have this grain cooker … but I want it. I added it to my own Christmas list. Getting a lot of fiber is a must for cancer patients and anyone living the #anticancer life. This little gadget cooks rice, quinoa, farro, oatmeal, you name it. While I normally cook all those grains in a pot — certain types, like farro, take forever (and water amounts vary by grain). Having a one-stop place to cook my grains sounds like a dream come true!
On Amazon for $79
2022 Update: The juicer I am wishing for is the Nama (supported by Chris Beat Cancer as well, he usually has discount codes because it’s pricey).
Yes, you can buy fresh-pressed juice at the store — and it often ends up around the same price. But if you want to make wellness shots (i.e. ginger shots, turmeric, etc) you’re going to want your own juicer at home.
I juice up ginger and turmeric and then take it as shots with lemon, or I add it to sparkling water for an exciting anti-inflammatory treat.
Slow Juicer On Amazon ($109)
Airkave (Or Personal Air Purifier)
2022 Update: So AirKave seemingly doesn’t exist anymore, which is sad because I love mine! Amazon does have other personal air purifiers for your immunocompromised family and friends. I traveled to Greece, Austin, Colorado, New York and didn’t get Covid. I do think these in combination with masks can help in spaces like planes and Ubers.
I’ve raved about the Airkave before. I used this when I traveled to Greece and New York. I also recently took it to Mammoth with me. I run it on planes, in Ubers, inside hotel rooms — the sky is the limit. Literally, because it’s basically a portable air purifier. There are no filters to change and according to Airkave, “airKAVE Portable is proven effective against several strains of Influenza, MRSA, Tuberculosis and most recently, aerosolized SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.” You can use code APLATYPUSS for 10% off.
It’s usually $299 but it’s on sale right now for $199 (plus the 10% off code — it’s a steal).
So that’s it! The perfect gift guide for cancer patients or anyone focusing on self-care! Obviously, everyone’s journey is different, but these are the products I particularly liked while on treatment or when I first got off treatment. You’ll notice discount codes — yes, those help me, but I only list products I actually own and love :)
Follow my wellness Instagram account [at] TheAntiCancerLife. Or TikTok.