Gift Guide: Be Super-Healthy On A Shoestring Budget

Are you tired of watching expensive gadgets turn your friends into Abercrombie models? Well, my pudgy popper, we’ve got a holiday gift guide that’ll give you five more ab packs without breaking your piggy bank.

Standing Desk Vs. Cardboard Box

kinetic deskIt’s well-known that sitting all day long is slowing killing us, so a few savvy furniture manufacturers have begun to market chic “standing desks” boldly priced at $1,000 or more. The Stir Kinetic Standing Desk is an artificially intelligent $3,800 table that learns a users’ habits and automatically adjusts its height throughout the day.

Or, if you’re like the former CEO of Hulu, you can use the good ol’ 20th century technology of a cardboard box. This geometrically sound paper-based tech comes in all shapes and sizes; with enough digging users can find an ideal height for them. At TechCrunch, it took me five minutes to find some boxes laying about.

Treadmill Desk Vs. SurfShelf

surfshelfAccording to Science, standing desks may not be all that healthy, since what the body really needs is constant movement throughout the day. Your best bet for being super-healthy is to walk while you work (it even makes doctors better at diagnosing!). But, these suckers are expensive: the cheapest quality LifeSpan Treadmill desk is $1,300 or you can DIY it for a few hundred dollars less.

Or, for a price of Comcast’s shoddy Internet ($39.95), you can own the portable miracle, the SurfShelf, a laptop shelf that attaches to the face of most treadmills. I brought it with me on a three-week tour of the East Coast and it worked marvelously. You still need a gym membership (or a hotel with a treadmill), but it’s a great excuse to get out of the coffee shop and into a gym.

Juicer Or Blender Vs. Teeth

breville-juicerGetting one’s daily allowance of vitamins can be a real pain, so nutrition-happy consumers have been more than willing to shell out their weekly paycheck for a gadget that shreds solid fruits and vegetables into a drink that can be gulped in between emails. The $300 Breville Elite Juicer makes bright shakes without the inconvenience of cutting, while the Costco holiday centerpiece, the $500 Vitamix, spins fast enough to prep uranium for a nuclear core.

But both juicing and blending are probably terrible for your body. Fructose can be toxic to humans; Mother Nature naturally wraps its sugary sweetness in a fiber shield that protects the human body from blood sugar spikes and liver damage. University of California, San Francisco health guru Rob Lustic told a crowd at the Aspen Ideas Festival that if you’re going to juice, the only non-toxic foods are pure vegetables (icky).

Unfortunately, pulverizing foods into an indistinguishable mush could destroy much of the nutrients. It’s unclear how much survives the shredding process, and it allows people to consume foods far faster than the body prefers to process them (leading to overeating and blood sugar spikes).

Teeth are a healthy, free alternative to mashing food. Designed by mother nature, these calcium-based chompers are perfectly tailored to each individual users’ digestive operating systems. The chomping co-processor safely throttles the bandwidth of nutritional uploads, protecting vitamins in a salty liquid sheath.

Poke pedometer Vs. Wrist Thingies Vs. iPhone Counter

pokewalker1I honestly don’t know how hunter-gatherer societies managed to stay fit before the advent of plastic buzzing pedometers. The Jawbone Up24 ($150), Nike+ Fuelband SE ($150), Fitbit Force (129.99) all delight consumers into using their legs with rainbow-colored reward screens for those who meet their daily walking goals.

Or, according to the University of Iowa, you could enjoy the most accurate of pedometers, the Pikachu-friendly Pokewalker ($43). This smile-inducing trapper of pixelated Japanese gladiators will count your steps each day while providing hours of endless entertainment.

Sleep: Apps Vs. Sunglasses And A Clock

sleepcycleSleep is great for body and mind, but YouTube is just soooo entertaining. Many wrist health trackers monitor sleep and provide optimal wake-up alarm times, as do a suite of smartphone apps, such as Sleep As Android or Sleep Cycle.

Fortunately, the brain has a built-in timer that naturally sends dreamy signals to the brain if a regular schedule is kept. However, the piercing fluorescent blue light from computer monitors is wreaking havoc on our evolutionary response of being awake at sunlight. To get our melatonin pumper back into shape, blue-light filtering sunglasses, a.k.a. “blue blockers, ($15.99) are scientifically proven to improve some sleep-related diseases. I wear mine every night two hours before bed (and try to turn out the lights, as well).

There you have it, folks. How to be super healthy on a shoestring budget. In the comments section, please post photos of your rippling abs, as you roll around in a pile of one-dollar bills and Ivy-league diplomas.

You can check out our complete Holiday Gift Guide 2013 right here.