Sunday, December 2, 2012

Yo! Vegan's Top 15 Gifts For Fit Vegans

Last night I was decorating my house for the holidays, mulling over my annual dilemma: what on earth to give my Mom this year. I put up a blue garland over my menorah and thought, "... maybeeee... Indian spices?",  then it dawned on me that perhaps somewhere, someone out there was in a similarly stumped state--but rather than trying to find the perfect gift for my horse-riding, always-on-the-road Mother-who-has-everything, they were contemplating their strange and very-specific, very-confusing type of giftee: the fit vegan. And then, balancing on a table with garland in hand, I thought, "Oh my God I can help them!"

If you have a heavy lifting tofu lover on your hands and you don't know what to get them, fret not. I will make you the champion of gift giving.

To help put this together, I asked a few of my fellow vegan meathead friends what, in a perfect world, they would want their friends and family would give them. The results were UNANIMOUS. Anything on this list is a perfect gift. There is also wide price range so that even if you're broke (like me!) you can get something cool for your meat(less)head friend/kid/lover. Ok, let's do this...


1. BLENDER ($5-500+)

This is single best present you can give a fit vegan. Protein smoothies are a way of life. I have 2 a day! I bought my blender used on craigslist for $10, I frequently see them in thrift stores, and you can buy them in any department/kitchen store (duh.) If you want to blow them away and have a lot of money you'd like to put in, there is no better blender than vitamix (a vitamix is especially nice if your fit vegan is also into cooking.) They're very expensive ($350+) but worth every penny.


Protein is a great present alone or in combination with other items off the list (blender, shaker.) There are a lot of different vegan proteins out there and everyone has their favorite, but no protein is a bad protein, so don't worry-,even if you don't get your vegan's favorite kind, whatever you give them will get used. Here are 3 solid options:

-My favorite protein: Custom mixed protein from True Nutrition allows you to custom mix your own protein--choosing your own sources of protein (rice, hemp, soy, pea), flavors (though I wouldn't advise getting anything too crazy as a gift), sweeteners (I go unsweetened personally), and additives (I add oat carbs for my breakfast shake mix), and your percentages of each. As you make the mix you can see how much protein/vitamins it contains. It's fun! Because you get to make the mix yourself, this also has a personal touch as a gift. Just be warned: hemp is grainy and not everyone likes it (I love it, but my boyfriend haaaaates it.) If you're not sure if they'd like it, skip it. I do a pea/rice split for my evening protein. I'd say safest bet would be that, with natural vanilla flavor, no sweetener. (Also be warned, stevia is REALLY sweet, almost sickenly so in my opinion. Also best to skip.) WANT 5% OFF? Use code DBERN0812

-Fancy proteins: VEGA AND SUNWARRIOR

Vega ($55ish) and Sunwarrior ($40ish) are the higher end favorites. Most people that I know can't afford them. If money is stretched in their direction, it's as a necessary luxury, kind of like paying for a higher-end gym membership so you don't have work out around all the mirror-gazing newbs at LA Fitness. You can get Vega and Sunwarrior at most health food stores, but also at and, where you can pick up other items on the list as well.

-Cheapie proteins: GOOD OL' WHOLE FOODS SOY

Broke? Running out of time? Vega sold out? Pick up a $14 Soy Protein from your local natural foods store. A lot of vegan fitness types avoid soy protein (in trying to vary protein sources), but if it's around we'll drink it. (I personally LOVE vanilla soy with almond milk and frozen strawberries- I have it for dessert sometimes!)

3. SHAKERS ($5-10)

No one can have too many shakers. These are for shaking up protein and vitamin mixes on the go- a gym bag and home essential!!!! These cost very little and you can pick these everywhere. Natural food stores, vitamin stores,, Easiest gift!


Your local health food store carries a slew of vegan vitamins- just make sure you do not buy gelatin capsules! Most bottles will say "vegetarian formula" somewhere on the label. Brands to looks for: Deva, Primaforce, NOW. You can also order from or

5. CREATINE ($6+)

Creatine aids in building mass. Not every is into it. I, for one, do not take it. So I actually lied when I said all things on the list were unanimous, but my dude friends unanimously wanted creatine, specifically this brand (NOW), which is available at or


Ok, you have to know your giftee pretty darn well to get them shoes. Size, style, desired fit. But if you can hack it, we fitness folks always want sneakers. More support, less support, natural feel, those weird toe-shoes--we want them all. Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Asics- they all make synthetic shoes suitable for vegans. Just read the label.  I see three ways to go about giving the gift of sneaks. 1. Guess what shoe your giftee wants, and get it. 2. Take them sneaker shopping (I think it'd be cute to stop in a shoe store and get them to try on shoes, then surprise them by buying whichever shoe they liked most) 3. Ooooor just give them a gift certificate to Zappos .


Some lifters enjoy gloves. I personally am one of them. If your vegan is like me, pick them up a pair! It will stop the bar from tearing their hands up, and I find that when I'm wearing them I can put up more weight (...that's a good thing.)You can find them all over the place--Target, Best Buy (!), and most major sporting stores. Brands to check: Nike, Mechanix, Schiek. Just make sure the palms aren't leather!

8. THE BOOK ($20)

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger ($20) If your giftee doesn't have this, it's a perfect present. It is the end-all of body building books. The ultimate guide. One of my best friends actually keeps it in his car, ready to turn to any page at any moment.


These are also great gift books:

Strength Training Anatomy ($13)
Starting Strength ($30)
Power to the People! : Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American ($22)
Relax into Stretch : Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension ($23)
Winning Women's Bodybuilding (.1 used on Amazon)- A note on this book: It's a very old memoir/guide by bodybuilder Laura Combes- one of the first women to really get "big". I read this 6 or 7 years ago and got a lot of perspective on the sport of body sculpting and the mind of the women who aim to get large- highly recommend this for lifter ladies.

10. THE SHIRT ($22)

(Available in Men's and Women's and various colors and

11. THE BAG ($31)

12. KETTLE BELLS ($10+)

Pick a size, any size. Or a set! Kettle bells are a versatile muscle-building tool that is great to use at home. They are carried everywhere- Target, Amazon, sporting goods stores, freakin' WALGREENS. You won't have to look far to find them. EASY!!

13. PUSH UP HELPERS ($12-$30)

These are awesome. They take the pressure off your wrists and help engage your muscles. You may see these and think a push up is hard thing to mess up, but it isn't. And it's easy to hurt yourself doing them. So these little suckers are great! There are two kinds: The Perfect Push up ($30), which everyone raves about, and push up bars ($12ish), which I have used and love. I would be stoked to get either! These are also available everywhere, a super simple gift.

14. PULLUP BAR ($15+)
These don't need a lot of explanation. We'd all be better off if we had them, no? Here's the one pictured above for $27.



People who work out sweat a lot. Wearing cotton blows when you're working out, it gets wet and clingy and clammy and gross. The it holds sweat against your skin it can causes irritation. It is THE. WORST. I don't know a person who works out that doesn't want to be decked head to toe is wicking gear. I've been asking members at my gym (I work at the front desk) what fitness-themed gifts they want, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON has mentioned wicking clothes. Wicking clothes are available everywhere- both high and low end. So, dear reader, I leave you with this: find your giftee's size and buy everything that fits them.

Go forth my well informed gifter! Buy a great gift! Make your fit vegan smile!


(PS. Don't know how to thank me for this awesome list? Well... I do have an Amazon wishlist...)

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