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Dr. Zorba Paster's annual holiday gift guide: Tech, books, food and the greatest gift of all

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OK. Every year at this time, I get to give some gift suggestions — and I do love thinking about it so here goes.

Tech: I’m a techy so I’ll start with this. I suggest the Durgod Taurus K310 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard — 104 Keys.

Now I am not a gamer. Not at all. I learned on a manual typewriter — you know, the kind where you had to push the keys down with your finger nice and hard (you could tell a good typist by the strength of their grip). This year, I traded in my flimsy keyboard for one that makes substantial clicks. If you have an old-fashioned typist in your family, this might be the key. The Ducky One 2 SF is also good, but doesn’t have that extra keypad with numbers on the right. Just as clicky, not as functional.

And don’t forget about a Kindle. I used to hate people with Kindles. I thought, give me an old-fashioned book that I can hold. But once old arthritis caught up with me, I changed my tune. I love my paperwhite. I can read it in bed and not disturb my wife Penny. I can see a book review and download the book instantly.

Books: Cookbooks. Always a fine gift for the cook in your family. I just got “Midnight Chicken: & Other Recipes Worth Living For” by Ella Risbridger. It’s a storybook cookbook. It’s unique. It’s uplifting. It’s a remarkable read.

If you haven’t gotten some old favorites, then consider “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman; “Dinner: Changing the Game” by Melissa Clark; or “Ottolenghi Flavor, A Cookbook” by Yotan Ottolenghi (great vegetarian and vegan recipes), and finally, consider a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. Our family go-to magazine comes out six times a year with wonderful recipes worth cooking.

Food: So while we’re on food, what about prepared food service. I love cooking, but not every day. Our daughter gave us 608 Community Supported Kitchen. Every week we’d get ready-to-eat meals — tasty, fun and a treat to get — especially in the wintertime, when the nights are long and you want to just hunker down for food without the prep work. Other meal services such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron also might be right for you — but keeping it local does one thing. It keeps it local.

Gadgets: My favorite all-time gadget is the Kuhn Rikon Pull Chop Chopper/Manual Food Processor with Cord Mechanism, Green, 2-Cup. We’ve given this away numerous times and every time people say, “Wow. I just love it.”

Food brings me to ...

Good health: What do we think about on Jan. 2 — often how much we ate on Jan. 1, or Christmas or Thanksgiving, etc., etc. We put on that winter weight just because we eat more in the winter and move less. So consider a health club membership, on a trial basis? Or a stationary bike or treadmill or elliptical?

Of if you want to go all out, a personal trainer. My personal trainer — Matt at Impact PT and Performance (he’s a PT so he know what he’s doing) has helped me stay fit in my 74-year-old body. I can’t stop the ravages of old age, but I can make my performance optimal. Staying fit means you’re more likely to recover from the illness, injury or just old-fashioned bad luck, that didn’t set you back in your 20s but might disable you when you’re retired.

Music: If you’re into music, consider a Sonos speaker — it works with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If you’re into live music, buy a gift certificate to your favorite venue. If you’re into theater and plays, consider places like the Overture Center or American Players Theatre — they all have gift certificates that never expire. A real treat if you like live stuff like Penny and I do.

And finally — and I don’t really mean finally, but it’s something I always talk about when I write about the holidays ...

Giving to others: Make a donation to a charity in someone’s name. Send a kid to camp in someone’s name. Support the Salvation Army, which does so many good things, in someone’s name. It’s giving to others that enriches our lives so much. I’m all for giving to those we love. Otherwise, why would I write this column?

But balancing this with a gift for someone you don’t know who needs the support will make your gift-giving this year so much richer.

Happy Holidays.

This column provides general health information. Always consult your personal health care provider about concerns. No ongoing relationship of any sort is implied or offered by Dr. Paster to people submitting questions. Any opinions expressed by Dr. Paster in his columns are personal and are not meant to represent or reflect the views of SSM Health.


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