Healthy Holiday Gifts: Thinking Outside The Gift Box

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

When holiday season rolls around, most of us are tasked with the time-honored tradition of picking out gifts for our loved ones. Yet much of the time, the gifts we choose don’t promote the health of the recipient. In fact, usually the opposite is true. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen give you some tips to think outside the box when it comes to your holiday shopping so you can give the gift of health and wellness.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years. Using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome and happy holidays to all of you. You know I always... I said this in the executive huddle I have every morning. This morning when we were talking about gift-giving, I said, "I know someone either hates me or really doesn't know me if they give me caramel popcorn."
Tana Amen: Yeah, or they're buying gifts out of convenience and they're not really paying attention. So it really has nothing to do with them caring so much.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So if you send us gifts, don't send us gifts that send us to heaven early, that during the holidays it's really meant as a time of celebration. But it is often a time for many people of chronic stress, financial worry, and worrying about what other people think of you.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I repeated the rule a lot on this program, the 18/40/60 rule, that says when you're 18, you worry about what everybody's thinking of you. When you're 40, you don't give a damn what anybody thinks about you. And when you're 60, you realize no one has been thinking about you at all.
Tana Amen: So true, I love that rule.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And even if you have sort of a national presence like we do. And people recognize us when we go to the store, go to whole foods and they look in your basket to go. Do you really live the message or are you getting whole food and donuts? We live the message most of the time. But even if you're well known, people are still not thinking about you. They're thinking about them. But I want us to talk, after you read the review, about brain healthy gift giving and some of your favorite gifts.
Tana Amen: Right. Okay, so I have a review here. Awesome information. I'm a chiropractor, who by profession, looks for natural alternatives for my patients. With that being said, I'm not against medicine, but what I am against is the indiscriminate use of them. It's exactly what we say. That's funny. Thank you both for using alternative ways to help patients get healthier and to live the best life possible from Dr. Jerry Kruckenberg. Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And if they leave a review...
Tana Amen: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That will enter them into a raffle to win one of your cookbooks.
Tana Amen: We just sent out four of them today.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love that.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so, go to, leave a question, a comment, or review, and we'll enter you into a raffle.
Tana Amen: We are doing our part to keep you healthy. We want you to be healthy. So-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And speaking of gifts, the Brain Warrior's Way cookbook is an awesome gift. Because what you're giving is the gift of brain health.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or the Brain Warrior's Way book, or the Omni Diet that you wrote, or Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, or any of my books. So what have been some of your favorite gifts?
Tana Amen: To receive or to give?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Both.
Tana Amen: So when I'm giving a gift, I try to think about the person. So it's really funny, in our family, no one really cares that much about gifts. Although, now I have a teenager, so cash is always good. But really, no one cares that much about gifts. It's been an interesting thing because it's not easy to just go out and buy a gift for somebody. It actually makes it challenging, but for me, I don't really like gifts. It's not that I don't like them, I don't care that much about them. So for me, it's time. What I want is time. So I like going on trips, or weekend trips, or vacations with family. That's really what I love. I love even sitting and watching movies, or whatever, but that's what I like to do with the family. You, it's personal touch, it's time, it's attention. You're very much a people person, as well, so you're not really into... Trying to buy you a gift is next to impossible.
Dr. Daniel Amen: No.
Tana Amen: It's next to-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I actually tell people what I like. My kids go, "What do you want? What do you want?" I want the same thing, all the time, which is, I want pictures of my children and my grandchildren.
Tana Amen: Right but you can only give you so many pictures-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Why?
Tana Amen: Before it starts to feel just weird. Okay? Because every year we give you pictures.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I don't want pictures of myself.
Tana Amen: I know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I want pictures with the babies.
Tana Amen: But it's ridiculous.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And with the grandbabies.
Tana Amen: I mean we feel repetitive. So...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. So when you think of the person, you think they have everything. What they want is connection.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so, might be tickets to a basketball game, or a play, or.. I mean, it's very important, that's why I love the 5 Love Languages.
Tana Amen: I love that book. Yeah. So one of the things that I... So here's a really good one, if you don't have a lot of money. Okay? So understanding that some people aren't gift people is a good thing to know. What I like to do is, for us, it's actually a big deal because we have a big family. I actually think of putting the time in to get the house ready for the holidays, that's really an act of love. It's really an act of service and an act of love to your family. Cooking a big meal for the holidays, that's an act of service and an act of love. But making it to where our home is comfortable for everyone to come over, that doesn't require buying everyone a bunch of stuff. But it really is that thing, we want our family to feel welcome and come over.
Tana Amen: And there are some people were cash is, as much as it seems like it's not a good gift, it is a good gift. You know? I mean, even for teenagers, just a little bit of cash, it goes a long way. But really mostly for us, it's cooking the right foods, it's making the home comfortable, it's spending time with our family. Those are really the big things. And then sometimes we'll plan vacations and do things like that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and some of the things we have at BrainMD, that I think are really great gifts are our three music albums. So the Brain Warrior's Way music album, it's wonderful. Or Music for Bright Minds, 45 weeks on Billboard's New Age charts.
Tana Amen: I like Bright Minds the best.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I was their number six new age artist of the year, for last year. Why are you looking like-
Tana Amen: Because you're not a musician, it's just not fair. Life is just not fair sometimes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And then Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, 23 weeks, which I love. We're beginning to think of a new one called Your Brain is Listening. So music is a great gift. Books are a great gift. So if you know a genre... Like my dad really lived through World War II. He was young, so he didn't have to go fight, but he likes books about World War II.
Tana Amen: I think books are great gifts.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So books, clothes. Depending on where you live-
Tana Amen: Healthy products are great gifts. Because a lot of people don't want to start over and spend the money to start over, so it's getting them started on healthy products is a great gift.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, you actually did that recently for a young person in our life and he liked that. And so you're investing in their health, rather than, investing in their illness. And so, the music would make a great stocking stuffer. Another great stocking stuffer, and now it's back in stock, is Brian in Love Bars. It's our brain healthy chocolate bars.
Tana Amen: And that's how I make nutty buttercups.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And brain healthy protein. So I was just reading an article this morning on pea protein. It's actually one of the most complete plant proteins of all the proteins. And that's in the brain immunities protein powder there.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I think we use pea and chia, is what we use.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So protein powder would make a great gift. And the reason I like it, is when the person you give it to, that's going to last them a month, or maybe longer. And they're thinking about you that whole time. So if they're sort of irritated with you, now they're less irritated with you.
Tana Amen: Especially when they have a new year's resolution to get healthy, it gets them started.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Brain Boost On the Go would make a great stocking stuffer. There's so many different brain healthy gifts that people could think about. Now, as I think about my all time favorite gift in my whole life, it's you, because you're my dream girl. So just waking up with you every morning is a gift for me. Sometimes when you're irritated with me, the gift is a little prickly.
Tana Amen: That's so rare.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But no question, if I have to go, "What is the number one gift in my life?" Clearly it's you, right? So it's what can you do to enhance your relationships?
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right? From a physical thing, one of my patients, actually went to a fair and had a sculptor make a spec camera with a penguin..
Tana Amen: Oh, I know. That's such a cute gift.
Dr. Daniel Amen: In the spec camera, getting scanned, with a penguin in a white coat, standing next, reading the scan. So they actually thought about what's important to me.
Tana Amen: And you had another patient, who's pretty well known, write you a song about the brain. It was so great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I did. That was really... Because it took time. It took thoughtfulness. Now I had a patient at OCD, get me like 40 penguin things. I got this a huge book, a huge box, and there were penguin ties, and pens, and statues, snow globes, and musical things.
Tana Amen: So funny. So great. You have to love all the different things we see, it's so great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So I needed to raise her medication.
Tana Amen: It makes life interesting.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But it was fun. So what can you give, that really requires a little bit of thought, and serves their health, rather than hurts them?
Tana Amen: Right. And maybe it's something that requires a little bit of your time, but not your money, if you don't have a lot of money. Can you make them, can you take something healthy to eat to a family function? Can you do something that's just thoughtful?
Dr. Daniel Amen: A poem. So somebody that you help a lot, she wrote you a poem.
Tana Amen: Yeah, my daughter does that. I mean, what is my daughter going to buy me? She doesn't need... There's nothing I... First of all, I don't really care that much about gifts. But she tends to write me things and it's really special for me. Yeah, because she's a good songwriter.
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Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics, or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at or a 10% discount on all supplements at For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.