ADVENTURES IN FOOD AND FITNESS: Shop local for healthy, last-minute gifts

A display at the Olive Twist, Covington Plaza, shows a soup bean mix called "Indiana Bubble Bath." The $8.99 packet contains a beautiful mix of organic beans grown by DeCamp Gardens in Albion. (Photo by Tanya Isch Caylor for The News-Sentinel)
Larry Buzzard, owner of Spokesmen Cycling in Roanoke, displays his top selling bike, the Jamis Citizen 2 ($459), which he describes as a "women's comfort bike." His most popular men's bikes are the Jamis DX@ and the Haro Westport ($520-$550), both hybrids. (Photo by Tanya Isch Caylor for The News-Sentinel)
You can find backpacks for adventurers of all types, including dogs, at Earth Adventures Unlimited, 1804 W. Main St. Here store manager Bridgette McCue and her dog, Bodey, demonstrate a smaller version of the pack he usually wears when they go hiking. (Photo by Tanya Isch Caylor for The News-Sentinel) Photo by Tanya Isch Caylor
Youth skeet-shooting instructor Larry Easley, right, offers free lessons to beginners. Here he talks with one of his students at a statewide event last summer. (Courtesy photo)
Tanya Caylor, author of Adventures in Food and Fitness

It’s a week before Christmas, but there’s no reason to panic. For gifts that promote good health, shopping local is almost always your best option – and you’ll reduce holiday stress by eliminating worries about shipping time.

As an added bonus, many of the places where you’ll find these gift ideas are fun to visit, especially this time of year:


Long before he was known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” UCLA coaching legend John Wooden was a hard-working Indiana farm boy who went on to win both a high school state championship and what was later recognized as the equivalent of a national championship while playing for Ward “Piggy” Lambert at Purdue.

The maxims that Wooden learned on the farm later formed the basis of his “Pyramids of Success,” which are now used in the business world as well as in sports training. Of the dozen or so books that Wooden authored or contributed to later in life, the easiest to find locally is “Wooden: A Lifetime of Reflections and Observations On and Off the Court.”

It’s available at both Barnes and Nobles locations in town as well as at Half Price Books, 533 E. Coliseum Blvd. As of last week, Hyde Brothers Booksellers had several copies in its basketball section in the basement.


A first need water purifier from Earth Adventures, 1804 West Main Street, Fort Wayne Indiana shown by Bridgette McCue, manager of the store. Retail price is $133.


Quality olive oils and balsamic kinds of vinegar in toney gift bags that include a recipe card are a useful present you can feel good about giving. But one of the more amusing options at the Olive Twist at Covington Plaza this season is “Indiana Bubble Bath,” an organic soup bean mix grown by DeCamp Gardens in Albion. An $8.99 pack contains beautiful as well as tasty varieties such as tiger eye, Iroquois, cocagne, amethyst, zolfino and black turtle beans.


Skeet shooting not only builds confidence in kids who might not otherwise be athletically inclined, but it can also lead to scholarships. And Larry Easley, a National Skeet Shooting Association Level One certified instructor, offers beginners free lessons.

Why? “I’m retired, it’s my passion, I’ve always done it, and I just enjoy it,” he explains.

Kids 18 and younger can get up to three two-hour lessons at no cost except for targets (about $6 for a pack of 25) and a box of shells (around $7.50). Easley provides loaner guns; he prefers parents avoid buying equipment initially because too often they invest in the wrong thing.

For more information, call Easley at (260) 437-4070.


IPFW alumni will have a hard time finding logo shirts after next summer when the university officially changes its name to Purdue University Fort Wayne. The school colors are also changing to Purdue black and gold.

It’s unclear if the university’s mascot will remain the Mastodon. “That issue will be considered as the realignment moves forward,” according to a posting on the school’s website, http://www.ipfw.edu/about/future/faq.html. For now, the campus bookstore still carries plenty of IPFW gear.


Self-improvement superstar Tim Ferriss’ new book “Tribe of Mentors” ($17.99) probes the strategies of the planet’s most successful athletes, entrepreneurs and other visionaries – including their favorite books and the most life-changing purchases they ever made for under $100. Available at Barnes and Noble and some Walmart stores.


Based on Ferriss’ tip about an Osprey backpack called the Porter – he calls it “the most versatile travel bag I’ve ever used” – we decided to check out the selection at Earth Adventures, 1804 W. Main St.

Manager Bridgette McCue showed us packs for adventurers of all kinds, including kids. The Porter ($140), like all Osprey packs, comes with a lifetime guarantee. McCue also recommends the Farpoint line.

The store’s photo wall shows customers using its gear all over the planet. Bodey, McCue’s German Shepherd-Malamute mix, amiably modeled a doggie backpack (around $69), while McCue showed us portable water-filtration devices. To demonstrate, she took a swig of water from an algae-filled vase.

Bonus entertainment perk: Visitors can use the rock-climbing wall in the basement for just $1.

Small-town shopping fun: It can be intimidating to select gear or clothing for the discerning cyclist in your life. But even if you opt for a gift card, they won’t regret the chance to check out Spokesmen Cycling, 247 N. Main St. in Roanoke. And neither will you because this tourist haven just nine miles from Lutheran Hospital on U.S. 24 is full of eclectic shops all decked out for the holidays.

Spokesmen owner Larry Buzzard says his best-selling two-wheeler is the $459 Jamis Citizen 2, a women’s “comfort bike.” His most popular men’s bikes are hybrids, the Jamis DX2 and the Haro Westport ($520-$550).

While you’re in town, pick up some Wagyu beef from the Joseph Decuis Emporium to serve for a special holiday dinner.

Tanya Isch Caylor blogs about postfat living at www.90in9.wordpress.com. Contact her at tischcaylor@gmail.com. This column is the personal view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.