Feel Good Tips for Fall

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

We romance when thinking about Fall…the changing color leaves, the markets stocked with pumpkins and the adorable rain boots we’ve been eager all summer to wear. In our fairy-tale world we forget the runny noses, cabin fever kids and going to & from work without sunlight that also often accompanies the months we call Fall.

Zuri Girl much prefers the fairy-tale world and wishes romantic autumn days for all so we waved our wand and got together with Health Coach Vanessa to find out how we can keep the magic alive.

Vanessa Gatelein, founder of Food Changes Everything and Certified Health Coach helps us navigate staying healthy, nutritious and energetic this Fall.

pumpkin pizza


Zuri Girl: What foods are in season in October and what are their benefits?

Health Coach Vanessa: It’s roasting season baby! I roast everything as soon as its cool enough to turn the oven on. It’s so easy when you can go to your organic market, pick up local seasonal vegetables, wash, chop and drizzle olive oil over them. (Sprinkle some cayenne pepper if you’re feeling cheeky.) Bake at around 200 Celsius for 30 minutes or till tender. My favorite October foods are Pumpkin, Squash, Butternut squash. Brussels sprouts


Zuri Girl: What makes these foods especially good for us in October?

Health Coach Vanessa: Orange vegetables are good for night vision – ideal for super heros, night clubbers and more relative parents. It has the precursor to vitamin A called carotene which supports good cell turnover and acts as antioxidant.

Green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts are rich in folate and vitamin C. Folate is essential for processing purines in the body.

White vegetables especially onions and garlic are immunity boosters and can also act as antibacterials.


Zuri Girl: What spices are your “go to” on a rainy and cold October day and what are their benefits?

Health Coach Vanessa: I have two that are always on hand. 1) Red hot chili peppers: chili peppers open the sinuses and are known to increase body temperature. They turn up the heat in a cozy bean/meat chili or when added to a steamy goulash soup. 2) Fresh Ginger clears mucous from your throat and the tea can settle upset tummies. It’s amazing made into a hot tea or a fresh squeezed juice.


Zuri Girl: Does home made chicken soup really cure a cold? Any other tips for DIY treatments when battling a cold?

Health Coach Vanessa: Nothing cures a cold better than time. With that said there was a study done on chicken soup that had positive results. My Swiss tip is to buy organic or Bio Suppehuhner from a butcher or organic market. These are the retired egg laying hens and are great for making an potent broth.

Other things that help to relieve cold symptoms:

– Kräuterbad (bath with aromatic herbs)

– Chicken Soup

– Ginger Tea

– Light stretching

– A walk in the fresh morning air then get back to bed and rest

– Saline water spray to relieve nose inflammation

– Really rest…No computer, iPhone, Books or cleaning up. You’ll stay sick longer.


Zuri Girl: Do you recommend a daily immune booster to prevent winter colds?

Health Coach Vanessa:

1) Sleep. No joke. Get your 8 hours, let your body detox, repair and fight what it needs to and I can honestly say… You’ll avoid most colds.

I tell my clients to set an alarm for bed. Then create a bedtime ritual to wind down including no more electrical devices or exciting books. You will see a difference, I promise.

2) Hydration. Slowly sip 1-2 cups of plain warm water in the morning. No honey, no lemon!

3) Stay away from people with colds. Tell your colleagues to go home if they are sick.


Zuri Girl: How can we stay fit when trapped indoors most days?

Health Coach Vanessa: Don’t stay indoors! Get a good fleece, hat and gloves. Get outdoors and tank up on any sunshine you can. Beat the winter blues.  At the least walk to and from work, walk at lunch time or do a nice brisk 15 min walk after dinner.


Zuri Girl: What about keeping the kids healthy & happy? 

Health Coach Vanessa: Wow that’s a big question!! Healthy… This is going to sound funny, but keep them oiled up and well hydrated. Switzerland is very dry and being indoors with the heating doesn’t help. Dry nasal and ear passages creates irritation and opens doors to germs. In specialty stores you can find ear oil (drops) and I myself use a little olive oil to rub in my nose. Well hydrated keeps the body working as it should and supports the elimination process (where most of the immune system is.)

Lastly, make sure that they rest. We often have an overfilled schedule. In all honesty, all the animals are turning inward and hibernating. Let’s make sure we slow down a bit too and follow our natural rhythm towards good health.

And for Happy…Get Moving and Get Outdoors! A super fun option is to go zip lining! You’ll be in the forest, outdoors and in the fresh air. All the climbing keeps your body temperature warm and kids love the challenge. Moms can do it too! Pack a picnic or go to a Berg Restaurant.  Google: kletterpark or seilpark

Hiking is also fantastic and even with baby buggies you can find a suitable path in Switzerland to hike around on.  Get the book Wandern mit Kinderwagen. It lists over 20 hikes plus the important details such as changing table availability, which buggy to use and family food options. We did  the “Wasserfallen” hike in Basel Land and enjoyed getting back to being sporty again along with our 10 month old.  (They even have hardcore hikes where you have to lift the buggy over cow fences! Yikes!)


Vanessa’s Favorite Fall Recipe: Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pizza

Purée 3 cups cooked pumpkin (or butternut squash)

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on organic pizza dough.

Spread pumpkin on dough

Sprinkle salt, pepper and some chili pepper

Slice goat cheese and place on top

Bake at 190-200 Celsius for 10-15 minutes (check dough instructions)

Check… When almost done add a bit of rucola on top and bake 3 minutes more.



Vanessa Gatelein is a certified Health Coach. She coaches people to “upgrade” their meals and learn how to best take care of themselves even in this crazy busy time. She specializes in weight loss and dealing with sugar cravings, cholesterol problems and breaking free from emotional eating. Vanessa coaches via phone, Skype and in person. Get in touch with Vanessa here.





A version of this article appeared in the international magazine, Swiss News.