Staying Well This Fall

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA

Fall is the perfect season to slow down and take a look at your health and wellness.  And with so many fun activities to do in the fall — apple picking, corn mazes, fall festivals —  you will want to stay as healthy as possible to enjoy it all!

However, Fall also brings the start of cold and flu season, along with the temptation to stay inside and eat comfort foods.  But don’t give up on your health just yet.  Keeping up your exercise routine, eating mindfully, and resting enough can keep your health on track this fall season.  It also will boost your immune system if you continue your mindful habits through the end of the year.

Are you ready to finish the last days of the year strong?  Here are 12 fall wellness tips to keep you feeling your best!

Make Smart Swaps on Comfort Foods

There’s nothing like a savory, rich soup on a crisp fall day.  Instead of making a calorie-rich clam chowder with cream, consider opting for a veggie soup filled with fiber-rich vegetables like spinach and cauliflower.  Love sweet potatoes? Slather it with coconut oil and cinnamon instead of butter.

Consume Immunity-Boosting Foods

As the weather gets colder and flu season starts, it is important for your immune system to be in tip-top shape.  Eating mindfully foods with vitamin C (like limes, oranges, and clementines) is key to fighting off infections.  Garlic, ginger, spinach, and almonds are also big winners when it comes to boosting your health and immunity.  Sorry, but a sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte did not make the list!

Dine-In with Your Family

Fall is a perfect time to regroup as a family and reconnect over dinner.  Families who dine together tend to eat more nutritious meals. It also strengthens family relationships and can even help fast eaters slow down and appreciate food more.

Get a Flu Shot

Want to know how to stay healthier during flu season?  Get the once-a-year flu vaccine!  The vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, missed work, and doctor’s office visits. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions.

Schedule Your Annual Check-Up

And where is a great place to get you flu shot?  During your annual physical, of course!  If you have not scheduled your annual physical yet, now is the time.  Get bloodwork and all the accompanying tests done in this calendar year to stay on top of your health!

Snack on Seasonal Foods

This time of year, beautiful vegetables and fruits make their appearance in grocery stores.  Some nutrient-dense options to consider adding to your plate: Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, crab apples, cranberries, and turnips.  Get adventurous and try a new produce item!

Rise and Shine at the Same Time

As the sun goes down earlier, it can throw off your natural energy and sleep cycles.  Try to maintain a sleep schedule of at least seven hours and keep your normal bedtime and waking hours the same as the rest of the year.  Remember: the end of Daylight Savings is right around the corner!

Drink More Water

As it gets colder, your body can quickly lose fluid due to the high energy rates used in colder climates.  And thanks to heavier clothing, you may sweat more.  Our health insurance partner Cigna recommends an average of 6-8 cups of water daily.  An appropriate water intake will also keep your skin supple, which can be a problem as the weather gets drier.  Keep your water intake high as fall fades into winter, too.

Switch up Your Fitness Routines

If you live in colder climates, you may have to give up your outdoor runs soon.  Keep your heart rates up by taking some of your routines indoors and slowly incorporating indoor gym sessions.  Try a new class like kickboxing or salsa to get your cardio fix.  If gyms have not reopened in your area or the gym isn’t for you, check out the attached “Stay Fit While Staying Home” Wellness Wednesday edition from July.

Get Enough Vitamin D

This essential vitamin helps the body absorb calcium.  When fall arrives, daylight — one source of vitamin D — is less available.  That’s why it is important to either take a supplement or eat a varied diet to maintain appropriate vitamin D levels through fall and winter.  Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and milk are a few ways to get your vitamin D.

Sterilize Your Most Touched Items

Your cell phone, keyboard, remote, and tablet are all germ habitats.  It’s good to make it a habit to sanitize these areas with Clorox wipes.  Throughout the cold and flu season, you will definitely want to make sure you are sanitizing these areas regularly.

Be Kind to Yourself

The holidays can cause weight gain, the shorter days can cause low mood, and the flu season can cause sickness.  Listen to your body and give it what it needs, and don’t beat yourself up!  Try reframing negative thoughts into positive ones.  Incorporating changes to your daily routines can be hard, so try incorporating one tip a week.  Ask a colleague to join you in checking off each of these tips as they become your new mindful habits!

Immunity Boosting Recipes for the Fall

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA

We love the fall for so many things – cooler temperatures, the vibrant colors of autumn, and pumpkin-spiced everything (of course)! With the change in season and current state of our world, it’s important to be mindful of the choices you make every day for your health and wellness. We are sharing 3 of our favorite immune-boosting recipes on the blog that are filled with nutrient-dense foods and will nourish you from the inside out. If you make any of these, be sure to tag us on Instagram @sharphomeusa and use the hashtag #SimplyBetterLiving and #SharpHome.

Orange-Ginger Smoothie from the Endless Meal

This recipe is full of whole foods and makes a great grab-and-go breakfast option or mid-afternoon snack. It includes oranges, which are full of vitamin C, and carrots, which are high in vitamin A. The “zing” from the ginger and anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric makes this one nutrient-dense smoothie! A great optional add-in would be a handful of leafy greens like spinach or kale.


  • 2 navel oranges, quartered and peeled
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 – a 1/2-inch piece of turmeric, peeled (or 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric)
  • A pinch of black pepper


  1. Add all the ingredients + 1 cup of ice cubes to your high-powered blender (I love my Vitamix for this) and blend on high until smooth. Add up to a cup of water for a more juice-like smoothie.

Lentil Soup from I Heart Vegetables

Nothing screams comforting and nourishing like a big bowl of soup, especially on a crisp autumn night. This recipe is one of our favorites and can be totally customizable with what’s in your pantry or fridge. Have some leftover zucchini sitting around? Toss it in! Want to add some extra protein? Shredded chicken is the solution! The options are endless, and the final product will give your body a little extra boost.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1/2 lb.) diced into ½” cubes
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked and rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup kale, destemmed and torn into 1” pieces
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the turmeric and paprika and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the lemon juice, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, red lentils, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Once the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potato is soft.
  7. Add kale and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the kale has softened and wilted slightly.
  8. Season with salt to taste.

Blackened Tempeh, Avocado, Kale Salad with Vegan Cajun Ranch from Feasting At Home

Salads get a bad reputation for being boring and bland, but this recipe is anything but! This recipe includes tempeh, which is a wonderful plant-based protein that is high in B Vitamins and has immune-boosting benefits. Additionally, making the base of your salad with Kale will boost up the vitamin C and antioxidant benefits, even further making this one seriously dense and delicious bowl.


Cajun Vegan Ranch Dressing

  •  ⅓ cup vegan ranch dressing (or sub your favorite store-bought ranch)
  • ½ –1 teaspoon Cajun spice blend  (or sub ¼ teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)

Blackened Tempeh:

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2–3 tablespoons Cajun Spice like Black Magic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4–5 leaves of Lacinato kale, tough stems removed ( or use 3 cups pre-shredded kale )
  • 1 teaspoon oil, pinch salt, lemon zest from ½ a lemon
  • 4 radishes, sliced ( or sub cucumber slices… or ribbons are nice)
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup pickled onions ( optional)
  • Optional add-ons sprouts or microgreens, cooked quinoa, large whole wheat tortillas, sauerkraut.


  1. Stir the Cajun spice into the dressing, starting conservatively. Taste, and add more to taste. You want it bold!
  2. Add the tempeh, whole to a sauté pan of generously salted water, just enough to cover it. Let simmer gently for 8-10 minutes to help soften and reduce bitterness. Slice it into ½ inch wide slices and generously coat each side with Cajun Spices.
  3. Pan-sear the tempeh in a little oil until crispy and heated through. Set aside.
  4. Stack the kale ( removing any thick stems) and cut into thin ribbons. Place in a bowl and add a teaspoon or two of olive oil ( just enough to barely coat), a pinch of salt, and lemon zest. Massage with your fingers until tender. To the kale, add the radishes, scallion, pickled onion, and avocado. Toss with some of the Vegan Ranch dressing, enough to coat. ( You can also keep everything separate, especially if making grain bowls)
  5. Either divide the salad among bowls or place it in a warm, whole wheat tortilla, topped with the blackened tempeh and sprouts.
  6. The salad is hearty enough that it will taste good the next day.

Immunity-Boosting Hot Chocolate from Clean and Delicious

Life’s too short not to finish the day with something sweet (at least that is what I always tell myself)! This hot chocolate recipe includes mindful ingredients like raw cacao, which is full of antioxidants and natural sweetness from the honey. A big cup of this at the end of the day is an excellent way to sneak in additional nutrients and immune benefits for you and your family.


  • 1 cup of milk, either whole milk preferably grass-fed or plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated peeled turmeric root
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut oil optional


  1. Place the milk, cocoa powder, sweetener, turmeric, cinnamon, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, occasionally whisking until the cocoa and spices are mixed well, and the mixture is warmed through.
  2. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!