Melanie Gerber from Basel is a nutrition coach, a cookbook author and a blogger from Familycious. She first studied economy and then worked for a long time for a large company in the financial industry in Zurich. During this time, she had a very unhealthy lifestyle with little sleep, a lot of cigarettes, unhealthy eating and lots of wine. This was accompanied by a long-time eating disorder. She realized something was wrong and heard an inner voice, which told her «This is not you.». Then she transformed her whole life and founded Familycious, to help others on their way.
In this portrait, Melanie tells us about her path to a healthy lifestyle and inspires us to act lovingly and to listen to our inner voice. We have also created a video portrait. In addition, we present her cookbook «pur.vollwertig.vegan.liebevoll» with a recipe example of her ayurvedic winter vegetable lentils soup.
Here our portrait of Melanie Gerber.
What is a healthy diet?
According to Melanie Gerber, there are principles which apply to everybody, like «eat plenty of vegetables, eat many fruits, drink lots of water» for a healthy diet. A healthy diet is very individual, and must take the individual into consideration. Some need colder food and others rather warm food, some need a warm breakfast and others none at all. This can be also be applied on the kind of dishes you choose. If you are someone who works until late in the evening, and you try to cook a 1.5 hour long dish every night, it will be difficult to implement. A healthy diet is individual and holistic.
Melanie applied this to herself. The miracle of a holistic healthy diet has helped her to overcome her eating disorder and led to a healthy, energetic life.
When Melanie began to learn about healthy nutrition she started to learn about every type of diet on the market. She hoped to find clarity. However, the opposite was the case. What she found was confusion. There are many different diets like paleo, vegetarian, macrobiotic, … and everyone thinks he found the ultimate diet. At the end, Melanie noticed that she had to do what felt right for herself. This is a wholesome and organic nutrition with fresh ingredients. With that she felt better and better. She kept on learning more and getting a deeper understanding about nutrition and decided to turn this into her career career. When her first child was born, she started to cook more and more and quit her old job.
During pregnancy she had lots of thoughts on how she will be feeding her child. The children’s menus at restaurants such as French fries or white pasta with tomato sauce scared her off. That’s why she started her blog familycious.ch, which got it’s name because it was originally intended for families. The full fledged recipes that published on the blog, should help mothers to feed their children healthy. Hence the name Familycious. With time she got more and more followers and requests.
Eventually her knowledge got to her limits and she decided that she will be training to become a health coach at the New York Institute for integrative nutrition. There she learned to coach people about their health with a holistic approach. This includes nutrition, as well as other aspects that lead to health like relationships, career, or sports. With this training Melanie finally felt competent enough to provide health coaching as well. Familycious transitioned from a pure blog to a nutritional, health and life coaching.
Later Melanie participated in a yoga retreat, where she was introduced to the vegan diet. At that point she was already a vegetarian for several years, and could not imagine to give up on cheese as a Swiss. The Yoga Retreat set a process in motion, which led her to the vegan diet. That has given her extra health benefits and much more energy. She was convinced that the vegan diet has to become a part of Familycious.
Healthy living is more than just a diet
Melanie’s coaching always begins with nutrition, because a great effect can be achieved in a relatively short time space. Also her customers, come with a diet as often the desire is to eat more wholefoods or to loose weight. A healthy lifestyle includes more than just the food. If you have a job which causes you stress and where you have to force yourself every morning to get up and go to work and you have a healthy, organic and wholesome diet at the same time you still won’t be healthy within. Someone who lives of fast food, but is otherwise perfectly happy in his life, has probably better prerequisites to be healthy. The secret lies in balancing this out.
Most of us internally know, if something’s not right in certain areas of our lives. With targeted questions, Melanie exposes these things in her coaching. For example, if a person realizes that he would like to have more time to paint, she leads the person to take an hour a week and block this time in his calendar. Such inputs provide the impulse to implement actions that the client wouldn’t have made by himself.
6 months is a good time space to make a holistically healthy lifestyle a habit. In regards to this, more is less. There’s a whole list of things that you could do to maintain a healthier lifestyle. To implement a lifestyle change, Melanie usually starts with only 2 to 3 points, one needs to change. An example would be to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables. Without imposing too much, this initiates a process. You start more accurately reading, the food facts on packages to know what’s in your food, you inform yourself online about ingredients and generally take care of which building blocks you give your own body. The more you get in this way of thinking, the more you are aware of yourself. Questions such as «What is right for me?», «What do I like?», «When have I had enough?», «When am I hungry?» pop up and you start to pay more attention to your own needs. This refers not only to food, but also expands to other areas of life. The consciousness consequently widens itself to the world. Topics such as sustainability, animal rights and the origin of your food become more and more a part of your consciousness. Food awareness not only is, what we put in our mouth, but also where it comes from, environmental issues, political issues, what it does with our soul.
The combination that Melanie practices for a holistic approach in her coaching is pure, vegan, wholesome and lovingly.
Melanie strongly believes in the fine-material-level and that, the way food is prepared, transfers to the final dish. A lovingly prepared dish is good for our body and our soul. This also applies to the way we deal with ingredients in the production chain. Melanie mentions the example of a dish, which was prepared by the grandmother with love for the whole family. It’s perhaps not the healthiest dish, but it carries the energy that is transmitted during the loving preparation. Food that comes from the machine, however, is dead food, carrying no more energy in itself.
Therefore, it is important to do everything you do with love, to strengthen both mind and body.
Listening to Yourself
Melanie came in contact with many diets on her journey. There she met many dogmatic approaches. Each diet tells you, what you can and what you can’t do. Melanie’s biggest lesson is to forget about this. Each one of us is different. We all look different and function differently. How could there be a one size fits it all solution? People have different allergies, sensitivities, a personal character. As already mentioned, Melanie thinks that there are certain things that apply to everybody. Nevertheless, there are many differences. Old diets such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine include various recommendations for different types.
Not what we externally impose ourselves, should be decisive for the lifestyle we live, but what corresponds to us. Being generous with other ways of thinking while keeping a sense of individualism is crucial when applied to diet or lifestyle. Listening to herself rather than following what she thought must be right or than following trends was what healed Melanie. Listening to ourselves includes the courage to act according to our inner voice like the time when Melanie changed her professional career.
You can find out more about Melanie Gerber from Familycious and her philosophy in our video interview.
Melanie’s Cookbook: «pur.vollwertig.vegan.liebevoll»
The part about the cookbook and the recipe example is written by Lisa.
Melanie Gerber’s Cookbook «pur.vollwertig.vegan.liebevoll» contains only vegan and wholesome recipes. The recipes are organized according to the four seasons, because a seasonal diet is what she recommends. They include plenty of fresh vegetables, delicious spices, different whole grains, legumes and healthy fat sources. You can find main courses, many practical and creative side dishes as well as some desserts and snacks. The recipes are not complicated, but very suitable for everyday use. They are perfect for those who want to switch to a more natural and more harmonious diet. Melanie Gerber tells her inspirational story in the introduction and presents what can be found in their pantry.
Author: Melanie Gerber
Publisher: Books on Demand
Melanie Gerber’s cookbook contains 80 wholesome vegan recipes for every season.
Of course we chose a recipe from the chapter «Winter», that we want to share with you, to give you an insight into the cookbook, in these cold days in Switzerland. We have tried the Ayurvedic winter vegetable lentils soup and were thrilled by the soothing feeling that they left behind. We felt really good after we had enjoyed this delicious and warming soup for dinner.
AYURVEDIC WINTER VEGETABLE LENTILS SOUP
gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, vegan
Level of difficulty: easy
- 90 g/3.2 oz red lentils
- 90 g/3.2 oz brown lentils
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cm fresh ginger
- 0.5 cm fresh turmerci (or 1 tsp curcuma powder)
- 4 carrots
- 2 leeks
- 200 g/7.1 oz celery “]
- 2 dl tomato sauce
- garam masala (in this article, I explain you what this is)
If necessary, soak the lentils overnight. Throw away the soaking water and cook the lentils. Meanwhile, heat the coconot oil in a large pot. Chop the onion, the garlic, the ginger and the turmeric and fry it with the coconut oil. Add 1 tsp garam masala. Then, cut the vegetables and fry them as well before covering them with water. Let this simmer for a while. As soon as the vegetables are soft, add some salt, pepper, the tomato sauce and the lentils. Blend this well.
Don’t forget to cook your soup with a lot of love. We totally agree with Melanie Gerber, that this makes a difference not only in terms of taste, but also in terms of health.
And here you can buy the book:
- Print: familyciousshop.ch, books.ch, buch.ch, thalia.ch, amazon.de
- Ebook: familyciousshop.ch, books.ch, buch.ch, thalia.ch, amazon.de
More on Familycious
Melanie challenges me to listen to my needs and to the signs of my body more and to direct my life accordingly.
What are you taking with you?