Jessica Sepel: My Health Journey

Nutritionist, bestselling author and all-round wellness guru Jessica Sepel has amassed a legion of loyal followers and it’s easy to see why. Her passion for holistic living is contagious – from her glowing complexion to the green, clean recipes she shares on her Instagram – Jessica lives and breathes all things health. Passionate about helping people overcome fad dieting (herself having battled with an eating disorder for ten years), Jessica’s ethos is all about balance, rest and building a healthy relationship with food. From the early days of her blog, to now leading one of the biggest health empires in Australia, JSHealth, here she tells us more about how she got to where she is today.

CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH JSHEALTH

I’ve wanted to be a nutritionist since I was 14. When I was a teenager, my grandmother took me to a health retreat, and while I was there, I distinctly remember listening to a talk by a nutritionist – I was hooked. In that moment, I knew I wanted to follow in this person’s footsteps and help people live a healthy life. I’m fortunate to have been immersed in health since a young age. My grandmother and mother have always been into wholesome home cooking, meditating and active family holidays. After my own struggles with food and body image, the importantance of nutrition was amplified even further – they continue to be my biggest inspiration. 

My passion is to help women achieve balance with their health. Whether that’s better gut health, improved energy levels, hormonal balance or a healthier relationship with food, this drive to improve people’s lives has been the catalyst for every turn of JSHealth. From the early days of blogging to writing my books, starting my app and now launching the vitamin range, I’ve merely responded to the needs of the JSHealth community a day at a time. I am passionate about providing science-backed information and solutions to help others live an abundant life, free from the stress of fad-dieting.

The JSHealth app is a one-stop destination for a healthy life. One of its unique features is the Nutrition Clinic feature, which is like having a nutritionist in your pocket. You can ask a nutritionist any question, any time, and get expert advice and answers at the click of a button. Aside from this, the app is packed with content – from affordable and easy recipes to workouts from top trainers, to meditation sessions and buildable meal plans. 

The JSHealth supplement range provides solutions to the health issues I was seeing time and again in my clinic – cravings, bloating, hair loss, mood swings and sleep disorders.

The supplements market can be overwhelming. There are so many products available these days, and I appreciate it can be confusing when it comes to knowing what you should be taking and what may benefit you. I wanted to provide solution-based, high-quality formulations that addressed the issues I was seeing time and again in my clinic – cravings, bloating, hair loss, mood swings and sleep disorders. The JSHealth supplement range ticks all these boxes – it’s incredible how powerful supplements with the right herbs, vitamins and minerals can be. Our bestselling formulas include Hair + Energy, Skin + Digestion and Detox + Debloat

It’s important to listen to your body. I switch up and adapt my supplement regime depending on what my body needs. At the moment, I’m taking JSHealth’s magnesium and iron as well as Detox + Debloat. When I feel my immune system needs a helping hand, I take our probiotic and Immune+. 

Seasonal food is also a must for optimal immunity. Fresh, whole foods should be a priority, and eating in season means food is nutritionally superior. I love shopping at local farmers’ markets when I can, and I aim to buy organic and chemical-free food where possible. Every week, without fail, I stock up on olive oil, avocados, salmon, Greek yoghurt, berries and greens in all forms. When your fridge is full of good, nutritious food, it makes healthy living so much easier.

Most people feel better without gluten. Gluten can make me tired if I consume it too frequently, so I cut back when I can. Aside from that, I don’t believe in cutting out any food group entirely. I’ll never advocate extreme restriction or diets, either. After years of suffering with body image issues, I now follow the un-diet approach. From time to time, I do feel the need to rebalance my diet, so I follow the JSHealth 2 Week Reset, which is a balanced and gentle approach. This is an annual challenge that we run on the app – it’s designed to reboot the system for better energy, deeper sleep, stress relief and to nourish your relationship with food. To get the most out of the Reset Challenge, the Reset Kit can help – this contains Detox + Debloat, Protein + Probiotics and Magnesium+, and there are nutritionists on hand 24/7 to answer your questions whilst you’re on the programme.

Try to start your day with a dose of protein. My Power Protein Smoothie is super simple and quick to make and will keep your energy levels balanced throughout the morning. It contains one scoop of protein powder, one tablespoon of almond or peanut butter, ground cinnamon, chia seeds, frozen berries, a small amount of frozen banana, a touch of stevia, almond milk and ice. At the weekend, when I have more time, I enjoy eggs and avocado on toast or an acai bowl in the spring and summer months. 

My 4pm protein-based snack is non-negotiable. I’m a big believer in an afternoon snack to balance energy levels and keep you going until dinner. Favourites include carrots with almond butter; protein balls; Greek yoghurt with cinnamon and berries; or crackers with avocado and cottage cheese. 

Taking the time to cook dinner is a great way to wind down. As your body is winding down and preparing for sleep, it’s your job to feed it one last hit of nutrition before it fasts overnight. Variety is important in the diet, so I try to make something different each evening from the recipe selection in the app – current go-tos include the Japanese salmon and teriyaki chicken. When it comes to dinner, aim to include a portion of protein with non-starchy veggies, including lots of greens, and a small portion of starchy carbs, like sweet potato, quinoa or brown rice. 

Every week, without fail, I stock up on olive oil, avocados, salmon, Greek yoghurt, berries and greens in all forms. When your fridge is full of good, nutritious food, it makes healthy living so much easier.

Indulging is good for you – so long as it’s not all the time. Eating the foods you love will bring a sense of balance and satisfaction to your life. At the weekends, I enjoy a glass of wine (I love organic wine and anything French), gelato and going to my favourite Italian restaurant. When I’m entertaining, I love to make my baked nectarines, they are such a crowd favourite. Serve them with Greek yoghurt for a healthy and delicious dessert option. When I’m craving something sweet during the week, I often make my JSHealth protein smoothie – it tastes like dessert, yet is so nourishing.

Every day, I try to fit in 20 minutes of movement. This has been my foundation for years now. I used to force myself through gruelling workouts, motivated by wanting to be thin. Now, I exercise only in ways that I love to feel good in my body, always taking a kind, compassionate and gentle approach. If you overdo it at the gym, you’ll exhaust your adrenals – overtraining depletes the body, leading to hormonal imbalance, high cortisol levels, fatigue and insomnia. Your body needs time to move, rest and recover. When it comes to working out, I’m all about exercising less, but smarter. In a typical week, I do interval sessions, yoga, Pilates and weight training.

Stress management is vital, especially in the midst of a pandemic. I’ve always been a good sleeper, but if you struggle with yours, my top tip is to supplement with magnesium and follow a bedtime routine. As someone who has battled with anxiety, I understand how important self-care is. As well as prioritising sleep (this is important to restore balance to your body), try to switch off social media by 8pm every evening. I enforce this every single night – it makes me feel calmer and more energised. I also recommend limiting your coffee intake to one per day if you suffer from high stress and anxiety – consuming too much caffeine increases your cortisol and adrenaline levels, which can place stress on the body. I stick to one coffee per day, always before midday. If I’m craving coffee later in the day, I opt for a chai tea or homemade chai latte. 

Shop Jessica’s vitamin range here…

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