Jessica Sepel | Health Blogger | Nutritionist | Wellness Coach
A blog by Jessica Sepel a health & lifestyle advisor. Find a balanced approach to life with JSHealth. JSHealth is your leading online destination to all things health. Health blog posts full of healthy tips & nutritional facts.
Every time I read a testimonial from one of my JSHealth girls, I’m truly touched and inspired. When I was first starting out as a nutritionist, all I wanted to do was help people live happier, healthier lives and I feel so grateful to do that every single day. Here’s a testimonial from Melanie Bennetts, who’s been following the 8-week Program and has incorporated the JSHealth philosophy into her daily life.
Melanie Bennetts’ testimonial on the 8-week Program
I’m a mum of two beautiful toddler girls and a wife to an incredibly supportive man. I’m a primary school teacher. I love being outdoors and being with my family. Generally, I’m a happy person, however, I suffer from anxiety. I’ve suffered from low self-esteem and poor body image since I was a child, which peaked in my teenage years. I’ve tried different diets, fitness programs, gym memberships and quick fixes. While they may have helped me lose some weight (temporarily), none of them actually addressed the bigger issue, which was healing my relationship with food and my body.
Last year, I was in hospital eight times with two surgeries. I was angry at the world and I was so angry at my body. I felt like it had failed me, time and time again. I felt like all hope was lost. I took some time to regroup and started doing some research on how to heal my body and mind.
My mum showed me Jessica’s first book and I instantly connected with it and her philosophy. I worked through both of her books and did a few of the weekly meal plans offered in them. I felt back on track somewhat, but when my doctor said I was overweight according to the BMI charts, it sent me in a downward spiral so fast I didn’t even see it happening and had no time to put a stop to it.
I went back to my teenage fears: insecurities, disordered eating and self-loathing. I knew what was happening and just couldn’t stop it, which made me feel even worse. I finally found the courage to start the 8-week Program with the support and encouragement from a close friend. It has been the greatest move I’ve ever made for myself.
The program has also taught me to sit mindfully to eat meals. My phone goes away, I take some deep breaths and spend my meal times with my loved ones talking about our day and the food we’re eating. All of our meals are eaten at the table or outside. I’ve learnt that eating to nourish your body isn’t difficult or boring with the JSHealth principles. I’ve also learnt how to cook meals without using gluten and dairy, as my body doesn’t digest them well.
Another benefit is that I’m sleeping better at night, my stomach feels less bloated, my skin is much clearer and I’m able to identify my moods. I’ve learnt to put my legs up against the wall, to practise deep belly breathing before meals and to do child’s pose to calm myself.
I always hated my body; I’m curvy and I’ve always been told by people close to me who I put my trust in that I’m fat. Now, for the most part, I love my body. Beauty no longer means ‘skinny’ to me. I fully appreciate and treasure my body. It has given me two healthy children. It is strong. It is curvy in a womanly way, which I now view in a positive light only.
I’m happier and I’m finding myself laughing again. I feel like I have a new way of living and I just wish I could go back 15 years to my teenage self and let her know that things would get better and that she was strong and beautiful.
I feel empowered and so eternally grateful for this program and the impact it has had on my life. I feel like my daughters have such a great chance at growing up to be confident, self-assured women. This is all because of the impact JSHealth has had on my life. No words can do justice to how grateful I am.
To find out more about the 8-week Program, click here.
Over the last two years, the JSHealth team has worked tirelessly to create a vitamin that’s designed to support energy, wellbeing, metabolism, thyroid health, healthy skin and hair strength. So, when our vitamins were launched earlier this year, I was utterly blown away by how quickly they sold out and the incredible transformations that people have experienced. I’m talking increased energy levels, improved skin health and, of course, strong, long and healthy hair.
Here are just a few of the mind-blowing testimonials we’ve received from happy customers:
“You are a vitamin wizard and a miracle worker! hair, skin, and energy have never looked and been better! Thank you!”
“Since taking the vitamins, I have so much more energy and my hair is super shiny. I do shift work and I don’t need to nap during the day anymore!”
“Hi Jess, I just wanted to thank you for creating the magic potion of vitamins. It’s had an amazing impact on my energy and my hair is so much stronger and longer!”
“Your vitamins are amazing! I recently cut my hair shorter and regret it so much, so I had to try these [vitamins] and my hair has definitely grown faster! It’s also so shiny. My nails are growing so fast and look so much stronger. My energy levels have improved drastically, too. It’s literally life-changing and I won’t ever look back!”
“These vitamins are unbelievable. Not only is my energy at an all-time high, but my hair is starting to look better and is growing. My skin is flawless and I have no bags under my eyes. Miracle stuff. I’m feeling so alive. Thank you!”
“I feel so happy. I just got complimented on my hair growth. It hasn’t grown at all in two years. My friend has also started taking your vitamins now because they are honestly the best thing ever! Thank you for creating such magic!”
“I just need to say that these vitamins are amazing. I had glandular fever and struggled for months I struggled with energy and was constantly tired. After two weeks of taking these [vitamins] I feel so much better. Thanks so much, Jess.”
“I feel amazing! My energy levels are crazy, my hair is so lush, long and strong, I’m generally just so much happier. Miracle vitamins. Thank you.”
Check out more reviews here. To shop our JSHealth Vitamins, click here.
It’s winter in Australia, which means that plenty of people are heading overseas to catch some European sun. For many, making healthy choices on long flights can be near impossible, but with some preparation and planning, you can create your own in-flight health retreat. Here are some of the tried-and-tested tips that I’ve picked up through years of travelling.
MY HEALTHY TRAVEL TIPS
1. Choose your meal wisely: If the airline is offering a healthy meal consisting of protein and vegetables then I’ll enjoy it, but if the options are limited I’ll stick to my prepared snacks and enjoy a delicious meal when I land.
2. Avoid heavy, creamy dishes: These types of foods – think creamed potatoes and gravy-based meals – are often high in sugar and salt.
3. Avoid the sweets and desserts: Plane desserts are often high in sugar, which isn’t ideal for a long flight. I like to pack a few squares of dark chocolate and some healthy sweet treats to enjoy.
4. Stay hydrated: Drink two litres of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
5. Avoid alcohol: Don’t drink alcohol on the plane and avoid it for the first few days of your holiday
6. Try stretching: This helps to lengthen your muscles, avoid cramping and helps your blood flow.
7. Practise deep belly breathing: This is a must when travelling as it helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system and stimulates relaxation.
8. Avoiding packaged foods: especially refined sugar options
9. Supplement: I recommend taking vitamin C, magnesium and B complex vitamins on the plane to keep my energy good and immune system strong. I recommend taking melatonin and magnesium under the guidance of a medical professional. I find that they help me fall asleep and adjust to new time zones.
10. Enjoy one coffee: As per my one-coffee-a-day rule, I recommend limiting your caffeine intake to one coffee.
11. Keep yourself busy: I love reading and listening to podcasts or music. I find that people tend to over-eat when they’re bored, so ensure you’re stimulated.
12. Pack healthy snacks: These are some of my favourite snacks to pack for a long plane ride:
Pumpkin seeds and goji berries
Carrot sticks with hummus
Homemade muesli slice
Healthy protein bar
For more health, diet and lifestyle tips, check out my 8-week Program.
For a very long time, I let the number on the scales determine my self-worth. In fact, I was obsessed with my weight. I’d let the number dictate how I felt about myself and it would set my mood and the tone of my day. It was a toxic cycle and my health suffered as a result.
From what I’ve seen from my clients and online community, weight is something that a lot of women are struggling with. If this resonates with you, I want you to know that the number on the scales is not a reflection of who you are. Don’t let that number determine how you feel about yourself. You’re not defined by your weight. Not now, and not ever.
If you follow my program and the JSHealth philosophy, you’ll know that I ask women to give up the scales for the first three months of their healing journey – and then for life. Why do I do this? If you’re struggling with negative body image, weighing yourself places stress on your mind and body. If you don’t like the number you see, it can be a trigger for self-inflicted body criticism, which often ends up having a negative effect on your mood and food choices. Not to mention that it can be a trigger for anxiety.
Throwing out the scales is a powerful step in giving up dieting for life. When I threw away my scales a few years ago, it changed my relationship with my mind and body. When your mind relaxes, your body follows suit and that’s where the real transformation starts to take place.
I want everyone to reclaim their relationship with health. Instead of focusing on how we look, let’s start focusing on how we feel. Instead of punishing our bodies with calorie counting, food deprivation and binge eating, let’s respect our bodies by treating them with care and kindness.
I’m here with you every step of the way and I’d love to hear about your progress. Please reach out on social media and share your JSHealth journey with our community. We’re all in this together.
For a very long time, I let the number on the scales determine my self-worth. In fact, I was obsessed with my weight. The number I saw would determine my mood for the day. From what I’ve seen from my clients and online community, it’s something that a lot of women are struggling with. If this resonates with you, I want you to know that the number on the scales is not a reflection of who you are and it’s not a reflection of your self-worth.
If you follow my program or my philosophy you’ll know that I ask women to give up the scales for the first three months of their healing journey – and then for life. Why do I do this? Simply put, weighing yourself places stress on your mind and body. If you don’t like the number you see, it’s a trigger for self-inflicted body criticism, which often ends up having a negative effect on your mood and food choices. Not to mention that it’s a huge trigger of anxiety.
So, where to from here? My first piece of advice is to throw out your scales or give them away. It sounds frightening, but it’s an incredibly liberating feeling. You’ll experience a sense of freedom and a release of tension that you’ve never felt before.
When I threw away my scales a few years ago, it changed my relationship with my mind and my body. For some, it happens quickly and for others, it can take a little longer. But stick with it because it’s worth it in the long run. Soon enough, your mind will start to relax, which causes incredible transformations within the body.
Know that you’re not determined by the number you weigh – not now, not ever. I’m here with you every step of the way and I’d love to hear about your progress. Please reach out on social media and share your JSHealth journey with our community.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about giving up dieting, calorie counting and weighing yourself, check out my 8-week Program.
Cauliflower is an excellent addition to soups because it’s nutritious, filled with fibre and gives a lovely creamy texture. Serve it in small bowls as a light starter, or plate up a bigger portion for a wholesome lunch or dinner.
1 cup hazelnuts nuts, roughly chopped, plus some for topping
handful of sage leaves
black pepper, to taste
Melt the coconut oil or olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks or brown onion and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 8–10 minutes, or until they’ve softened and turned golden.
Add the stock and cauliflower. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
Add the hazelnuts, then blend with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
In a small frying pan, add 1 tsp coconut oil and then gently place the sage leaves into the pan. Fry each side until crispy. Once crispy. Set aside and allow to cool.
Serve the soup between bowls and top with the crispy sage and chopped hazelnuts. Enjoy!
When I was living in L.A. I discovered Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk and as soon as I tasted it, I knew it was my favourite brand. I’m so excited that their products have arrived in Australia. As a nutritionist, it’s so important that the ingredients I put into my recipes are nutritionally balanced, wholesome and fit into the JSHealth philosophy.
With a passion of yoga, Pilates and personal training, it’s safe to say that Leah Simmons is a true lover of movement in all of its forms. But aside from training her physical body, Leah also prioritises mental and spiritual wellbeing. We caught up with the soon-to-be mum-of-two to chat about her approach to food, health and lifestyle.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
I am a qualified Pilates instructor, personal trainer and kundalini yoga teacher who has an insatiable passion for all things health and fitness. I love helping people really achieve their fitness goals by addressing the health of all aspects of their life, as well as assisting them in understanding how true fitness doesn’t start and stop with the physical body.
What inspired your passion for health and wellness?
My own personal health and fitness journey was the inspiration behind developing THE ELEVATE METHOD. After achieving what society deemed as the ‘perfect body’ I wondered why I was still unhappy. It took me down a path of self-discovery and realisation that happiness and contentment doesn’t only come from the physical; it also requires optimal mental, emotional and spiritual health. So I set about including training those elements into my workouts.
What’s your food philosophy?
That one size definitely does not fit all. What works for one person may not work for another. My personal food philosophy is to make sure I get a balanced diet full of all the essential macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre. I eat as organic as I can and I try and make my food choices as plant-based as possible. I also try to drink at least one and a half to two litres of water per day – although this doesn’t always happen. On top of this, I usually do a liquid diet for five to seven days each month just to reset my digestive system. This does not mean a juice cleanse. I still get all my essential macros just in liquid form. Think vegetable juice, soup, smoothies etc, but I’m not doing this through my pregnancy.
Walk us through a typical day in your life …
This is a bit of a special time for me as I’m 26 weeks pregnant, so I have to make sure I’m getting all of the nutrients my body – and my growing baby – needs!
I wake up at 6am and have a big glass of water with some lemon in it. Breakfast is usually some gluten-free porridge with banana, blueberries and a bit of rice milk or eggs, avocado, tomato, some rice toast and a bulletproof coffee. I’ll usually train at around 10.30am so I’ll have a vegan protein shake after that.
For lunch, I’d usually have a salad and some protein for lunch, however, during pregnancy, complex carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient to consume so I will usually load all that salad into a wholegrain wrap or sandwich or I’ll add some brown rice into the mix. And of course, I drink lots of water [throughout the day].
For an afternoon snack, I choose from some nuts, berries, rice cakes, guacamole, carrot sticks, apple or whatever I feel.
Dinner is usually some lean protein, veggies and some rice. I’m not really a sweet tooth, however, I’ve been partial to a little bit of honeycomb after dinner! That’s my indulgence and my baby loves it.
Coffee or tea?
Both. I start my day with a bulletproof coffee (long black, XCT oil and grass-fed butter) and then I’ll have herbal tea throughout the day. I love peppermint and dandelion root tea.
What is your indulgence of choice?
At the moment, it’s Bees Knees Honeycomb.
What are three foods you can’t live without?
Japanese food, avocado (I love my guacamole), and blueberries and raspberries – I call them nature’s lollies!
What’s your go-to snack when you’re on the run?
A handful of almonds or a protein shake.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their health journey?
Seek professional advice! Instagram and Google are wonderful sources of inspiration and information, but they can be very confusing and misleading when it comes to health and wellness advice. Find a reputable professional and design a program that is bespoke to your needs and goals. And then keep the comparisons to a minimum! Everyone’s journey is different and unique.
When winter arrives each year, I instantly feel the cold chill on my skin and on my lips, which is why I was thrilled when I came across PURE Papaya Lips. Going from extreme temperatures – such as indoor heating and the cold, outdoor wind – can leave our skin in need of some serious nourishment and protection. As the humidity drops, our lips are usually affected first. Simply put, the skin on our lips is thinner than the skin on our bodies. Because our lips don’t have any sebaceous (sweat) glands, our only source of moisture to lips is saliva. This is why it is so important to moisturise, nourish and protect our lips.
As many of you will know, I’m extremely health-conscious and I like to make informed choices about what I put on my body. Many of the lip care products on the market contain a chemical base of petroleum jelly, which doesn’t penetrate or moisturise the lips. Instead, it sits on the surface as a barrier until it’s wiped away or ingested, PURE Papaya Lips, on the other hand, contains papaya that helps to repair and moisturise the skin on our lips. It also contains a natural wax that helps to protect lips from extreme temperatures, shea butter and macadamia oil, which are both known to nourish our lips – without any of the added nasties.
Tips for keeping your lips nourished:
Stay hydrated: Ensure that you drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If you’re finding it difficult to drink cold water, try sipping on herbal tea or warm water with a squeeze of lemon.
Protect your lips: This means shielding them from extreme cold, wind or excessive sun.
Maintain a balanced diet: The state of our skin truly is a reflection of our inner health, so I recommend maintaining a balanced diet that’s rich in wholefoods, protein, healthy fats, fibre and complex carbohydrates.
Focus on breathing through your nose: If you’re constantly breathing in and out of your mouth, it can lead to increased dryness of the mouth and lips.
Now that winter is well and truly upon us, I’ve been spending my weekends in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I love experimenting with simple, easy and warming winter meals, so I’m always looking for inspiration. If you’re familiar with the JSHealth philosophy, you’ll know that I absolutely love vegetables, which is why I was so excited to find kalettes – a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale – on my weekly shop at Coles.
The nutrition low-down
The brassica family of vegetables – which includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli cauliflower and kalettes – is incredibly nutrient dense. In my opinion, they are the true definition of a super food. This family of vegetables contain enzymes that help support a healthy liver and support detoxification. They also contain vitamin C, folate, fatty acids, fibre and B vitamins. Fibre is so important because it helps feed the good bacteria in our gut, which helps support immunity.
How to prepare kalettes
Kalettes are incredibly versatile to cook with as they have the subtle, slightly sweeter flavour of kale with a chunkier texture similar to Brussels sprouts. I’ve been adding them to salads, roasting them into chips and adding them to my one-pan dinners. You can lightly fry, sauté, steam or roast them – the options are endless. If you’re looking for something quick, simple and delicious, try this recipe I created last week.
One-pan dukka-crusted salmon with roasted kalettes & cauliflower
This easy one-pan dinner shows how to make a meal that’s nutritious, quick and easy.
2 x salmon fillets
1 x packet kalettes, stem removed
½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
Himalayan salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp dukkah spice
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C if fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place two salmon fillets in the middle of the baking tray, surrounded by the kalettes and cauliflower florets.
Spray olive oil over the veggies and salmon. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
Top each salmon fillet with 1 tbsp of the dukkah spice. Pat it down.
Place the prepared baking tray in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are lovely and roasted. Serve warm and enjoy. Pro tip: make extra veggies for lunch!
Kalettes are now in season and are available at Coles supermarkets nationwide. If you’re cooking up this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations. For more healthy recipe ideas, cooking tips and nutrition advice, check out my 8-week Program.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the emotion of pressure. Every day, there’s pressure to be great wives, partners, mothers, friends, bosses, employees and sisters. From what I hear from my community, I know many of you are feeling this way, too. Through my nutrition practice and online community, I’ve seen a huge increase in emotional eating, binge eating and feeling out of control with food. I wonder how much of this stems from the pressure we place on ourselves.
Over the last few years, one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that we can’t expect ourselves to do everything the ‘right’ way. I’ve accepted that I can’t possibly do it all, and I’m okay with that. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been and that’s what led me to have such a bad relationship with food and my body.
We need to start releasing the expectations we place upon ourselves. We need to swap our fear for kindness. We need to swap our negative thoughts for positive ones. We need to start feeling grateful for our health and for our bodies. This is an integral part of living the healthy life.
If you relate to what I’ve written above, I want to remind you to be kinder to yourself. Know that you’re not alone. I’m here supporting you, every step of the way.