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.
I always say that I wish people could spend a day in the JSHealth HQ and see the healthy meals that the JSHealth team create – seriously delicious and nutritious. More often than not you will find the team whipping up their winter breakfast options together in the JS kitchen. I am just in awe of the simplicity of the meals and also the nutrient density of them. I genuinely take inspiration from the team and I hope you do too!
Here are the winter breakfasts the team have been digging into:
Me (Jess! Founder & Director) Keeping it simple at the moment with toast and almond butter with banana slices or smashed avocado and eggs. For bread options, some weeks I have been making my Signature Gluten Free Loaf or when I’m short on time I grab a store-bought paleo bread from my local shops.
To develop a healthy relationship with your body, it’s essential to recognise how and when you criticise yourself. I’d like you to become aware of the thoughts you have throughout the day.
This three-step exercise will help you along:
Write down negative thoughts: These might be in relation to your body, your food or your reflection in the mirror. Write down whatever it is that you think about your body.
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: If you’ve written something like, “I dislike my stomach” try writing something positive such as, “I thank my stomach for working hard to digest my food.” Continue this process until you’ve written a positive thought for each negative one you listed in step one.
Keep your list handy: You might like to stick this list on your fridge, your bathroom mirror or keep it folded in your bag. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, pull out your list and read through it. You’ll find that in time, you’ll begin to perceive and appreciate your body in a more positive way.
Deciding to love your body is going to help you live your life to the fullest. However, for many this doesn’t happen with a simple click of the fingers. Here are a few extra points to keep in mind (plus some practical actions too!):
Accept that it takes time Healing your broken relationship with food and your body is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. Negative thoughts may pop up throughout life, but when they do, you’ll have the tools to manage them. Trust that they will pass.
Shift your mentality from weight loss to health Let’s focus on being healthy: that means feeling energetic, feeling strong or walking with a spring in your step.It means sleeping well and feeling comfortable in our clothes, rather than caring what the number on the scale says. Loving your body or even simply learning to appreciate itis what matters the most.
Don’t believe everything you see online All these people that seem like they’re always travelling, shopping, in bikinis at the beach and eating out? You are constantly seeing their highlight reel, rather than reality. Don’t compare. Focus on your life and achieving your own goals.
Mindful movement Move in a way that you love and look forward to. Exercising shouldn’t be a chore or something you overdo because you’re unhappy with your body. It’s not about forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. You may like to get outside, stretch, walk, run or skip!
Perform an act of kindness today By lifting up someone else, it immediately makes you feel good. This could be as simple as complimenting a stranger, texting a friend and telling them how much you appreciate them or baking something yummy for your family.
We are beyond excited to announce that the JSHealth Nutrition app is now available to download on android!
Our team have worked incredibly hard on this project and we are so happy it is now live.
To celebrate the release of android, we are having a launch sale – 20% off for all new users. This sale also applies to new iOS users!
So, here is a quick rundown of what the JSHealth Nutrition app is all about:
350+ Nutritionist designed recipes
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options to cater for everyone
Weekly cooking videos – learn to cook step-by-step with me as your guide
Customizable shopping list
Automatically gathers ingredients for your favourite recipes or use the JSHealth shopping list!
Text a qualified nutritionist anytime, anywhere
Access 50+ guides bursting with practical tips on stress, anxiety, sleep, digestion, sugar cravings, weight balance + more
Daily Meal Plan
The JSHealth meal plan is designed to support stable energy, weight balance and it’s also delicious – no more unsustainable diet plans!
Use our ‘Build-A-Meal’ guide when you are out on the go
Select recipes from our extensive catalogue to create a personalised weekly menu to suit you
Body Love Support
Access guides to build a healthy relationship with food and your body
Body love meditation audios, weekly exercises and more of my personal story
Learn to plan a JSHealth day
Develop healthy routines
Keep yourself motivated to live the healthy life
The JSHealth App is designed for anyone who’s ever struggled with their weight, diet or health and could benefit from a health coach. Say goodbye to counting calories, restricting food intake and over exercising. The JSHealth App will help you to quit fad dieting for life, teach you to cook quick and easy meals, achieve your health and wellness goals with ease and find body love for life. We’re here to support your journey and help you discover how easy healthy living can be.
The 20% off sale runs for 2 weeks so don’t miss out! You can download the app here!
As a nutritionist, I’ve always believed in the powerful connection between our skin’s health and our gut health, which is why I created my latest Skin + Digestion formula.
You see, you’re not what you eat; you’re what you digest and absorb. The gut is the cornerstone of good health. In fact, it’s where 70 to 80 per cent of the immune system lies. When your gut is functioning optimally, you will notice better energy, skin, mood and immune function. It is really important to take care of your gut health.
On the flipside, if your digestive system is sluggish, you may experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating, hormonal imbalance, skin issues and more. Yes, it’s true that what’s happening on the inside will be reflected on the outside.
Here is a short summary to help you understand why digestion plays a key role in your skin’s health:
It helps you absorb nutrients: The absorption of nutrients is an essential factor in maintaining healthy skin. If your gut isn’t functioning optimally, it can’t absorb the vital nutrients your skin needs to thrive.
It clears toxic build up: The gut helps to eliminate toxins, so if your digestive system is compromised, you may not be eliminating toxins as effectively. A poorly functioning gut can re-absorb these toxins, which can show up in your skin – leading to blemishes, pimples, acne and other common skin conditions.
Reduces inflammation: If your gut flora is imbalanced (officially called dysbiosis), it can cause leaky gut and inflammation. This can lead to an immune reaction in the body, which results in redness, swelling and breakouts of the skin. There’s research that shows how our gut microbiome is linked to acne. A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that a disrupted gut barrier is linked to inflammation, which can influence acne.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your gut health and thereby improve your skin and complexion.
Here are a few tips to help you along:
Eat real food I simply can’t emphasize this enough. Stick to good-quality proteins; healthy fats, plenty of greens, veggies, nuts, seeds and pulses. Eliminate processed, packaged and convenience foods, and steer clear of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Optimise digestive enzymes Having good amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps to break down food, thereby aiding digestion. I recommend sipping on two litres of water with a dash of apple cider vinegar throughout the day.
Supplement To support your gut, I recommend taking a probiotic under the guidance of a medical practitioner. I also recommend trying our Skin + Digestion.
Enjoy probiotic-rich foods Fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir, are great for the gut and reduce inflammation, support digestion and enhance metabolism.
Stay hydrated Each day, aim to drink two litres of water. This can be aided by enjoying some herbal tea and putting two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into your water bottle to sip throughout the day.
Eat healthy fats Foods that are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the building blocks of cell membranes, which means they’re essential for healthy skin. Foods such as oily fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, eggs and olive oil have fatty acids that nourish the skin and are important for a radiant, soft complexion.
You can find plenty more informative articles, nutrition guides and also get access to a nutritionist in your pocket with the JSHealth App. You can download the app on iTunes.
Cooking curries at home does not have to be a complex process or require a huge ingredient list to taste delicious. This vegan curry is quick to make, fragrant and nourishing.
Lentil & Cauliflower Curry
2 tsp coconut oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander stalks
½ tbsp curry powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tin coconut milk
½ cup water or vegetable stock
2 large handfuls baby spinach
sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1–1 ½ cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
¼ cup toasted cashews
fresh chilli, finely diced or chilli flakes (optional)
coriander leaves (optional)
Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add in the coriander stalks and spices and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Add the cauliflower and stir to coat in the curry spice mix. Allow to brown for 2-3 minutes before pouring in the lentils, coconut milk and the water or stock. Season to taste.
Bring to the boil before turning the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked through. Add the baby spinach to the saucepan and stir through to wilt. Remove from the heat.
Serve with brown rice or quinoa, toasted cashews, chilli and coriander leaves, if using.
Looking for some more recipe inspiration? You can find 300+ recipes in the JSHealth App. You can download the app on iTunes for less than $3 a week and we also offer a free 7-day trial.
Last week, I opened up about my struggle with anxiety. It was quite a shock to see just how many of you could relate and connect to what I was saying. I am truly so grateful for your messages during the week. We are all in this together. Let’s remember that life is full of really good times and really challenging times. Truthfully, we need both to live our best life. Don’t you agree?
So, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been doing lately to relieve my anxiety. These are simple lifestyle tools. Remember that everyone is different, so what works for me may not work for you. Also, never be afraid to seek help. I am currently in therapy for support. There is no need to feel any shame with this. It’s a journey, baby steps seem to make it much more manageable. Every day, I’m feeling better and better.
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing.
Less time on social media: I have been dedicated to less time on social media. I am following the JS principles of a very strict boundary of no social media, phone or emails first thing in the morning and I switch it all off by 8pm. Strictly. This is life changing.
Supplement: I am taking lots of supportive supplements for the nervous system such as fish oil, magnesium, B6, zinc, St John’s wart and adrenal herbs. You should always be guided by a health practitioner.
Do yoga: I practise three times a week.
Practise gratitude: I am waking up to a gratitude practice every morning for five minutes. I simply focus my attention on all the good things in my life. It’s amazing.
Get creative: I’mensuring I dedicate some time every week to write and be creative. This brings me so much joy that I have forgotten about.
Avoiding alcohol: I’mavoiding alcohol for now, until my anxiety alleviates a bit.
JSHealth meals: I am focussing on getting in enough good fats and grounding foods such as soups, curries, stir-fries and slow cooked meats.
Eating complex carbs: I’m trying to ensure I add more healthy carbs to my diet such as sweet potato, brown rice and oats.
Deep belly breathing: I do this twice a day. I breathe in for four breaths, hold for four counts and breathe out for four counts. I do this for one to two minutes.
Saying no: I am saying no to social arrangements whenever I need to. No guilt.
HIIT exercise: I am doing 20 minutes of HIIT exercise once or twice a week. I find it is amazing for my mental health.
Professional help: I am seeing a psychotherapist once or twice a week to understand the anxiety and pain of grieving the loss of my bestie, Carli.
Early nights: I’m getting into bed by 9.30pm every night where possible.
Family: Spending as much time as possible with loved ones and family
Love Jess xx
You can find plenty more informative articles, body love support, nutrition guides and also get access to a nutritionist in your pocket with the JSHealth App. You can download the app on iTunes.
I am all about quick and wholesome work lunches that can support your body and energy levels throughout the afternoon. Having a nutritionally balanced lunch can also reduce the afternoon slump and sugar cravings.
Here are my favourite options below that require very little cooking and prep time. You can actually prep most of the ingredients the night before and they can all be assembled at work. Enjoy.
Wraps have been all the rage in the JSHealth office as of late. Quick, delicious and so many flavour combinations to try.
Wraps we like: mountain bread wraps, wholemeal Lebanese bread or if you are feeling fancy, you can make and egg wrap!
Leftover shredded chicken or JS Chicken Schnitzel, avocado, rocket, tomato and a sprinkle of goat’s cheese or feta
White beans, broccolini and shaved brussels – simply sauté the ingredients in a pan with olive oil and your spice of choice. Add to your wrap with a big dollop of hummus
Our Mediterranean Wrap (pictured above) – full recipe in the app. We also have a new Creamy Tuna Wrap recipe coming to the app soon – so keep your eyes peeled!
Tinned tuna is an easy and affordable protein source. When purchasing tuna look for varieties in spring water or if tinned in oil, look for brands that use extra virgin olive oil.
Here is a simple base recipe:
Shredded cos lettuce
Then add a carbohydrate source (e.g. leftover cooked brown rice/quinoa, leftover roasted sweet potato/ pumpkin or some tinned lentils/beans), some flavour filled toppings (e.g. olives, capers, toasted nuts/seeds, hummus, chopped herbs) and finish with a delicious dressing.
Anxiety. It’s a secret emotion. And we’re all struggling with it to some degree. But it doesn’t have to be a secret anymore.
It is a blessing to have this platform, so I feel it is my responsibility to speak my truth and spread this important message. I want to tell you that you are not alone with this emotion. Living with your anxiety in secret makes this emotion so much worse.
Today, I’ve decided to come out of my anxiety closet and share my secret struggle with it.
Over the last few months, my anxiety has increased and I haven’t felt safe to talk about. I’ve been and pondering why I don’t feel safe to talk about it. I realised It’s time for me to brave enough to come forward and share this struggle with this community. You guys are such a huge part of my life and you deserve to hear my truth. If I am struggling, perhaps many of you are too. I remembered that being real is always relatable and this is how JSHealth began in the first place.
You see, my anxiety has never worried me because I am a highly functioning anxious person. It actually helps me get shit done. I’m also a very happy anxious person. I love my life and feel incredibly grateful. It completely drives me to achieve my dreams and goals. But lately, it’s been harder to shut down the racing thoughts.
In December last year, my best friend and soul sister passed away. She took her own life. And I believe so much of her pain was because she didn’t feel free or safe to talk about her pain and anxiety. She felt so alone with her struggles. And she wasn’t. That is what hurts the most.
In honour of her, I want to talk about this more. I’m writing this because I know she would have wanted me to. Before she passed, she told me to spread this message. I want to allow JSHealth to be a platform where we feel safe to talk, to be vulnerable and to feel free to experience the pain and anxiety. It’s important to know these emotions are actually part of life. Together, we can find ways to manage it better and support one another.
It’s important to know that you can have ‘everything’ you’ve ever wanted and still be anxious. It is an emotion we simply cannot and should not judge. You see, we seem to have this expectation that we should to feel calm, happy and positive at all times. Well, I agree we should aim to feel these positive emotions more. But it’s unrealistic to think we going to get through life with total ease and zero inner turmoil.
This world we live in is full of pressure and stress, which is contributing to our state of anxiety. It is never going to be a perfect place of calm. I want us to feel safe to talk about the not so petty parts of life. Together, we can find better ways to manage it.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been finding ways to manage my anxiety. It is amazing how some tools and techniques can relieve it, even just a little bit. I thought I would start sharing them each week. Next week I will share some of the tools I have been using to manage my anxiety.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for listening.
When we hosted our last Instagram live, there were a few subjects that kept popping up. Therefore, we thought we’d put together some simple tips in response to 3 of these common questions.
Q: If you have to eat out (social event) what are the better options?
It’s always good not to turn up starving as this is when you tend to choose less nutritious options and over-do it. Enjoy a small snack 1-2 hours beforehand. We love protein balls, a boiled egg or seed crackers with cottage cheese or hummus. When eating out, opt for grilled, roasted or steamed methods of cooking as opposed to fried, tempura and crumbed. You can also ask for a side salad or a side of steamed greens to help reach your veggie intake for the day.
Remember, do not deprive yourself! If you are craving pizza, then go ahead. Eat it mindfully and savour it. At JSHealth we believe in enjoying all foods in moderation. Something else you can try is asking someone if they want to share, that way you get to taste a few things. You could enjoy a pizza/pasta and a salad/greens and then you’re getting the best of both worlds. When it comes to alcohol, the best options to choose are 1-2 glasses of wine or clear spirits with soda or even kombucha. Cocktails are fun and delicious but are usually filled with sugary cordials or syrups so keep these to a minimum.
Q: How do you naturally manage PMS symptoms?
Some of the primary PMS symptoms are abdominal pain and cramps. These types of symptoms can often be caused by inflammation. Dietary wise, aim to include anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, pineapple, turmeric, oily fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and dark green leafy veggies.
Magnesium + Calcium Research suggests that the mineral magnesium is worth considering when it comes to painful periods. It can help to relax the uterine muscles and reduce levels of the hormones involved in pain and inflammation. Focus on including magnesium rich foods like avocado, wholegrains (oats, buckwheat, wild rice), nuts and seeds, beans, dark leafy greens, bananas, raspberries, figs and raw cacao. Increasing your dietary calcium intake in conjunction with magnesium can also be beneficial and there are lots of sources e.g. yoghurt, unhulled tahini, broccoli, sardines and tinned salmon, sesame seeds, tempeh, brazil nuts, and almonds.
Lifestyle modifications It’s important to know that stress plays a massive role in the production of hormones and the regularity of the menstrual cycle. Impaired functioning of our central stress response system and increased cortisol levels can trigger menstrual irregularities and PMS symptoms. Practice self-care strategies such as putting your legs up against the wall for 10-15 minutes, listening to music, going for a walk or reading.
Please keep in mind that when it comes to PMS it is always worth checking in with your health practitioner for some personalised advice and support.
Q: How to eating healthy while travelling?
I can’t emphasise enough, that holidays and travelling are for enjoyment, experiences and making life-long memories. How can you focus on building these when you’re feeling guilty about which foods you’re eating? Here are a few suggestions you can take on board to have the best of both worlds – not completely let go of routine but also allowing yourself to indulge and enjoy the eating experience.
Firstly, try avoid drinking alcohol on the aeroplane and the first day that you arrive at your destination to reduce the adverse effects of your jet-lag.
You don’t need a hotel gym or to plan intense workouts everyday – just walk to most of your destinations. It’s a great way to explore the city, plus the added bonus of saving money on transport. What about organising a hike? Don’t forget to take snacks to your daily activities e.g. something easy to grab from the buffet breakfast or from a local supermarket. This is to avoid not eating for an extended period of time which can result in overdoing it when you finally do sit down for a meal. A bag of nuts, fruit, carrots or hummus are all easy to take and can be munched on wherever you are!
Lastly, keep hydrated! This is especially important if you’re in a hot location and doing a lot of physical activity.
You can find plenty more informative articles, nutrition guides and also get access to a nutritionist in your pocket with the JSHealth App. You can download the app on iTunes.
Mohammad-Alizadeh Charandabi S, Mirghafourvand M, Nezamivand-Chegini S, Javadzadeh Y. Calcium With and Without Magnesium for Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Double-Blind Randomized PlaceboControlled Trial. International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences. 2017;5(4):332-338.
Saeedian Kia A, Amani R, Cheraghian B. The Association between the Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome and Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium Status among University Students: A Case Control Study. Health Promotion Perspectives. 2015;5(3):225-230.
Kalantaridou S, Makrigiannakis A, Zoumakis E, Chrousos G. Stress and the female reproductive system. Journal of Reproductive Immunology. 2004;62(1-2):61-68.