If you’re a follower of all things foodie on Instagram you would have seen the beautiful work of Jo (a.k.a. @healthyeating_jo). Forever a source of plant-based inspo, we love the vibrance and creativity of her creations – from some seriously good-looking Matcha donuts to super photogenic avocado on toast. We’re obsessed with her mantra of using social media for inspiration – not comparison too! A much needed reminder in our Insta/Snapchat/Facebook-driven world! Read on to find out just what Jo’s Day on a Plate looks like…
My name is Jo Ross, and I’m a Food Blogger, self-taught Food Photographer, Food Stylist and Recipe Creator – but I’m better known as Healthy Eating Jo on my Instagram, Website and other social media channels. I’m a mum of two, and step-mum to two more kids, based in Sydney, and I love promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, through eating delicious plant based wholefoods, and moving your body regularly. I recently walked away from my successful 20 year corporate career, to follow my passion for Food Blogging full time, and be more present with my family.
After years of yo-yo dieting, teenage eating disorders, over exercising, low fat, low carbs (you name it!) and just generally being misinformed about my health and wellbeing, I found myself regularly feeling rundown, stressed, and obsessed with everything that went in to my mouth. In 2014 I set up my Instagram account to hold myself accountable for eating well and exercising, but even took that too far. When everyone started warning me I’d lost too much weight, and I saw my bones sticking out when I looked in the mirror, I knew it was time to make a change. A change for myself, and as a role model for my kids. I’d heard for years about ‘just eating real food’ and decided it was time to give up the fads and restrictions, and just nourish my body with as much real and unprocessed foods as possible. I’ve never looked back, and have never felt better.
Around 7am when I wake up, I usually have a black coffee with a splash of almond or soy milk to get my digestion going, whilst I get the kids ready for school. It also gives me a little caffeine booster before I do my workout a little later.
While the kids are getting dressed, I’ll check my Instagram and any emails, and do a morning Instagram post if I have one planned.
At around 8am, I will make a protein shake with water and 1/2 a frozen banana blended to drink in the car while I take the kids to school.
When I return from the school run, I do my workout straight away, before I get distracted doing other things! I usually do the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide resistance workouts with weights. They’re fast paced, and get the job done in 30 minutes, which I then follow with 10 minutes of stretching. Every alternate day, I do a fasted cardio walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes, whilst responding to Instagram comments (One must multi-task!)
Around 9am after my workout, I’ll shower and eat my prepared Overnight Protein Oats (Proats) from the fridge, or I’ll make some quickly. I don’t think I could survive without having protein oats on most days. They’re super easy to meal prep, so that they’re ready to eat when you get up, or take to work in a container, and eat when you get there. Plus there are so many flavour combinations, I never get bored. I add psyllium husk and chia seeds amongst other things for extra fibre and good fats.
Then I get on with planning my recipe of the day, getting any required groceries, completing my photoshoot, editing and getting the photos ready to post. Usually with some quick Snapchats and Instagram Stories along the way. I try not to plan ahead too much with what I’m going to make, otherwise it feels forced and I lose my creativity, or what makes the whole thing fun for me.
For lunch I’ll usually have a Buddha Bowl, basically it’s just an excuse to cram as many colourful salad, veggies, grains and protein items as possible, into a bowl! They’re filling, delicious and always have a good mix of veggies, protein, low GI carbs, and some good fats like avocado or an Olive Oil or Tahini dressing. I also like to add fermented veggies like sauerkraut or vegan kimchi.
When I pick the kids up from school it’s usually time for a snack, so I’ll make a healthy smoothie, some apple and nut butter, veggie sticks and hommus, or have some homemade protein balls. Then it’s time to clean up the inevitable mess I’ve made in the kitchen from the day’s recipe creations, whilst I help with homework and hear about the kids’ day.
For dinner I have to cook two slightly different meals. I’m vegan, and the rest of the family aren’t, so it always helps if I’ve spent some time on the weekend pre-cutting vegetables into portions so they’re ready to throw into various meals during the week for all of us. I also spend time on weekends pre-roasting sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Roasting makes them sweet and caramelly, and delicious to add to various recipes.
Once the kids are in bed, if I’m hungry I’ll have one of my raw treats from the freezer and occasionally a nice glass of red wine with my husband. Otherwise some non-dairy yoghurt with berries, or a couple of squares of 90% dark chocolate, and a cup of peppermint tea. I’ll use that time to respond to Instagram comments whilst watching tv with my husband and chatting.
I have a huge drawer in my kitchen dedicated to my various herbal teas, plus I’m British-born, so it would be sacrilegious to not say I was a tea girl. But I do love starting my day with a coffee, or having one with friends. So both have their place in my balanced life.
I’m a huge supporter of balance, so I’m all for ensuring you enjoy a great meal out with loved ones, have dessert if you want it, or a glass of wine as part of your healthy lifestyle. But when I choose to indulge, it’s always savoury! Give me a vegan cheese platter, dips and lots of olives any day.
Oats are my life and so versatile. Zucchini, great with oats, in smoothies; for moisture in baking, or as a replacement for pasta. There isn’t a meal where zucchini can’t be added. And finally fruit, as it’s the star in most of my meals, but specifically mangoes. I would live on mangoes forever. If I can choose a fourth, it has to be avocado! No explanation needed there.
Snack packs of nuts and a piece of fruit, or pre-cut carrot and celery sticks with little pots of hommus. Meal prep is the key to healthy eating success. So always be prepared, and never leave home without a snack and some water!
Take it easy on yourself. Nothing worth having happens overnight, but you need to start. So make small changes every day, like adding in more veggies, drinking more water, cutting out sugar, bringing home cooked healthy meals to work for lunch… The same applies to moving your body, build up and do more each day.
Going in hard with exercise, or restricting all sorts of foods is a recipe for disaster, and will only leave you miserable and worse off than before you started. So make small changes progressively, and Stick with it. The changes will come, and you’ll feel so much better, you’ll never look back.
The last tip is to use social media for inspiration, but not for comparison, or as another reason to say bad things about yourself. There is a whole world of people on Instagram, and I’ve met and connected with amazing people from all over the world, who inspire and motivate me every day. So find your tribe, and help each other on the journey to a healthier you.
To find out more about Jo, head to http://www.healthyeatingjo.com/ or follow her on Instagram!
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
Let me know your email address so I can send you an eBook '7 Days on my plate' - a little gift from me to you!