Occupation: Holistic Nutritionist
I am a holistic nutritionist and cleanse expert based in Los Angeles. Outside of meeting with personal clients, I have created a few cleanse/detox programs. While I’ve always been passionate about nutrition, it didn’t strike me as a career until both myself and my husband were diagnosed with cancer at very young ages (I was 32 when I was diagnosed, he was diagnosed 10 years later at age 43). It was clear to me that our diseases were the product of the crazy work environments and stressful situations we were subjecting ourselves to. He very sadly lost his battle with cancer and passed after 18 months and when I looked at my two young girls, I couldn’t believe they had two parents who had already dealt with cancer. The fear that this instilled in me pushed me to get certified as a nutritionist and work to try and change the way the world looked at what we put into and how we treated our bodies.
To me, health means being in tune to your body so that you can make the right decisions on how to nourish and fuel it by paying attention to what it is telling you. Especially in America, we accept being in pain, feeling tired & unmotivated, etc as still being “healthy”. I believe that being healthy means feeling like your best self, feeling vibrant and inspired and like you can take on anything. I believe that health is a balance of nutrition and good energy- you can pour as many nutrients into your body as you want, but if your soul and mind are heavy and laden with stress, you will not be healthy. We carry everything we do, say, think, eat and feel. All of these things need to be balanced for us to feel like our best selves.
I wake up every morning and write in my gratitude journal and pick three things each day to be grateful for which helps me heal my mind on a consistent basis. I eat every few hours and a largely plant-based diet with lean, organic, grass-fed proteins, plenty of good fats, fish and unlimited amount of vegetables. I try to have a green juice once a day to fill up on high-octane fuel and I do indulge in one vice- I LOVE the smell and taste of coffee. I have one cup a day and it makes me smile inside and out. With my autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, I shouldn’t have any caffeine, so there’s your proof to tell you that I am far from perfect! Every night I enjoy a healthy, hot dinner with my girls, boys and fiancé. I also really believe in releasing stress and indulging in yourself often. I treat myself to a reflexology foot massage whenever I need a break- it keeps my mind and soul healthy.
I have worked for years letting go of my painful, emotional and traumatic life growing up with a crazy mother. I try to connect with my immediate family and friends on an intimate basis daily and I eat the foods that fill my body with love and energy. I’ve learned to seek and accept nourishment from only genuine sources.
This field is so cool, because almost every day I meet or find someone that is doing something interesting and inspiring within it. One person whom I really look up to is Dr. Andrew Weil. He is considered the father of integrative medicine and he’s someone whose beliefs totally align with mine. His knowledge is boundless and his outreach is always simple and intelligent. I am also really inspired by Kris Carr who has such an incredible career and is making nutrition so mainstream and cool. Her ideas are so inventive and I love everything she puts out. Her success in this field is certainly something to strive for!
Anywhere with my fiancé and my 4 kids (two girls who are mine and two boys who are my fiancé’s)!
I recently got Kris Carr’s new cookbook and she has this sea veggie salad that’s unbelievably good. I make it on Monday and snack on it all week. My favorite on the run snack is a green juice or a raw Elemental Superfood bar. They are these bars that were created and are made from scratch by this mother outside of LA. Her daughter was allergic to wheat, dairy and sugar and it left her store-bought options really limited so she created these bars. They are sensational and packed with nutrients.
I do cleanse programs with a few Los Angeles restaurants that I really love, Cafe Gratitude and M Cafe. Their energy and their food are equally amazing and inspiring. I also love Real Food Daily- you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.
What is next on the cards for you, what are your goals and aspirations?
These days, everyone has a book so this will sound cliche, but but I’m looking forward to writing a book about my childhood journey in a family I never thought I belonged and always wondered if I was adopted. My childhood took a huge emotional toll on me and my strength came from finding a way to become awakened and find my own healing path. I want to further educate people about the importance of letting go of the emotional turmoil they carry around everyday, because it is just as important as the food we put in our bodies. “You can’t be truly healthy and live the life you are meant to live without both!”
Please share one of your favorite healthy recipes here…
I am not a chef but I spend a lot of time discovering and experimenting with new recipes. I made these vegan crab cakes from Kris Carr’s cookbook, Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen last week and they blew me away. I’m still thinking about them!
1. Prepare Rémoulade: Place all rémoulade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Set aside or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
2. Prepare Crab Cakes: Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
3. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
4. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
5. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm.
8. Cook Crab Cakes: Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes (make certain that the oil comes about half- way up the sides of the cakes) until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
9. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven (200°F) until you finish all of the cakes.
10. Serve: Place the cakes on a plate and garnish with Rémoulade.
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!