Such fun to meet with a fellow health (and breakfast!) lover while I was in LA. I’m excited to introduce you to the energetic, dynamic and extremely well-traveled Lisa Bryan, the wellness coach behind Downshiftology, in the latest installment of The Healed Life series. She’s sharing how her diagnosis of four autoimmune diseases actually changed her life for the better – and her secret to the best poached eggs you’ll ever taste.
Name: Lisa Bryan
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Health Coach, Wellness Blogger, Recipe Creator, World Travel
Tell us a little about who you are and how you got here:
I seem to describe myself with a lot of commas nowadays – health coach, wellness blogger, recipe creator, world traveler and life lover. Which, I have to say, is quite a bit different from my corporate days when I had one distinct title!
In a nutshell, I’m passionate about health, wellness and happiness. I’m also a huge proponent of life restarts and do-overs. Because, it’s never too late to make positive nutrition and lifestyle changes – at any age.
Just a few years ago, my life looked very different. I was your quintessential, “type A” corporate workaholic, burning the candle at both ends. My days consisted of long hours, high stress and poor eating. And in the span of two years, I was diagnosed with four autoimmune diseases. Not good!
At that point, I figured I had two paths – I could continue status quo (and most likely have deteriorating health) or I could make some changes. So I opted for the latter. I figured out how to really nourish my body, through nutrition and lifestyle, and I prioritized things that make me happy, like traveling.
Within months, I felt like a new person and in less than a year, I reversed virtually all symptoms of my autoimmune diseases. That drastic change inspired my new path in life, to become a certified health coach helping others take life “down a notch.” And that’s really what Downshiftology is all about – inspiring positive change for a healthier, happier life.
Has health always been a priority?
Unfortunately, no. In my teens and 20’s I ate way too much fast food and processed food. I was also quite the sugar monster and massively addicted to sweets. On my lunch breaks from work, I’d drive to the nearest store and buy a bag of gummy peach rings (my “go-to” candy) for the sugar-spiked energy to get me through my day.
I wish I could say otherwise, but my health didn’t become a priority until it became compromised. Yet, despite the fact that I took my body for granted for far too long, I learned a big lesson. Our bodies are enormously resilient and want to be healthy. That’s their natural state and equilibrium. We just have to provide a little support so they can thrive.
What helped heal your relationship with food and your body?
Something that’s not talked about as frequently in health circles, but I think is critical for healing is who you surround yourself with. Do you have positive, lift-you-up, optimistic friends? Do the people you spend the most time with value wellness? Mindset is huge in healing and surrounding yourself with like-minded friends can significantly improve your own wellness.
What is the most rewarding part of living The Healed Life?
That life seems so much more colorful and vibrant! I didn’t realize previously how much my energy was lacking or how exhausted I was…as I’d felt that way for quite a while. Sadly, it had become my “new norm.” But now, I wake up happy and energized for each new day. Healing your life gives you such a boost – not only physically, but mentally. And I feel fortunate that as a health coach, I get to help others feel the same. That’s by far the most rewarding part of my day.
What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone healing?
To follow your own healing path. It can be confusing with conflicting health information all over television and the internet. But all that highlights is that what may work well for one person, may not work for you. I learned much from my days in biotech how different we all are genetically, but it goes beyond that. We also have different lifestyles, microbiomes (gut bacteria), ancestry and environmental triggers. The most important thing is to listen to your own body…and be gentle with yourself.
What is the most bizarre thing you’ve tried – and ended up loving?
I have to say, I was definitely not a meditation gal until last year. And it’s not that meditation is bizarre, it’s just something I had never done before. But after much research on ways to calm the immune system, I kept stumbling on meditation. So I tried it – and wow! The impact is profound. I would even go so far as to say it was the final lifestyle tweak that helped to reverse all my autoimmune symptoms. So yes, I’m a total convert.
What is your favourite way to “switchoff”?
Oh, it’s always travel! Traveling for me is my happy place. I love to explore and seek out new adventures. I’m fortunate that I’ve traveled all 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica!) and more than 35 countries. But there’s still so much to see! When I’m traveling, I’m calm and “go-with-the-flow.” My brain switches to relaxation mode almost immediately.
What are you manifesting next?
I’m very excited about a few projects I’ve got brewing – but the ebook I’m working on currently takes the cake! It’s my first ebook (to be released this summer) – all about healthy travel! It’s geared to those who are gluten-free (as I’m celiac) and who follow a real, whole foods approach to life. My goal is that the ebook will inspire and motivate others to get out there and travel, even with food sensitivities and allergies. And of course, there will will be lots of tips and tricks in my books on how to travel safely. I can’t wait!
What is your favourite recipe when you need to feel truly nourished?
I’m a breakfast-lover, so for me, it’s super important to get my day started right. One of my favorite nutrient-dense recipes is my Poached Egg with Truffle Salt Grilled Zucchini. I’m slightly obsessed with truffle salt – it makes everything divine!
Poached Egg with Truffle Salt Grilled Zuchhini
Connect with Lisa:
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!