It’s such a pleasure to introduce you to the incredible woman behind the genius GoodnessMe Box, Peta Shulman. This beautiful soul is not only a savvy entrepreneur and businesswoman, but she’s also committed to her own health and wellness in a way that is so inspiring. Read more about how she healed her life and created her dream career – and why GoodnessMe Box will be a game-changer for you too.
Name: Peta Shulman
Location: Bondi Junction, Sydney (work) Rose Bay, Sydney (home)
Occupation: Founder and Director of GoodnessMe Box, Australia’s health food subscription box
Tell us a little about who you are and how you got here:
I have always been extremely driven and ambitious, which at times has been a catch twenty-two when it comes to my health. I knew from day one when I finished university that I wanted to start my own business, at the time I thought it would be a PR agency!
Five years ago, after landing a unique opportunity to intern at a specialist Health and Wellness PR agency, I found myself bed-ridden for 3 months with barely enough energy to walk to the kitchen. Here was my dream job and I could barely get up in the morning.
After consulting doctor after doctor I was still no closer to solving the problem and more importantly, no closer to understanding the cause of my illness. I was fatigued and suffered from a constant headaches, muscle aches and heavy limbs. I pedaled on and told myself it was all in my mind, eventually getting well enough to start the new PR role.
And so the world of integrative health and wellness opened up to me – speaking to hundreds of health practitioners, attending integrative health conferences, working with the latest health foods and supplements and learning about the Preventive Medicine movement, with Food as Medicine core to the philosophy.
It became clear to me that what we put in our bodies, how active we choose to be and how we manage our stress plays a fundamental role in how we feel. The problem was, it was three years on and my body was still breaking down each month. I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune condition in 2012, when I was at my breaking point.
It dawned on me that in fact I was not implementing the very health advice I was learning about in the agency and which I was sharing with the media. There and then I decided it was time for change. I needed to take charge of my health and be consistently mindful about the foods I was putting into my body. One year on I discovered a new-found energy.
And so the GoodnessMe Box concept was born. Together with my housemate, a nutritionist, we would share and talk about health food daily and I began to formulate the concept of receiving health food goodies each month as a surprise – surprise and delight each month!
After much research and planning I discovered this concept in the health food industry had been successful overseas. There was no reason it wouldn’t work in Australia, the health industry was on the cusp of booming.
Starting a business takes time, sacrifice and energy. If I had not taken charge of my health there is no chance I would have been able to have the stamina to start and continue with GoodnessMe Box.
I created GoodnessMe Box to get people excited about eating clean, nourishing the body with pure wholefoods and being a part of what I like to call the wellness revolution.
Has health always been a priority?
Growing up I never focused on healthy eating. I was always active and naturally skinny and did not think twice about what kinds of foods I ate. Croissants, chips, sausage rolls were on my plate daily. I ate when I was hungry.
After university my outlook on food began to change with attempts at eating well. The problem was, what I thought was healthy was in fact filled with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavours, food additives, synthetic trans fats, artificial and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS ). Packaging can be deceiving to say the least.
What helped heal your relationship with food and your body?
It was summer and yet again I caught another cold. I must have racked up nine or ten colds in 1 year. It was exhausting and frustrating! I begged my doctor to send me to a specialist. I was adamant this was not something that could be fixed with another antibiotic. This was not normal.
The specialist diagnosed me with an auto-immune condition with a side-effect of a very weak immune system, hence the persistent fatigue and flus. I was told I may need plasma antibody transfusions once a month to keep my energy levels up. I was devastated and sick of feeling like a patient.
After a few days of feeling down, I decided to pick myself back up and find a solution. I sought an integrative doctor who immediately changed my diet. I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar. I soon discovered that our gut health is intrinsically linked to our immune system. Eating this way, by eliminating inflammatory foods and eating whole nutrient-dense foods full of good fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, could help to boost my immune system.
Throughout this journey I have learnt how to find a balance for my body. I now have a 90/10 approach to my diet. I try to avoid gluten, dairy and sugar as much as possible but I do not spend time worrying if I find sugar in my sauce at a restaurant or have fruit once in a while.
I also make sure I get 8 hours of sleep each night as I know this is what my body needs to function at its best. I regularly exercise but prefer resistance training instead of high intensity cardio.
What is the most rewarding part of living The Healed Life?
The most rewarding part of living a healed life is learning the value of good health. I love the saying “the greatest wealth is health” and it truly is. It is something that money can’t buy and without this journey I wouldn’t have discovered this level of resilience in me. This journey has given me the strength to start my business GoodnessMe Box and spread this health message.
What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone healing?
My advice to someone struggling with health issues would be to find the right health practitioner for you and get a good understanding of the cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptom. I think we underestimate the fundamental role food can play in our wellbeing.
When it comes to body image, what do you hope for the next generation of young women?
I hope that the next generation has a healthy relationship with body image which I believe often starts with ones relationship with food. Thankfully there has been a fundamental shift in the health industry recently whereby ‘low-fat ‘and ‘diet’ products are becoming less popular and young girls are learning about incorporating good fats and whole foods into their lifestyles. I like the recent ‘trend’ (and I use this term lightly) ‘strong is the new skinny’ however there are boundaries that need to be set. With the growth of social media it has become easy and acceptable for young girls to compare their bodies daily to the array of models and buff bodies online. A healthy body image is not about seeking perfection but rather seeking comfort in your own skin.
Do you have a daily mantra?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
How we live today – diet, exercise, stress, chemicals – plays a huge role in keeping us healthy long-term and preventing the onset of disease.
I also keep in mind this quote – “If your dreams do not scare you then they are not big enough”, this pushes me to dream big and stay motivated.
What is your favourite way to “switch off”?
A good book, bed and cup of herbal tea.
What is the most empowering thing you do to love yourself?
It sounds simple but can sometimes be difficult to find the time to do – sleep. Over the past year in particular I have had to learn to listen to my body. Sleep is critical to replenish and reenergize me for the next day. Without sleep I can get run down and sick very quickly.
What are you manifesting next?
There are so many ideas and opportunities in this thriving health and wellbeing space! Each month hundreds of our GoodnessMe Box subscribers share their recipes with us so we are in the process of putting together a community recipe book so we can spread the health and wellness message further. Keep a look out!
What is your favourite recipe when you need to feel truly nourished?
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I’ll wake up half an hourly early simply to savour my meal so that I feel truly nourished for the day ahead. My ultimate recipe is my almond meal pancakes.
Connect with Peta and GoodnessMe Box:
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!