It’s been an exciting season in my life, and between travel, meetings, regular days in clinic with my beautiful clients, and preparing for next year’s publication of The Clean Life, my body was in need of a little rejuvenation. I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the US last month to meet with some of my favourite American health gurus, writers and publications, and after a week of solid meetings, it was time to relax.
When I told people I was going to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, I was met with a unanimous response: “It is the best!” I am happy to report that they were right! This truly magical area just an hour drive north of Los Angeles was the perfect place to pause and reconnect with myself and the beauty surrounding me.
We arrived in the evening after a gorgeous drive along the California coast, eventually weaving into the mountains of this quaint but gorgeous town. Even in the twilight, the beautiful white buildings Ojai Valley Inn and Spa stood out against the mountains, and I was so charmed by our little villa. The staff could not have been more welcoming and accommodating.
After a warm bath in the huge spa tub (they provided lavender bath salts and incredible aromatherapy oils!) I settled into a cozy white robe and enjoyed a relaxing evening of room service (delish salads and perfectly crispy Brussels sprouts!) and chatting with my two girlfriends.
The next morning we decided to join a stretch class to warm up before stopping for tea at and joining a guided walk around the grounds and into the town of Ojai. In the sunshine we could fully appreciate the beauty of the Inn and Spa – the white villas against the bright blue sky, green mountains and green golf course. Something we didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate, but definitely a draw for many inn guests!
When we returned from our walk in nature with the squirrels (so cute!) we took a rejuvenating yoga class in the Mind & Body Studio. It felt delicious to stretch after such a busy few days – lots of time in downward dog and pigeon poses! We arranged several treatments for later in the day and then decided to do some exploring.
Farmer and the Cook, just a short drive from the Inn and Spa, was recommended to us for their legendary juices and smoothies. We were so impressed! The menu was filled with healthy blends as well as Mexican-themed brunch dishes. While our smoothies were being made, we explored the adorable indoor market – packed with local produce picked just down the road as well as other treats like teas, nuts and baked goods. Our smoothies of choice were Scarrot Cake and Chai-On – absolutely delish! I love that they add cashews for extra creaminess!
Back at the Inn and Spa, I enjoyed some time relaxing in the sauna and hot tub chatting and relaxing with my girlfriends before it was time for my treatment – a decadent Himalayan Salt Stone Massage. It was the ultimate in relaxation! A full body massage that uses Himalayan Salt Stones, which they ethically source from 250 million year old pristine crystalline deposits to calm and balance the central nervous system. Sounds out-of-this-world, doesn’t it? It was even more amazing than I expected. The warm Himalayan Salt Stones contain essential minerals that exfoliated and softened my skin, leaving me with a gorgeous glow and sense of total peace and zen. And I absolutely loved that I got to keep the stones used in my treatment – they inspire me to make time for healing rituals to keep my body’s energy pathways open and alive.
Feeling positively wobbly with relaxation after my massage, it was time for a fresh, healthy lunch at the spa’s Café Verde. Their festive menu features organic and locally grown produce – fresh salads, fish and lots of Asian-themed dishes were available. We enjoyed our lunch on the garden terrace overlooking the pool – while it was too chilly to use the beautiful pool, there is also a poolside menu of made-to-order pressed juices and smoothies! For lunch I enjoyed a crisp chopped salad with grilled chicken, avocado and a Dijon mustard dressing – delish.
We spent the afternoon exploring the artist cottage and apothecary – incredible classes are offered there for all ages – relaxing on the patio outside our villa enjoying the sunshine and mountains – and seeing the preparation for a gorgeous wedding!
We decided to celebrate with aloe vera shots before a drive to the coast to explore Santa Barbara (and have dinner at Oprah’s favourite restaurant, Trattoria Mollie!)
Refreshed after an amazing sleep in a big, cozy bed, we were excited to learn that Ojai’s weekly farmers’ market was being held that morning. I love to visit and explore markets when I travel – it’s so much fun to see the produce and fresh items that are local and beloved in that area. We bid a fond farewell to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, found a lovely organic coffee shop down the road, and then hit the market. So much fresh produce (that, of course, I couldn’t bring home with me) but such fun to browse!
It was the perfect way to wrap up a restful and totally rejuvenating weekend at what is truly one of the most beautiful settings for a health resort I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a health retreat the entire family will love, count me among those who now immediately say “Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is the best!”
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?
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