Gaia – A week I needed more than ever

Gaia review

The last three months at JSHealth have been huge! From writing a second book and selling my Sydney home to moving to Los Angeles and then touring South Africa and the UK, promoting my new book – all the while searching for a new home and an office space for my team! It seemed like all these major work and life decisions were being made in such a short amount of time – and don’t get me wrong, they’re all amazing, exciting things… But my body was screaming at me. My mind was tired.

The time we spent on the road for my book tour were some of the most magical weeks of my life. Truly. I have never experienced such love and support for the book. I was giving out my energy to TV, radio, events, book signings – all things I love – but I was living off adrenaline. I know that I’m the kind of person that can work damn hard for a period of time – non-stop, all day, every day. But I also know, that after those huge work periods, I need some time to switch off, regain my energy and recharge a bit. Not to mention, I had to read the final manuscript for my second book (!) in deep silence and solitude.

My retreat to Gaia could not have come at a more perfect time – 5 days, all to myself – a total mind and body rejuvenation.


Gaia Retreat & Spa

Set in the hinterland of Byron Bay, Gaia is nestled on 25 acres of breathtaking Bunjalung Country land. Founded in 2005 by Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Olivia Newtown-John and Warwick Evans, Gaia – meaning ‘spirit of Mother Earth’ – is poised on the highest point of the Byron shire. You can just feel nature hugging and healing you. I knew as soon as I arrived…

This is the place to go for a deep rest and a reset.

This is the place to go and pamper yourself – when you truly deserve it.

This is the place to go when you just want to lie amongst nature, read, be fed a nutritious meal and have some of the best treatments – the ones your body is begging for.


What a Gaia day looks like:

7:30am: Sun salutations and stretching in the Yoga studio.

9:00am: A slow and amazing buffet breakfast served on the terrace, looking out over the most beautiful natural surrounds.

10:30am: Optional workout/walk or tour around the organic veggie patch and a cooking demonstration (did someone say vegan Chocolate mousse?)

12:30pm: A light lunch with lots of veggies and some good quality plant-based protein.

2:00pm: Recharge and rejuvenate – you could head to the spa for a treatment or your room for a DVD binge (Could this place get any better?).

5:30pm: A talk on health and wellness or an hour of the most calming meditation practice.

6:30pm: A three-course dinner – served in style and inspired by the produce picked from their own organic garden!

8:00pm: Return to your cosy room for some proper rest and relaxation.


Gaia at a Glance

  • An intimate, boutique retreat – offering just 23 elegantly appointed rooms – with all the privacy needed to melt away from everyday life.
  • Individually tailored programs based on the personal choice of guests – from total relaxation to more specific goals like detox or weight-loss.
  • World famous on-site Gaia Day Spa – I had the Kahuna massage, Macadamia oil/scalp treatment and body scrub – simply incredible.
  • A menu that changes daily and features organic, locally sourced produced – prepared by world-class chefs no less.
  • No set-date or schedules – you can check-in and check-out any day.
  • Ongoing support to transition you back into your everyday life.


Three important lessons – inspired by Gaia

  1. The power of nourishing food 

The food at Gaia was mind-blowing. Every meal is made with produce from the garden, carefully prepared and plated up with such love. Gaia reflects what I truly believe in – eat with balance and celebrate your meals. From a buffet style breakfast, to the best paleo muffins for morning tea or the sugar-free dessert to finish off that amazing three-course dinner – there is no restriction or deprivation. Just love and deep care (they even have organic wine if you wish!).

Some of my favourite meals:

  • Anything and everything from the breakfast buffet!
  • Warm cauliflower and brussel sprout salad with farro and the most amazing mustard-vegan cheese dressing.
  • Vegan black-bean tacos with avocado and corn salsa.
  • The Balinese stir fried brown rice and veggies.

My mind felt clearer, my body felt energised – it really does show you the power of good, nourishing food (check out my signature JSHealth cleanse for an at-home detox!).

 Gaia Food

  1. Switching off social media can be life changing

 As much as I love social media as a source of inspiration and for helping us stay connected to family and friends – I really needed a break from the constant Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat cycle of my work.

I usually always do my own social media posts but to make sure I got the most out of my recharging week, I sent the snaps to my Sydney team to upload on my behalf. Over the week I felt my whole nervous system relax and experienced the hugely positive impact of going without social media every once in a while.

From now on, I’m going to switch off social media for one day a week and commit to entering the JSHealth Stress Free Zone for at least 20 minutes each day.


  1. The benefits of solitude

 Solitude is so underrated – I seriously believe we all need more of it in our lives! Time to ourselves, time in silence, time to learn to love your own company. I think it’s so important to learn to be ok on your own; enjoy the space created in your mind; it helps you nourish the most important relationship – the one you have with yourself!



One last thing…

 As you can tell – I just loved it. I came home feeling rested and cleansed. I feel so full of energy – ready to tackle all of my big work projects. Self-care is so essential for a healthy life. You don’t always need a retreat to do so… But consider it something for your bucket list. The most important thing is to look after yourself every day – with nourishing food, a break from social media every once in a while and of course, some quality me-time!


P.s. I also embarked on my signature JSHealth cleanse which you can access here which really helped detox my body during the week.


To find out more about Gaia and all the incredible experiences they offer, or to book your own retreat, go to: or email




Swisse Skincare




Gaia Retreat & Spa


The Healthy Life


JSHealth Vegan Meal Plan


JSHealth Travel Plan




14 Day Slim Down Plan - 2 weeks to a leaner you!


The JSHealth Shopping List - Stock up on these foods for a healthier household


Nutrition 101 - A step by step nutrition guide to optimal health


Emotional Eating Guide - Learn how to rebuild your relationship with food and your body


The Clean Life - An Expert Guide To Health From The Inside Out


Restart Plan - Cleanse your system in 2 - 4 weeks & reveal a slimmer, healthier you


JSHealth Partners


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

- Jacinta

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.

– Sophie

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).

– Helene

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

Michelle Curtis

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.