Feeling stressed? Why it’s time to drink up!

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Feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed? Drink up!

Water, that is.

I talk a lot about stress and the impact it has on stress hormones, specifically cortisol. But many of you have asked – what is this “fight or flight” hormone, and is it really that detrimental in the long run?

Adrenaline is our short-term stress hormone, responsible for the “fight or flight” response. So when you’re in danger, that kicks in. The problem is that your body doesn’t always know if the danger is short-lived. When we’re under stress for a longer period of time, cortisol kicks in. This long-term stress hormone is great for helping us through something like an intense workout, but too much of it is a problem: think preventing us from burning fat, causing dysglycaemia (irregular blood sugar) and can lead to oestrogen dominance. And it can even pack fat onto your midsection – no thanks!

Because everything in the body is interconnected, stress hormones also have an impact on sex hormones. Progesterone, for example, is an anti-anxiety, anti-depressive hormone, and it’s responsible for burning fat and keeping a pregnancy viable. As Dr. Libby Weaver says, it’s a hormone “we all want buckloads of forever.”

The problem is that when cortisol competes with progesterone, cortisol will always win. The result is low progesterone, which is then counterbalanced by high oestrogen. And now? We see an increase in women with PMS, endometriosis, PCOS and weight gain – all caused by oestrogen dominance.

Needless to say, elevated cortisol is not something to mess around with!

I talk a lot about the importance of rest to help manage cortisol levels, but did you know that hydration plays a major role here too? It’s true. A dehydrated body can impact your mood, causing cortisol to rise in the bloodstream.

Take the stress levels of a mom hosting a 4-year-old’s birthday party – if you’ve been there, you know! The rest of us can only imagine, and Zip Water recently completed a fun experiment with two moms to illustrate the point – only these moms were also tasked with protecting a room filled with fragile antiques! You can watch the video here.

It’s easy to see the impact of hydration under a stressful (and sugar-fueled) situation.

Dr. John Tickell, an international health expert, says “science has shown us that water is an excellent solution for improving mood and reducing negative stress, with well hydrated people reporting less fatigue, less confusion, and less tension”.

On a physiological level, proper hydration really does help keep you calm and make better decisions. You better believe that I manage all of the travel, book release and wedding craziness armed with water!




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The Healthy Life


JSHealth Vegan Meal Plan


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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


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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.