My health commandments
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
Health is holistic; there’s no way to get around it. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, if you don’t eat right then all your hard work is going to waste. It doesn’t matter if you eat like a nutritionist, if you don’t move your body then it won’t perform at its
optimum. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a green juice-drinking, TRX-loving yogi, if you’re under a lot of stress and pressure, your health will suffer. That’s why I advocate a holistic philosophy, one that pays attention to diet and lifestyle, and connects
the mind, body and soul.
Good health starts in the kitchen
I don’t subscribe to any dietary labels; instead, I believe in fuelling and nourishing my body with real, whole foods. That means clean, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. No additives, no preservatives, and no artificial ingredients. Why would you want to overload your body with chemicals and toxins? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I believe in being flexible and listening to my body, and by that I mean that what I need on a Monday could be very different to what I need on a Wednesday. For example, if I need a bigger breakfast than usual post-workout, I’ll have it. If I feel like indulging in some good quality gelato on a sunny day, I’ll do it. Deprivation no longer exists in my life, and I’m so much happier for it.
I believe health and nutrition is a lifestyle. As such, extreme restrictions rarely work in the long term. They just put extra stress on your mind and body. I believe in eating sustainably, for both you and for the world!
This is my food philosophy in a nutshell:
No sugar or gluten
Some gluten-free grains
High quality animal protein, beans and pulses
Plenty of good fats
Limited amounts of dairy
Limited amount of low-fructose fruits
Loads of colourful and green veggies!
I spend tons of time in the kitchen creating JSHealth recipes that taste insanely good, and are insanely good for your body.
Check them out here
Stress can have a huge impact on your health and body, which is why I take it very seriously. I’m committed to exposing myself (and my body) to as little stress as possible. It just won’t get you anywhere. On a physical level, stress releases excess
cortisol into your body, which is a chemical that eats away at your nervous system. Over time, excessive stress can also wreak havoc on your endocrine system, which in turn can lead to weight gain and diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Mentally, stress can affect your mood, energy and happiness. Stress can be environmentally induced (e.g. by living in a busy, polluted city), but it’s exacerbated by lifestyle choices and habits. I understand stress is a part of life, but we just need to learn how to manage it.
Time to unwind
Downtime is absolutely vital. Essential. Crucial to your health. We all need to slow down and breathe, and do so more often. In today’s fast-paced society, we’re constantly on the go. We barely have time to pause and reflect, or to give ourselves a break. Or when we do take a break, we feel guilty. While it’s fantastic to be successful and social, we need to stop rushing. Slow down. Breathe. Take it all in. We need to stop and smell the roses, as they say. Plenty of studies have shown that solitude is incredibly important, so I try to spend at least half an hour on my own every day. If you can do the same, I promise you’ll see major changes in your health, wellbeing and mental state. So try it – turn off the radio, TV, and computer, ditch your phone (baby steps, I know), and just be. One of my favourite ways to unwind my mind and body after a long day is to simply lie with my legs up against the wall for 10 minutes each day.
Respect your body
So many women go through life hating their body. I know, I was one of them. But it’s time for that to change. Accept that your body is beautiful just the way it is, and give it love and praise. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but with plenty of selfwork
and self-love you will get there. That’s what I did, and it worked. As soon as I began looking at my body in a positive light, it healed itself. I nourished it with love and care, and in turn, the excess weight and anxiety dropped off. I filled it with
foods from the earth and the right kind of supplements, and it rewarded me with health, happiness, and an incredible sense of my own place in the world. I honestly feel like I can do and be anything I want, and I desperately want you to feel the same way!
Exercise is so important for cardiovascular health but even more than that, it’s fantastic for the mind. So say yes to your endorphin hit, but don’t take it to the extreme. When it comes to working out, I’ve learnt to exercise less, but smarter! I don’t
slog it out at the gym day in and day out. I don’t push my body to the limit. Instead, I try to live a really active lifestyle. In a typical week, I do 2-3 30-minute interval sessions, as well as a couple of yoga or pilates classes. While the resistance sessions
are short, I work hard: enough to burn energy, maintain heart health, and keep my metabolism running, but not too much that I feel depleted and achy. Intense workouts are great, but if you overdo them you run the risk of exhausting your adrenals, which can lead to hormonal imbalances, fatigue and stress. As for the gentler forms of exercise like yoga, I truly believe these keep me grounded. They give me an opportunity to tune into myself.
If you’re worried that cutting back on your workout regime will cause you to gain weight, remember the saying: you can’t outrun a bad diet. In other words, 90% of your health is about what you put into your mouth.
Eat clean unprocessed foods.
Drink water- all day (filtered if possible)
Practice mindful eating- engage in the eating experience- this improves our relationship with food and our bodies.
Eat in a relaxed environment
Chew your food until it is liquid
Eat until satisfied, not full
Start your day with a beautiful and nourishing health routine e.g.: lemon water, meditation, gratitude and movement
End the fad diet mentality. Let it go. Diets don’t work long term
Buy local and organic produce where possible
No more deprivation- enjoy a treat daily or weekly. This is healthy!
Listen to your body- start to engage when you are hungry and not hungry
Nurture your emotional self. Be kind to yourself. Remember you are good enough
Don’t buy ingredients unless you can pronounce them – avoid anything ‘artificial’ because your body does not know how to break it down
Keep active- daily. In your favorite ways! Yoga is body and life changing
Breathe deeply from the belly
Enjoy solitude and rest daily. Yes, everyday. Schedule in time to rest just like you do for your work meetings
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!