10 Ways To Get A Healthier & Happier Belly

Lifestyle, Nutrition Advice

By Dr Frank Lipman. His books are a must read! I am fortunate enough to be in contact with Frank and hoping to go study alongside him in the future.  He is one of the wisest nutrition teachers around.

How to heal your belly: Many people live with digestive problems, thinking it’s normal to feel not-that-great most of the time—that is, until issues like bloating, diarrhea, IBS and/or constipation start to make it physically impossible to get to the 9am department meeting or Junior’s soccer game. 

Although it’s very common, gastro-intestinal distress is not normal—it’s your body’s way of telling you that your gut isn’t functioning properly and needs your attention. The good news is that the majority of belly complaints can be treated relatively easily, resulting in a well-functioning digestive system that will energize you, help your immune system, and prevent all sorts of diseases. Ignore it and you may find your stomach’s bad behavior ruling your life, curtailing activities, bloating you up and making you feeling lousy most of the time. Clearly, this is no way to live!
Here are some thoughts on how to take charge of your belly, banish the bloat, and support the health of both your body and your mind:

1. Soothe your brain, and you’ll soothe your belly.
When it comes to restoring the gut to optimal function, I always remind my patients of the gut-brain connection. An agitated brain can manifest itself in the belly with stress-induced GI disorders. When combined with poor eating habits and/or medications, this can create food allergies, IBS, ulcers, and more. These GI conditions, in turn, can tip the balance of microbial flora in the gut—the cauldron for our body’s immunity.
When bad bacteria outweigh the good, the lining of the GI tract can break down, allowing leakage and a wide range of inflammatory diseases—from skin allergies, urinary issues, and kidney problems to arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis and skin disorders.
To help soothe all this the stress-induced inflammation, the first thing to do is to add stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, exercise, or yoga to your routine. The key is to get into the habit of becoming aware of when your stress levels are rising, and make time to consciously bring those levels down with stress-reducing techniques. Another soothing activity? Sleep! Aim for 7 hours of good, restful, sleep; it’s like a vacation for your brain.
2. Chew the daylights out of your food. 
Your mouth is where digestion begins and saliva is the first step in the digestive process, so help the process along by chewing thoroughly break down the food before swallowing it. The more “processing” you do in your mouth, the easier it will be on your digestive tract, resulting in less bloating ‘round the mid-section.
3. Give your GI system a heads-up.
To stoke the GI engine, whenever possible, try to munch on something bitter before your meal. It will help stimulate your body’s own digestive juices and aid the start of the digestion process. A small salad with arugula or dandelion root is a great way to literally get the juices flowing. Another idea: take a teaspoon of Swedish bitters before each meal. And if that’s not possible, try one to two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water before eating.
4. Make mealtimes your unwinding time: savor bites and don’t rush. 
Whoa, Nelly! Where’s the fire? Inhaling a meal as if it were your last can create and exacerbate digestive problems. Eating slowly gives your body enough time to gear up, stoke the digestive fires and signal to the GI system that it’s time for digestion to begin. Gulping your food in a hurry is akin to putting a pile of logs in the fireplace and expecting a crackling fire to materialize without striking a match. As a general rule of thumb (with the exception of meal replacement shakes), if what you’re eating doesn’t require utensils or, for that matter a plate, chances are, you’re probably eating it too fast.
5. Drink like a grown-up.
There are hundreds of reasons not to drink soda or carbonated beverages—and here’s another: they bloat your belly! You know the saying “garbage in, garbage out?” The same is true for bubbles. They go in one end and eventually out the other (with or without sound effects!), but in the meantime they tend to pause in your belly, causing your mid-section to temporarily inflate. Why do that to your poor belly? Another bloat-avoidance tip: don’t drink through straws or chew gum, as both activities send extra air into the mid-section and can further inflate your belly.
6. Shop with your whole body in mind.
All the digestion tricks in the book won’t keep bloating and GI problems at bay if you’re eating nutritionally bankrupt foods. So give your body the nutritional support it craves by buying whole, unrefined, unprocessed, high quality foods. Eat organic and local to get the most bang for your nutritional buck. Your belly will know the difference and behave better for it. Concerned about the added gas some veggies can cause? Eat smaller servings to start and gradually increase veggie serving sizes over the course of a week or two to give your body time to adjust.
7. Give your belly a bedtime. 
Every part of your body needs its rest; even your belly needs a time out. The easiest time to do it? After your evening meal. Get into the habit of resting your digestive system for at least 10 hours at night. For example, if you eat breakfast a 7am, try not to eat anything after 9pm. Another tip: don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
8. Take a vacay from processed foods, sugars, alcohol, gluten, and dairy. 
You can take the resting process a bit further by doing my free Daily Living Eating Plan for at least 2 weeks. You’ll eliminate all refined sugar, processed foods, alcohol, gluten and dairy. Notice how your digestion usually improves.
9. Yum! More bacteria, please!
Help your belly along by adding probiotics, aka “good bacteria” to the mix. Add fermented foods to your plate plus a probiotic supplement. Boosting good bacteria is one of the simplest ways to restore the gut’s bacterial balance and start repairing gastrointestinal systems under siege.
10. Give your gut a roadmap.
To help support the GI tract and the immune system, I take a multi-faceted approach called The 4R Program, which is an extremely effective way to address gastrointestinal dysfunctions and promote gastrointestinal health. Developed by Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D. and his associates at the Functional Medicine Institute, the 4R Program simplifies the complex interactions in gastrointestinal health by asking four questions and designing a program of appropriate health-supporting measures based on a patient’s responses.
Here’s to a happier and healthier belly!




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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.