Guest Post: The Ten Pillars of a Healthy Diet

Nutrition Advice


In today’s modern world we are bombarded with so many food philosophies, that at times it can leave us feeling confused and a little frustrated.
When it comes to choosing what food principles to follow, don’t get bogged down with all the new food phenomenon’s. Educate yourself about foods and choose nutrient dense options. Stick to what feels right for you. Remember everybody is built different, so there is no right or wrong diet – just listen to your own body, as it will tell you what you should eat. Everything should be eaten in balance, and no crazy obsessions. Just relax, listen to your body and let it take you on its own healing journey. If you obsess too much about what you can and cannot eat, you become mentally drained and unwell. The truth is your diet should be constantly evolving; you should be learning and trying new things all the time.
As trends come and go, yes, by all means try new things as you may learn something new. Remember it is easy to get lost in all the hype of new diets and food principles; therefore to keep things simple, no matter what food principle you are currently following, choose to keep your focus on these pillars of healthy eating to keep you at optimum health.
Eat whole foods. Choosing whole foods is a simple way to ensure that what you eat is micronutrient dense and free of unnecessary additives. A “whole food” is any food in its most essential, pure, delicious and basic form: broccoli, a lemon, a bowl of quinoa, or a fillet of salmon. Whole foods are the ideal base for creating healthy and tasty food.
Educate yourself where your food comes from. For example, buy ethical meats. There are more and more butchers opening up that offer ethical and organic meats. Remember organic does not always mean ethical – do your research. Some common concerns to familiarise yourself with are fair trade, palm oil and free range.
Educate yourself about what’s in the foods you eat. Once you start to understand what is in some foods, you will naturally want to start to avoid them. Start to read your labels, chances are if you cannot say the word, then your body does not know what it is and therefore does not belong in your body.
Don’t get obsessed. Learn to enjoy and savour your food. When you stress about what you can and cannot eat you make yourself mentally drained and unwell. Eat to nourish, eat to enjoy and eat everything in moderation.
Drink 2-3 litres of water a day. Water is the miracle elixir, it is the fountain of life. Without water there is no life. A glass of humble water nourishes, energizes and detoxes your body, whilst plumping out your cells to diminish fine lines and wrinkles
Avoid processed foods. Eliminate processed foods, artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, sweeteners, refined white foods and hydrogenated fats from your diet as much as possible. These are not natural and are therefore foreign to your body – your body has trouble digesting and breaking down these foods.
Eat 80% plant-based. No matter what type of diet you follow — including those that incorporate dairy, meat and/or seafood — begin to reconfigure your plate so that the majority (80%) of your meal is made from an abundance of plant-based foods. When you eat more plants — like raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains — you’re helping your body get the key micronutrients it needs to function at its optimal level. Eat a colourful variety of plants to ensure you’re getting the best nutrients for your body.
Eat healthy fats. Get your healthy fats by eating whole plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and avocados. Use unsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and flaxseed oil. Some food for thought – Did you know that butter is a much healthier option than margarine? That’s right – butter is not full of all the chemicals that are in margarine.
Eat nutrient dense foods. Stop counting calories and focus on eating foods that are rich in micronutrients. Your body doesn’t care about calaries, it cares about nutrition. If your having trouble with your weight, stop counting calories and add more nutritious foods, ensuring that your getting all your nutrients. A healthy body = a healthy weight. Did you know that when your body does not get enough nutrients, it can store toxins in your fat cells?
Use supplements. Understand what your body is deficient in and take the relevant vitamins and minerals. If you are unsure about what you are lacking then have a blood test. A good quality vitamin C 1000mg and multi-vitamin is a good start.
About Claire:
Online personality, holistic lifestyle coach, author and entrepreneur Claire Charters founded the holistic lifestyle blog Serene Wellness. Claire works hard to create a wholesome path to wellness through her writing along with her unique tours and retreats. Her articles on health, wellness and spirituality can be found on various sites. She has a growing community of people following her on her blog, Facebook and twitter. She also run’s free courses which are designed to inspire people to start living their best holistic life. Read more about Claire.




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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.