Vanilla Berry Pudding and Hydration for Concentration

Breakfast, Healthy Recipes
chia pudding


It’s back-to-school time for many – and it wasn’t so long ago that I was in the same grind, adjusting to a new course load and juggling responsibilities of school, internship and the blog too.

As students, you’re often spread quite thin as it is. And it’s no surprise that proper nutrition plays a major part in keeping on task – but I found it interesting to learn that staying hydrated is essential too.

It turns out that dehydration has a major effect on our alertness and ability to concentrate – whether we’re students or not. So many trials have shown that being dehydrated, even by just one percent, makes us less focused and more likely to make a mistake.

Students will find this study out of the UK particularly interesting: it showed that students who drank water during an exam tested up to 10% better. To put that into perspective? It’s the difference between a first and second-class honors degree.

Zip Water recently put together another fun video about how dehydration impacts our ability to function – this one was a gaming experiment using EEG headsets to track the brain’s ability to focus. Not a chemistry exam, but an interesting example of the effect water has on concentration. The gamer who hadn’t had any water to drink that day had less ability to play the game using only his brain – and that’s because it was expending more energy on nerve transmissions, causing fatigue and decreased focus.

Your brain needs water to concentrate for long periods of time – like a full day of classes. Starting your morning with a glass of warm filtered lemon water is a great way to kick start hydration and fire up digestion so that you’re ready for a healthy breakfast.

It’s no secret that I believe breakfast is a must – and I know that time is precious in the morning, especially for busy students. That’s why I love easy, make-ahead meals like overnight oats and chia pudding. They couldn’t be easier, and they use filtered water as a hydrating base.

This recipe combines both oats and chia seeds for a healthy, fiber-packed breakfast that’s also packed with superfoods.

Vanilla Berry Pudding
Serves: 1
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk
  • ½ cup mixed berries
  • ¼ banana
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoon mixed nuts and seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ cup filtered water
  1. Add oats, chia seeds, psyllium husk and filtered water to a glass jar and mix, then let soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, add the other ingredients to the mix and stir to make a healthy, hydrating pudding.


In the morning, you can add your favourite toppings and enjoy a quick, hearty and super healthy breakfast. If you know you’ll really be pressed for time, do it all the night before. Then simply grab the jar from the fridge in the morning and go!





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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.