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Jessica Sepel is an inspiring babe who knows a thing or two about how to heal the mind and body. Jess herself struggled with body image, fad dieting and confidence in her teenage years and early 20s until one day something clicked and she realised the impact it was having on her life. She committed to understanding nutrition and how the body worked and found her mentality shifted and she was able to start living and eating in a way that healed her mind and body. 

Being a big believer in feeding the body with natural and nourishing foods, Jess is a big fan of Health Lab and we were lucky enough to grab some of her time to ask her a few questions we thought you babes were keen to know the answers to...
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 HL: Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a nutritionist?

JS: I’ve always been interested in nutrition, having come from a family that prioritises real, whole foods. In my teenage years and early 20s, though, I developed a negative body image and food was one way to control it. I tortured myself to the point that food was the enemy. It took time, but I realized that hating my body was impacting every aspect of my life. From that point on, I committed to understanding how my body works. It shifted my mentality and this inspired me to actually study nutrition and become a practicing nutritionist.

 

HL: What is your health and wellness mantra?

JS: 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.

 

HL: What advice can you give our babes for developing a healthy and happy relationship with food and their bodies?

JS: I believe in being flexible and listening to your body – deprivation and restriction do not 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! I would absolutely recommend therapy if you need it – and yoga has really helped me. You’ve got to commit to giving up dieting, for life. Instead, become committed to tuning into your body and eating whole foods that make you feel well. Also take care of your stress levels, this will decrease stress and emotional eating as well as helping to balance hormones.

 

 HL: You have such beautiful skin, what are your top 5 tips for a glowing complexion?

  1. Choose nourishing, wholesome foods – a healthy glow comes from the inside out. Add more greens and veggies to your plate, incorporate a good quality protein at each meal and make sure to eat lots of healthy fats (avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds – in moderation).
  2. Cut out the refined sugars – they create an inflammatory response in the body which can lead to unbalanced sugar levels, skin breakouts and energy level spikes and drops.
  3. Exfoliate for extra skin glow – a gentle and natural exfoliation is a simple way to feed your skin and brighten your complexion.
  4. Prioritise sleep – it can make such a difference to your skin health!
  5. Sweat every day – amazing for detoxification and definitely contributes to that glow!

HL: Can you share your day on a plate? 

7am: I wake up to a warm lemon water to fire up digestion and detoxify my body after a good night’s sleep.  

8am: Breakfast is usually a power protein smoothie topped with mixed nuts and seeds, homemade granola with organic Greek yoghurt, gluten-free oats, or 2 eggs - boiled or scrambled with steamed greens and avocado.  

10:30am: Mid-morning is green juice time, typically kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger. I often add a handful of raw walnuts or raw veggies with nut butter or hummus. 

1pm: I usually have a dark, leafy green salad (packed with broccoli, kale and spinach) with a portion of protein (fish, chicken, lean grass-fed meat or beans) with a complex gluten-free carbohydrate (quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato). I also include a good fat like avocado, hummus, or a sprinkle of mixed seeds. My favourite salad dressing is a combination of olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, miso paste and Dijon mustard - fats are important at lunchtime to keep you feeling satisfied.  

4pm: It’s important for me to have a snack mid-afternoon to keep my blood sugar stable until dinner. I love a cup of herbal tea with a quarter cup of raw nuts, or perhaps 2 brown rice cakes with tahini or my Slim Down Smoothie

7pm: I try to have dinner as early as possible, so I typically eat at 7:00. One of my favourite dinners is herb and almond crusted snapper or salmon with cauliflower mash and steamed broccoli and green beans.  

8pm: I always have a cup of chai tea, but if I feel like something sweet I’ll have dessert at about 8:00 once I’ve switched off for the night. Enjoying a couple squares of quality dark chocolate, 2 dates with almond butter, or a homemade chocolate protein truffle is the perfect way to end the day. 

HL: What does your weekly workout routine look like?

JS: Instead of a weekly work out routine, I focus on daily movement and listening to my body. Depending on how I feel that day, my energy levels and other life commitments I might enjoy a yin yoga class, a long walk in nature or a Pilates or high-intensity interval training class.

 

HL: Do you have any secrets for dealing with cravings that will help keep our babes motivated to make the right food choices?

Enjoy protein-rich snacks in between meals to keep cravings at bay and blood sugar levels balanced. But remember to listen to your body – your cravings could be telling you something! Try adding some healthy fats to your meals too to increase

 

HL: Do you ever indulge? What's your number 1 vice?

JS: I honestly try not to view any food as ‘guilty’. I believe indulging sometimes is a part of life and essential for balance and a healthy relationship with food. One of my favourite indulgences is good-quality gelato or ice-cream – I absolutely love it!

 

HL: What is your favourite part of your day?

JS: Switching off at the end of the day and getting into my JSHealth SFZ (Stress-Free Zone). This means no computers and no phones. Meditation, reading or spending quality time with my hubby are some of my favourite things to do.

 

HL: Finally, if you were stuck on an island and could only take 5 foods with you what would you bring? 

  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Cauliflower
  • Cinnamon
  • Tahini

 

Read more inspiring interviews in our Spring E-Book, FREE to download here.

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