Jessica Sepel is a qualified Sydney nutritionist, author, health blogger and wellness coach. It’s been an exiciting year for her – she started seeing clients in clinic, released her first eBook, “The Clean Life”, expanded her message to the US, and recently got engaged to the love of her life!
YQ: How did you first become interested in nutrition?
Jessica Sepel: After struggling with my own body image for most of my teenage years and early 20s, I committed to truly understanding nutrition and how my body works. It shifted my mentality; I viewed food as a source of nourishment, not the enemy. I ate in a way that healed my body.
YQ: What interests you most about health and nutrition?
Jessica Sepel: Good health and nutrition heals you, both physically and mentally. Making health a priority makes me feel the best I have ever felt. It makes me feel like I can do anything and everything. And now, when I witness the incredible shifts my clients go through on their way to wellness, it gives me the biggest thrill.
The Importance of Health
YQ: What does ‘healthy eating’ mean to you?
Jessica Sepel: I believe in fueling and nourishing my body with real, whole foods. That means clean, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Good health starts in the kitchen.
YQ: You struggled with your body image when you were younger. Can you describe the moment you realized those struggles had to stop? What made you face and overcome those difficulties?
Jessica Sepel: I felt consumed by it. It was just EXHAUSTING. My poor body was under so much stress. I suffered from hormonal havoc. I was listless and miserable; completely and utterly out of touch with my own body. I started seeing a good psychologist who helped me tap into the root of my pain and learn to manage stress. This also helped my build up my self-esteem and my relationship with food. I cut out toxic food, scenes, and relationships that didn’t serve me and embraced whole foods, self respect and love. I also made sleep a priority – I now believe rest is the true key to recovery and healthy living.
Public Perception of Nutrition
YQ: Do you see a shift happening in the public’s perception of nutrition?
Jessica Sepel: Yes. I think we’re reaching a tipping point; people are tired of feeling miserable and are more open to exploring a new way of eating. We’re becoming more conscious about what we put into our bodies – where it comes from, how it’s made, and how it will make us feel.
YQ: The aesthetic demand for very thin bodies has led magazines to Photoshop photographs of actresses and models to make them appear thinner. Recently, celebrities have begun releasing before-and-after photographs to document this practice and raise awareness of body issues. What are your thoughts on this?
Jessica Sepel: I love that women are speaking up and embracing their bodies exactly as they are. What a fantastic example of self-acceptance and self-love. As women, we need to be a positive influence by supporting one another and making it known that body shaming will not be tolerated.
Change Your Eating Habits
YQ: What small diet and lifestyle changes can people make to have the largest impact on their health?
- Make one change each week. The body really responds to small changes. Do not overwhelm yourself.
Be health prepared. Stock your fridge/pantry with health essentials to support your goals through the week
- Eat home cooked meals as often as possible.
- Eat whole foods, and incorporate organic and local produce where possible. Avoid packaged and processed foods. Avoid sugar/gluten/processed dairy.
- Rest every day. Stress is the number one health killer, in my opinion. Dedicate 20 minutes a day to downtime – take a nap, a walk, read a good book, take a bath, cook, or just breathe and mediate.
YQ: How can poor eating habits affect our bodies and health?
Jessica Sepel: Poor eating habits impact our weight, our skin, our immunity, our energy. But it’s not just a physical impact. If we’re not properly nourished, we can’t thrive. Before I improved my own nutrition, I was tired. I had no zest for life. Poor nutrition affects our mental health, too.
YQ: What is your favorite healthy snack?
Jessica Sepel: I just love smoothies. I never get tired of my Power Protein smoothie topped with homemade granola – I could sip one all day, every day! Just blend frozen berries, a banana, spinach, chia seeds, protein powder, almond milk and cinnamon.
YQ: How often should we allow ourselves a treat?
Jessica Sepel: Regularly! It is essential that we enjoy our favourite treats in moderation. Don’t deprive yourself – you’ll only be frustrated and more likely to overeat later. We need to learn how to trust our bodies; it listens to what we do most of the time, not some of the time. When you have a treat, allow yourself to truly savour it. No guilt!
Advice for Healthier Life
YQ: What other advice do you have in order to live a healthier life?
Jessica Sepel: Make the step. Make one small positive change TODAY. Remember – you are worth it. The feeling of ‘good health' is better than anything. You feel like you can conquer the world. You have energy to love, live and be the happiest version of yourself. You will never look back.