Foodie Friday: Jess Sepel
With insatiable appetite for learning about health, Jess Sepel is on a mission to heal the world. Jess has recently completed a Bachelor of Health Science, and now she’s diving deep into Nutritional Medicine. She also has a great blog where she channels all of this knowledge, as well as heaps of yummo recipes.
Meet Jess …
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
After years of my own battle with loving myself, I began to realise I was not the only one feeling like this. I was looking around and realising so many people were tired, unhappy, exhausted, anxious and overweight. I began my journey to find out why this was happening. First step, I started to question the endless and contradictory information out there. There are so many confusing theories out there – it’s one of the many reasons why we have a complex relationship with food. I was hooked. I began to learn and absorb as much information as I could! I’m now in my fifth year of health study (Bachelor of Health, Certified Nutrition Coach and I’m currently studying Nutritional Med and next is a Masters in Wellness), so I really am addicted to learning about health and the human body!
Then my blog came along, and with that came the need to release some knowledge. So my blog was really just an outlet for to for that knowledge. I didn’t realise the inspiring and exciting aspects that would come along with it. It has blown my mind. I have met life long friends, inspirational health gurus and coaches (you!), worldwide clients who inspire me daily, and it has really concreted my love and passion to help others achieve optimal health. This is my calling.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
I have many non-negotiable when it comes to my diet such as:
+ Variety – eating through the rainbow
+ Good quality food – organic and local where possible
+ NO artificial sweeteners/sugar, soda, soy, less caffeine, less alcohol, less salt
+ Limiting gluten and dairy where possible
+ Home cooked meals as often as possible
+ Protein and good fat with each meal for blood sugar stabilisation.
+ Eating every three hours
+ I love to eat the right kinds of fruits that are low GI (berries are my best) and incorporating the right kinds of complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, legumes, oats and sprouted breads.
+ Supplement intake
However, I believe wellness is SO much more than non-negotiable diet rules. I’m a very big believer in putting into practice necessary lifestyle adjustments that will aid optimal health. Our optimum health is dependent on many lifestyle choices and habits, including sleep, stress, physical activity, relationships, work choices, thoughts (positive mindset) and the natural environment.
Why do you eat the way you eat?
Because when I eat well, I feel well. And… I now love myself enough to take good care of myself (that took me a long time). I have come to understand that when we treat the body with love and care, it is so good to us in return. Restorative eating is the best and easiest way to be kind to our bodies and nourish it the way it needs to be nourished. It is so simple – when I eat well, I feel well. I also believe that without a doubt, through good nutrition alone we can heal the body and lower our risk of disease.
If you were trying to convert someone to your dietary philosophy, what would you make for them?
Probably a signature smoothie. I am a smoothie addict! Or just simple bowl of kale chips with a tahini dipping sauce. Or a bowl of zucchini pest pasta
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
1. Carry a stainless steel water bottle for hydration throughout the flight and continue the next day to avoid dehydration and fluid retention. Aim for around two liters during a long flight.
2. Snacks. Plane food is very high in salt/sodium. It’s ok to eat it on occasion but always good to carry some yummy snacks with you. My faves include:
+ Raw/Tamari almonds
and seeds filled into fresh dates
+ Sliced apples/rice cakes with almond/natural peanut butter.
+ Package up some natural protein powder (whey/rice/pea) and ask the nearest juice bar to blend it up for you (with milk/water/ice) – This is a good little trick.
+ Cut up vegies (cucumber and carrots) with hummus
+ Homemade nori rolls – nori seaweed filled with hummus and sliced vegies
+ Raw nuts and seeds – I love almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
+ Homemade granola to munch on.
+ Sugar alternatives. I carry stevia powder / liquid with me to put into my herbal tea / yoghurt / smoothies while I travel. This can help you to avoid adding the nasty artificial sweeteners/sugars they offer.
+ I also carry Vital Greens sachets with me for a bit of a nutrient boost.
3. Herbal Teas. Bring your tea bags along and ask your lovely flight attendant for some boiling water.
+ B vitamin complex for energy, stamina, recovery and stress management. It also seems to help with jetlag.
+ Australian Bush Flower Travel Essence. It enables you to arrive at your destination feeling balanced and ready to go (buy from most health stores in Australia). If you are living out of Australia ask your naturopath to formulate a herbal essence.
+ Zinc – to keep your immune system strong.
+ Adrenal support – if you have the tendency to be anxious when travelling I recommend Adrenal support (supplementation that usually includes Withania and Siberian ginseng). Ask your doctor/nutritionist to recommend a good brand.
+ Probiotic – to keep the gut safe from nasty bacteria.
7. Lavender oil. I dab a bit of lavender oil on my temples every couple of hours. It has a calming scent, which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when you are super busy?
Usually a Bliss or protein ball, or fresh dates stuffed with as many nuts and seeds as possible. Or a good quality protein bar that is 100% natural eg: Quest bars from the US. Or I will order from Rachel (From My Kitchen) for healthy on the go snacks. She is amazing. Preparation is key to healthy living!
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? What’s your favourite combination?
I’m definitely a smoothie gal. Recently I’ve been loving my raspberry flax smoothie – very rich in protein, omegas, fibre, and a great hydrator.
1 serving raw vanilla protein powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. stevia/xylitol
1/4 cup raspberries
1 tbsp. psyllium husk
1 tbsp. flaxseeds
1 tbsp. Greek yoghurt (optional)
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup almond milk
More filtered water if you wish
5-10 ice cubes.
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you always have to clear up for people?
Food is not the only factor when it comes to health (of course it’s very important), but I believe hormonal balance, less stress, more sleep, lifestyle adjustments, relationship healing, healthy thoughts, positive mindset and our natural environment are all KEY factors to optimal health. People believe there is a quick fix. When I see a client for the first time, my first words are, “Do you realise this is not just a few weeks of fad and quick fixing. This is your life. You have to see this plan as a forever lifestyle. No depriving. Let go of the idea that you are coming to me to lose weight and then you can leave. I want you to look at this plan as though it is the new story of your life.”
If you could prepare a meal for anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you make?
Oprah Winfrey. She is my absolute idol. Has been for all my life. I have a dream to meet her and teach her a thing or two about healthy eating. Far fetched huh? Hehe. I put my dreams out there!
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
I feel a responsibly to be honest and authentic about my journey of health.
To inspire others, support others on their journey and provide every one around me with dense and helpful health and nutrition knowledge. I want live my truth, learn from my mistakes and commit my life and the life of my family to a healthy and spectacular life. I am committed to living my dream.
I give thanks / gratitude daily to my body and thank it for its hard work to keep me alive and well. I feel gratitude is what keeps me grounded on this journey and reminds me of what it means to be a wellness warrior.
A Recipe From Jess:
Goji And Walnut Brownie Balls
What you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup whole linseed
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup sesame seeds
pinch of salt
8 fresh dates, pitted
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs water
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp flaxseed oil (ok if you don’t have)
What to do:
Blend all dry ingredients in a food processor until they start to form a dough-like texture. Roll into 10-15 medium sized balls. Coat with coconut if you wish.
Positive affirmation for the day: I am making choices that are best for my soul.
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