If you're the kind of person who drinks our matcha, it's likely that you're the kind of person who is as obsessed with Jessica Sepel and her amazing wellness hub, JSHealth, as we are. This gorgeous health blogger, nutritionist and wellness coach keeps the wellness world up to date with beautiful nourishing recipes (just check out her Insta), nutrition advice, healthy Q&As and travel, beauty, fitness and lifestyle tips. Is there anything she can't do?? We are so lucky to have chatted to her for this month's Matcha Mate Q&A to get some of her hottest health tips. Enjoy!
1. Like many of us, your health journey was born out of a struggle - tell us a bit about how you turned things around and started JS Health.
I’ve always been interested in nutrition, having come from a family that prioritizes 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.
2. What are the three most important health lessons you've learned on your journey and that you'd pass on to aspiring health nuts?
- Good health starts in the kitchen: I don’t believe in subscribing to any dietary labels: instead, I believe in fuelling and nourishing my body with real, whole foods. That means clean, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural source as possible – no additives or preservatives – just delicious, and home-cooked (when possible) meals using the freshest ingredients you can find.
- Listen to your body: I believe in being flexible – what my body needs on a Monday could be different to what I need on a Wednesday – in terms of exercise, food and rest.
- Health and nutrition is a lifestyle: Extreme restrictions rarely 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!
3. What is the biggest health myth you've discovered on your journey?
Skipping meals and adhering to fad diets will help you lose weight – this cycle of restriction and deprivation leads to overeating and bingeing. People think they are doing their waistlines a favour by skipping meals/snacks. As a nutritionist (from clinical experience) my clients who commit to eating every meal and a healthy satiating snack in between their meals are much better at controlling their appetite, blood sugar levels and cravings – which assists with weight balance.
4. Your beautiful blog is full of amazing nourishing recipes - what are 3 staple ingredients you always have in the pantry/fridge (other than matcha obviously)?
- Cauliflower – my absolute favourite veggie. Roasted, mashed or processed into delicious cauli rice.
- Avocado – essential for healthy fats and amazing in smoothies, salads or gluten-free toast.
- Eggs – for baking some delicious healthy treats or adding extra protein to a main meal easy and quickly!
5. And what's your favourite way to enjoy matcha? Why?
Simple and classic – a matcha latte with coconut milk.
6. And on the flip side, what foods will you never find in your kitchen? Any foods to definitely avoid?
7. If you ever fall of the healthy bandwagon for a moment (like we all do), what's your one vice?
I honestly try not to view any food as ‘guilty’. I believe indulging sometimes I 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!
8. How do you recover from a binge or an overindulgence? Forgiving myself and trusting my body to break the food down and get back onto the journey of healing.
9. What's your exercise regime like? Favourite sweat session?
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.
10. As your profile and business has grown, we all want a piece of Jess and these days there is so much glorification of being "busy". How do you manage your time and ensure you don't burn out?
- Everyday I go into a stress free zone for 10-30 minute – no phone/email/distractions/work – I just rest for a period of time in my day. I go for a walk in nature/rest on my bed after work/have a bath/meditate/bath or put my legs up the wall. This keeps me productive during the rest of the day.
- I also switch my phone off by 8pm – this keeps me very productive the next day.
- When I am feeling stressed/overwhelmed – I take a step back and just do less – knowing the next day I will have more energy to perform.
- I say NO when I need to – I give myself permission to say no to people/events/situations when I don’t have the energy for it. The things I say YES to – I am in 100%
11. We hear there is a new book on the way on that very topic, tell us a bit about what we can expect and when we can get our hands on it?
The underlying theme is healing broken relationships with food – it’s about my personal transition from fad dieter to balanced eater. Full of delicious recipes (over 200!) that are really quick and easy. It’s my transition from fad dieter to balanced eater → focuses on how to heal bodily issues like hormones, gut health, liver and stress.
12. And lastly, just for fun, what are three quirky or funny things about you not necessarily related to health that most people might not have heard before?
- I don’t engage with fashion. I just don’t get it. Clothes shopping = I never do it. Food shopping on the other hand…
- I spend all my spare time researching travel (Instagram and Pinterest are my guilty pleasures!)
- I religiously go upstairs at 5pm and ‘switch off’ – non negotiable.
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