We usually talk to nutritionists so that they can tell us what we should be eating, but we rarely get to hear what they like to eat in their own lives. That’s why we met up with Jessica Sepel, clinical nutritionist and creator of The JSHealth Program, to get the scoop on her daily diet. Jessica believes in making healthy choices, and has a passion for creating wholesome, delicious recipes and having a holistic relationship with food. She just came out with a new book, Living the Healthy Life, which goes hand in hand with her program and is filled with delicious recipes. We love that her philosophy is all about balance, and that she’s against dieting extremes or food restrictions. Here’s what Jessica told us:
I’m a former fad dieter, which broke my relationship with food and my body. I created the JSHealth community to bring women together in a place where they can find comfort in the fact that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. It is a place for people to understand that the healthy life just needs balance not perfection. That’s why I created the JSHealth Program: an 8-week plan to quit diets, find balance with food and your weight, and live your healthiest life. As I always say, restriction and deprivation lead to over-eating, binging or having a complex relationship with food. Living the healthy life means committing to eating well most of the time but also allowing there to be imperfection and indulgence. With this in mind, my day on a plate is all about balance, mindful eating and indulging in moderation.
I wake up around 6:30am to a warm lemon water to fire up digestion and detoxify my body after a good night’s sleep – typical nutritionist! Sometimes I’ll also take a shot of apple cider vinegar before my morning mediation and then I’ll do a 30-45 minute yoga, high intensity cardio or weights session. My breakfast is usually my power protein smoothie topped with mixed nuts and seeds.
Mid-morning is green juice time, typically involving kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger. I often add a handful of raw walnuts or veggies with nut butter or hummus between clients and meetings. Or if I feel like something warm, I make my favorite salted caramel oats, which is made with coconut milk, tahini, carob, sea salt, and maple syrup. I love the rich, creamy caramel flavor.
For lunch I usually have a dark, leafy green salad 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 favorite salad dressing at the moment is a combination of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard.
I’m a big believer in a 4pm snack – it helps keep blood sugar stable and can ward off sugar cravings until dinner! If we’ve been baking in the JSHealth kitchen this could mean one of my sugar-free protein balls or some crunchy kale chips with hummus. I also use this time to take a switch off – or, as I call it, the JSHealth Stress Free Zone. This is the perfect time to turn off your social media, rest, read, meditate, practice yoga or go for a walk. Just 15-30 minutes in the Stress Free Zone can make an incredible difference to your stress hormones (cortisol especially!) and is the perfect way to wind down after a busy day.
I try to have dinner as early as possible, so I typically eat at 7pm. I’m absolutely obsessed with my easy One Pan recipes at the moment – as simple as roasting a protein (salmon is my fave) with a bunch of vegetables and an incredible marinade. The One Pan Japanese-Inspired Salmon is one of the best recipes on my website!
After dinner, I like to have something sweet at around 8pm after I’ve switched off my social media for the night. I’m currently obsessed with my healthy Nutella mousse or the JSHealth Sleepy Tonic, which is made with almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and passionflower herbs!