For years, we’ve been big fans of Jessica Sepel and her holistic philosophy towards nutrition: saying goodbye to restrictive diets, focusing on delicious whole foods and nixing negative body talk. So when the clinical nutritionist and best-selling cookbook author recently launched her JSHealth App, you can be sure we were excited to hear all the deets. Touted as “a nutritionist in your pocket”, the app offers a library of nourishing recipes, 24/7 access to a nutritionist via DM, and guides to beating binge eating, optimising gut health and much, much more. We asked Jessica the questions we’d been desperate to have answered - from her verdict on keto and intermittent fasting, to the food principles every person should follow, and the nutrition questions that people are always asking her.
Beating The Binge
Jessica is no stranger to emotional eating, having battled extensively with eating disorders throughout her teen years - which is why this issue was one of the key concerns she was keen to tackle with her app. “Over the last year, my team and I have been working tirelessly to launch the revolutionary JSHealth App, which helps empower people with the tools to live a happy, healthy and balanced life,” she tells us. “There are more than 170 nutritious recipes, a daily meal planner, an in-app messaging service with our team of trained nutritionists, 52 health guides, body love support, a customisable shopping list, a daily tracker and so much more. I want to make healthy living accessible to everyone, which is why the app is less than $3 a week (also less than a cup of coffee).”
In Jessica’s eyes, fixing your relationship with food is mostly a mental endeavour. “You have to change your mindset around food,” she shares. “It’s about transitioning from restrictive eating to balanced and abundant food intake. But it’s also about addressing your inner beliefs and thought patterns. This is something we explore in-depth in our Body Love Room in the JSHealth app.”
Keto and Paleo: Good For You?
A quick Google of the hottest health trends of the past few years will invariably pull up pages of results on the keto and paleo diets, alongside a plethora of other miraculous nutritional solutions. So naturally we were interested in hearing Jessica’s thoughts on whether these diets were worth our attention. “At JSHealth, our philosophy is about balanced, wholesome eating. It’s about giving up dieting, calorie counting and finding long-term health,” she explains. “We believe in a flexible approach to food that’s made up of the essential macronutrients and leaves room for mindful indulgence. As such, we don’t believe in following diets or food trends as they’re short lived. Putting yourself under a diet umbrella often leads to stress and a complex relationship with food. The JSHealth App was created to help people find this balance.”
Despite her misgivings, Jessica sees these trends sticking around for a while. “The high fat, high protein and ketogenic diet will continue to trend,” she says. “That said, I truly feel that people are ready for balance. If there was a diet that worked in the long-term, we’d all be on it. Diets work for a short period of time but in the end, they’re not sustainable. There is a way to achieve your long-term health goals without being on a diet.”
To Fast Or Not To Fast?
Intermittent fasting: your bestie, sister and half a dozen wellness gurus on your Insta feed might swear by it, but what’s Jess’s take on the trend? Basically, it’s a short-term tool. “There’s some science and research behind fasting - however, from clinical experience, people cannot sustain it for longer than six to eight months,” Jessica explains. “At JSHealth, we’re all about eating in a way that you can sustain long-term. We are all so individual and what works for me may not work for you.” So what does Jessica do instead? “Rather than fasting, I like to perform a seasonal or monthly cleanse (depending on how I’m feeling),” she tells.
Back To Basics
If you start doing a little research, the wellness space can quickly become dizzyingly confusing, with many contradictory messages muddying the nutritional waters - so we quizzed Jessica on the fundamental principles everyone should respect. “Firstly, eat all of the important macronutrients: slow-releasing carbs, proteins, fats and fibre – and particularly greens,” she shares. “Secondly, give up the diet mentality and eat with joy and mindfulness.” And the things we should ditch from our diets, stat? “Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners,” says Jessica.
If you’ve got the best of intentions but they somehow just seem to disappear come 4pm, Jessica has a range of delicious snack suggestions to help keep sugar cravings at bay mid-arvo. “Green apples with almond butter, raw nuts, DIY trial mix (made with goji berries, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate), berries, carrots and hummus, and homemade froyo (which you can find in the JSHealth App).” Um, we’re definitely takers.
What Everyone Wants To Know
We were curious to find out the questions Jessica gets again and again (and again) as a clinical nutritionist. “How to get more energy, better sleep and reduce sugar cravings,” she shares. Yep, we can definitely relate. She continues: “Our JSHealth food and lifestyle philosophy is designed to naturally aid these issues plus many more. Through balanced nutrition, lifestyle practices, self-love and mindful exercise, I truly believe that we can heal our relationship with food and our bodies.”
Story by Tess Schlink