For me, the real wellness journey started when I got active on Instagram, and realized the world of possibilities and inspiration available to everyone through social media. There are a few Instagram accounts that have played an especially important role in the life of Breakfast Criminals, (blog and a movement based on passion for wholesome superfood living and preparing your meals with a full heart).
One of them is Sydney-based nutritionist Jessica Sepel, who not only shares recipes and valuable healthy tips and tricks, but also her belief in visualization, manifesting, and all that kind of magic, with tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, her website, and now – in an amazing eBook, The Clean Life (which I already got my hands on and am LOVING it!)
I was a bit star struck when I met Jessica and her sweet (and super talented as well!) cousin Hannah for a superfood breakfasts + Strala yoga date. First things first, here’s what we ate: a twist on my Raw Dragonfruit Cashew Cream Parfait.
Enjoy the interview, where Jessica shares her secrets for a healthy glow, talks about her food philosophy, and the importance of loving yourself.
You’re glowing! What are your top 5 health tips?
1. Rest, rest rest! That is my number one health tip – people are always on the go. We all need to slow down and make proper rest a priority.
2. Cut back on stress. It’s my belief that stress is what sabotages our health. Take 10-15 minutes every day that are just for you and allow you to meditate, breathe deeply, take a bath, read, or simply rest (there it is again!)
3. Cutting back on sugar is my ultimate suggestion to improving diet – and overall quality of life.
4. Practice gratitude. I write in a gratitude journal every day. As corny as it might sound, it keeps me grounded and stress-free. You can’t feel stressed when you feel grateful.
5. Make the commitment to love yourself. When you do this, healthy living is easy. You respect your body, what you do to it, what you put in to it. There becomes no other way.
What is your food philosophy?
Good health starts in the kitchen. 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.
You shared a really interesting tip on reducing your workouts to lose weight and feel better in Vogue Australia. Please explain!
I’ve said it before, but I firmly believe that we need to exercise more rest. When my body feels tired, I listen to it and I rest. This is better for my body than a hard workout. I believe we all need more rest in our lives. I tend to listen to my body rather than plot out a rigorous workout plan. In general, I practice Yoga two times per week. I also love to get Pilates and weight training into my weekly schedule. Bone and muscle strength is so important for weight maintenance and general wellbeing. I love brisk walking, and when I have the time I love a good HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.
What inspired you to become a nutritionist? Like so many young women, I spent my teenage years and early 20s struggling with negative body image. I was fascinated by food and nutrition, but 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 nutrition and how my body works. It shifted my mentality. I now view food as a source of nourishment. I ate in a way to heal my mind and body, and I want to help others do the same. Now, when I witness the incredible shifts my clients go through, it gives me the biggest thrill.
Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your lifestyle?
8 hours of sleep. I truly believe that to function optimally and to be my best self, I need a solid night of rest. This meant creating an evening routine to relax and prepare myself for bed – often tea, reading a good book, taking a bath – and definitely switch off my phone. It’s not always easy, but my body thanks me for it the next day!
Superfood brekkie & yoga date in NYC: Hannah, Ksenia and Jessica
Tell us about your book, The Clean Life. How did you decide to write a book, and who should read it? Between readers and clients, I’m asked time and time again how I found acceptance and balance in my own life. It wasn’t easy! I learned and experimented a lot while I was in school, and The Clean Life draws on my nutritional and wellness studies as well as my own experiences. It’s for people who are seeking nutritional advice and hundreds of yummy recipes, yes, but it goes deeper than that. I want to help people who are struggling to find peace in their bodies. I want people to uncover the peace and wholeness that comes with healthy living. We’re all in this together!
You have a huge following of dedicated followers on Instagram. What’s your formula?
I started using my Instagram, plus my blog and Facebook, to share thoughts and recipes while I was completing my education. I simply shared what I was doing in my own life – my beliefs, my routines, real recipes I was crafting in my kitchen. So much of it has been organic, as people found that my ideas resonated with them and shared with their friends. I love getting my followers involved and seeing what they’re doing to incorporate nutrition and positive thinking. It’s a thrill to see so many people find motivation in healthy living.
What are your top 3 Instagrams to follow?
You just spent a few weeks in USA. What are the most memorable experiences and places? I absolutely love traveling to the United States! Some of my top restaurants are there – the options, variety and food preparation are like nothing you can find elsewhere in the world. One of my favourite cities is New York – where else can you find an organic green juice and acai bowl for breakfast at Juice Generation, get in a Soul Cycle session, eat a fresh, healthy lunch al fresco, explore farmers markets and LifeThyme (my favourite health food store), walk to an amazing Strala yoga class or Intensati session at Equinox, and then spend the evening over an impeccably prepared vegan dinner at Pure Food and Wine? It is truly a wonderland for health and wellness – the other side of such a busy city!
What is your favorite breakfast to eat at home?
On a relaxing Sunday morning, I love to prepare a big healthy breakfast for my family. Protein pancakes are always a favourite – they’re so versatile! Simply combine:
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup almond meal or buckwheat
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed or LSA
- 1 tbsp psyllium husk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence or extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp stevia
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 serving of protein powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
Mix all ingredients to achieve a batter consistency. In a medium non-stick fry pan, melt coconut oil. Spoon 3 tbsp of mixture into the pan. Cook for 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side. Pile them on your serving plate and top however you wish! I love berries and bananas, or sometimes a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of raw nuts. Delish!
Favorite breakfast to eat out?
There is nothing better than perfectly poached eggs with lots of sides! Avocado, spinach, mushrooms, gluten-free toast and a creamy coffee are at the top of my list.
What’s next for Jessica Sepel (at Breakfast Criminals, only BIG dreams are allowed ;)
I am thrilled to have released my first full-length eBook, The Clean Life! I’ve been working on it for over a year and I am bursting with excitement about sharing it to the world. My hope is that it will be the first of many books to come as I gain further knowledge and insight working with clients in my nutrition practice. I want to reach people on a global scale – knowledge is power, and it’s the only way we can strengthen our collective wellness.
Connect with Jessica: