Here at Amodrn, we are in constant awe of smart and successful women who inspire us every day to live our best lives. Jessica Sepel is one of these women.
Clinical nutritionist and best-selling author, Jessica Sepel is best known for her philosophy of “Living The Healthy Life”, that is, one that celebrates food with balance and joy rather than deprivation and fad dieting.
Her mission in life is to help women create a healthy relationship with food and drop the guilt that may come with “imperfect” eating through her brand JSHealth. Here, we chat to Jessica about how she got to where she is today and some of the most important lessons she’s learnt along the way. SL: What is it about nutrition that makes you so passionate?
Jess: I was lucky enough to be brought up in a very health-conscious family with a mum who cooked the most delicious, nutritious food. Eating well to feel good was just part of our upbringing.
“My passion for nutrition is so strong. Every single day I am in awe of the powerful healing nature of food and how the body thrives off nutrients when we treat it right. It is incredible.”
At what point did you decide this is what you wanted to do? What was going on in your life at that time?
I’d dreamt of being a nutritionist from a very young age. My grandmother took me to a health retreat for my 13th birthday and we went to a talk by a nutritionist and I remember saying, “I want to be just like her!”.
After school, I went to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) at Australasian College of Natural Therapies. I didn’t have a very healthy relationship with food and my body at the time. I was a chronic fad dieter and wanted to better understand nutrition and the body. After the three years of my Bachelor degree, it became clear to me that my dream career would be a nutritionist in a private practice.
How did you get to where you are today?
I started writing about my health journey in a blog back in 2012. I was sharing a very honest and vulnerable side of me. I found that my philosophies and recipes were really helping my community so I decided to put them into writing.
I published an eBook that became wildly popular in a short period of time and that is when book publishers started approaching me. Since then, I have worked hard to build up a brand (JSHealth) that helps women achieve a healthy life in a balanced and realistic way. I have a passion for helping young women overcome disordered eating and the unhealthy obsession with nutrition that is a result of the diet culture we live in. This is why I created the JSHealth 8-week Program that is helping tens of thousands of women develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies — without needing to be on a diet! What’s the best thing about being a nutritionist?
Watching people change! Being able to witness people transform every day through the JSHealth nutrition and lifestyle philosophy on the JSHealth Program is incredibly rewarding. If you could tell yourself one thing prior to studying your degree, what would that be?
Trust in the importance and power of learning. Sometimes you just want to rush through your degree and get it done. When it comes to nutrition, knowledge is everything and a solid education is pivotal.
What was your favourite thing about your nutrition degree?
Learning how nutrients in food function in the human body, mind-blowing! I just loved understanding how incredible the body is and how what we eat influences how the body functions. What was your favourite subject and what kind of things did you learn in this subject?
My favourite subject was Nutrition Prac where I got to practise my nutrition knowledge on the public during my studies — it was the best way to learn. I also love anatomy and learning about the human body. How is your career different to what you had envisaged when applying for your degree?
It far exceeds any career dream I ever had. I only ever dreamt to be a good nutritionist in a private practice — this would have really been enough for me. I have been granted the opportunity now to reach a much larger audience through social media and the blog (@JSHealth) where I can inspire people in a bigger way. I really never imagined I could be an author. I feel so fortunate to do what I do. Aside from work, how has studying nutrition influenced your personal daily life?
It is very important that I keep myself updated with the latest nutrition research as it is constantly changing. Studying nutrition reminded me that every human body is different. So, I take the quality research and apply it to my own life in a balanced and realistic way. Studying nutrition also amplified my love and respect for food and inspired me to create healthy recipes that are easy and simple that I use every single day. What is one piece of advice you’d give others who are considering studying nutrition? What about those who are considering going back to study as a mature-age student?
I think everyone should study nutrition if they can — it’s such a huge part of every human being’s life. If you have the opportunity to educate yourself on eating well, it is the best investment you can make for yourself and your family. I think it would be incredible to study as a mature student to assist your personal ageing process as well as being able to inspire your own family. I also think it is an incredible degree to have as a woman. You have your own flexible hours and you can work for yourself.
What is the most surprising thing about nutrition? Or is there a myth you’d like to dispel?
One diet does not fit all. Everyone is different. What works for me, may not work for you. We have to stop latching onto trendy diets because everyone is biochemically unique. We need to tune back into our own bodies and reconnect to how food makes us feel as individuals. What’s in store for your career for 2018 and beyond?
I have my third book coming, a JSHealth App that I am developing with Apple’s help, and a woman’s vitamin product coming along. I am so excited. My genuine mission is to continue to support the JSHealth community.
Have you always dreamed of a career in health and nutrition but don’t know where to start? Torrens University Australia collaborates with Australasian College of Natural Therapies (ACNT), Southern School of Natural Therapies (SSNT), two of the longest-standing natural therapies institutions in Australia, to bring you a variety of nutrition courses to open doors for you to a meaningful career in nutrition.
Torrens University offers two nutrition programs with flexible online delivery, which include the Diploma of Nutrition and the Bachelor of Nutrition. The Diploma of Nutrition is ideal for those seeking to enter the health industry or for a professional development opportunity, while the Bachelor of Nutrition will provide students with advanced knowledge of nutrition from a community and public health perspective. On the other hand, ACNT and SSNT’s Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) provides solid practical training for those interested in a clinical nutritionist career. Find out more about these courses now to get started.
Are you ready to take the plunge? RSVP to Torrens Nutrition Webinar on the 7th February from 6:00pm-7:00pm to meet the Program Director, learn more about the courses available, and to find out where a career in nutrition can take you.