So it’s the end of April and the beginning of May, we are well into the year and long since anyone is thinking about healthy living and new year’s resolutions. The point is that healthy living isn’t about a resolution on the first day of the year, it is a whole lot about consistency throughout the year. Honestly, Autumn has set in and I sense most folk are getting ready for a couple of months of hibernation. Let’s hear a grand entrance for Jessica Sepel and her new book The Healthy Life, published by PanMacMillan South Africa:
This book has been sitting on my desk for a little while now, I just didn’t know where to start reviewing because it is everything to love. It is genuinely a book on Healthy Living. While it is a recipe book, it is also a whole lot more of a journal to good health. There are so many books out there that promise great results in five minutes a day, or just give up this or eliminate that… this book is nothing like that. It is all about moderation and more of the good stuff… especially rest. And since this is my year of figuring out rest – this book went straight to my heart – it resonates.
Se7en + 1 Things to Love About This Book
- It is a beautiful book… in everyway. There is signature prettiness on every page, it feels a bit like you are walking through fields of spring as you page through it.
- The first section defines her ten principles to healthy living… step by step she gently winds you through her plan. You can either read it in a sitting, as I couldn’t help myself doing, or you can do it step by step, working on one principle for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next.
- This is not a passive “read and leave on the coffee table for a couple of weeks” book, it cries out for some active participation. Each principle ranging from balancing your blood sugar, to less stress and more rest, keeping hormones in check and sleep… comes with a number of journal pages to fill in to help you assess where you are now and where you will be after a couple of weeks.
- Throughout her book she is a shining light of encouragement… in each principle she manages to wind the story back to loving yourself enough to care for yourself… words that so many moms that get lost in the trenches, need to hear.
- The second section of her book is devoted to nutrition, as a nutritionist she is more than qualified to share her expertise… honestly if you get nothing else out of this you will just be dying to eat more greens.
- The second half of the book is devoted to recipes… pages and pages of beautiful looking recipes… honestly the photographs and inspiration literally want to send you running to the local farmer’s market for more fruit and veg… loveliness on every page.
- This is the sort of person, who is open and honest about her life and her personal journey with food… that would make a great ambassador for healthy living in general. In a world full of cranky health freaks that capture our teens attention with their crazy eating habits and ideas… this is one book that I am happy to leave out on the coffee table for my kids to peruse… and for sure they can follow her and get daily inspiration from her site.
- More than 300 pages of really practical tips, dozens of “aha moments,” and plenty of little tweaks and changes that you could make today, right now. Tips on how to rest better, eat better and sleep better. And to top it all, in case you haven’t read enough, there is a fabulous resource section filled with websites, blogs, apps, and dozens more ideas on where you can find ideas and encouragement for healthy living.
There is something to be said for taking a few minutes longer to create a beautiful plate of food… I got to try a few of her recipes at her book launch… and was her food so very beautiful. The one truly fabulous thing about all her recipes is that she provides heaps of alternatives and plenty of “build your own” ideas: pick a base form five choices, and your favourite flavour from ten choices and then select a topping from ten more alternatives… very quickly you find your own personal favourites amidst so many ideas… its a very fun way to cook, using up ingredients you already have on your pantry shelf.
- Masses of smoothie recipes and dozens of combinations.
- Blueberry, Orange and Ricotta Hot Cakes…
- Signature Gluten Free Loaf…
- Breakfast Protein Balls…
- Stuffed mushrooms…
- Her Mum’s Crusted Roast Chicken
- Tomato and Basil Stuffed Peppers…
- Chocolate Frozen Yogurt…
The Book Launch
A couple of weeks back the book launch was held at The Forum, Embassy Hill. A beautiful venue, where you feel like you are stepping out of time, away for the busy world and into a little bit of paradise. Every detail has been thought of for you, it was Cape Town’s first drizzly day of the season and there was a stack of umbrellas in the parking lot… just thoughtful details wherever you looked. They seemed a little surprised by a nut allergy in their preplanned menu, but other than that, they were absolutely on top of the whole of event… beautification absolutely everywhere. Exquisite looking tables, beautifully created meals and very helpful and friendly staff.
Danielle from Women’s Health Magazine introduced us to the event and did one of the best interviews ever… great leading question that had Jess telling us her journey and all of us listening to every word.
Let’s Meet Jessica Sepel… she was born and raised in sunny South Africa, her mum taught her everything about healthy living. When she was about twelve she moved to Australia, as you can imagine her life felt somewhat out of control and she spent her teenage years trying every fad diet, every diet product… to try and regain control. Her life revolved around her war on food and it was anything but under control. After school she started studying nutrition… her motivation might have been for more control, but it resulted in a galactic “aha moment ” and turned her life around. Her honest story is truly inspirational. This is a story that folk stuck in the endless cycle of food fads really need to read. She turned her life around with the use of lots and lots of common sense. She began a blog to write about her food journey, a health diary… of the changes she was making. Her passion for health turned into a career.
It has been a journey towards health… from over exercising to committing to stress relieving exercise, from over supplementing to eating whole foods, getting off social media every day and relaxing. And her number one secret to health and beauty… sleep. I hear you: “Sleep is the biggest contributor to our health.” Otherwise add greens, drink tons of water, lose sugar forever, rest and balance. As she says, extreme diets are expensive, unbalanced and often crazy… if there was a particular diet that worked for all of us, then we would all be on it. I really liked her common sense approach and I liked that her journey is ongoing. While she loves creating healthy food, she is not a chef so rather than spending hours cooking in the kitchen she likes to create quick and easy meals. She does spend 2-3 hours of time doing prep work for the week and then she can grab her ready fresh and good to go ingredients later in the week when she needs them. She showed us how to make her protein balls…
Protein Ball Recipe
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/2cup of flaxseed
- 1/4 cups of chia seeds
- 2-3 dates
- 2 tablespoons of nut butter
- Handful of nuts
- Coconut oil(good for killing bugs in your gut)
Zap it in the food processor. Roll it in balls. Roll the balls in coconut. Leave to set in fridge in 30 mins.
I’ll say it again, this a great book to leave out on the coffee table for my teens… there is something for everyone in it. Sometimes your kids need to hear from somebody else that the secret to crystal clear skin is a whole lot more sleep and sugar really really is bad for you in every way. For myself, I am never going to be thirty years younger again but that doesn’t mean that I can’t master a few new tricks. Sleep better, eat better and not fret that I feel unable to go bootcamp, when I am walking a couple of times a week and hiking to the top of a mountain in-between. In a culture where all things healthy appear to be some sort of punishment… her message is clear a love yourself enough to step off the treadmill, be gentle with yourself and you will be surprised to see where it takes you. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Jess Sepel, her book launch was out of this world, and her book inspirational.
Thank you so much to PanMacMillan South Africa for the invitation to the book launch and for the copy of The Healthy Life for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it, and all the opinions expressed are as always entirely my own.