By: Nathalie Mat (Registered Dietitian)

Jessica Sepel has just finished a whirlwind tour of South Africa launching her second book: Living the healthy life.

I was fortunate enough to see her at two separate events. During the first event at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio, Jessica prepared some quick and easy dishes from her new book. The second event hosted by Yoga Lova’s studios was a meditation guided by Nadine Hurwitz of Yoga Lova’s followed by a beautifully presented selection of dishes from Jessica’s book and finally a question and answer session with Jessica.

Lucky for me, I was able to squeeze in a ten-minute interview with Jessica before she went off to her next event.

Jessica’s aim with the second book is to help people stop dieting for life. The book is very practical and has some great tips on changing your relationship with food. Throughout the book, Jessica shares some of her own struggles and how she’s learnt to manage them. She regularly mentions the help she’s received from her therapist. Seeing a therapist can be the game changer for emotional eaters and chronic dieters.

If you’re unsure about buying Jessica’s second book, I’ve summarised some of the core components of the book for you. The book is a stand-alone resource, it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t have the first book although for certain sections, Jess does make reference to the first book. The first part of the book contains some gems around facing your relationship with food as well as addressing topics like thyroid health, anxiety and healing your weight battles. Some of these sections are accompanied with a meal plan, tips and supplements.

The eight-week action plan is a weekly guide that makes recommendations for the week on the following topics: lifestyle, food, body and rituals (before thinking this is spooky, rituals refer to positive affirmations and calming daily practices).

The final and largest section of the book is devoted to healthy recipes. Jess’s recipes are generally easy to follow and full of flavour. Jess reports that gluten-containing foods make her tired so she tends to avoid gluten containing foods in her book, this does not necessarily apply to everyone. The flavours used in the recipes come from all over the world with lots of Asian, Indian, Mediterranean and North African flavours.

As with all real food, the recipes in the book cannot be eaten in excess as they are nutrient and kilojoule heavy. Part of learning to “undiet” means learning to listen to your body and honour both your hunger and your satiety. The holy grail of healthy eating does not lie in consistently replicating the healthy meals of our role models but in learning to trust your body’s own intuitive wisdom. Your body feels energized, calm and healthy when you nourish it well. Do you feel good? If not, it may be time to pause and connect with your body and allow it to guide your eating decisions more often.

Jessica’s book – “Living the Healthy Life” is available at Exclusive Books.

Photographs: Courtesy of Discovery South Africa