We never tire of wellness stories like Jessica Murnane’s: Girl loves junk food but hates how she feels; girl gets planty, feels better and never looks back.
Since overcoming illness via a holistic lifestyle reboot, Jessica has made a name for herself though various platforms — including a brand new cookbook — promoting the idea that small shifts can make a massive difference.
Katie Horwitch of WANT, Women Against Negative Talk, sat down to chat with the planty wonder herself about vibrant health, transformation and why eating just one plant-based meal a day is how it all begins!
Three years ago, a new recipe came across my desk for some out-of-this-world-looking cookies. Being the somewhat baking-challenged woman I was, I scrolled through the recipe half-expecting to see either an elaborate set of directions or an ingredient list that would cost me half my month’s rent. What I found was nothing of the sort: they were doable, affordable and, most of all, delicious. And what I found out next was even better: The mastermind behind this recipe wasn’t just a rising star in the wellness world, she was the real deal.
Jessica Murnane is the wellness wonder behind JessicaMurnane.com, host of the wildly popular podcasts One Part Podcast and The Cookbook Deal, and the author of the newly released One Part Plant cookbook. Her cookbook advocates for the small changes that make a huge difference and helps you shift your diet by eating just one plant-based meal a day – a strategy and philosophy born from real-life experience. After being diagnosed with endometriosis and receiving a pretty crazy ultimatum from her doctors, Jessica decided to try overhauling her diet to see if she could heal herself naturally. Fast forward to today, and Jessica now has zero of those debilitating endometriosis symptoms and follows a plant-based diet, not just to keep them under control, but because it feels so. damn. good.
Jessica’s got that wellness-cool thing going on without a stitch of pretentiousness or elitism. I mean, the girl loves rap music and the NBA just as much as she loves roasted veggies and Louise Hay. Her brand (based on the premise that change doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it’s about working through things one part at a time) has a cult following, her podcasts are binge-worthy, and her book was named the number one new release on Amazon after only a day.
Jessica is inclusive, down-to-earth, and proof that you can make a life (and career) out of living well on your own terms. I sat down with Jessica recently to discuss taking control of your health, the best advice she’s ever received and how to truly live an OPP lifestyle. Plant-based cookies optional.
The Chalkboard Mag: What was your biggest struggle when shifting your diet? What was your biggest surprise?
Jessica Murnane: Definitely having no idea what to eat! I didn’t cook back then, so it was a huge learning curve to not only learn about foods that would make me feel better…but how the hell to cook them. It was a lot of trial and error.
And the biggest surprise is that it actually worked. For real. I had very little faith that changing my diet would change my health. Why had none of my doctors ever told me about this if it was so awesome? Also, I swear a plant-based diet made me more chill. My nickname used to be Stressica. Not that I’m Stressica-free now, but I am so much more calm. I thank the plants for that.
TCM: I don’t know about you, but eating – and heck, wellness in general – is so overwhelming at times. Even the phrase “Listen to you body” can feel like a mystery. What are some small ways people can start to tune in to what works for them?
JM: Oh man. I seriously cringed over that phrase before! I was like, “No, listen to me:– stop telling me to listen to my body.” The thing is that my body was speaking to me the whole time… but not in the way I expected it to. For me, it was sitting on the toilet and either going too much or not going at all. It was not being able to sleep. It was feeling tired and sad all the time. My body was screaming at me, I just didn’t know that’s how it was talking to me. I say start thinking about how you feel every morning and every night. Really think about it and then see if you can connect it to something else. It takes practice and patience. But it gets easier. You just need to figure out the way it’s trying to talk to you.
TCM: I know that women’s health is something you’re passionate about. What are some ways that women can start taking control of their own health?
JM: Don’t stop. Be diligent for your voice to be heard. It takes women an average of ten years to be diagnosed with endometriosis and that is just not acceptable anymore. If your doctor dismisses your symptoms, find a new one and then another one if you have to. I also think it’s so important to connect with other women who share your same health experiences. They might have a doctor recommendation or pain-management idea that could help you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help outside your network of friends and family. I’ve found the greatest resources that way.
TCM: What do you wish people would talk about more in the wellness world when it comes to changing eating habits and lifestyle?
JM: That it’s hard at first! At least it was for me. I didn’t want to change my diet and, at first, I hated my body for making me do it. Change takes time and it isn’t easy for everyone. I also think it’s important to remember that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Every single body is different; you have to experiment and see what works for you.
TCM: Let’s say you’re living in a teeny-tiny apartment with a kitchen the size of most people’s coat closets. What are your three favorite cooking tools/gadgets if you’re short on space (or cash) and can’t have a full-blown Williams-Sonoma spread at the ready? Asking for a friend.
JM: Get yourself a decent blender (and it doesn’t have to be a Vitamix), a good knife, and a medium-sized pot/pan. Having fancy waffle makers and twenty Instagram-worthy handmade wooden cutting boards might look cool… but they’re not necessary. Go with the basics and make it work for you and your closet/kitchen.
TCM: What are five fridge or pantry must-haves for an OPP newbie, and why?
JM: I focus on my top ten in the book, but if I had to choose five, I’d go with veggie broth, nut butter, tahini, some grains/ legumes and nut milks (no shame in store-bought ones). I think if you have these and some fresh fruits and veggies, you can make an easy meal on the fly. The key to feeling successful (and properly fed) while changing your diet is being prepared. Even when you’ve gotten the hang of it, you still need to be prepared! I have these stocked at all times.
TCM: Your site, your book, and your podcast are so inspiring to so many people. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
JM: Well, thank you! I think the best advice is: Never ask someone what they do for a living. You never know someone’s situation. They may hate their job. They might not even have one. A lawyer could be the greatest painter you’ve ever seen. A shop girl could secretly be writing your new favorite blog. Someone’s job doesn’t define them and leading with that question is never the best way to get to know someone. Get to know what they’re passionate about, not how they pay the bills. I’ve met some of my greatest friends and professional contacts this way.