We recently spoke to Erin Parekh, holistic nutritionist, and coach. She is the co-founder of The reFRESH Society, which supports women in nourishing their bodies and cultivating self-love. Read our interview with Erin to learn about how she empowers herself and others through programs and rituals that focus on hormone regulation and eating real foods.
Can you describe what you mean by “clean” food?
Clean food in my book simply means REAL FOOD — eating as close to the earth as possible, focusing on organic produce (the more greens the better) and purchasing pasture-raised animal products.
I know you founded the reFRESH Society with your partner, Sarah. What spurred the two of you to join forces?
It was honestly fate. We met through a mutual friend, had coffee, and the rest is history. Sarah and I are exact opposites in terms of our personalities, but our belief systems (especially when it comes to nutrition and wellness) are completely aligned. Our mission with The reFRESH Society is to help others feel nurtured, empowered, grounded, and inspired by their daily habits and food choices without breaking the bank, going to the extreme, or taking up too much precious time.
It is clear that your hands are full with self-coaching, cooking classes, home makeovers, motivational talks, and wellness programs. How do you balance this all?
I like to say my life is full rather than busy. It’s all about a mindset shift, really. I’m beyond grateful for what I do- helping women nourish their bodies and balance hormones naturally through nutrition and daily rituals.
In terms of staying balanced, I practice what I preach! I start my mornings with a short meditation, do some movement, and then make a mushroom coffee elixir to ground myself. Then it’s to my desk where I review my to-do list and calendar and write down my top 3 priorities for the day. As long as I focus on those, anything else that gets done is considered a bonus. I find this helps take the pressure off while still moving the needle forward.
What is one piece of advice regarding clean eating that you would give anyone who is inexperienced in this area?
Start by adding greens. There are so many voices and opinions in the wellness space that it can seem paralyzing to start making positive shifts. But one thing everyone agrees on is eating more green vegetables. I ask my clients to fill 50% of their plates with non-starchy veggies at both lunch and dinner. Think big salads, veggie stir-fry, swapping in cauliflower rice, or wilting spinach into literally anything.
You have overcome several personal challenges that have gotten you to where you are now. Who and what offered you support during those times?
My husband and family have been a huge support system. I’ve also been fortunate to build a community network of women who’ve also struggled with eating disorders and infertility. I’ve found that the more vulnerable you are and the more you surrender in any situation, the more support and guidance you recieve. My daily meditation practice and journaling has also been an amazing tool for processing it all.
How do you deal with cravings and guilt?
Feeling guilty when we eat “bad food” is unfortunately normal in today’s society. What I focus on with clients is 1) understanding why you had the craving in the first place and 2) learning to let go of the moment. One of my favorite philosophies from my training with Keri Glassman is to “make every meal a Monday.” Just because you had the chocolate chip cookie or ate a few too many salty chips due to stress doesn’t mean you blew the entire day. Own it and then focus on what you can eat at your next meal to nourish your body in a more positive way.
How has the ensuing stress from global conditions affected your daily rituals and wellness practices?
It’s strengthened them actually. At first, I found myself in a spiral and out of routine — missing my morning meditations, skipping the walks, mindlessly snacking, not getting in my workout… But a few weeks into it all, I realized I was actually doing myself a disservice, and understood just how important those small moments are to my mental wellbeing. So I regrouped and doubled down on committing to my routine. I also revised a few things based on having my husband working from home too (i.e. where I mediated and when I worked out). We have to take care of ourselves first and foremost so that we can show up for others.
Featured Image Courtesy of Erin Parekh