How did you come to the world of wellness?
I am a mom, a doctor and the founder of Parsley Health, America's leading holistic medical practice. I founded Parsley because I saw too many patients, particularly women, who were suffering for years because nobody was helping them get to the root cause of their health concerns. Instead of looking closer at what was driving their symptoms, they were told “it’s all in your head” or sent to specialists who put them on track for a lifetime of prescription drugs to mask the symptoms. But that’s not the only way to do medicine and I believe that patients deserve so much better.
At Parsley we focus on personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. We do this because it helps patients find real relief – 80% of our patients improve or resolve their chronic conditions in their first year of care – and we know that when we help our patients improve their physical health it helps beat burnout and reduce anxiety and depression. My new book, State Change, is on that very topic and shines a light on the physical barriers to peak mental health.
What’s your passion? What makes you feel most alive?
Personally, my family. My husband and I have three kids, two dogs, and we’re outnumbered. But everytime we look at the kids we remember “this is why we’re here.” Professionally, it’s my work at Parsley Health. I don’t think you should have to live next to the best hospital in the country to get the best care, and as we’ve expanded nationally online, we’ve been able to help tens of thousands of patients across the country thrive. Every one of those stories gives me life and fuels me to come back to work the next day.
What about you suprises people when you first meet them?
Usually people are surprised when they learn I’m a CEO, a practicing physician and a mom of three. Less than 15% of healthcare CEOs are female, and even fewer are doctors and moms, but I think it gives me a unique perspective that helps us care better for patients at Parsley.
Where do you live, and what do you love about your home/hometown?
I love being able to go on long walks along the waterfront in Brooklyn. Sometimes I bring the kids, sometimes the husband or the dogs, but often I just go alone and do a little walking meditation.
You’re an expert—that’s why we’re interviewing you. Tell us about your wellness journey and credentials.
I attended medical school at Columbia University and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I also studied yoga and meditation, and have trained in functional medicine with the Institute of Functional Medicine.
What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?
When I first moved to New York post-college, I subsisted off green apples, protein bars, and coffee sweetened with Splenda because I thought it was “healthy”. In truth, it was probably the worst thing I could do for my health, but I was so disconnected from my body I couldn’t feel the state of imbalance I was living in. But when I began my yoga practice, and began to reconnect with what was going on inside of me, all the other dominos started to fall into place. I fell in love with the way that what’s going on in our bodies can influence the way we feel, mentally and emotionally. Not long after that “aha” I went to med school to learn more.
Is there a wellness myth you can bust for us?
There’s a common myth in wellness and medicine that your mind and mood belong to a psychiatrist while your body belongs to your primary care doctor. However, there may be things happening in your body that are sabotaging your best efforts to reach peak mental health. For example, anxiety isn’t always just because you’re anxious, sometimes it’s the body activating a powerful alarm system to tell you “there’s something wrong!” There is a body-mind connection, and as we face a rising tide of burnout, anxiety and depression it’s important for people to know that peak mental health starts in the body too, and it’s not “all in your head.”