Curious about who I am and how I ended up here? Well, have I got a story for you...
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been excited to be in the kitchen. It’s my touchstone at the end of a busy day. A space for creativity and meditation. Somewhere that I can be unabashedly me.
I can thank my mom for so much of it. She had me in the kitchen from a young age. Taught me how to taste as I went, to be creative (recipes aren’t written in stone), and most importantly, to trust my palate and my instinct.
She instilled the virtues of home cooked food and family dinners. Even with her full-time career and two small children to corral, we at together as a family almost every night.
Now don’t get me wrong — It wasn’t always a gourmet feast (those were for Sundays) and we definitely had our fair share of random weeknight dinners.
She called those nights “catch-as-catch-can” — where she pulled all of the leftovers from earlier in the week and made a cohesive meal out of them. Looking back now, I realize this was her version of meal prep. A 90s-style nourish bowl if there ever was such a thing.
It’s these nights that I remember most. That putting a balanced, home cooked meal on the table was a priority — regardless of how late or how “crazy” the day was.
You would think with a childhood so rooted in food and cooking that I would have had a positive relationship with it. Well, I did — up until my senior year of high school.
I was a straight-A student and your classic overachiever. My friends were the popular kids, I lived in the right neighborhood and wanted for nothing. But deep down, I always compared myself to my peers (weight, looks, clothes, grades) and my introverted nature kept me on the outskirts of my group of friends. I often felt lonely and never quite good enough.
I suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem and as I was getting ready to leave home for college, I started using food and exercise as a way to feel in control. I would work out for 1-2 hours almost every day and rigidly limited myself to 1200 calories. I was down from 132 to 118 pounds, but still didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I even lost my period. Looking back at pictures, I was tiny, but didn't feel that way.
In college, I joined the popular sorority, found my group of friends, and started being noticed by boys. I constantly felt pressure (self inflicted of course) to keep up with my fellow sorority sisters by working out, eating salads, binging on dessert then working out to burn it off, going to frat parties and drinking Crystal Light flavored vodka cocktails (because calories...), and so forth. It was exhausting, but it's what so many of us did.
Then, a bomb hit the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. My parents told us they were getting a divorce. It was beyond devastating, and shortly thereafter I started binge eating to fill the emotional void. Any sense of self I had was gone. This perfect from the outside sorority girl who had been so vigilant about counting calories and working out was suddenly sneaking Pop Tarts from the sorority kitchen and eating five Luna Bars at a time. I was in a complete spiral.
Over the course of two years, I gained 50 pounds. My self worth plummeted even further. I was miserable. But, I also knew I needed help — that I couldn't get out of this alone. So, I researched eating disorder counselors and started going to therapy.
It was also during this time that I had a mid-college crisis and changed my major from biology to art history. In order to meet all of my graduation requirements, it made sense for me to study abroad and I went to London for the first semester of my senior year.
It was there that I finally felt free from the confines of college life and all of it's associations. I became friends with a few classmates, but for the most part, I was still a loner. The difference, however, was that I was learning to live with and enjoy my own company. I started to slowly like myself again. I still binged, but not as much, and I came home far more confident than when I left.
When it came time to decide what I wanted to do after college, I chose grad school in New York City. And it was honestly the best decision I could have made.
Living on my own, I started cooking again. I loved coming home and experimenting in my kitchen — utilizing all of the amazing food and farmer’s market produce that was newly available to me.
That’s when something truly brilliant happened. By cooking for myself, I relearned how to eat intuitively and with joy. I stopped counting calories and started counting colors (red, green, purple, orange, yellow). I realized that when I ate the rainbow and fed my body whole, nutrient-dense foods — I simply felt better. I had more energy, my skin was clearer, I felt focused, and... the weight started coming off too.
That’s when I became a sponge for all things health and nutrition — devouring every book in the Union Square Barnes & Noble that I could get my hands on. (Remember that would have been biology major from college? The science nerd inside of me was back in full force.)
The A-HA Moment
All of these lifestyle changes helped me become more confident and self-assured, which led me to meet some of my dearest friends and my adoring husband. I was finally loving myself first and foremost, which meant that I could then, in turn, give more of myself to others and nurture those relationships.
For the first 10 years living in New York, I worked as Registrar at several blue-chip galleries in Chelsea and the Upper East Side. I was thriving in my career and really did love my job — it merged my love of art with my type-A perfectionism and organizational skills perfectly. Everyone called me “the cucumber” because no matter the situation, I was always calm, cool, and collected — with a plan of action at the ready (and several back-ups too).
BUT a little voice started nagging at me from the inside — softly at first, and then with each passing year it seemed to get louder and louder. After I moved to Connecticut with my husband and having to endure the daily commute to NYC — the voice was practically screaming: “You love to cook and you’re good at it.” “Your friends come to you for health and wellness advice all the time.” “This is your passion!” “Why don’t you try and make a career out of it?”
Then, one day while scrolling through Instagram, I discovered health coaching and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A light bulb when off in my head and I thought, “YES! This is exactly what I want to do with my life.” I almost immediately enrolled in the next session, completed my health coaching certification a year later, and a month after that said goodbye to my career in the art world.
And that’s how I ended up where I am today. A woman who is comfortable with her own body, voice, and intuition.
It was quite the journey. But now I have a thriving coaching practice that helps others just like you learn to simply love real food again. To get into the kitchen. To find that internal spark. To learn putting yourself first is more than okay. And to honor your intuition about what your body needs, craves, and deserves.
Let me help you Simplify + find your personalized path to wellness.
Apply now for your FREE discovery call where we can learn a bit about each other and see if working together is a good fit.
Erin Parekh is a board certified Holistic Health Coach and Culinary Nutrition Expert.
Her coaching model is built on the belief that healthy choices should easy and seamlessly fit into everyday life — from food to movement to mindfulness to self-care. Because when we take the time to build simple, thoughtful habits into a daily routine, being healthy suddenly becomes our default mode and we feel like our best selves every single day.
In addition to coaching, Erin loves to cook and teaches others how to feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen. Her recipes are simple and delicious — revolving around seasonal, whole food, plant-based ingredients. These nutrient-dense, health supportive recipes leave her clients and readers feeling nourished, satisfied, and empowered.
She resides in Palm Beach County, FL with her veggie loving husband, Ravi, and considers New York City her home away from home.
Education + Credentials
BA from DePauw University, Art History (2006)
MA from New York University, Arts Administration (2008)
Registrar, David Zwirner (2008-2013)
Head Registrar, Skarstedt Gallery (2013-2017)
Health Coach Certification, Institute for Integrative Nutrition (2016-2017)
Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (2017-present)
Nutritious Life Certified (2018)
Culinary Nutrition Certification, Academy of Culinary Nutrition (2018)