It’s been her life’s mission to create a better world centered around health and wellness for everyone, which is precisely why Dr. Robin Berzin created Parsley Health. Founded to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America, Parsley’s personalized holistic medicine puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Her new book, State Change, digs into the metamorphosis of emotional and mental health triggered by a change in physical health. This mother of three is nothing short of extraordinary, and here, she shared her path toward overcoming life’s obstacles while staying fueled.
Q & A with Dr. Robin Berzin
Mantra… The story of your health is the story of your life
The world needs more… Healthcare made by and for women
I'm a firm believer in… Creating a path to overcome the physical barriers to peak mental health
For me, living well looks like… Working towards a daily state change: using food as medicine, prioritizing my sleep, separating myself from my tech, and moving my body for at least 20 minutes per day
I feel powerful when… I’ve fueled my body. I keep some seeds and nuts with me wherever I go–a handful of crushed almonds, chopped macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds with a drizzle of EVOO is the best
Women are… The Chief Medical Officers of our communities, families, and homes
Women can… Find clarity, calm, and energy again
Women will… Learn how to let go of the “shoulds”
I am… A doctor, founder, CEO, yogi, and mom of three
Parsley Health is truly an incredible wellness resource! What prompted you to create this ecosystem of health care pros and why do you think it has resonated so deeply with members?
During my residency, I learned that most doctors only get 15 minutes with their patients, and a sizable chunk of that time is spent frantically printing out prescriptions. I didn’t have time to get to know or understand my patients. It was a revolving door of patients and prescriptions. I created Parsley Health because I saw a deep need to put a wedge in that revolving door—to slow it down and create a proactive, preventative, holistic practice that helped patients thrive, rather than just survive.
I think Parsley’s mission resonates with our members because they see that revolving door, too. When you listen to the data, you see there’s an issue with our healthcare system: 1 in 5 women feel ignored or dismissed by their doctor, and the CDC reports that women account for 70% of those with chronic conditions under the age of 65. Patients need an ally in their health journey–someone to listen and understand them as a whole person, and we’ve lost this thread in healthcare today. It’s this deep trust between doctor and patient that helps us get to the root of the issue.
How do you juggle motherhood and building a business? Any advice for other women doing it all?
It’s a challenging journey; I think it’s important to acknowledge that. But before we can climb Everest, we have to stop at basecamp and that means supporting our mental health every day with the decisions we make. It’s hard not to feel anxious, depressed, burnt out, and drained when we’re not sleeping, or we’re skipping meals to take care of the kids, or we’re attached to our screens–something that’s really easy to do when breastfeeding.
I always recommend asking your doctor to run some essential diagnostic tests (all covered by basic insurance and found in chapter four of the book) to make sure nothing is going on under the hood. It’s important to establish a baseline understanding of your mind, mood, and body; these tests can even catch an underlying chronic condition before symptoms start to show. We created Insights at Parsley Health for just this reason.
Next, there are five core actions that I talk about in State Change that are created to be accessible and easy to start. It can be overwhelming to overhaul your lifestyle–especially as a businesswoman and mother. If you’re feeling daunted, I suggest starting with one action, like limiting your tech time, and see how it changes your health. A brief overview of the 5 core actions:
Move Your Body to Train Your Brain
- 2 days x 20 mins aerobic
- 2 days x 30 mins controlled movement
- 2 days x 20 mins strength building
- 1 day rest
Use Food as Medicine
- Consider shifting to a plant-based paleo diet
- EVOO, 50% leafy green vegetables, methylated B12-rich foods like salmon and eggs, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi to fortify your microbiome
Sleep is When Your Brain Takes Out the Trash
- Go to bed no later than 10pm to avoid that nighttime cortisol spike that could keep you awake and restless
Reevaluate Your Relationships with Tech
- Screens trigger our fight-or-flight response
- No tech after 9PM
- Limit to one hour/day of social
Cut Back on Alcohol Intake
- People often underestimate how much alcohol consumption can affect poor sleep, anxiety and even depression
- For those suffering from addiction, I of course recommend no alcohol at all
- For others, cut back alcohol use to three times a week or less
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m excited to spend time with my family—I had baby number three last fall, so this is our first year as a family of five.
I’m also eager to start a conversation that helps women understand that it’s not “all in their heads.” Women are told all the time that their symptoms–mood swings and chronic fatigue and just feeling like crap all the time–is normal, but it’s not. I want women to be empowered to advocate for their health and know that they’re not alone in their healthcare journey.