What does a holistic approach to child health care look like? Should I consider holistic health care for my baby and family? Can babies even participate in a holistic lifestyle? We turned to Robin Berzin, a practicing physician and the founder and CEO of Parsley Health, to explain the “whole body” philosophy and elaborate on how the functional health care approach integrates nutrition, lifestyle and diagnostic testing to help both mom and baby thrive and live healthy.
“Health goes beyond a traditional doctor, but there’s a much deeper level to assessing your health, managing chronic illness and creating a plan for your mental health, sleep, nutrition, fitness and supplements” – Parsley. Can you talk a little bit about what the Parsley experience is like and what makes it unique?
Medicine today has become transactional. People are ping-ponged between very basic primary care services and specialists without a partner in proactively managing their health, whether they have a chronic condition or a new health concern. Parsley is that partner. Because we focus on nutrition, lifestyle (fitness sleep and stress management) and supplements alongside medications, we are often able to help people find relief from symptoms or help them better understand their bodies through our advanced diagnostic testing. We also work with you on an ongoing basis to help you see results – just like you don’t get fit going to the gym once, you don’t get healthy seeing the doctor once. We link arms with you over time to help you get where you want to go.
Our audience is mainly pregnant women, new parents, and parents with toddlers. How does Parsley help with prenatal and postnatal health?
We work with women across the pre-fertility, fertility pregnancy and postpartum life cycle. We work with women who are thinking about becoming pregnant and want to optimize hormones, get their cycles back, or get off the pill, as well as those who are struggling with fertility, PCOS or irregular cycles. We have incredible case studies of helping women identify underlying conditions like thyroid problems, auto-immune issues and genetic conditions which we are able to address, helping them to get pregnant naturally and avoid fertility services.. We also support our pregnant moms through pregnancy by caring for them – their OB or Midwife are focused on the baby, and mom’s health needs often get forgotten. We also have a set of bloodwork we offer during pregnancy called the Parsley Pregnancy Panel which checks core factors in mom’s health that also aren’t monitored by most OBs. Finally, post-baby we are there to give guidance and manage everything from postpartum anxiety and depression, to autoimmune flares which are frequent postpartum, to postpartum pelvic floor rehab, to helping support breastfeeding and sleep. We develop customized plans for each mom to help with what she needs. Too often women forget their own health when the baby arrives and yet taking care of yourself is critical to being a great mom. Check out our new Guide to Postpartum Healing.
Can I bring my baby/toddler to Parsley?
Absolutely! We love working with little ones. We have amazing pediatric membership available in our NYC center as well as online.
We noticed Parsley covers both mental and physical health – can you expand on that and how Parsley covers many sides of the health spectrum?
Mental health is often a result of physical health. Sugar, not exercising, inflammation, thyroid imbalances, heart disease, metabolism issues, poor sleep, too much alcohol, nutrient deficiencies – all of these are examples of physical issues that can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia or brain fog. At Parsley Health we identify the physical and organic causes of mood and cognitive issues and have shown that we reduce the need for psychiatric medications by 47%.
Any tips for women going through a pregnancy during this time? Many are struggling with managing stress and altering their birth plans.
It’s an incredibly stressful time to be pregnant or delivering. So many of our members have questions about what to do, especially as social distancing ends and we go out in the world. The happy news is that so far pregnant women and fetuses are not felt to be at higher risk of COVID19 infection and very few have gotten seriously ill from the disease, which predominantly affects those who are older, or have pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or immune dysfunction. That said, we recommend taking precautions including wearing masks, hand washing, social distancing and staying at home until it’s deemed safe to go out, and monitoring yourself and those you live with for any symptoms of illness.
Parsley talks a lot about chronic conditions – many of which are modifiable or reversible. On average, are these illnesses present in infants/toddlers/young children? How important is it to start a holistic lifestyle young? Can some of these chronic illnesses perhaps be prevented?
The majority of illnesses today – from diabetes to depression to autoimmune conditions – are either caused or worsened by a poor diet. So starting kids young on eating healthy is critical. We set our kids up for a healthy life from day 1. This doesn’t have to create a ton of pressure as a parent – it’s fine if they eat a candy bar here and there, as long as the foundations of their diet are whole foods, organic, and non-package, non-processed, and low-sugar.
A lot of our audience has little ones that are just starting solids. Do you have any advice for starting holistic nutrition with babies?
For many of us, making our own baby food is out of scope for our busy lives. That said, so much of the pre-packaged foods are chocked full of sugar. When my son was a baby you could find me on the floor of the grocery store reading labels, looking for the lowest sugar options. I always recommend low sugar, organic fruits and veggies and pastured, hormone and antibiotic free animal products. I also recommend adding just a light touch of spices like cinnamon cumin and paprika here and there. The earlier they get a taste of a variety of flavors the better!
- Skip the pre-packaged foods and introduce your baby to new flavors by making your own baby food in 15 mins with Babycook.
- Parsley has a Pediatric program, which is available virtually in NY state and will be available in person at our NYC center once it opens back up.
- Parsley is available virtually in 45+ states and counting