Always Listen to your gut
Can you tell us about your path to becoming a health coach?
It wasn't intentional, the opposite actually, a very organic process.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been raised by two parents who exposed me to lots of different kinds of food from a really young age, and plenty of healthy meals at home. I was the weird kid who ate all their vegetables. The more vegetables the better.
Very little came from a box. Both of my parents are also very creative in their own way and instilled that in me as early as I can remember. Growing up they were both teachers (my dad high school and elementary, and my mom elementary art), and my dad sang in classic rock bands part time and my mom has always done ceramics. My pop pop (my dad's father) is one of my biggest entrepreneurial role models. He faced a lot of adversity growing up and never let that stop him. He always figured it out and was a man of his word.
First it was cooking things for myself and then sharing it with friends/family and then cooking for people and teaching. Once I changed the way I was eating and started to feel so much better inside and out. I naturally wanted to share that feeling, if even through 1 meal. Without knowing it at the time, I feel like it started the moment I opened the Moosewood Cookbook in college and started my journey of teaching myself to cook. From that moment on I was drawn to trying new recipes and new ingredients. I've always been drawn to healthy eating.
I'm now a holistic health coach, personal chef, and educator. I help women incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet.
What’s the most rewarding part? Have you had Challenging Aspects as well?
The joy I get from seeing my clients get excited about healthy food, whether it's someone I cooked for and they tell me how good they felt afterwards or someone I'm teaching or coaching. When I'm teaching or coaching it's seeing the person empowered, knowing they can take control of their health, that they don't have to go down the same path of (diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.) that their parents or siblings did.
Recently one of my personal chef clients gave me one of the best compliments ever!
“You really have it nailed down with food as medicine. I’ve struggled for years with food allergies and sensitivities. With being a working mom I struggle with having the time to prepare for the types of food that I know are ideal for me. Your service has really been an answered prayer. Your ability to combine food with optimal nutrition is really a gift and what my body needs right now! “
The most challenging is knowing I can only help those who are ready. I always meet people where they are and tailor my programs to what they need. Some people are scared of anything "plant based" and imagine a plate of lettuce with some carrots or bland tofu. There's that scene in "Annie Hall" when Woody Allen's character is visiting Annie (Diane Keaton) in L.A. and he orders “the mashed yeast." Plant-based eating has come a long way from that.
What advice would you give to others in the midst of their own journey?
Two things come to mind (that go hand in hand): Listen to your gut, and always be true to yourself. My gut feelings have never steered me wrong, and I've only been able to be true to myself. The few times I've tried to be someone I'm not, the universe reminded me pretty quickly that that’s not who I was. Follow what excites you, even if it doesn't make sense in the moment. At the very least, it's worth exploring. Pause and celebrate even the small details. The beauty is in the journey.
Are there women that have been your biggest inspiration along the way?
Wow! So many. Off the top of my head (in no particular order) My mom, the women poets of the beat generation, Joni Mitchell, Ani Difranco, Julia Child, my best girl friends, my sister, both my grandmothers...
What does community mean to you personally?
Surround yourself with people who are in your corner, no matter what, people that you can completely be yourself with, warts and all.
Emily was born and raised in Philadelphia, and grew up surrounded by art and music; nurtured by her family, and propelled by her innate need to create. She is holistic health coach, personal chef, and educator. She believes food is medicine and her focus is on turning kitchens from a place of anxiety and frustration, into a healing, loving environment. You can contact her here.
Words: Emily Amarnick