As a busy working mother of two young boys, Esther Ban knows what it’s like to feel stressed, overwhelmed and strapped for time. A few years ago, Esther was struggling with career uncertainty, small children at home, several cross-country moves, and personal health issues like faulty digestion and migraines. Beginning with the food on her plate, she began to build healthy habits and routines that transformed her life. That is why Esther as a health coach now directs her energy into helping women navigate stress, build energy and resilience, and avoid burnout – so they might avoid falling into the same trap.
A desire to dig deeper into nutrition
A self-described foodie, Esther has always loved food and had an intense curiosity about ingredients, cooking, and recipes. After many years of working at public relations agencies, she longed to get a holistic chef certification, but with two kids under five she simply didn’t have the bandwidth. Instead, Esther completed a health coach certification in 2018 to take her career in a novel direction.
As a new health coach in the field, Esther soon realized she needed more culinary skills and knowledge to better support her clients. She had basic cooking abilities but didn’t know a lot about using food to help specific health conditions, varied cooking styles or techniques, or how to create recipes from scratch.
“I’ve always wanted to do a focused nutrition and healing-based kind of program, and I couldn’t find anything else out there,” she says. “I wanted other ways I could incorporate services and what I could offer in terms of education and value to my clients.”
The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program kept popping up online, and after a friend of Esther’s took the program and loved it, Esther knew that she had to take the leap.
Broadening her skills and knowledge
Photo: David Lai
Esther joined the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program in 2019 while simultaneously building her business as a health coach and balancing family life (which often meant she tackled program homework after her boys had gone to bed).
Esther thoroughly enjoyed program founder Meghan Telpner’s easy-to-grasp teaching style, the clear structure of the recipe and written assignments, working with a program coach to stay on track, and the way the class modules were mindfully broken down and targeted for online learners. She enjoyed discovering new cooking techniques and learning how to prepare meals for different diets (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, raw, etc.).
Many education programs can be fierce and competitive – and Esther was delighted to discover the generous, warm and encouraging environment in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program’s private forums and livestream classes.
“I think the community is one of the most positive and supportive places I’ve ever seen,” she says. “Whenever I think back on the memories of the program I have this warmhearted, happy feeling.”
Her program experience was challenging, but Esther felt fully guided along the way and she knew from the get-go that she needed to work hard to reap the rewards.
“I liked that going in it was very clear that the program was rigorous,” she says. “I wanted that, and to pack in as much information as possible in a short time. I think the rigor makes it a good program – that upped the value in some ways.”
Esther’s dedication and effort paid off: after 14 weeks, she knew she had an enriched, complex skill set she could use to further help her clients and enhance her coaching business.
“The skills are ingrained and make you a much better professional,” she says. “The program gave me more confidence to show what I’m making in the kitchen and go into ‘teacher mode’ in terms of sharing my recipes and educating clients. Now I’m always thinking through the culinary nutrition lens and how recipes can support overall health.”
Enhancing her health coaching business
Since graduating from the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, Esther continues to work one-on-one with women helping them steer away from burnout and support their health in a sustainable and realistic way.
Her signature program, Balanced + Well, covers nutrition, mindset, and practical action so her clients can make healthy shifts. Esther uses and shares her culinary nutrition knowledge daily, and meets clients where they are at by providing them with recipes, meal plans, and food recommendations to make home cooking manageable. You can also find her online delivering corporate workshops, cooking classes, group challenges, and having Instagram chats with colleagues in the wellness and nutrition space.
As a solo entrepreneur, Esther loves pursuing her passions, the flexibility to spend time with her kids, and the freedom to make her own choices.
“I’m naturally drawn to this and good at it as it leverages my strengths,” she points out. “I’m independent. I can take my business in any direction and there’s no cap or ceiling for how far you can go. It’s exciting!”