Women In Wellness: “I am more efficient, more kind, more aware when I shut off earlier, and give myself a necessary 8 hours to rejuvenate” with Lily Kunin of Clean Food Dirty City

Dr. William Seeds
Feb 20 · 6 min read

Sleep: getting a good night’s rest is arguably the hardest thing to do when there is always more work to be done in building a new business. That said, I’ve realized that I am more efficient, more kind, more aware when I shut off earlier, and give myself a necessary 8 hours to rejuvenate. If I can’t get 8 hours in, I’ll try to take a power nap during the day, which helps more than an afternoon jolt of caffeine.


Lily Kunin is on a mission to redefine what it means to feel well. She is a wellness expert and creator of Clean Food Dirty City, a lifestyle website and digital channel with over 125k followers that follow the ethos that good food makes you feel good. Clean Market is her first brick and mortar, combining her passion for food with her background in health coaching and functional medicine.

Lily Kunin is the co-founder of Clean Market, and author of cookbook Good Clean Food.


Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I come from a family of chefs, so I grew up with an attention to what I was eating as focal point in my life. However, it wasn’t until I started struggling with vertigo and migraines that I really began to refine my diet and consider if the foods that I was eating impacting how I felt. Fast forward a few years later, I was cooking a lot for myself and my roommates in New York, and I began my Instagram handle @cleanfooddirtycity as a photo diary of recipes so that I could make them again. As I began to gain Instagram followers and traction with my blog, I realized that this movement of individuals really interested in taking action to feel healthy reached so far beyond the ‘wellness’ crowd. Now, with Clean Market, our aim is to democratize health and wellness. Whether you’re a pro-athlete, a burnt-out New Yorker, a wellness-junkie, or anyone in between, we provide a range of services and products to assist you in feeling good.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

What has been most interesting to me since starting my career, is the wide range of people who come to me asking for advice on how to elevate their health. I think there is a common misconception in the wellness industry that clean recipes and healthy habits are only for people who look the part or are already healthy. I often have everyday encounters that end up leading to a conversation around health and small daily habits that are easy to incorporate or helping to troubleshoot health issues in a holistic way. From a police officer who strained his back to a TSA employee screening my LivOn Labs lypospheric supplements and a Lyft driver asking about my bone broth and how he can change his diet, the list goes on.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest lesson learned was when I first started agreeing to cater larger scale events when my team consisted of only me (and any friends or roommates that I could convince to help out). Even though I was so passionate about cooking and the final presentation, catering at a larger scale really requires more manpower. I would literally have to pull all-nighters prepping, chopping and blending ingredients so that I was ready to deliver for the next day. These early catering opportunities were definitely formative experiences where I learned so much and got real time feedback on my recipes, so I wouldn’t change it. I learned that it’s important to say ‘yes’ to any opportunity when you’re starting out and that you will figure out a way to deliver. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s so beneficial to recruit friends who are willing to pitch in and lend a hand.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I still remember the day that Bobbi Brown reached out to me by email to say that she loved my recipes and asked if I would deliver my food. Growing up, Bobbi Brown was an icon in the beauty industry (I had all of her books), so to hear from her felt surreal. We started an ongoing relationship, and she has continued to be one of my biggest supporters, champions, taste testers and idols for what is possible with women run businesses. She even wrote the forward for my cookbook, ‘Good Clean Food.’

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Clean Market is committed to modern wellness for everyday living. This means that we are leading the charge with cutting edge services and products that help individuals optimize their health to recover faster, stay healthier, and achieve more energy and balance on the day to day. We want to do right by our people, our community, and our environment — something we take into account with every business decision.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Meditation: this has been such a game changer in how I approach my day to day life. Running a business can feel overwhelming and unpredictable at times. Even committing to a daily practice of 10–15 minutes meditating in the morning, has helped me to stay present (and calmer) amidst whatever chaos the day holds.

Real Food: eating real, whole foods is the foundation that got me where I am today and continues to fuel me. Whenever I’m feeling off (from stress, travel, indulging), returning to real food with a home cooked meal, always reorients me and helps me to feel grounded.

Sleep: getting a good night’s rest is arguably the hardest thing to do when there is always more work to be done in building a new business. That said, I’ve realized that I am more efficient, more kind, more aware when I shut off earlier, and give myself a necessary 8 hours to rejuvenate. If I can’t get 8 hours in, I’ll try to take a power nap during the day, which helps more than an afternoon jolt of caffeine.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Eating unprocessed, seasonal foods and cooking more at home! I think people often view cooking as a luxury or a big to-do that requires a lot of time, money and resources. It can be that, but it can also be as simple and delicious as roasting the season’s freshest veggies with some good quality olive oil and sea salt and adding those to a big bowl of salad or a healthy protein. It’s something I believe we need to prioritize for our health. With my cookbook, my Instagram and now with Clean Market, I try to create opportunities for people to experience real food that is healthy but also flavorful, delicious, and nourishing.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Since opening Clean Market, I’ve caught myself saying “I wish had known” once or twice, but the truth is there is only so much you can do to prepare for your individualized experience. My best advice would be to get ready to learn, be flexible, roll with the punches, and pivot when needed, and not to get too caught up on what you wish you knew going into it.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I believe everything is related so it is hard to look at something in a vacuum. For example, trying to reduce plastic use is a sustainability initiative but it’s also important from a health perspective. As a store operator, sustainability is my top priority right now as we reevaluate packaging.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can follow our happenings on @cleanfooddirtycity and @clean.market

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Dr. William Seeds

Written by

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and physician, with over 22 years of experience, specializing in all aspects of sports medicine and total joint treatments

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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