It’s no secret that New Yorkers love their food - look on any given block and you will find a plethora of eateries. The result? A thoroughly neglected kitchen, and a frequent longing for wholesome, home-prepared meals where you know exactly what you're eating. Enter Clean Food Dirty City, a food and wellness site created by plant-based cook and health coach, Lily Kunin. Not only does Lily offer an almanac’s worth of nutritious, delicious, and undeniably good-for-you recipes, she does so with such appetizing imagery, it’s all you can do but run to your kitchen and get cooking. Here, we ‘get the dirt’ from Lily on how she discovered her passion for good food, why authenticity is so important, and what exactly she loves about AUrate.
Describe yourself in three words...
Honest, loyal, compassionate.
What does ‘being real’ mean to you?
Being real means being human - allowing and embracing imperfection, being authentic and true to yourself. It means maintaining grace and kindness to yourself when you hit (inevitable!) bumps along the way.
How does authenticity shape your actions and decisions?
Staying authentic is a practice, and to me, it’s about listening to your gut. There have been times I’ve gone against my gut and done something I wasn’t quite sure was right for me. When that happens, I take that as a learning experience rather than beat myself up, and use it to inform future decisions. The more and more I listen to my gut the better I feel about the decisions I have made. I believe that success and confidence come from being authentic, so ultimately this is where you return to when all else fails. It can be challenging but it’s much better to listen to your gut from the beginning.
How did you discover your passion for health, wellness, and food?
I am passionate about helping people feel well and supporting them on their path to get there. I had my own experience of chronic migraines and vertigo for years. I tried everything in the book - and lots of alternative therapies - and nothing really worked. Eventually, I removed gluten from my diet and my migraines and vertigo instantly lifted. It was the first moment I connected what I was putting in my body and how it made me feel. I always loved cooking - I grew up with chefs in my family - and went on to become a certified health coach. It seemed natural to me that I would work with food in a way that bridged the connection between good food and wellness. I talk a lot about tapping into the intuition of food and how it makes you feel in my new cookbook, Good Clean Food.
What is the greatest advice you have ever received?
Say yes even when you don’t think you’re ready. Also, learning how and when to say no.
Your personal style is…
Classic, feminine, casual.
What is your favorite piece from the AUrate collection?
I love the Huggie Earrings with White Diamonds. They are classic and feminine, with just the right amount of bling. Wearing these instantly makes me feel more put together.
What’s the one book everyone should read?
I love nonfiction books. I recently started reading 10 Percent Happier, which talks about the voice in our head, how to tame it, and some simple tools you can implement (spoiler alert: meditation) on the path to a happier, less stressful life. And my new cookbook, because it breaks down the basics of cooking - something that is so important to know in order to be healthy and happy!
And finally, tell us about your favorite place in NYC…
There are too many places to name! But a few include Jack’s Wife Freda for a meal with friends or my boyfriend, dining al fresco in the summer at Barbuto, soaking in the energy in the golden room at Yoga Shanti, or in bed while enjoying a morning tonic.