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Real Talk With Clean Food Dirty City

Sara Bliss
Senior Writer
June 16, 2014

Lily Kunin shares simple, nourishing plant-based recipes on her gorgeous blog, clean food dirty city. Kunin, who works at a nonprofit during the day, started sharing her meals on Instagram for practical purposes—she wanted to remember the recipes!—but the endeavor quickly evolved into a blossoming website.

She’s gone gluten and dairy-free, but prefers to talk about what she does eat, including a slew of beauty-enhancing foods like raw honey (which she uses as both a sweetener and a face mask), lemon, dark, leafy greens, and coconut oil for both cooking, moisturizing, and oil pulling. 

Why ‘Clean Food Dirty City’?
“New York can be the most exhilarating place in the world, but it can also feel like you’re on a perpetual grind to remain healthy. There may be juice bars and yoga studios on every corner, but the concrete jungle doesn’t always feel like the most supportive health environment. Clean food dirty city is poking fun at that idea, meant to inspire healthy living that’s easy in the big city.”

Blogger By Night
“I work at an education nonprofit and started my Instagram as a way to document what I was cooking at home. I’m inspired by so many bloggers and different cookbooks, and found myself modifying recipes for the sake of simplicity or to eliminate the gluten and/or dairy. I would make delicious meals and then the week after completely forget what I made, so Instagram served as a type of note-taking for myself in the kitchen. I take all my pictures on my iPhone for now (and maybe a camera soon)! I’m definitely not a food stylist, but I’m lucky enough to have some great lighting and a white dining room table. I’m usually snapping a quick photo before running out the door to work, or taking a picture right before we all sit down for dinner. I love how the bright colors translate and pop against the white background. I want my site to reflect the simplicity of my recipes and Instagram, keeping the focus on what’s on the plate.”

The Big Cuts
I eliminated gluten after enduring chronic migraines for many years. Within a day, it was as if a cloud was lifted. Eliminating dairy came more recently, and I’ve noticed a dramatic effect in terms of my skin, most notably a reduction in acne

Keeping It Easy
I usually only present the essentials of what is needed to make the recipe: the steps and a photo of the end result. My recipes are also super simple, which is on purpose. I’m hoping to share healthy recipes that people can realistically make and fit into their busy lifestyle. And I try to do it all beautifully!

Playing Favorites
My rainbow veggie noodle bowl and pesto zucchini noodles are my favorites. Both are incredibly flavorful, super satisfying meals that are easy for me to make weekly. I always have fresh veggies and herbs on hand, as well as a batch of my miso-ginger dressing. It makes it easy to eat well after a long, busy day. I make a version of them nearly every week. I also love my vegan raw chocolate chip cookie dough balls—they’re always in my freezer!

Feeling Philosophical
Everyone needs to find a lifestyle that works best for them, and one that makes them feel beautiful and healthy. When I’m cooking with seasonal, plant-based ingredients, I’m saturating my body with the flavorful, nutrient dense food my body craves. It’s truly beauty from the inside out.

Photo: Clean Food Dirty City