Episode #16 | Molly Alliman: Nutritious Living – On and Off the Plate
August 28, 2019
"Burnout isn't just in a job that you hate, and you don't look forward to going into in the morning; it can happen when you're passionate, and you're really doing something that you love even more because you don't know when to turn off."
- Molly Alliman
A former corporate banker with a 24/7, always-on life, Molly Alliman did a sharp left turn, returning to school to study nutrition. Today, she has a private practice and provides corporate wellness programs to firms like Airbnb, ZenDesk, and WeWork covering subjects such as managing burning out, reading ingredient labels, and creating your unique food philosophy. This episode runs the gamut from depleted adrenal systems to elimination diets to the optimal way to think about sugar.
About Molly Alliman
Molly Alliman, certified health coach and nutrition expert, studied organic and sustainable food practices at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and the Presidio Management School in San Francisco. She uses her knowledge and passion to educate clients on how eating whole foods can lead to weight loss, reduced stress, clearer skin, increased energy, and better health. Molly also gives health and wellness presentations to tech, finance, and other companies in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Previously, she worked in corporate banking for more than a decade. Long hours, traveling, stress, and poor diet took their toll on her body. She had gained 20 pounds, underwent gallbladder surgery, and was on a path of total body destruction. Stuck in old and unhealthy habits, Molly went on a journey that ultimately led to a complete career change.
When I interview a guest, we often talk for 45 minutes or more. By design, we try to keep our true WELLth episodes as close as we can to 25 minutes. Why? Twenty-five minutes aligns well with the average morning commute or evening meal prep, and we want our episodes to be highly digestible (yep, pun intended).
Molly was recommended as a guest by a Brighton Jones colleague who is a passionate follower of her work. As soon as I learned she had studied at the prestigious Institute for Integrative Nutrition (INN), I was intrigued. In years past, I have had the honor of speaking about financial wellness at an annual gathering of IIN students. Over time, slices of my talks were incorporated into the IIN curriculum, allowing me to hear from graduates all around the world. As such, I feel an extra close kinship to the INN community.
During our conversation, Molly shared several resources that we were not able to put into the final episode and keep to our target length. Thankfully, you can find them in the show notes below. Like Molly, I too have found myself hitting the mental and physical wall of burnout, not because I didn’t like my work but rather the opposite. It so consumed me that I found myself at age 49 with quite literally no self-concept apart from my career. This kind of always-on mentality can cause all sorts of havoc with your adrenal system. I have a strong hunch many of our listeners will be able to relate. Here’s hoping you find some nourishing tidbits in this episode to enable you to experience “nutritional living on and off the plate!”
Manisha’s Top Takeaways
- The concept of health “on and off the plate”
This includes relationships, spirituality, how you find joy in your life, the way you move your body, and exercise. You can eat all the broccoli and kale you want, but if you are not happy with your relationship with others and your relationship with yourself, you’re probably not living your best life. [20:55]
- Molly’s definition of improper diets
This encompasses both the ingredients in the food you are eating and being wary of restrictions on entire food groups. Molly has concerns about popular restrictive diets such as Whole30, Paleo, and Keto as they take out entire food groups that are nourishing for your body. [15:40]
- Sugar bashing is not as simple as it looks.
A high fiber to sugar ratio when consuming added (or natural) sugar is what you want to look for as it staves off blood sugar spikes and hunger. Molly looks for 10 grams of sugar or less in “health bars” and 7 grams of sugar or less in granola. [19:00]
Other Major Topics
- The World Health Organization’s official definition and classification of burnout [3:45]
- What physically happens to the body during clinical burnout [6:40]
- What the word “diet” as originally conceived really referred to [11:30]
Resources Cited in the Episode
- Molly Alliman’s website, balancebymolly.com
- Video Q&A: Molly answers nutrition questions
- World Health Organization statement on occupational burnout
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition
- Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness, by Joshua Rosenthal
It’s important to note that the medical community does not recognize “adrenal fatigue” as a medical condition. Our guest, Molly Alliman, is sharing her opinions as a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Our host, Manisha Thakor, wishes to acknowledge that there is much debate in this area and anyone suffering from similar symptoms should consult their personal physician.
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