Nutritionist Interview: Molly Spani


Photo by ComePlum

If you have talked to me for five minutes, you know that I believe that health is #1. Having a great understanding of your body and your needs helps not only your health but your overall self-confidence, energy, and so much more.

Which is why I am THRILLED to have the incredible Molly Spani on the blog today. Molly is a nutritionist located here in the Bay Area. The main reason I wanted her on was because I don’t want to only provide wedding focused resources to couples during the wedding planning season. The reality is, wedding planning can be stressful and many people put pressure on themselves to lose weight or look a certain way for the wedding day. And if you are a photographer, this post is also for you. It’s so important that as photographers, we keep ourselves healthy because we can’t really call out on a wedding day, ya know? I hope you enjoy this information as much as I did!

Tell us a little about you! Where are you located, what do you do, and what services do you offer?

I’m a nutritionist located in San Francisco, CA. I work one-on-one with clients to help them establish healthy habits, reach their goals and feel their best.

What are a few easy steps to start taking towards a healthier lifestyle?

I like a light structure to stay on track without feeling too constricting. I encourage all of my clients to identify a source of protein, quality fat, and fiber at every meal. Those three components should make up the vast majority of your plate and anything else, such as a starchy carb or glass of wine, can be your “plus-one” when you want to a little something extra. The goal here is to balance your blood sugar so that you feel satiated after your meal and not hungry again or craving something sugary two hours later.

I also can’t stress enough the importance of drinking ample water – for most people that means at least half their body weight in ounces. Hydration impacts everything from the way our cells function to our cravings. The vast majority of your water intake should happen in between meals and then you should simply sip what you need to while you eat. When we drink all of our water during meals, it can have an effect on our digestion so sipping consistently throughout the day is definitely the way to go.

Lastly, read your labels. So many products have ingredients that might not be serving you and you don’t even know it. For example, take the time to make sure there is no sugar in your salad dressing – it’s so easy and much cheaper to make homemade. Or, buy a trusted brand such as Primal Kitchen which uses quality oils and no sweeteners.

How can someone determine what is good for a body versus what is good for THEIR body with all the trends and opinions on the internet?

Part of the damage that fad diets have done is disconnecting us from our ability to really tune into how our bodies react to different foods. We need to bring more mindfulness to both the practice of eating and the feedback that our bodies give us after. For example, we know kale is healthy but guess what? Not everyone tolerates this tough leafy green well which means eating it might not be the best choice for everyone. And a similar approach could be applied to gluten.

I talk to so many people who have gone gluten-free but the reality is, their bodies function perfectly fine when some gluten is included in their diets. I would encourage everyone to bring a little more awareness to the cues your body is giving you. Working with a nutritionist can be a great first step if you feel like you could use some guidance on where to start.

Do you have any favorite resources you use often and love to suggest to clients? (Cookbooks, food blogs, podcasts, etc.)

Food: What the Heck Should I Eat by Mark Hyman M.D.

The Genius Life with Max Lugavere
Be Well By Kelly with Kelly Leveque

Nutritious Life
Nutrition Stripped

What advice would you give to a couple looking to lose weight for their wedding day?

We all have those moments in life when we want to look and feel our best and a wedding is probably at the top of the list. The first piece of advice I’d give is no crash diets! Not only does this approach not provide your body with the essential nutrients you need to function, but it will also bring an added level of stress that you just don’t need leading up to your wedding.

Instead, in the months leading up to your big day, set yourself up for success by setting realistic goals that are attainable and simple. Hitting incremental goals over time breeds confidence – confidence to keep going and confidence in yourself that will radiate on your wedding day. In terms of what to eat, focus on nourishing yourself with foods that make you feel great – think back to the protein, healthy fats, and fiber I mentioned earlier. When you eat balanced meals that leave you feeling calm and satisfied, you’ll find that the intense cravings for simple carbohydrates or sugary snacks (things that might be getting in the way of your goals) start to disappear.

What’s a good way to sneak in more fruits and veggies?

Prep ahead of time so you always have something to reach for. One of my favorite things to do each week is to sauté a huge bunch of dark leafy greens such as chard, kale, and spinach. I’ll wilt it down with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, then store it in a glass container in the fridge. I use it as a side dish to protein, add it to eggs, or stir it into pasta sauce.

What are the best alternatives for dairy? Any favorite brands?

The two things I always look for when purchasing dairy alternatives are added sugar and processed oils; you’ll find that a lot of the products on the market have both. My favorite nut milk brands are Malk, Elmhurst, and Three Trees. I like using Kite Hill for their cream cheese and ricotta alternatives and CocoYo’s plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt.

How do you feel about more popular diet trends? Macros, intermittent fasting, keto, etc. 

When it comes to diet the most important thing to remember is that everyone is different. Just because something works for one person, doesn’t mean it’s going to work, or even be healthy, for you. While I think that there are merits to certain aspects of some of the popular diets, it’s worth noting that for the most part, these strategies were designed and studied as tools rather than long-term lifestyles. We need to be able to allow ourselves flexibility in regards to how, when, and what we eat because our busy lives require it. A diet should never make you feel like a whole food group is entirely off the table or that you failed and have to start over again. This mindset does not create a lifestyle or set you up for long-term success.

How can you eat a more plant-based diet without overdoing carbs/being nutrient deficient?

Plants offer us a wonderful way to get a wide variety of nutrients so I recommend that we strive to eat them at every meal – even breakfast! For example, add spinach or frozen cauliflower to your morning smoothie, have a big salad with protein for lunch, and for dinner, roast up a tray of broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and onions (or whatever you have on hand!) and use as a side dish.

While you’re right that vegetables are primarily carbohydrates, the high fiber content of most veggies makes it so your body doesn’t process them in the exact same way as a simple carbohydrate or something sugary – i.e. no blood sugar spike. For this reason, we don’t need to be super concerned about overdoing carbs when eating more plants. The exception to this would be starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and corn, which will have an impact on your blood sugar by causing a rapid spike then fall. For these vegetables, I recommend keeping the serving size to half a cup or less and not including them at every meal.

How can people find you and get in touch? (IG, website, email)


Be sure to follow Molly for more information on nutrition or reach out if you are interested in working with her one on one! Thank you for all the epic info, Molly!

Photo by ComePlum

June 3, 2020




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *