Lively: Thanks for sharing your day with us! To kick things off, can you tell us about what you do at Vital Proteins and what you enjoy about your role?
Mara Molino: I am Vital Proteins’ Contract Manufacturing Quality Specialist. I act as the quality representative whenever we have to evaluate and approve potential contract manufacturers. I also make sure that any externally produced products are in compliance with Vital and industry standards and released in a timely manner. At our main warehouse site in Franklin Park, I help manage some of our Food Safety Programs - Environmental Monitoring and Allergen Control.
What I enjoy most about my role is that I get to explore other manufacturing sites – whether that means virtually or physically. I like seeing their processes, connecting with their teams, and taking any learnings that I have garnered back to Vital.
L: Walk us through your morning routine – has it changed (or not) since staying home?
MM: Since returning to the manufacturing plant, I would wake up at 6 a.m. First thing I would do is say good morning to and pet my dog, Rocky. (Priorities, right?) I would then go downstairs to feed my sourdough starter, Luna (which I adopted/bought this pandemic), drink a glass or two of warm water, and if I have time, I make a matcha mint chip smoothie with our Matcha Collagen. Then, I get ready for work. My first meeting starts at 8 a.m., so I make sure that as soon as I get to work, I prepare my coffee. I would or would not put milk in it depending on my mood, but I always take it with a scoop of our Original Collagen Peptides with Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C.
L: Where have you been getting inspiration for projects or tasks you might be working on throughout the day?
MM: I currently feel inspired by the continuous growth of the company. I joined Vital straight out of college, so I definitely feel like I have flourished along with it. And now that we're partnering with Nestlé, I can see that many more opportunities for growth will come along.
L: Lunchtime! What's your plan?
MM: Since the pandemic, I try my best to bring home-cooked meals for lunch. My go-to's are grain bowls with loads of veggies, some kind of protein and, of course, being Filipino – rice!
L: You're hitting your mid-afternoon slump. How do you re-energize your afternoon?
MM: I always reach for some dark chocolate for a little boost of caffeine during the afternoon. However, if that is not enough, I would either make some green tea or another cup of coffee with some more of our Original Collagen Peptides.
L: How have you been practicing #wellnessfromhome these days?
MM: On weeknights and weekends when the weather is nice, I go for long walks with my dog. On Saturdays, I like alternating cooking/baking and having brunch out with my boyfriend. On Sundays, I binge-watch my series, read about and experiment various ferments. On days when I feel like doing absolutely nothing, I just let myself be. For me, wellness is all about being intuitive and listening to what my body and mind need.
Rapid Fire Questions
Favorite Podcast? Gut Health Gurus
Favorite Workout? Anything that involves being with nature – whether that means hiking, jogging or just walking!
Favorite binge-worthy show? RuPaul’s Drag Race
Favorite Vital Proteins product? I love the Original Collagen Peptides with Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C and Matcha Collagen.