Today I'm excited to bring you the very first edition of Plant-Powered Peeps - an interview series with amazing, inspiring individuals who have turned to an organic plant-based lifestyle and are loving it. Along my journey I have met so many incredible people who have decided to make this transition, and are now reaping the benefits both physically and emotionally. Whether their reasons be to improve their health, the lives of the amazing animals we share this world with, or our environment, one thing they all share is immense joy in turning back the clock to a more traditional way of living, and getting that little bit closer to nature.
There's no better way to kick off this series than with my gorgeous and talented friend Lauren Glucina. (Browse and purchase her eBooks here.) Lauren is the brains behind the incredibly successful Ascension Kitchen, a blog and community dedicated to conscious and compassionate living. In a previous life, Lauren was a high-flying suit in the advertising world, putting together beautifully designed campaigns for large corporates. 7 years later, and a mini health crisis to boot, she decided to break free from the corporate world and start her own journey towards a more conscious and compassionate lifestyle. One raw foods cheffing stint in Bali, herbal medicine course, and set of health coaching studies later, she's now the driving force behind Ascension Kitchen.
"Ascension Kitchen is a space for you to learn about eating in a way that delivers next level nutrition to your body, brings you clarity, is gentle on the earth, doesn’t bring any harm to other sentient beings, and helps to raise your vibrations to a higher level. It's about learning to be conscious of the consequences of our food choices."
Without further adieu, meet Lauren...
Why did you decide to turn to a more plant-based organic lifestyle?
Intuitively I’ve always felt it was the right path for me to follow, and after a little bit of a health crisis (ok, so that is an understatement!) I really shifted gears and made a real commitment to get real and get back to mother nature. Going fully organic, and mostly raw at that time, was incredibly cleansing and healing and helped me lay the foundations for a sustainable way of eating.
How has your health (physical and emotional) changed since then?
It was a gradual transition but I remember starting to feel great, then wondering why other people were still doing what they were doing, and got all holier than thou and judgmental, being that girl that would hold her nose walking past the butchers stall at the markets squeaking out – ew gross! Clutching my eco friendly market bag stuffed with organic curly kale, sipping my fair trade coffee with GMO free soy milk. Ha! The longer I walked the talk though, and the deeper into the journey, my consciousness shifted also – I think I’ve let go of a lot of those judgments now. I feel more balanced in all areas. I mean – I seem to be able to live peacefully with my partner and he’s a meat-eater – although one time he kissed me after he ate a roast chook and I got a piece of chicken in my mouth. That wasn’t fun.
If you had to give someone 3 reasons why they should switch to more plant-based organic products, what would they be?
Life is smoother, life is sweeter.
1. I sweat less, and with far less odour (less toxins being eliminated)
2. I’m not clogged up, food in = poop out, yep, that means three times a day!
3. My skin glows (and I don’t drink!)
There you go – three random answers! I’m hoping everyone gets the no-brainer obvious big three (kinder to your body, animals, our earth).
What does a day on your plate look like:
Now, your favourite foodie indulgence...
My new favourite treat is this divine raw chocolate peppermint slice. The base is made with buckwheat and has a beautiful biscuit crunch to it, and the filling is soft and minty…mmm!
What's your approach to balance & moderation in terms of food and lifestyle?
Over the last year especially, I have had a series of a-ha moments go off in my head – as I said before – it is not enough to just eat well – all spheres of your life need to be balanced in order to nourish you. Why did it take me so long to figure out, that despite all my green super smoothies, I was still exhausted and burnt out at work – all due to an environment that just didn’t nourish me! Long hours, late nights, pressure….man am I slow on the uptake! A quote that sums it up well for me:
Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours – Swedish Proverb
You've been given permission to raid the Be Good Organics stock room - what's one foodie product and one beauty product you'd nab.
Can you share your favourite plant-based organic recipe?
Yes! I made this Eastern Dragon Salad a little while ago and served it inside a red cabbage leaf. The almond, ginger and kaffir lime sauce is tangy and sweet and almost tastes a bit like pad thai. It’s the kind of dish you won’t want to share ☺
Serves 1 goddess in a hurry
*Always use certified organic ingredients whenever possible*
½ c finely shredded purple cabbage (reserve one big purple cabbage leaf to serve the salad in)
½ c julienned zucchini
3 snow peas, chiffonnade (sliced very finely)
Small handful mung bean sprouts
Small handful raw, activated almonds
Small handful finely chopped coriander (U.S cilantro)
1 tsp sesame oil
Tangy Almond, Ginger and Kaffir Lime Sauce
¼ c naturally sundried tomatoes, soaked in water till soft (reserve the soak water when done)
2 Tbsp of soak water
¼ c almond butter
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp coconut/agave/yacon/maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 kaffir lime leaf, chiffonnade
¼ tsp flaky sea salt
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These deliciously dark and mysterious tarts are just a little bit special, with a secret ingredient. Modestly sweet, with an earthy, nutty flavour- a lovely change from the usual fruity/chocolate affairs - give them a go, and fall in love!
These light and fruity muffins use one of my favourite fruits – feijoas! If you’re a feijoa fan you’ll love these (and if not, come to NZ to try them). Best of all, they have no added sugar – just the natural sweetness of feijoas, coconut, dates, and vanilla.