Have you discovered Ascension Kitchen yet? If not, you’re in for a real treat! Not only is the mastermind behind the gorgeous site Ascension Kitchen also the mastermind behind the awesome app Green Smoothies by AK but Lauren Glucina is also a fellow IIN certified health coach. I was fascinated to read about her father’s healing journey from cancer as well as the few crucial but vital decisions she made that has shaped her life and led her to be here with us today! She happens to make the most delicious food too….Meet Lauren!
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Creative, sensitive, daring
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
The freedom to go out there and share your personal gifts with the world without ever being held back by poor health. Imagine how much we could achieve if we were firing on all cylinders all of the time?
What was the catalyst that turned you on to this way of living?
I’ve always had a curiosity toward Natural Medicine and the healing power of whole foods, but I guess it wasn’t until both my dad and I got sick that I started to feel more of a pull to explore that area a little more. My dad had advanced bowel cancer and was having terrible reactions to his chemotherapy, which left him in not a very good state. We all pulled together as a family and committed to some pretty big dietary and lifestyle changes coupled with the experience and guidance of a truly lovely, kind, compassionate and endless source of wisdom and support that was Dad’s naturopath and Rife Therapist. We moved to a plant-based, organic diet, and pulled up the manicured garden to make way for one mother of a vegie patch. Slowly things started to change and Dad got better. Now he’s a second-dan Kempo Kido Black Belt! Hi-ya!
As all of this was unfolding, I was in an incredibly stressful position myself. Having broken up with a long time boyfriend, moved back home, lost my job, and about to move country into the unknown in search of work. The beginnings of an auto-immune disease (IBD) were settling in and years later when it really flared up I was feeling so miserable that I started making plans to change my stressful career and truly heal. When I eventually left my advertising job and all the late nights and pressure and deadlines behind, I made a few impulsive but valuable decisions: I found a one month intensive Raw Chef Certification in Bali, so I did that. I found a great online school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and did that. I enrolled to study Western Herbal Medicine, I’m still doing that. I promised myself I would only ever follow my dreams from then on, went on an ever-evolving healing journey, and now I’m here, writing to you!
My mum wrote a beautiful piece about Dad’s healing journey, you can read it here:
Why are you so passionate about eating the way you do?
I love the fact that I can nourish my body without bringing harm to any other sentient being in the process, and I love that feeling of empowerment – that I know my entire body like I know the back of my hand – and that I have a long healthy life free from chronic disease to look forward to.
What are your travel rules when it comes to eating well on the road?
To prepare in advance, and pack a bunch of healthy goodies to take with you, right down to some nice organic herbal teas. Frustratingly, often places aren’t so prepared for special dietary needs. I was just in Fiji, and the chef didn’t actually know what ‘vegan’ meant – uh oh! She did her best, she prepared a lovely salad and some mashed potatoes. It was very sweet, they genuinely wanted to try and help me out but it was such a strange concept to them. Let’s just say I was very much looking forward to a home cooked meal when I got back!
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you cook them?
I’ve just finished reading ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’ by Dr Catherine Northrop, and am fascinated by the whole mind-body connection, so I would love to dine with her, perhaps Lissa Rankin and Louise L Hay, all of whom understand the power the mind and the emotions have on our physical bodies – I would make us a Raw High Tea with little cakes and slices, and a big pot of hot chai with creamy cashew milk.
What lessons have you learned in the last few years since starting your blog that have improved or enriched your life in some way?
I’ve learnt the joy in following your heart, nice and simple 😉
What can we expect from Ascension Kitchen in the near future?
Ooo so much! I feel like I’m in a bit of a chrysalis at the moment…Hopefully within the next few months I will have a gentle mind-body detox programme to share, a lot of it based on my learning’s navigating my way through auto-immune disease and chronic stress. And later in the year, I may even get a yummy product idea I’ve been working on out there.
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
I love this; ‘The moment you change your perception, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.’ Dr Bruce Lipton.
What are your core values that you like to live by?
I think it is really important to speak from the heart and be authentic.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
Nana’s healthy version of Christmas Fruit Cake, dad’s home made red wine (Croatian-styles, also known as ‘Smelly Feet’), raw chocolate fudge.
Where’s your favourite place on earth and why?
Sitting on the balcony of my Dida’s cute little old stone house, on the waterfront in Podgora, Croatia. Purely for sentimental reasons.
We would also love a recipe from you please…
An Ayurvedic Chai Spiced Cheesecake
Raw • Vegan • Gluten Free • Refined Sugar Free • Soy Free
Fills an 8 inch cake tin
1 cup pecans (activated)*
1 cup coconut flakes
8 medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup lacuma powder
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 heaped tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons licorice root powder
A few good grinds of black pepper
Zest of one orange
- Whiz the pecans in a food processor till crumbly
- Add the lacuma, ginger, licorice powder, salt and pepper and blitz again till combined
- Now add the dates, one at a time, you’ll start to get a nice dough
- Add the coconut flakes and orange zest last
- Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 inch cake tin lined with baking paper, and use the back of a spoon to flatten the surface, pop in the freezer to set
- You could actually just roll this mixture into balls and call it a day if you didn’t want to go to the effort of making the whole cake – this base is delicious
*To activate pecans, soak overnight in filtered water with a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Drain and dehydrate for 8 hours at 115˚F.
1½ cups of cashews (soaked overnight or 8 hours)
½ cup chai tea
½ cup almond or cashew milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup lacuma powder
1/3 cup coconut butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 whole vanilla bean, chopped
1½ teaspoons cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Zest of one orange
½ cup or more coconut flakes to decorate
- If your coconut butter and oil is cold and hard, warm it gently over a bowl of hot water till it becomes soft/liquid
- Blend everything except the orange zest well till nice and creamy
- Fold through the zest
- Pour the mixture over the cake base and sprinkle liberally with coconut flakes – don’t skip this part – the crunchy texture on top adds to the wow factor
- Set in the freezer for three to four hours before serving
Connect with Lauren
Have you ever made a raw cheesecake before? Tell me in the comments below what you love to make and whether you will attempt Lauren’s beautiful cake?