Five minutes with Lauren Glucina

Good talks to naturopath and nutritionist Lauren Glucina, creator of the ethically conscious raw frozen food dessert Lively Desserts. 

Why do you think we have been experiencing such a raw foods revolution in the last couple of years?

People are becoming more aware of the connection between diet and health. It’s incredibly empowering to know that you can use food as the most wonderful preventative medicine. One of my favourite wellness quotes comes from Anne Wigmore, one of the original pioneers in the Raw Foods movement; “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

Raw foods have a history of being used therapeutically for disease states, particularly from those following Natural Hygiene principles, but it has softened over time. I think today the message is simply, include more raw foods in the diet.

We know they are packed full of protective phytonutrients, fibre and water, and, being raw, the heat sensitive vitamins and enzymes remain intact. My advice, is to aim to have something raw and colourful with each meal. It is an easy dietary win, and you truly notice the difference in your body when you start to crowd out those processed foods and literally add some life and colour back in.

There has also been an explosion of creativity globally as people are experimenting with raw foods in the most incredible culinary ways (Matthew Kenney, I’m lookin’ at you!). This just adds to the attraction and again – such an easy win!

You suffered from adrenal fatigue five years ago. How hard was that for you and was that your catalyst into what you are doing today?

I was under a lot of chronic stress at work and it put a huge strain on my poor adrenals – not a fun experience.

I was waking feeling like I hadn’t slept, felt fatigued and foggy all day, yet stimulated at night (consequently making sleep difficult), I had low blood pressure, a compromised immune system and a general inability to handle stress (think highly irritable, emotional and reactive). My amazing partner was so understanding but I know I wasn’t much fun to be around at that time.

I’ve always been drawn to natural health, but yes that experience was certainly a catalyst for change. It also taught me that whilst a nutritious diet is so fundamental to good health, all that good work will eventually unravel if you don’t address the underlying stress and find balance.

What do you think is the most common misconception or idea people have when it comes to plant-based, or gluten, dairy and wheat-free diets?

I think common barriers for people when they think about adopting a more plant-centric diet, include the feeling they won’t be satisfied, or that the food tastes bland, that it takes too long to prep, and that they won’t be getting enough nutrients. I have hopefully demystified a few of these on my website!

You’ve just launched Lively Desserts – a raw desserts range that’s somewhere between an icecream and a cake. Where did this idea come from?

I did a Raw Foods intensive training in Bali some years ago. I was blown away by the taste explosion of these raw cakes we were making. Such simple, natural organics – yet so incredibly full of flavour. I went home filled with inspiration and started hosting raw foods workshops. The desserts I was sharing were a hit and people begun asking for them commercially. The seed was planted!

As I started the recipe development process, I had a big list of boxes I wanted to tick. It had to be plant-based. It had to be made with all natural ingredients. It had to be free from commercial nasties. And it had to be as allergen-friendly as I could make it. On that last note, most raw foods desserts are made using cashews or some other type of nut. I took it as a bit of a challenge to try and avoid them, as they are a big problem for some people.

200 odd iterations later, I ended up with a coconut-based dessert that was indeed a bit like an ice cream cake! In any case, they’re delicious!

To find out more, visit livelydesserts.com

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