Hi and welcome to Organic Spoon, winner of the #2 spot on the Best 10 UK Organic Food Blogs 2018!
I’m Lauren Vaknine, wellbeing, parenting and features writer, nutritionist, holistic wellness coach, blogger, aspiring novelist, mama, and having been previously wheelchair-bound until implementing my new lifestyle, advocate of holistic living.
I used to run another website for my ‘real’ work – writing, public speaking and campaigning – but every so often I’d post pictures of my recipes on Facebook and people kept saying I should ‘do a cookbook’ – like it’s that easy! So I decided to create a blog where I could share all my recipes and it seemed more sensible to merge the two sites and have everything in one place. So here you will find all my recipes, my natural health and natural parenting-related tips and articles, information about my book, ‘My Enemy, My Friend’, and news of other stuff I might be up to, including campaigning and public speaking.
My photography skills have improved somewhat over the past two and a half years since starting to share my recipes so I do apologise about the quality of pictures on some of the older recipes. I’m still learning so no judgement please!
I have been following a ‘cleaner’ way of life for many years now, and falling pregnant and having my son, Braxton, in 2015, only strengthened my reasons for following this ideology that we can only be truly healthy when we live as naturally as possible, and here you can see how I’ve implemented this into my every-day life from food, cosmetics and lifestyle, to the way I parent. You can read more about exactly what is involved in my lifestyle over at Philosophy.
So how did it all begin?
I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of two, and Uveitis in my right eye the year following that. My poor parents didn’t know what to do; in 1986 there weren’t many options. They researched as much as they could and decided that the steroids the doctors wanted to prescribe were too strong for a two-year-old so instead we tried everything from homeopathy to spiritual healing. The homeopathy helped to keep my immune system strong and helped keep my joints from being damaged by the disease, which was a major achievement, but it was always like there was a piece missing from the puzzle because I was never free of the disease completely and I would have dreadful yearly flare-ups that would result in time off school and a watered-down version of childhood.
When I was seventeen, after starting performing arts school, I suddenly had a huge flare up that wouldn’t go away. I ended up being put on a chemo-based drug that changed my life forever – and not in a good way. It damaged my liver, caused me to lose my hair and left me wheelchair-bound. I left college and never got to go to uni, or go travelling with my friends; I really lost out on those late teenage years but what I did instead was find a way to get healthy again; I found the missing piece.
I researched relentlessly, teaching myself everything there was to know about food, nutrition and the human body. I found a homeopath who practiced not only homeopathy but also craniosacral therapy, reiki and kinesiology – a complete integrative approach. I researched gene mutations and other contributing factors and my lifestyle changed drastically. I began meditating, practicing yoga, and the healthier I became the more I was able to exercise.
I qualified as an interior designer in 2003 and after working for a wonderful company in the City, I ran my own company for seven years. In between, I wrote a book about my life with arthritis and how I overcame it with a holistic lifestyle (currently in progress to be re-released with a new publishing company in a few months – not available until then). After that I was invited to become a trustee of the British Homeopathic Association and spokesperson for the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.
I eventually gave up interior design to focus full-time on my ultimate passions: writing and teaching people how to get healthy. I qualified as a nutritionist (specialising in childhood nutrition), and I have since become Parliamentary ambassador for Juvenile Arthritis and I now spend my time writing health- and parenting-related articles for publications such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Natural Health, Health & Homeopathy, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, The Green Parent, The Natural Parent and more. I have recently begun writing more mainstream features, too. Sometimes I also speak about natural living at events – when motherhood allows for it! – and I am in the process of writing my first novel. I also spend as much time as I can campaigning for the awareness and accessibility of natural health options and informed choice for parents alongside wonderful organisations such as the Arnica Network.
Though of course allopathic medicine has its place in many instances, many years have now passed since I stopped all forms of conventional medication – including pain-killers – and I have been in remission since 2013, with the exception of postpartum flare-ups following the births of both my children, which was an important learning curve as each one reminded me that this autoimmune disease lives dormant within me and any number of things can trigger it if I am not careful. Postpartum hormones were not something I had control over but the need to up my game to get back into remission each time spurred me on to really practice what I preach. I believe that in order to cure, we must heal from the root cause, and after that, we must focus our energies on preventing more disease.
I live in London with my husband, Daniel, and our 2 children. The picture below includes our precious dog, Milo, even though he is no longer with us, because I can’t bring myself to take it down!
I hope you enjoy my blog! <3
Love & health,
Read this blog – The Pursuit of Happiness – Writing My First Novel – to hear more about the novel I’m writing and how remission from arthritis led me to writing fiction.