Lauren Glucina of Ascension Kitchen: How to Make It In the Health and Wellness Industry

With her corporate background, Lauren Glucina, holistic health, raw foods chef and educator and founder of health and wellness website, Ascension Kitchen give us her top tips on making it in the health industry as well as what it takes to make a successful smart phone app.

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RESCU: Tell us a little about what your were doing before you start working in the wellness industry
Lauren Glucina: I worked in advertising. It was fun and exciting at first, but as the years went by, it seemed to get increasingly stressful, a lot more political and a lot less creative than I would have liked. I felt so restricted, and was getting really worn out by all the long hours, pressure and deadlines. I constantly had that niggling feeling that I wasn’t ‘following my path.’ I wasn’t fulfilled and was desperately ready for a change. By the time I left I was really battling with an auto-immune disease, and had completely lost my spark. My new path has been as much about self-healing as it has been about really following my passions.

RESCU: And for those readers who aren’t aware, tell us a little about what you do now?
Lauren Glucina: I work as a Holistic Health Coach and a Raw Foods Chef and Educator. I’m also working through my studies in Natural Medicine and Nutrition. At the moment, study is my main priority. I run a site called Ascension Kitchen where I share a lot of my plant based recipes, health and wellness tips. These days, I spend a lot more time in nature, and a lot more time creating things from scratch – nourishing meals, tonics, teas, potions, balms, and of course…smoothies!

RESCU: We know you have credentials in nutrition, but you also run a website and app — have there been any technical hurdles and, if so, how have you over come them?Lauren Glucina: Oh I have had plenty of hurdles! However, not so much with the technical side. I did spend a lot of time watching youtube tutorials when I first started, how to set up a blog, how to take good food photography, how to retouch your images, how to use Lightroom… that kind of thing. You can teach yourself anything on the internet these days – you just need to have patience and the time to sit through them. It’s an awesome feeling when you finally get it though!

RESCU: Can you share a little about what goes on behind the scenes when you’re building an app?
Lauren Glucina: I started out with what I thought was a pretty solid concept, an app for Green Smoothies that looked and tasted beautiful, were simple to make and had lots of awesome health benefits. I was lucky enough to know a great app developer, so together we worked on the wireframe and how the actual nuts and bolts of the app would work. From there, there were months of smoothie recipe testing, making, failing, making again… prop hunting, styling, photographing, retouching, all of which I did myself because I had no budget to bring anyone else on board. I spent weeks researching all the nutritional information, and crafting the little Buddha blessings. The next phase was the design phase, which I also did myself. I had never designed an app before, so it took me a fair bit of time, as everything was so new. I had to watch lots of photoshop tutorials on how to make web/app ‘buttons’ and the like! After this point, I handed it over to my developer, who literally brought it to life for me. He took my designs and sprinkled his coding magic over it to turn it into a functioning app. While he worked on that, I made a start on all the remaining parts- the web page, the promo artwork, my media kits and press releases for example. It really was quite a big undertaking, and a huge learning experience.

RESCU: And what about the process of getting your app authorised by Apple and Android? Were there any hurdles to overcome there?
Lauren Glucina: No not really – the hard part is all of the stuff that comes before that. By the time you get to submit to Apple and Google Play, you really just have to follow their guidelines then wait for them to approve it.

RESCU: If you could go back in time to your corporate self, what three pieces of advice would you give her?
Lauren Glucina: Go home. You’re not going to change the world by working till the wee hours of the morning.
Eat better. You can’t buffer the stress on a diet of coffee, muesli and sushi.
Don’t drink just to fit in. It’s ok to be you, to be different, and to want to hang out at the juice bar instead.

RESCU: What does a day in the life of Lauren Glucina look like?
Lauren Glucina: I start and finish my day with a short meditation. In between, I’m mostly studying (Western Herbal Medicine). In my weekends, I’m out in the bush on a Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship – we’re learning how to work intuitively with plants, then harvest and prepare them as medicines. Weekdays I see a few Health Coaching clients. My evenings are spent on Viber chatting to my partner – we’re doing long distance sadly – I have only seen him for three short days this year!

RESCU: And, we have to ask; what does your day on a plate look like?
Lauren Glucina: First thing: a few glasses of spring water with aloe vera and lemon juice

Smoothie: Organic berries, sprouted rice protein powder, maca, cinnamon, turmeric and flax seed oil, I use a strong nettle infusion as the base as it is super rich in minerals like iron (bonus – gives you healthy shiny hair!)

Throughout the day; herbal infusions, home made kombucha

Dinner; a big salad from our garden, all organic, filled with lots of bitter greens, nutritious weeds, herbs and flowers. Herb pesto, hummus, seaweed sprinkles and sauerkraut, some beans or tempeh. Sometimes some steamed vegetables like sweet potatoes or yams with tahini. Lunch is usually a little leftover dinner.

RESCU: What’s next for you and your healthy empire?
Lauren Glucina:
I have to finish my studies first! After that, I would actually like to get in to making remedies, potions and elixirs. I also have another app coming out in a few months, it is all kinds of awesome so I can’t wait to share that when it’s ready.

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