Thank you for being here!
I’m Lauren (obviously). I’m a health writer, holistic health & life coach, podcast host, speaker & mama. Having been previously wheelchair-bound until implementing the lifestyle that I will outline below, I’m also very much immersed in, and an advocate of, holistic living (a whole-person approach) and live by this quote:
Wellness is not merely the absence of illness, it is a state of complete physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being
At 23 months old, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. By 18 I was in a wheelchair and on chemotherapy, and at 29 I went into remission.
The decade between my most challenging years and my remission was spent in intensive self-study, where I used a root-cause, integrative, mind-body approach, to recondition my mind and body back to health.
Writing it all out here makes it sound so simple; it wasn’t, and it’s not. But it is possible, for anyone. As Glennon Doyle says “We can do hard things.” And I believe my purpose in life is to help others achieve their own health and happiness goals.
Whether you are suffering from chronic illness, raising children in a world of conflicting information, or you simply want to feel empowered and motivated to become the best version of yourself, let me help you do that.
My articles, talks, podcast, and recipes – all created and curated lovingly with the hope of encouraging people to live their healthiest, happiest lives – are all available for free on this blog and you can read more about my story below.
My life’s work is dedicated to bringing this message to others, and to help others attain this level of wellness themselves (and by wellness I mean health, happiness, and fulfillment).
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 toxic an option 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 17, 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. It damaged my liver, caused me to lose my hair, and left me disabled. By the time I was 18 I had arthritis in every joint in my body. I was wheelchair-bound, I couldn’t feed myself because my elbows were too stiff to bend and reach my mouth, I couldn’t chew food because my jaw was so stiff and I couldn’t even sit up straight because my hips were too stiff. I left college and never got to go to uni, or go traveling with my friends; I really lost out on those late teenage years.
But here’s where it gets interesting…
You see, I needed to get that sick. Had I just been a bit ill, with some arthritis that was mainly manageable, I never would have worked as hard as I did to find the answers that led me to that missing piece. My destiny was to get that sick.
Something within me (what I now know to be an inner knowing, instilled in me by my mum who always believed we’d find a way) knew that disability wasn’t going to be my story; wellness was.
I decided that sitting at an obtuse angle waiting for someone to come in and feed me mush and take me to the toilet wasn’t enough and that I would get better.
So I subsequently spent the next decade immersed in intensive self-study, teaching myself everything there was to know about the human body and mind; what makes them work and not work. From epigenetics and neuroplasticity to the pharmaceutical industry and how it worked, how the healthcare/sick-care system was compounding my disability, how behavioral economics was manipulating me into thinking only someone else could make me better, to inner child healing, spiritual connection, trauma healing and emotional intelligence. I later qualified in nutrition, life coaching, NLP, and CBT, and, though they offered more insight and structured skillset, it was the self-study and the immersion into research driven by my desire to find answers, that taught me everything that enabled me to not only go into remission but to guide others toward similar outcomes.
I didn’t go into remission the next year or even 5 years later. I was 29 when I went into remission. Over a decade after setting off on my journey of self-discovery and 27 years after being diagnosed with a debilitating, inflammatory autoimmune disease.
In 2010 I self-published a book about my journey, and I’m currently re-writing it for conventional publication.
That in itself led me to my purpose; it showed me I was always meant to be a writer and educator, and that guiding people back to their own ability to be WELL, in all senses of the word, was my destiny. I now do that through my writing, coaching and my podcast, Reconditioned.
Over the years I became the youngest ever trustee for Homeopathy UK, patient spokesperson for the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and Parliamentary ambassador for paediatric autoimmune diseases and I have hosted Parliamentary events with the emphasis on making holistic wellbeing more accessible.
I have written about wellbeing and conscious parenting 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. I speak at a range of events from conferences to festivals, 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 choices for parents alongside wonderful organizations such as the Arnica Network
Giving a talk at Parliament on the importance of informed choice for parents and accessibility of natural health options
Speaking about informed choice
My most recent venture, Reconditioned with Lauren Vaknine, is the podcast that opens up discussion on all aspects of health and growth, looking at ways we can recondition ourselves back to wellness through integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of ourselves. (Tune in to hear me alongside some pretty awesome guests!). Creating a podcast felt like the next natural step to be able to share all the things I’ve learned throughout my journey that I hope will help others. The podcast page here will tell you more.
The Recondition Your Life Academy really is all my life’s work and learning in one place; offering everything that it took me decades to learn in order to move into true wellness, to help others achieve this level of healing (not just physically – this is for EVERYONE!) within 3-6 months.
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 and it’s up to ME to tackle that – not the doctor, not my parents, not my husband, and not the pharmaceutical industry… I take my healthcare into my own hands. 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 prevention.
I live in London with my husband, Daniel, and our 2 children. The picture here 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, and please make sure to follow me on Instagram so you can keep up-to-date with everything I’m up to.