On the road with...Lauren Camilleri

Today I have a fabulous treat for you - On the road with my friend Lol,
A woman on a mission to make the world a Kynder place.
Lol is the co-founder and delicious recipe creator behind Kynd Community. A fully plant-based cafe in the heart of Seminyak, Bali. Offering you all your favourite dishes you would usually find on a cafe’s menu but, made vegan.
Laurens mission being to spread Kyndness and change peoples perceptions on vegan food and show them just how good cruelty-free food can taste!
Lol’s story is a true testament to her philosophy on life, what you see is what you get. Recently opening another Give a not for profit cafe that gives back 100% of profits to the people and places that need it most. Lauren has a very special place in my heart and is a continuous source of inspiration to me and I couldn’t be more honoured to have her share a glimpse of her wisdom, knowledge and Kyndness over on The Simplistic Road.
We talk Laurens journey to Kynd, The connection between nutrition and mental health & her secrets to staying fit and healthy.

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Can you tell us a little about your business, yourself and how you got to where you are now in the food industry and your philosophy behind Kynd Cafe?
Let me start with the real basics. My name is Lauren Camilleri. Lol is a nickname that I got when I was a grom and it is now part of me. I’m 27 years young. My mother is Balinese and Dad is part Australian part Maltese. I grew up in a little coastal town in Australia NSW called Gerringong and have been living in Bali for almost 10 years now.

I left school after year 10 to go and explore what the rest of life had to offer.

I always seemed to end up working in hospitality. I love people and I love food. So it was a good fit. Since leaving school I always tried to start little brands and businesses that usually lasted a couple of months or years but none of them really ever took off. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be my own boss. This gave me the motivation to keep trying until something worked and eventually one did. I opened a sandwich and juice bar in Bali when I was 19 with my boyfriend at the time. It was great fun & a success but our relationship didn’t work out so after 4 years of operating he bought me out of the business and again went on searching for the next project.

I worked in a cafe consulting here in Bali where I met my current business partner/superwomen friend Corryn. We share the same passion for hospitality and jokingly over lunch one day we said we should one day open a cafe together. Little did we know it would actually happen.

About 1 year ago Corryn & I introduced our little but sort of big now baby to the world. Kynd. A fully plant-based cafe in the heart of Seminyak, Bali. Offering you all your favourite dishes you would usually find on a cafe’s menu but made vegan. Our mission is to spread kyndness and change peoples perceptions on vegan food and show them just how good cruelty-free food can taste.

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My main role is to cook the food and make the menus and Coz is an absolute wizard when it comes to marketing and everything else business. We are yin and yang but we work so perfectly together. I am by no means a chef however like I said before I just love food and with a lot of hours searching for recipes and watching Youtube cooking videos I managed to pull together a menu that brings people from all over the world to eat our food and dine at our cafe. So we must be doing something right.

When you made the change to your diet by becoming vegan, what did you find the most difficult?
Any type of change is challenging at the start but after doing a bit of research and watching several documentaries I had a solid reason why I decided to do what I was doing. This made the transition a whole lot easier. However, because I was so accustomed to eating dairy, meat, and eggs on a daily basis sometimes even 3 times a day it was challenging to know exactly what I can and can't eat and what to replace things with. They say your taste buds expire and regenerate every 2 weeks so once you stick it out for a while you start to look at all the animal products no longer as food.

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Do your friends and family eat a vegan diet? How do you adapt to social gatherings?
Both my sisters and my dad are vegan. It was actually my sister Tanya that first encouraged our family to be vegetarian after a book she read called ‘Skinny Bitch’. My boyfriend tries to eat only plant-based however has the occasional slip up. A majority of my close circle of friends are also all now vegan which is really cool. I guess that the overall consciousness of the population is changing and people are starting to become more conscious of the energy they put into their body and the energy they put out. So more and more people are adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

Social gatherings are easy, there is always something to order on a menu even if it means you have to eat all the sides or a plate of french fries. As long as I am not sacrificing another beings life for my meal then I’m sorted.

How do you manage your resilience and mental health / well-being?
Self-love and spiritual connection is key for me. Self-love is a word that gets thrown around a bit, we are always told to just ‘love yourself’ however although it seems so easy as we are never really taught exactly how to action it and it becomes a difficult and confusing journey for many of us.

Self-love to me is connecting with your real self. Your spirit, your soul and learning to not attach yourself with your mind and ego. As our minds and egos are what is causing us the pain. They create stories, make us believe we are our emotions, want to bring everything down, make us unhappy etc. The more work we do to connect to our real selves the more tools we can learn to get out of our heads and into our hearts. I have always been quite consistent with actioning out activities to focus on my physical health but never could see the importance of doing the work for my mental health. Now I realize that it is actually just as important if not more. If you have a banging body but mentally not very stable you are almost guaranteed to experience forms of dis-ease within the body. Focus on a healthy mind and watch the changes it has on your body. Reading books and audio books about these topics were my way of gaining new tools to live this life.

In a nutshell, what’s your food philosophy? And the connection food has with well-being and / or mental health?
Everything in life is energy. Your body is made up of billions of atoms. These atoms are continuously giving off and absorbing, light and energy, all the time. It is SO important that we are conscious with what we are putting into our bodies because essentially that is where your body finds its fuel and what your body is creating from. You can't expect to eat processed foods or foods with a low vibrational frequency and expect to feel great. I learned that before an animal is slaughtered it releases fear, adrenaline & stress into its body and we then go and eat that very same flesh and wonder why the population is so sad and angry. What you fuel your body with is integral to your overall well-being and happiness.

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What do you do to ‘reset’ the balance button when life gets a bit hectic?
Breath. Stop and take one BIG deep breath. We take our breath for granted and forget that breath is life. Breath is your anchor that brings you back to the present moment. If that is not enough I take a little trip to the mountains here in Bali and get around nature which to me automatically hits my reset button.

What are your top 3 tips for staying fit and healthy?
Movement of some type every day which is either muay thai, gym or I have recently started CrossFit with my man. Daily mindfulness and meditation whether it be 5 minutes of breathing, a mindful beach walk, sitting in silence and being still & present or really taking time to connect with inner me. Eat wholesome foods as much as possible and drink lots of water. Oh, that's four…haha.

Have you experienced depression, anxiety or hormonal imbalance in your life? How have you managed this or overcome it if it arises in your life?
I am blessed to have never really ever experienced such emotions however many people close to me have so it has been a part of my life that way. As its hard to relate to someone going through those emotions I have done what I can to do as much research on the topic as I can so that I can try and get a better understanding of what they are going through and ways I can help. However when I hear someone say ‘I am depressed’ it hurts my heart. As my perception is that no one is depressed and identifying yourself and attaching yourself to that label only makes it harder to work through.

My perception is that depression to me is caused due to a bunch of different emotions, situations, experiences that have occurred in our life. Whether it be this life or past ones. Instead of learning how to work through them we de-press them inside of us in hope that they will go away but they don’t until we make the effort to bring the darkness into light. Acknowledging these feelings, having faith that you can work through them and taking steps to action more self-love I feel is a major step in the right direction. Talking to someone also is a game changer, finding someone that you trust that can hold space for you and give you a different and higher perspective on what you are going through or what you have been through could also help. You see, we operate 5% conscious mind and 95% unconscious mind.. from the day we were born until the age of 7 these years were the most integral part of our personal development. It was these years we build the foundation for our life. Our beliefs, our view on the world, how we give and receive love etc.. In saying this half of the time we are unconsciously reacting to the situations happening in front of us with no idea why we act or feel a certain way and even most of the time not even conscious of what we are actually feeling. We grow up with trust issues, abandonment issues, love issues and all the rest of them, that a majority of time stem from our childhood however if we don’t do the inner work and peel back the layers then we will continue to live a life of fear instead of a life of love.

I went on an emotional roller coaster journey with my anxiety/ health, as you know. What have you found to be most helpful in handling the darker days?
Presence. Being in the moment and acknowledging what you are going through without judgment. Heres the thing, we all have our shadows that we need to work through, it is an essential part of life. In life, everything is in opposites. The black and the white, the tall and the short, the hot and the cold, the happy and the sad. We need the good to appreciate and understand the ‘bad’. We need shadows to find our light. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Its how you decide to use your ‘dark days’ that makes all the difference. Will you become victim to your pain or will you let what brings you down give you the power to rise you up? Mindfulness, acceptance, non-resistance, and presence is what helps me get through my shadows.

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Walk me through a typical Lauren day… (Body, mind, spirit and FOOD)
I wake up at usually around 6am as it is my favourite time of the day. I love mornings! I action my mindfulness morning task then my man and I usually take my dog Sammy down to the beach and jump in the ocean. If we get time we do a little workout or if not I head into Kynd to start my workday. I have been trying to intermittent fast so I usually have my 1st meal around 12pm. I'm usually mucking around in the kitchen until the afternoon then head to a muay thai class to get my sweat on. Then comes the biggest decision of my day? Where to eat? In Bali, we are fortunate to have so many amazing cafes serving delicious food. We eat some dinner, watch a doco on Netflix and go to sleep around 10ish ready for the day ahead.

I know you are a big fan of podcasts; in-fact you actually got me into them! What would be your go – to podcasts you would suggest to someone who is going through a chapter of struggle in regards to managing a better well-being?
I have so many I actually have a list. But a few of my fave podcasts are:

  • Rich Roll

  • Oprah Super Soul

  • Aubrey Marcus

  • Addicted to Success by Joel Brown

  • On Being with Krista Tippett

I also love audiobooks and books and have many of those that I love and recommend also. Some of the main ones are:

  • Conversations with God

  • The Untethered Soul

  • The 7 laws of Spiritual Success by Deepak

  • Non-Violent Communication

  • Tears to Triumph by Marianne Williamson

  • Many Lives, Many Masters. 

What are your thoughts on social media in regards to mental health and well-being?
Like everything with social media. It's a great tool if used correctly, however, most of the time its not. Comparison is a quick way to feel miserable and a majority of time we spend on social media, we are comparing our lives to others. If you want to use it minimize the amount of time you spend on it and unfollow everyone that makes you feel shitty.

What would be your message to someone going through a period of struggle in his or her life?
Every single thing that happens in our life is happening for you, not to you. It is happening for your own personal growth and spiritual development. Know what you are going through is impermanent and it will pass. Find the higher meaning and learn more tools to help you through what you are going through.

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What are you goals for the coming year? Do you think goal setting is important?
Yes, I do think its important to have goals and a direction of where you want to take your life. Don’t attach your self to your goals as that will not bring you the happiness you are looking for. Having goals also helps set your intention and puts it out to the universe what you are after.

My goals are to open another Kynd here in Bali. Connect more spiritually. Give back more. Focus on my physical and mental health. Adventure, and just have fun.

Do you have a favorite affirmation or quotes you remind yourself of when life throws you a few challenges?
There are so many quotes that I love and are so powerful and dependent on what I am going through or feeling they all resonate at different times in my life. One that I read recently that I feel is powerful is this one by Wayne Dyer:

“Each experience in your life was absolutely necessary in order to have gotten you to the next place, and the next place, up to this very moment. With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”

Thanks Lol,

For more on Lol check out @kyndcommunity @givecafe & @lolbali xx