The Creative Wellness Project: Lauren Nixon
Over the summer I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lauren Nixon a food and wellness educator at a small café in Philadelphia. “Oh you’re short like me” she mentioned as I walked over to her table. I smiled. I knew immediately that I’d found a kindred spirit. She shared a bit about her life after graduating from NYU. Her search for home led her to work on different farms across the US and teach food education. I knew she’d be the perfect fit for my creative wellness series. Hers is a deep wisdom rooted in an intimate understanding of what feels right for her self care practice. Here’s what she had to say about her work and what her creative wellness looks like.
Tell us about your background and what inspired you to start working as a food educator?
I stumbled into my work as a food educator, not realizing that it was a part of my divine path. I’ve worked in education for 10 years in various capacities, but it was only about five years ago that I decided to combine my love for home cooking, the natural world, and sustainable agriculture. I was in the midst of a quarter life crisis and decided to leave New York--a place I thought I’d live forever. I ended up hopping about for a few years working on farms and in gardens and doing environmental education and food education work. I really started from the ground up, both professionally and emotionally. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. My life started to make sense and feel really nourishing and magical. Like many people, my path has been winding and fraught with a lot of difficulties and successes, but I’m really lucky to spend my time teaching people about why cooking from scratch is important. It’s a personal passion that I get to share with other people.
What does your work aim to do?
As a food educator, I aim to empower people to craft their own wellness narratives and reclaim their sense of agency through cooking at home using local, sustainable food. I design and facilitate workshops that introduce people to basic kitchen skills and local foods that they may or may not have been previously introduced to. I really hope to create experiences that allow people to understand that cooking is self-care, and that self-care is not only valuable, but vital.
What has been your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
People often perceive cooking at home to be a huge nuisance. Depending on your economic situation, family life, or work, it can definitely be a challenge. But, cooking at home and creating meals for yourself can also be an entryway to self-care, to skill building, to confidence, and to better understanding how to meet your own needs. In my workshops, I ask people to take risks and to take steps towards becoming their best selves. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I ask for people to be patient with themselves while challenging themselves to think about how to broaden their perspectives of what their food experiences can and should look like. The discomfort that people encounter when they examine their food choices is real, and it’s valid, and it’s a catalyst for growth.
What book would you recommend everyone should read?
Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is such a powerful read. Despite the fact that’s it’s not a food book, it nourished me in a really deep way. It’s chock full of stories and information about wildness as an inherent, important, and informative aspect of a woman’s life.
Who’s your favorite writer/ yogi and why?
I learn my biggest lessons from people that I meet everyday on the street, in the bike lane, in line at the store, at the other end of the telephone. I’m not inspired by one person in particular. I’m working on finding daily inspiration and magic in each and every circumstance that I encounter. It’s a hard practice. But, it’s been helpful.
Do you have a creative wellness practice? Something creative that you do to encourage yourself to take better care of yourself?
My creative wellness practice involves going to bed early and waking up before the sun rises. I love oil pulling, dry skin brushing, pranayama practice, yoga practice, and journaling. Being outdoors on a daily basis, rain or shine, is important to me and helps me to feel like my best self.
Is there anything else you'd like to add regarding your work?
Stay in touch with me! If you’re interested in bringing me to your school, non-profit, or college/university, reach out. I’d love to work with you!