Meet Lauren, MasterChef Latino...and so much more.
Updated: Aug 2
So you know when an email gets stuck in your outbox and you're trying to figure out why that person you're DYING to hear from hasn't hit you up yet? Yeah, that was me with Lauren Arboleda–the beautiful mind behind Food From The Heart, a Miami-based healthy living brand. The chef just appeared on MasterChef Latino, has two kids, and SO graciously answered our questions despite my email technical difficulty. But after hearing her story, you can just see why. She's clearly passionate about helping people eat well....but also take care of themselves. Quite the mission, but no one is better suited for it. Meet Lauren and make sure to follow her for her continued journey.
Name: Lauren Arboleda
IG handle: @foodfromtheheart
First, we want to know, what are the identities you lead with:
I’m a proud mom, wife, MasterChef Latino, entrepreneur and foodie! Healthy foodie. After being a mom I also found out that I’m an incredible song composer, dancer, story teller you name it!
What’s the backstory that led you to where you are today?
I’m from Colombia and I grew up surrounded by nature, family, food, cooking, everything was about cooking, sharing with others and celebrating every single thing. My love for food started very young seeing how it brought everyone together. We had amazing fruits, vegetables, fresh eggs, all from the farm and it was incredible how lucky I was to be able to grow surrounded by animals, harvesting fruits straight from the trees and just being dirty all day.
When I came to college in the US I missed my family, our food so much so I started cooking for me, for my friends as a way of creating a family of my own here. My friends told me I had talent, that I should fo it for a living. But is just did it because I loved how happy my food made them feel. After some time I realized cooking was the thing that I enjoyed the most doing so I started right in college with my brand, food from the heart, which started as a blog.
Was your wellness journey a lifelong one, or did you have an awakening moment?
My parents gave me very solid wellness values since I was a kid. My mom made everything homemade for us, for our lunch box, no sodas, chips or junk food at home since I can remember!! Only for special occasions like parties and reunions. So its in my chip I think. On the other side, my dad encouraged me to be active all the time. I can say that I’ve tried every sport possible. From soccer to tennis, skating, dancing, kitesurfing, pilates, yoga, swimming OMG, for my dad was more important that I was doing sports and being active than having good grade at school.
How did becoming a mother impact how you think about food / prepare food for your family?
Since I became pregnant I realized it was not about me anymore, that I needed to take care of a little baby growing in my belly. This was the reason why I wrote my first book, Pregnancy from the Heart. Child nutrition starts with pregnancy. Preparing food as a mom is cool, I love it because it challenges me to create quick stuff, be organized and have things chopped, roasted, prepped, to mix and match. I also love involving my kids in the kitchen, they love it. This is what I try to do in my social media, inspire more moms, families, people in general to cook more!
MasterChef must have been such an insane experience! How did it feel? What did you take away from the experience?
It was insane! Even more because I did the entire show being pregnant with my second child. It felt amazing. When I found out I got into the show I wasn’t going to do it because I had to leave my husband and 2 year old kid for two months which seemed crazy and unthinkable for me at the moment. My husband encouraged me to go. He was so supportive, so I did! And it was worth it, but difficult, physically and emotionally. The best take away for me was showing myself and every mom out there that it is possible to reach our dreams even if we are moms. Even when you have your kids, husband and family as a priority you shouldn’t forget about you passion, what drives your heart.
What do you hope people take away from you and your message on the show…and beyond?
You have to believe in yourself and stop making up excuses, no matter if you are a mom, if you are young, old, or whatever your condition or limiting believe is! Also I wanted to show everyone how latin, and Colombian food could be amazingly creative, delicious, healthy and still have those traditional ingredients and flavors that reminds us of home, of our families and childhood.
As a mom, how do you make time in the kitchen/eating mindfully fun for your kids?
Everything is about building a fun relationship with food. Starting from the first foods. Smelling, touching, making a mess!! Taking them to the supermarket, letting them choose fruits and veggies for them to be more willing to try. The most important thing for me is that my kids enjoy eating, sharing, celebrating with food. I never force them to eat but encourage a more healthy relationship and autonomous position towards eating, food etc. We never bribe with food or put more weight on “bad” foods, we never talk about getting fat or skinny, we talk about having energy to ride his bike, be more intelligent etc.
What are 3 easy ways women—especially moms—can help themselves be more mindful in how they eat.
Try to sit-down and pay attention at your dish when eating NO PHONE, TV or any type of tech at mealtimes.
If you want your kid to eat it, you have to eat it! Lead by example.
What’s next for you?!
Lots of things cooking from the heart! Stay tuned and follow my journey though Instagram @foodfromtheheart my blog and all my social media channels!