Lauren Allen

Lauren Allen

Lauren just completed her undergrad with a double major in communication media studies and journalism. She plans to continue her education at DePaul University, working towards a masters degree in journalism. Lauren is extremely passionate about learning new ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle with food, fitness and wellness.
A Personal Journey Through Depression

A Personal Journey Through Depression

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 00:00

I woke up smiling today. It was the first time in months I felt a grin that big. The sun was shinning, a breeze tickled my face as I stepped outside on my balcony.

It was almost like the sun and sky were smiling back at me, redeeming itself from the dark, cold, and grey months it put me through.   

It smelled like spring, hope, a new beginning, and a time for growth.  My heart felt lighter and I began crying, as I knew the worst was over. I made it through another winter.  


It's such a simple, three-syllable word, yet its power is confined to those who've fully experienced it. Those like me. 

It’s extremely personal, but I know writing has the ability to affect some sort of change, whether it’s small or large. I also know writing and reading others' personal stories of overcoming this mental illness has saved my life.

Oh No, You Didn’t: Gym Etiquette for Newbies

Oh No, You Didn’t: Gym Etiquette for Newbies

Monday, 12 January 2015 00:00

Brace yourselves, your gym is about to become overcrowded with newcomer chaos.

It's a new year, and with this comes new dreams, desires and goals. I'm all for positive thinking, encouragement and transforming your life into a healthier one, especially when it comes to working out. Now that it's officially a new year, many of you may have decided to make 2015 "your year" and get moving on your fitness goals. This is great; high fives all around! In fact, most gyms will see a boost in members around the New Year, since getting in shape is one of the most common resolutions.

BUT, as someone who perceives the gym as my happy place, newbies always seem to find a way to make it a more irritating and unpleasant space rather than a comforting one.

Balancing Work, Grad School & My Social Life

Balancing Work, Grad School & My Social Life

Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:00

How do I keep my head on straight when everything demands parts of my day? Let me first start off by saying how lucky I am to be working while in school. Especially doing something that I love to do. I know I am not the only student who goes to work everyday, and then off to class at night. If I could, I would give each of you a piece of cake of admiration and have a day specifically dedicated to you.

Also, I want to say how fortunate I am to be in Grad school. Never in my life did I think I would even graduate college, sometimes high school was even doubtful, but here I am about to graduate with a master's degree in June.

That being said, don't you ever feel like screaming and ripping your hair out, or should I say shave it all off (like most people seem to do when they've officially lost it)?

I do.

10 Things to Never Say to Someone Who Can’t Eat Gluten

10 Things to Never Say to Someone Who Can’t Eat Gluten

Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00

You may have read my last rant about the differences between someone who physically can not break down gluten (the protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye) and will get terribly sick if gluten ends up on their plate, to those that think gluten is for some particular reason an ingredient that once not consumed anymore will help them lose weight and eat healthy.

At the three year anniversary of my diagnosis coming up, I wanted to share to those who still don't fully understand why I can't just pick the brownies out of an ice cream sundae.

Let me help you so you won't embarrass yourself and annoy your friend.

What you should never say to someone who can't eat gluten:
Frustrations of a Celiac

Frustrations of a Celiac

Monday, 04 November 2013 22:42

Why is it that more places are offering gluten-free foods, but are recommending that people with Celiac Disease shouldn't eat there?

Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

It's been two years since my diagnoses of Celiac Disease. At first, I would overdramatize how much my life was ruined and that food would no longer mean the same. I recently became excited to hear of all the great options that were open to me. Little did I know, what restaurants really meant was their gluten free option is only for those who are going through yet another diet fad, not those who truly need it.

I've always had digestive problems, but thought it was just stress, or IBS. It seemed normal to me (and I as I type this I realize how this sounds) to throw up, have diarrhea, and get horrible abdominal pains, and constantly feel bloated immediately after eating.

I had just transferred to DePaul University in the fall of 2011, and was just getting used to living back on a college campus again. This was when I began noticing more and more issues with my gut. However, I ignored these symptoms and just thought I was stressed from school, as I tend to be during the quick ten-week quarter system DePaul has.

A few nights a week I would be up all night, death gripping the sides of my toilet while everything poured out of my mouth. My roommates would joke with me and say, "You're sick all the time. Maybe you have the gluten thing." Laughing, thinking that was not even possible, I ignored them and continued doing absolutely nothing about addressing the problem.

As time progressed, it started to become a hassle to eat. After every meal I would feel exhausted from throwing up, from the horrible pains I felt and all I wanted to do was lay down. Date nights I had with my boyfriend turned embarrassing, for I would need to quickly excuse myself to spend what seemed an eternity in the ladies room.
Friends Don't Let Friends Get Fat?

Friends Don't Let Friends Get Fat?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:55

It happens to the best of us. You maintain a strict habit of exercise and dieting throughout the week. You're disciplined. You're organized. You've got this. Then the weekend approaches and it’s time for date night, or the much-needed opportunity to catch up and hang out with your friends. You, believing you are being a good healthy-eating planner, check out the restaurant's menu online beforehand to pick out a reasonably healthy meal and drill this motivational speech into your head:

"I will not overindulge tonight." 

And this time, you're serious.

That is, until you hear what your friends are ordering. And before you know it you’re ordering a side of French fries AND a slice of cake to go.

What just happened?
No Air Conditioning? Tricks for Staying Cool

No Air Conditioning? Tricks for Staying Cool

Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:31

As we've all noticed this Summer, heat waves are on the rise. But how can you beat the heat when you don’t have air conditioning?

When Summer Turns Sour

It’s the time of year you’ve all been waiting for, but then you get hit with that unbearable sticky, humid heat. It can leave you wondering if you should even dare to be outside.  On nearly every newscast, reporters and health officials are encouraging us to stay indoors. That’s great for those who can rejoice in their AC, but what about those of us who don’t have AC?

Yes, it may come as a surprise to some that people do, in fact, live without AC.

I've been lucky enough that every place that I've ever lived has had it. But, I do distinctly remember visiting my brother and his (now) wife in Milwaukee last summer, during a brutal heat wave.  

They don’t have AC, and I remember thinking to myself, "this is just awful. I will never take AC for granted again!"

But, other than nearly losing my mind a couple of times, I did learn some great tricks that allowed us live and to fall asleep, even when the thermometer rose above 100 degrees.
A Surprisingly Safe & Effective Way to Remove Ticks

A Surprisingly Safe & Effective Way to Remove Ticks

Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00

Last summer, we were worried about drought. Not so much this summer, as our rain dances seem to have worked, and many parts of the country have already had their fair share of storms (with more on the way).

Yet, with all the rain, moisture and flooding comes another problem: Ticks. Many news sources have reported that this year is expected to be a record breaking season for ticks. Lucky us!

If you live in an urban area, with plenty of concrete and skyscrapers, there isn’t much threat from this blood-sucking parasite. However, if you live in a more suburban or rural area, or plan on escaping the city to go camping or hiking, you'll need to be more vigilant. Ticks are usually most active from April until September and they can attach to you, your children, or your pets.

And ticks are no mere nuisance. They can be dangerous disease spreaders, especially when removed improperly.