Depression loomed for Laurel Gallucci when her doctor forbade three years ago her favorite indulgence, cakes, because she contracted a rare autoimmune disorder.
Instead of succumbing to sadness, the Lighthouse graduate sought healthy alternatives and parlayed her delectable discoveries into a Venice-based business, Sweet Laurel Bakes, that is the latest rage in the paleo diet fad.
“I was on a personal quest to find health,” the 29-year-old said. “I wanted to bake things that I and other people could enjoy that would have positive and healthy outcomes.”
The second of seven children, Laurel was part of the Czer clan that joined the Lighthouse Church from Pastor Rob Scribner’s popular conservative Republican bid for congress. Though Scribner ultimately was not elected, he attracted to the church a contingent of people who liked his sharp thinking on politics and the role of God in American history.
Laurel’s mom, Kari Czer, became the cornerstone of the only Christian kindergarten in Santa Monica. Lighthouse Church School‘s kindergarten boasts reading proficiency before Christmas.
Her dad is the quiet and steadfast Dr. Lawrence Czer, a cardiologist who leads the heart transplant program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He’s an internationally-respected pioneer in stem cell research for heart disease is a regular on the Lighthouse Medical Missions to Africa.
Laurel enrolled in the Lighthouse Church School as a sweet smiling tyke who excelled at pretty much everything she did. She graduated from Lighthouse Christian Academy in 1984 and then from UCLA with a degree in history and then got a masters in education from Pepperdine University.
When she was 26, Laurel married Nick Gallucci, an engineer who recently joined Lighthouse Church. As she was a passionate baker, they fell in love over banana bread.
Then for reasons unknown, she started experiencing problems that led to her diagnosis of autoimmune disorder. The doctor blacklisted all of Laurel’s favorite foods.
Instead of going glum, she bounced back with a quest to find palatable replacements to her baking savories.
She tinkered with the paleo diet, which theorizes that humans should eat like hunter-gatherers, avoiding processed, refined and sugary foods. They also do cross-fit training to replace fat with muscle.
“I don’t like to say that I’m paleo,” she said. “A paleo diet means you eat a lot of meat, do cross fit, have big muscles and that’s not really who I am. I like to say that I eat grain free, refined sugar free, and dairy free.”
In her quest for tantalizing treats that unfrown her doctor’s face, Laurel discovered a niche in L.A.’s ever-evolving health crazes. She’s been featured on popular blogs and healthy-eating articles. In the online magazine Chalkboard, she was called a “kitchen goddess and a real life mermaid” for her exquisite cuisine and her slender figure. Read the rest of the article: cooking class.