Lauren Chew is California-born with multi-cultural influences. Her Mother was a Polish American and her father a Chinese American. Plus there’s the influence of the Southern California culture.
“When I was growing up in San Diego, it was already well ahead in the health and wellness movement. Everybody lives a very outdoor lifestyle, hiking, surfing. In high school and college I was an avid swimmer and a beach lifeguard.’
“I begged my mom to be a vegetarian when I was 8 years old,” Lauren remembers. “I grew up with dogs and horses, and I love animals. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them. My mother didn’t want to make separate meals. My father is a physician, and he was concerned about my getting enough protein.”
“I got two bachelor’s degrees at the University of California San Diego, international relations and sociology. Part of the cafeteria menu was for vegans and vegetarians, so I became a full-time vegan. Then I received a scholarship to attend university in Taiwan. It was a formative experience for me. I learned Chinese and more about my cultural roots on my father’s side. Vegetarian restaurants near the Buddhist temples catered to the monks, so that worked out well, too.”
When she returned from Taiwan, she obtained an internship in Washington, DC. “I had worked on Obama’s first campaign, and I wanted to intern for a female Representative from California. I wrote to all 40 of them, and the first reply was from Democratic Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, who represents East Los Angeles. My job consisted of leading tours of the Capitol, answering constituents’ mail, taking notes at committee meetings. When I talk with young people about finding a career, I often tell them that you can end up on a very different path than you start out,” she smiles.
Lauren moved to San Francisco and got a job with Solar City (later bought by Tesla). “I am very passionate about sustainability and new technology. Plus, it was a fun and exciting time, before the IPO. The company was growing fast, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of new and interesting things.”
After a while, Lauren decided to work for a smaller, early-stage company where she could learn as much as possible about running a business. “At the same time as I was winding down my involvement in that company, my stepmom was experiencing some health issues and decided to take the McDougall course to figure out a diet that would work for her. She committed to eating 100% plant-based foods.”
“I was still cooking with butter and eggs, but she educated me about plant-based foods. She encouraged me to make delicious, plant-based baked goods, and my CompletEats cookies were developed from her recipes. She loves that I am doing this. She’s my #1 fan!”
With a friend from college as a business partner, Rohit Sood, Lauren has built CompletEats. “I introduced him to a plant-based lifestyle. He models our flexitarian approach, because he follows a broader diet.”
“Our CompletEats philosophy is very inclusive. We want our plant-based cookies and the way they are packaged to be very approachable. They taste so good, they appeal to everyone.”