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My Identity Crisis-Defining Myself by Exercise

You know the feeling when you look over a verse, passage, or quote that literally leaps off the page and resonates with you in an inexplicable way? It’s almost as if the words were written for you, in that moment, and pertain exactly to how you feel or what you are dealing with. I definitely get this feeling many times when reading Scripture and inspirational words. One of the most memorable memories I’ve had of this experience was when I stumbled upon this verse from First Timothy, thanks to good ol’ Pinterest :)……identity crisis verse

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Hi Y’all! My name is Zahra and I’m a 19 year old college student passionate about growing spiritually, learning endlessly, and living healthfully. I love to express my deepest sentiments and ponderings through writing. I thank you for reading my words; I hope they nourish your soul!

December 4, 2017

How to Survive and Thrive Amidst College Finals

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Fall Semester finals are painful. You’ve gotten a sweet taste of off-time during Thanksgiving Break, only to have it stolen from you a few days later. You want to watch ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas but instead you find yourself sequestered in the library overnight studying Macroeconomic Theory. You crave some real, home cooked food, but find yourself eating the same frozen meals over and over. Your most visited site is the infamous Roger Hub Finals Calculator, which you check three times a day to see what you need to make on a final to get the grade you want for the class, hoping that it will miraculously drop and you won’t have to get a 120% on the test to make an A in the class.
Sound familiar?
Finals time is a tense time to be a college student. Here are some tips that will help you survive and THRIVE amidst this difficult time of year.

  1. Get solid study groups

    • We all have a friend that is near and dear to our hearts but is a non-stop talker. Nothing wrong with that, but during studying (esp. in finals season), you don’t want to be distracted. Get a study group for each class that you know will keep you on groups
  2. Find your study zone

    • Know where you study best at! Libraries and common spaces are going to be packed at all times during finals season, so make sure you etch a place out that you know you can focus at and that is somewhat reliably space example
  3. Get your planning on

    • Even if you are someone who doesn’t regularly use a planner or any form of to-do lists throughout the year (it’s so helpful !!!), you DEFINITELY should keep an active to do list during finals week.
  4. Use the Pomodoro Method

    • 25 Minutes of no distraction and strict studying followed by an ACTIVE 5 minute break (walk around, use restroom, talk to friends, etc.)
    • An hour of this cycle followed by a longer 20 Minute break (eat, relax) and then Repeat!
    • Psychologically, this method has proven effective and highly efficient.
    • Download an app to keep you on track with this method here
  5. Don’t Neglect your Health

    •  Getting 8 hours of sleep daily in college, let alone during finals week(s), is a far stretch… but try to at least sleep at a consistent time each night and get up at a consistent time so your body can get used to it.
      • Utilize power naps! The ultimate power nap trick is to drink a coffee with a double shot of espresso right before you take a power charge 15 minute nap- you’ll wake up buzzed and ready to study (while possibly shaking bc caffeine rush but oh well) lol
    • Try to bring healthy snacks to your study space so you don’t have to inconvenience yourself by wasting time and spending money going out to eat. Also, you will be able to sustain your study power more durably if you fuel yourself with healthy, real food!
      • Nuts and Fruit are a classic pair that will provide you with filling healthy fats and also antioxidant rich bursts of simple sugars nuts and fruit snack
    • You can study while exercising! I kinda am infamous for this- I literally bring my notes on the elliptical or bike and listen to lectures while running… getting in a good sweat is great for eliminating toxins and relieving stress; don’t neglect it completely during finals!
  6. Say NO

    • It is important to let your job, internship, and any extra-curricular commitment know when your finals start. They will understand, and be willing to work with your schedule. I personally was able to stop going to my internship a week before my finals started, giving me an extra 15 hours a week to study. (woot woot).
    • Also, be mindful of partying and being crazy on weekends in the weeks leading up to finals. This may sound like common sense, but many students end up giving themselves one day to give in, and end up being hungover for the next day and entirely unable to get any work done.
  7. Know the weight of your grade

    • I don’t mean literally…. if you’re particularly stressed over making a certain grade, just remind yourself that 5 years from now, you won’t have any idea what that grade is, nor will it matter. Your GPA isn’t a permanent branding that will determine your future! Don’t give it that much power over you.
  8. Know that soon you will get 2 plus weeks at home, with your family, friends, pets, real food, your own bed! You just gotta make it through a few weeks 😃

I hope these tips help ya to stay sane while killing all your finals! Good Luck ❤️

Hi Y’all! My name is Zahra and I’m a 19 year old college student passionate about growing spiritually, learning endlessly, and living healthfully. I love to express my deepest sentiments and ponderings through writing. I thank you for reading my words; I hope they nourish your soul!

December 4, 2017

Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

[Note- This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you decide to buy a product mentioned, a small commission will go to me, at no additional charge to you! This keeps the blog growing, enabling me to write more for you!]

Everyone is familiar with the movie scene featuring kids being forced by their parents to eat these horrible “green trees” and then furtively feeding these trees to the dog, who seems void of any dietary preferences. This has probably promoted the thought- How can I actually get my kids to eat vegetables?

Getting in an abundance of fruits and vegetables is so important because they are rich in antioxidants, which kill free-radicals, and high levels of vitamins that are essential for a healthy body. It’s no surprise that most Americans do not get adequate servings of these foods, inhibiting their own ability to fight off inflammation, disease vulnerability, energy, and aging. Not only will look your best
when you eat a diet rich in plants, but you will more importantly FEEL your best.

When kids are introduced to these foods from a young age as something their body needs, they won’t resist it later with such obstinence, and you will have instilled in them a lifelong healthy habit to practice.

If you or your kids have simply grown to have a distaste for most vegetables, or the word ‘salad’, there are still many ways to get in a sufficient daily dose of veggies without making anyone miserable.

get your kids to eat veggies

1) Smoothies

-If you buy a pre-made smoothie from a store or restaurant, it’s likely to have a whole lot more fruit than vegetables. Fruit is great, but all that concentrated sugar can be disastrous for already-hyper kids.  Instead, try substituting 1/2 of your normal amount of fruit and adding that half in vegetables. There are many vegetables that absorb the sweetness of the fruit and aren’t conspicuous in the smoothie, like: spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes (actually enhances the sweetness), and squash. I love freezing these veggies to add into my smoothies because it increases the creaminess of the smoothie, mirroring the texture of ice cream!

To make smoothies more filling, add in some kind of plant based protein powder. My favorite is Vega. This protein powder tastes amazing in smoothies, oatmeal, and even baked treats. The Protein and Greens powder is my favorite; packed with alfalfa, broccoli, kale, and spinach- and you can’t even taste it!!!

-Here are some of my personal favorite smoothie recipes that include vegetables:
Green Goodness Smoothie
-Frozen banana
-Frozen pineapple
-Fresh/Frozen spinach
-Shredded zucchini
-Splash of almond milk
-Vanilla Plant- based protein powder (Optional)

Berry Well Smoothie
-Frozen, destemmed kale
-Frozen mixed berries (get mine in a big bag from Costco)
-1/2 Frozen banana
-Splash of almond milk

Decadent Delight Smoothie
– Cooked then frozen Sweet Potato
– 1 to 2 tbsp nut butter
– Cinnamon
– Splash of almond milk
– 1/2 frozen banana
– Ice

2) Savory Dishes

-Instead of using chicken stock, switch over to vegetable stock;it is usually made up of veggies like onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and herbs/spices.
– Soup it up! Soups are an amazing comfort food and they are almost always easy to make. Best of all, you can literally add any vegetable into soup and make it taste good. I regularly make an ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink’ soup when I need to use up produce that is about to expire. Add in lentils, beans, or tofu to the soup for a healthy plant-based protein source that will keep you full and nourished.
– Here are links to a couple of my favorite plant based recipes that rely on vegetables to mimic popular dishes that are typically filled with heavy cream, dairy, and cheese:

-Cauliflower Alfredo
– Try out this deliicous and simple recipe by Kristen from the Endless Meal:

-Mac ‘n’ Cheeze
– This creamy Mac n Cheeze is soooo yum, from Lindsay’s blog Vegan Yumminess:

3) Sweetness

Because what kid doesn’t love dessert?!

-One of the best ways to add to the thickness or creaminess of a dessert is to add Avocado! This healthy source of fat provides you with healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamins C and E.
– Try this recipe for Chocolate Mousse created by Elena from As Easy As Apple Pie:
-Zucchini is another great addition to baked goods and sweets because of its moisture and fluffiness.
– Check out the recipe for these Incredible Vegan Brownies by Brandi from The Vegan 8:

Make sure to give some love to the recipe creators who I have linked throughout this post. The delicious recipes featured here make it so easy and YUMMY to incorporate more veggies into your kids’ everyday meals.

Let me know if you’re successful in sneaking in some vegetables into your kids’ meals….. and let me know YOUR favorite recipes that are plant based and rich in vegetables.

Thanks for reading,

xx ZB

Hi Y’all! My name is Zahra and I’m a 19 year old college student passionate about growing spiritually, learning endlessly, and living healthfully. I love to express my deepest sentiments and ponderings through writing. I thank you for reading my words; I hope they nourish your soul!

November 9, 2017