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Mindful Lifestyle

Cultivating a Healthy Relationship with Food

Many people nowadays are open about their struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food. The prevalence of eating disorders, whether it be anorexia nervosa, orthorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or EDNOS, is widespread, affecting an estimated 10% of the U.S. population. One very important but often overlooked way to preempt the possible growth of disordered eating thoughts is to change the way we talk about food. This simple change can do wonders in creating a healthy relationship with food for us and those around us.
cultivate a healthy relationship with food

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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!

February 1, 2018
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5 Bad Morning Habits that are Killing Your Productivity

Posted in Mindful Lifestyle by
If you are rolling your eyes at this article because you’re tired of being told that you have to be a morning person to be productive, roll not. I’ve got your back! There are actually genetic differences that separate those who experience peak energy levels at night from those who experience them in the early hours of the day. (Check out this study). I’m not suggesting you change the way you’re programmed- just the way you program your morning! Eliminate these 5 bad morning habits that kill your daily productivity and I assure you will find more enjoyment in the morning time.
Whether morning looks like 5 AM or 11 AM for you, you probably have started your day practicing at least one of these habits.

Keep in mind- it is impossibly difficult to successfully abandon a bad habit if you don’t have another habit to replace it with. Check out 5 Powerful Morning Habits that Skyrocket Productivity for great substitutions that will enhance your productivity and happiness.

bad morning habits that are killing your productivity

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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!

January 11, 2018
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5 Powerful Morning Habits that Skyrocket Productivity

In light of resolution season, I decided now would be the perfect  time to write about 5 Powerful Morning habits that I think everybody could benefit from adopting. I’ve seen these practices skyrocket not only my productivity but also my motivation for my work and general happiness. None of these require you waking up at the butt-crack of dawn (although I do recommend that) or sleeping at 8 p.m.

These habits are perfect to take the place of damaging ones that we all have done before.  Keep in mind- it is impossibly difficult to successfully abandon a bad habit if you don’t have another habit to replace it with. Check out 5 Morning Habits Killing Your Productivity to pinpoint what substitutions you can make. powerful-mindful-morning-habits

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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!

January 11, 2018
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The Value of Intentions

Posted in Faith, Mindful Lifestyle by
Nobody is immune from making mistakes. We err daily with varying intensities and consequences.  If we were to face the retributions of every mistake we make, we would all be living in Dante’s eighth circle of hell.
I think that many people skeptical of religion envision an angry God who punishes humans for every earthly mistake. There are also many who identify as religious that share a similar image of God. Living in such intense fear can be incredibly inhibitory to one’s life and their relationship with God.
The blind fear I used to possess barred me from truly optimizing the relationship I could have had with God. Liberation from falsities in my perception of Our Creator enhanced my relationship and closeness to Him. I now am confident in the persistent love God gives us, the Mercy He bestows on us, and the Faith He has in us to constantly improve and better ourselves in His Vision.

Though we are and should be held accountable for our actions, God is a loving and merciful Creator who embraces us as flawed.

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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!

January 8, 2018
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5 Minute Strategy – Creating Sustainable Goals this New Year

Making sustainable goals this New Year… is that even possible? During this time of the year, we feel obligated to conjure up abstract goals to use in response to the inescapable question of “SO- what’s YOUR New Years resolution?” Regardless of how resolute you are, it seems like most everyone falls victim to the one month-and-done resolution success. I think that this is because we create goals and resolutions that aren’t compelling enough. We lack sustainable motivation when we try to accomplish something that doesn’t mean much to us.

This realization led me to come up with a three step, 5 minute sustainable goal mapping strategy that channels a deep spiritual connection to the goals we make.

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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 29, 2017
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Chasing the Wind- Reorienting Your Goals

In last week’s Monday Message I mentioned my own tendency to gain self approval only upon reaching goals with constantly moving targets. I know for a fact I’m not alone in this; natural human tendencies leave us always striving to do more, whether it be mechanization, invention, or just overall growth.

This is ESSENTIAL to fuel worldly progress.  Communities would collapse in on themselves if humans just stagnated in growth and stopped making efforts to improve themselves and each other. But many people, especially those identified as “Type A- people”, center their entire life around this never ending pursuit of goals. These goals quickly multiply in intensity and the amount of labor they require from people. Constantly chasing these goals can lead us to a state of exhaustion and permanent dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives. Read more…

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 11, 2017
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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
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Think in Grey- Holiday Health Challenge

There are a zillion and one blog posts that provide advice on how to stay healthy during the holidays. I don’t want to repeat what is said in those posts, but I do think I have one unique tip to offer- Think in Grey.

Heed the mainstream advice to  maintain your exercise routine, stay hydrated, eat as close to your normal diet as possible-but don’t expect yourself to not falter from these tips. This time of the year is my favorite: the lights, music, hustle and bustle, cheesy Lifetime movies, and most importantly the spiritual connection I feel to all of these things. It just makes my heart happy! I don’t want to jeopardize my enjoyment of this special time because I am stuck feeling guilty about eating pie or skipping a day (or two) of training!

It is incredibly hard to be balanced or “see the grey”. Even though humans don’t SEE in black and white, we are wired to PERCEIVE in black and white. For individuals who have experienced an eating disorder, you know that this limited spectrum is what disorder thoughts THRIVE on. It’s very easy for us to categorize things in two very disparate groups, neglecting to recognize the in-between.  For example, if I enjoy a cookie with my friends, my brain jumps to the thought: “Okay well you had one cookie, you don’t do this everyday, and now you’ve already eaten something ‘not good’, so reach for the stars! Have 10 more! Who cares!” These thoughts unlock a mental Pandora’s box of bad feelings and guilt.

frustrated woman

I’m going to work really hard to keep that Pandora’s box shut tight this Holiday season. I shouldn’t feel bad for enjoying one cookie; I should savor it and enjoy it in moderation! There are definitely many special treats I can’t wait to bake this month. I’m not going to deprive myself of them! Most people are very susceptible to this All-or-Nothing Thinking (one of the 10 Cognitive Distortions). When you catch yourself having these black or white/all or nothing thoughts, I advise you to remind yourself to try to think in grey.

With that being said, I’m so looking forward to challenging myself with this task during this season.

I’ve created a Mindful Health Holiday Challenge, which is a printable calendar that has a fun health- oriented activity for each day of December! 

holiday health challenge layout

Let me know what you are challenging yourself with this season, and if you are partaking in the Mindful Health Holiday Challenge with me!
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 30, 2017
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Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities for Families

Giving thanks around an oblong dinner table cluttered with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and rolls can be tricky when you’re hosting or attending a large gathering with many, many people with hungry, hungry bellies.

While our physical hunger is not unsubstantiated, all souls have a deep hunger that can only be filled by faith, hope, and gratitude.

To emphasize the backbone of the holiday which is sometimes lost in the chaos of the moment, here are some fun and humbling family friendly activities that will emphasize the value of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

1) If you are hosting thanksgiving dinner, you can respectfully ask your guests that they not bring any gifts and instead maybe bring some cans of food that can be donated to a local food shelter, or some blankets that your family can distribute to the homeless in preparation for the cold winter.

2) Create or purchase a little “Thanksgiving Guest Book” in which guests can anonymously write one thing they are grateful for. This list can be shared with everyone at the gathering later to emphasize the abundance of things to be thankful for. Alternatively, you can make a “Guest Pumpkin” where you get a fake pumpkin, paint it a solid and opaque color, and leave out sharpies so that every guest can write out something they are grateful for on the pumpkin. It’s a great decorative piece that you can put out each year! Here’s an example that was actually used for a wedding guest book:
http://somethingturquoise.com/2014/10/31/diy-faux-pumpkin-guest-book/

3) Gratitude Pumpkins are a really fun craft for kids and they require little more than construction paper, scissors, markers, and glue. Here’s a printable template for these pumpkins from www.faithfullittlehands.com: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/Ad6tBLmxyEOc3cpvnXT6yt1LrLNTMZfLpa93WMYYS4ye6565VMgFJLI/

4) Having a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt is a great activity for both kids and adults that teaches us to be more mindful and present. This one from www.thislittlehomeofmine.com is super kid-friendly and fun: http://thislittlehomeofmine.com/thanksgiving-day-activities/

5) If you are free Thanksgiving Day morning, afternoon, checkout any Thanksgiving Feasts
being thrown by a nonprofit or NGO in your city for low income and homeless families/individuals.
My family and I do this every year and it is an amazing and humbling experience. Below is a list of such events in major cities. It’s a wonderful tradition that we look forward to every year and allows us to bond as a family. Also there are tons of events held in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving that your family can volunteer at as well. If your city isn’t shown here, just do a google search for it and hopefully you will stumble upon it!

Here are some search engines that are specifically for volunteering:
http://www.handsontriangle.org/
https://www.volunteermatch.org/
https://www.givepulse.com/

Contact your local or state food bank as well to inquire about any Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities!

West

-Newark, CA: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2780219.jsp
-Los Angeles, CA: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2820099.jsp
-Santa Barbara, CA: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2824439.jsp
-Berkelely, CA: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2803553.jsp
-San Fransisco, CA: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2826102.jsp
-Boulder, CO : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2818696.jsp
-Salt Lake City, UT : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2807712.jsp
-Denver, CO : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/refugee-first-thanksgiving-2017-tickets-38666717192?aff=es2



Southwest

-Houston,TX : http://citywideclub.com/donate.php https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feed-my-sheep-houston-2017-volunteer-registration-37226214610?aff=es2
-Dallas,TX : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-homeless-thanksgiving-tickets-39510922232?aff=es2
-Baton Rouge, LA : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feed-the-streets-tickets-39742977315?aff=es2
-Tulsa, OK : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2515052.jsp
-Austin, TX :http://www.givingcityaustin.com/volunteering/givingcitys-2017-list-of-thanksgiving-volunteering-opportunities/
-Pheonix, AZ :https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2822831.jsp

Midwest

-Chicago, IL : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2814560.jsp
-Cleveland, OH : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hashtaglunchbag-cleveland-thanksgiving-edition-tickets-29331177341?aff=es2
-Columbus, OH : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cgb-and-homeless-families-foundation-holiday-food-box-111917-tickets-39287236181
-Detroit, MI : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/giving-back-on-thanksgiving-2017-tickets-39503714674?aff=es2
-St. Louis, MO : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ulyp-stl-thanksgiving-bag-stuffing-tickets-39382601421?aff=es2
-Iowa City, IA : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/elder-services-home-for-the-holidays-tickets-38874961055?aff=es2

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic

-Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2811253.jsp
-Bronx, NY : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2822543.jsp
-Pittsburgh, PA : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thanksgiving-meal-tickets-36901422147?aff=es2
-Boston, MA : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-urban-league-young-professionals-fall-17-community-service-tickets-39229846527?aff=es2
-Portland, ME : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thanksgiving-day-meal-volunteer-shifts-tickets-38598312592?aff=es2
-Baltimore, MD : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/serve-thanksgiving-dinner-with-cityfam-registration-38777938859?aff=es2

Southeast

-Black Mt., North Carolina: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2821727.jsp
-Charlotte, North Carolina: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2808512.jsp
-Charleston, South Carolina: http://charlestonbasketbrigade.com/volunteer-your-time/
-Greenville, South Carolina: http://www.harvesthope.org/volunteer
-Columbia, South Carolina: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-thanksgiving-dinner-tickets-38627902095?aff=es2
-Tampa, FL : https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2811432.jsp
-Atlanta, GA : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ggb-presentsthe-4th-annual-gift-of-thanksgiving-feast-for-the-homeless-tickets-24655642691?aff=es2

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love!
xx

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 14, 2017
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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
-Ice
-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
-Ice

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:
https://www.theendlessmeal.com/dreamy-vegan-cauliflower-alfredo/

-Mac ‘n’ Cheeze
– This creamy Mac n Cheeze is soooo yum, from Lindsay’s blog Vegan Yumminess:
http://veganyumminess.com/creamy-vegan-mac-and-cheese/

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:
https://aseasyasapplepie.com/avocado-chocolate-mousse/
-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:
http://thevegan8.com/2017/04/14/vegan-zucchini-fudgy-brownies/

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
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