April 12, 2017

Why I became a vegetarian (Do I miss eating meat?)

If you had told me a year or two ago that I will be writing a blog post about becoming a vegetarian, I would have laughed at your face so hard! I was one of those people who thought vegetarian/vegans were weird and always tried to make you feel like they were better than you. In fact, let me give a few reasons why back then, omitting meat from my diet would have never crossed my mind.

     1. This is going to sound super stereotypical, but I used to LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE chicken. I can’t remember a day when I was offered chicken and said no. If there was a world where chicken was the only meat available, I would have had no problem eating it on a daily basis.
     2.  In cases you didn’t know, I’m African. And in a typical African household it is virtually unheard of to not eat meat. Basically if the food doesn’t have meat in it, it won’t be as enjoyable as if it did. Think of it as having spaghetti and meatballs without the meatballs. The chances of us eating spaghetti with no meat balls are virtually non-existent. Out of every meal we eat, I would say at least 8/10 times it has some kind of meat in it. 
     3. I was uneducated. When I thought of non-meat eaters, I thought of hardcore animal lovers who would get upset with you for accidentally stepping on an ant and I simply could never relate. Ever since a dog took a bite out me when I was little, animals and I haven’t been the best of friends. I’m not a fan of them, and they aren’t of me. I’m okay with us co-existing and all but I’m not about to dedicate my life to saving them (do I sound heartless?).

Things quickly changed when I finally got a Netflix subscription and quickly developed a love for documentaries. After binge-watching too many documentaries to keep count, I finally stumbled on a documentary called FOOD, INC.  It was as if I had been blinded for years, and the movie basically removed my blindfold. I was completely flabbergasted by what I was watching. I never really paid any mind to how the food I was buying got to the grocery store, where it was made, and how?

FOOD INC. opened doors to many other documentaries just like it and before I knew it, I had watched Cowspiracy, Fork over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Vegucated, and countless YouTube videos. With every documentary and video that I watched, it became apparent that I couldn’t allow myself to indulge in animal flesh any longer. The chicken I liked so much spent most of its days in an overcrowded room, away from sunlight and pumped with so many hormones to make it grow faster that it couldn’t even walk. The chickens’ legs will often give out because they couldn’t handle the abnormal weight of their bodies. Watching that and many more like it honestly made me want to puke.

Not only is Animal agriculture unsustainable but it is also a huge contributor to climate change among other things. One thing I learned that absolutely baffled is the fact that we could very well feed the millions of people who go hungry every day with the grains we reserve for livestock.  Learning facts such as these further reinforced my decision to stop eating meat.
And so after years of being a proud carnivore, at the beginning of this year I decided that it was time for me to break up with meat. I slowly removed meat from my meals and before I knew it, the sight of chicken I used to drool over made me nauseous. I will admit that at the beginning of my journey, I sometimes missed eating meat. Not so much the taste of it, but more so just seeing it on my plate. I’m not the biggest fan of change, so I think I probably missed the routine or familiarity of always eating my meals with a piece of meat on the side. Like I said earlier, in our household there wasn’t much we cooked that didn’t include meat.

Now that I am four months in, I can’t possibly imagine myself ever eating animal flesh again. My chipotle order now, actually costs less than before and that’s with guacamole! I walk by a chick-fil-a almost every day to get to school and I barely look at it whereas before all it took was the smell of chicken nuggets to get me through the door.
I eventually plan on transitioning to a vegan diet in the future, but as of right now, I’m having lots of fun trying vegetarian recipes and making vegetarian versions of foods that I used to eat with meat.

I’ve been really careful not to reinforce the belief I previously had about meat-free eaters when I get asked questions (even ones that are…challenging to answer to say the least). I always felt as though they were condescending towards carnivores which is why I was so quick not to show any type of interest in their lifestyles. I’m definitely not trying to tell anyone how to live their lives but I do believe that sharing what I learned with others could possibly encourage them to do their own research and take whatever action they see fit. I know I probably would have become a vegetarian sooner if I had been informed. With that said, here are some of the videos/movies I watched that helped me decide to become a vegetarian.

FOOD INC. (Netflix)
Forks over Knives (Netflix)
Cowspiracy (Netflix)
Plant Pure Nation (Netflix)


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March 17, 2017

5 Great Yoga Videos For Complete Beginners on Youtube

I recently talked about beginning my yoga journey and in case you were wondering how that's been going, i'm happy to announce that so far, it's been amazing! I'm so glad i was able to successfully incorporate it into my daily routine and stick to it. I refer to yoga as my daily cup of coffee because It's amazing how rejuvenated and energetic i feel after every sequence.

As a college student, yoga classes don't really have a place in my budget so i'm more than happy to take full advantage of the free videos i can get on YouTube. After doing yoga solely on YouTube for a couple months now, Here are some of my favorites beginner-friendly videos:

Yoga For Complete Beginners - 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout!

Yoga with Adrienne is the very first yoga sequence I followed and I absolutely loved it! It doesn’t matter if you barely know anything about yoga or that you don’t even own a yoga mat. All you really need going into this is a positive mind and attitude. This is just one of many awesome beginner’s videos Adrienne has on her channel.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class for Beginners

This is another great video to follow.  I absolutely love the narrator of this video because the instructions are very easy to follow along. You could almost do this practice with your eyes closed. The pace is slow which is perfect for beginner’s. At first, it seems like an easy peasy practice, but as you get further into the video, you’ll be sweating like no other.

Beginner Morning Yoga Sequence for Greatist (15-min)

This yoga sequence is perfect if you just want to test the waters before diving into a longer yoga practice. 

Yoga For Beginners - 30 Minute Home Yoga Workout || Flexibility & Relaxation

I’ve always wanted to work on my flexibility, so I totally loved doing this sequence. The instructions are clear and precise which makes the video very easy to follow along. I have been doing this yoga routine for a while now and I definitely notice a difference from how flexible I was on day one as oppose to now.

Yoga for Beginners, Journey into Strength with Kino

The first time you might find this video a little bit tougher than the others but it’ll make you realize that you’re much stronger than you thought. One thing I learned practicing yoga is that it’s not about doing everything perfectly. It’s more about the process of getting the poses right. So, don’t beat yourself up if there are some poses you just can’t get right (yet).

Even though all these videos are geared towards beginners, I struggled a little with some of them the first time I practiced. If you feel the same way while following any of these videos, you’re not alone. What I did to kind of make things easier for me is that I lowered the speed of the videos and it made a huge difference.


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February 26, 2017

What To Do If You Missed Class in College

The good thing about college classes is that your professors will most likely not take attendance which means they probably won’t notice if you’re not there. Especially if you’re in a large lecture class. 

missing a college class


It’s all fun and games until it’s two days until your midterm and you have no idea as to what you’re going to be tested on. YIKES.

Missing class in college is definitely not the end of the world It’s fine if you had a family emergency or you were really sick. it’s more of what you do after being absent from class that really matters. If you go about your day as if nothing happened and expect your professor to come up to you the next class to hand you notes from the lesson you missed, you’re playing yourself. It’s your responsibility to go above and beyond to try to catch up on whatever you missed. Here’s how to go about it:

Talk/Email your professor before class
Do not wait until the next class to talk to your professor about why you missed class. You should definitely call/email before then or go to the he/she’s office hours to find out what you missed. Don’t expect your professor to go over the entire class lesson again just for you thoughthat’s probably not going to happen. The most, they will do is answer questions you might have about the lesson.

Here’s a sample email to send your professor about your absence:
          Dear Professor_________________,

I would like to apologize for not being able to attend [Insert Class] on [insert date].
I had to [insert a legit reason for missing class. Keep it brief]. I received notes from the lecture from a classmate and learned that the study guide for our upcoming exam was handed out. Would you be available [insert day and time] to give me a copy of the study guide and maybe answer a couple question I have about the lecture? Thank you for your time.

[Insert Name]
[Insert Class]

Look at the attendance and late work policy
I've had professors who were very strict and followed everything on the syllabus to the last dot, and others who were a little more open to giving students a break. If you missed class the day your homework assignment was due or the day you were meant to take an exam, make sure to look at your syllabus for your professor’s policy on such matters. I once had a professor who wouldn't let me take a make-up exam unless I basically brought picture evidence of me lying on a hospital bed (Talk about doing the most). But I've also had professors who let me make-up whatever I missed with just a warning.

Yes, you missed something. No need to ask
I doubt there’s a professor who doesn't think every one of his classes is important. It’s so funny to see their facial expressions when students ask “Did I miss anything important last class?” Oh no, Sarah. You certainly didn't miss anything at all. In fact, we went ahead and stopped everything we were doing because no one wanted you to miss anything important.

You missed something okay? There’s no need to ask. Your professor might even take offense to this because you’re basically implying that his classes aren’t important. What you need to do at this point is try to find out if there were any handouts given or collected while you were absent.

Talk to your classmates
I always try to have the phone number of at least one person in every one of my classes in anticipation of times like this one. Your professor might have said something important about an upcoming exam. If you know more than one person in your class, ask them all for their notes because everyone has a different note taking styles.

I once asked a classmate for her biology notes and I basically felt like I was reading a comic book. There were so many drawings and barely any wordsI couldn't understand a thing.  It was impossible for me to make out what anything meant yet after asking her about it, she was perfectly able to explain everything. Another reason why it’s always good to ask notes from multiple classmates is because people have different ideas of what’s important and what isn't. One classmate might write down a concept they think is important, while another might not.

Next time, give your professor a heads-up
If you’re going to be absent again in the near future, definitely let your professor know in advance. You certainly don’t have to say too much about why you’re going to be missing class again, but you should provide a reason that’s going to help determine whether or not you should be allowed to submit late work or be exempted from class activities. Also, if you’re going to be absent because of a concert or something of the sort don’t bother mentioning the reason for your absence.

When you miss a class in college you take like 5 steps behind and everyone else and the more classes you miss, the larger the distance from everyone else becomes. You’re going to have so much catching up to do, you won’t even know where to even begin in order to get back on track. From never-ending reading assignments to countless lab reports, you’ll barely have any room to breathe. If this doesn't sound like something you would want to deal with, don’t make missing class a habit.

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January 29, 2017

A Student's Guide to Surviving Long Lecture Classes

Let’s all give a round of applause to the genius who thought three-hour lectures were a good idea.

My first ever lecture class in college was surprisingly quite interesting. I actually looked forward to the class and barely noticed how long it was. I thought “this isn’t bad at all. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.” Turns out, I spoke too fast. The next semester I had to take another lecture class and this time I did understand what the fuss was about.

I was fine the first hour and half of class, but shortly after I was googling “50 ways to stay awake.” I had been so busy trying to keep myself from falling asleep, that I barely paid attention to the lecture. Luckily, I eventually got it together and learned some ways to stay alert and pay attention.

If you’re currently in the same boat as I was, here are a couple thing you can do to successfully get through your obviously long lecture class.

Treasure whatever break time you are given
Do you want to know what my favorite phrase is?  It’s “Alright guys let’s take a 15-minute break” You don’t have to tell twice! I would fly out of my chair before my professor even finished that sentence. Take advantage of this time to recharge your energy as much as you can. You can go on a little walk around your school to get your blood flowing and increase your alertness.  Don’t stay in your seat during break! You’ve been sitting down for so long that your legs probably fell asleep and your butt definitely has to hurt by now. Get up, stretch, let your legs feel alive again.

Dress comfortably
If you ever needed a reason to wear leggings pretty much all the time, this is it. Getting through a 2 to 3-hour class is already hard enough, so why make it worst by dressing uncomfortably? Do yourself a favor and try not to wear your super tight skinny jeans to your class. I don’t know about you, but I’m already not in love with the idea of sitting on those cold hard chairs for hours and I wouldn’t want to induce my misery with clothes I can barely breathe in.

Don't look at the clock
I’m so guilty of this. About an hour into class, I start looking at the clock every 5 minutes and I swear the numbers do not move. It’s like I check the time and it’s 2:45pm and 10 minutes later I’m checking again, and it’s still 2:45pm! Obviously, that’s not true, but it sure feels like it when you constantly look at the clock.

Have healthy snacks
No one wants likes to learn on an empty stomach. Make you bring snacks to munch on while you’re in class. Quiet snacks to be precise. It’s very distracting not only to your professor but also to your fellow classmates to have to hear you crunch on chips or whatever.

Find a front row sit
Sitting front row eliminates the distractions that you might otherwise have while sitting further back. If you’re sitting a few rows behind, your attention is more likely to get caught up in whatever students in front of you might be doing. Before you realize it, you’ve spent close to 20 minutes staring at another student playing chess on their laptop.
Also, if you’re sitting in front of the class, it is much harder not to pay attention. You are obviously not going to freely go on Instagram or fall asleep if your professor is standing right in front of you. At least I hope you won’t.

Ask questions
Asking questions is great way to stay engaged so you don’t dose off. In order to ask questions, you actually have to know what’s going on. Professors love when students ask questions because it shows that you’re paying attention to the lecture. Asking questions might even prompt more students to join the conversation and make the lecture more interesting

Prepare in advance and take notes during class
Try to review the chapters you will be covering in class the night before. Since you’re going to be learning something new, having an idea of what the material is about might make things easier to understand. This will also give you the opportunity to write down questions you can your professor in class.

If you’re too busy taking notes, you probably won’t be as bored as a student who is just staring at the professor. As you write your notes, get a little creative. Meaning, make them stand out. Use different color pens or draw examples for the more important concepts. Doing this will make it easier to study revise and remember your notes later on. Even if you’re not one to usually take notes, doing so will distract you from noticing how long the class is.

Don’t bring your laptop to class or use your phone
Before browsing through Facebook, remember you’re going to have to take exams about the stuff you’re not paying attention to. Also, you don’t want to get in the habit of going on your phone or laptop whenever you’re bored. There are going to be instances outside of school where you’re also bored, let’s say work, and it wouldn’t be wise to break out your phone while your colleagues are in a meeting. As tempting as it will be to go on your phone or laptop, keep them out of sight and try as hard as you can to pay attention.

Most importantly, go to your class with a good attitude. Yeah, the class may be boring and whatnot, but will complaining actually make things better? I would argue not. Au contraire, constant complains might even make you dislike your class more than before. Your best chance is to try to find ways to still get the most out of your class even if it’s as boring as boring gets.

What lecture class are you currently taking?


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January 18, 2017

Starting My Yoga Journey

I used to be one of those people who thought yogis were some weird hippies who talk about their auras all the time and do alien-like shapes. 

beginning my yoga journey

Well...obviously my mind-set has changed.
I had been thinking about doing yoga for a few months but I was really intimidated by all the other yogis. When I looked at all the poses everyone else was doing, it was hard to believe that I could ever come close to achieving anything like it.

A couple weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and never looked back. I’ve been following a few beginner videos on YouTube and loving them. My first practice was one heck of a roller coaster. At first I thought “well this isn’t too hard” but before I knew it, I was begging to be back in child’s pose every two minutes. I was super sore afterwards but after a few more practice, my body actually started cooperating. I’m still not able to do the downward facing dog right, but i'm getting there.