Life update: Medical school and trip to Algeria

السلام عليكم

I’m back with a life update seeing as how it’s been a while since I’ve made a post.

I feel like I have a good reason for my absence seeing as how I decided to go to medical school! It’s always been my dream to become a doctor, but I’ve always second guessed myself. With the support of my husband and my family, I decided to go for it. I’m really excited.

Before I can begin this new journey into medical school, I have to complete a postbac so I can complete some science credits that I will need, and so I can get some more medical work experience in before I take the MCAT exam and apply to medical schools.

I’ve been researching the admissions process and reading a lot of advice and stories from med students and residents online, and of course studying. I’ve already learned so much just by asking questions and doing a lot of research.

I’ve also started a Facebook group for other pre-medical students. Check it out here if you are pre-med, or if you are interested in or thinking about studying medicine:

We welcome people from any point in the pre-med and medical school journey. Stop by and say hello!

In addition to my medical school endeavors, I am currently in Algeria spending the entire summer with my husband and his family. In addition, I’m doing an ethnographic study for my senior thesis in medical anthropology (my undergrad major) about Algerian home remedies and natural medicine. Algerians are really crafty when it comes to natural medicine, and I’ve learned so much from my lovely mother-in-law. I will share some health secrets soon!

I hope you all are well! Ramadan mubarak!

مع السلامة

Raspberry Lime Smoothie Recipe

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Smoothies are an excellent way to replenish your body after a work out. I love making tropical flavored or raspberry flavored smoothies for after an intense work out session.

The following is my favorite recipe for a raspberry lime smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 lime : juiced
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup limeade
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey
  • ice (usually about 3 cups, but start with less and add more if necessary)

*Note: I use Chobani vanilla flavored yogurt, but raspberry or key lime pie flavored is nice too. And use your judgement on the ice. It’s best to start with a small amount and add more to get the thickness that you like in your smoothie. Everyone likes it differently. I have a big blender, so I can fit a lot of cubes in it. I usually use more than 3 cups with this one.

To make your smoothie, simply combine the ingredients and blend. Voila! If your smoothie is too sour for your liking, add more honey.

Enjoy!

مع السلامة

January 9 : National Take the Stairs Day

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السلام عليكم

Today is National Take the Stairs Day! My challenge for you today is to not only take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator, but also to go out of your way to either climb an extra flight, or get on the stair stepper at the gym at the end of your work out!

Have you noticed how the iPhone Health app has a calculator for the flights of stairs that you’ve climbed? There are free apps available for Android as well, and sports tracking watches such as the FitBit for tracking the flights of stairs climbed as well. I’m going to set a goal for myself today, and try to meet it every day. Join me!

Climbing stairs is a great way to work on your quads, calves, and glutes, and to get in some cardio to burn some of that fat. Let’s do this!

بسم الله

Setting Goals for Ourselves : Critiquing Diet Resolutions

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“There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.”
– Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

السلام عليكم

This post generally applies to American culture, but I think there are some things that my Islamic readers from other countries could find useful too.

I want to share some thoughts about “New Years Resolutions,” a fad that has existed in America for years, and it’s association with dieting, getting fit, and promoting an overall better lifestyle. I know that other cultures have a similar practice, but seeing as how I grew up in America, I can’t speak to the success or failure of their practices, having never experienced them myself.

(If you have something you want to share from your culture, I would love to hear it! I’d like for you to leave me a message in the comments section).

Whether this practice of New Year’s Resolutions is halal or not is another story, but I think that the fact that most Americans rarely keep their New Years Resolution promises shows that the idea is ineffective, and should be replaced with something that helps us set realistic goals for ourselves.

The important questions are: Why do so many people keep breaking the promises they make to themselves about their health? Why do people keep telling themselves “tomorrow I’m going to start doing _____” and then continue putting it off, or fail to begin all together? I think this is because of two reasons.

1-The notion that being healthy is temporary. Health is not something that you can work on for a while and then give up. It’s a lifestyle. You have to train yourself to enjoy healthy foods and exercise, and then you have to continue it for the rest of your life. It’s not a diet that you stick to for a while until you’re skinny, and then abandon for your old ways.

2-Guilt or disappointment in past failures. Sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves. Starting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that we can’t have a treat every once in a while. You don’t have to eat nothing but kale for the rest of your life in order to be healthy. We are human. And we like chocolate. So indulge occasionally. Just train yourself not to OVERindulge. You know all of those fitness gurus that you see on the internet and on TV? They have cheat days too. As long as you get back on track the next day, there’s no harm in giving yourself a treat every now and then. Learn to forgive yourself for your failures, and learn to be proud of your accomplishments, regardless of how big or small they are.

I’m not so guilty of the New Year’s Resolution fail because I don’t usually make them in the first place, but I am definitely guilty of the putting things off until “tomorrow” fail. I’m trying to change that. I’m not saying that I’m buying into the whole New Year’s Resolution idea, but I am going to set new goals for myself; not because it’s the end of the year, but because I have made some progress (I lost 30 pounds), and now it’s time to set the bar higher.

A friend of mine inspired part of my next goal. There are two parts. The first part is my own idea; simply to continue striving for a healthier lifestyle. I want to strengthen my relationship with Allah, I want to eat healthier, I want to get stronger and improve my overall physical fitness, and I want to get more sleep. The second part comes from my friend, who will remain nameless, but ما شاء الله her kindness knows no bounds. Together we have set a goal of learning to not be ashamed of our bodies and to learn to love our physical appearances. If you struggle with this yourself, I encourage you to join us.

What are your personal health and fitness goals? What changes will you make first? What changes made you feel proud of yourself? I want to hear it!

مع السلامة

Excellent Algerian Recipes Blog

السلام عليكم

I normally don’t get to do two posts in one day, but I HAD to share some Algerian recipes with you all! This meal was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend recommend making it for feasts and special occasions.

My friend La Petite Maman has some amazing Algerian recipes on her blog. Today I made her Algerian couscous (Kseksou), her Algerian chicken and olives (Djedj Bezzitoun), and her Algerian Sablés (cookies).

If you’re looking for some good Algerian recipes (or just Mediterranean recipes in general), her blog is a must see. Check it out!

And leave me a message in the comments section and tell me how you think I did!

مع السلامة

Healthy Snack Guide: Oranges

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Salam!

Happy holidays to my Christian friends. I hope you enjoy some rest and time with your families.

Today I want to talk about ORANGES. My favorite!

Okay, so we all know that oranges, tangerines, and other sorts of citrus are all delicious, but what sort of nutritional value do they really have?

Oranges and tangerines have some important nutrients such as Vitamin C, B1, and A, and they also have a decent amount of fiber. There are also some notable health benefits. The vitamin C helps with your skin, and the fiber helps lower cholesterol, with digestive health, and it can even be good for your heart.

I just love to buy bags of tiny tangerines (“Halos,” anyone?) and throw a couple in my backpack or purse to take with me when I’m on the go. Most of them are seedless and don’t even require a knife to peel them. It’s a great way to give yourself some vitamins and a “pick-me-up” in the afternoon with some natural sugars.

So the next time you’re at the market, get some oranges for a healthy and a tasty snack!

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YUM!

مع السلامة

Staying Hydrated

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السلام عليكم

We all know how important it is to say hydrated. Have you been drinking enough water lately?

According to a report in the Institute of Medicine, the “general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water.”

So how much water should we actually have to drink, without the food intake accounted for?

The Mayo Clinic recommends that for a healthy adult individual, “an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.” Children will need less water than adults, and people who are ill often need additional fluids.

You’re probably thinking that 2.2-3 liters sounds a bit more than the “8 glasses a day” that is usually thought to be sufficient for both men and women.

Guess we should be a bit more mindful.

I’ve started carrying a (large) water bottle around with me while I’m out for the day. Depending on the size of your bottle, if you fill it up in the morning and tell yourself that you need to drink the entire bottle (and maybe refill it and drink a second one if it’s small), you should be getting enough fluids in no time. Good luck!

بسم الله

Halal Lifestyle

السلام عليكم

Salam alaikoum!

My name is Fatima, and I started this blog after committing to a new healthy lifestyle as a way of sharing ideas, connecting with others, and hopefully even making a few friends as I continue on this journey to a “healthier me.”

My goal is to increase my iman, my nutrition, and my physical fitness. In sha’Allah you will join me.

In my blog, you will see posts about Islam, healthy eating, exercise, and general health. While my blog will feature some posts that will appeal most to Muslim women, I welcome both men and women of all faiths.

Stay tuned for some healthy snack ideas to get things started this week, followed by a discussion about modesty and working out, in sha’Allah. I can’t wait to get started!

مع السلامة

Maasalama!