Listen up, Java Junkies. I don’t know about you, but when I see a list of episodes, all concerning health and wellness, I immediately think that what I’m getting myself into is a bunch of medical professionals telling me how awful my college lifestyle is.

And yes, in a sense, that is what happened. But it was better than I thought it would be. 

All of these episodes, especially for a college student, hit close to home. And why wouldn’t they? Most of us, even if you’re out of college and in the workforce, are still getting used to living on our own. Treating your body and your mind well can easily get put on the back burner when things like school, assignments, and work have real, solid, deadlines. But listening to a bunch of these episodes the other day, I had five big revelations. Even if you don’t get the chance to listen to all of the episodes (which I would highly recommend), give this a read to glean some of my favorite tips.

      1. Yes, it IS still possible to eat healthy in college.

In college, it’s so easy to grab whatever looks best to you (for me, that’s usually curly fries or mac and cheese) and eat it fast before you have to run to your next class. As I listened to certified food coach and eating psychologist, Elise Museles (T4C episode #42),  I began to understand that eating junk is only going to make me feel like junk. Her advice to “eat the rainbow” has helped me diversify my plate and add more colors to salads and sandwiches so I leave the dining hall feeling full and nourished. 

      2. Meditation isn’t just saying ‘ohmmm’ and then moving on.

I, much like Chief Java Junkie Andrea’s 15-year old son, have begrudgingly tried meditation over the years with little results. But as I listened to Emily Fletcher, founder of online Ziva meditation, (T4C episode #59) I realized that meditation is a commitment that you have to make. In order to get the results that she talked so highly of: increased energy, less stress, and improved everyday performance, you have to devote fifteen to twenty  minutes of your day, twice a day, to see the results. 

Pro tip: combine Emily’s meditation tactics with author of The Nature Fix, Florence Williams’ (T4C episode #59) concept of ‘forest bathing’ to feel extra rejuvenated. 

      3. Veganism is not synonymous with being a hippie.

I’ll admit it — I am a meat eater. But the more that I listened to Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, (T4C episode #205)  I realized that eating more plants really could make a positive impact on my mood and digestion. Does that mean I’m giving up chicken nuggets forever? Certainly not. But cutting down on my intake of processed meats and overall meat consumption is a much easier step, so why not take it?

      4. Apparently cheese is more dangerous than… literally everything.

I could give up a lot of things in life: chocolate, gluten, sugar, chips, etc. but not cheese. But as I listened to Dr. Barnard (T4C episode #205 ) list the addictive qualities to cheese, I thought that maybe it was about time that I gave my stomach a break from the mozz sticks. And for the record, holistic psychiatrist, Dr. Ellen Vora (T4C episode #56) explaining  that Doritos are also truly addictive, explained a lot about my high school snacking habits.

      5. No, it really isn’t too early.

Out of everything I learned from these episodes, this is what stood out the most. It’s typical, as young people, to think that we are invincible to negative health effects. We can eat bad food now, because we’re young and it won’t affect us, right? Wrong. Dr. Barnard, Elise Museles, Dr. Ellen Vora, and Florence Williams all convinced me that what I’m doing right now could affect everything in my future. 

You don’t have to go and change every single thing in your life. But a few small changes like cleaning up your diet, trying meditation and building time in the day for a walk in the woods can give you more energy, improve your mood and help you bring your best self to each day. 

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