green crush: meet zahra of soulful seeds

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meet zahra | soulful seeds

location | nashville, tennessee

eco voyage's green crush series showcases green living advocates who are committed to mindful lifestyles and dedicated to protecting both the environment + all those who inhabit planet earth. today we meet zahra, the ebullient wellness blogger behind soulful seeds blog + founder of women ministries online with a passion for growing spiritually + living healthfully. zahra is an ardent mental health advocate + a savvy slow fashion enthusiast who shares her tips for living that mindful lifestyle through faith, fitness, self love + vegan eats.

live

ev: what is one small action you might encourage others to take to live a more compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle?

zahra: Choose to be aware! Many people are scared to know the implications of their current lifestyle on the planet, animals, and their own health. Instead of turning away information, try to absorb all the information you can; this will inevitably lead you to pursue a more aware and conscious lifestyle! Books to read include: How Not to Die: Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reserve Disease and Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.

love

ev: tell us three personal qualities about yourself that you would never change?

zahra: Probably my compassion, work ethic and sensitivity! [Self love is an ongoing practice and Zahra offers insightful posts via her Mindful Lifestyle, Faith + Mental Health categories. She’ll help you continue to show yourself patience + compassion while striving for emotional, psychological + physical balance in your life via her thoughtful posts including 7 Prompts to Affirm Positive Thoughts and Overcoming Negative Thought Patterns.]

learn

ev: how and why did you decide to go vegan and to pursue a green lifestyle? are there books/movies which you might recommend to others who are interested in learning more about the issues of animal rights and sustainability?

zahra: I love this question! I primarily sought out veganism because of the health benefits but was ultimately compelled to go vegan and spread my love for the lifestyle because of the environmental aspects of it. I actually have a whole article with ALL my favorite vegan resources I recommend to others interested in learning about the lifestyle!

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work it 

ev: you create weekly content for your website and for social media; it takes a lot of time + dedication to sustain your own blog. what motivates you to do so? 

zahra: Amen to that! I stay motivated because I absolutely love the entire process from content creating to interacting with readers! It warms my heart to hear feedback from people reading my content and learning new things from it!

wear it

ev: describe your favorite outfit from head to toe including any favorite vegan fashion brands.

zahra: A jumpsuit from ASOS (thrifted from Thred Up - my favorite way to shop thrifted and second hand), paired with some vegan Birkenstocks, and some bracelets from Pura Vida!

into the calm

ev: what do you do to decompress when you're feeling a little stressed?

zahra: I go to a yoga class and workout! One of my favorite, soul-feeding things to do is look through my prayer journal for verses I highlight and delve into. This practice brings me closer to the Holy Word, and enhances my understanding of the Text in the context of my own life. Truthfully, when I am anxious or worried about something, the first place I go to is usually not God. I usually try to find hope from the encouragement of a friend or loved one, and though that is helpful, it truly isn’t sustainable. When I do eventually realize that and turn to GOD, I get an unparalleled source of hope. God has the answers. He might not reveal them all to us, but He has them in His hands, and this, my friends, is the ultimate source of hope.

get happy

God is infinitely more powerful than our fears and worries. He is always with us- you just need to let Him in to tap into the vast love, safety, and trust He provides.

ev: share four things that make you really happy.

zahra: The color yellow, sunflowers, the [show] The Office and my friends+ family. Volunteering and participating in community service allows you to connect with your environment and use your unique skills to help those around you. As an added benefit, engaging in service has been proven to be a wonderful way to boost emotional well being and professional skills! There are some great databases and resources for volunteer opportunities. Use these sites to find volunteer opportunities near you:

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a superhero

ev: if you could invite three people to a private dinner party, who would they be?

zahra: Pauli Murray [the American civil rights activist + lawyer, a women's rights activist, Episcopal priest, and author], Mother Teresa [the indefatigable Roman Catholic nun + Nobel laureate for her lifelong missionary work with sick children], and Miley Cyrus [singer, actress + animal rights activist]. [Editor’s note: now that’s one eclectic and fabulous mix of women! Count me in!]

ev: if you had one superpower, what would it be?

zahra: The ability to fly!

a beautiful mind

ev: how do you define beauty? 

zahra: Beauty is inherent in us ALL! The process of uncovering it and recognizing it is essential to everyone's self development!

say anything

ev: do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?

zahra: Mine is "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle".

images c/o soulful seeds blog

find zahra here: website | instagram | facebook | twitter

eco travel: 7 superstar vegan cafés in paris

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plant revolution

“everything in food works together to create health or disease,” shares biochemist + author t. colin campbell. campbell is an advocate for science-based education promoting human health via plant-based nutrition. “it’s never too late to start eating well,” he reminds us in his book whole: rethinking the science of nutrition.* research shows that eating a plant-based diet can increase energy, improve cognitive function, encourage digestive health + boost the immune system.*

in celebration of 7 years of good health {that’s seven years cancer free + seven years of vegan eats, boys + girls!}, i am sharing my newest paris vegan café guide, in which i happily provide fabulous, 100% plant-strong venues including an organic, local + vegan tapas bar, chill cocktail destinations for effervescent drinks, the most savory veg burgers in town + my numero uno vegan hot dog venue {here is my first roundup of 12 vegan cafés and a second list of 6 vegan cafés}.

today is the day for delicious + nutritious cuisine to power your body and transform your health! bon appétit!

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mopa

mopa offers some of the best vegan burgers in paris. choose the house recipe with its symphony of flavors or the popular beyond burger. the fries are cooked to tasty perfection. zesty hot dogs are also on the menu. if you’re craving fast food, try mopa’s slow version prepared with healthy, plant-based ingredients. you’ll also find fabulous desserts like moist chocolate cake and one of my personal faves, the palmier {or “elephant ears”}. this cafe with its super warm ambiance + friendly proprietors is at the top of my list of veggie restaurants. charming, wide open space with ample indoor seating for your entire tribe.

address: 17 rue du croissant // paris, france 75002


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janine loves sunday

janine loves sunday has it all, my friends. they have fabulous pizza, pasta + desserts including my favorites, vegan banana splits + vegan sundaes. this is a popular venue for locals, both veg heads + those simply seeking a cool, vibrant atmosphere, an excellent bar for wine + beer, and savory menu offerings. expect great service {the tops, honestly} along with the most chill playlist including marvin gaye, bob marley + nina simone. indoor + outdoor seating.

address: 49 rue montmartre // paris, france 75002


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breathe

breathe is the place for fun, experimental menu offerings. inventive wraps, burgers + sushi are available, as well as delectable desserts + weekend brunches boasting vegan croissants. breathe offers responsible eating in a former tea room. a colorful, hip destination for those wanting delicious, vegan fare in a spirited atmosphere + sophisticated milieu. top-notch service + a generous-sized bar makes this a popular cocktail destination. ample indoor seating.

address: 16 rue henry monnier // paris, france 75009


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abbatoir végétal

abbatoir végétal is a gorgeous venue with its many happy plants + bright white space accentuated with gold details. ab is one of the few vegan cafes to be found near the hilltop area of montmartre {north of paris city center}. find flavorful vegan burgers, tasty hot dogs + creamy soups. desserts include the classic carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting. one of my fave locales for fruit + veggie juices. i’m not sure how they have come to be so deliciously refreshing + energizing, but i will travel far + wide to get to one of their juices. lively atmosphere with ample indoor seating + outdoor seating.

address: 61 rue ramey // paris, france 75018


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jah jah by le tricycle

jah jah offers mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs + veggie bowls and they’re doing it right. protein-packed recipes with fresh, local veggies yield satisfying + filling options along with an array of freshly-squeezed juices. a chill vibe with a great mix of music including reggae beats. cheerful crowds congregate + are willing to wait for the fab plant-strong food. ample indoor seating.

address: 11 rue des petites écuries // paris, france 75010


lotus + cactus

lotus + cactus has succeeded in creating an amazingly warm + infinitely charming space for homemade tapas + handmade desserts. female-owned, this petite downstairs eating area opens up to their lovely, airy upstairs eating area. a relaxed, warm atmosphere + the very best service in town. word gets around town fast, so call ahead to find out if in-demand food offerings are still available {this sometimes happens in the city of light, where we want not, waste not}. small, cozy outdoor seating area available.

address: 2 rue des taillandiers // paris, france 75011


hot vog

hot vog is a woman-owned enterprise where the love of good food, a taste for adventure, and the spirit of intrepidness brought to life my absolute favorite hot dog venue in france. i am drawn to this veggie comfort food precisely because it is browned to perfection + well-seasoned, then nestled inside a light, fluffy + gluten-free bun. the daily menu includes a drink + homemade dessert, usually a waffle or sweet cafe of the week. staff are attentive, professional + friendly as can be. bright, with super petite indoor seating area {3-4 inside} with outdoor seating available. just a stone’s throw away is the gorgeous jardin luxembourg, the perfect place to meet with friends, enjoy a little fresh air + eat your delicious, afternoon treat.

address: 10bis rue vavin // paris, france 75006

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le tops!

if you’re in paris, pop in to my absolute favorite veg café comptoir veggie weaving organic ingredients + deep flavors into their menu offerings; be sure to check out the vegan concept shop aujourd’hui demain {fab fashion boutique, satiating comfort food café + grocery store all in one!}; and do not leave without trying the wonder pastry shop offering fresh croissants, tangy tarts + heavenly confections pâtisserie vegetal.


{don’t forget the tip} “every kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water to produce. by comparison, a kilogram of wheat requires just 900 liters, and a kilogram of potatoes just 500 liters.”* animal agriculture is a leading cause of tropical deforestation in the brazilian amazon rainforest, with land being cleared for livestock + crops for animals at an alarming rate.

What you eat every day is a far more powerful determinant of your health than your DNA.
— Dr. T. Colin Campbell

deforestation {the cutting and removal of trees to make land available for other uses*} causes the destruction of precious ecosystems, hence destroying biodiversity and depleting natural resources crucial to the survival of indigenous peoples living within the forests. human-driven deforestation causes carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, to remain in the atmosphere and trap solar radiation which affects weather patterns, wildlife + human inhabitants. reducing meat + dairy intake reduces our carbon footprint and halves our greenhouse gas emissions. give it a try!

not sure where to start? take one step at a time! you can start with meatless mondays or try veganuary. did you know research shows a plant-based diet can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of diabetes + heart disease? there are veggie alternatives for all of your favorite foods including eggs, cheese, yogurt + mayo. here are some recipes for pastas, pizzas, omelets + one of my faves, potato salad. eating a plant-based diet is good for the environment, good for you + good for the animals!

for further reading see the china study or click on over to the center for nutrition studies.

header image by ev // images c/o restos + cafes

simple pleasures: la vie romantique

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I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.
— Langston Hughes

a dutch painter + professor of drawing, ary scheffer came to settle in paris in 1811, eventually inhabiting the handsome home that came to be le musée de la vie romantique. scheffer befriended artists + intellectuals including george sand, chopin + delacroix. from within this picturesque home + art studio, scheffer supported upcoming artists by showing work that had been refused by the salon such as théodore rousseau’s the descent of the cows. he showed these declined works along with paintings by his friends paul huet and jules dupré, thus establishing “an exhibition of the refused.” scheffer rented this abode until his death in 1858 when he passed, at which time his daughter purchased the home.