For a long time, it used to be part of our routine to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The growing flexibility of our time is breaking this routine, which brings us to a new eating habit called “snackification.

What does Snackification mean?

Snackification describes a trend that is moving away from the three-meal routine to more of a several snacks per day structure. A usual day of snackification could look like this: in the morning some berries with Greek yoghurt and an egg, later some highly nutritious nuts, for lunch a quinoa bowl with various fried or cooked vegetables, later a protein bar and, in the evening, some cut vegetables, crackers and guacamole. Especially the pandemic has caused this trend to get more and more popular because people needed to create their own structures when working remotely. On the one hand, people have more flexibility in a work setup at home and, on the other hand, they have enough time to prepare and enjoy their food or snacks.

Focus on Health

The name snackification might give the impression that it’s all about eating some crisps or a chocolate bar, but the trend focuses on eating healthy food. Many of the snacks are vegetarian or vegan. If there is meat, then the quality is important: instead of mass production, consumers preferably buy bio-products and use, whenever accessible, fresh, seasonal, and regional ingredients.

Tapas, Mezze and Bowls are some of the most popular snacks but Wraps, Sushi, Ramen and Pho are also well-known and beloved snacks.  

Are there any issues?

In order to not have any negative side effects from this trend, it is recommended to keep an eye on giving your body enough vitamins, proteins, and other essential nutrients. If on any given day that’s not possible for some reason, you should take advantage of so-called “functional foods”. These are foods with healthy additives. As in the case of every other food trend, you can’t clearly say how healthy or unhealthy snackification actually is.

Whether snackification is good for the body or not depends on the person. While some feel more energetic and healthier with this trend, others might just have to stick to the three-meal routine.

In general, it’s important to ensure that you don’t eat only carbs. Although they give you a quick burst of energy, you may feel agitated as soon as the blood sugar level drops.

If you are someone who tried to stick to the three-meal routine for eating healthy, you can take a step back and try snackification. Only you know what works best for you.

Author: Denise Göbel


Women’s soccer: Kick it like a girl

I remember when we were on holiday at campsite and I wanted to play soccer with some guys. One of them didn’t want me to be on his team because according to him “girls can’t play soccer”. After I proved to him that girls are in fact able to play soccer by scoring several goals and leaving him astonished, he went quiet really quickly.

The stereotype of soccer being a sport only played by men is widespread. And you can’t really blame people because even though the women’s soccer teams are quite successful, you hardly ever hear of them in the news, and you can barely watch their matches in free TV.

The history of women’s soccer started in 1884 as the first female team was founded in Great Britain. In 1921 women were not allowed to play inside the stadiums because it was “not appropriate and should therefore not be supported”. In 1970, only 52 years ago, the ban was cancelled. Since then, women’s soccer has grown, but never got as big as men’s soccer.

Did you know that the women’s team of the Vfl Wolfsburg won the DFB Cup eight times in the last 10 years? That’s more than most of the men’s teams and still hardly anybody knows about them.

Even in my career as a soccer player I was often confronted with stereotypes. Some thought I wasn’t feminine enough because I played soccer. They thought it was too rough for women. I never really cared about these comments, even though I thought they were annoying. Many boys revised their opinion after the saw me play. Many tried to compliment me by saying “you’re really good at soccer for a girl”. This is not a real compliment, in my opinion. Either I’m good at playing soccer or I’m not. It has nothing to do with my gender. I am capable of competing with men and I don’t want to be put in a special position.

Stereotypes dominate our lives. Many sports are categorized into “male” and “female”. Any rough sports like soccer, football or rugby are considered to be more suitable for men, whereas creative sports like ballet, dancing or gymnastics are seen to be more feminine. I think that everybody should be able to the sports they love without being confronted with annoying comments. Maybe someday it can be considered an honest compliment to “kick it like a girl”.

Author: Leonie Janke

It’s not about the money

Why volunteer work is great

After finishing school, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to start studying at university right away. Many of my peers were struggling just like me – we all needed a break after finishing school, but we didn’t want to waste our time. And when we had an interesting presentation on volunteer work at school my decision was made – I wanted to work as a volunteer.

So, I went to Peru and worked as a volunteer. Due to the pandemic I stayed for eight months only. And honestly, I had the best time of my life. It was not only the work at an inclusive primary school that I loved, but the whole experience. I went out of my comfort zone and it was definitely worth it. Experiencing adventures was great; however, it wasn’t primarily the travelling part that made me grow but rather my everyday life as a volunteer.

Volunteer work means that you work for the common good and not for money. And working for the common good by helping people gave me so much more than money could have given me. It’s the experiences and obviously not the money that makes it special.

Personally, I enjoyed tutoring and teaching Peruvian children so much that I decided to become a teacher. This means that working as a volunteer even helped me discover my future profession.

Voluntary work usually isn’t monotonous or clearly defined in an employment contract. This allows you to try out a variety of different tasks. As you can read above, I enjoy working with children. However, teaching children was not the only work that had to be done at school. Decorating for Christmas and other holidays, cleaning the classrooms or organizing and counting the inventory were some of the tasks that I didn’t enjoy as much as working with children. The work still had to be done, though, and the smile on people’s faces when they spotted the finished decor always made my day. Ultimately, working as a volunteer made me experience things that I love, but I also learned what I don’t enjoy too much, which is just as important as knowing what you like.

Even though working in another country and getting to know a new culture is great, voluntary work isn’t about travelling, it’s about experiencing adventures that are out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to travel to work as a volunteer. You can also stay at home and teach children in your neighbourhood if you like tutoring as much as I do. You could also work as a first responder in your free time to help people in need and to widen your knowledge about the human body or you could play some music in a retirement home if you sing or play an instrument.

Life is too short to focus on money and there’s so much you can do voluntarily to spread kindness and to be adventurous.

Author and pictures: Natalie Menhofer

The Popularity of Hamilton: An American Musical

Hamilton: An American Musical has been very successful as of today. While not being a hundred percent accurate to history, the musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, and how he immigrated to America, made friends, married, joined the revolution as the right-hand man to George Washington, served as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury under Washington’s presidency, dealt with his affair and lastly, his deadly duel. The founding father is also known as the face of the 10-dollar bill.

There are multiple factors playing into the success of the musical, the most obvious being the style of music. Usually, musicals in theatres were rather classic, but Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was one of the first plays to introduce a hybrid of hip-hop, rap, pop and jazz to the classic theatre in 2015. In 2015, this was not completely unknown, but rather unusual as none of these musicals had major success like Hamilton. However, it seemed to have paid off, as it integrated these music styles into the world of musical and are now more commonly used. Signalled by the use of hip-hop and rap, the target audience of Hamilton is not your ordinary, upper-middle-class (and above) family, but the youth.

Another way to attract the youth to musicals was Hamilton’s publication to the streaming platform Disney+ in July 2020. At this point, Hamilton was only being performed in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The only other way to access the musical was either to solely listen to the soundtrack on streaming platforms like Spotify or to watch bootlegs on YouTube, which are not entirely legal and often of poor quality. With its publication on Disney+, the musical got more accessible to a variety of people and started to gain more success in other countries as well. It got so famous, that the play is currently being translated into German to be held in Hamburg in September 2022 (if the corona situation has calmed down by then).

Lastly, the musical is notoriously famous for its story-telling. It is not only telling the story of the founding father but the story is told by the American people. The Broadway cast is largely made up of actors who are African-American, Latinx, Chinese-American or of another marginalised ethnicities. While they tell what is called “white history”, the multiculturalism of the cast attracts people that feel represented by the musical and makes it interesting for people of many cultures. Yet again, this is seen as it is performed in Canada, Australia and, as mentioned before, currently being translated into German to perform, while being an “An American Musical”.

Author: Leonie Thomas

“La Isla Verde“

A fire-breathing giant awakens after 50 years of deep sleep

Have you ever met someone who told you about their cruel fate? No? I have. I was on a study trip to La Palma in September 2021 and on our flight home, a lovely elderly lady from Germany sat next to us and told us her story. The volcano’s lava had destroyed the little house she had had for decades, and she almost lost her dog as she was at a friend’s house when the lava approached. Luckily, she was able to save her dog; but in return, she lost most of her personal belongings.

Some general facts about the volcano

The Cumbre Vieja began to erupt on the 19th of September 2021 in its first eruption since 1971; the eruption is still ongoing. It’s important to note here that all volcanos of the Canary Archipelago are the result of a hot spot underneath the earth’s crust. Here’s where things get interesting: the Cumbre Vieja is not just one volcano. It is a large system of linear vents located on the southern half of La Palma. If you look closely at a map of the Canary Islands, you will notice that the islands form a kind of chain. The reason for that phenomenon is the interplay of the African plate and the hotspot. The African plate moves slowly north-eastwards but the hot spot doesn’t move, and this is how the different volcanos were built. A short side note here: The seven islands of the Canary Archipelago Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro are islands of volcanic origin.


The most unfamiliar thing for us was the constant rain of ash. I have never experienced this before. If the ash got into your eyes, it was anything but comfortable. Due to the ash, the outdoor area of the hotel and several restaurants and bars were closed. The locals couldn’t even keep up with sweeping. However, the effects of the volcano that we witnessed were still only the milder ones. After we left with the ferry to Tenerife because the local airport was closed, the situation on La Palma worsened. We got off the island at just the right moment.

Now let’s talk about the more serious consequences. Lava that’s pouring down the western side of the slope is causing a lot of misery. Masses of ash cover big areas of the island and the damage already caused by the lava amounts to about 700 million euros. According to a report, more than 2650 buildings have already been destroyed. Another sad fact is that the volcanic eruption has already killed one person. Unfortunately, it’s unpredictable when the catastrophe will end since strong activity is still taking place in 30 kilometers depth. About 7000 inhabitants have already been evacuated. Additionally, the 1300-degree hot lava has already destroyed about 1100 hectares. This includes 211.19 hectares of banana plantations, 60.02 hectares of vineyards, and 90 hectares of farmland. It’s interesting to note that the island has grown through the lava. On the west coast in the south of the island, a new peninsula of about 25 hectares amassed. This clearly shows that islands can grow, namely through lava. For a long time, it was assumed that the vapors that are produced when the lava meets water would be poisonous. However, this was disproven by experts.

I am so sorry for the people living there because thousands lost their homes and big parts of the island were destroyed. Still, it was one of the most impressive and breath-taking destinations I have ever been to. I was privileged to see such beautiful places. It was just like paradise. And I mean… who has seen an active volcano in real life? That’s something I can cross off my bucket list.  

Author and Photos: Lisa Straßer

Afghanistan – Diversity At The Hindukush

When people talk about Afghanistan, the only images that appear in many people’s minds are those that are negatively associated with the country, mainly through the media – for example war, Taliban, corruption, lack of human rights, poverty.

These points prevail in reality, especially since the last months, when the radical Taliban came to power again. Many citizens tried and are still trying to flee, which shows that Afghanistan is a current topic and also affects the West.

One should not deny these prevailing conditions, but I can say from personal experience through my family that there is more to this country than just war, terror and poverty. However, many people are not aware of the country’s overwhelmingly positive qualities, and in general it can be said that little is known about the country.

Afghanistan is mostly located high in the Hindukush mountains and has 6 neighbouring countries including Iran, Pakistan and China. Its history dates back to the 10th century and continues to evolve today due to turmoil. The diversity of the country can be seen in its language, culinary arts, clothing and landscape.

©M. Atif Aryan

Due to the fact that many different peoples come together, there is significant linguistic diversity. There are about 50 different languages and about 200 dialects spoken throughout the country. 50% of the population speak Persian, 35% Pashto, 15% Uzbek, Turkmen, Baluchi and other dialects.

Afghan food is characterised by the use of various spices, most of which come from India and make the dishes seem unusual to Western palates, such as turmeric, curry, ginger, coriander, cardamom and aniseed. Of course, the dishes taste different depending on the region, but the principle of cooking remains the same. The most popular food among Afghans are the various rice dishes, including “Kabuli Palau”: rice dressed with carrots, sultanas and lamb. Besides brown rice, there is also regular basmati rice and yellow sour-sweet rice, which is usually cooked with chicken and certain oranges that grow exclusively in Afghanistan. The yellow colour comes from the “yellow gold” called saffron. Another popular dish is “mantu”: a kind of stuffed pasta with minced meat, tomato sauce and yoghurt. In addition to these popular dishes, there are also various sauces that are eaten with rice, such as “Sabzi Chalau” (spinach) or “Kofta Chalau” (meatballs). The national drink of the Afghans is green tea.

The traditional dress of the woman originates from the nomads and consists of loose-fitting cloth trousers (“salwar”) and a long-sleeved dress (“firaq”). There is also a kind of headscarf (“chodar”) to complete the outfit. The colour of the dresses can vary, but red is usually preferred. The dresses are decorated with colourful embroidery, small mirrors and beads, but can also be plain without embroidery for everyday wear. However, with the Taliban takeover, wearing the blue burqa has become compulsory. Men also wear loose-fitting trousers, a long top (“piran-tunban”) and another waistcoat (“waskat”). It is typical for the older men to wear a turban as a head covering.

Besides mountains, there are rivers, lakes, a national park (“Band-e-Amir”) and desert areas. Despite the different climatic conditions, the soil is fertile and melons, citrus fruits, pomegranates, mulberries and much more grow. Afghanistan and its diversity deserve to be talked about.

Author: Medina Younossi

Dannenröder Forst- resistance against highway A49

We’re heading towards the forest on a muddy path. Four people, making their way through the quiet forest, carrying a wooden palette between us. Our destination is the marked-out route of the new highway A49. As we are walking, the dense forest suddenly opens up and a giant gap can be seen, where the clearing has already begun. As far as your eyes can see, there is nothing but cut down tree trunks, fallen leaves, branches and broken remains of the protests that have been fought there. We are walking away from the graveyard-like place towards the trees that are next on the route. One of us climbs up one of the trees using two loops around the tree which he strains alternately. As soon as a sufficient hight is reached he pulls up the wooden palette und ties it around the tree with some ropes to create a small platform. It’s around six o’clock in the morning as we are leaving the forest. Another group of activists passes us. They will now climb the trees and platforms such as the one we just hung up. They will wait for the police who will arrive between seven and eight o’clock and evacuate the activists from the trees. What’s the purpose of it all? To win time. Time for a forest that can only be cut down as long as there are no people occupying its trees. Time for a forest whose days are already counted.

The clearing of Dannenröder Forst started in October 2020. The forest needed to go since the space is needed for a giant car infrastructure project: the new highway A49. Ever since the decision was made many protestors got loud. Demonstrations and legal campaigns took place, but all that didn’t help to change the situation and people started to occupy the forest. They build tree houses, planned, and organized legal protest camps next to the forest and contributed their whole life to the project. But why are so many people giving up their lives and luxuries of their regular routine to move into a forest in the middle of winter?

Dannenröder Forst is a healthy mixed woodland, some of its trees being up to 300 years old. Nowadays this is not a common thing and together with the huge area it covers, it is very important for plants and animals. That is also why it is classified as a nature reserve. Through its massive size it is home to complex ecosystems, which will be destroyed if the forest is cut in half by a massive highway. Furthermore, the forest is located on a water protection area. The ground water beneath it provides thousands of people with clean drinking water. However, the water will get polluted when the forest is gone or through the building and even more so the usage of the new highway.

In the end the whole project shows us how we keep destroying natural habitats even in such dire times. It is no secret anymore that the climate crisis will become a huge problem even for western countries- and yet our government decided to sacrifice a forest that was able to store CO2, for an outdated piece of infrastructure, that produces further CO2.

The last tree of the main clearing in Dannenröder Forst fell on December 8th, 2020. Some people were aghast, some outraged, some were weeping. As the last tree house falls so do their hopes for a better future.

Author: Linda Ruchti