Our Food

OUR FOOD 

When All Nations opened Dec 2017 in Hackney were people surprised to see a rich Caribbean menu which is vegan?

Yes.  Sometimes people come in and are surprised in the variety of vegan dishes.  People think they  have less choice in vegan food.  I want to show them we have a lot of choice and you can also have the healthy options that are substantial.   A lot of vegan foods now are processed, so I wanted to stick to the natural ingredients.  I use most of the ingredients I grew up on and keep it simple.  People  taste the difference between processed and natural ingredients but people are surprised to see you can keep a dish simple but still have a lot of flavours with the right herbs.

 

As a partner and mother of 7 children how did you manage to satisfy your family on vegan food.

Six of my boys were born into a vegan diet, and they do not crave anything else.  The eldest son was different.  He knows the taste of meat and I tried to turn this taste into something that compliment the dishes that I do.  Many times it is just seasoning the food right that makes it work. Sometimes people think they like the taste of the meat but really they just like how the meat I seasoned.  So if you season the vegan food well that works too.

In recent years vegan cooking has become popular.  But traditionally our dishes and diets were vegetable based.  So why do so many of us struggle to be vegan now.

People need a motivation and a reason to do things.  Now people eat so much meat that we need a reason to give the food a chance.  For some people once you say ‘vegan’ they turn their mind off it because they are used to eating in one way.

A lot of us grew up around meat.  But meat farming 50years ago was completely different to today.  How they process and prepare meat now is scary.  So now we have all these illnesses and people do not know which way to turn.    But people fear cutting out the meat.

But if they can open their mind and see it is a healthier option that can satisfy them then they would not struggle so much.

Personally, I decided to change my diet years ago when I had fibroids.  I have felt so much better since, I have had more energy and I can honestly say that living a vegan lifestyle had a positive affect on my life. 

What advice would you give people who do not know where to start on a vegan journey.

Being vegan you start to get used to the taste of food being different.  For juicing people can add Agave syrup.  But also a cleanse is good to help balance their palate then the raw food and juicing becomes the norm.  Have a cleanse to then build on a strong foundation.

Try a vegan meal in the week.  Try slowly to give it a space in your life.

At All Nations my ackee and mushroom dish is very popular.  When people get a the taste of the ackee they are surprised to not to miss the saltfish, and still get the taste they are looking for.

The diet of the black community is struggling due to western influence.  The people back home compared to here eat differently. 

It is a simple concept we are what we eat.  Sometimes we take that statement lightly but it is a simple fact.  Whatever you put in you will get the result of that, and sometimes when I look around I honestly see our people are being made sick on out diet, and have fear of not knowing how to try anything different.

Atreka – All Nations Vegan House

8 Sandringham Rd, Dalston, London E8 2LP

020 7254 0023


The chemicals in our hair care

The chemicals in our hair care

Interview with Tola Okogwu

For many women product ingredients are not a huge concern when looking for products. Why should this change?

I think we take for granted that the products we use regularly on our hair are safe but there are so many studies out there that suggest otherwise. When you want to lose weight, you know to check the ingredient on your food for anything unhealthy and we need to be more like that with our personal care products. 

In April 2018 I appeared in a BBC interview about a new study that showed that Black women are exposed to dozens of potentially hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use. Chemicals linked to hormone disruption, fibroids, asthma, infertility and even cancer.  There are a few studies, which have looked at the relationship between hair products and several health issues. This includes a study published in 2017 by researchers at Rutgers University, which found a link between breast cancer and the use of hair dyes and hair relaxers in Black women. Also a 2012 a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found that the use of relaxers in Black women is associated with fibroids.

Black women are over exposed yet inadequately protected when it comes to hair care products. Over use of braids, weaves and extensions, coupled with bad hair care practices have led to an over-reliance on products. Add in the cultural, historical and societal pressures Black women face when it comes to their hair and the problem is further exacerbated.  In addition, the way Black women use products is unique. Products are used frequently, generously and can be left on for weeks or even months, with continuous reapplication in between. However, there is very little research being done into the cumulative effects and potential risks associated with this method of product use.

The most recent study, conducted in April 2018 by the Silent Spring Institute, showed that 80% of Black hair products tested contain endocrine disrupting and asthma causing chemicals. Read More


Our women’s wellbeing for pregnancy and beyond

 

Our women’s wellbeing for pregnancy and beyond

Interview with Leah Salmon founder of Naturally You Coach

 

Leah Salmon is a home educating mother, wife, author, speaker, nutritionist, life coach & live blood analyst.  Working in the community for many years Leah has helped empower black women to improve their wellbeing.

 

As part of your consultancy you do Live Blood Analysis.  What does that entail?

To do this I take blood from the finger, place it on a slide and put under the microscope and project it onto the screen.  I show you round what I can see in your blood which is magnified 1000 times.  So I am able to see the white blood cells, red blood cells, plasma and the platelets.  From the shape, size and positioning of the cells we can see indications of different things to do with your health.

It’s like a reflection of your health.

The process is not meant to treat, cure or diagnose anything, and the Advertising Standards Agency makes sure we don’t ever make that claim.  But it does give us a very clear indication of what is going on in the person’s body so that does help in giving dietary recommendations as well.  It’s very interesting.

 

You have worked to help women improve their health for many years.  How and why did you start this journey?

When I was 11years old I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian.  My mum obliged as long as I was getting enough protein.  So in everybody’s estimation if you are a young growing girl you need to get a source of protein, and the only way was through soya.  So I was led down the path of eating soya at least 3 times a day.  I had soya milk, soya cheese, soya burgers, even soya bacon.  Literally, soya everything.  In the midst of eating insane amounts of soya I also very rarely ate fresh fruits and vegetables.  I rarely made meals from scratch.  Like me making a meal  would be like boiling pasta and putting cheese on top and a soya sausage.  That was the extent of my culinary skills, so I was what I called a junk food vegetarian.  So as long as there wasn’t any meat, poultry or fish in it then I ate it.  I wasn’t vegan.

So I had pizza and spicy bean burgers from the take away.  By the time I was 17 I developed a menstrual condition called Metrorrhagia where I would bleed between my periods.  So I would have my regular period and 2 weeks later I had another period.  And this lasted for about 2 years and came with all the other symptoms of PMS.  I had the extreme pain, heaviness, clots, the skin eruptions, food cravings and the emotional instabilities.  But when I was 17years old this Metrorrhagia developed as well and this lasted until I was about 19years old.  And I kept it that long because I did not want to tell anyone about it.  I found it very embarrassing to have those problems.  I thought I was being punished and I did not link it to the food I was eating as I was under the presumption (and a lot of the clients I work with are under the same impression) that to be vegan/vegetarian then I am healthy and there is no way my food can impact my health. Read More


The Yoni Steam

 

 

The Yoni Steam

Interview with Emma Etaka Ako founder of Mama Luna

 

What is the origin of vaginal steaming and cleansing and where is it popular today?
Womb steaming takes place all over the world but has origins in South Africa.  It is most popular in rural areas in Africa in rural areas in Nigeria, Bakino Faso and Ghana.

In northern Africa it is also practised in places namely Morocco. As well as Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Yoni steaming is practiced in rural areas for post pregnancy wellbeing.  Usually there is a 40day ritual to help get the body back to full health and yoni steaming is used for this.

Outside of the continent yoni steaming is popular in Korea and in Thailand where it’s called Chai-yok

In India steaming is practised in the Ganges region and it is here the practice is called Yoni steaming. Yoni means temple or sacred gateway.  And in Europe the practice of yoni steaming in most popular in Poland.

Womb steaming is most commonly used from puberty in Central South America in countries such as Peru where it is called Bajos.  But the western society is still just coming on board with steaming.

 

What made you start learning about yoni steaming?
Well, I have always been into natural health.

In my early to mid-twenties I explored in my curiosity towards natural health and I was really interested in women’s empowerment.

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The V Spot

The V Spot

Interview with Dr Rhoda Molife

 

Do you find that black women are comfortable speaking about their vaginas?

Generally, we’re not. You know in our culture anything to do with our sexuality is generally not for discussion. But here’s the good news – it is probably more to do with the generation we’re from – so our mothers and grandmothers didn’t talk to us about our vaginas, though I bet amongst themselves they probably did. And I think our generation and those younger  – in their 20s and 30s –  are more comfortable having these conversations and are more open about anything to do with our sexuality, especially when we’re together. What we may not talk so much about is vaginal health. I don’t think this is limited to black women…women period don’t talk so much about vaginal health.

What are the common issues you find are prevalent to black women when it comes to vaginal health?

You know I think the main issue is still about vaginal cleanliness. Should we use soap or douches to wash our vaginas? By now, we should know that we shouldn’t but there are still pockets of us that think that we need to scrub with all sorts to ‘keep clean’, not realising what a wonderful and smart mechanism the vagina has to keep itself clean and healthy and that all we need is water and a mild soap for the vulval (outer) area.

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