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Healthy Hair Transitioning

 

For some women transitioning back to natural hair is a breather from chemical treatments.  But to grow a healthy head of hair, does take time and care.  Speaking with Trichologist consultant Nicola Smart of Smart Hair Clinic to provide the below transitioning tips that you can easily adopt.

 

  1. Take it easy – the line of demarcation (the hair between the virgin roots and processed ends) is very delicate. If you choose to transition over the long term, expect for some of that processed hair to break naturally but being gentle especially when hair is wet, can help mitigate against that.

 

  1. Moisturise – I think we all now understand how imperative moisture is for flexibility and elasticity in a hair strand. Hydrate your hair and scalp with regular cleansing and seal that moisture in with butters, creams, oils (providing you don’t have any scalp issues) of your choice. Also maintain moisture levels between wash days.

 

  1. Protein – protein goes hand in hand with moisture. Some strands do well with a mild protein treatment every wash day, for others it might be less frequent. Figure out which approach works best for your hair and use protein treatments to maintain the hairs tensile strength and support moisture retention. A good protein/ moisture balance will be crucial to keeping processed hair, in particular, strong during the transition.

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Raw Food and the White Tied

The food we eat is crucial to the quality of our day-to-day lives.  Bidii speaks with Raw Food Consultant Derin Bepo about eating raw, the affects on the body and how it can help us regain balance and control of our health.

 

How do you find people’s approach to the “raw food” lifestyle?

A lot of people come to me with illnesses and one of the first things I do, is to increase the amount of raw food they are eating. I think I have become a bit more mature. Before, I was a bit “raw-food zealous”, chanting “go eat raw food, go eat raw food!”

Now I get people eating raw food without even using the phrase “raw food”.  So, I’ll explain; to reset your body over the next 30days, you need to eat a bowl or large portion of fruit for breakfast, at least a litre of vegetable juice a day, then a large portion of salad.  Even if there is something cooked in the salad, have it be only 20%. They usually say, “oh, I can do that!”, but what they do not realise is that I have just inducted them into raw food eating.  If they can do that, their whole health framework changes because they are getting huge volumes of plant molecules in a raw form now, and it is getting into the body.  Some people after 30days start to feel different.  They, all of a sudden, start to get a huge amount of raw unprocessed plant molecules in their natural and hopefully organic form into their body and this has an exponential and radical change in how the body works, and begins to function at a different level.  The body begins to wake up and does what it needs to do; namely, the repair and reversal of diseased states.  So it is really that simple.  People think it is some kind of regime. And when I finish the 30days, it can go back to business as usual, and there are several scenarios after this. They often have a loss of taste for certain things like common foods.  They might ‘treat’ themselves to certain processed food after the 30days and they become violently sick and feel ill.  Then they get it, and the body is saying ‘hey, we don’t want that.  We never wanted it! Now we have gone really clean and clear, and you are dumping this back into the system?’.  So, the body will sometimes react violently and feel ill; and I welcome that!  That physical reaction is the body talking more eloquently, loudly and more persuasively than I ever can.

So, the key thing is, the body understands and functions optimally with plant molecules, those plant molecules in their pure form which are unheated.

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Alopecia

What information would you say is essential for women to understand about alopecia?

I think it’s important for people to note that alopecia is a general overarching term for hair loss and encompasses many conditions. Women specifically are complex humans in many ways and that includes in relation to hair. Ninety percent of my patients are female, and their hair loss cases are often far more convoluted than their male counterparts. In other words, there are often several factors that play a role in female hair loss. Women should try to look beyond the physical area of thinning, taking a holistic view of their health and lifestyle to pinpoint triggers behind the hair loss.

Secondly, paying close attention to and understanding your hair and health can really help women identify changes in their hair. There are some instances where women may wear their hair in protective styles regularly and although this is generally fine, problems are more easily identified when you handle your hair regularly. With more consistent handling of the hair you learn to better understand how it behaves i.e. when it requires moisture, a trim or a shampoo. Without seeing or handling your hair regularly, you can sometimes miss slight changes that could be addressed early on.

Lastly, don’t wait! If you suspect something isn’t quite right visit your GP or a specialist for a second opinion. There are so many instances of hair loss that go unchecked until the very final stages of the condition. It is far easier to mitigate against the spread of hair loss than to regrow hair.

What are the actions we can do to help prevent/reverse alopecia where possible?

While there certainly isn’t a magic potion or one fix for all, there are some types of hair loss that can be prevented with better handling. Traction alopecia for example, can be avoided by being kinder to your scalp when detangling and styling. Temporary hair loss associated with stress and nutrition can be mitigated against by having a good understanding of your body and its changes. Knowledge of self is sometimes key to identifying changes and combating alopecia. 

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Our Immunity

Our Immunity

 

At this time everyone has questions, comments and concerns about their health and appreciate the importance of an optimum immune system.  To help, a better understanding of the body and the function of the immune system is needed.

The immune system is made up of organs and processes that enable the body to fight infections and toxins; which are rid from the body through the lymphatic system.  Organs in the immune and lymphatic system include the thymus, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes.

The immune system uses white blood cells to fight infections.  Certain types of white blood cells are called phagocytes which consume invading organisms and infections to the body. Lymphocytes are another type of white blood cell, which is used to remember the bacteria (pathogen) and how to destroy it.

There are two kinds of lymphocytes – B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes.  Lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow.  The B lymphocytes stay in the marrow and mature into B cells.  The T lymphocytes move to the thymus gland from the marrow and mature into T cells. B lymphocytes are used to identify destructive organisms which the T cells will then be used to kill destroy.

B lymphocytes are triggered to make antibodies which latch onto specific bacteria. The antibodies stay in a person’s body and remain there so if the same infection were to reoccur the antibodies would be able to recognise it and act accordingly.

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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.

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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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SICKLE CELL AND A NEW TAKE ON HOW TO CARE FOR SELF

Interview with Philip Udeh

 

Do you think Sickle cell is misunderstood by the Black community?

Yes. Definitely.  Many people do not know what is but they ‘know’ that it’s bad.  They don’t know the mechanism of sickle cell.

There is a misconception about it, and sickle cell has a bad stigma attached to it.  There is a spiritual thing associated to it; like a curse. If you ask if someone has it in the family they will say ‘No!’ with pride!

It has become spiritually negative.  Really sickle cell is a genetic disorder and if we knew about it we can mitigate sickle cell.  Even if a person has it they can improve their quality of life.  To be honest even people with sickle cell do not understand it.  They know how the disorder makes it hard for oxygen to get around the body but they do not know how to improve their quality of life.  Many take morphine which is an addictive drug with negative effects on the body, altering the persons receptors of pain.

This is the reason why I previously launched Sickle Success to educate the community.  Education is essential and it is important for everybody to see the correlation between a healthy lifestyle and how they function.  As Africans we are not functional because of our lifestyle, and people with sickle cell can’t afford to have a poor lifestyle.

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