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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.

Years ago, normality for me was drinking alcohol, eating junk food and having sexual interactions all of which lead to premature health conditions.  As humans we separate our mortality from our lifestyle, we do not see how the way we live having any correlation to when we die.  As a result, our quality of life is so poor.  For people with sickle cell the implications of this is even worse and it is even more important to drink more water, have a vegetarian diet because our African diet is nutritionally deficient.  The jerk chicken, jollof rice and other processed foods do not help.

People say they want, and even need to eat red meat but very basic research on Google shows how detrimental it is.

Sickle cell can bring different complications too.  Personally, I went through a stage as a child when I was sick, and managed to avoid poor health in my teens.  Then in my twenties suffering from pneumonia and kidney failure.  I went through a period of not telling people I had sickle cell, not going for blood tests because I was not interested.

My starting point was trying an African yoga class.  A lot of us are disconnected from our body and only when we suffer server pain do we notice.

Yoga was a first step, 3 days after I was still aching and felt like I did a lot of work.

I tried martial arts and after the second class I had a crisis.  At 5am I was driven to A and E.  When doing vigorous exercise you see what is truly going on inside.  The training meant I had to clean up my lifestyle to make my body function.

When having a crisis the use of movements and breathing can help to regulate what’s happening in the body.  It helps to alleviate stress on the body and clear blockages.

When at a friend’s wedding last year the guests jumped in the pool at the end.  I did not participate so 3 men picked me up and threw me in too.  I had to get out of the pool and out of my clothes. I needed to get into a big towel, had a hot shower before going to the balcony.  I did a kama (series of movements) 10 times in pain.

I focused on my breathing and movement, took some water with Anadine extra and then slept.  After I felt 50% better, the next day I was 70% better, and the day after that I was normal again.

The martial arts helped because it means you become used to pain.

The term ‘Catch the nettle’ is often used meaning to try and catch the crisis in the middle of it before it gets you.   I developed methods to do this.  For example the principle of Thai Chi is to use meditation and movement to make space for the body to allow oxygen to flow giving you respite from the pain

 

How do you help someone with sickle cell take control of their situation?

You must be mindful as it is easier for people to play the victim and not the hero.  It becomes a way to form part of their identity of victimhood and the person adopts that role.  This can become a very negative cycle.

The worse person can be the mother.  You do not want someone there speaking about the pain.  Do not allow the person with sickle cell to play the victim card.  Whether they be a child or loved one you must not treat them like a victim because this has damaging effects on their interactions in the world.

You should not allow them to wallow in self-pity too.

The power is in their hands to be proactive and learn how to cope.  They have elements of control over their life and they must use it.

 

What do you do in the community to help those who have sickle cell

I work on projects related to this cause and I am currently on the board of the Sickle Cell Society and continue to help the community.

Also, I successfully delivered Sickle Success which was a national project promoting health and wellbeing in 2014.  This included yoga teaching, vegan food and a whole manner of things based on a  educating young people.   The programme also included discussions on the powerful impact of yoga and breathing for the times of crisis.  Sickle Success enabled people to engage with their bodies, because we are what we eat.  It makes us who we are on a physical basis.  This can help us to be physically stronger.   We want to address the limitations people put on themselves starting with aspects of their lifestyle.

We must remember sickle cell manifests itself differently.  I know the type of sickle cell I have manifests itself differently to others.  Everyone has a starting point and when they accept that we can begin to improve.

 

Philip Udeh

30th Sept 2017

 


Raw Food

RAW FOOD

Derin Bepo of HealthRestore interviewed by Bidii – June 2017

 

 

What does a raw lifestyle mean to someone like yourself?

The raw lifestyle is life. It’s the reality of life!

We have a concept of nutrition provided by a cultural perspective, and a very dominant commercial perspective.

Raw lifestyle is understanding that we should be eating food that is not processed in any way.  Most people have an understanding  that we wake up in the morning and have a breakfast cereal.  But who laid down the law that you do that?    Really people have not thought about it.  They put sugar and milk on on their cereal.   But who made this rule? It’s really a commercially driven manipulation.  So raw lifestyle is cutting through ideas by looking at reality and what the body actually needs.

If you don’t give the body enough foods from the fruit kingdom and vegetable kingdom, nuts and seeds they will have serious health problems.

 

 
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Our Hair
Firstly it is important to state that to have good hair means to care and condition the hair correctly, therefore it is completely possible for black women to have great natural hair free from chemicals.

Hair growth like all other bodily functions is affected by our lifestyle. Diet and stress play a great role in the health and vitality of our mane. The hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body after bone marrow, and it is made up almost completely of protein.

As Black people our hair is different. We are the only people to have 9 Ether hair growing up towards the sun. Many western writers speak of hair having no function other than to grow long and keep humans warm but since our hair grows up then surely our hair must have another purpose.

 
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Top 10 Hair Myths

Myth 1 – My hair does not grow

For all people of different racial make-up hair grows 1.5 inches per month. African hair is the curliest hair and as such is prone to breakage; this is due to the curl itself causing the protein bonds to waken. Imagine a slinky (helical spring); if you apply enough pressure to the bends it breaks as this is its weakest part, this same principle applies to curly hair. The curls along the hair shaft are where our hair prone to breaking. By limiting the amount of times we interfere with our hair i.e. combing and pulling it will reduce amount of breakage we experience. By looking at African men with long hair or people with locks whose hair is in a natural state, their hair has grown no faster. However, it is tampered with far less.

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Chemicals In Our Products

What’s In YOUR Moisturiser?

If you do not suffer from flaky skin, eczema or unexplained rashes the chances are that you know someone who does. Have you ever wondered why?

There are several causes of these conditions which range from stress and anxiety, hereditary factor, climate changes, hard water, synthetic or wool fibres etc. One other factor which is often overlooked are the cosmetics that we use on a daily basis i.e. soaps, creams, oils, lotions, deodorants etc. Through extensive research, I discovered to my horror that many of the ingredients found in high street cosmetics contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals that should be avoided at all costs.

 

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Having Healthy Hair

The health of hair is a very important factor for its growth and maintenance. It is important to remember natural is always best; and many times what is good for us is found in our fruits and vegetables instead of in a bottle full of more chemicals.

Vitamins are essential for the whole body including the health of our hair and do the following:

  • Vitamin A – Produces healthy sebum in the scalp
  • Vitamin B5 – Prevents graying and hair loss
  • Vitamin B6 – Produces keratin (the strong protein found in hair and skin) and prevents hair loss
  • Vitamin C – Important for growth and maintaining healthy hair
  • Vitamin E – Enhances scalp circulation
  • Iron – Helps reduces hair loss

 
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Black Women and Fibroids

Eymbi speaks on Black Women and Fibroids

Routinely women are going to their GP or clinics and having screenings/smear test every few years to check for abnormalities in the cells.
We as Black women are more subjected to fibroids due to our environment and foods which we have to cope with, as western society (Europeans) DNA is different to ours. We really can’t handle junk food as our body is not naturally designed to be loaded with junk. After all you are what you Eat, Think and Feel

The womb is a sacred area of the body and has its natural function. When checked by the GP if fibroids are detected more often than not a hysterectomy is suggested as a solution to take it all out. This causes a huge hormone imbalance. Many times you find people as early 20’s are having their womb/uterus removed.

After this the body can’t cope as our DNA is not the same coming from the original source.

 
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What Can We Do To Defeat Breast Cancer?
Early Detection

One of the keys to successfully defeating breast cancer is catching it early. It has been estimated that finding breast cancer early can mean a survival rate of 97%. One part of catching breast cancer early in black women is to develop a breast cancer screening programme for black women that start earlier. Currently breast cancer screening in the UK starts at 50 years old and as we now know that a significant number of black women develop breast cancer on average in their mid forties it would thus be more effective to begin screening black women at an earlier age. The second part of catching breast cancer early is to create a greater awareness amongst black women about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Armed with this information black women must endeavour to carry out a regular breast self examinations looking out for changes in their breasts that are not associated with menstruation. The signs and symptoms to look our for include:

  • Changes in the size and shape of breasts
  • Changes in the skin texture – puckering, dimpling
  • An inverted/retracted nipple
  • A bloodstained discharge from one or both nipples
  • A lump in the breast or armpit
  • Pain in the breast that doesn’t go away with your period

 
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Breast Cancer

What is Cancer? 

To understand cancer we have to have some appreciation of human biology. Our body is made up of minuscule entities called cells; these are the basic unit of life. Similar types of cells come together to form our tissues (e.g: muscle tissue, brain tissue etc), groups of tissues form our organs and then organs come together to form systems (e.g: cardio- vascular system, nervous system). Cancer is a disease of the smallest unit of our body – the cell. It develops when cells within our body obtain a series of defects that result in their uncontrollable growth. These cells are thus able to grow and divide into multiple defective cells that form a mass called a tumour.

 
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