A few months ago, I went to visit a close friend. On sighting me, her husband (Let’s call him LB shall we?) immediately engaged me in conversation and shared an experience which I am going to share with you as I believe a lot of people will benefit.
LB said that for most of his youth he was plagued with razor bumps. Yep, he would shave and be left with small dark bumps all over his face. He tried different methods of shaving as well as different products in a bid to control this reaction, all to no avail. This was quite disheartening as he was a frequent shaver and the alternative – having facial hair – did not appeal to him.
Just when he had pretty much accepted his lot, it was suggested to him that he should use a dab of tea tree essential oil immediately after shaving as an aftershave. The instruction was to place a few drops on his fingers and use it the same way one would use an aftershave. He tried this and almost two decades later, he has remained razor-bump free.
This is what he does.
o Shaves with a razor and shaving powder.
o Rinses it off
o Follows it up with a facial wash
o Uses a scrub to make sure that he has indeed gotten all of the shaving powder off.
o Puts a 1-2 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil on his fingers and lightly dabs his face.
Now, LB is one of those people who are quite diligent, so on that visit I was not surprised when he showed me all his shaving supplies, every single item – facial wash, scrub e.t.c. contained Tea Tree Essential Oil. As a matter of fact, he once ran out of Tea Tree Essential Oil and his wife remembered that I had given her some a while back. I am proud to say that LB used it and remarked that it worked just as well as the imported brands he uses. I recount this bit for the benefit of all the doubtful Nigerians who constantly ask me if I am absolutely certain that the Natural Nigerian brand is “authentic”. Sigh! Na wa for una!
So, how can LB’s story apply to you?
Use Tea Tree Essential Oil after a shave to calm your skin and prevent razor bumps. This applies to shaving under your arm and even your bikini area. Regardless of the method you use in getting rid of the hair – waxing, shaving, depilatory, shaving creams e.t.c
You can supercharge your products by putting a few drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil in them. Its many properties (antibacterial, anti viral, antifungal, anti inflammatory, to mention a few) are reason enough to do so.
So, go spread the word! Shave without fear. Have a razor bump – less “chinned” husband, uncle, brother, cousin. You can also enjoy less irritation under your arm and around your bikini area when you shave if you have some tea tree essential oil in your mix.
We have changed the look so that you do not land on the blog first. If you do wish to, please bookmark www.naturalnigerian.com/blog. That is another thing, we cleaned up our links. They are shorter and even more intuitive. Where in the past, the Ahia (shop) link was so long that even I could not remember it, it is now simply www.naturalnigerian.com/ahia. We will use the fact that we now have a front page to bring you news about new products, changes and even blog posts of interest.
Speaking of the Ahia, for many years our Ahia was in the dark ages and one couldn’t buy anything directly from the website. I imagine that it was frustrating for most of our customers and we thank you for sticking it out. We have now fully joined the 21st century and we will now process all orders via our website. Please note that you DO NOT pay on our website. When you click the Interswitch option, it takes you directly to the Interswitch site and your card details are collected there, same as they would be if you were paying for a flight ticket e.t.c. That way, your security is assured. We do not have access to or hold on to any of your card details at all.
We went for clean lines and as little/no clutter as possible. Also, because I am such a proud Igbo girl, there had to be a nod to my Igbo culture, which is where the Akwete comes in. I hope to do a post on this fabric which is really representative of the Igbo culture.
The good news keeps coming….We also took a step and got a phone number for the Ahia. We haven’t had one in the past due to some challenges, but always wanted to take this step so that you can reach us quickly. So, to call, please ring: 0909.213.2141.
Weight management is a struggle for many people. The reasons for this are complex and varied. But our mass culture largely ignores the subtle influences that drive weight gain. Instead society conditions us not only to hate fat, but fat people as well. With high condescension, the overweight are deemed a bunch of lazy gluttons. But this is the farthest thing from the truth.
You see, the human body desires stable internal conditions. And we have evolved robust mechanisms to ensure a steady weight over the long term. Consider that until recent decades, obesity has been a rarity. This is not a coincidence. There is something about modern food that breaks down our weight regulatory systems. Indeed, certain ingredients in highly processed foods create hormonal disruptions in the body that lead to runaway weight gain. And one of the biggest offenders is seasoning cubes.
But first, let us debunk one of the biggest myths of our time. We have been repeatedly told that a calorie is a calorie; irrespective of the source. That is, if you eat more, you gain more weight. So the obvious solution is to diet. But notice that there is no distinction about what you ate. And therein lays the basic problem. Because food is much more than just energy or raw materials; it also contains information. Substances in food modulate how the body operates; either promoting harmony or disharmony.
A seasoning cube does not make you fat because of its caloric content, which is minimal. It is all the about the neurotoxic effects of a chemical it contains. The active ingredient in seasoning cubes is monosodium glutamate (MSG). It adds savoriness to food, giving a certain heartiness and robustness to meals.
However, glutamate has other functions in the body besides taste enhancement. It is also an important neurotransmitter. That is, it excites brain cells and stimulates electrical activity in the brain. But, seasoning cubes contain unnaturally high concentrations of glutamate. When you consume foods seasoned by MSG, the brain is overstimulated by the rush of glutamate. In fact, certain brain cells are stimulated to the point of death. In that way, seasoning cubes directly damage brain tissue over time.
This damage has huge implications for weight management. This is because body weight is regulated by a subconscious region of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus regulates appetite and how much fat you either store or burn off. Damage to the hypothalamus prevents it from communicating with fat stores in the body. Your brain is no longer able to determine how much fat is stored. And to make matters worse, the brain interprets this loss of communication as the absence of fat. That is, the brain thinks you are starving. It kicks appetite into overdrive and shuts downs your metabolism. You not only eat more, but the body zealously blocks fat burning. After all, it is desperately trying to rebuild fat stores (even if you are obese).
Notice that all this is unfolding subconsciously. So, it is near futile to try to will yourself to lose MSG-induced body fat. You might succeed for a while, but the long term solution is to eliminate MSG from the diet. And to eat a nourishing diet that will heal damaged brain tissue. For if you can switch back on the hypothalamus, the body will gradually burn excess fat stores.
Going beyond seasoning cubes
MSG takes advantage of our biologically hard-wired taste receptors and makes it very hard to stop eating foods poisoned by this ingredient. It is a virtual miracle worker in turning disgusting into delicious. For this reason it is widely used in processed foods. But many products try to conceal this fact. Here are some of its many disguises on food labels: glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed protein, textured protein, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, protein isolate, soy sauce, modified food starch, modified corn starch, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, broth, maltodextrin, seasonings, natural flavor, monopotassium glutamate, glutamate, gelatin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, textured protein, yeast food, yeast nutrient, and torula yeast.
Kate S Collison, M Zaidi, SM Saleh, A Inglis, R Mondreal, NJ Makhoul, R Bakheet, J Burrows, NW Milgram, FA Al-Mohanna. “Effect of trans-fat, fructose and monosodium glutamate feeding on feline weight gain, adiposity, insulin sensitivity, adipokine and lipid profile”. The British Journal of Nutrition. 2011. Web
Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices
“Our aging skin is the target of billions of dollars worth of marketing, the object of a continual stream of cosmetics, drugs and ‘nutraceuticals’ promising to deliver age-defying results. But what really works? What does the scientific evidence say?”
There is plenty of research that indicates that the skin aging process can be slowed and even reversed. In fact, there are over 150 natural substances with demonstrable anti-aging properties. Aloe vera gel is one of the most compelling and works from the inside out. Put simply, regular consumption of aloe vera gel works wonders because it gets to the heart of the matter. You see, there is an inconvenient truth that the cosmetics industry does not want you to know. Namely, skin aging is a whole body process. The appearance of your skin is a reflection of the condition of internal organs. Let me explain. The basic building blocks of skin are the proteins collagen and elastin. These same structural proteins also form the scaffolding of internal organs. So, seemingly diverse organs like your skin, bones, and lungs are built from similar raw materials. And in order to have youthful skin you need well maintained structural proteins. It is not possible to have good proteins in your skin and junk elsewhere. As the body goes, the skin goes as well. This implies that most cosmetics are a waste of time and money. They seek to hydrate, moisturize, and rejuvenate the skin. And therein lays the basic problem. Products that only care for the skin, by definition cannot penetrate the skin aging process. More so, conventional cosmetics, laden with petrochemicals, are a major toxic exposure.
How does aloe vera gel work its magic? The appearance of skin proceeds from a complex interplay of variables. To name a few:
Tissue oxygenation: lungs need to provide sufficient oxygen to enable skin maintenance.
Nutrient supply: blood vessels need to supply adequate nutrients to facilitate skin repair.
Waste disposal: lymphatic vessels need to drain wastes and excess water away to prevent toxicity and fluid retention.
Hormone clearance: liver needs to eliminate excess hormones and other substances in circulation.
Stress management: brain needs to send the right sort of nerve signals to skin cells to enable their repair (i.e. parasympathetic).
And the list goes on and on. All this connectedness really makes one thing clear: anti-aging is really the same thing as improving overall health. That is, aloe vera gel reverses skin aging because it improves overall health. You see, aloe vera gel is a very complex substance. It contains thousands of bioactive compounds that positively impact human health. Not surprisingly, aloe vera gel has numerous evidence-based therapeutic applications: type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial infections, yeast infections (Candida), breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, arthritis, colon cancer, fibroid, eczema, among others. Three simple steps for reversing skin aging
Stop using conventional cosmetic products. Only apply on your skin what you can eat: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, and the like.
Minimize intake of highly processed foods. Some of the worst offenders are soft drinks, sausage roll, milk drinks, white bread, instant noodles, biscuit, vegetable oil (fried foods), canned foods, and flavor cubes.
Drink lime water daily (add fresh aloe vera gel for best results).
Soyun Cho, S Lee, M Lee, DH Lee, CH Won, SM Kim, JH Chung. “Dietary Aloe Vera Supplementation Improves Facial Wrinkles and Elasticity and It Increases the Type I Procollagen Gene Expression in Human Skin in vivo”. Annals of Dermatology. 2009. Web
Ji, Sayer. (2012, June 18). Research: A tsp of Aloe Daily Reverses Signs of Skin Aging. Retrieved from http: //www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/research-tsp-aloe-daily-reverses-signs-skin-aging
Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.
Vegetable oil is a generic term that encompasses oil expelled from soybean, corn, cottonseed, and rapeseed (canola). These highly liquid oils are a relatively new innovation. They emerged on the scene in the 1920s and their level of consumption has since skyrocketed.
This is where things begin to get interesting. Before the advent of vegetable oil, chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer were virtually non-existent. Of course, correlation is not necessarily causation. And one readily admits that chronic disease is caused by a number of factors. However, there is something uniquely toxic about vegetable oil. Consider the observation of Dr. Dudley White, a respected American physician from that era: “See here, I began my practice as a cardiologist in 1921 and I never saw a heart attack patient until 1928. Back in the heart attack free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard and I think that we would all benefit from the kind of diet that we had at a time when no one had ever heard the word corn oil.”
The problem with vegetable oil
Corn and soybean have been consumed by man for millennia. Then, how is it that oil extracted from these wholesome foods is suddenly toxic? Well, the problem is not the oil per se, but how that oil is modified to extend shelf life.
You see, highly liquid vegetable oils, also called polyunsatured fats, very quickly become rancid when exposed to air. When you extract these fats from the protective context of a whole food, they break down quite rapidly. That is, polyunsaturated fats are only stable when encased by and associated with proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and other substances found in whole foods. In fact, unmodified vegetable oil becomes rancid in a matter of hours when exposed to air.
This begs a question. How then does commercial vegetable oil have an average shelf life of two years? Vegetable oil is preserved by a process called partial hydrogenation. In which, a fraction of the unstable polyunsaturated fats are converted to much more stable trans fats. And it is these trans fats that give commercial vegetable oil their unnatural shelf life.
The producers of vegetable oil then have the audacity to paste boldly on their labels: CONTAINS NO TRANS FATS. This is a big fat lie. Sadly, this is but one instance of the vicious logic of the processed food industry, whose motto is profit over people.
Another term for partial hydrogenation is plastic-ization. That is, natural oil is converted into a synthetic plastic-like substance. Of a truth, commercial vegetable oil has more in common with petrochemicals than say naturally stable palm oil or coconut oil. What do I mean? Well, both petrochemicals and hydrogenated oils have no place in animal physiology. They are invariably toxic whenever ingested, a true disadvantage when using vegetable oil.
No wonder that wherever petro-vegetable oil goes, an epidemic of chronic diseases is sure to follow. In sum, the best oils for cooking are those that have been used in ancestral societies; namely palm oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, and animal fats.
M Enig, Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research , 2nd Edition, 1995, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, pp 4-8
F A Kummerow, “Effects of Isomeric Fats on Animal Tissue, Lipid Classes and Atherosclerosis,” Geometrical and Positional Fatty Acid Isomers, E. A. Emken and H. J. Dutton, eds, American Oil Chemists’ Society, Champaign, IL, 1979, pp151-180
F. A. Kummerow, “Nutritional Effects of Isomeric Fats: Their Possible Influence on Cell Metabolism or Cell Structure,” Dietary Fats and Health, (E. G. Perkins and W. J. Visek, eds), Americna Oil Chemists’ Society, Champaign, IL, 1983, pp 391-402
S Fallon and M Enig, “The Oiling of America”. The Weston A. Price Foundation. 1 January 2000. Web
Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.
The time is near. I get to be reunited with my Abuja crowd! Yay!! Really excited.
As it says on the flyer, we are going to be focusing on Healthy Hair Now! This is important because once you get your hair healthy, length will follow. Sustainable length (not the type you need to cut off every few months due to split ends and other damage) is the goal, not just long hair. There will be 4 speakers, all tackling the subject from different angles.
Click here for directions to the venue. Thanks to Google Maps, this was fairly easy to get. I have used Shoprite as a starting point as I feel it is a place a lot of people know. Please feel free to plug the venue address into Google Maps so that you can get directions from a place that is convenient to you. Technology makes things so easy!
Lastly, we have added a product swap at the very last minute. Bring in products you no longer want to use and swap them for products you would like to try.
Remember, it is free entry. We welcome every one – Natural, Relaxed, Transitioning, Hair Curious. The only people we bare the gate to are Hair Nazis. Yep, I said it. It is a joyful event, not one where anyone disrespects another’s choice.
Come ready to have fun. And please, don’t forget to say Hi! when you see me.
I am a big believer in books so for Children’s day, I would like to give away a set of books on Safety alongside a book on Nigeria – people, places and culture. These are two topics that I am actually quite passionate about (even if it has nothing directly to do with Natural living) so it is quite fitting.
I have the great honor of calling the author, Constance Kola-Lawal, friend and I am quite proud that she has produced such a good quality product.
We are passionate about healthy kids, so please post a picture of your child’s school lunch/snack on the Natural Nigerians Facebook groups page. Of course, we are looking out to see the healthiest entry. The one with the most likes wins!
Competition open until the 13th of June, 2014. Open to anyone in Nigeria.
At the same time, I humbly ask that we send our loving thoughts to our abducted Chibok girls and keep the hashtag #bringbackourgirls alive until they are brought back.
NN says: A few weeks ago, Ezenwa wrote a brilliant post on the benefits of Lime water. A lot of comments were made about how lime water purportedly causes infertility. He addresses those comments from a scientific stand-point. It comes across as being really technical but be patient and follow the story…it all makes sense.
Lime is often said to be harmful to reproductive health. This theory comes from the acidic taste of lime. And the notion that acids are corrosive. Thus, lime must be corrosive to sensitive structures in the body. Case closed.
This is the farthest thing from the truth. Lime is an ally in optimizing fertility. But first, let us address the issue of its acidity. Limes are about 8 percent citric acid by dry weight. That is quite a lot. Yet, is that worrisome? Not quite. Citric acid from lime is a health promoting phytonutrient. It has numerous therapeutic actions in the body. For example, it acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing reactive substances in circulation. It also promotes detoxification by increasing urine output and softening stools. And much more.
More broadly, it is useful to recognize the central role of acids in all life forms. The very building blocks of life are acidic. Proteins are made of amino acids. DNA/RNA is made of nucleic acids. Cell membranes are made of fatty acids. In short, where the human body is concerned, acidity is everywhere and in everything.
Understanding female fertility
A simple way to understand fertility is in terms of harmonious communication. Fertility proceeds from the synchronized activity of various organs in the body. These organs communicate extensively with one another to ensure things run smoothly. This information flows through a dedicated network known as the HPG axis. It connects the brain with the ovaries and uterus. And is the means by which the brain controls reproductive organs.
Through the HPG axis, the brain tightly coordinates each stage of the menstrual cycle. The brain gives instructions to the ovaries and uterus encoded in nerve signals and hormones. And the clear transmission of information is vital. That is to say, fertility is of harmonious communication between the brain, ovaries, and uterus.
Some of the instructions are encoded in hormones, such as estrogen. Estrogen is a store of information, a set of instructions. It is a system of communication. It is not one hormone; there are hundreds of variations built around a core molecule. Each variation carries a different set of instructions for target tissues like the uterus, breast, bones, fat stores, and others. Indeed, most hormones have countless variations. Each hormone class, e.g. cortisol or insulin, represents a database of countless instructions for target cells.
A hormone has delivered its message when it binds with its specific receptor in target cells. It is the union of hormone and receptor that modulates the behavior of the cell.
Infertility is discordant communication
Infertility results from a break down in communication through the HPG axis. The brain no longer effectively regulates the activity of the ovaries and uterus. Many factors can lead to this discordant communication: infections, nutrient deficiencies, emotional stress, and/or chemical exposures.
In our modern society, a major cause of infertility is exposure to synthetic chemicals that have estrogen-like properties. These types of compounds are called xenoestrogens. These synthetic chemicals also carry information, much like natural estrogen produced in the body. However, they carry harmful information that disrupts the fine chemical balance of fertility.
We are bombarded with such high amounts of xenoestrogens on a daily basis that they drown out our own estrogens. In fact, parabens, a type of xenoestrogen from petroleum-based cosmetics, have been found in breast tissue at concentrations one million-fold higher that natural estrogens. Such high levels of estrogen-like chemicals in the body lead to a physiological state known as estrogen dominance. And it is this estrogen dominance that is the root cause of female infertility.
Imagine fertility as an orchestra of various organs. The brain is the conductor, coordinating the various organs with hormones and nerve signals. Xenoestrogens are a rogue conductor. They confuse and disrupt the orchestra. The net result is irregular menstruation, no ovulation, fibroids, endometriosis, breast cancer, and so on.
A few important sources of xenoestrogen exposure include:
BPA from the interior plastic lining of canned foods, e.g. tin tomatoes, tin milk, baked beans, etc.
Parabens from petroleum-based cosmetics, e.g. mineral oil (baby oil), petroleum jelly, lipstick, body lotion, etc.
Phthalates from soft drinks in plastic bottles.
Growth hormones (rBGH) in commercial milk and dairy products.
Aluminum compounds in antiperspirants.
Inorganic minerals in synthetic multivitamins, e.g cupric oxide (copper), stannous chloride (tin), sodium selenate (selenium), etc. Yes, that daily multivitamin is straight up toxic.