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I have been remiss in my duty about talking about the products that we carry in our Ahia Natural Nigerian. That will change from now on!

To begin with, I thought I should let you all know that we listened to all the feedback we got about being in stores so we have worked with a few stores to stock our items! Yay!

Natural Nigerian Ahia Stockists

Now, this is by no means a finished list. It is going to grow over the next few months as we add on new stockists. We will ultimately move the list to a page of its own so that you can tell the  exact items you can get at any store that we have listed.

Lagos

  • Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki Phase One
  • Quintessence, 1, Gerard Road, Ikoyi (just after the Parkview Estate Gate)
  • La Pointe, Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island
  • KL's Natural Bar. 29C Ikorodu Crescent, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.
  • Sizzelle Stores. Bounty Brooks Ltd Sizzelle Online Store
    Suite B7, Cherub Mall, Km 18, Lekki Expressway (opposite New Road bus stop), Lekki,

Abuja

  • Natural Mane of Deepbrown & Kinks delivers!
  • Keeks Pharmacy, Bright Star Plaza, Jabi, Abuja
  • H-Medix Pharmaceuticals & Supermarket limited
    No 48 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent
    Wuse 11- FCT
  • Lumos Naturals & Shop, Suite G8, Mbouty plaza, Marcus Garvey street, behind Emirates Hotel, off 5th Avenue, Gwarinpa.

Online

If you are interested in being a stockist, please write nn@naturalnigerian.com for our terms!

Thanks guys, every bottle of product makes it possible for us to do this on a sustained basis!

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Hey! Introduce yourself (or like my Nigerian folks like to say, let us meet you!)

Hello! I'm Vanessa, a 20-something year old Pilot, Amateur Chef, avid novel reader and Cat lover shuttling between Lagos, Jos and Port Harcourt

High puff

Vanessa rocking a high puff

Have you always worn your natural hair? 

Not really. Like most Nigerian girls of my generation, I wore unrelaxed hair until after Secondary School graduation, then I relaxed it. I didn't relax because I had identity issues like some in the unrelaxed hair 'community' like to make relaxed girls believe, but because it was normal. Everyone did it. Frankly I liked unrelaxed hair and my Mom hasn't relaxed hers in forever. But I did it because that's what everyone was doing. And yes, I also like relaxed hair but caring for mine was herculean. I did take good care of it, but my hair never relaxed well and my scalp burned easily. It was always a perm, THEN a flat iron, then heavy maintenance in the dry climate of Northern Nigeria where I grew up. Then during my National service, I had a bad perm. My long, beautiful, silky hair became dull, lifeless, and started to break off and I got bald patches too! I told myself, ''I'm not really doing myself a favour. It's not like natural hair is bad. Mom's is beautiful. I could try it, the relax again later''. So, I cut it all off, and started afresh. I was going to wait for it to grow for a year or so, then try my hand at relaxing again.

Then it happened. I fell in love. I rocked my my shaved head, then my fro, wore my wigs, I easily did my hair by myself. I damaged it a billion times because I maltreated my poor tresses, but I was having fun. Then she grew longer and became impossible, So I had to get my relaxer. A few days before my appointment at the salon, with my relaxer in hand, I was browsing the web, searching for ways to care for the relaxed hair better, to prevent the same accident from happening again. I came across info on Unrelaxed Hair Care. I was intrigued. I was already into finding natural alternatives for everything else and I'm a health nut, and I love a good challenge. So I decided to give it a shot a second time.

Though I have a love-hate relationship with my temperamental Empress, years later, I've never looked back.

Has it been difficult maintaining it (e.g. people’s reactions, finding products, styling it, getting help with your hair).

When it comes to people’s reactions, it has been mixed. It was not until recently, with long natural hair, that I got compliments from Nigerians for its beauty. Nigerians will always appreciate long hair. But other races have always liked it. But is has never bothered me. I do things like these for myself, and most of my loved ones like it, and those that didn't (but now do) didn't even try to criticize me because I'm a bit eccentric, and they just felt it was me being me. I have even inspired lots of women to stop relaxing. But I do get lots of stares when I wear my hair BIG. I do have to wear it 'small' though at work because it will get in the way and be a hazard.

Products? I have always been a bit of a mixtress. Like I stated earlier, I've been looking for, and formulating natural alternatives for everything possible, from food to cosmetics of all kinds to drugs. I even concocted hair care products for myself and friends when relaxed. So even if I didn't get what my sisters abroad were using, I would find a way to cook up mine. I actually found Natural Nigerian online when looking for a way to concoct the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula's natural ingredients. Since then I've been hooked. But that doesn't mean that if I come across a wonderful product (especially those with wonderful hard-to-find ingredients) I won't purchase it.

As for styling and getting help with my hair, only once did I let anyone else touch my unrelaxed hair. It was for a photo shoot at my modelling agency, and I was required to have an elaborate updo. Let's just say, that was the end of my modelling career. I had to do another big chop. I resigned. I lost so much hair that I have never ever allowed anyone else style it again.

Apart from returning to Natural Hair, have you incorporated a more natural/healthy lifestyle?

No. I've always been health nut. I grew up in a family of health nuts. And everything we use has got to be natural, except in cases where an effective natural alternative cannot be found, and even then reluctantly. So nothing in that aspect has changed.

How do you manage to have natural hair and remain professional? 

Aviation is all about safety. As long as a Pilot isn't a hazard or doesn't look unsafe, anything goes. If I have my twist-outs down my face, covering my eyes and obscuring my view, I won't be allowed anywhere near the helicopter. But if it's away from my eyes and ears and generally stays out of the way, nobody cares about how you wear your hair.

What is your current regimen?

My regimen is extremely dynamic. It changes with location, season, and availability of products. All I did was understand the Science of my hair, and I work with it. But the basics are the same- prepoo, shampoo, deep condition, style, and a once a month do a strong protein prepoo.

I do a strong protein prepoo once a month: both hydrolysed (to fortify the hair from the inside) and unhydrolyzed proteins (to protect it from the outside). For example, whole eggs, SAA, hydrolysed Wheat protein, other Amino Acids, Milk Protein, Molasses and regular mayonnaise are used. I do add avery little protein to my prepoo each week though to fortify my hair for the washing process.

Weekly, I prepoo with things like Ghee or unsalted butter, a humectant, my butter mix(Cocoa butter, Shea butter, EVOO, EVCO, Avocado oil, Ben Oil) for at least 3 hours (sometimes overnight if there's time). I shampoo only with Black soap. Then deep condition with a mix of only penetrating ingredients; things like Agave nectar or Maple Syrup, EVOO, EVCO, Avocado Oil, Ben Oil, etc added to a deep conditioner. I rinse it out with ACV solution, Then I style with a mix of enriched leave-in conditioner, butter mix and gel/setting lotion.

I dust every three months, clarify monthly, massage my scalp with essential oils twice a week, wrap my hair at night in a satin scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase. I try other products, and do not use all the aforementioned at once. It might sound like much, but I do enjoy grooming myself, lol.

Do you have a healthy goal (hair, nutrition, exercise?)

length check

Length Check!

Honestly? Long beautiful hair. Really long. I want to stop at 36'', so I'm halfway there. I already take good care of her and keep her healthy.

As for my body, I really need to start working out once more. I used to work out 2 hours daily, now it's less than an hour a week. Though I've put on a few pounds, that doesn't bother me as much as the fact that I miss my ripped look.

...continue reading

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natural-cure-home-remedies-natural-remedies-lime1

Let’s talk about lime today. A little, cheap fruit that packs a whallop! Now squeeze a bit of the juice into water and you have a simple and affordable way to dramatically improve health.  Use 1-2 limes per glass of water.  Best thing is to drink Lime Water on a daily basis. At the very minimum drink Lime Water 3-4 times a week.

Lime and lemons are largely interchangeable.  Lemons have have slightly more fructose, but still a negligible amount when compared to other fruits.

Limes are loaded with a long list of essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients.  In many ways, limes are nature’s version of your daily multivitamin.  And Mother Nature, having countless millennia to hone and perfect her craft, packages these nutrients in a way that is readily used by the body.  In contrast, most of the so-called nutrients in synthetic multivitamins are excreted in urine.

Lime Water is an ally in slowing and even reversing the aging of skin and other organs.  It improves the appearance of skin through mechanisms that unfold deep within the body.  An old adage says “beauty is only skin-deep”.  Well, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  Beautiful, clear skin is generated from within.  That elusive glow-the Holy Grail of cosmetics-can never be achieved by slathering a product on the skin or by exfoliating layers of dead skin cells.  This is an uncomfortable truth for the cosmetics industry.

Let us explore a few ways in which regular consumption of Lime Water will shine forth your inner beauty. However before we get into it, remember that for a good thing to happen in the body it takes time.  There are no magic pills or short cuts.

The Holy Grail of Cosmetics

The appearance of skin is largely determined by the condition of the dermis, which is the deeper layer of skin.  Healthy, glowing skin is a product of two things: 1) well-maintained proteins in the dermal layer and 2) adequate blood flow through the dermal layer.  Structural proteins, such as collagen and elastin, make skin soft, smooth, and flexible.  Blood flow makes skin radiant.  Lime contains various nutrients such vitamin C, magnesium, biotin, and beta carotene that are essential for the maintenance of these proteins.  These nutrients also promote the growth of new blood vessels where needed.

Goodbye acne

Acne is a product of certain hormonal imbalances and too many bad gut bacteria.  Too much testosterone in circulation causes the skin to be oily.  Harmful gut bacteria make the skin more prone to inflammation.  Acne is the marriage of excess oil secretion and pro-inflammatory skin.  Lime water supports liver function, boosting its ability to clear excess testosterone in both males and females.  Lime water promotes the growth of friendly gut bacteria that reduce inflammation.  Please notice, facial washes, pore cleansers, and other do-dads do not help acne.

Watch belly fat melt

Stubborn belly fat that is resistant to dieting and exercise is caused by an excess of certain hormones in circulation.  These hormones are estrogen, insulin, and cortisol.  Lime water optimizes liver function, which is the organ responsible for removing excess hormones from circulation.  As the level of these hormones in circulation normalizes, excess belly fat is not only burned off but redistributed evenly around the body under the skin.

Now, this last bit may sound a bit technical, but hang in there, the knowledge you are about to acquire may change your life!

Sustainable weight loss 

Continuous weight gain that leads to overweight or obesity is not always a product of greed or laziness.  Your willpower, New Year resolutions, and such things only cause short term fluctuations in weight.  Long term weight management is not under conscious control.  It is regulated by communications between your fat stores and subconscious brain (hypothalamus).  The key hormone that relays information between both areas is leptin.  Leptin controls appetite and energy expenditure in the body over the long term.  A breakdown in leptin signaling is a necessary condition for continuous weight gain over the long term.  This is without exception. Regular consumption of lime water helps to restore the body’s sensitivity to leptin.  This reduces appetite and increases energy expenditure (i.e. resting metabolic rate).  The central role of leptin is the root cause of why weight-loss products and dieting do not work.   Only the regular consumption of nutrient dense whole foods over an extended period can resolve leptin resistance.

 

References

SK Schagen, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, and Zouboulis CC. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinology. 2012: 298-307. Print
Bowe WP, Logan AC. “Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future?” Gut Pathogens. 2011. Web
J Daubenmier, Kristeller J, Hecht FM, Maninger N, Kuwata M, Jhaveri K, Lustig RH, Kemeny M, Karan L, and Epel E. “Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study”. Journal of Obesity. 2010. Web
MG Myers , Leibel RL, Seeley RJ, and Schwartz MW. “Obesity and leptin resistance: distinguishing cause from effect”. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010. 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

3 Comments

Naturals protect your ends

I saw this picture on Facebook and it got me thinking. I know that a lot of people that have natural hair are very very protective of their hair. This is also true for even the folks that are on a healthy hair journey, whether natural or not.

My thinking is that it is because of how much we now know about how fragile our hair is. All the same, do you think we over-do it?

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A few weeks ago, I bought some honey and used some of it. When I opened it today, there was a small "pop" sound like I had let out some gas. That points to the fact that some fermentation process was going on in the bottle. An indication that the honey may be adulterated - despite all the assurances of the vendor otherwise.

There are several brands of honey sold in supermarkets with labels screaming how Pure and Natural they are despite being the opposite. We know this for a fact but because we are left with really little choice, we go right ahead and purchase them.

Adulterated honey is a big deal, especially for people that are trying to cut out sugar from their diet. At one point, I gave up on our local honey and went the way of liquid Stevia but the need to keep it refrigerated is such a bother in Nigeria where power supply is an issue, that I moved back to "pure" honey. Looks like I am going to go back to Stevia - the powdered version - until I find an original local supply of honey.

Here is a comprehensive list of tests you can perform on your honey to find out if it real or not.

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Please let me know what brand of honey you tested and what the results are. I will post some results soon too.

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Natural Nigerian Bone Broth:Stock

Bones, Celery, Rosemary, Dried Thyme, Carrots, Onions

A few posts ago, I shared my grocery haul (sound ridiculous to say grocery and haul in the same sentence, but moving on…) and promised to share a post on what I use the bones I regularly buy for.

I buy the bones from Shoprite. At N99.99 (way less than a dollar) per kilogram, they are a bargain. Not only for you but also for Shoprite. Have no illusions. These bones have been cleaned off pretty much any beef so you can’t buy these and think it is a cheap way of getting beef.

I typically use the bone broth to cook food. Most savoury meals that require water, I can reasonably substitute with bone broth – beans, jollof rice, soup, even moi-moi. When you use bone stock, you can do away with seasoning cubes and achieve even tastier food. That is enough of a WIN- WIN situation for anyone to get on the bone broth bandwagon (bbb!), but there’s even more.

Beyond tasty food, there are certain benefits that come from consuming Bone Broth. Some people swear that taking a certain amount every day will even go a long way in helping to reduce/eliminate cellulite, aiding digestion and arthritis, keeping skin supple and largely wrinkle free (this comes from the Gluthathione) .

Unfortunately, I could not find any scientific research that supported the anecdotal evidence that I found, but I shall keep looking. There is also a book: Gut and Psychology Syndrome which refers to the many benefits of bone broth, including even for mental health.

I cannot touch upon them all in great detail in one post but here is an overview:

Bones are made up of many many important substances and it is assumed that most of these will be present in some quantity in Bone Broth. We are talking about minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sulfur, Fluoride, Sodium, Potassium. The Cartilage is thought to contain Chrondroitin (very important for Joint health), Collagen and even Hyarulonic Acid (important for skin health) amongst many other things.

Natural Nigerian Bone Broth:Stock Ingredients

Ingredients for my "polite" Bone Broth

 I make bone broth in two ways – if I want a “polite” stock that is not as flavourful and spicy as we like it in Nigeria, I throw in celery, carrots, fresh thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and an onion. These are good for dishes that I want a subtle broth taste in. If I want to do things the Nigerian way – especially important if I am cooking our local soups, then curry, thyme, black, bay leaves, dried rosemary, Cameroun black pepper, onion, garlic, ginger e.t.c. are nestled between the bones and cooked until I have a wonderful, rich stock.

 

Bones Nigerian Stock Broth Natural

Bones with typical Nigerian seasoning...curry, thyme, onions, white pepper, cameroon pepper e.t.c.

Things to note

The goodness of bone broth are not restricted to beef bones alone. You can use the bones of goat, chicken, lamb, turkey. There is bone marrow to be found anywhere there are bones and it is this marrow that we really want in our meals. That said, common sense dictates that fish bones will not yield the same goodness.

To finish, here are some tips:

  • To extract the most from your bones, don’t boil. Bring up to the boil and then proceed to cook at a simmer. The longer your cook it for, the more nutrients you will extract.
  • Adding a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar helps in the extraction process.

References:

Shannan MD, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food

Sekhar RV, Patel SG, Guthikonda AP, Reid M, Balasubramanyam A, Taffet GE, Jahoor F., Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2011;94(3):847-53

 

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I was in Abuja recently for my very good friend’s wedding. Despite the fact that I had a limited number of days to spend there, I squeezed out time to go for a Hammam. I have only ever done this at MB Hammam in Abuja and so I can only tell you about my experience there. This time I took notes so that I could share it with y’all.

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Let’s walk through it shall we?

After telling them at the reception what treatment (I opted for the basic Hammam this time) I wanted, I was led upstairs to a changing room where I changed into a lovely Ankara robe and rubber slippers.

I was then led downstairs by one of the attendants who took me to the "bath". Disrobed, warm water was poured all over my body and Moroccan olive soap (their own version of black soap) was rubbed all over my body. I was then wrapped up and taken to the steam room where I remained for 20 minutes. While there, the lady attending to me served me cool water with cucumber slices in them.

“This is not for the body conscious as you will be stripped to your underpants for this Hammam”

Back at the bath, warm water was again poured all over my body to rinse off the soap. This was very welcome as the change in temperature after the steam room had me shivering a bit. After this I was made to lie down and the scrubbing began. The exfoliating gloves use are the same as in this post.

My “bather” started with my right arm. I have to admit that the exfoliating process can be quite abrasive and even painful. However, seeing the amount of dirt that fell off my body spurred me on to continue with the treatment as usual ;).

Going over my entire body must have taken at least 30 minutes and by the time we were done, the bed I was laying on was covered in small brown flecks of dead skin and dirt.

I was then rinsed off, scrubbed lightly with soap and rinsed off again. The next step was to cover my body lightly with a mixture of Rhassoul Clay and Lavender. After 5 minutes, this clay mixture is rinsed off.

While my body was still wet, I was sprayed with Rose Water, closely followed by....wait for it....baby oil. I was a bit surprised at this but then I realized that I had paid for the “basic hammam” and so baby oil would be all I would get. This was definitely the downside of my Hammam. As it was my first time doing the basic, I did not realize that this would be the oil used. Natural oils were always used with my other treatments.

After the Hammam, one is led to a room with electronic massage chairs and served sweet peppermint tea and biscuits to help with re-hydration. One may also choose to get an electronic massage. I completely skipped this step this time as I was in a hurry (I had a flight to catch that day). I also do not like electronic massages. Give me human hands any day.

All in all, I was glad I got my Hammam. I will probably try a place in Lagos as I live here. I understand that BNatural Spa offers Hammams.

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For years I have heard about the crime fueled olive oil industry. Most of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil we get in supermarkets, markets e.t.c is actually not Olive Oil, much less virgin or extra virgin.

Source

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If you want to find out more about this, I have plenty of links for your reading pleasure.

I would advice that you start with these easy to read illustrated slides by Nicholas Blechman.

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You will find short information on the racket that is the Olive Oil industry here. For example, did you know that In 2007 it was reported that only 4 percent of olive oil leaving Italy was pure Italian Olive Oil? Even the ones that have MADE in ITALY stamped on them or even have those cute Italian Flags on them.

Only a few brands have been singled out as being the real deal by Tom Mueller who is considered an Olive Oil expert. You can check out the list here

Another oil I would really like to get into is most of the Jojoba oil sold in Nigeria. Another day...

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January 2014

This month, I am loving the things that make me clean.

PUMICE STONE

Let's start with my feet. I have very very dry skin. My heels are dry and even have cracks in them. To slough off dead, dry skin, nothing works better than my local pumice stone. I have tried a lot of the imported variations but they can't hold a candle to this stone. They are typically not sold in stores, so imagine my joy when I walked into Fig Health Store, Lekki and saw them displayed beautifully in a basket. I bought 3 of them. At N350 each, I consider that a good deal.

I typically use the pumice stones once a week and follow up with a deep moisturizing treatment. if I feel like my feet need more TLC, I slather cream on them and sleep in socks. Works every time.

CLARISONIC 

I have spoken about my Clarisonic before. After years of using my hands, wash cloths, soft sponges, medium sponges et al without much satisfaction, I came across the Clarisonic Aria about a year ago. I use it once a day - typically at night. Let's just say that my facial skin has never been the same. I now spend less on facial products because my face is so clean, my products sink in faster. Also, that elusive glow girls chase after? With the truly clean skin the Clarisonic gives,  you will come closer to having it.

While my skin is actually quite good and acne free, it has gotten even better with the Clarisonic. It is a product I would advice everyone to get.

I bought mine straight off the Clarisonic website. They don't ship to Nigeria, unfortunately.

EXFOLIATING GLOVES

The first time I had these used on me were at a Hammam treatment. I have been to  more Hammam treatments since that initial one but never thought to use the gloves on myself. On a whim, I bought a pair about 2 months ago and I do not know why I didn't do so sooner. Anyone that has had a Hammam knows that those ladies don't play with these gloves. By the time you are done with the treatment, a whole lotta dead skin and dirt is left behind - I figured that I could get a similar effect. The first time I used them on myself, Chile! lemme tell you that I was puzzled at the brown water pooling at my feet in the shower when I rinsed off.

These babies rid the skin of dead cells and reveal smoother, skin. I do not hurt myself by rubbing myself raw. A sensible pressure will still give you the desired effect. I get a lot of questions about what products can give glowing skin. Yes, I used  the word "give" and not "reveal", intentionally. Apart from good make-up, which gives only a temporary glow, I don't believe that there is a product that can give it to you. Wash your body and face properly and you may be able to reveal that glow.

I bought these for between N850 - N1000 at Ebeano Supermarket.

Have you used any of these products before?