Our Natural Nigerians Facebook group has gotten more active recently and I love the conversations we have there. One that has come up many times is the subject of preservatives. (Shout out to Ms Makanju for leading the talk on this).

To give some background on the matter, there is a premise amongst some in the Natural Community that synthetic preservatives are bad and that certain natural products are good as preservatives. There is also one that claims that all synthetic preservatives are born equal and as such should be equally shunned.

Why do we need preservatives anyway? Natural Cream Nigeria

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This is a really important conversation to have as we begin to see more and more amateur mix-tresses turn their hands to formulating products and actually sell them to members of the public. Preservatives are there to ensure that the growth of bacteria, mold, yeast, fungi e.t.c. are inhibited in your cosmetic products. These microbes, as the name suggests, are small growth and may not always be visible to the human eye, especially when there is only a small amount of them in the product. A few people may ask “do these microbes pose a risk?” The short answer is yes! One may suffer infections and we know that those run the gamut from minor to serious.

 

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Healthy Salad Dressing Nigeria 2

I love salads of all kinds. I can eat veggies in pretty much any permutation.

  • Cabbage + Tomatoes + Cucumber
  • Carrots + Green Pepper + Cucumber + Tomatoes
  • Lettuce + Carrots + Cabbage + Green Pepper + Tomatoes
  • Carrots + Spinach + Avocado + Tomatoes

…you get the general idea.

I usually throw in some grilled chicken or some boiled eggs to make it a whole meal. Sometimes, I toss in some fruit like apples and eat it like that, sans dressing.

The one thing that wrecks a salad and transports it from a healthy meal to a non-healthy one is the salad dressing that is used.

Today, I am sharing an absolute favorite salad dressing. One that I have made over and over again.

Ingredients

  • Anchovies                                                                 1 Tin
  • Juice of two ripe limes
  • Honey                                                                        To Taste
  • Whole grain Mustard Seeds                                Teaspoon

You can substitute the limes with half a lemon if you prefer. I like limes because they are cheap and cheerful.

Healthy Salad Dressing Nigeria

To prepare

Open the can. That’s the hard work done and now it gets really easy, lol. Break up the anchovies to smaller pieces. The fish comes with some oil and we use that as well. Combine with the lime juice and mustard seeds. Add some honey to taste. Voila it is ready! Drizzle over your salad.

I like this particular dressing because it balances the sweet, sour and salty. At the last minute, I added some black pepper. There are no hard and fast rules. Just anything that floats your boat.

Let me know if you like it!

For more inspiration on healthy salad dressings, here’s a handy picture:

Salad Dressing Healthy home made

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Natural Nigerian Giveaway Hair Products

We are celebrating our new look site with a giveaway!! Yay!!

All you need to do is put items in your cart and before you pay for them, apply the coupon code. It will automatically discount all the items in your basket by 10%. That easy!

We are not restricting the giveaway to select items so everything is up for grabs.

Remember it is only on until the 30th of August! Happy Shopping!

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.

Razor Bumps

Unsightly razor bumps

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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.

Tea Tree Natural Nigerian Product Nigeria

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.

You can purchase Natural Nigerian Tea Tree Essential Oil here

If you have been over to Ekene’s blog, you probably already know about our announcement. In case you haven’t, here it is!

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Natural Nigerian and The Kink & I will be hosting the first ever meet up in the beautiful city of Calabar in Cross River State!

Details are below:

Bay’s Bar & Lounge

Felix Nsemo Drive,
Diamond Hill,
Calabar

18th October, 2014

1330hrs – 1730hrs

It will be my first time in Calabar and I look forward to taking in the sights as well as meeting all those that turn up for the meet up.

If you would like to attend, please register here.

If you wish to be a vendor at the event, please email us.

There will be more information coming up soon about the meet up. Please stay tuned.

After working on it for a long, long time (I am ashamed to say just how long), we can finally reveal our newer, updated website.

                                                                                                  © michaeljung

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.

Akwete Natural Nigerian

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.

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The phone line will be open from 0900 -1700hrs, Monday to Friday.

We aren’t quite done with the website yet (chei, it never ends) but we will continue working to improve things.

We would love to hear from you. What do you think, so far? All feedback is welcome.

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.

How Seasoning cubes make you fat

Beef-Bouillon-Cube Source

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.

Reference:

  1. 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?”

-Sayer Ji

Aloe-Vera-Gel-Benefits-Nigeria

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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. aloe-vera-gel

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How does aloe vera gel work its magic? The appearance of skin proceeds from a complex interplay of variables.  To name a few:

  1. Tissue oxygenation: lungs need to provide sufficient oxygen to enable skin maintenance.
  2. Nutrient supply: blood vessels need to supply adequate nutrients to facilitate skin repair.
  3. Waste disposal: lymphatic vessels need to drain wastes and excess water away to prevent toxicity and fluid retention.
  4. Hormone clearance: liver needs to eliminate excess hormones and other substances in circulation.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Drink lime water daily (add fresh aloe vera gel for best results).
References:
  1. 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
  2. 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.

I have alluded to the mega giveaways at NITC8 from our vendors. Now is the time to reveal them in all their glory!

Just to digress a teeny weeny bit, let me explain how things will go when you register at the meet up.

You will receive a ticket which has a number on it. Please keep this carefully as we will retain a stub which we will put into a raffle. We will draw from this raffle to determine the winners of the giveaways. We will begin to do this early on in the meet up as we have quite a bit to give away!

Now, on to the prizes you can expect to win that day. 

Let’s talk services:

Apples & Oranges

NATURAL flier-page-001

Apples & Oranges is “The first Salon and Spa in Nigeria that Provides “One Stop Spa Experience for the Entire Family”. They have a salon specifically for Natural Hair and I have been there one more than one occasion to get my hair done, my daughter’s hair done. Even my sister has gotten her hair done there. 

Apples & Oranges will have stylists from their Natural Hair Salon there to style your hair, completely free of charge.

All you need to claim this prize is to show up to the meet up with your hair washed and ready for styling.

Please have realistic expectations. Don’t expect micro twists or styles that will take a very long time to achieve. 

O’Naturals Beauty

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O’Naturals Beauty was established by three sisters to meet the demands of women who require natural products, hair and body care. They have a Salon in Ogudu, Lagos. 

They are offering a free wash and Deep Conditioning treatment at their salon.

To win: Your ticket qualifies you.

KL’s Natural Beauty Bar

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Owned by the lovely Kemi Lewis, KL’s Natural Beauty Bar is a salon and store in Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.

KL’s Natural Bar is offering One Shea Radiance product trial set PLUS a huge bow up-do using Marley Hair. Here’s a picture of Kemi, sporting the style!

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To win: Your ticket qualifies you.

Now folks, on to products:

Aweni Organics

aweni palm oil & papaya - now available poster

 

Awwni Organics is a A 100% Natural Shea Butter-Based Bath & Body Care Products Company. They have products ranging from soaps to body butters.  As you can see from the flyer above, they are going to be launching their new soap – Palm Oil and Papaya at the NITC8 Meet Up. There are offering up a 20 of these soaps.

To win: First 20 people who buy from the Aweni stall gets a free bar of their Palm Oil and Papaya Exfoliating Soap.

Sahara Sunrise 

Sahara Sunrise has been making natural hair and skin products for years. They will be giving away Bath Bombs which are excellent for relaxation therapy. Don’t have a bath tub? A bucket will do just fine. They have Moringa Leaf and Tamanu Oil Bath Bombs, Chocolate Bath Bombs and Calendula Bath Bombs.

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To win: Your ticket qualifies you.

African Naturalistas

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African Naturalista needs no introduction. A fellow blogger and owner of her own brand of cosmetics, ‘Ilola who owns African Naturalista offers a bottle each of

  • Black Moisturizing Natural Shampoo
  • One Moisturizing and Detangling Conditioner

They have been making products for a few years and if you have never gotten to try them, this will be a good opportunity to get in on the action.

To win: Your ticket qualifies you.

Namaste Organics

RosemaryYlangYlang (1)

Makers of Black Soap, Body Butters and more, Namaste Organics have diversified recently and started making hair products. If you win, you can try their

  • Leave in conditioner
  • Aloe Vera spritz

To win: Your ticket qualifies you.

Natural Nigerian

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Ah! You didn’t think we wouldn’t participate, did you?  You win a N10,000 gift voucher which you can use in our Ahia.

To win: Our giveaway is actually ongoing and you can get details on how to enter here.

UPDATE: Fashion Strings, retailer of pretty much every hair accessory you could need plus more is offering a giveaway too.

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To win: Buy goods worth N2000 from the Fashion Strings Stand and take anything off the stand completely free!

Phew!! Finally done. As you can see, there is quite a bit to be won. And this on top of things to learn at the meet up. What can I say, Naturals in the City Meet Ups always pack a wallop! If you are in Lagos, you have many many reasons to want to be there. We were one of the first Natural Hair meet ups in Lagos, Nigeria and we hope to be around for a long time.

Don’t forget to come with a friend or 3!

Dangers of Vegetable Oil Natural NigerianSource

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.

Dangers of Vegetable Oil Natural Nigerian

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The negative health effects of hydrogenated oils

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.

References:
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.

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