I am constantly reading up on Human Health and the effects of any chosen lifestyle. A while ago, I came across this documentary which had my jaw dropping and made such an impact that I am not sure I will ever look at Food the same way again.
I think the hugest thing that you can take away from this documentary is the fact that the International Food Industries (almost all of which originate in North America) have been actively, aggressively, seeking and entering emerging economies where they can sell their “nutritionless” food products so that they can stay profitable. They are exporting obesity, quite diligently, to us and rather than wait to learn for ourselves, we can learn from what is happening in all the other countries they have penetrated.
They do not set up office here (going through the stress of operating in Nigeria) because they love you or even care about what happens to you after you get hooked on their snacks and food products – they do so to make sure that their companies stay profitable. And guess where the bulk of that money they make here goes. Hint: Not even into growing your own economy or developing the health sector which they make you need.
These are some of the snacks that Nestle manufactures. How many of these have you ever eaten? If you have had at least 80% of these, that is the power of marketing. Don’t underestimate it.
I know a lot of our folks watch/hear these things with a feeling of disconnection….they think that Nigeria is so far away from the clutches of the International Food Industries that they cannot be affected.
That is not true. Even in Oke-Arin market in Lagos Island, you can find food products from companies like Kraft, Danone, Heinz e.t.c. Note that I did not call them food. That is because, well they are not. Let us not even begin to get into the brands we now get at places like Shoprite
We also know that certain companies have had a big presence here for years: e.g. Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi and all those Indian-owned companies around Oshodi that make the N10 snacks and biscuits sold by Mallams and in traffic. Let us not even get into the nightmare that is flavored milk, sold everywhere. Even our older industries are complicit, churning out food products like Gala which are very low in nutritional value but are sold “to satisfy hunger”.
It gets even worse, Nigeria is directly mentioned in this documentary. Not only as an emerging economy but as an emerging economy that is targeted by the International Food Industries and as such a place that is experiencing an increasing Obesity problem. Obesity is high in EVERY country that these companies are present in. There is a direct relationship. The documentary does not claim that there was no obesity before they came but there is an accelerated spike in the number of obese people.
In Africa, Nigeria and South Africa have been targeted because of their economies. You will recognize some of these companies because they either have offices in Nigeria or their products are in our markets and supermarkets.
I am taking the time to address one of the questions I get asked most. It is right there at the top of the list with “How do I make my hair grow longer fast.” I have answered that question (advising on incorporating healthy methods) on facebook, twitter and even here on the blog.
So, folks also want to know “how to make my hair fuller and thicker”. I am not going to answer directly. I want you to think this through on your own after you are done reading this post.
While looking for images that could help to illustrate the point I want to make, I came across this post. I contacted Sonya of Parlor Diary and with her approval, I am able to share them here. I would really advice that you go to her blog and read the original post.
Hair Strand Types – Coarse Medium, Fine
Usually, when people say that they do not have thick hair, they usually mean that the hair strand is thin and not thick. However, in proper hair speak, we class the hair strand as being either coarse, medium or fine. So we are born with our hair in either one of these categories. You will notice that this is dependent on the diameter of the hair strand. This in fact is also dependent on the size of the hair follicles that produce the hair. Thin follicles produce fine hair and so on. It is interesting to note that as we get older, our hair follicles usually get thinner and thus start producing fine hair.
We are genetically programmed to have our hair grow either coarse, medium or fine. It is possible for someone who has fine hair to use a product that will temporarily give it the effect of being medium. Alas, these topical applications typically wash off.
Hair density is simply the number of hair strands on the scalp. Usually referred to as having “full hair” or “scanty hair” depending on where one falls in the spectrum. The squares below represent the scalp while the dots below represent the way hair follicles are distributed on the scalp. As you can see, those that have are under the “thick” category have more hair per square inch. Which means that they have higher hair density than those in the other categories.
It stands to reason that those in the “thick” category will have a fuller head of hair than those in the “medium’ category and so on. It is possible to have this hair density distributed unevenly throughout the scalp such that the nape of your hair will have less hair density than say the middle. People can generally move from thick to medium to thin over the span of their lives. This is usually a function of hair follicles closing up for any variety of reasons
Bad Hair Care e.t.c
Can someone who wasn’t burn with a thick head of hair somehow wind up with a thick head of hair? It can happen with hair transplants but a miracle product? If there is one, I am unaware of it.
Interestingly, studies show that African women typically have lower hair density than Caucasians.
To end, after reading this post, have you figured out how to make your hair thicker or if indeed, you can? If you have, please share by leaving a comment. If you haven’t please leave me a comment about that and I will do another post explaining if we can, indeed make our hair fuller and thicker.
Hair Density in African Americans, Arch Dermatol. 1999 Jun; 135(6): 656-8.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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