Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Natural IS Cool Enough as an Approach to Reduce the Risk of Fibroid and Other Tumors and Chemical Toxicity: Say What?

Recently, I was moved by a piece that a former student of mine wrote about the right to wear your hair other than naturally, without being questioned about it by others.  Of course, this is a free country and I agree with her on that 100%.  But, I can't stop the need to press the issue with a leaning toward natural hair and validating naturalistas because it comes out of love for me to express this.  What am I referring to? I am referring to my own personal belief and what I believe to be  fact and that is the notion that Natural IS Cool Enough.  There is the historical aspect to all of this in that Black people, mainly women, were told by their oppressors, during slavery and beyond that their hair, as it grew out of their scalp was ugly, inferior, wool etc. and that in order to be beautiful it was felt that the hair should be straightened.  Hence, the straightening comb, created by the French, was then utilized.  Then of course, next was the "relaxer."  Within the name itself is the notion that our hair needs to calm down.  I am a very energetic person and the last thing I want to hear from folks is to tell me to relax. So telling me to relax my hair is no different. I don't want it to relax.  Let it be free and unfettered.  Why not?

Nevertheless, what I really want to talk about here are the health effects associated with the notion of changing the chemical texture of our hair. In fact, It's not just our hair but make-up and beyond.  Make-up goes back to our African ancestors.  It goes back as far as the ancient Egyptians, and yes they were Black, as Egypt is located on the continent of Africa, during antiquity (BCE) and then, make-up was all natural.  Different people paint their bodies in different ways but often as a symbol of beauty or ritual. Tattoos also go back thousands of years, in Africa and beyond.  As my mom used to say "there is nothing new under the sun."

The reality is that Black women are disproportionately marketed to, in terms of cosmetics and other chemicals, during our present times. This piece, which explains this notion, is very brief, although quite enlightening about the Toxic Products that are disproportionately marketed to Black women:  http://safecosmetics.org/downloads/SafeCosmetics_BlackWomen_brochure.pdf

So, I have taken the liberty of finding some natural and organic products that may be worthy of consideration to decrease the toxicity factor associated with make-up.  Here are some examples:


There are many more options, but the above links provide information that are good places to start. Prices vary and unfortunately, just like when buying healthy and organic food, the price points are higher but the more we participate in the market of what is good for us and non-toxic, the better chance there will be to push the manufacturers and providers of what we need to bring the prices down.

As for hair and the negative effects of relaxers, there are some very interesting studies emerging.  The first is the notion that there is a relationship between the use of relaxers and Uterine fibroids.  This research is worth reading even if it is at the early stages.  As you read the article, it is mentioned that burns and lesions, from the relaxing process, is what may be enabling the toxic chemicals from the relaxers to get into the body.  Before, even getting to the chemicals entering the body, why use anything that even has the remote possibility of causing burns or lesions to one's scalp?  This becomes even more problematic when one considers that children, through the use of kiddie perms, are subjected to potential or actual burning of their scalps.  If a child is permitted to be burned in any other way, that is child abuse!  Why is it not child abuse if a child is subjected to the potential of or actual burning for a perm.  So here is the article about Uterine Fibroids with a link within this piece to the actual study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic: http://www.essence.com/2012/02/24/hair-beat-can-hair-relaxers-cause-uterine-fibroids/

Lastly, there is a piece that I want to share with you that gets very technical but it is about the possible link between relaxers and Uterine Leiomyomata, which are tumors, and hair relaxers may increase the risk of getting them.  Here is the article related to this research: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759283.  This information is getting rather technical, but nevertheless, it is critically important.

Basically, everyone has the right to choose how to style one's hair and what make-up to choose and hopefully, every other aspect of your body and life choices are your own.  That is the beauty of a free society.  The question is,  borrowing and modifying a quote from Maya Angelou:  "When we know better, will we do better?"  Natural Is Cool Enough says yes because as we love who we are, naturally, we embrace who we really are.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nourish Your body, Nourish Your hair: A Natural Approach!

There is no doubt that healthy foods can benefit one's natural hair.  When I was growing up, there was always fresh, scrumptious food on the table, for every meal, as my mother cooked delicious meals daily.  There was no fast food served in our home during  my childhood.  My mother had a beautiful garden and I would go to it with her, with bowls in hand, to pick fresh fruits and vegetables.  But, many of the dishes that she made, since she was born and raised in Georgia, were what is classified as "soul food."  The problem there is that although the food was incredibly tasty, the preparation techniques were sometimes not the healthiest.  For example there were fried and heavily seasoned dishes and  recipes that, as I have learned, require modification toward health.  Hence, I undertook that step in my new book! 

My mother's name was Effie and near the end of her life, I sat down with my niece Vivian, who was a very young girl at the time, and we recorded my mother's recipes.  I then took each of those recipes, which I usually prepare on certain special occasions and modified them with healthier ingredients such as hormone and antibiotic free meats and poultry, Himalayan pink salt, organic ingredients and beyond.  I also included a few recipes from my mother-in-law, Justine, as she was first generation American, from a family of individuals from the Cape Verde Islands, which comprise an African nation off of the West Coast of Africa. The book also includes recipes that I found during my World travels and modified them.

In short, caring for our bodies naturally, including what is put into them, nourishes every fiber of our being including our hair, of course, so I hope all of the readers of N.I.C.E. will enjoy my new book entitled:  Effie's Soul Food Recipes and More...With A Healthy Twist!  You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Effies-Soul-Recipes-Healthy-Twist-ebook/dp/B00K2NLEKK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399309969&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=Effie%27s+Soulfood+Recipes

All you need to read it is the free app per the link below which you can download to a Smart Phone or a Computer or a tablet or a Kindle. Then, you can download any book offered by Amazon kindle! Enjoy! http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771

Also, for foods that are specific to maintaining beautiful hair, check out this article: http://blackgirllonghair.com/2011/10/10-foods-for-healthy-hair/

The bottom line is that embracing the reality that Natural Is Cool Enough, in terms of our hair, is just the beginning of our understanding that nourishing our body nourishes us inside and out, including our hair!