Friday, 24 June 2016

Fitness Friday: Healthy Eating!

I was watching this documentary the other day when it hit me the only way to eat healthy is to go back to the basics like we were taught at school and for me at home too. Eat a balanced diet (starch, proteins, fruits and veggies), everything in moderation and exercise. It really is that simple. Thankfully I have never really been one to buy into the hype of what’s trending at the moment in terms of food or fashion. Part of that I believe is because I am a researcher by nature I will not buy into something I have never heard of before without thorough research and also comes from my years of working retail while at Uni, when I discovered all the tricks used by clever marketers to make consumers buy their products whether they truly needed them or not no matter the cost. All those expensive “trendy” seeds, nuts, grains, detox drinks etc are not any better than your regular everyday cheaper varieties, in terms of nutritional value, that you have probably been consuming all your life. So you do not have to break the bank to “eat healthy” so to speak. There is no such thing as a “super food” more like “super clever marketers”.  Eat a balanced diet, work out regularly and you will be just fine. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

My DIY Facial Routine

I have only ever had two professional facials in my life and I did not like them. I do not know what it was but my face did not feel as good as I was told it would after the facials; and they were done at two different places over sometime. So I decided no more professional facials for me. I have been taking care of my face from my very early twenties, I was around 21 or thereabouts when I started using face scrubs every now and then and was using face masks and steaming weekly by my mid twenties mostly clay based face masks as I have an extremely oily face. By the time I hit my thirties I was on the natural path – everything I use on my face other than my makeup is natural – natural soap, natural oils, natural face masks, natural scrubs you name it. In a way I am grateful for my oily face because it is the major reason I started taking care of my face so young as I was always on the lookout for remedies for the oiliness. I keep saying that on a good hot and humid day one can fry an egg or two on my face no kidding! This is my facial regimen that I have stuck to religiously for over two years now before that it was do a facial as and when needed.

I use a face mask three times a week as follows;
Sunday night -  bentonite clay mask; draws out impurities/toxins, clears clogged pores thus reducing the oiliness
Wednesday night – Egg white mask to tightens pores/skin and removes dead skin
Friday night – Fruit/Veggie mask I typically use whatever is available at the moment and this could be avocado, tomato, papaya/pawpaw, honey, natural yoghurt, banana, bicarbonate of soda etc. I sometimes add ground cinnamon or ground turmeric to these masks. Just Google to read more about the benefits of each mask mentioned above.

My natural face wash is good old liquefied African Black Soap which has been very effective in combating my oily face. I used Clean and Clear face wash the one that gives one a mini scrub as you wash I forget the name now for years before I switched to African Black Soap and would recommend it to anyone who prefers “regular” face washes any day.
My natural face scrub is a mix of honey and coarse cornmeal/maize meal.
My natural face oil/moisturiser for the longest time was coconut oil but I now alternate between that, Ugandan shea butter and sweet almond oil I use just a pea sized drop for the liquid oils. I am looking forward to trying out avocado oil and grape seed oil next which reminds me I need to look for some pure non capsule based vitamin E oil that has been on my list for the longest time. And I just discovered baobab oil!
Avocado face mask is one of my favs i use it on it's own or sometimes add turmeric for a beautiful glow
I also use diluted fresh lemon juice as a cleanser. My toners have included everything from ice cubes, to fresh aloe vera juice, to rose water to diluted white vinegar etc to be honest I hardly ever feel the need to tone since I do a final rinse with ice cold water works just as well as ice cubes in my opinion . I hear witch hazel is good too as a toner so I may try it out soon. I steam by simply pouring hot water in a bowl which I use specifically for this purpose bending over that and covering my head with a towel to let the steam do its work. When feeling lazy I just use a hot towel and pat down my face with it. Wednesday and Friday are mask days and Sunday is reserved for a proper facial routine when I have the time to do everything cleanse, steam, scrub and mask I make it a point to try and do a full DIY facial at least twice a month. I got into a routine of using these masks as soon as I took of my makeup in the evening and washed my face and it simply became part of my evening face wash routine so I don’t feel like it is extra work or anything like that. Besides these face masks take about 20-30 minutes before they need to be washed off time in which I spend doing other things as I wait to wash it off. I have always been a heavy water drinker so I guess that has played a critical role in keeping my face clear of blemishes I suffer the occasional breakouts just like most people and get the worst case of white heads in hot and humid weather but thankfully my DIY facials take care of that quite easily.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Baobab Oil

Here’s the thing I grew up as a pre teen in a seaside town where baobab trees were a dime a dozen; and yet I had never heard of baobab oil until two weeks ago when I stumbled on it on a facebook hair group that I am part of. The only part of the baobab tree that I was very familiar with were the seeds that were prepared into a tart but sweet “seedy” snack called “mabuyu” in Swahili. The tree itself is called “Mbuyu” in Swahili its scientific name is Adansonia it has nine species and each having a different sub name and can live for up to 2000 years. It is also called the Tree of Life because it provides water (they store water in their trunks), food traditional medicine and shelter (I sheltered under this tree many times as a child; we had one in our school compound). I am pretty sure the oil was probably used somewhere around me I just never recognized it or paid attention to it. As long as I had my “mabuyu” I was good, forget everything else the tree produces hehehe. I remember at school when we were taught about the benefits of various trees a lot more emphasis was paid on the very versatile coconut tree rather than baobab tree; or maybe I was just not paying attention during baobab tree sessions:)
So what is Baobab oil? Baobab oil is produced by cold pressing baobab seeds this method ensures nutrients found in the oil are conserved and limits any chances of cross contamination of the oil by unwanted chemicals.  Baobab oil is high in vitamin C which assists in skin elasticity; I am thinking this may be a perfect anti ageing oil. It contains antioxidants which protects the skin from free radicals, contains vitamins A and B which firms, tightens and hydrates the skin – anti ageing oil anyone?-  It is also rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which makes it a great anti inflammatory agent.
Source: Amazon
Baobab oil promotes wound healing, moisturizes skin and protects the skin from extreme temperatures i.e. too hot or too cold temperatures among other benefits. Other than skin and hair the oil can also be used for nail and dental care. The oil can be used on the hair as a hot oil treatment, pre poo, added to deep conditioners or simply used on its own as a sealant or scalp oil. It leaves hair soft, silky and protects it from sun damage. The oil has a good shelf life but just like other oils it is best kept away from light to avoid it getting rancid even though it has a pretty strong resistance to rancidity.

This is an oil that I am definitely going to give a try especially for the benefits to my skin. Please note however that the oil in its natural unfiltered form is not deemed fit for internal consumption but rather external use.

Sources and additional reading