Posts tagged ‘Health ‘




Walk of Heroes 5k Training: Day 20 and 21

Sunday and Monday I did 5k training even though I try never to work out on Sunday, but I am really mad at my church and frustrated with the churches I have gone to. Is that really why? I don’t think so. I’m just making stuff up.  But I have not found a good church in Atlanta yet, so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know.

Sunday, my mom and I finally settled my gym membership situation, so I have gym membership at the YMCA.  This is great because I can lift slightly heavier weights and get better results. You should see my new guns (bicep muscles), but I am a bit shy about them though so maybe some other day.  I may even teach a group fitness class or course at the YMCA. YAY!!!

As for the running part, yesterday, I really had to run much more than ever.  My chest hurt a little.  It always hurts when I run but I never die and the pain does not last so it must not be too bad. Uhh…I am glad I typed that because that sounded foolish.  I need to do some research on that.

Yesterday, I got so much work done  and I think it may have to do with the fact that I did not blog.  Blogging really sucks up my time.  I am applying for jobs and I may be starting classes next Monday so I really don’t have the time to blog, just wanted to let you know that I am on track with the workouts and Sunday, I made up for Thursday Hallelujah.

God is faithful. I will explain what I mean later.

Add a comment August 16, 2011

My Mother: Amazing Woman, and more notes on Irrationality and Rationality

 

Actually wrote this yesterday and did not post it:

I told you that I was going to wait until I finished Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart to read Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, but my dad was going to the library today and I couldn’t wait.  However, the library did not have the book so instead I got Ariely’s newest book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic.

After reading the introduction to the book, I am really realizing what amazing woman my mom is .  In the book, Ariely discusses the irrationality of human beings and the profundity and pervasiveness of this irrationality. He begins his book by talking about one of the most common reflection of human irrationality: procrastination.  He says that we as humans struggle to overcome procrastination every day.  I was relieved because all this time I thought I was the only one who almost always waits until the last minute to complete tasks. It has been quite painful to overcome this habit.

My mom is quite different from the people Ariely talks about in his book.  I cannot recall a time when she procrastinated.  Every time ask her to do me a favor, she always does it, either that day or for bigger tasks, the next day but only if she absolutely has to wait.  She quit smoking almost 10 years ago after smoking for 20-30 years (which is another habit Ariely said is irrational yet difficult to quit).  She has gotten so good at not smoking that it is hard to believe she ever smoked since she now hates even the smell of cigarettes on a person’s shirt.

My brother bought gym membership for both my mom and my dad.  But out of the two of them, my mom is the only one who goes to the gym religiously. How does she do it? How does my mother conquer natural human irrationality?  Ariely says that most humans prefer short term pleasure that will be detrimental in the long run as opposed to short term pain that will be much more beneficial in the long run. Maybe there are some glitches to Dan Ariely’s study.  Then again, I have not finished reading the book.  I would say that going natural is long term pain that results in even longer term benefits.  Yet many women all over the blog-o-sphere are taking the plunge.  What is this force that is moving them?  Can anyone help me figure this out? I do not remember why I did, but I do know that I was much more disciplined back then than I am now and I did not care about looking good either.  In fact, I thought looking good attracted boys that would waste my time and get me pregnant which I did not want so I took the risk.  Many women are going natural now and looking good while doing it.  I did not know how to do both back then  because there was no online natural hair community at the time (2003).

Two Hours later:

So after my mother got home, I told her about the book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic.  I then went on to tell her how amazing she was for fighting procrastination and having the will power to quit smoking and to start exercising her.  I asked her, “How do you do it? What is the force?”

She told me love.  “I love my family and I want to be able to provide for them and to live long so that I can see them prosper.”  That is so sweet.  The Bible is right.  Love is such a strong force.

My mom and me

2 comments July 29, 2011

Irrationality, Rationality and Health

Hello all.

I have gotten a few messages from women who have said that my blog has inspired them either to go natural or to explore their hair growth potential.  Although I try to shame women with relaxers (I too once had one so who am I to judge), these replies have gotten me interested in what inspires people, not just to go natural but to make healthy decisions in general.  What causes people to make unhealthy decision not only when it comes to their hair but also when it comes to their body?  For example, why would someone not monitor their diet and eat rids, McDonald’s, or cake on a daily basis with the knowledge that diet-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or stroke run in their family?

Sounds irrational but is very common in our society.  In the vein of hair care, why would someone go to a shop every 6 weeks or so and pay another person quite a bit of money to apply a chemical on their head that can burn through metal and causes cancer?  Again, I am not trying to judge, I can be quite irrational too, but it is quite mind boggling. Dan Ariely explores the irrationality of human beings in his book, Predictably Irrational and argues that humans are always irrational.  After I finish reading Things Fall Apart by the great Nigerian (Igbo) writer Chinua Achebe, I plan to read Dan Ariely’s book.  While I do agree with Ariely that humans can be irrational, my viewers who have cited me as their source of inspiration, have inspired me to think differently.  There is a force that drives individuals to act irrationally but there can also be a stronger force to drive them in the opposite direction to rationality.

It is simple high school physics.  Newton’s first law says that “every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state impressed.”

In other words, everything will state at rest or move with a constant velocity unless acted on by a force especially an unbalanced force.

I believe there are unseen forces that push human beings towards irrational behavior despite the fact that there are also strong (albeit weaker) forces pushing them towards rational behavior.

What is this force?

What is this force? What are the invisible forces that push us towards rational or irrational behavior? What motivates human beings?

Add a comment July 28, 2011

Hair Growth Tips Series Part IV (oh wow!): Deep Conditioning

Hi all. This is a continuation of the hair growth series.  This post is about deep conditioning.  Hair experts in the natural-hair community as well as the general hair-enthusiast community have different methods, different perspectives on relaxing and straightening, different preferences for ingredients in their hair products, different preferred detangling methods, and different preferred styles.  Some use shampoo.  Some never use shampoo. Some shampoo every two months. Some always shampoo their scalp only and never the scalp. Some do shampoo their hair.  Some henna their hair. Some advise against henna. I could go on for days. But there is one thing that all the hair experts seem to share—and I would say that I measure their hair expertise based on the length of their hair.  What they all have in common is deep conditioning often.  Often be every week or every other week.  Some, like The Anti Hair Slave  even deep condition three times per week sometimes. Again you will have to figure out your own hair needs.  Most people, I have noticed deep condition their hair every time they wash (whether they wash with a cheap conditioner, a moisturizing shampoo, a no poo, or a clarifying shampoo).

Here are some tips on how to choose a deep conditioner:

Protein versus Moisture

So one difference among hair experts is the kind of deep conditioner they use.  Some women need protein in their hair, whereas other women have hair that is protein sensitive and can break if there is too much protein.  Instead, they need moisture.

From what I have noticed, the women who need protein are usually those who relax, straighten often, dye,  or apply heat often to the hair.  The relaxing, dying, and heat processes can distort the protein structures in the hair and therefore women with these processes need protein.

The women who have protein sensitive hair and need moisture are usually women with natural hair.  However, I will say that some natural women such as kimmaytube and haircrush use conditioners with protein and have had great results.  Those with naturally kinky hair especially need moisture because kinky hair often is and/or looks dry.

I personally try to stick with a low protein conditioner and add an egg when the ends are looking damaged but may stop that because it does not seem to help.  Sometimes if the ends are broken, I will put jojoba oil on the ends.

These are the conditioners I have tried and like:

  • Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)—this one smells much better that the White Camellia)
  • Aubrey Organics White Camellia (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
  • Lustrasilk Shea Butter Cholesterol (Sally’s) – but be careful with this one, it has parabens which can be cancerous.
  • Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
  • Suave Naturals Conditioner Tropical Coconut

Right now I use Herbal Essense Hello Hydration or Suave Naturals Conditioner Tropical Coconut.  I use them because they are less expensive than the others, but I mix HH or TC with Olive Oil and honey.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the slip (detangling) and the honey because it is a humectant (attracts moisture).

Slight digression (as always) 

The funny thing is that when I was younger I thought that I had to buy black products, but they were not really working for my hair and I now am finding out that a lot of black and mixed hair experts do not use so called “black” products.  My best friend’s cousin is a chemical engineer and she said that so-called “black” hair products have higher amounts of cancerous chemicals such as parabens.  What are they trying to do? Kill us?  And they meanwhile have our hair looking sub par.  Pathetic. (Check out the hair hazards of your own hair products: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.  This is not really related to hair growth but I thought you should know).

What’s more is the products are not even always made by black people.  Many are made by Jewish, Korean, and Vietnamese people.  I am not saying that this is wrong, but if your reasoning for using black hair products is that you are supporting black businesses, the chances are you are really not. They just slap a black woman’s face on the box, who by the way may not even use the product.  My mom met a Motion’s hair model who says she never uses Motions.  She said she uses Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil. How she does, I don’t know, but I also use olive oil so I can imagine.

Well enough of outing people and hair care companies.  My point is that you do not have to find your conditioner in the “black” section.  I will admit that Lustrasilk is in the black section.  But do not be afraid to venture out.  If you do get a “white people’s conditioner”, as my cousin T says, get one for dry hair, because kinky/curly hair tends to be dry.  Tresemmé and Pantene ProV are also quite popular. Pantene is especially good for the relaxed and heat treated hair because of the protein.  (On the flip side Teen Magazine and Cosmo Girl never gave any real hair tips for women with kinky or even curly hair and Black Hair Magazines only recommended those poisonous black hair care products. Also pathetic.)  Okay. Let me calm down and continue. I’m okay, ladies. I promise.

Deep condition? How?

I am glad you asked.  It is quite simple.  You apply the deep conditioner, yes.  However, you also want to use some kind of heat.  But you don’t have to go out and by a dryer or a hair dryer hood. I have neither of those things.  You can use your own body heat. Fo’ free!!

After applying the deep conditioner, don a plastic heating cap or even a plastic grocery bag.  I have done both, but be careful not to suffocate yourself with the latter.  Tie it on your head.  To trap your body heat, you can do one of two things:

  1. Wrap a towel around your head.
  2. But on a satin cap and then a stocking cap (actually made out of stockings).

I can explain the logic of these two methods easily easily.  When it is winter or when it is cold, people wear skull caps. Right? And why do they do that?  Because most of our body heat escapes from the head (and the hands but that is not important), but when you wear skull cap the heat is trapped.  The same thing is happening when you put the plastic cap and either the towel or bonnet and stocking cap.  Free heat from God.  How awesome is that?  Hehe.  I explain this process in more detail in my washing regimen.

1 comment July 26, 2011

Obesity and Chronic Disease

Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults

This post is long overdue (about a week), but about a week ago I watched the show Extreme Makeover: Weghtloss Edition.  In the show, Chris Powell, health and fitness guru, helps a 500 lb 45-year old bachelor  to lose almost 300 lbs in less than a year. While I like that the show helps people to live healthy life styles and to reclaim their lives, while watching the show, some issues cam to mind.

  1. Being chosen to guest-star (or lose weight) on an episode is almost like winning the lottery. While there are so many obese and overweight individuals only a very small section of the population gets such an intense intervention program like those on the Biggest Loser or Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. 25% percent of Americans have a BMI of 30 or more, where as I could imagine less than 1% of American have the opportunity to be on those television shows.
  2. We wait until the damage has been done to take action. Why should we wait until a guy is 1/4 of a ton to help him? Dana, our hero on the show, had been overweight since age 5. By the time he turned 45, he had been overweight and obese for 40 years and the diseases associated with being overweight, diabetes and heart disease can no longer be reversed without some divine intervention, of course.
  3. We assume that fat people are the only unhealthy individuals that require intervention. This is probably my biggest problem with our cultural perception of health and weight loss.  We assume that skinny always means healthy and fat always means unhealthy. While BMI and health are correlated, the BMI is not always causative, meaning skinny people are not always healthy.

I have a cousin who has never been fat a day in his life and he has type 2 diabetes (no I did not meant to say type 1). The doctor of the skinniest girl in my friend group begged her to start exercising because her blood pressure was reaching elevated levels.  Diabetes and high blood pressure.  These are supposed to be the diseases of the overweight and obese. If you do have higher than average BMIs, you are likely to suffer from those two diseases, but you do not have have to be overweight or obese to get them.  All it takes is an unhealthy lifestyle (which does not only mean poor diet and lack of exercise but also poor stress management and lack of sleep)

I tell people that I need to go to the gym and they say, “Why?” or “You don’t need to go to the gym.” One of my aunts tells me that I can eat whatever I want to because I am skinny.  It’s these kind of attitudes that are killing our nation’s people.  Peopl have the attitude that if it’s healthy it probably does not taste good. If it is unhealthy it probably tastes good. I went to a restaurant with a friend and he asked about the appetizers. The waitress recommended the spinach dip, he responded, “Oh no. Sounds too healthy for me.”  It’s probably not even that healthy if the person eating it does not exercise much.

I always tell people that 80% of death related diseases are from diet-related diseases (and by the way a friend shock me when I told her this because she did not want to hear it).  However, I heard this statistic in Whole Foods during a Prospective Health Challenge so I want to be positive.

Okay, these are the common diet related diseases:

  • Cardiovascular diseases and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Some cancers (such as bowel, pancreas, liver and oral)

What are the leading causes of death in the US? CDC says that in 2007, the leading causes of death were:

  • Heart disease: 616,067
  • Cancer: 562,875
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
  • Diabetes: 71,382
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
  • Septicemia: 34,828

Four of the five diet-related disease are on the list of the ten leading disease related deaths in 2007 in the US.  There are actually 5 but stroke and heart disease count separately on the list of deaths and together on the list of chronic diseases for some reason. The other five diseases are accidents (could be largely the result of drunk driving and consider drinking alcohol and eat sweets to be almost the same but that is for another day), chronic lower respiratory disease (oh snap, that’s me, but I was born with that and it can be well managed with diet and careful exercise), alzheimer’s (this is genetic, but vitamin defeciency, stroke, and anemia, also related to diet, can worsen the symptoms), influenza (apparently this cannot be prevented through diet, who knew?). The last two, which I had never heard of are both cauased by bacteria.

So there you have it. Diet has a huge impact on our bodies, so we should be careful what we put into it.  I am only having trouble linking three of the conditions with diet. To my Christians, the body is a temple for the triune God. Let’s take take care of our bodies. Some say, “I just eat what taste good.” Proverbs 21:17 says “He who loves pleasure will become poor.” And it is true. I have seen it with my own eyes. A man who is very close to me is overweight, has diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholestoral. Why? Because he refuses to eat healthy foods. He eats an enitre bag of Hershey in one sitting. He eats honey buns, Little Debbie Cakes, and ice cream whenever he can. As a result, he sleeps all day (12 hours or more), he does not have a steady paying job, although his education would allow him to make $70,000-$100,000 per year.  Because of his health he is poor. His wife has to work even though she is 65 and wants to retire. She works because she knows if she stops, the man will not have health insurance. The stress of working and taking care of him has given her shingles 3 times in the past two years. This is an extremem case, but it goes to show you that your decisions concerning your health not only affect every aspect of your life, but they also affect the people you are supposed to love (your family).

Once, I entered The Iron Chef Competition that my Christian Fellowship hosted. I told some people that the goal of our team was to show people that healthy food could  be tastier than unhealthy food (or unbalanced meals). One girl told us, “Ya’ll gon lose.” But guess what? We won 1st place. A few people thought that it was an impossible feat but we (a team of four students) did it. We showed people that healthy food can taste great. What our nation needs is a paradigm shift.  Healthy food can be delicious!  Exercising can be fun! Not only is healthy living enjoyable but it is essential to life.

Statistics were from this CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

Look at the awesome map that shows how have changed over the past 20 years: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

Add a comment June 21, 2011

Hair Growth Tips Part I: Moisturizing

This is Part I of my weekly hair growth tips series. As I said before, it should really be called the anti-breakage series because most of the tips focus on preventing breakage which promotes length, but would you read the posts if they were titled the anti-breakage? Maybe. I am not trying to mislead anyone, but preventing damage/breakage is the first step to achieving long, healthy hair.  Here are some tips on moisturizing which should help to prevent breakage.

Moisturize daily

Moisturizing is highly important for kinky/curly hair.  Moisturizing is really important for all hair because dry hair is prone to breakage. However, kinky hair and curly hair tend to be drier than other hair types, so moisturizing is highly important for us if we want to retain length.

Now, how does one moisturize?  Well it’s quite simple. With water.  You can either moisturize with a water-based moisturizer or simple H2O. I just spray my hair with water in a spray bottle. Aloe Vera juice or gel is also good because it moisturizes and protects the acid mantle of the hair by giving the hair a desirable pH balance, which prevents breakage.  Some people recommend using a moisturizer or leave-in everyday, but that does not work for me and a lot of women who have kinky long hair also use water or a water mixed with some kind of plant-based fat or aloe vera juice everyday instead of the manufactured moisturizer.

In the summer just plain water is good for moisturizing, if you live in a humid climate.  In the winter and spring, because the climate is drier, I use water/castor-oil mix in the winter and spring.  Other ladies use a water and vegetable glycerin mix.  In the dryer months and climates, when and where the dew point, not to be confused with the temperature, is between 35°F or 50°F (1.7°C to 10°C), one wants to use a humectant with their water, which brings me to my next point.

Control the Moisture

After moisturizing it is important to control where the moisture goes.  When the dew point is between 35°F to 50°F (1.7°C to 10° C) , in other words when the weather is more arid or dry, you would want to use a humectant when moisturizing your hair.  Humectants are ingredients or substances that attract moisture. Water can move in and out of these ingredients.  Examples of humectants are Vegetable Glycerin, Castor Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. Honey is also a humectant, but I only recommend putting this in your deep conditioner which you should plan to wash out, because it is sticky and sweet and you would not want to attract bees or insects.

When the dew point is above 60° F (15°C) or in humid weather (in the summer if you live in the south eastern part of the US,  the rainy season if you live in a tropical area such as southern Nigeria, never if you live in Arizona or San Fransisco), you want to use an anti-humectant, also known as an emollient or sealant, on your hair after moisturizing. Anti-humectants prevent the moisture from going in or out.  In other words, these substances seal in the moisture. This important because in humid weather, the hair is more prone to frizz. Examples of anti-humectants are shea butter, cocoa nut oil, olive oil (which I only use as a pre-poo and I explained in my washing regimen and is also found here).

The products you use in certain seasons and weather are important. For example, I tried using shea butter in the winter (lower dew point) and it just looked like snot on top of my hair. Gross! However, I used shea butter in the summer after spraying my hair with water and my hair was beautiful.  Using humectants in humid weather can also cause frizz.

Season-specific spray bottle mixtures:

Dry season/winter/harmattan -dew point between 35°F to 50°F (1.7°C to 10° C)

  1.  Water only (“seal” ends with jojoba oil)
  2. Water and Castor oil (I use this)
  3. Water and Vegetable Glycerin
  4. Water and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel (“seal” ends with jojoba oil)
  5. Water, Castor oil, and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel
  6. Water, Vegetable Glycerin, and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel

Wet season/summer/rainy season – dew point 60° F (15°C) or higher

  1. Water only (seal with shea butter)
  2. Water only (seal with cocoa nut oil)
  3. Water and Aloe Vera Juice (seal with shea butter)
  4. Water and Aloe Vera Juice (seal with cocoa nut oil)

Warnings:

  1. If you buy aloe vera gel or juice in a bottle, make sure to refrigerate it after opening.
  2. To my American peeps, I found most of these products at Whole Foods, but it might be cheaper to buy them online.  You can find Pure Shea Butter at Super Walmart for about $5, but I get one scented with Lemon Grass.
  3. To my Nigerian peeps, I am sure you can find most of the anti-humectants (shea butter, cocoa nut oil) easily and the aloe vera gel, because they all come in raw form in West Africa, but make sure to heat or filter the water you use, if you can, because the water in Nigeria tends to have a high salt content, which can cause breakage. You probably will only need to humenctants (jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin, and castor oil) in the dry season or in the Northern part. I am not sure so you might want to check the dew point yourself.
  4. Avoid moisturizers or leave-in conditioners with mineral oil or petroleum. They are not moisturizing. They are supposed to seal in the moisture like the anti-humectants, yet they dry the hair over time and dryness is not something you want.  They also prevent the humectants from doing their job (attracting moisture).  I would avoid these especially in the winter.
  5. When moisturizing, focus on the ends of your hair, because that is the oldest part of the hair, meaning the part most prone to breakage.
  6. Moisturize daily
  7. There are other vegetable fats (hemp oil, avocoda oil, grapeseed oil, amla oil, flax oil, palm oil, etc.) which I have seen used by other curlies in the natural hair community. However, I have not experimented with them, nor do I know whether they are humectants or anti-humectancts. Feel free to research these and share your findings with me.

Thank you for reading my blog post. I hope you have found this information useful and if you have any questions, as always, please email me at oyiboprincess@gmail.com O dabo! =)

3 comments June 15, 2011

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