Listen to Your Hair…..and Your GUT!!!

 

photo-on-20-08-2016-at-12-04-pm-4When I returned to natural many (read four) years ago, I read this phrase on every other blog and heard countless YouTube’s rehash it.

It sounded strange, dare-I- say cultic even…. How do I listen to my hair…?

In my minds eye, I had this vision of my curls stretching and bending to whisper into my ears….”~We need moisture, more love and a lil TLC!~!!” or whatever.

But my tresses were only an inch long….. They were never going to whisper sweet nothings into my ears…. well, not for a long time to come…so I thought.

As time went by, I figured that there were never going to be any whispers. However, there were going to be little and BIG cues everyday that would help me figure out exactly what was going on and what was needed.

If the tresses were craving moisture, the hair would feel rough and brittle. Warm to the touch hair was also a sign of not properly hydrated hair.

Little pieces of broken hair in my sink meant that I was due for a protein treatment. Tangles and single strand knots(SSKs) meant it was time for the dreaded trim.

If I had been eating my greens and keeping hydrated and attempting to exercise, it would show on my hair, and the reverse was true.

Cool to the touch, shiny and bouncy hair meant that we were in a very good place.

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During my journey there have been constant whispers but there have been times the hair has literally yelled…because I was not listening….

 

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I have a love hate relationship with Coconut oil. The whole world and its mother plus its cousins loves coconut oil…how can we  not like coconut oil…it is so rich and creamy and smells so good. It also has immense benefits, but my hair would have none of that.

Like a love-struck girl I kept insisting on using coconut oil and suffered the effects of dry, straw like hair until one day I painfully let go…well not quite, I still use it as a pre-shampoo oil but I might be letting go fully soon due to recent discoveries.

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Oh how I wanted for my hair to hate protein…after all 1/3 of the naturalista population was protein sensitive (insert eyeroll). It took me a whooping 3 and a half years to listen to my hairs begging and pleading that not only was it not protein sensitive, but it loved protein. Hydrolyzed protein in particular and Henna is Bae not a bad boy.

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I have a serious case of Hands in Hair syndrome…. like a clingy lover, I can’t keep my hands off my hair…. This constant manipulation is not good because it leads to damaging my fine but dense strands. Which leads to breakage, breakage equals to stunted growth, stunted growth makes me paranoid that my hair is not growing which leads to even more manipulation…..aaarrgh vicious cycle. my hair keeps saying stop the manipulation, i am finally learning to let it go….

 

As I pen this, my hair is currently saying to me it is NOT feeling my current hairdo…..my scalp is dry, irritated and itchy. I know that if someone said this to me about their hair, I would say without missing a beat…. take it down…it is not worth the damage/stress/ pressure etc. But then I think just how much it cost to get it done as well as the time and effort and mentally make plans to get some Peppermint Essential Oil to try soothe my scalp.

And as I ignore the messages from my hair, I think how this mirrors life choices. How often does my gut tell me something ain’t right, or that the time is now, or countless other messages and I ignore it….Only to bear the brunt of my choices in the not so distant future?

 

The moral of this rambling….

Listen to your Hair…. and YOUR GUT. There is a voice that has no words. Listen

 

Don’t Call Me Baby, Call Me Gbegiri…

 

13932350_10154391468401672_387994336_oOkay, Okay I exaggerate…but this decadent Yoruba Bean Soup dish has had that effect on me….

I was introduced to this dish during my recent travels to Lagos, Nigeria (that blog post is still marinating) . Gbegiri is often served with Amala (Yam meal ) and Ewedu Soup it simply teases and challenges your taste buds and you can’t help but get hooked.

Amala, Gbegiri and Ewedu from a Buka in Ikeja…

 

The downside though is the effort this dish requires to prepare…..Abby of Tatashey Blog swears you’d have to die on the cross for her to make it for you, while Dunni of Dooney’s kitchen says she must really love you to cook it for you……I’m jumping on this brigade…. I keep wondering to myself, I ate a tonne of amazing dishes in Lagos, why did I have to be blown away by one of the most complex, do I just love the challenge or I’m I just a sucker for punishment….

The first step was trying to find all the right ingredients…..

I thought I could blitz my way using substitutes…Shrimp flavored bullions instead of crayfish, Olive oil in lieu of Palm oil…this and another diversion made certain that my first batch tasted more like baby food and not the luxurious creamy soup that I wanted.

Not one to quit in the quest for good food, {you know what they say; Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all} I found the ingredients and set out to make my second attempt….and boy it was worth every effort!!!

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Bean sludge!!

What makes making this dish difficult is that you must peel the beans…..

“Who does that??.”

In my head the only reason I eat beans is for their Thiamine and Vitamin B properties, which are all found in the skin…..but hey, all or nothing….

So sleeves were rolled up, music turned up and the beans were peeled…it was a loooong, arduous, excruciating task. By the time I was done, my hands were all shriveled up by being in water too long …..there truly must be an easier way to do this.

The rest of the process was pretty straightforward.

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Palm oil soup; beef , fish and pepper mix.

The resultant dish was amazing……I served it with Ugali and avocado (in true Kenyan fashion) .

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Gbegiri Baby….

TMI: Did someone say not to eat beans at night…..? I should have listened, and not scoffed it off as an old-wives-tale. I woke up the next morning so bloated and full of gas…..totally not cool. Consider yourselves warned if you try this at home.

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Gbegiri soup with Ugali

 

Lastly… Is it just me or does Gbegiri look like this fine, baby oil drenched, flag bearer from the Kingdom of Tonga? Me thinks the resemblance is uncanny. #JustSaying

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Pita Taufatofua, the man that put Tonga on the map

Recipe and Method Used here. http://dooneyskitchen.com/gbegiri-gbegiri-gbegiri-i-had-to-type-it-three-times/

 

Lessons From My 25 Year Old Self- Kinda!

7This past weekend I needed to get away for a bit for some R&R. Cue Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away. https://youtu.be/EvuL5jyCHOw

On recommendation from my amazing sister aka my Lifestyle Consultant I found the perfect spot, not too far but far removed from everything and everyone. Perfect price point. Great food , super cool vibes just what the doctor ordered.

During my stay, I met this girl, lets call her Miss. C. She reminded me in so many ways of my 25 years old self. She loves to talk (I don’t)so I learnt quite a lot about her and the pararells were uncanny.

What drew me to her was that this was her first solo trip, (I hope the first of many ). She was abit nervous but also super excited. It reminded me of my first solo vacation many many years ago….bright eyed and nervous, I remember crying so hard on that plane to Johannesburg you would have thought I was being sold to slavery. However, during that trip, the travel bug bit and I’m not hanging up my boots any time soon. But I digress, this story is not about me.

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Miss C.

Lessons from Miss. C

On Selfies and Self Love

Selfies are an expression of self love…..

On Happiness

Never do things simply because other people are doing them. Do it because you want to and the timing feels right and it makes sense to you.

On Men

Men don’t like to be told what to do. A man just needs you to be there to listen to him and know that you understand him. Anybody can cook or clean for him but not everybody can hold and cuddle him and be there for him in that way. So if that’s what he needs be that person.

On Relationships

If a relationship is not building you, or is abusive in any way, WALK OUT. Nothing, not society, or lack of financial independence should make you stay.

On Sex

Eeermmm let’s just say she said things that made my ears turn purple…because obviously they can’t turn red.

On feeling

This was not verbally expressed but Miss C. reminded me the joy of truly and genuinely feeling and expressing it regardless. She had some trouble with her computer and her SD card….and everybody…..the whole damn hotel knew she was upset. But in the same breath, we also experienced with her all the things that made her ecstatic. As we grow older, we learn consciously or unconsciously to down play our thrills and upsets for whatever hundred reasons….you don’t tell folks you’re upset because they will judge you, neither do you share your full joys because they will judge you too. Sigh!

As I said goodbye to Miss C. I wanted to hug her tight and wish her a wonderful life not unlike mine. I’m tempted to tell her to breathe gentle and enjoy every step of the journey because life is rude and has zero respect for our neat little packaged timelines for our lives. That imagined timeline with every milestone in chronological order, marked by a neat little dot, exactly when and where it was supposed to happen; rarely happens. But even then it’s a beautiful life.

I want to say to her to nurture her passion for photography and if someday someone offers to pay her for it she should say yes. Not to commercialize her craft but as tribute to her genius.

I feel like I should tell her not to ever do the same destination twice because the World is so huge, there are a gazillion of options hence no point going back to places you’ve visited before.

I want to tell her to always carry a bathing suit and pair of heels even to the jungle or the mountains….because you just never know.

I want to whisper to her to love her boyfriend (who she adoooooores) with every bit of her and to love herself even more. Not because probably one day he won’t feel the same way about her or she will meet somebody else who she will adore even more since such is life. But because there is strength in the ability to love others wholly, yet still love oneself.

But I don’t say this things to her…and I’m okay with that because I can tell (in the words of Kendrick Lamar)

She gon be alright!

and

I’m gon be alright!!

and

We all gon be alright!!

 

My photoshoot in the wild with the lovely lass. 

Food is Love…..

Desktop131.jpgThis post explores two of my favourite guilty pleasures; Food and Books. It has been a long time coming but I just couldn’t find a minute to pen it….A hurting back and forced bed-rest means I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with so here goes…..

When I wrote the post on Mummy’s Mukimo I was reminded of cookbooks….so I decided to see how well or how badly I was doing on this front.

I was pleasantly surprised. I have a quite the decent collection of cookbooks….each with an interesting story of how it came into the fold. Some of my faves are not even legit cookbooks perse just fiction books with great recipes and food stories.

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Cooking Explained by Jill Davis Barbara Hammond

 This is the oldest book in my collection. I have had it since High School. It has a plastic cover to protect it and a school stamp to boot.

This book explains the science of food; ingredients, equipment, tools and utensils. etc. It deconstructs how everything in the cooking process works, how raising agents work, conduction, convection etc

I believe understanding this is what makes it so easy for me to cook….I know I swear that food is all heart and soul…but food prep is also an exact science….and either you got it…or you don’t.

 

 

Smoothies and Juices

8The green smoothie craze of 2013-2014 made me get this….It has two or three kick ass recipes ..the rest just don’t do it for me….

 

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Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Any foodie worth their weight in salt knows Julia Childs and have probably heard of her books Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So when I came across this memoir it immediately caught my fancy. Julie Powell challenges herself to recreate each of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I like the premise of the book but could not bring myself to finish reading it. The book only makes this list because of Julia Childs and the Art of French Cooking which is dear to my heart.

 

 

Old Wives recipes, Authentic Recipes from Korea.

This is a beautiful little book with recipes of all my favorite Korean dishes. Sadly I have only tried one dish, bulgogi, grilled beef. The kimchi chigae and tweji-gogi are on my list of stuff to try soon.

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Fast & Simple and Chicken

Inspired Ideas for Everyday Cooking

These amazing books were sent to me by a random stranger turned friend. Sometimes when I cook I share the photos online on Facebook or Instagram. I have made several virtual friends who share my passion for good food. So one day I receive theis message in my facebook inbox.

Hey Wachu,

I’m visiting Kenya from the US, I brought you some cook books . If you are interested please let me know where I can drop them off.

Mike.

I had never met or talked to Mike, I didn’t even get to meet him when the books were delivered. All he asked was that I share pics of my experiments on Facebook.

Talk about ‘bringing people together with food’……

 

Pasta Step-by-Step Cookbook

You can never ever go wrong with  pasta. Some of my heartiests meals have been from this book. I picked this book up from Uchumi Sarit Center is all I remember.

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Mexican

Mexican food is bae. My family lives for mexican themed brunches and parties and my mums flour tortillas can rival any mexicans’. One day i’ll be half as good as she is but for now…I’ll just make everything else.

 

 

Perfect Parties by Alison Price

I picked up this book at a lovely bookstore at the airport in Mumbai. Books in India are so well priced, I would go back just to buy books. What caught my eye was the vibrant pink cover and the foreword by Sir Elton John. (Of judging books by their cover). It’s a great book with the most exciting chapter on cocktails in addition to all the other aspects of hosting the perfect party.

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Betty Crocker’s Entertaining Basics

Learning to entertain with confidence

Growing up I always thought Betty Crocker was a person much like Martha Stewart or Jamie Oliver…shock on me when I discovered she was a creation of General Mills. I’ve always associated the name with delectable food so if this book promises to get me to entertain with confidence heck yeah!!!13

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Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesse

A food lovers’ courtship with Recipes

This book is a heartwarming account of a food writer and her new beau, their life in the city and unforgettable meals. This book is a delight to the senses and the pallete.

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Flan, Grilled Pineapple with Honey, Fresh Strawberries and Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

This must be my absolute favourite non- cookbook food book. Mireille in her book contrasts the American and French lifestyle showing how French Women are able to eat pasta, bread, cheese ,chocolate, drink wine and remain slim while the same can’t be said of American Women. Mireille  teaches everything there is to know about eating for sensual pleasure, the art of enjoying cooking, savouring the meal and the drinks that come with it….

Some of my favourite lines from the book

  • French women know l‘amour fait maigrir (love is slimming).

  • French women avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure.

  • French women choose their own indulgences and compensations.  They understand that little things count, both additions and subtractions, and that as an adult everyone is the keeper of her own equilibrium.

  • French women will dress to take out the garbage (you never know….)

  • French women love chocolate, especially the dark, slightly bitter, silky stuff with its nutty aroma.

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Vivre de pain, d’amour, et d’eau fraîche

Live on Bread, love and fresh water….

 

 

 

 

 

Forbidden Delights….

You know what they say about “when you go black…

I did and whoa… it was worth every single bit….

No, it is not what you are thinking…

 

I stumbled upon Black Rice when grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago. I had read about it being a super food and all so I purchased some. I didn’t have much expectations of it other than it being more nutritious than white rice. I don’t particularly care for brown rice, which I think tastes like cardboard so I got the black rice only because it sounds exotic…I’m so glad I did….

 

Black rice sometimes referred to as forbidden rice, emperor’s rice or longevity rice is fairly tricky to grow and is revered as a healthy food. Oral history suggests that only the richest of the rich were able to afford the delicacy hence the name.

Black rice is a particularly odd duck; its deep, dark color, which is something like a purplish black, is a rarity in the food world. The dark color is due to an excess of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that is the culprit for most darkly colored plants.

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One-half cup serving of cooked black rice contains approximately (in daily recommended values)

  • 160 calories
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 34 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 4% DV for iron

Black Rice vs. Other Varieties of Rice. 100gm serving

  • Polished white rice – contains 6.8 protein, 1.2 iron, 0.6 fiber.
  • Brown rice: 7.9 protein, 2.2 iron, and 2.8 fiber.
  • Red rice: 7.0 protein, 5.5 iron, and 2.0 fiber.
  • Black rice: 8.5 protein, 3.5 iron, 4.9 fiber, and the highest amount of antioxidants of any rice variety.

 

I’ve made two black rice dishes both Asian inspired….

  1. Black Coconut Rice served with Sweet and Sour Tilapia chunks and Chinese Pickled vegetables
  2. Rice Paper Wraps stuffed with Black coconut rice, Raw Kale and Spinach, Avocado, Nile Perch flakes, Tomato all drizzled with Sweet lime juice. And a side dip of African Kaya Sweet Chilli Sauce and Soy Sauce.

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P.S Black rice water stains everything it touches….use ceramic or glass utensils to prep, cook and serve.And paper towels to clean up unless you want to color stuff up.

P.S.S African Kaya make the most amazing artisan sauces and butters. My absolute to die for are the Sweet Chilli Sauce, Bacon Jam (Yes, you read that right) and Pumpkin butter. Yummers!!

BLACK!!!

 

 

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Black is beautiful…..

Melanin..

Dark Chocolate…

And black Panthers…..

But black is also my color of doom and depression…..

And that’s my current zone, at least as far as my hair is concerned…..

I took out my faux braided locs, washed and conditioned my hair. All this time I was crossing my fingers that the tangles and webbing that had beguiled my hair before would have disappeared like wisp of smoke after a witches spell. (Someone once called my washday process a ritual hence the reference)

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As I lay crumpled up in my bathroom drained from crying, all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Half of my life is spend encouraging ladies to love and care for their natural hair, I help them find solutions and fix whatever problems their hair is having. And here I am with this insurmountable challenge which I can’t fix.

 

Why do I feel like the hair gods are punishing me?

zeus

Onward and Upwards till the next one.