August 19, 2016

HEALTHY EATING

They say the best helping hand is the one at the end of your own arm! Healthy eating is essential for good health.

Healthy eating involves planning meals for the week and making sure that you work towards achieving what you have planned. The first thing you need to do is to base your meals on starchy foods. Starchy foods such as rice, pasta, cereals and potatoes form an important part of a healthy diet. It is advisable to choose wholegrain varieties of the starches. Starch should make about a third of what we eat.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The dilemma we have is most of us are aware that we should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but most of us are still not eating enough of them. Try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

Healthy eating also involves eating more fish. Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. You should aim for at least two portions of fish in a week or even twice a week.

There is also need to cut down saturated fat and sugar. To stay healthy we need some fat in our diets. But the question is, what kind of fat are we eating? Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and increase the chances of developing heart diseases.

It’s not a good idea to be either underweight or overweight. Being overweight can lead to health conditions high blood pressure or diabetes. It is important to always do exercise at least to keep the body active and fit.

Drink plenty of water. The body needs at least 6-8 glasses of water in a day to stop us from dehydrating.

Lastly, don’t skip your breakfast.

About the author


Reginald Alango is a Social Media Strategist and Writer living in Nairobi, Kenya.
You can catch up with him at anytime on twitter: @ReginaldAlango @SinclareMedia

September 16, 2015

Meet the maker of the African Barbie

The Queens of Africa Doll collection
Taofick Okoya is a man everyone outta know. But not for the reasons you might think (I mean when you think of his famous pedigree). This man is out to run the famous Barbie out of the market.  

Move over Barbie, it's The Queens of Africa coming through.

That's right! The Queens of Africa and now Naija Princesses where born out of a dire need, when he shopped around for a birthday gift for his niece, then all the shops carried mostly white dolls. Soon thereafter, he was confronted with the same issue head on when his daughter suffered from an identity crisis at 3 (that's how early it now starts people) asking her father "what color am I?" Then she had a "long face" when she learned she is Black, saying, "I wish I was white." Who can blame her when all the kids shows from Disney to Nickelodeon only feature majorly white characters and most toys are mostly slim and nonetheless, white.
Creating dolls that where not only black but African was not without its challenges, even African girls did't want to play with them, they weren't pretty enough, didn't look like the dolls they were used to and stores wouldn't carry them because there's simply no market for them (because not even the African girls would play with them... You get the gist). He did mention that at first, he did make more realistic prototypes to test the market with fuller figured bodies and traditional outfits. He realized that this issue runs deep, there's need for awareness on standards of beauty for Africans, especially the girls (not to rule the boys out), who are totally brainwashed from a young age and the unsuspecting parents who continue to feed the unfortunate cycle.

We had a long conversation on this topic so I'd let him do all the talking. I am proud to present: The Queens of Africa doll collection sold in major Nigerian outlets, online in the USA and the UK. Planned launch to stores like Walmart is soon on the horizon. So far the response is phenomenal, from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, you name it.

What I love about these dolls is what they represent, helping our young African girls to see themselves in the dolls they play with, as opposed to holding themselves to a standard of beauty that's never meant to be theirs, causing identity confusion in children as young as toddlers.Watching a little girl call herself ugly for not being fair skinned makes me weep. What parents don't realize is the role they play in such identity crisis when as adults, we hold ourselves to standards of beauty that is unreasonable and the kids are always watching. Plans are in the works to diversify further, these dolls to include many African ethnicities, different shapes and sizes, which would be more realistic than the standard already set by Barbie. Right now there's Nneka (Igbo doll), Azzezah (Hausa) and Wuraola (Yoruba). They can be adorned in many gorgeous ethnic inspired outfits made in the factory in Surulere. Each doll represent the queens of our past. Nneka is the running favorite among girls for being the fairest.

Right now the doll bodies are outsourced to factories in China and everything else, from the hair to the outfits are made in Nigeria. There are plans to change that with the growing market, to have every part of each Queen made in Nigeria. 

The Queens of Africa have been featured on major media outlets, to include Elle, BBC, US News and Reuters. There are not just dolls, the Queens of Africa have been characterized in books with roots in African history to help educate our Future. More can be found at www.queensofafricadolls.com. Queens of Africa educational and empowerment books can be found on www.amazon.com 

Check out my exclusive interview with company CEO over morning tea.

Enjoy!


Msadaku.
Images courtesy of Queen of Africa Dolls

August 2, 2015

Kwanini?

In case you were wondering, that's how you say "what is it?" in Swahili.

I'm crossing off my mental bucket list. I must travel, travel travel! To Bali, see the Safari, Rome, Hong Kong, the list is long.

I made it to Kenya recently (yay!) I travelled through the city of Nairobi to Nakuru town, the countryside.  First thing to notice in Kenya is the fact that they drive on the left side, which means, the traffic flows the opposite way, at first, this can be disorienting if not used to it.

This is Africa? 

Nothing could have prepared me for my pleasant surprise. This place is beyond beautiful.

Kenya is a country blessed. It has a lot going for it, especially its natural resources. This is a place brimming with nature, many endangered species can still be found roaming around here among humanfolk, its greenery is lush, there are many lakes. Quite unforgettable is the late afternoon I came face to face with a baboon, distance couldn’t have been more than five feet (okay I was in the car). The creature must have just started his day and came out for some sun, it didn’t seem perturbed by the fact that I was literally screaming in excitement, it just sat on a mound on the side of a busy highway, looking left and right, scratching it's man parts and catching the afternoon breeze, as if to say “I’m used to screaming fans, enjoy the view!” To say the sight was unreal would be an understatement. This unusual sight would be strange to anyone not from Kenya, for different creatures roam around here. I caught a glimpse of the Massai herding cattle in usual tribal gear. There are cattle herders, sheep herders, goat herders, zebras grazing, donkeys galloping along, uniformed school children congregated on the side of the road by the bush, catching the afternoon sun. I wondered what their day was like.

Most enjoyable is sharing space with the wild. They roam free in the many national parks and lakes, due to time constraints, I couldn't explore them all. Beyond exciting is watching the giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, warthogs, hippos. Each one gather together in different herds. I zoomed in on a couple of baboons, one meticulously groomed the other, reminded me of a happy couple.


There are alot of things and places named Kenyatta.

Kenyatta International Conference Center is an important landmark located in the business district of Nairobi. With one of its buildings 28 stories high, it is the third tallest building in the city, the top deck is a tourist attraction, providing spectacular aerial views. Named after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, it was completed in 1973 for events and exhibitions. It's amphitheater reminds me of the United Nations, a circular auditorium for at least 800 people with balcony mezzanines that spans at least 3 levels, look up and you will witness one of the best in architecture, it's where "heritage and mordernity meet." Unfortunately, no cameras allowed for security reasons. The amphitheater has played host to dignitaries from around the world, currently used for many conferences, exhibitions and different events all year round.

As I enjoyed spectacular views of the city of Nairobi, I'm reminded of the days on the observation deck on the 86th floor of Empire State Building in New York City, I also remember, I'm afraid of heights! I met the Balozi Family Chior, an organization that gives back to its country. They were in a recording session. They started this patriotic melody and although I couldn't understand what they were singing they commanded my attention. They were more than happy to explain.
I’m a Nigerian and proud of my heritage too, I would not trade my homeland for another. Matter of fact, I’ve gained greater appreciation for Nigeria in recent years that I simply want to stay connected, creating awareness anyway I can, collaborating with like minds on the goal of making Nigeria a place for which future generations would be proud. With that said, I call a spade a spade. Whoever dubbed Nigeria the giant of Africa must be talking about it’s geographical size (an inside joke of a friend), aside from that, Nigeria is yet to demonstrate that in any way else. Kenya, on the other hand gives Nigeria a run for all it’s oil money in terms of infrastructure. Good roads ease the burden of traffic. It could easily compete with the West.
I notice an uncanny difference between Kenya and Nigeria as I descended into it’s territory—LIGHTS! Twinkles outline the landscape like a settlement of fireflies, reassuring me we’ve arrived, holding a certain promise. I couldn’t help but wonder why a country that dubs itself as a giant cannot seem to get itself together. Why are there just too many inconveniences? The persistent lack of power supply in Nigeria is a cancer that have metastasized. It’s the fiber of our being. Will it ever be cured? I sure could use the internet, but we could start with steady electricity for now.

Another difference I noticed is at Kenya’s international airport—ORDER! There’s no haggling by vultures that parade themselves as authority figures with the agenda of collecting bribes. I really don’t understand why or how a country that portray itself as a giant cannot seem to get itself together. At the airport you can sense an order to things and the energy is peaceful, no feeling of struggle, no fighting, like that you experience Murtala Muhammed Airport and you swear you were the object of someone's nightmare last night. The luggage trolleys are free, staff greet you with smiles on their faces and go out of their way to help you, free of charge. In Nigeria, I had to assertively, sometimes aggresively ward off the vultures lurking at me, a lot of times, they think because you come from a foreign country with a foreign accent, you don’t understand their antics.
If you ever get a chance to head to Kenya, make sure you stop at a market or at least, a souvenir shop, you’d find many handmade materials you can’t find anywhere else. I admired the sheepskin goods crafted locally and quite supple, made into rugs, hats, and other accessories, it’s one of a kind. Milano Curio shop, a souvenir shop named after some Italians from many years ago that helped construct some of its roads and buildings. Although the Italians are gone for the most part, they left a part of them here. I encountered the tiniest church I’ve seen in my entire life, only fits two rows of church benches and and pulpit, with relics placed all around it. It made up for what it lacked in size with character. This Roman Catholic church was a spiritual refuge for the Italians who lived there back in the day, and couldn’t share a church with the British.

There's no education quite like you get from traveling the world. There are so many misconceptions fed to us on CNN. When I'm in the U.S, people want to know updates on Boko Haram and the Chibok girls, when I'm in Africa, people want to know if I was there to witness all the shootings involving black men. The truth is, you probably know just as much as I do. Media outlets and now social media feed into our paranoia, they perpetuate all the bad news in the world, portray a whole country, continent as all and the same when it comes to bad news (don't get me started on folks that think Africa is a country). A verse in the bible uses this metaphor (or parable): a little leaven ferments the whole lump [of bread]. Kinda like that. If we listened and internalized every news we hear, Isreal and the rest of the Middle East would look like a desolate, war-torn area with a sign 'Do Not Enter' stamped at the entrance, the entire continent of Africa would be a desert or a rainforest with the most rudimentary of human beings. What we watch on the news for the most part, as bad as it is, happens in small geographical areas.
It was a blast hanging out with Tamara, George, John and Carol. Time wasn't on my side or we'd toured the whole country. John kept reminding me to ask questions and ensure I've crossed off everything on my must-see list. George, thanks for showing me your HIV/AIDS clinic in Nakuru town. It's admirable to hear how you single-handedly work on getting the street workers off the streets and educating them.We can all make a differece in the world, one individual case worker at a time. I will be back.

Here’s a tip:

  • If you’re not a Kenyan resident, make sure you have your passport with you at all times as a form of identification. This has its disadvantage, as Kenyans tend to raise their prices up to 75% to non-residents. So, it is also advised that you have a Kenyan show you around and help you shop. A day at the National Park is 1200 KES (Kenyan Shilings) for a Kenyan and 7500 KES for a non-resident. Souvenir shops jack up their prices for tourists.
  • Kenyans love their greens: kale, cabbage.  Kenyans also love their tea, they're tea growers, it's the offering of choice in their households. When a Kenyan offers you some tea expect to have milk in it, you can choose to add sugar.
  • The exchange rate is 1:95 (Dollar to KES, approx.)
  • It's cold in the Summertime. Be sure to pack a light jacket and sweater.
  • Kenyan families are hospitable, you should expect that, don't be shy, it might be an insult if you refuse an offering in their home.
  • Leave all the misconceptions you've heard about Africa at the airport and plan to have a good time!
  • When you hear "Karibu" in Kenya, smile because they just welcomed you!
Mural of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta during the colonial years, being released from prison. A prominent sight in KICC.

Msadaku.

April 22, 2015

3 ways to wear a tulle skirt - By Sharon Ojong

Tulle skirt presented 3 ways: Edgy professional, classic and casual chic. These inspiring looks make me want to fish out my thrift store tulle out from the back of my closet. 

August 14, 2014

This idea is so Genius!

I really think so.  I'm talking about my recent discoveries: Uber and Lyft.   I swear I must have been living under a rock.  In the same world you and I live in everyday, you'd fit into one of these two categories: folks that wallow in self pity and complain about their lot in life, or those who come up with brilliant ideas and hence, their meal ticket.
Photo credit: Uber
I read an article recently about the legalizing of a ride share system in the city of Houston, this concept would not be new.  Turns out this had been well established in cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston and New York where they operate legally none the less, however, the taxi cab companies in Houston have fought tooth-and-nail against it—till now.

July 22, 2012

Who's reading "Fifty Shades of Grey?"

I didn't even realize this book existed until two weeks ago.  I woke up one early morning and CNN was abuzz about the so called "Mommy Porn."  At first I scoffed at the fact that was news.  But like events happen, I couldn't stop hearing about it.  All of a sudden, people around me were talking about a book, none other than one of the Fifty Shades trilogy.  What's interesting is how fast everyone seemed to be going through one entire book.  When a good friend of mine who lives in Nigeria, asked "Have you read...?" and I said "Fifty shades of Grey?"  I knew I had to get the darn book.  Just like others she went through the book pretty fast, looking forward to the rest of the series.

This is why I love my iPad.  With the push of a button, I had all three books downloaded (currently reading.)  At first with all the stereotyped hype, I thought the book was strictly for married women; long-term marriage, trying to get their grove back, rekindle relationships with their husbands.  Simply put this book would resonate with any adult interested in reading it (although written from a female perspective.)

"When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms."

July 2, 2012

Reflective Moments — Frustration

Ever been frustrated?  We all have.  

We all have aspects of life that make us tick.  For me is life's little unexpected (and unpleasant) curveballs, people that you swear they must have had a nightmare last night and you were it. Ever been to the DMV?

June 25, 2012

The (DRUM)circle

This past Sunday I went back to Meridian Hill Park to observe a long standing community tradition - the Drum Circle. I was quite intrigued when I was there the first time. Having parents of African decent and after living in Nigeria for many years, I'm quite familiar with Nigerian culture. Nigeria has about 250 ethnic groups and about 510 different languages (about 3 major languages with multiple dialects that filter through the regions). I speak Ibo, my parents are from the South, and I can tell you that certain Ibo dialects are hard to understand let alone speak. With the variety in languages, you also have different cultural groups. Each group adopts a different type of dance. Ultimate show in true cultural form are the many festivals when all these groups come together in a parade, usually quite elaborate. Notable holidays are Nigerian Independence day and the Calabar carnival. During these events there are colorful displays of tradition, culture and dance.

April 9, 2012

Facebook buys Instagram for what?

It's official.  Instagram is worth $1 billion dollars (at least since Facebook acquired it.)

For those of you who didn't know, Instagram is a mobile photo sharing app that gained popularity quickly since it started close to 2 years ago.  It has about 27 million users from fans with iOS devices alone.  With the launch of the app for Android phones last week, Instagram clocked-in 1 million registered users in 24 hours. That is growing by the minute.

April 3, 2012

The most interesting experience this past Sunday.

Sidamo Coffee & Tea on the H Street Corridor
So this past Sunday, I had the privilege of spending part of my afternoon at an Ethiopian Coffee shop called Sidamo Coffee & Tea on H street.  If you are a D.C native, you would already know that H street NE is going through a total overhaul; community is changing, roads reconstructed, there is now a track for street cars, like one already in San Francisco.  The revitalization has already created opportunities for small businesses, there are hip bars and restaurants that already called The H Street Corridor home; attracting the young and bohemian crowd as well mixed cultures.
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