Sunday, 30 April 2017

BeFit: London

This year I went to Be Fit London, a fitness based festival. It was held in the business design center on Upper Street, Islington (the best high street in London in my humble opinion) and it was bloody amazing! There were fitness Youtubers such as Zanna, Clean eating Alice, Grace Fit UK, and Joe Wicks among many other people in the industry. The place was filled with stalls selling protein powders, activewear and healthy snacks. There were also loads of talks with nutritionists and personal trainers.

As soon as we walked in we watched Madeline Shaw's cooking class, where she made fritters and talked about the benefits of eating organic and the food industry in general.

I particularly loved the talk about body confidence and the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. I learnt so much. One talk discussed binge eating and how we have to let go of our food guilt, which is something I was dealing with a lot last month.

I've long been a fan of Oatly, a great oat milk brand. I'm 90% sure they were sponsoring the event because their branding was everywhere in sight! I fully expected this beetroot latte to have coffee in it, you know, as its called a latte? but it was essentially just beetroot juice and foamed oat milk. Healthy? Yes. Tasty? I didn't think so, but Kerry loved it.

They were giving out samples of Acai bowels (pronounced Ah-si-ee), and it was delicious. They sell packs of frozen acai by this brand which I believe they said is available at Tesco. I'm tempted to buy this and make my own acai bowels at home, however as I'm cutting out refined sugars, so I may give it a miss.

She Supps was a great protein brand I discovered at the festival. They sell both whey and vegan proteins in a range of flavors, in beautiful, very instagramable Jars. Their re-fill packs come in more Eco friendly paper bags which you can get online. Their protein tastes great with almond milk or just plain water. They also gave me a free protein shakes inside my shaker, when I went back to the stall a second time they refilled my shake again, for free too! (There was 30g of protein in each shake, I had so much protein that day)

The other brand of protein I bought was by 'MissFits' I tasted the vanilla sample and pretty much instantly bought a pack. Its sweetened with steevia and is the best protein I think I've ever tried.

Near the end of the day we did an intense cardio based workout class with fitness Youtubers and personal trainers Tally Rye and Victoria Spence 2 founders of Girl Gains which is a movement that aims to inspire women to become fitter, healthier and happier.

although hard, it was brilliant. There's something about working out with 200 other people that really motivates you! There was a lot of jumping squats, press ups, lunges and things like that. We went to the Nags Head pub afterwards. So after that class, I had to get chorizo mac and cheese pizza? I walked 15,000 steps that day (not including the class) so I definitely deserved that pizza. It was delicious.

The next day in the gym I felt so inspired from the festival. It was a great day, the energy of the place was just buzzing with positivity. Although there was the odd guy here and there, the festival is primarily aimed at women. That's not to say that men can't go of course. There's a lot to see and do there, Kerry saw a chiropractor there for a free consultation, and he pretty much fixed her back problem! I'll definitely be going next year, I've never felt so empowered and inspired to be healthy. If you missed it but want to go to a fitness festival this year, Balance festival is happening in May.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Dear confused white friends

So, a huge number of people have been asking me why I cut my hair, and I've never known how to answer that question in more than a handful of words. So when people who haven't seen me in a while ask me, I will be directing you here, to this blog post.

For those that don't know, my hair has been permed since the age of about... I want to say 11? and that's a very common practice for girls with Afro-Caribbean hair. Some start doing it from as young as 5. The perm is applied, which chemically makes the hair straight. The perm is a very harsh and damaging process, and it has to be applied to the roots every 2-4 months to keep hair straight.

In black culture, perming hair has been done for many, many years. Some people will say they do it to make their hair more 'manageable' or because it gives them more styling options. I came to realize myself, that I was doing it to conform to a white, westernized standard of beauty, and I was sick of it.

I was sick of feeling that feminine beauty has to be long hair, straight hair, it doesn't! Beauty is many things, and I wanted to challenge those norms. I also wanted to stop damaging my hair so much with the constant perming and straightening and curling. I now use no heat, and my hair is in much better condition because of it.

There's something in the black hair community called 'Going natural' which essentially means you cut off your chemically straightened ends and let your natural hair grow through, people also refer to it as 'the big chop'. I did something called 'transitioning' which is where you allow your Afro roots to grow through for a couple months, and then you cut off the straight ends and you're left with a 'TWA' or Tiny Winy Afro - that's what I did, I transitioned.

Some girls transition for years, so their roots are as long as possible before they cut off their straightened ends. For me, that would just be delaying the inevitable, so I transitioned for 6 months.

Why didn't I big chop? because I was genuinely terrified of what people would think, In our society short hair, and short natural black hair at that, is not deemed pretty, not by a lot of people. I want little black girls to see me walking down the street and know that her hair is beautiful just the way it is. Now that I've had my TWA for a while now, I can honestly say that to the people who don't like my hair? Fuck the fuck off, I don't care. Its not your hair, its not your life, don't concern yourself with how I look and how it doesn't conform to your standard of beauty.

Here's a more concise list of why I went natural:

  • The damage that perms and hair straighteners inflict
  • To show people that natural black hair is beautiful
  • So that black girls see themselves reflected in society
  • Because I fucking wanted to

There you have it, I've never been asked a question more in my life. I hope this helps to clarify things for you all. Natural hair blog posts coming soon, peace out xoxo

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