Many of us know of Afya Ibomu because she is the wife of Stic Man of Dead Prez. However, this lady is extremely multifaceted and a person of note in her own right. Please check out her website: nattral.com where she merchandises all kinds of wonderful natural products, handmade accessories, and educational books.~Evelyn
I have been a vegetarian for 21 years and a vegan for 15 years. I became a vegetarian because I was very sick as a child. I had asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic dehydration. Being tired of taking numerous pills and medications everyday, I knew there had to be another way to deal with my illnesses. At 15 my mother found an allergy specialist that told me the foods that I might be eating may be causing my problems. This was the first time I related food to health. The rapper KRS-One also had a song out at the same time called “Beef”, that’s was about vegetarianism, the food industry and health. Armed with this info I became a vegetarian at 15. My health improved somewhat but did not totally get better until I became a vegan. At first I was a junk food vegetarian, I ate candy, drank soda and ate a lot of bread and pasta, I just didn’t eat meat. In my early 20’s I moved to NYC and was introduced to Queen Afua, her books and philosophy encouraged me to become a HEALTHY vegan.
2) I’ve found that a lot of black women with natural hair also engage in healthy eating, exercise, and environmental consciousness. Do you think there is a link between “going natural” and adopting a natural lifestyle?
Yes. You are what you eat. Your food becomes your blood, your tissues and your thoughts. When you begin to eat healthier and put more natural foods in your body, your mind state begins to change. Also when you start the process of changing your lifestyle it usually takes some research. Many times in the researching process women stumble upon the health benefits of wearing their hair natural as well as the unhealthy effects of chemicals on their head.
3) Can you tell us about your profession as a holistic health counselor? What does it entail? What is your day-to-day life like as holistic health counselor?
Currently I teach nutrition education with the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program and am not taking any personal clients at the moment. When I was counseling individual clients I would have an initial consultation to discuss their health history and nutrition goals. From there I would make up a plan to help them reach their goals which would include, cooking classes, grocery store tours, monthly counseling, books, referrals and anything that I thought would help them in their process.
4) Your website focuses on health, culture, and style, how has your husband and hip hop in general influenced your natural lifestyle?
Hip Hop has been a part of my life since I first heard it at the age of 7. As soon as I heard the beats, the messages and the poetic lyrical styles, the culture naturally became a part of my lifestyle. Hip Hop has helped and motivated me to change my health, have an open mind, keep my swag as I get older and to be a “cooler” parent.
My husband has been very supportive. I was a vegetarian before we met and his health battles influenced us to become vegan. We both keep each other on point when one of us has lost our discipline. He is also supportive because many times I hear women say that their husband would NEVER change their diet or stop eating pork, beef or chicken. Khnum was a vegan for 10 years and has been a pesca-vegan (only eating fish) for about 5 years. He does not smoke or drink alcohol. All of these qualities are a wonderful example for our 10 year old son.
5) You are a woman with many hats-literally. You crochet, cook, and write books along with being a professional. Amazing! Please tell us about the books you have written and where they can be purchased?
My first two books, Get Your Crochet On! Hap Hats and Cool Caps and Get Your Crochet On! Fly Tops and Funky Flavas, were and extension of my crocheting business when I lived in NYC. Hip hop, Rasta’s and the Brooklyn community definitely influenced the styles in both books. The crochet books can be purchased at Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Amazon and my site www.nattral.com. My third book, The Vegan Soul food Guide to the Galaxy, attempts to answer all of the questions that I’ve gotten over the past 21 years of being a vegetarian. It’s a cookbook and a guide helping you to become a healthy vegan. Along with the recipes we discuss where to get your nutrients, the health benefits of being a vegetarian, how to shop, what to buy, and where to eat out anywhere in the world as a vegan. Along with the book there is an instructional DVD called “Pimp My Tofu”. This book can be purchased at Borders, Amazon and my site www.nattral.com.
My motto about my hair is low maintenance. The less I have to do to it the better. I wash it on average once a week unless it’s the summer and I wash it as many times as needed. I only comb it when I wash it. I shampoo it then add conditioner. While I finish my grooming I let the conditioner sit in my hair. After a few minutes I comb it out with the conditioner still in it. After I’m done washing it I usually braid it in a few plats and let it dry that way. I use Natures Blessing hair oil right after I wash it. I might wear the braids for a few days. The braids give my hair a wavy look and allows me to not do too much to it for a couple of days. At night I put in a few double strand twists just to keep the frizz down. In the mornings I add a small amount of water and some leave in conditioner. I use African Royale products because they have the most natural based ingredients and are low in cost. The products also help to reduce frizz and give my hair a nice sheen.