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may 2012

Quick Fix Hr detox to cleanse and energise you

Sex AuntieS A new bride’s friend or foe?

On yOur bike Spin that weight right off!

MarK MaSai on liFe, love and phobias

“I Quit Smoking” ClassiC FM’s CiKu Muiruri shares her winning ForMUla

“I hAte my mum”

Three women discuss their toxic relationships

needle POwer

acupuncture Saved my life

Editorial Editor Wairimu Githuka Features Writer Brenda Wangwe Writer Christine Odeph Photography Riz Mehar Styling Yaa Bonsu advErtiSing Head of media Sales Rose Osok media Sales Executive Kanja Kamonye media Sales international Nancy Gatimu Business development international Edgar Theodore Pr and markEting Pr manager Winnie Gor Pr & marketing Executive Grace Muthoni atlaS grouP CEo Amit Radia Publisher Amarjeet Radia Creative director irector Tahir Iqbal Chief operations officer (COO) Jonathan Dixon


Financial accountant Nataraju Narisetty Hr manager Marichu Mosquera

Women are always on a quest to look for that ‘perfect body’. Who can blame us? We simply want to look and feel good. With child birth, age, careers and other factors coming into play, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and, sometimes, let go. But that’s usually for a short time. Often, we get a wake-up call in the form of a not-so-nice comment from someone, a doctor’s warning, or simply looking in the mirror and not liking the image of the person staring back at us. It is at this point that many of us will spring into action. Jane Mukami, a fitness model, is one such woman. Having grappled with weight problems since high school, she finally found a winning formula and her dream body. Read about her on page 12. Still on that perfect figure and how to get it, turn to page 14 for information on how you can bike your extra weight off. Our fitness instructor Ochieng is also on hand to give you advice and exercise tips to help you get rid of unflattering belly fat. In nutrition, we tell you the health benefits your everyday cooking ingredients contain. We also give you some quick fix smoothie recipees that will leave you feeling healthy and refreshed. And if you’ve never been on a detox, read about our special 24-hour diet plan. Our writer Brenda Wangwe tested it, with interesting results. And over in body and soul, find out how Amimo Agola used acupuncture to beat a painful condition which would have left her on medication for the rest of her life. You can also get into the charming Mark Masai’s thoughts on our final page, too.

mEdia SalES and loCal agEnt atlas international limited Mayfair Suites Parklands Road 4th Floor, Suite No 6 Nairobi, Kenya For general editorial enquiries: t: +254 (0) 707 521 103/40 E: For general sales enquiries: t: +254 (0) 707 521104 E: The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omission contained in the publication. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on any information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for readers’ particular circumstances. The ownerships of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or its contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the publishers permission in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. Published by ATLAS Media Communications FZLLC, Dubai.

Happy reading!

Printed by Atlas Printing Press L.L.C, Dubai


Contents (April)


Get in the spin Bike your way to your best shape, ever

cover model Marjolein Blokland photographer Riz Mehar wardrobe Nike stores make-up Steve Koby for SuzieBeauty shot on location at Jacaranda Hotel




Contents (April)


HealtH and fitness 8 10 12 14 18 22

News Meet your pocket-size trainer Expert advice Get rid of that ‘ugly’ belly fat Make that change I finally got my dream body Bike that butt off! 10 Reasons to spin that bike Healthy New You! Lucky winners revealed Fibroids – the silent invasion Affecting the fertility of four in 10 women

nutrition 30 News Have a cup of coffee for weight loss and how that fast food could be depressing you 32 The super six What you don’t know about those regular stew ingredients 34 Quick fix Feel better with the 24-hour detox plan 34 Recipes Great smoothie recipes to try

body and soul 44 News More friends equal bigger brains and why achieving your goals can help you live longer 46 Needle power Acupuncture might just be the treatment you need 50 ‘I hate my mother’ Experts offer help to women who have toxic relationships with their moms 52 Chama’s are cool Join this saving culture

Hair and beauty 58 News Brighten your eyes, and soft lips tips 60 Beauty All eyes on you! – The classic look is back


seXual HealtH 66 News The best underwear, and why Kissing is healthy 67 A loving touch For exciting sex 68 Sex aunties Are they always right?

style and fasHion 74 Trends: Flower power This retro look is back 76 Fashion Meet African designers

last Word 80 A man’s world Mark Masai: His love, life and phobias




(health & fitness) Get the body you’ve always wanted

WALk TO WOrk WEEk May 14 – 18

You know that walking keeps you trim and fit. You know it keeps diabetes and heart complications at bay. You’re probably aware that it strengthens your muscles, bones and joints, keeping you free from arthritis and osteoporosis, and lifts your mood, too.

Take a walk

Walk the talk Walk fast – but not too fast to hold a conversation. You should be able to talk with a friend as you walk. A comfortable walking pace gives your muscles sufficient oxygen. Gasping for breath as you go means you are engaging in anaerobic exercise (walking isn’t). Ideal walking boosts your aerobic capacity.

keep the pace Walking too slowly has been linked to lower brain volume, leading to poor decision making, memory tests and language skills. According to research, those who walk slowly are almost twice as likely to develop dementia after age 65 than those who walk through life at a healthy speed. So keep on walking…


health & fitness (news) The latest information to help you make the right choices

Nike + iPod

Meet your pocket-size trainer! Want the perfect running partner? Hook up your iPod or iPhone, and lace up a pair of Nike+ trainers, no accessories required. See the minutes tick by, watch the miles unfold and hear real-time voice feedback while listening to your favourite motivational tune — including the one song that always gets you through the home stretch. The system uses a special sensor that you pop into a pocket under the Nike+’s insole, which syncs with a special support programme on the iPod touch or iPhone 36S and lets you choose how you want to run – custom shortcuts help you choose your workout (from distance, time or calorie goals), then pick your favourite tunes to keep you going. Along the way, it will tell you time, distance, pace and calories burned, with feedback at the halfway point and in the final stretch. How cool is that? Available now from Nike stores

One step at a time

The nifty little Striiv pedometer helps you keep track of the number of steps you take in a day, then translates your day’s steps into kilometres. Why not set some targets to keep things interesting? Try to walk the equivalent of the distance between Nairobi and Naivasha over the course of a week. Walking has been proven to help fight heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, depression and improve your bone density. So put it in your pocket, purse or mount it on your belt; then start pounding that pavement. KShs. 2,000 at

STAND for your life

instant gratificatiOn

A recent study by Indiana University has discovered that exercise can directly lead to female orgasm. It found that the work-outs most linked to workout-induced orgasm were weight lifting, climbing ropes and poles, spinning and cycling and abdominal exercises. What better excuse to hit the gym! 8 HEALTHY WOMAN

Did you know that standing up lessens your likelihood of dying in the next three years? According to recent research, those who stay seated for more than 10 hours a day are 40 per cent more likely than their more active counterparts to succumb to illnesses. Cardiovascular disease, in particular, which causes more than 16 million deaths worldwide, every year, has been linked to this kind of inactivity. So, keep an eye on the time you spend seated in front of your computer, your TV or behind your steering wheel.

Three : One That’s how much more likely women will suffer from migraine than men. 25 per cent of women say they’ve been affected by the condition

Fitness instructor OchIEnG’ AwUOr KjEllAn


A flat tummy One of the biggest weight loss problem areas for women is the tummy, fondly referred to as ‘love handles’. With women constantly looking for ways to reduce ‘their pots’, I’ve developed a guide to help get rid of this problem area. It is, however, worth noting that there is no such thing as spot reduction. All the areas in our bodies are interconnected, so in order to get rid of that ugly belly fat, you’re going to have to lose some all-over weight. The fat burning process starts from the internal organs and extends towards the fat that sits under the skin. Because this is the fat that we can see, it tends to bother us the most. However, it’s actually the least harmful, and what we should really be worrying about is the fat that surrounds the internal organs – this is what could prove fatal, especially in the case of the heart. It is only through surgical means like liposuction that spot reduction can be achieved. The bad news, however, is that even after very expensive surgery, you will still be advised to go to a gym to aid your recovery, tighten your abdominal muscles and keep the fat from re-depositing. So why not save the cash, pain and scars and just head to the gym?

Here is tHe plan Do a warm up cardio for 10 to 20 minutes to get blood flowing, help lubricate your joints, prepare your muscles for the work-out to come and to start the fat burning process.

1 Basic cruncH Lie on your back on a flat surface, legs bent at the knees and soles flat on the floor or mat. Cross your arms as if to hug yourself. Lift your head, neck and shoulders as if to roll your spine as you crunch your ab muscles, navel pushed down towards your spine and to the floor. Exhale and hold for two seconds before lowering your upper body slowly back to the starting position as you inhale for one repetition. Repeat 18 times.

both legs up and straight into the air, slowly lower each alternate leg slowly to almost touching the floor and change to the other leg, exhaling each time either leg is at the lowest point just before starting to lift it up. Repeat the movement for each leg 12 times.

3 scissor cruncH This is a combination of the above two exercises – basic crunch and alternate leg raises – but with a slight variation to work your intercostal muscles, the ones that run alongside your rib bones. Still on your back, place your hands behind your ears with elbows bent, both legs up straight in the air. Lower one leg and, as in the alternate leg raises, crunch up and twist so that the opposite elbow to the lowering leg points and/or touches the leg that is up still as you exhale. Lower your upper body and repeat the movement on the other opposite limbs for one repeat. Perform 12 repetitions an each side.

4 oBlique cruncH Now turn and lie on one side, still on your mat or the floor, keeping both legs straight, one on the other. Keep the lower hand straight in front of you and the upper one straight overhead. Then you crunch to the sides, lifting the upper leg up and towards your centre almost vertical to the floor, while at the same time pulling your upper hand so that at almost the middle your elbow reaches for the knee of the rising leg. Lower and repeat the motion 18 times then change sides. Remember to breathe throughout your workout and especially to exhale as you crunch up. Repeat the whole cycle four times to reap the maximum benefits, since with ab muscles what we are after is endurance and not strength as opposed to the rest of your body muscles. It’s also important to remember is that this is a continuation of the fat burning process that you started with a warm up. It therefore needs to be as continuous as possible, with the shortest of breaks, taken only if really necessary.

2 alternate leg raises Still lying on your back as described above, now put your hands on your back below your bum. Lift 10 HEALTHY WOMAN

For Fitness advice From ochieng contact

(expert advice) health & fitness

‘Love handLes’ – one of women’s most troubLesome weightLoss areas HEALTHY WOMAN 11

I finally got my dream body Fitness athlete Jane Mukami tells us how she made the change from flab to fab photography Robert Ector


ane Mukami had tried to lose weight in vain. Having tried different work-out plans and diets and failed miserably, she decided to undergo liposuction. But her plans changed when she saw pictures of an old acquaintance on Facebook, whose body had drastically changed. On contacting her to find out ‘the secret’ to her transformation, the lady referred her to her personal trainer. So Jane, an IT consultant, decided to put surgery on hold to try working out with her friend’s fitness trainer for three months. A couple of years later and no liposuction, Jane now has her dream body, and a new career as a fitness model. She tells us how she did it.. Tell us about your fitness journey.

It all began in 2008 when it became apparent that I could no longer fit certain clothes. I tried a lot of different things like outdoor boot camps, hiring personal trainers (I tried two different people) and ran two half marathons but still didn’t have the body I wanted. What was your body like before you started?

Before I met my trainer, Rashid Roc Shabazz, I had a lot of body fat, giving me round chubby cheeks, cellulite on my thighs and a protruding stomach. I weighed about 58 kilos which is a lot of weight for my five foot one frame. I am now leaner after gaining muscle, my body fat is lower, my arms, legs, thighs, glutes and abs are tight and toned and I weigh 51 kilos. What attracted you to competitive fitness?

I never knew about competing until after I met Roc. Initially I was just a regular at the gym, trying to lose a couple of extra kilos. But after the extra weight melted off I wanted to look even better. I added competing to my bucket list after seeing the great results under Roc’s tutelage and with his continued guidance I was able to compete and win second place at my first show.


(real life) health & fitness

When did you become a fitness athlete?

In March 2010 after competing in my first fitness competition. After that, I started training intensely with Roc later that year.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are what I consider rest days, with only 30 minutes of cardio in the morning and 30 minutes’ cardio in the evening. Are you on a specific diet plan?

What does it takes to be a fitness athlete.

As a fitness athlete, I must possess certain acquired traits, such as strength, muscular conditioning, symmetry… this is attained through intense training to enable me to look my best at fitness competitions and fitness modelling. Is it harder for a woman to participate in fitness competitions?

Yes. The preparation leading up to the competition is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely more challenging for women and for me because the workouts are even more rigorous and intense, my eating habits are very strict and almost every single aspect of my life has to support the goal to compete. All these things put together make me hormonal, iratational and short tempered. My body might be a little more exhausted than normal from putting in about 14 hours a week at the gym and still working my job another 40 hours each week, too. Is it hard to get modelling gigs?

I showcase my body by having my pictures used for fitness articles and magazines. I am an IT consultant by profession, hence I don’t need to actively look for modelling gigs. I have done some work advertising a variety of brands but it has mostly been people asking me to do it. What challenges do you experience being a fitness athlete?

I have been living a fit life for almost two years now and I’m glad that I’m now used to it. I have momentary spurts where I do not want to work out as hard or eat as well as I ought to. Another challenge is getting people to respect my lifestyle. When it’s just me at home and in my world it’s easy to do what I’m doing but once I step into the real world it gets tricky. My habits are considered strange. For example, when everybody at work is reaching for more tea or coffee in the break room at 10am, I walk in there to warm a plate of food. My day starts at 5am and by 10am I am usually on my second meal. I get comments like “wow you’re having a very early lunch” or “every time I come to the break room you’re always heating up food. Exactly how many times do you eat at work?” It’s only through consistency and unwavering focus that people, especially work colleagues, have learned to respect my actions and now come to me seeking fitness advice.

My diet is ever-changing because it depends on what my current goal is. Generally, I eat six small meals a day starting at 8am, spaced out every three hours. All my six meals consist of protein, high amounts of fibrous carbohydrates such as broccoli, green beans, lettuce, spinach or asparagus, and controlled portions of starchy carbohydrates. Does living a healthy lifestyle mix well with your social life?

Living a fit life is a choice. It demands time, money and commitment. It also requires that I make everybody around me understand and respect my commitment, too. My boss understands that I can’t always make it to the office at 8am because I sometimes don’t leave the gym until that time, so we’re in agreement that I can get to work whenever I can as long as the job is done. I needed to be very upfront about this during the job interview because I did not want to set false expectations with my employer. Socially, when friends want to go out for dinner, I have to either eat before I go out in case the chosen location has nothing healthy to offer or I try to go online, find the restaurant menu and pre-select my item before getting to the restaurant. Having friends that understand and support my lifestyle is very important. My life revolves and is planned around fitness and not the other way round. Check out Jane’s blog at

“Living a fit Life is a choice. it demands time, money and commitment"

What is your daily fitness routine like?

My daily fitness routine involves two workouts a day, every day. From Monday to Thursday, 6am to 7.30am, I meet with my trainer for weight training and cardio and every evening at about 6pm I do some more cardio in form of sprints. HEALTHY WOMAN 13

health & fitness (spinning)

Get your best cardio work out ever on a static bike and reap the benefits of stayinG fit and trim

Bike that Butt Off! 14 HEALTHY WOMAN

words Christine Odeph photography Riz Mehar shot on location at Jacaranda Hotel Gym & Spa


health & fitness (spinning)


ome exercises are repetitive, dead boring and super exhausting. Others are fun and addictive. And when it comes to spinning, it definitely falls into the latter category. Just ask Dora Walji, a restaurant owner here in Kenya. The 49 year old attributes her 12 kilo weight loss to spinning, a form of training that could add that much needed spark into your fitness regimen. Spinning generally involves group cycling on stationary bikes, usually in the controlled environment of a gym (no, it's not where you get on top of a Ferris wheel and go “wheeeeeeee!” as it goes round and round). Spinning classes generally have their roots in heart-friendly work outs and building up endurance. A great cardivascular workout, if you are bored with aerobics or regular jogging or skipping, then you need to try this interesting option. “It’s the best decision I ever made!” Dora enthuses, full of visible energy as she explains how the exercise has changed her life. We are sitting down with Dora just before she goes into her class at the Jacaranda gym in


Westlands, Nairobi. Her passion for it is evident when she says she could miss any class on her daily workout schedule but nothing could make her miss the spin class. “Before I joined the gym I weighed in at around 86 kilos,” says Dora. “I have since lost about 12 kilos and I think most of it came off because of regular spinning.” Before Dora joined the gym, she was overweight and had a slew of weight-related health complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure. She began with an overhaul of her diet. getting strict about the kind of food that she ate, and avoiding carbs. After the weight dropped off she realised she needed to tone up because her skin became flabby from the sudden weight loss. She then joined the gym and changed her diet strategy to portion management, although she still watches what she eats. “I noticed a huge change after taking up a spin class because my thighs and legs are firmer. It’s an all-over body workout.” The best way to reap the benefits of spinning is by having on-location trainers to encourage you through the best programme for your individual physical and health needs. “I feel like I missed out on a lot in life not going to the gym earlier,” Dora says. “But I am most excited about spinning because the music is fast paced and exhilarating.”

instructor Christine Anindo Christine works as an instructor at the Jacaranda Hotel gym. She believes that one of the reasons spin classes are a favourite for many women who come to the gym is because they're easy to learn. “It is more than a great cardio workout," she says. "It is also great for cellulite. When I started I had a bit of cellulite but after, it is almost gone."

10 reasons to spin


You burn between 400-600 calories in a good 30 minute session.


Spinning gets rid of cellulite faster than any other cardio workout because of its intensity potential.

Regular exercise has made such a postive difference to Dora’s health that her diabetes and blood pressure problems are now a thing of the past. With her body looking and feeling decades younger in terms of health, she's even inspired her children and they join her at the gym as often as they can. “Gym is simply an hour a day out of my life. It is totally worth my time because I can see and feel the results," she concludes. While we speak, we are joined by another spin class enthusiast, Janet Gaitho. She could easily pass for a woman in her early 30s but surprises me when she confides that she is 40. “You look a lot younger than that,” I tell her as she shares her experiences. Although Janet only joined up for gym six months ago, she can already see the positive results this has had on her body. “Originally I decided to work out because I was curious about it. But I started to enjoy it so much I kept going,” she says. “When I came here I weighed 10 kilos more than I do now. Of all of my fitness classes, spinning is the best class because the instructors are so warm and encouraging.” So if you want to pump up that adrenaline, get fit and healthy, and tone those muscles, it's time to give this fun and funky exercise a spin – the results speak for themselves!


It is an all body workout and targets all core muscles found in the arms, torso and legs.

4 5

It tones up thigh and calf muscles effectively.

It is an anaerobic exercise so it pulls in energy from your reserves, burning fat faster.


In terms of music, style, and intensity, no session is the same so it is difficult to get bored.


It has progressive health benefits such as improved lung capacity and controlled/improved breathing.


It is a low impact exercise on the knees or feet compared to the treadmill or stair stepper.

9 10

It works on your ABS just as well, too.

It increases your body’s workout breaking point and gives you mental stamina.


(real life success) health & fitness

Healthy new you! Last month, Healthy Woman and Power Vibe studio offered two lucky readers the opportunity to take part in a unique three-month health and fitness programme. Here we reveal the winners

Dora Were, 35

Executive Assistant at UNDP Kenya I liked what I looked like six years ago… toned, no 'love handles' and no arm fat – the one that shakes when your arms move about. Needless to say, I don’t look anything like my former self anymore. I have tried to lose weight by using fitness DVD workouts, getting professional instructions on the ideal exercises, and dieting. But it doesn’t seem to work. However, my 2012 resolution to be healthy spiritually and physically was boosted when I got a call confirming that I had qualified to enter the Healthy New You! challenge. On my first appointment with dietician, Victoria Pena, she asked that I make a diary of what I had eaten the previous week. At least I had a summary of something good. I had been starting my day with cereals. I take a snack with my 10 o’clock tea. Then I have a packed lunch during lunch break – it could be rice and beans, chapati and beef… generally whatever I had for dinner the night before.

Dora's stats

Zippy 's stats

Measurements taken on 3/4/2012

Measurements taken on 3/4/2012

Weight 76.3 kilos Body fat mass 40.1 per cent (30.6 kilos of fat mass) Body Water 47.1 per cent muscle mass 45.9 kilos metaBolic rate 1477kcal Bone mass 2.4 kilos Visceral rating 6

Weight 77.7 kilos Body fat mass 37.9 per cent (29.5 kilos of fat mass) Body Water 46.4 per cent muscle mass 45.8 kilos metaBolic rate 1491kcal Bone mass 2.4 kilos Visceral rating 5



Weight 56 kilos Bmi 21kg/m² Body fat 21-33 per cent

Weight 60 kilos Bmi 20.76kg/m² Body fat 21-33 per cent


BoDy Composition BoDy fAt For a woman aged between 30 and 39 years, it should range from 17 to 24 per cent. anything above 24 per cent exposes you to obesity woes. anything under 17 per cent will affect your insulation. This is dangerous as your internal climate shouldn’t go lower than 36.5 degrees centigrade. BoDy wAtEr For females between age 10 and 100 years, body water should be above 45 per cent. above 60 per cent is even better. The results include great skin and all-round better body function. Note that the loss of fat is usually replaced by water – thus the importance of the workout. MUsclE MAss This is the muscle circumference around your bones. It is what determines your strength. For the Power Vibe work out, you increase muscle mass but you don’t increase in volume. This is because the workout does not involve strength training/ weight lifting. The focus is mainly cosmetic, resulting in a toned body. MEtABolic rAtE This is how fast your body breakdowns food into energy. a slow metabolism sees you accumulate more fat, and gives you low energy levels. People with a high metabolism tend to be slim and active. Your metabolic rate can be improved by increasing the muscle mass and reducing the body fat mass. This is because lean muscles burn more calories – even when you are at rest. There isn’t an ideal range, it’s all dependent on factors such as age, height and body composition. BoNE MAss This is the density of your bones. The higher it is the better – as you will be more likely to fend off bone-density related conditions like osteoporosis. For women it usually ranges between 2kg to 2.4kg – depending on factors such as height and weight. ViscErAl fAt rAtiNg This is the fat that surrounds your vital organs. It is the fat in your trunk – the one you can’t touch. The higher it is, the more likely you are to get cardiovascular complications and diabetes. a good visceral fat rating ranges from one to 12. Thirteen to 59 means you have excess fat. This is dangerous to your liver, heart, kidney and the other important organs the fat may surround. The older you get, the more visceral fat you are likely to have accumulated. 20 HEALTHY WOMAN

But that is a change I had only recently made. A month ago, things were totally different. I always bought my lunch, which was often nyama choma and ugali. I never missed the chance to eat junk food as part of my meals… crisps, cookies or ice cream. For dinner, I bought so many take-ways that I knew about all the offers – terrific Tuesdays, wacky Wednesdays and all. And guess what? I was happy to finish off the last slice of pizza that no one wanted. No wonder my body fat readings exceeded the body fat-weighing scale! When that happens, the weighing scale reads 'error' instead of giving the percentage. I have now decided to spend more time in the kitchen cooking my own meals instead of ordering and that is why I now eat home-made food in the office. The only catch here is deciding what, really, is healthy eating? What amounts of food should I take? I am oh-so-eager for the meal plan the nutritionist is tailor-making for me. My workout has already started. My boss is also aware about my ‘little project’ now that I have to leave the office slightly earlier to make it to the gym on time. My gym bag has been in the trunk of my car for a week now (can anyone be more excited?). I’m sure my instructors have what it takes to bring me back on track. I am not about to let them down.

(real life success) health & fitness

ZIPPY WaMWeru, 31 it specialist

After my baby, my skin gave way to 20 kilos! You know the common eat-for-two advice when expectant? I followed it to the letter and the kilos piled on. I thought the weight would drop off with time but the figures on the weighing scale kept going up and up. Rigorously working out at home has only helped me shed off five kilos. That has frustrated me and affected my self-esteem. I was on the verge of giving up when the Healthy New You! Challenge came along. I wanted to keep this a secret and surprise my husband when he came back from one of his many work safaris, but before I knew it, I was bubbling out the news. He has been really excited and very supportive. His concern mainly stems from the fact that diabetes runs in my family; and being overweight increases my chances of getting it. I will do my third gym session tomorrow. The experience is awesome, to say the least. My first workout was a morning session at 6.30 am. It was really a challenge, probably because I hadn’t had any breakfast. I have therefore resorted to doing it in the

evening, as my mornings are too rushed to take an energising meal. The instructors have been patient and encouraging. My muscles are a little sore. But had it not been for the great massages by the instructor after the workouts, I’d barely be walking. I have written down my previous diet diary – as requested by Victoria, the nutritionist, in order to adjust my meal plan accordingly. My breakfast was tea and two slices of bread, a plate of cereal or leftovers. I had my 10 o’clock tea with a muffin. For lunch, I had an apple or orange then chips or pilau from a nearby cafeteria. I would drink lots of green tea or water after that. When I got home, I would have some fruit, and then wait for dinner. I'd been eating like this since January this year, a slight improvement from last year when there were hardly fruits, water or green tea in my diet. I'm impressed with the improvement in my meals, but am a bit concerned because I still weigh the same. I can hardly wait for the nutritionist’s meal plan. I want it to set a new precedence in my house; so that my husband can also lose weight. Do I have qualms about this challenge? None whatsoever. There is no room for failure. I am very eager to meet the ‘former me’ three months down the line.

(smoking) health & fitness

stub out the habit

If you're one of the 80,000 kenyan women who stIll smoke, read on

words Brenda Wangwe HEALTHY WOMAN 23


wenty six per cent of the Kenyan population are smokers, says the World Health Organisation (WHO). Men make up 24 per cent of the statistics – “Thanks to testosterone that makes them want to outshine each other in just about anything,” says Dr Daniel Nduiga, a consultant physician at Karen Hospital. Female smokers make up two per cent of that number. But before you dismiss this as insignificant, note that this accounts for 80,000 women – who are potentially responsible for 80,000 families. Half of these are likely to die from smoking related illnesses, notes the WHO. And the numbers are rising. With the boundaries between men and women being increasingly broken down, some of us have no qualms taking up male dominated habits – smoking included, says Dr Nduiga. “Ten years ago the statistics were so negligible we hardly asked if they smoked. Now we ask all our patients. Any hesitation in response is a definite yes,” explains the doctor, who has worked in a number of heart centres. Most Kenyan women who smoke are between 25 and 45 years old. They are well-educated, have international exposure and are upwardly mobile, financially. The bug is spreading among the middle class too, informs Dr Nduiga. A hypothetical study on the aforementioned women – who frequent places where smoking is permitted like night clubs, finds that four out of 10 have tried smoking. Half of that number do it occasionally. These women are aware of the dangers of smoking, which include, heart conditions and an array reproductive health issues like infertility. How about the once-in-a-while social smokers? Do the following math: number of years smoked, multiplied by the average number of cigarettes smoked in a day, all divided by 20 (usually the number of cigarettes in a packet). If your answer is above four, you are at high risk, says Dr Nduiga. Chances of getting hooked to it are also high. When you stop smoking, however, the risks begin to lessen immediately, he reassures. But the worst case scenario the doctor has encountered is a 35year-old woman who he had to make carry around an oxygen tank.

Smoking dangerS

n Infertility – smoking is linked to impaired ovulation, implantation of the fertilized egg and the cervical fluid. n If you are taking oral birth-control medication, smoking exposes you blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. This could be because of the tobacco chemical interacting with oestrogen. The risk increases with age. n Smoking when pregnant has been linked to pre-term births, underweight babies and still births. Children born from smoking mothers are known to have more respiratory conditions, colds and ear infections. n Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is more than 30 per cent likely to occur in smokers.


n Premature menopause – especially if you started smoking in your teens. n Bone loss. Smoking increases your chance of getting osteoporosis by 10 per cent. n Shrinkage of the lungs walls. This makes you pant more during a physically engaging moment. They can eventually fail altogether for long term smokers. n Smoking is also linked to cancers of the mouth, lungs, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus and kidney, as well as breast, cervical, bladder and vulva cancer.

Quitting tipS Quitting aids include prescription tablets, smoking patches, nicotine gum, electric cigarettes and counselling, says Dr Nduiga. Natural remedies such as drinking banana stalk juice, charcoal-in-water solution or smoking the special sticks usually sold at Nairobi’s smoking zones are another alternative. “But only as long as you have a go ahead from a medical practitioner,” the consultant physician says. The majority of his patients who managed to quit smoking successfully went cold turkey, he says. GoinG cold turkey It is never too late. You can stop smoking and reap the benefits of a smoke-free life despite your age, how long you have been a smoker and how badly your body has been damaged by smoking. Be patient. Smoking gives us a ‘quick fix’. Knowing that you will have to go through a period of not getting this relief helps you sail through it with less anticipation. don’t procrastinate. Pick the quitting date and prepare for it. Try getting as much quitting information as you can before this day. Feel free to tell those around you about this grand date. The support you will get may amaze you. Note: smokers will hardly give you the thumbs up. cut out stress on the d-day. The first three days may be hellish. Try and make this time as calm and as peaceful as possible. You could take some days off from work. Sleep as much as you can. snack more. Snacking helps keep you at ease as your blood sugar fluctuates with the nicotine withdrawal. Chewing gum helps as well. Eat all your meals. take a walk. A daily 30-minute walk and deep breathing helps reduce the fatigue, head fuzziness and the irritability. It helps stabilise your fluctuating blood sugar, and will keep you from gaining weight, which is common after quitting the habit. Boost your enerGy with a multi-vitamin. This, together with a healthy eating, helps you fight the tiredness that comes with the withdrawal.

(smoking) health & fitness

“When you stop smoking, the health risks begin to lessen immediately�

health & fitness (smoking)

How I quit smoking... CIKu MuIrurI


it’s Been five years since i quit it!

100 days and countinG….

classic fm’s presenter I was a 17-year-old student in the United Kingdom. Everyone smoked, it was the ‘in thing’. My brothers were going to kill me with second-hand smoke anyway (we shared an apartment and they would smoke even when we couldn’t open the windows). So I eventually lit up, too. There’s a buzz you get when you light up. It made me feel grown up. I would sometimes check myself out in the mirror as I smoked. The only thing I disliked then was the price. As a student, you don’t have much money. And being in England you had to buy full packets of cigarettes (as opposed to the single sticks you can get here). When you are a heavy smoker, the buzz only comes with that first cigarette of the day. Then you kept chasing it through the day, but it would never feel the same. It saw me smoke almost a whole pack a day, and often more when drinking alcohol. My daughter, Erika, hated it. She’d confiscate my cigarettes, research on cigarette smoking and pass on the details every time I lit up. Nothing doing. But I’m glad she hated it – and still does. By the time I eventually quit smoking, I really resented the habit. I had tried everything. I even went to see a hypnotherapist. The hypnosis was that every time I smoked I would feel dirty and want to take a shower. I believed it. But I ignored how dirty I felt and kept smoking. At 4pm on January 23 2008, I had my last cigarette. I was on my way to the airport for Hong Kong via Dubai. I figured because it was such a long flight (and smoking is a no-no on the plane) this was my last hope. I got to Dubai and the temptation to smoke while waiting for my connecting flight was extinguished when I saw the smoking zone. A little room filled with smoke. Horrible. There is a reason why it’s called the Far East. It’s far, far away. By the time we landed I was dying for a smoke. But no one smokes in Hong Kong. Good luck finding a smoking zone there. After a few days, I crossed into China which is the complete opposite of Hong Kong. Everybody smokes in China – even in the lifts! I was tempted, but I remembered the long flight back. This January I clocked five years, smoke free. I sometimes get an urge to light up. It comes like a wave and washes over me. It feels like I just quit yesterday. But I just ride it out. The more time passes, the less frequent the urges are. Erika is one of my biggest supporters. I can honestly say that the one thing I will never do again, is smoke. I hate how smokers smell. It comes out of their pores. I hate what the tar does to their teeth. I hate the yellowing on fingers. I hate secondary smoke. I hate how in a club, the smoke clings to your clothes and your hair. Interestingly, there are people who think my voice is great for radio because of my past habit. That’s ridiculous. I shudder when I think of the damage I did to my vocal chords. I still can’t hit some notes I used to. I can now, however, sing much better than I did five years ago. Smoking doesn’t give you a nice voice. It destroys it. 26 HEALTHY WOMAN


I began at home, bored and wondering how it feels to smoke. No peer influence: no one in my family smokes, no work pressure. It was simply out of curiosity. So I went to the shop, got a few sticks and smoked them. No choking or tearing. Before long, it became great company when I needed to think. Before I knew it I had to smoke after every meal. It also was my first ritual in the morning. I have done more than a packet a day. This first happened when I was job hunting. The stress of rummaging the dailies and the internet for employment opportunities, tweaking my CV to suit specific employers and dropping them off – all made me light one cigarette after another. I thankfully got a job which helped me go back to my regular five to six sticks a day. Then I got another job where I found my smoking kin. We did it every 40 minutes. Did it feel good? Apart from the first morning puff, which made me feel the blood rushing to my brain and lots of relief, I can’t remember any good feeling with the other cigarettes I took. I just remember needing them so badly. It is this dependency that made me realise that I was hooked. The information on the effects of smoking got me more worried and the more I thought about quitting, the more I thought I couldn’t. Then I made a solo trip to Mombasa this last December. I wanted some time alone from the hustle and bustle, so I could hear myself. It was at this moment that contemplation to kick this habit was loudest. I felt so much will-power against smoking within me that I thought I don’t even need to throw them. I was convinced that looking at them and not smoking would make me feel more triumphant. During the first smoke-free ten hours, I thought I was going to die. I had the worst headache ever and my hands would not stop shaking. No amount of painkillers was helping. Four days later I was myself again. It is now 100 days and counting. The battle wears on, anything can trigger a dash to the shop for pack of puffs – even seeing people smoke on TV. I sometimes dream I am smoking! But my refusing to take another puff of cigarette remains an everyday decision. I am already reaping good results. My business is getting undivided attention, so it’s on the upscale. I am able to jog for more than an hour without running out of breath. In my smoky days, 15 minutes of jogging or whatever exercise would make me feel like I was going to pass out. The common smokers’ syndrome: sneezing, coughing and running eyes, is now history. Being a good steward of my body is very refreshing. If the doctor now peers into my chest, I am sure he’ll have something good to note down. Whether I desperately feel the need to smoke or not, I am sure about one thing: I am done with cigarettes.


Other tests Offered fOr infertility fasting insulin – Helps in differential diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCO). Ovulation is a problem in this condition. thyroid function test – Sometimes abnormal thyroid function can interfere with ovulation or conception. for in-Vivo – fertilization(iVf) – The gynecologist/obstritician may ask for Anti-Mullerian hormone(AMH). This test is usually requested for before the IVF to assess if the patient is able to produce eggs in the ovary.

tests Offered fOr stUdy Of MUltiPle MiscarriaGes Various tests are done to study the cause of these. infections – Tests for Toxoplasma, Cytomegalo virus (CMV), Herpes, Rubella. Multiple thrombus formation in the placenta is now thought to be a cause of multiple abortions. A thrombotic screen including Lupus Anticoagulant recommended. cyto genetic studies on parents cyto genetic studies on foetus. Pathcare Kenya offer all above laboratory tests.

Causes of infertility in women a Anatomical abnormalities – Blocked fallopian tubes ( a common cause of infertility) Abnormal uterus These two causes require radiological tests. b Hormonal imbalance A woman may not be ovulating regularly. We need to carry out laboratory tests to determine the cause. Tests offered are so called fertility hormones. • Prolactin secreted in the hypothalamus. Raised levels can cause problems of ovulation. • Follicle stimulating hormone(FSH) . Secreted in the pituitary • Luteinizing hormone(LH). Also secreted in the pituitary • Estrogen. Secreted in the ovaries. • Progesterone. Secreted in the ovary – Indicator of ovulation NOTE: Prolactin, FSH, LH and Estrogen to be tested on day 2 of a normal 28day cycle. Two days after the last menstrual period. Progesterone must be tested on day 22 of a 28 day menstrual cycle. The right balance of all the hormones is necessary for ovulation. Please note the timing which is very important. For more information call: 254-20-3753416, 254-20-2430854 254-20-2430753 or visit WWW.PATHCAREKENYA.COM

Pathcare Kenya is at the cutting edge of medical diagnostic services, delivering a world class service that ensures the highest quality of medical testing and the very best in medical support. Unique in East and Central Africa, PathCare Kenya was the first diagnostic laboratory in the Region to achieve international accreditation ISO/IEC 17025/15189. Accreditation confirms the international standards that PathCare Kenya has met in the quality of its tests and the integrity of its processes.


(nutrition) Diets and healthy eating that really work


Kiwi Bananas Have a natural antacid effect on in the body. Apart from being a fruit, it is also a herb!

Fresh apples float in water because they are 25 per cent air. An apple is a wonderful tonic for oily skin, and a superb remedy for fine wrinkles, cracked skin and soothing itching and inflammation

Have twice as much vitamin C as a regular orange. They’re also high in vitamin E, folic acid and potassium

Grapes Grapes consist of about 80 per cent of water, which make them a low-calorie snack or dessert

fruity Friday

Marked on a Friday in May annually, Fruity Friday is celebrated to increase awareness of the link between proper diet, nutrition and cancer prevention. On May 13 this year, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) will celebrate this annual event by raising funds to go towards the noble cause of cancer education and prevention programmes. Check out our interesting fruity facts.


diet, news & advice (DNA) They say you are what you eat, after all

Fast Food Fact

Studies concluded at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria indicate that people who eat fast food are 51 per cent more likely to suffer from depression than those who eat little or no fast food.

nutrition gIve Yourself a boost Other than helping you to watch your weight, great eating habits keep ailments at bay and make you feel at your best as you exercise. So go ahead and: Fibre up! Let your plate brim with fruits and leafy green vegetables. Always opt for whole grains to give you filling fibre and energy for the whole day – including some for your work time. Calcify your bones. Calcium, which improves bone health, helps keep injuries away as you work out. As much as dairy products contain lots of calcium, their animal fat and protein content can speed up bone loss. So, try beans, broccoli, and kale. Become an iron lady! Iron gives you endurance during workouts. Note that women lose a lot of iron during menstruation, so boost your iron levels by eating iron-rich foods such as spinach, lentils, lean red meat, dark poultry and almonds. Lessen your coffee cups. While coffee has a number of health benefits, high caffeine intake interferes with hormone levels and can also increases the loss of calcium. This exposes you to osteoporosis making you more injury-prone. Other negative effects include sleep, stress and anxiety disorders – all making your exercise regimen less exciting. 30 HEALTHY WOMAN

Go to beD! A new scientific paper documents that lack of adequate sleep increases your chances of obesity. When you don’t get enough hours of shut-eye you’ll affect your appetite regulation, glucose metabolism and increase your blood pressure.

taking it too far... A brand new extreme diet that’s sweeping the US sees people only consuming 800 calories a day for 10 days. Seen as a fast, hunger-free way to shed off the weight, all the proteins, fat and water are delivered through a nasal feeding tube. We can’t believe that some doctors are actually endorsing this radical practice – whatever happened to common sense?

DiD you know? You can keep your blood pressure in check with simple fruits. Increasing your potassium intake to a healthy 500 milligrams a day is as simple as a munching on a banana, or drinking a cup of coconut or tomato juice.

(news) dna

it’s all in the beans scientists have found new evidence that unroasted, or green, coffee beans can actually cause a substantial reduction in overall body weight in a relatively short time. based on the research, eating several capsules of green coffee extract per day combined with a low-fat healthy diet is a safe an effective weight loss method.


That’s the percentage of carbohydrate restricted diets that are successful after two years. Research indicates that most diets that deny carbs do not address the core problem of addictive eating impulses. It’s always advisable to take on a diet that has some carbs to boost energy levels and take care of potential cravings


Six 1

ONiONs Onions are sometimes called the ‘king of vegetables’ because of their characteristically strong smell. The smaller the onion, the stronger the smell and the more they’ll make your eyes water, and the varieties of onion range from green, white and brown to red globes. A staple in many dishes, they have anti-inflammatory agents which are useful in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions like gout and arthritis. Onions can also be helpful in curbing anaemia because they have a high iron content, while simply eating half a medium raw onion per day will keep your cholesterol in check, and fight high blood pressure. And before you think about pushing those onion rings to the side of your plate, remember that they also ward off bacteria like E-coli and salmonella.



OniOns, tOmatOes, ginger, garlic, capsicum, and cOriander are the cOre ingredients Of many a kenyan dish. But have yOu ever stOpped tO think aBOut the many health Benefits Of these everyday essentials used in Our stew and curries? read On tO find Out mOre aBOut why we can’t get enOugh Of these nutritiOnal pOwer hOuses

CApsiCuM These brightly coloured vegetables can be found in a range of colours ranging from red, green, yellow to orange; the stronger the colour, the higher the amount of antioxidants they contain. (Did you know that the red variation is actually just a green one that is fully ripened?) Capsicum have a stimulant property that eases problems such as colic, indigestion or excessive flatulence. They are also very rich in vitamin C which helps in repairing the lining of the mucus membranes, such as the nasal cavities. Eating a good amount of capsicum will speed up your metabolism, which helps to lower bad cholesterol in your system. And is your throat tender? Just gurgle some capsicum juice to sooth the soreness away.

(super foods) nutrition




This aromatic bulb is an excellent source of vitamins A, B-complex and C. It is also used for it antioxidant qualities and immunity enhancing powers. Garlic is a blood thinner so will protect the body against complications like clots or thrombosis. Just eating one clove of garlic a day lowers your blood sugar levels and keeps diabetes at bay. It’s an effective protector against the bacterial strain that causes peptic ulcers. Garlic juice is also used to treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot and even cure the symptoms of the common cold.


COriANdEr If you are feeling a bit queasy you’ll be glad to know that this great herb can be used to treat nausea. Coriander, or dhania, is versatile enough to be used as a garnish, eaten raw or cooked into a stew or curry. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, which makes them great for curbing eye disorders. Coriander stimulates proper secretion in the endocrine glands which effectively reduces menstrual cramps. Just in case you get allergic reactions, remember that coriander has antihistamine qualities. Plus, some of the components found in dhania leaves aid proper digestion and liver functions, and help cure an upset stomach.

TOMATOEs Tomatoes are really classified as a fruit but because they lack that sweet quality to them, are usually used like a savoury vegetable. They are rich in moisture, and are a superb source of vitamin C. The seeds and skin of tomatoes are great sources of fibre which helps with digestion, while the high potassium content in tomatoes helps relieve stress, muscle weakness and fatigue. They contain lycopene, which is said to be a powerful anti-cancer nutrient. Tomatoes are also useful in detoxing the liver and kidneys.


GiNGEr Ginger has many roles to play in your diet, from adding that sweet aroma to your tea to spicing up that Sunday afternoon pilau. This useful root is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C, E and B6. For anyone having stomach trouble, ginger can be used to control vomiting and nausea, and is a safe option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. It is also the default treatment for coughs and colds when boiled in water. Ginger can be used to treat gall stones because the herb stimulates the release of bile from the gall bladder. Fresh ginger juice can be also used for immediate pain relief if applied to minor burns and skin irritations.


nutrition (detox)

The 24-hour detox plan Take a day out from your regular routine to kickstart your system and feel as good as new!


f you constantly eat junk food, drink more than one glass of wine at a sitting, or take more than two cups of coffee a day, you are overworking your liver and need to detoxify, says nutritionist Gurkirat Channa. Detoxing helps your organs rest and stimulates your liver to drive out toxins, enhancing their removal via the kidneys, skin and intestines. It improves your blood circulation and creates an ideal climate for good nutrients to be absorbed into your blood stream. Before going on a detox diet, steer clear of coffee, tea, processed sugar, salt, soda, synthetic juice and alcohol for at least 24 hours before you start.

Don’t forget to collect all the fruits and vegetables you need for the detox beforehand.

During the Detox Diet

Drink lots of water in between. This could be flavoured using herbs such as basil or parsley, however you like it. The meals can be mixed up to your preference, as long as ingredients remain the same Don’t allow yourself to get too hungry.

After the Detox

ON WAkiNG up

Keep off coffee, tea, sugar, salt, soda, synthetic juice, alcohol and dairy products for a day. In the longer term, try to stick to a healthier diet that doesn’t include junk or processed food.

Take a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon, to flush out and hydrate your system.

the tester brENdA WANGWE

brEAkfAsT 500g pawpaw – a bowel cleanser 1 cup of chamomile tea – to calm you

LuNCH four tomatoes – a great anti-oxidant One lemon – good for colon cleansing One carrot – a sweet vegetable, it gives you the muchneeded sugar your brain needs to function. Its rich, bright colour makes the vegetables more appetising, and high fibre content also helps fill up your tummy, making the fast a little more bearable One celery stick – a diuretic, this eases joint pains and has a calming effect A handful of basil – for cleansing your colon Juice all ingredients together or take them as they are

4pM Warm water with lemon

suppEr 1 cup of chamomile tea Two pears – these provide the sugar you need for energy during the detox Grapes (200g) – an anti-oxidant that aids in digestion Two passion fruit – great for their fresh taste, besides the seeds being nutritious, their roughage gives you a full stomach and helps aid bowel movement six strawberries – as well as their high vitamin C content, strawberries are also a diuretic Juice them together, or take as they are


“I cut out coffee, tea, chocolate, processed sugar and salt before the detox for the fast to be more effective. On D-day, I started my morning with a glass of warm water with lemon then proceeded to follow the diet as instructed by the nutritionist. In between the meals, I drank lots water and nibbled at strawberries and grapes. “Was it easy? Yes and no. The easy part was that whenever I felt a hunger pang, I ate my fruits or refilled my water cup. It felt good to ‘overindulge’ in a good habit. The terrible part was the headache! It wouldn’t stop. My system was crying out for the six cups of coffee and tea it’s used to getting every day. “There were many washroom visits and I kept dreaming about the foods I normally barely think about. Burgers, grilled chicken, French fries – their images in my head made me do a count-down. My sense of smell was heightened and I could smell different foods metres away. “After the fast, I am feeling as good as new. I am more energetic and feel well-rested, too. My waking up has never been more hassle-free. My skin feels smoother than it has been in months. The headache is gone and I am much calmer than I have been in a while. I am looking forward to my next detoxing session in a month’s time, since the nutritionist tells me that it should be done on a monthly basis to reap the most benefits.” Warning: Do not try this detox diet if you are diabetic or pregnant. If you are on any medication, check with your medical practitioner before starting any detox programme.

With 16 Natural Ingredients for the tastiest stew

nutrition (food)

berries Fresh berries are easy to eat and they don’t require much preparation. Just rinse them under water and serve for a nutritious snack or dessert. You can find berries in the frozen food sections of the super market. Look for berries that are frozen without added sugar or flavourings.

ultimate SmoothieS Keep wrinkles at bay and boost your eye sight and overall immunity with these fruity thirst-quenchers recipes courtesy of photography Riz Mehar


• 150g frozen/fresh mixed berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry) plus extra to serve (optional) • 300ml vanilla flavoured soya milk (or milk of your choice) • 1 tsp honey Method Step 1 Put the berries, soya milk and honey in a processor or blender, process until thick. Step 2 Pour the smoothie into glasses. Add some extra berry toppings. MAkes 400ml



• 1 cup strawberries • 200ml natural yoghurt • 50ml milk • 1 dessert spoon of honey MAkes 300ml

strawberries one serving (half a cup) of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C – about half of your daily requirement. Double your serving and you will get 100 per cent of your daily requirement.


Method Step 1 Put the strawberries, yoghurt and milk into a blender or food processor. Pulse briefly. Step 2 Pour the smoothie into a tall glass; decorate with a drop of yoghurt and make a swirl.

(food) nutrition

SUPER MANGo IngredIents

• 1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed • 2 mint leaves • 1 banana • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder • 250ml cold low fat milk (or whole milk) • 1 dessert spoon of honey (optional) MAkes 300ml

Method Step 1 Put all the ingredients in a blender. Whizz on slow speed, checking the consistency (it should be slightly thick with no lumps). Chill. Step 2 Pour the smoothie in a glass; garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

Mango PrEvENTs CANCEr Research shows that antioxidants found in mango protect against colon, breast, leukaemia and prostate cancers. LOWErs CHOLEsTErOL The high levels of fibre, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels. CLEArs THE sKiN Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples.


nutrition (food)


• 1 cup roughly chopped ripe pineapple • 3 sprigs of mint stems with leaves • 150ml natural yoghurt • A dash of ground cloves • A dash of cinnamon powder • 50ml ice cold water MAkes 300ml

PineaPPle Pineapple contains bromelain enzyme which, like stomach pepsin, is able to break down proteins thus accelerating digestion.

CinnaMon As a great seasoning, this spice is savoury and helps in digestion. It is more effective when not sweetened.


Method Step 1 Place the chopped pineapple in a food processor or blender; add the yoghurt, cloves and cinnamon. Blend until smooth (no lumps). Garnish with some mint. Step 2 Chill for half an hour and serve.

Yoga for You

HealthyWoman in partnership with Africa Yoga Project and Healthy U are pleased to bring, the HEALTHYWOMAN YOGA TOUR

Have you always wanted to do Yoga but couldn’t find a yoga instructor, or you simply couldn’t afford it? Do you practice yoga regularly and would love to join us for this grand experience, or are you just curious and would like to have some questions about yoga answered? JOIN HEALTHYWOMAN SArit CEntrE June 16 YAYA CEntrE June 23 WEStgAtE SHopping MAll June 30 tHE JunCtion SHopping MAll July 7 tiME 12 noon – 6.30pm

FOr FrEE YOGA CLASSES n Dress in comfortable clothing. n Yoga mats will be provided courtesy of Africa Yoga project. n professional instructors will be available to guide you and answer all your questions. n Healthy u will be at hand to provide free BMi and blood pressure tests

CALLING ON ALL MODELS Are you a model aged 21 to 32 years? Do you have clear skin, a healthy or athletic body? Are you keen to appear on Healthy Woman Magazine as a model? Email us at with a brief bio of yourself, a phone number and some recent sample photographs.

(body & soul) Taking care of your wellbeing from within

There are now around 6,000 social laughter clubs, spread across 60 countries worldwide, where people get together just to make each other laugh. There are so many proven therapeutic benefits related to using laughter as an alternative medicine, and to ward off disease, too. n Activation of the immune system: this translates to a rise in the number of killer cells that ward off infection. n Pain reduction: when we laugh, our bodies release natural feel-good hormones known as endorphins which reduce pain receptors. n Reduction of blood pressure. n Enhancement of respiration. n Muscle relaxation.

Happy heart Did you know it’s ‘world laughter day’ on May 6? HEALTHY WOMAN 43

body & soul (news) The latest information to help you make the right choices

Yaaaawwwwhn... A recent study by researchers in New York shows that besides yawning having a contagious effect, it is the body’s way of cooling a brain that is warmer than it should be. When the brain’s temperature goes too high, its effects may be similar to (or actually cause) feelings of weariness, the study says. Yawning is one of them. By the way, have you just yawned?

Who lives longer? According to recent research, ambitious people who achieve their goals are happier and have a higher chance of living longer than those without motivation. The study considered factors such as daily activities, emotional experiences, use of talents, and home situation.

More friends Mean a bigger brain

Recent research by Oxford University shows that people who have many friends (Facebook friends and Twitter followers don’t count) have a bigger orbit prefrontal cortex (situated just above the eyes). This helps them use more cognitive and social skills to understand and accommodate the people in their social circle.

Heart talk Four out of every 10 women will consider doing away with a boyfriend – should her girlfriends find him unsuitable for her. It takes a lady one hour to decide whether she wants to continue seeing a man after a sour episode. On the other hand, it takes a man 15 minutes to make a similar decision about a woman.


easily distracted?

It could be because you have a bigger capacity to contain and juggle a lot of information. A recent study by psychologists at Wisconsin University reports that people with big ‘working memory’ ability have their minds drifting off (to more pressing issues) during simple tasks. Their performance remains unaffected, regardless.

(news) body & soul


stop that noise!

reMeMber When soMeone scratched a chalk board? Or dragged a metal bottle top on cement floor? I bet you gritted your teeth, yelled and almost pulled out your hair out. “You probably suffer from mild misophonia,” says Seema Shah, a Kenyan audiological scientist. Misophonia means ‘hatred’ of sound. A more serious type of misophonia is when ordinary sounds such as breathing, eating, coughing or humming have the power to terrify and enrage someone. The condition, which mostly starts just before adolescence and worsens with time, is still alien to many. It is also in need of further medical research, says the Tinnitus Practitioners Association (TPA), a group of audiologists. “Many other forms of misophonia are psychological,” says Seema. This is because the auditory (hearing) system is close to the limbic

system (responsible for our emotions). So sounds of unpleasant past experiences tend to be ‘misophonic’, she explains. Help includes: avoiding the disturbing sounds, taking prescribed medicine that calms you (especially if the ‘noise’ is unavoidable), or psychological therapy to help you tolerate the uncomfortable sounds. The audiologist says that not many Kenyans realise that misophonia can be treated professionally. Therefore, many people with this condition simply try to avoid the nerve-wrenching sounds that affect them, or they naturally develop tolerance. How bad can it get if not professionally attended to? Misophonia makes you lead a lesser quality of life. It may keep you from doing what you naturally like – because it is linked to sounds you cannot bear. Other than that, misophonia is just misophonia. “It is not a fatal condition,” reassures Seema.



ne morning while brushing her teeth, Amimo Agola experienced a sudden excruciating pain across her face. The recurring spasm, characterised by episodes of facial pain that sometimes lasted as long as several minutes, was too much to bear so she made an appointment to see a neurologist. The doctor diagnosed her condition as trigeminal neuralgia – a neuropathic disorder characterised by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. The disorder, also known as ‘suicide disease’ is said to be among the most painful conditions known to mankind. And now that she knew what the problem was, Amimo, 36, who works as a birthing and parenting counsellor, was ready to start treatment. But there was just one more problem, the medication her doctor prescribed could only help with the pain but not rectify her condition, and she was, therefore, expected to be on medication for the rest of her life. That was in November 2010. Having carefully listened to her doctor, Amimo made a conscious decision not to undertake the prescribed treatment. “When I went to see the doctor, I was very adamant that I didn’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life,” she says. Six years before, Amimo had suffered another neurological condition, Bell’s palsy – a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the cranial nerve. This condition results in an inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. 46 HEALTHY WOMAN

“The right side of my face was paralysed. This made my lips and part of my face drop. After the diagnosis, I tried acupuncture and that worked,” she explains. And just like it had worked for her when she got Bell’s palsy, Amimo was confident that acupuncture would help with the trigeminal neuralgia, too. She booked an appointment to see Ketan Joshi, an acupuncturist in Nairobi, and after about six sessions, the pain is now history. Acupuncture is a treatment for bringing the body back to balance, in which thin needles (hollow pins which do not draw blood) are positioned just under the surface of the skin at acupuncture points. This treatment, as I learned from Ketan, who practices classical or 5-element acupuncture, is not just about sticking needles in one’s body. To treat Amimo, Ketan, a licensed and certified acupuncturist trained in the United States at the Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts, explains that she had to get to the root of the pain. In her Chinese Medicine practice, Ketan uses three fundamental aspects of Chinese Medicine – acupuncture, nutrition therapy and meditation – to help her clients return to wellness and health. Amimo says that it’s not just the acupuncture that helped her, but rather the therapeutic combination of acupuncture, breathing, nutrition and Eastern philosophical wisdom. “Ketan helped me identify changes I needed to make in my life in order to heal and it’s been over a year since the pain recurred,” she says.

(alternative therapy) body & soul words Wairimu Githuka photography Riz Maher

Needle power

IT Is vIEWEd As sTrANgE ANd MYsTErIOus, buT dOEs AcupuNcTurE rEALLY WOrk?

body & soul (alternative therapy)

“An acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of vital energy through the person as a whole”

Amimo emphasizes that she now knows what brought on the stress that caused her to suffer from trigeminal neuralgia. “Stress and tiredness were big contributing factors,” she says, adding that with the counselling and holistic approach she received during her acupuncture sessions, she is now able to keep stress at bay. But if there is one person that will be eternally grateful for experiencing acupuncture, it would have to be Dr Nyaki Adeya-Weya. After 10 years of trying for a baby, and eight failed IVF attempts, the 43-yearold, who holds a PhD in electronic publishing, was ready to give up. But she changed her mind and instead opted to try acupuncture. With Ketan’s acupuncture treatments, she took a break from everything that was contributing to her stress and went on a nutrition and exercise program. When she finally got the green light to try IVF one more time, Dr Weya conceived. She gave birth to twin girls in November last year. Now, about those needles… sounds creepy, right? That’s what I thought before the soft spoken Ketan welcomed me for a session at her practice near Westlands, Nairobi. I had braced myself for the pain I imagined I would feel as she put the needles in. But apart from slight discomfort, I barely felt anything as the needles went in. I didn’t know what to expect or anticipate as I lay there with a number of sharp needles lining my back, and others sticking out of my ear lobes and feet. 48 HEALTHY WOMAN

After a brief session where Ketan got to know my ‘geography’ (posture, body odour, the colour of the whites (sclera) in my eyes, my sleeping patterns, how often I have bowel movements, how much water I drink) – well, the consultation does get very personal, it was time to get to business. I had mild back pain and an annoying tweak in the back of my neck, and these were the things we were going to address in my acupuncture session. Left on my own in a quiet serene room, I did not notice the minutes fly by, and was surprised to learn from Ketan when she returned that it had been 40 minutes already. It’s hard to describe how acupuncture felt like. Simply put, I felt very relaxed, like I was half asleep. The only thing I know for sure is that I was so relaxed I had a bit of drool on my face when the procedure ended. I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling fresh and alert yet relaxed. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Back pain or no back pain, I am recommending myself a dose of acupuncture once a month, just for relaxation.

About Acupuncture

The role of acupuncture is to help a person achieve improved health and wellness. Dating back 6,000 years, this method of Chinese medicine is viewed as strange and mysterious by many people. But it has been tested over thousands of years and continues to be used to date.

About Dr KetAn Ketan ended up becoming an acupuncturist by chance. Having come from a family where ‘everybody’ was a Western doctor, she says that it went without saying that she, too, would follow in the same footsteps. “I was really confused about what I wanted to do with my life,” she says. Two years down the line at John Hopkins School of Public Health, on her way to a Public Health degree, Ketan says she became very unhappy and was in a lot of pain. “I went to see a doctor who said I had a slipped disc in my neck and that I needed surgery,” she explains. But after the surgery, the pain was worse. A friend suggested she see a classical 5-elements acupuncturist. After a few sessions Ketan learned that her bodily pain was a manifestation of her emotional pain. Making this discovery and opting to return to school to study acupuncture, the pain vanished. And just like that, she’d found her calling. She studied at the Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts in Maryland, USA, in 2003 and finished in 2006. She has been practicing for six years now. She is licensed in the State of Maryland and has received the authority to practice acupuncture in Kenya, by the Ministry of Health. She practices near Westlands and in Karen. She also uses acupuncture in the Kenya Prison System and trains people in the use of the National Acupuncture Detox Association’s 5-Needle addictions protocol.

An acupuncturist views an individual as having a body, mind and spirit that is animated by ‘Qi’ or ‘vital energy’. An acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of a person’s Qi by touching, smelling, listening and observing the movement of vital energy through the person as a whole, and also within its pathways, known as ‘meridians and channels. “Our Qi flows through the 12 superficial and eight deeper meridians which give us life and animation. When there is too much, too little or blocked Qi in these meridians, that is when you get discomfort, symptoms or disease,” explains Ketan. By placing acupuncture needles (pins) along these ‘meridians’, an acupuncturist is able to influence an individual’s Qi and hence guide the person towards balance and improved health. Healthy lifestyle, thoughts and nutrition are what keep Qi in balance for the most part. Oriental medicine, which acupuncture is a part of, includes herbology, physical therapy, dietetics and special massage and exercises – such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. So, what are the most common treatments sought by women at who come to Ketan’s practice? Stress! “99.9 per cent of women I see are stressed or mentally wound up,” she says. Other ailments include: breaking addictions (like cigarettes and alcohol), infertility, reproductive health issues like fibroids, polycystic ovaries and painful periods, weight gain loss, facial rejuvenation and emotional upsets. HEALTHY WOMAN 49

body & soul (psychology)


“I hate my mother!” From control issues to guilt trips, alcoholism and downright disrespect, some mother-daughter relationships are too toxic to bear words Brenda Wangwe


he saying goes that ‘mother is the dearest one on earth’, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, many daughters are busy cooking up ways to make that day extra special for the women who brought them into this world. But not every woman out there thinks the world of their mum. Healthy Woman spoke to Christine Vulimu, a counsellor at Tulizo Counselling Centre and Betty Bagaka, a Clinical Psychologist based at Kenyatta National Hospital in a bid to address three real life situations where mommy isn’t dearest.


*Names changed to preserve relationships.

“She gets under my skin...” *Rita, 38, says heR motheR has too much negative eneRgy. “She

always assumes the worst. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed visiting her,” she says, adding that whenever they have guests, her mother paces up and down the kitchen complaining about the guests not being served properly or giving unwelcome advice. “She calls me about eight times a day. If I don’t pick up twice, she texts asking why I am ignoring her,” Rita says. “I have tried to bear it but the bad vibe always gets me at the wrong time and disorients me,” she adds, shaking her head. Rita is afraid of confronting her mother about it. “I could make things worse. I have asked her sisters to talk to her about it. She still doesn’t get it. I think we both need counselling,” a desperate Rita says. counselloR chRistine vulimu says

Rita has allowed her mother to cross a sensitive line – her peace space, where her sense of productivity lies. Rita may need to take a stand and tell her mother exactly how she feels. Otherwise, she is encouraging it by listening to the mother and complaining to the wrong people. Both Rita and her mother need to get counselling. Apart from helping Rita’s mother understand the situation she puts her daughter in, the professional analysis could help her deal with some unresolved issues that could be the reason she is anxious and overly dependent on her daughter. Note that it is human nature to refuse to address personal issues once identified. Sorting out the identified problem may give a feeling of being in a vacuum. So Rita should not expect immediate results from the initial counselling sessions.

Psychologist Betty Bagaka says Rita and her mother need professional help – including lab tests. I had a similar situation, and in the course of ruling out physical ailments through medical tests, both mother and daughter were diagnosed with goitre. Goitre presents itself through either too much hyperactivity or a lot of sluggishness. The mother had hyperactive symptoms while the daughter had the sluggish ones. The extreme difference in their dispositions is one big reason they could not be in the same place for a few moments without fighting. Rita needs to book a counselling session and get a friendly way of getting her mother to come along.


“I don’t wish her dead, but...” *teRRy, 35 “i aPPReciate that she changed my naPPies, fed me and saw me thRough school…,” she says between sighs. “I certainly don’t wish she was dead, but I like being far away from her,” she explains, adding that she only needs to be with her mother a few hours before all hell breaks loose. “She doesn’t like me because I had a great relationship with my polygamous dad. She didn’t like that I provided for my stepmother either,” first-born Terry says reflectively. “I understand why my dad became polygamous. Any human being would want a calm temperament around,” Terry says. She says her 65-year-old mother drinks more alcohol (than she should at her age) during family functions and ensures she is the centre of the show. “It is really unnerving,” she adds. Terry says her mother favours her younger sister, and the two always seem to be having private conversations. “My mother is always doing her special favours – like bailing her out of endless self-inflicted problems, sponsoring her businesses… I miss my Dad,” she sighs. counselloR chRistine vulimu says Terry’s situation is indeed a trying one. It’s great that she had a good relationship with her father and was kind to her stepmother. However, I am picking unresolved issues on her part. First, she may need to consider letting her mother be. Her mother’s behaviour may be complicated. Expecting her mother to change overnight will only drain her emotions. I also see tendencies of low self-esteem, an unhealthy spirit of competition and controlling tendencies (common in first-borns). Motherly love in itself is unconditional – even if presented differently. It would help if she focused on the fact that the mother loves her – without the ‘how much’ bit.

Psychologist Betty Bagaka says It is unfortunate that Terry feels the way she does. It could also be a way of mourning her father. It is scientifically established that parents do have favourite children. It is just that some parents are very smart at keeping that a secret. I would, however, be in a better position to comment on the situation further if I had the other side of the story. I suggest that Terry looks for a way to have both of them go for professional counselling.

(psychology) body & soul

“She says all the wrong things!” *fRidah a motheR of two says she is in a dilemma. “I live with my 66-year-

old mother. I took her in to help her come to terms with her widowhood, HIV positive condition and her retirement,” she explains. In the beginning she took care of most of the chores and was generally great to come home to, Fridah says. Two years down the line, it feels like she has taken over my house. “Her language is quite insensitive,” Fridah complains. “My 12-year-old daughter is convinced that my mother doesn’t like her. Imagine having a stressful day at work, then going home to a crying child and a sulky mother.” Fridah alleges that her mother has also been telling her husband some nasty things about their family’s past, as well as expecting her to bail out needy relatives. She explains that her house is no longer as neat as it used to be and her relationship with her husband deteriorated so badly, he moved out. She feels her mother’s presence is a contributing factor. The fights between them make Fridah the worst company. “I think it is time I stood up for my family. Sorry to say, but I need her out of the house,” she states. Unfortunately, Fridah cannot afford to rent her mother a house and there are no relatives nearby to take her in, and her sister’s apartment is too small. counselloR chRistine vulimu says Often, HIV-affected people are in a more dangerous situation than those who are actually infected. The bitter truth is that she stands a chance of succumbing to her mother’s pressure. She should stop carrying her mother’s baggage. She can pick moments when she is peaceful and happy to tell her mother how she really feels. I also suggest that she gets her mother HIV counselling sessions and support groups where she shall be taken through the ‘acceptance’ process. ARV drugs can destabilise emotions, too. The process would be easier if Fridah went through it with a forgiving attitude. Anything done cheerfully is always easier.

Psychologist Betty Bagaka says Fridah needs to share the weight with her sister, regardless of how small her sister’s house is. It could go something like, “Mum I don’t feel I had enough time with you when I was growing up. Could you come and spend some time with me?” If there are other relatives there, they too could help share Fridah’s challenge. You may be amazed at what a two-week vacation for the mother would do to this relationship.

makINg up tIpS Speak up

If you don’t speak up, your situation may remain as it is. Raise the issue but be courteous.

Be the fIrSt to call for peace The longer you wait, the more time it may take to resolve.

make adjuStmeNtS

Even if you are offended, the other person may not see the problem and not know what needs to change.

Be real aNd patIeNt

It takes time to build good relationships. Expecting returns for your good deeds may frustrate you, if not take you back to square one.


Make a point of seeing the problem from the other person’s perspective.

ShrINk your ego

Quickly apologise when you realise you are wrong. It helps keep the communication lines open.

Set BorderS

. Sometimes this is the only way to deal with some situations.


body & soul (financial advice)

financial adviSor MurIthI NkuNgI

Chamas are cool A significant part of women’s investment portfolio, they’re helping foster a saving culture


first encountered women’s investment groups or chamas, as they are commonly referred to, when I was growing up in the village in the ’80s. Back then, family utensils invariably were made from some rust-prone metal and coated with a coloured substance for aesthetics. The coloured coating would progressively peel off and the cup or plate would soon be full of untidy patches. Then came the porcelain and melamine age, with utensils that were not prone to this wear and tear. But they were rather expensive and most families couldn’t afford them. The village women organised themselves into groups of friends, visiting each other at the end of the month. During these visits, they would contribute an agreed sum and give it to their host to buy utensils. In due course, all households had new look utensils and then they would start a new round for better sufurias. Many a home in rural areas owes their modern feel to these chamas. The chama culture has since evolved and been embraced by not only the modern woman, but the man as well, though in some instances, couched in the exotic name of an ‘investment club’. The chama will largely operate on the same basis as days of old. The members get together, usually monthly, and make their agreed contributions. The funds are utilised in various ways, based on what has been agreed between members. Often, however, modern chamas will have all or a portion of what they contribute dedicated to investments, with the members expecting both their capital and some returns in the future. Acting in this way, chamas have become a significant part of the members’ investment portfolio. They are also helping foster a saving culture that is a major driver of investments for the nation’s wealth creation.

Benefits of Chamas inClude Better Bargaining power, making a new CirCle of friends, and inCreasing your networking horizon 54 HEALTHY WOMAN

Chamas are a desirable thing for every woman for a number of reasons. Being part of a group provides the necessary peer pressure that instils the discipline to save the agreed amount continually. In many cases, when we commit to save on our own, we may succumb to other demands and not make our savings plan a priority. Chamas manage largely to enforce the desired level of compliance. Many of the members of a chama will have different backgrounds and professions. This brings on board a rich cocktail of expertise and experiences that become handy when making and executing decisions of the chama. Tasks that would have been burdensome to an individual member become collectively easy from this synergy. The unit cost of transacting is greatly lowered to the advantage of individual members. Other benefits include bargaining power for discounts due to bigger buying muscle. Well constituted chamas will also bring into your circles new people who eventually become friends, greatly increasing your networking horizon. Chamas are also a useful learning platform as members explain concepts in their areas of expertise when offering it to the group. By far the biggest advantage of pooling resources as a chama is the ability of the group to invest in products that would have been out of reach for the individual for a long time. Take a case where the smallest plot in a prime area costs KShs. 500,000. If a member is able to save KShs. 50,000 every year, it will take her 10 years to participate in such an investment. The frustration is that in the 10 years, this plot will most likely be selling for many times more than the original price and so she cannot buy it then either. By being part of a 12-member investment club, the group will have saved KShs. 600,000 in one year and will be able to buy the plot. In 10 years’ time, the member’s KShs. 50,000 invested in this plot as part of the club’s capital could have easily grown to KShs. 500,000 during extraordinary growth times like Kenya’s in the last 10 years. This is the particular value of being in a chama in this day and age. It helps individuals profit from economies of scale and the time value of money. In the next issue, we will explore what it takes to establish and manage a successful chama, and some of the things to take into account when making investment decisions in a chama. Would you like financial advice? Send your queStionS to





















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(hair & beauty) Beauty news, expert advice and inspirational ideas

she Bangs Bangs are back for 2012. Not only do they give an instant sophistication to your hairstyle, getting the right bangs for your face shape will enhance your eyes, show off your cheekbones and hide that not-so-flattering forehead or thinning hairline. There are many fresh and vibrant ways to wear bangs today; from side swept styles, short bangs to eyebrow length bangs. Find yours and look smashing!


hair & beauty (news) Expert advice and inspirational ideas

SMELL ScENT-SATiONAL Pick your new fragrance carefully - research shows the right scent can affect everything from your happiness to your love life!

Poテ確e by Lancome

Romance by RaLPh LauRen

This classic, sensual scent combines bitter and sweet, with Himalayan poppy, freesia and vanilla.

Velvety and floral, this playful fragrance has top notes of juicy guava, and a warm base of musk and patchouli.

Bright eyes

After applying black mascara, go over your lashes with a sweep of blue on top. The bright colour will not show up, but the blue hue on the lashes give off an illusion of sparkling white eyes.


(news) hair & beauty

beauty tiP For softer lips: Simply use a washcloth dipped in water to remove flaky skin then sleep with an intensly moisturizing lip balm

TAkE cArE Of YOur HANdS! Your hands are the first indication of age, but they get the worst kind of abuse, from tearing away at food to washing the dishes and sun damage. Carry a hand cream with SPF in your bag and keep them moisturized at all times.

beauty tiP After showering, instead of brushing over your face with the towel to dry, pat it. Scratching your face with rough towels could cause irritations.

Lip SErvicE In the mood to try something new? There’s a brand new lip gloss in the market called Office ANTE USA. The gloss comes some flattering colour variations, is a good moisturiser for the lips and has no scent or taste. Make your orders through

home skincaRe eggs Egg whites make a great skin conditioner for oily skin while yolk enriches parched skin.

Feeling uninspired?

aLmonds Either crushed or in oil form make for wonderful moisturizers and work wonders for dark under eye circles.

Changing your regular hair style could be the trick. Go from the same long styles or braids to a dramatic short cut style that complements your face and personality.


EyE candy This look is natural, fashioned after the simplicity of a flower with an obviously glamorous sheen to it. Attention goes to the lips using colours that are bright and feminine, with a touch of gloss for that ultimate siren allure that will keep all eyes on your face.

photographer Riz Mehar model Steffie Mwende make-up Cathy for SuzieBeauty

All eyes on you! Be inspired by the 2012’s catwalk make-up themes – classic beauty has made a comeback

(skin) hair & beauty

natural charm With deeper bronzes on both the eyes and cheeks, more attention is drawn to the eyes, giving you a natural yet commanding look. Need volume on those lashes? Try synthetic lashes and add some full volume mascara for some va-va-voom.


hair & beauty (skin)

PEtal soft This nude look will work any time of day. The lips are toned down but still have a subtle shimmer. Use liquid eyeliner for ultra-dramatic impact, but keep the rest of the face clean so all the focus goes to the eyes and lips. This look is easily transformed for nighttime with just a dash of brighter lip colour or heavier eye make-up. 62 HEALTHY WOMAN

To place your adverT here ContaCt Rose Atieno osok HeAd of MediA sAles tel 0707-521104 Cell 0722-787372 email

(sexual health) Real advice for real women on sex, love and fertility

Take The

lead Unleash that confident, sexy woman within and take the reins in yoUr relationship

Call him Men are human too, no matter the planet they are from. You don’t have to wait for him to be the first to call each time. Surprise him in the middle of a day that you two are meant to meet for dinner and just tell him how much you can’t wait to get your hands on him. It’ll make him happy to be thought of as well. Change gears It’s easy to find yourself falling into a certain romantic pattern once you’ve been dating for a while. These comfort zones can quickly turn into ‘a rut’. Try to do something different in the bedroom. Initiate romance if you are used to following his lead. go somewhere different People underestimate the power of a change of scene or a simple weekend getaway and its impact on a relationship. eat something new Your relationship could take an exciting new direction if you decide to experience new cuisines together and compare notes. Try ordering something you can’t pronounce next time you dine out – the resulting reactions could bring a new spark to your conversation. sometimes, say no You may feel guilty for saying no to the person you love, but you could be saving your relationship a lot of grievances from a build up of resentment.

healthy woman 65

sexual health (news) The latest information to help you make the right choices

DiD you know?

Is PMs contagIous?

An ongoing study has actually found a co-relation between your hormonal mood swings and those of your man. Mounting evidence shows that monthly fluctuations in his testosterone levels can cause symptoms similar to PMS in women. Uh-oh...

n The term ‘G Spot’ was coined after the doctor who ‘discovered’ it in 1950. His name was Ernst Grafenberg. Bless his heart. n The vagina and vulva produce an average of one-and-aquarter to two-and-a-half grams of discharge at least three times in 24 hours. n The only purpose that the clitoris serves in a woman’s anatomy is pleasure! n There are three documented types of female orgasm; clitoral, vaginal and a combination of the two. n Vibrators were first invented in 1873 to prevent hysteria in females.

The best underwear?

No underwear! Going ‘commando’ is actually termed as the best option unless you are wearing tight clothes or clothes that might irritate you. For the Bridget Jones kind of girl, cotton briefs are the most sensible option. They allow skin to breathe.

College eduCation?

Pucker uP

It’s doctor’s orders! A healthy dose of French kissing is actually good for your teeth. That’s because the extra saliva goes a long way in helping you fight plaque and tooth decay.


Studies actually show that women who have received post-high school education are more likely to engage in both oral and anal sexual relations. Oh dear. What do they teach in the schools?

(news) sexual health

A loving touch

Want to feel closer than ever? Massage your way to satisfaction

the super ingredient to an exCiting sex life will always be foreplay. Women are essentially emotional creatures, so we are naturally more responsive, and need to be mentally prepared before we initiate sex with our partners. So, literally speaking when it comes to bedroom matters, it’s all in the mind. Not every woman has the same power button for that memorable episode, but one way to go about it is touch. Foreplay does not have to be locked within the confines of insane stereotypes that are being peddled through all the avenues of print and media. There is so much noise in the world today; it’s a wonder that we can even have an independent thought. One of the simplest methods of communicating love, tenderness, and affection – all key ingredients to intimacy – is touch. When you are in the midst of a raging argument and almost screaming your lungs out, what are the chances that you would have the steam to keep going if someone just touched your shoulder gently? Unless you need extra medication to balance other parts of your personality, you would lose a bit of steam or at least go silent for a beat. Touch is a powerful tool for foreplay so I would suggest you that if your hands feel akin to sandpaper, you give them some TLC to ensure they’re in tip top condition. The basis of a sensual massage is not to heal but to relax your partner. The aim here is to give something with no intention of getting anything in return. When you expect something and don’t get it, you might get resentful. So treat this as a lesson to your partner which he may or may not reciprocate to you. All the same, take pleasure in this discovery. Find nice massage oils that will work for you and your partner. Begin by trying a lightly scented one like jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or something that has a lavender or jasmine scent. The oils should not feel greasy on the skin but have that ‘gliding’ quality so that they can last longer while you are massaging. Set the mood in a simple but romantic way. We tend to underestimate the power of smell and sight. You can capture a beautiful mood by lighting scented candles placed in strategic places around your bedroom. Complete this gesture with music that shows romantic intent. Let your partner lie face down, ideally on a firm surface. You can put blankets on the floor to get him comfortable but there really should be no

“Try a lightly scented oil such as jojoba or sweet almond. The oils should not feel greasy on the skin but should have that ‘gliding’ quality so they last longer while you massage” problem if you do it on the bed. The main objective is getting a position that gives you access without making either of you uncomfortable. Put some little oil on the hands; make sure that it is warm. Begin with the back and rub gently using the tips of your fingers and your palms to work out any kinks as you gradually move lower towards the legs before you turn him over. The benefit of a sensual massage is that there is no ‘illegal’ area. In fact these are the best areas to focus on once you get a good drift going!


Sex talk BridEs BE WArNEd! sEx AuNTiEs MAY cLAiM TO kNOW ABOuT BEdrOOM MATTErs, BuT sOME AdvicE MAY dO YOu MOrE HArM THAN gOOd photography Riz Maher


n many African communities, girls who are ready for marriage are often given talks which focus on their expected marital obligations. Among these preparations is how to sexually satisfy their husbands. This is mainly done by their female relatives, more so their aunties. In some cases, ‘sexperts’ are called upon. They are referred to as 'sex aunties'. Sex aunties have been with us since time immemorial. Among the Baganda of Uganda, sexual initiation of young women is done by a Ssenga – usually an aunt of the girl (or a symbolic woman), whose role is to tutor young women on various sexual matters including menstruation, reproductive health, marriage preparation, erotic stimulation and how to sexually please her man. The Ssenga is supposed to groom, mould and ‘teach’ the young women on how to become ‘good Baganda women’. Through practical demonstration, the Ssengas, teach the young women how to enhance their lovemaking skills. They even teach young girls about the various lovemaking noises. In Southern Malawi, young initiate girls are gathered together for about a week and taught about sexual matters, with the major emphasis being on how to sexually please a man. The second


stage of initiation happens when the girl attains sexual maturity and begins her menses. During this initiation, an egg is sometimes placed in her vagina so that she can get a sense of what sex might feel like. And in the Bemba community of Zambia, girls who begins their menses are usually secluded for a few days to a month. During this time, an older woman (chosen by the specific girls’ parents), instructs and tests the ability of the teenager to perform the Cimwangalala dance – a dance that every Bemba woman is expected to know. The young girls are also educated on issues to do with marriage and sex, including how to please a man, sexual hygiene and motherhood. But in today’s society, the traditional meaning of sex aunties has changed to suit the times. In many urban areas today, such forums are no longer solely arranged by the girls’ relatives but by friends. In fact, a group of ladies having a session with sex aunties does not necessarily mean there is a bride in the room. Meet Gertrude Mungai, one of the most popular sex aunties in Kenya. Gertrude prefers to be called a 'lifestyle designer' on sex and relationships, and not just a sex aunty.

(advice) sexual health

"I don’t just teach about sex, but about lifestyle"

Gertrude Mungai

“You can never say you have learnt everything there is about sex”

(advice) sexual health

During the interview, she is quick to clarify a few points. “I not only teach about sex, but about lifestyle – how to present yourself as a woman. I also don’t teach some things. I don’t teach people how to insert things into their vaginas. This is not healthy nor is it hygienic,” she says. So what does she teach? “During the Sex and Intimacy sessions, I teach people how to enjoy lovemaking. I teach them how to enjoy sex in different positions, how they can maximise the pleasure and fun derived from having great sex. And I do not strip naked, and neither do I use dildos when demonstrating. That is disgusting!” she quips. Getrude holds bridal showers in venues she is invited to, as well as at her house, where there sits a prominent kama sutra seat. “I demonstrate sex positions on it,” she says. For bridal shower sessions, Getrude charges no less than KShs. 20,000. And she has no apologies to make about this amount. “All those who attend my sessions learn more than they give. You can never say you have learnt everything there is about sex. I know so much about sex, yet I learn new things every day,” she says. Alice Juma once attended a session conducted by Getrude. She says she certainly learnt something. “I learnt how to relate well with my man and that I shouldn’t be shy about trying out some sex positions.” Gertrude is arguably the most respected sex aunty in Kenya, having had a weekly newspaper column in one of the local dailies. She currently co-hosts a weekly TV show where viewers get to ask her questions on sex and relationships. She has also released a book, the Modern Sexy Woman, and has two sex DVDs out. But even with her kama sutra chair and sex position demonstrations, there are other, less reputable sex aunties out there who are managing to make Gertrude look like Mary Poppins. One particularly popular sex aunty is known for her over the top ‘sexual antics’ to women who attend her sessions. When Healthy Woman sought women who have attended her sessions, we were told that she squirts a fountain in a bid to teach women how to climax. Renowned for this ‘unique' act, by stimulating herself while naked, this woman is able to ejaculate, her resulting juices bursting forth like a fountain, which she does in full view of everybody. This sex aunty is not shy of repeating this show, and gladly does it as many times as the guests request, we're told. “I was shocked when I saw that,” says Leah Wanjiku, 29, who attended such a session three years ago. The same sex aunty also advices women to wash their vaginas with yoghurt every day. She then goes ahead to demonstrate how it is done, while sitting in a bucket and generously applying the yoghurt inside her vagina, in full view of everyone. Even more extreme, this sex aunty also offers a practical demonstration on how to smoke with the vagina, saying such a stunt really impresses men. She often asks a volunteer to place the cigarette between her vaginal lips and light it, then goes ahead to ‘smoke’, puffing in and out using her vagina. “How is that even possible? Is it even safe? Won’t she burn herself?” asks Patty, 33, who once witnessed this. When contacted for an interview about her lessons,

“One sex aunty teaches women to smoke with their vaginas, saying that it impresses men”

this sex aunty declined, saying she’s not yet ready to speak to the press. But she's not the only one giving dubious advice to brides to be. Other women we spoke to say they have attended sessions where they were advised to clean their vaginas with toothpaste and lemon. They were told that men would love it, because it would make the vagina ‘tight’, just like a virgin’s. But is this safe? Dr Francis Nyamiobo of the Kenya AIDS Control Project and practicing doctor at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi says such ‘tighteners’ work by causing inflammation and healing by scar formation, which could lead to obstructed labour. “This inflammation also puts women at increased risk for HIV infection due to the scarring,” he says. Other sex aunties, often pastors' wives, speak from a religious grounding, mainly based on Christian values and principles. Rachel, a mother of two who has been married for three years says she attended a session conducted by a pastor’s wife while she was still single. “One of the things she told us was that one should always clean the man up after sex,” she says, and was advised to keep a basin of warm water and clean face towels near her bed. “I tried it but got tired soon after. After sex, I just want to roll off and enjoy my sleep. I don’t have the energy or time to begin reaching out under the bed looking for warm water and checking with my elbow if it’s the right temperature. It’s just not practical!” she laughs. Mary also sat in a session with a sex aunty who advised the group to wear sexy lingerie every night. “Well it looks great, but wearing sexy lingerie every single night is pushing it. On some days you’re just too tired and in no mood for anything. You just want to throw that t-shirt on and sleep,” she says. She adds: “Once in a while when he’s treated me nice, when I want to give him a good treat, I will dress in sexy lingerie. But daily? No thanks!” Sex aunties, it seems, are here to stay. But whether the brides to be, who seek their services, are being given the proper information is another story all together. HEALTHY WOMAN 71

Picture this your name is Fariah, and you are a fourteen year old girl living in Wajir, Kenya. Your brother is allowed to go to school and you aren’t, even though you desperately want to go to university and become a doctor. While many girls today have the same dreams as Fariah does, she simply does not have the resources to pursue her goals.

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last word (a man’s view)

Mark Masai

The CCTV news anchor opens upDoes your foreMark Masai’s upbringing must be responsible for his gracious demeanour. Totally at ease with himself and his environment, the 26-year-old news anchor for CCTV is open and friendly, without being over-the-top. When Mark welcomed Healthy Woman into his personal space, we left the interview pleasantly surprised. Here’s what we discovered... if you Were a Car, WHaT a Make WoulD you be? aT

“That would have to be the old school Range Rover. It really owns the road” W WHaT is your seCreT To being HealTHy? Well I can attribute my current good health only to prayer right now. I do not do anything particularly special to take care of myself.

HoW Do you HanDle all THe feMale aTTenTion? (Blushes) I think being in this field makes me overrated! There is nothing special about me really. I try to be gracious, of course, but it would be nice if I could know that when I am in a social setting, people see me the person and not the personality that is portrayed on screen. I really try to avoid giving people a bigger expectation than who I really am.

W WHaT is your faVouriTe CiTy? That has to be Nairobi. I love the way it is. Cape Town comes a close second, but it can get a bit too windy for my frame! Sometimes I just walk around Nairobi and take in the scenery, the people, the shops.

if you Were noT a neWs anCHor, WHaT WoulD you be? A basketball player, forget the height, I love that game. Maybe a singer too. Once I was a member of the African Children’s choir. Basically anything that involves performance arts would suit me. if you Were a WoMan, WHo WoulD you be? My foster mom, Mary Wight. She was a missionary and a teacher from the UK. She took care of me and other babies during her mission since she came here in the sixties. She is one of the most selfless, most hardworking women I know. She is Godfearing and totally consistent. I can’t think of a better example. so, Do you HaVe any pHobias? Spiders. I hate those things. I’d rather be near a snake. I also fear waking up one day and finding that the Rapture happened and I was the only one left on earth. WHaT is your CurrenT pHone ringTone? Wild Ones by Flo Rida and Sia. WHaT is your faVouriTe fooD? It has to be chapati. I love pilau as well but if chapati and chicken is in there, then I will be a happy man. 80 HEALTHY WOMAN

W WHaT iTeM Can’T you leaVe HoMe WiTHouT? My phone without a doubt.

aboVe facing your y giants by Max lucado, Mark’s favourite read beloW W Mark’s favourite fusion yoghurt drinks

W WHaT’s a Day off like for you? If I have free time, I go out partying, dancing and then maybe spending time recovering from the partying the next day (laughs). WHaT is your seCreT inDulgenCe? Again my weakness in the kitchen comes out! Fusion yoghurt is my indulgence. It is a godsend gift when hunger strikes, I promise you. WHaT is THe seCreT To your suCCess? I believe in myself no matter what project I undertake. I try not to listen to any negative voices and focus only on positive influences. I think humility is also a key ingredient. I try to be very humane in all my interactions because I believe that the way to treat someone comes back to haunt you. You might treat your future president with disrespect if you are not careful, you know? WHaT is your faVouriTe book? At the moment, Facing your Giants by Max Lucado. It’s a very powerful book that talks about conquering everyday challenges and it has Biblical references that are very relevant.

interviewed by Christine Odeph phtOgraphy riz maher

WHy THe MoVe To CCTV? you HaD a greaT fan base going on aT nTV… Perhaps it was a risk, but taking a risk is one advantage of being relatively young in this profession. It was more about pursuing a different platform because at NTV I had just started gaining my foothold as a brand. I just took this as a new opportunity to expand my experience and grow. But I left without burning any bridges.

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