by Mary Wolff
We all know the foods we eat play a role in how we feel, but they also play a role in how we look, too. When you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, the body will naturally shift focus to protecting other areas such as teeth and bones, before worrying about giving the leftover nutrients to external factors such as the skin or hair. Many people choose a vegetarian lifestyle for personal reasons such as not wanting to harm animals, for health reasons, or just as a preference for not eating meat in general. What effect does this have on your curls?  Is being a vegetarian bad for your hair? Let’s take a closer look at this topic to put your mind at ease.  

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Is Being a Vegetarian Bad for Your Hair?

This is a loaded question because there are stories of those who switched to being a vegetarian and had serious hair issues after such as limp strands, and even hair loss. Don’t write off vegetarianism just yet! Being a vegetarian isn’t inherently bad for your hair, but you need to do your homework before committing to this or any type of diet. If you were eating a lot of lean protein and nutrient rich fish, and you suddenly switch to eating less nutritious greens without a full spectrum of options, your hair will definitely have more than a few issues. For example, eating a diet of only a few types of veggies or fruits without taking into consideration the overall needs of your body, and subsequently, your strands, will only lead to trouble.
It should also be noted that all vegetables and fruits are not necessarily created equal. For instance, if you only eat iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, you are missing out on options packed with more essential vitamins and nutrients such as spinach, kale, carrots, and other superfood options that are still vegetarian. Since you will be getting all of the necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet, you can rest assured a vegetarian diet isn’t bad for your hair. In fact, according to an article on Munchies.com, Dr. Angela Eakin, a physician with a background in nutrition, talked about the absolutely false claim that a vegetarian or vegan diet was linked to hair loss and hair health concerns. According to Dr. Eakin, ""All the evidence suggests that a vegan diet is protective not only against hair loss, but all of the diseases that can actually kill an individual like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes."" Going meat-free is a healthy move, as long as you pay attention to your nutritional needs overall.

What Other Nutrients Does Hair Need?

When planning your vegetarian diet, you need to make sure you get variety in both food sources and the nutrients they provide. For example, your hair needs high levels of vitamins B, C, and D which can be found in various fruits and vegetables, as well as options loaded with healthy fatty acid complexes such as the healthy fats in avocados. In addition to this, you still need the main nutrients found in lean meats, chicken, and fish, even though they aren’t on your vegetarian menu. The main things to make sure you are incorporating into your diet are sources of iron, protein, and zinc. While these are easier to find in animal products and by-products, they can be found in more vegetarian-friendly options such as grains, legumes, lentils, and nuts.

Source: Vice  


Earlier this week, rapper, T-Hood, posted a video of actress, Maia Campbell, pumping his gas and saying she wanted some crack. In the video, Campbell is clearly missing a tooth and is barely dressed in a bra and spandex shorts.

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It wasn't long before the video went viral. Right now, a search of 'Maia Campbell' on YouTube yields more than 800 results for videos posted this week.

If you're not familiar with who Maia Campbell is, she played the role of Nicole on the 90's show, South Central. She also appeared on Iyanla Vanzant's show, Fix My Life back in 2012, detailing her battle with bipolar disorder.

LL Cool J, who was Campbell's co-star on another 90's show, In the House, attempted to get in contact with the actress through Instagram writing, "If anyone has a contact on Maia pls let me know... " In response to the video posted by T-Hood, LL also took to Twitter: “Instead of pulling out your phone and filming someone who’s obviously having trouble. Maybe lend a helping hand? A kind word?”

As Campbell revealed in Fix My Life, she stopped taking her medication for bipolar disorder, which eventually led to her losing custody of her daughter, Elizabeth Elisha Gutierrez. Campbell has been in rehab before for drug addiction, but has relapsed multiple times.

Rapper T-Hood, who also filmed Campbell denying help from LL, has received a mountain of backlash on social media. Many people felt that he was exploiting Campbell's mental illness for views and was wrong to film her in the state that she was in.

T-Hood responded to the criticism in a video stating that he's known Campbell from "the block for years" and that she is not suffering from an illness, but that "... this b***h is just high as f**k". He even went as far to say that if she was white, like "Hilary Duff", and not black, viewers would care less.

Instead of using Campbell's life as a source of entertainment, it should be a call to action in the black community. Not another community issue that gets twisted into a race issue and deflects our focus away from opening our hearts to those who obviously need support. The worst that can happen is someone be considered a "lost cause" because they are struggling to deal with the stress of losing their mother, their daughter, and their career while also battling a mental illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people with bipolar disorder may use drugs to help "control their moods or treat their symptoms". However, this will only make their illness worse, potentially leading to "more frequent relapses", thus creating a cycle of mood swings, drug addiction, rehab, erratic behavior, and relapse.

The constant re-posting of this video sheds light not only on the MIS-education of folks on mental illnesses, but also to the stigma around black mental health and its intersection with drug addiction.

If you don't remember, crack was brought into black and brown communities - after white people fled for the suburbs - and was followed by the mass incarceration of black and brown men and women. The crack epidemic of the 80's and 90's is still haunting us in 2017 and unfortunately, its victims are faced with hurt and criticism when they really just need help.

This is an inter-generational issue and like so many other problems that plague the black community, has been normalized and transformed into a topic of comedy, i.e., the term "crackhead" and movies like Friday.

With the normalization and mockery of such issues also comes denial, from both the sufferer and the observer.

T-Hood initially denied that Campbell had a mental illness until social media dragged him after which he had a change of mind, apologized to social media, and offered to take her to rehab if LL Cool J did not reach out to him.

Social media is obviously not the space - nor safe - for individuals with mental illness to seek help. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter, when used outside of private messaging, can put victims of media exploitation, like Campbell, in a vulnerable position, compromising their willingness to seek help or be helped. When a community lacks the knowledge and skills necessary to have a real discourse around mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder, its members perpetuation of stigma associated with mental health.

Campbell's own response to LL Cool J's offer to help can be seen as an extension of stigma around black mental health from being solely external to the individual, to existing within that person. She makes it clear in another video filmed by T-Hood that she does not actually want to connect with LL. Although there is truth in LL's statement that "you can't help someone who doesn't want your help," it does not mean that the community should give up on people like Maia Campbell.

It is unfortunate that there are so many people out there in the world like Campbell who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and have a co-existing mental health condition. To expand your knowledge on mental illness, here are some articles from the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses' website:

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Ariel is a 23-year old SoCal native, working professional, and Alumna of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and through her studies, acquired a passion for gaining knowledge that would improve the quality of her life and further allow her to interact with and touch people in a positive way. You can follow her own blog, The Freewoman Diaries, at www.thefreewomandiaries.com

I've been thinking a lot lately about stress. First it was singer Brandy who recently collapsed on a plane due to the stress of traveling and working incessantly, says her publicist, and not long ago it was modelpreneur Tyra Banks who confessed that while she was at the height of her career, she was also exhausted and sad. Just today I saw a video that's been making the social media rounds of former ‘In The House’ actress Maia Campbell turning down LL Cool J’s request to get her help. It’s no secret that the once stunningly beautiful actress is addicted to drugs and in the footage she’s running a mile a minute. I couldn't help but wonder what will make her stop.

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And then I turn the question towards me.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been running. Running from food stamps, a father who was never there, bills, weight, myself.

I only stop when I hit a wall. Like when I finally had to take care of my fibroids. Or when I was so stressed that I couldn’t pee. I’d sit on the toilet for hours waiting for a stream that would never come. It took walking around with a catheter strapped to my leg for a week, and eventually running to another city to shake it off.

Even when I had my babies I didn’t stop.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” people would say. But they were clueless about my life. When the baby sleeps is when the work begins. One time, just a week after giving birth I broke down on the way to Target. Mental and physical fatigue set in and I couldn’t remember what was so important that I needed to get in my car and battle horrific LA traffic. Before I knew it, I pulled over to the side of the road and cried till I ached. Maybe it was just hormones, but I cried like that earlier today and I haven’t had a baby in 5 years.

Lately, I’ve been crashing into my husband and my kids. I’m either dismissive, not present, or just plain mean.

My husband shared a poem he discovered online with me this morning and I was so far away. Thinking about work that needed to get done, bills I needed to pay. It almost felt silly to think that I could stop and listen to poetry. But I didn't say that, I half-listened with a blank look on my face, prompting him to scream, “After 12 years of marriage you still can’t tell me that your mind is somewhere else?!”

No. ‘Cuz I’m going to try to handle everything with as little disruption as possible, so I can get to the next thing. It’s not that I don’t care. I absolutely care. That’s why I run. It’s how I show my love. If I run fast enough all our problems will disappear.

Sometimes I envy my friend who just shuts down. She’s the only Black woman I’ve ever known to just stop getting out of bed for weeks. I never understood how she could do that because if I’m not moving I’m dead.

This running didn’t start with me. It was my mom and her mom before that. My mom doesn’t sleep at night because her mind is running like a motor that never stops. She’s taken three sleep studies in the past three months and doctors don’t know what’s wrong. I do. It’s called Black Woman Syndrome and it's been in our DNA since enslavement. I know this because the only time I slowed down was in Africa. Don’t believe that lie that it’s so hard there because it’s not. There was plenty of help. Help for your kids, help to cook and clean, help for your help. It’s in America that a Black woman has to work till her back and spirit is broken. And for what? To be told that she’s a b-tch who wants to spend her life alone? Listen Sherlock, work is all a Black woman knows, and if she let it all go, if she truly depended on someone else and it didn’t work out the joke would be on her and then she might die. I don’t like being this way. I wish I could change, just trick my DNA into thinking I’m a white woman because they don’t have to do sh-t. They get to whine and be soft and vulnerable because the world doesn’t depend on them like they do us.

So I run. And I’m not sure what will make me stop.

This evening my daughter was looking at me with this weird look while I was plowing through the dishes.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked her.

“I’m just watching you, seeing what you’re doing,” she said.

I pushed pause to think about it for a minute...I’m doing the same thing I do every day, and I get faster and faster, I swear I can wash a whole sink full of dishes in two seconds. I saw her life flash in front of me, but the difference was she wasn't washing dishes she was taking a long walk in the park, smelling the roses. In that moment I realized that this is some straight bullsh-t’ and I sat my ass down.

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Erickka Sy Savané is a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com
Photo Source: Natural Silver Sista

by Mary Wolff

We all want beautiful, healthy hair. If there were a pill that promised to give you healthy, strong hair, pretty nails, and promoted hair growth, would you take it? Of course, you would! This is the premise of biotin supplements. They claim to offer all of these benefits and many curlies are jumping on board with it. However, there are a few things we should keep in mind about biotin supplements before you try it.

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What Is It? 
A daily vitamin, biotin supplements are a pill form of complex B vitamins. It is available in many different dosages on the market, but it should be noted that none are approved by the FDA. It is reported to help hair growth and hair health by helping your body metabolize energy while transporting carbon dioxide from cells. 

Does it work?  
There is no concrete evidence that biotin supplements work. While some have reported a notable difference in the overall health of their hair and nails, others have seen no difference at all. The key here is that biotin pills are suggested to only offer benefits to those people previously suffering from a biotin deficiency. The body naturally makes and absorbs biotin. If a person has a deficiency in this area, the supplements may help improve this aspect. For those with no biotin deficiency, there will most likely be no noticeable change, and your body will simply process it and get rid of it like it does any food or nutrient in excess. It should be noted that very few people actually have a biotin deficiency and the brittle nails and unhealthy hair are a sign of an underlying health condition, unhealthy lifestyle or care, or an insufficient diet. 

What are the side effects? 
Before you decide to test this out for yourself and just hope for the best, you should know there are a few side effects associated with biotin supplements. If you do not have a biotin deficiency and you take too much, you could end up with undetectable side effects such as high blood sugar, slower release of insulin, and decreased vitamin C and vitamin B6 levels. You could also end up with a rash which may be the only physical sign that biotin is a problem. In this article, some NaturallyCurly editors noticed an increase in breakouts and pimples. For this reason, it's incredibly important to consult your doctor before taking a new supplement to make sure it will actually benefit you instead of causing harm. 


By Sharee Silerio

Do you believe that black people don’t need sunscreen? Have you heard that we don’t get skin cancer because of our melanin?

I found out the hard way that my cocoa-hued skin needed protection from the sun when I was on a beachfront family vacation in Jamaica for a week, and did not wear sunscreen once. When I got back home, my back, neck and arms were peeling, thankfully, they weren’t burning too.

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Although it’s true that people of color aren’t affected by skin cancer as much as people with white skin, we still need to protect it from discoloration, burning and dryness caused by sun exposure.

The solution isn’t as easy as purchasing sunscreen from your local store, as they often leave a residue on dark skin.

However, two Nigerian sisters, Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa, are releasing a product soon that protects black skin from the sun, moisturizes it and blends with various tones.

In an interview with OkayAfrica, Chidozie said:

“A lot of black people don’t wear sunblock because they don’t see the damage immediately. There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community...That makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.”

She also mentioned how difficult it is to find products that work, and trying multiple options that don’t work is unacceptable. Not only is it frustrating, but it can also become expensive.

A sunscreen will be added to their skin care and beauty line, Bolden. According to their website, the product is an SPF 30 moisturizer that brightens the skin using advanced ingredients, visibly improving the look and feel of skin.

“Nourishing moisturizers and robust antioxidants help restore hydration and radiance while SPF 30 sunscreen guards against UV damage,” the website specifies. “Vitamin C lies at the heart of our formulation, providing brightening corrective properties and counteracting daily oxidative damage.”

Bolden’s mission is “to embolden women like us to confidently embrace their natural beauty.” They plan to do this through their “expertly-crafted, responsibly-sourced, and tailor-made beauty experiences” focused on women of color.
The company’s vision is “to shape a global conversation about inclusive standards of beauty - where brown girls and women everywhere feel empowered to celebrate the natural beauty of the skin they’re in.”
Summer is right around the corner, so hopefully Bolden’s sunscreen will be released so black and brown girls can adequately protect their sun-kissed skin.

Have you had trouble finding a sunscreen that works for your skin? Will you be trying this out?
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.