Spirulina Is Still The Rage!

Written by Khanyisile Msebenzi

Every year or so there seems to emerge a new healthy trend or superfood. Spirulina was all the rage some 10 years ago and in my opinion should always be the rage and the one superfood supplement we should take as women in this age of busyness. By now we all know that our bodies don’t get enough nutrition, most of us overload our bodies with carbohydrates and take little other nutrients that our bodies need for optimal functioning. 
Spirulina is from the green and blue algae family and is a single-celled Cyanobacteria that grows both in salt and fresh water. It produces its energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. It is high in:

  • B Vitamins
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, heart disease and anaemia. Spirulina also helps improve muscle endurance and faster muscle recovery.

As a young woman these are the reasons you should consider taking Spirulina daily:

  1. Improved concentration and brain function. By taking Spirulina every day blood flow to the brain is increased due to anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina and it’s high iron content.
  2. Spirulina improves memory function because it protects your cognitive systems and stimulates your brain and nervous system.
  3. Spirulina’s main ingredient is tryptophan, which is an amino acid the human body needs to produce serotonin and melatonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan on their own. Serotonin is the ‘happiness’ hormone, regulates our moods and stress. Melatonin regulates our sleeping patterns so we get good sleep. Tryptophan is important in preventing conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression. 
  4. Spirulina gives energy, especially if you work out, but even if you don’t, Spirulina gives you energy to go through the day at high energy absorbing more with your brain. The energy comes from the high chlorophyll and protein content in Spirulina. 
  5. Spirulina keeps you full for longer. Eating heavy meals especially between classes can be draining. We all know the itis that hits in the afternoon that takes forever to get through, those hours lost can never be recovered. Spirulina keeps you fuller for longer because of its high protein content.

Spirulina comes in mainly two forms, in tablet form and powder form. In my experience taking the tablet form is easier, the taste of the powder is different to anything I am used to and makes it difficult for me to swallow, but it is not horrible at all, just different. If you choose the powder option, try to include it in your daily smoothie to mask the taste.
Dischem and Clicks usually have good specials on Spirulina and it is affordable on a student budget, in my view, you can’t afford not to take this superfood if you want to live life at high energy. 

 

The Living Room- Girl Boss Food Review

Your girl went to Living Room in Maboneng to taste the food and feel the atmosphere. The Maboneng Precinct is a trendy area in the Johannesburg CBD. Maboneng means ‘place of light’ in seSetho and the first time I went there I thought this is the South Africa the enlightened Nelson Mandela envisioned in his 46664 prison cell in Robben Island.

Photo by Simi Gumede

It’s a place where the cool people gather on weekends. Although I am new to Joburg I am aware there is unfortunately glaring inequality like many other places in South Africa.

I guess the question is, did I feel alive in the living room? And the answer is yes, it’s a roof top café that has a lot of plant life. There is something calming about seeing all the green of the plants, it’s beautiful. It’s actually more of an event venue but when they’re not hosting a private event. The place is open as a restaurant from 11am-10pm from Wednesday to Friday. Therefore, one should check the online calendar if planning on going there on Saturday or Sunday as they be hosting a private function. If not then they have Djs come through on weekends and there is a chilled vibe. The music is that music that hipsters listen to that we really can’t name the genre unless you’re a music head. I like to think of it as ‘post-genre’ music, lol.

Hipster Dancing GIF by Neurads - Find & Share on GIPHY

Lets Talk About The Food

I shared the food with my sister as there is no way I could eat all of it by my selfie.

For starters I ordered from the Gourmet Tapas section of the menu

I got the SAFA Classic- R30. Which is two small crispy beef, veg spaghetti and pickled cucumber spring rolls served with peppadew cream cheese dip. The spring rolls were crispy and the filling tasted of crispy beef and veg. Crispy beef is basically browned beef, when you fry it on a high temperature and that brown seal forms. That’s the flavorful part and it tasted mostly of that. It had simple yet effective taste but I’m was left feeling, where are the aromatics?

Photo by Simi Gumede

I also got the Dimsum Yum- R40. Which was 4 steamed Asian Pastries with coriander chicken filling. It was delicious! I Highly recommend this as a starter. The chicken filling was tender and flavorful with coriander and ginger. The dipping sauce tasted of soy, sesame oil, chilli and there sweetness to it. It was lovely. I love the taste of soy sauce there was a time where I would put soy in all my food. And, every time I did I would say, “it’s time for my boy, soy”, so soy is my homeboy.

Photo by Simi Gumede

The mains we got was the Ocean Breeze- R115. Which is fresh mussels steamed in white wine and garlic. Finished in either a mussel broth or a yellow Thai coconut curry. Served with two fresh mini rolls. It was also very tasty. The mussels were fresh and not overpowering. I’m not a fan of mussels as I think they taste too much of the sea. But I think the ones I have had in the past were not fresh. These fresh ones, were the ones, damn, it was so good. It was creamy as the sauce base was coconut cream, there was the taste of garlic, coriander, lemon and lemon grass. I enjoyed it and I am converted. I am now a believer of mussels. However, I wished they had been served with noodles not bread rolls as you just want to slurp all the soupy goodness.

Photo by Simi Gumede

We also got the Stripped- R140. Which is a Grilled Sirloin (250g) steak cut into strips served with a tangy mustard cream and french fries or a small salad. I got fries of course, as I haven’t out grown potato chips yet. I think if there was ever a marker of adulthood it would be when you get the small salad instead of fries. That’s when I’ll know I’m grown AF, I don’t play.

Photo by Simi Gumede

I asked for the steak to be medium and I got what I asked for. It tasted of chargrilled beef and herbs. The mustard cream was tasty. I guess it depends on how you like your food. Some people want their meat to taste like meat and everything else must enhance that natural flavor of the meat. Whereas I like my food to taste of meat and the seasoning.

Photo by Simi Gumede

For desert, we wanted the Peachy -R45. It is a glass jar filled with grilled peach, ginger cookie crumble, lemon and mint curd. Topped with ice cream but unfortunately it wasn’t available. So, we shared the Yes Please -R45, it was a Deep-Fried Bar One with Salted Caramel. It was yummy for sure. The batter was little crispy and warm. I could taste the batter also had lemon juice in the dough making it balanced and not overwhelmingly sweet. The salted caramel tasted lush but the texture was grainy as some of the sugar was still crystallized and there wasn’t enough of it, sadly. 

All in all, I really enjoyed the living room. I even danced a little with some happy strangers. I definitely recommend the spot, but I wish the music was more distinctively South African. So I can feel I am really living the post-apartheid South African dream.

Girl Boss Rating: 4/5

Simi Gumede

There Is Room For Us All At The Top

We live in an unequal world although equality is one of those ideal principles that humans uphold. I think it boils down to whether you think human beings are born equal? If you do, then you believe the lottery of birth should not determine your life projection. If you do think people are born different and some are naturally superior than others, then inequality wouldn’t be a moral issue for you. Personally, I think people are born unique and that we have our soul missions and reasons for incarnating at this time on earth. And I think that life is abundant and miraculous. If you look at nature there is balance and there is enough for all the animals. But with that said the animals do have it rough, like if you watch nature documentaries, not all of them make it through winter…

Is inequality really problematic?

Well, I think it is understandable if some people have more than others. People are different and have different values so our incomes don’t have to be equal. What’s not okay is how large the gap between those who have and those who don’t have is. For example x person has 10 avocados and person y has 4. That’s okay both have enough to make it through the day. But when x has 1 billion avocadoes and y doesn’t even half an avocado, then there is a problem.

I guess it boils down to whether you believe we are all connected on the earth. There is Ubuntu an Nguni proverb and ideology, that umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, that a person’s humanity is socially determined and what makes you great is how you relate to others. There is Namaste a Hindi greeting, it means the light in me honours the light in you, we are one and we are one with the divine grace. And, In La kesh Mayan greeting that means I am another yourself.

Photo by Eye for Ebony

All these philosophies, proverbs and greetings speak to our unity. If you believe in these philosophies then there is no real prosperity when only 10% of the world is prosperous for example. I like to think that we are all connected. That the human race is one big dysfunctional family. But, our family can be functional, I think peace on earth is possible as I believe in infinite possibility. Anything is possible. In fact, we are the ones who are preventing peace on earth from being a thing. By accepting what has been as valid reality. We need to be creative and change the way we do things. We have more power available to us as humans than we have been led to believe. We can create our own realities and that means we can live in harmony, prosperity and in the beauty of life.

Photo by Paulin Malet

Yes, there is pain and suffering. But like Buddha taught I believe there can be an end of suffering. It is said “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”- Haruki Murakami. Pain we can’t really control, like if a loved one dies, the pain we feel from that is inevitable, for example. I have experienced this, my sister in 2016 died after a long battle with breast cancer and it shook my world because I felt the pain of regret, of loving someone but not showing it. And then you ask yourself what is the point of being alive if you don’t show love to your loved ones? In all honestly, we didn’t make time for each other in our lives. We never checked up on one another and visited each other but I cared for her and I think she cared for me too. That was the tragedy.

“Now I may have faith to make mountains fall
But if I lack love then I am nothin’ at all
I can give away everything I possess
But left without love then I have no happiness”

Lauryn Hill

This was during a time where I was experiencing an existential crisis. I felt as if there was nothing solid in my life and that everything in my life was in a state of decay. I would cry and question myself, who am I? I felt like there was no foundation to my existence. Just as I tried to grasp at family to feel stable, my sisters passing exposed that my family relations were far from ideal. This was the turning point in my life where I began to study spirituality. I remember waking up, showering, getting ready for a day at the library intending to do my coursework. But, all I would do in the library was study the different chakra’s, enlightenment, Buddhism, how to live with an open heart, mind and in the universal flow of infinite love. A quote I love from Harry Potter is “do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love”-JK Rowling.

Photo by Marco Lima

The path to enlightenment and the end of suffering is a personal decision. That I want to live in alignment with my soul, with God and with love. This is a life filled with growth, joy, clarity, peace and infinite possibility. There is a certain degree of personal responsibility you take in finding your joy. But now, can you really be joyus when you know others are suffering for no reason?

Let’s have a thought experiment

Which is the ideal situation?

Imagine you’re in your room and you have all your needs met. You’ve got good tasting, healthy food. You’re wifi is working, Your bed is comfortable and the sheets are clean. Everything is well in your room. But you know that for people in your family are doing worse than you. They sleep on the floor, there is no running water, no electricity and barely anything to eat. In this example family is representative of the human race.

What’s your next step?

The first option would be do deal with inequality on an individual level; which is do nothing and say that’s life, there are the haves and have nots. But there is guilt… which eats at your happiness, so now in terms of emotional well being, things are not all well in your room anymore. Can you really rest assured? There would also be a certain degree of paranoia with thoughts like ‘I need to guard my room oasis’. When someone knocks there may be dread in your emotional field. Therefore, you would start to isolate yourself and when this happens, do you still consider yourself free?

Also, what if they were in your position? If you were the one without, how would you feel knowing your cousins living a good life and you’re struggling. Besides the pain of feeling like a failure, you would also think damn, can’t they help me out? We’re family, we are related.  Do they really not care about my well-being?

Photo by Eloise Ambursley

So in your comfy room you are aware that family is supposed to care for each other and that the tables could turn. Therefore, you could help out as a sort of self-preservation tool. A situation in which, I help you now but when I’m struggling I am expecting a reciprocation of the favor. That’s one reason to share and take action to lessen the inequality gap.

Then on a higher level, on an emotional level and from the collective perspective. There would be the urge to share because you’ll sleep safe and sound knowing okay, my loved ones/ family all ate tonight. You can rest assured and sleep peacefully in your room knowing you did what you could to help humanity.

But now, you also don’t want to feel exploited by your family. They’re able bodied and they can also work hard. You think this even though you are aware of the injustices of the past and present. Therefore, there may be the feeling that helping others is creating a loss for you.

Photo by Artem Bali

So what do you do?

My point is the existence of gross inequality hinders an individual’s sense of peace. You personally may be physically comfortable but your soul is uneasy. There is a path that serves you individually. The path that serves the collective and there is a path that serves the highest good of all.

How can you really be happy in your comfortable room when you’re alone? Wouldn’t you be happier if you had your own room but you could go visit your cousins room and not feel ashamed? And, that you could invite them over without worrying if they’re going to steal from you.

The Highest Good of All

This is a path of action that serves your personal interests and those of the collective. This path is going to be unique for everyone that’s what’s cool about it. Also, there are going to paths that overlap with yours and you’ll find your soul mates. When you live like this, you double your happiness. Meaning, you’ll find fulfillment. And, when you move onto the next life you can go in peace. I believe there is room for us all at the top, we can all live in prosperity. Nothing is impossible. And, with light and love, redressing systemic inequality is definitely possible.

Photo by Adrianna Van Groningen

Meditation 101

By Khanyisile Msebenzi

The best kind of meditation is when you meditate without meditating, or rather to be in a constant meditative state. It takes some practice to arrive to that state hence the “meditation practices” become useful tools, on the journey to “Beingness”.

Photo by Darius Bashar

Meditation is as scientific as is prayer, as is affirmation, as is a simple exercise like “saying a word”. Simple exercises like washing dishes, tending to a garden, cleaning, cooking and merely observing a flower can be highly meditative when done with specific intention. The magic is not in the tools themselves but the application of consciousness of the all-pervading energy through the tools. So meditation, prayer and affirmation are related and are like the pipes that convey water. It is the water that gives life but to arrive at a certain point there is the need for the pipe, until one reaches the point of, “making it rain/constant meditative state”.

Meditation is an exercise in concentration. The stronger the concentration the ‘deeper’ the meditation. The intention is to focus less and less on physical sensory perception in order to focus more and more on Quantum/Multidimensional Senses. It is through this ‘connection’ with the higher senses that more energy can be channeled and in turn the ‘tapping into’ higher consciousness which facilitates higher quality manifestation. The intention is to remove the mind from conscious perceptual reality to the point of arriving at “thoughtlessness”. Of course this “ultimate” is improbable, so the next practical thing to do is to let the thoughts rise and fall in your mind, without you apportioning any judgement to them.

Photo by Madison Lavern

A question arises. Is meditation some form of religious practice? It is not possible to answer this question because it is asked in an unskilled manner. The question to ask would be, is religion a form of meditation? And the answer to that would be, yes. Religion is a form of meditation in which the religious focus or concentration is on their perception of that they consider to be God, Higher Self or a Deity.

The Best Meditation and Benefits of Meditation

There is no best way to meditate. My common meditation is sitting myself comfortably, trying to remove as much thought as possible from the mind then settle into the silence, with no preconceived intention or result in mind. Of course, however much, you try to remove thought there will always be thoughts rising and the trick is to just observe them. I find this meditation makes me settle quicker into the meditative state and I go deeper and it raises my vibrational frequency.

I find that sometimes I have a ‘feel’ for guided meditation, especially if there is something in particular I would like to meditate on, if it is a group meditation, or when I’m just looking for a “quick fix”. This is recommended especially when one is still getting used to meditating, but guided meditation can be very useful to those who have been meditating for decades also. With silent meditation there tends to be “getting lost in thought” if one is not used to just observing thought without judgement. The intention is to get lost in thoughtlessness. Also there can be moments of ‘dryness’ when there is great temptation to just end the meditation.

Meditation can be done with eyes open, but I find I concentrate better when my eyes are closed because it also eliminates the sight sense. Regardless of whether your eyes are closed or opened ‘concentrating’ on the tip of the nose is ‘there’; ‘there’ being at the point of concentration. That is, if you are doing Silent/Still meditation.

Photo By Benjamin Balazs

It is evident that it is young people that mostly get bombarded with an overdose of sensory input through mobile phones, television and diet that is becoming less and less organic. If young people are to maintain some level of sanity there has to be a tool that seeks to “unplug” us, and meditation is proving more and more to be that tool. Not only as a way to unplug but as a way of life to better health,  higher consciousness and ‘living in the present moment’.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is meditation that facilitates consciousness transcendence, which is basically achieving a heightened state of being/consciousness. It can be done with certain mantras (sound repetitions), but it is also possible to achieve transcendence with any way of meditation. That it became popular through being practiced with mantras does not necessarily mean transcendence cannot be achieved without mantras.

Mantras are very helpful in aiding concentration hence their popularity. Sometimes the technicality in terminology can complicate that which is simple. A mother doting on her new born baby can achieve consciousness transcendence without any mantra. The young lady in love can achieve transcendence and enter into a state of bliss just by thinking of her lover.

Any concentration achieved with any meditation is transcendent in nature because, “you have transcended your previous state of consciousness to a higher state of consciousness”. The very act of showing kindness in a situation that might seem not deserving of kindness is transcendent, which means the one showing kindness has transcended the consciousness (which was low) of the environment and showed a heightened level of being which was not previously part of the environment.

That in its emergence transcendental meditation became a hit with celebrities is because it works. That it has continued to be endorsed by many celebrities is because it works. Oprah Winfrey, Mick Jagger, The Beatles, Deepak Chopra, Miguel, Eva Mendes, Katy Perry and many more find meditation to be very beneficial, but much more ‘day to day’ people have taken to transcendental meditation because, honestly speaking, it is the future.

Photo by Arul

12 scientifically proven benefits of Meditation

  1. Reduces stress
  2. Controls anxiety
  3. Promotes emotional health
  4. Enhance self-awareness
  5. Lengthens attention span
  6. Reduces Memory loss
  7. Generates compassion
  8. May help fight addictions
  9. Improves sleep
  10. Helps control pain
  11. Can decrease blood pressure
  12. Facilitates peacefulness

A Short Meditation to Overcome Fear

After using your technique to come to a state of relaxation. (This can be as simple as taking three or more deep breaths of breathing slow and deep, and exhaling slow and long). Now imagine all the fears that you have and see them for the illusions that they are because in reality fear doesn’t exist but is born because there is an absence of love. Therefore, choose love over fear. They may be fears of failure, fear of public speaking, fear of the unknown, fear of disappointment etc.

Imagine those fears as shadowy smokey substance that permeates your cells. Now imagine that as you breathe in you are breathing in whitish gold light that permeates your whole cellular structure. As you slowly breath out imagine that this shadowy substance cannot exist in the same space in which you have breathed the pure whitish gold light, so imagine it leaving with every exhale.

Breathe in deeply and slowly, exhale slowly and long until you feel that your body is filled with this whitish goldish light and there is no trace of the shadowy stuff. At every instance that any fears crops up, do the same love visualisation and breathe in and out. Even if it is two breaths in cases where you need to get rid of the fear quickly.

Recommended Time: 10 mins

Photo by Antonika Chanel

Keep Hydrated To Look Good & Improve Overall Productivity

By Khanyisile Msebenzi.

The adult human body is up to 60% water.  The brain is 73% water and lungs are about 83% water.  The skin is 64% water, and muscles and kidneys are 79% water.  Our bones are 31% water.

Without water our bodies will not function, we must consume minimum quantities of water per day for our body to function optimally, women need about 2.2 litres of water a day and men about 3 litres of water a day.  Water is vital for life.

  • Water itself is a nutrient, it is part of every cell, the building block for all our cells
  • Water metabolises and transports carbohydrates and proteins our body uses as food
  • Water flushes waste and toxins from our body through urine

The ability for water to dissolve and carry so many vitamins and nutrients makes it a life force for everything living. 

But in our busy lives we tend to drink less water than we should.  And yet we need water to energise the body, concentrate and be productive. We also need water to rest and sleep deeply.

Photo by Leo Moko

Here are ways to make sure your body stays hydrated:

  • If you work out, be sure to drink a big gulp of water every 10 – 20mins of exercise. 
  • Sip on sports drinks or coconut water during exercise longer than an hour to replace electrolytes in your body.
  • Fruits are good sources of water and electrolytes, watermelon is very hydrating and banana is high in electrolyte potassium.
  • Have a glass of water for every cup of coffee or sugary or alcoholic drink you take.
  • Carry a water bottle with you, add fruit like lemon or strawberry to add flavour naturally to your water.  Take a gulp of water every hour to stay hydrated without having to pee as much.  This ensures you stay hydrated in dehydrating environments like air-conditioned rooms.
Photo by Brendan Church

What are electrolytes and why do they matter?

Electrolytes are composed of sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  These nutrients are critical for the health and functioning of our nerves and muscles.  Electrolytes are easily lost when we sweat or when we have a runny tummy or diarrhoea.

Beauty Benefits of being Hydrated:

  • Plump skin, when you are dehydrated your skin loses water and elasticity and wrinkles set in easier, hydrated skin is less prone to wrinkling.  Hydration slows the ageing process.
  • Hydrated and moisturized skin starts from the inside, if you suffer from constant dry, flaky skin, it is likely that you are dehydrated, remember skin is 64% water.  If you are dehydrated your skin will also be dehydrated no matter what you apply on it topically.
  • Keeping hydrated gives you clearer facial skin.  When the body is dehydrated it sends messages to the skin’s oil glands to produce oil as a defence mechanism.  When skin is hydrated it produces less oil and acne is less aggravated.
  • When skin is dehydrated it looks dull and stores toxins, which lead to occurrence of patches of irritation and inflammation on the skin.  Keep the body and skin hydrated for glowing skin.
  • It’s the same for hair, hydration and moisturisation of hair starts from the inside.  With our coily, curly, kinky hair, which is naturally dry, it is important to start hydration from the inside.
Photo by Rawpixel

Fun Fact:

There is a difference between hydrating products and moisturising products for your skin.  Hydrating products are water-based and increase water content in your skin to give it a plumper, fuller appearance.  Moisturising products may also be water-based but most likely formulated containing heavier oils to prevent water evaporating from your skin.

The connection between water and sleep

The body needs sleep and rest as much as it needs exercise or water.  We are able to exercise more and feel stronger and lighter when we have rested well.

  • Hydrate evenly throughout the day to avoid feeling dehydrated and thirsty before you sleep as drinking a lot of water before bed will cause you to wake up multiple times at night disturbing your sleep and quality of rest.
  • Our bodies do not only rest in sleep, they repair and rebuild, and the body needs water to repair and rebuild.  Muscles are rebuilt in our sleep so we can train better the next day.
  • Our body requires all kinds of hormones to function optimally; hormones are generated by the body when it gets adequate sleep and hydration.
  • Our concentration is better when we are rested and hydrated, the brain is 73% water.
Photo by Gary Butterfield