Wellness advocateHello and welcome to my blog!

I’m Somi,  a biomedical scientist, nutritional therapist, and soon-to-be an Association of Nutrition registered nutritionist. I’m also a healthy food enthusiast, fitness lover, wellness enthusiast, wife and mama of three. I love all things natural and plant-based (not exclusive), but let’s be clear, I’m no fanatic.

I’ve started a lot of self-improvement journeys in the last ten years. Most have been hugely successful, and others have been epic fails primarily because of my radical approach. No Bueno!

I’ve learned the hard way that to making lasting habits, I need to change one thing at a time and continue to do it consistently. It hit me very recently that what I’ve been chasing all along is simple – overall wellness.

In no particular order, I want to look good, feel good, eat well, be happy, be the best mum and wife I can be, live a mindful, intentional life, give more, have peace of mind, and see the good in positive and negative situations. None of these things will happen at the snap of my fingers. I expect triumphs and colossal failures in equal measure, but above all, I look forward to the valuable lessons that I will learn along the way.

The plan is to share progressive [health-focused] knowledge and my ever-evolving wellness journey, and to hopefully inspire you to create a well-rounded, meaningful life that you love!

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On May 21, 2020, I learned that my son had tested positive for the genetic blood disorder, sickle cell anaemia. I was absolutely devastated when I got the news, but after weeks of grieving, I decided to use my biomedical and nutrition background to help my son live a better quality of life.

There is some evidence to show that nutrition plays a big role in the number and severity of pain crisis that sickle cell patients experience. However, sickle cell patients are not formally educated on how nutrition impacts their conditions. Moreover, there is not much information about sickle cell anaemia because it is a disease that mainly affects black communities.

In addition to other wellness content, I also plan to share my experience of parenting a child with the condition as well as how I plan to optimise mine and my son’s diet to keep him healthy and hopefully prevent or at least significantly reduce the amount of pain crisis he may experience.

I initially wanted to keep this diagnosis private as traditional African culture dictates to prevent ‘stigma’. However, I realise that this fear of stigma is what stops the black community from growing through sharing. I know I am leaving my self open to criticism by sharing this, but I know this may be beneficial to another African or African American mother or child walking the same path.

If you want to know a little more about who I am and my educational background, the FAQs below should give you some insight. If you have more questions, would like to share your stories or want some support, please send me an email or direct message via Instagram. If you are a brand, research scientist, an organisation interested in sickle cell anaemia, or interested in partnering in some way, please send me an e-mail. Thanks for stopping by!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHO ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU FROM, WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I am Nigerian, born in Lagos but from Edo state. I came to the United Kingdom as a child and grew up in London. I am married and have two other children who are sickle cell free. I currently live in London.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I have three degrees, a diploma and I am currently studying for my fourth. I studied Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy) at Kings College London and passed with a First Class Honours. I then studied for my first Master’s degree at the University of Westminster, my PhD at Imperial College London, and I’m studying my second Master’s degree at St Mary’s University Twickenham. I have a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from the Health Sciences Academy.

WHAT IS YOUR PHD IN AND WHERE DID YOU GET IT?

I studied cell and molecular immunology at Imperial College London and graduated in 2011.  My PhD investigated the role of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the pathology of lung injury.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY HUMAN NUTRITION AND WHERE ARE YOU STUDYING IT?

It is no secret that the black community is under-represented in every aspect of society, healthcare included. Most of the information concerning diet and health is skewed towards Caucasians. While we are all human, there is no doubt that genetics impact nutrition, and foods or dietary patterns that maybe suited to Caucasians or other ethnic groups may not necessarily meet the needs of the black community.

I chose to study human nutrition (my fourth degree!) to become a registered nutritionist so I could play my role in helping the black community. As a black woman myself, I believe that I have a greater understanding of the needs of our community and I will be able to serve with better impact.

I am currently studying for my degree in Human Nutrition at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE OR KEEP UP WITH YOU?

You can follow me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter where I will notify you about new posts on my blog and any other exclusive content.

Somi Igbene, PhD, MSc, BSc