If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught a few PCOS recipes I have posted. Over time I have received numerous variations of the question "Where can I get X in Lagos?", X being gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based and vegan alternatives that I try to use in my cooking.
We are so blessed to have fruits and vegetables that actually taste like they are meant to in Nigeria. We're able to have peppers, ugwu, aloe vera and mangoes growing in our back gardens. Healthy eating has a reputation of being 'difficult' in Lagos; I don't agree. As with any country, healthy eating gives you the opportunity to get creative with ingredients and recipes. The key to it in Lagos is keeping it simple.
I've put together a mini-database of places and resources that have made my health journey simpler in Lagos. Enjoy!
1. Major Supermarkets - Shoprite/Spar/Ebeano/Hubmart/ etc.
Don't underestimate the staple supermarkets we all know; you'll be surprised what you find when you're intentionally looking for it. A normal grocery run in Ebeano-which has a whole aisle of gluten free/dairy free alternatives-led me to brown rice flour. I got oat flour at Shoprite right before the lockdown. They've got the usual dairy alternative milks, gluten-free pastas (Ebeano), tigernuts, dates etc. Prices aren't always friendly which segues smoothly into the next point.
2. DIY - Do It Yourself
I prefer making my ingredients at home as it's cheaper, less stress and I have control of what is going in my food. Can't find quinoa flour? Get yourself some quinoa (available at most large supermarkets) and blend. Same goes for oat flour. Date syrup and tigernut milk which I use regularly in my recipes are also very easy to make at home. Save money & stress by making YouTube your best friend.
3. Instagram Vendors I've had such positive experiences ordering healthy ingredients and prepared food from Instagram vendors. A couple of examples are:
Dr Dammies Lifestyle Store; an organic, vegan and gluten free health store which stocks everything from chia seeds to vegan mayo.
Maries Vegg offer premium quality fruits and vegetables, fruit hampers/arrangements and salads to name a few. I haven't ordered from them however, I have heard good things.
Vegan Foodie Ng who's always got me drooling as I scroll through her vegan meals (with detailed and informative captions) that she makes to order. I ordered lentil pies, cranberry and sweet potato muffins, tofu and bambara suya from her-*chef's kiss! All amazing. Highly recommend.
4. AceGreenCrops: A proudly Nigerian company that creates a fair market for Nigerian quality farmers. The stock home grown fresh fruits & vegetables (think mulberries, strawberries, etc.), herbs and spices. Ace delivers nationwide from their farm in Plateau State. Ace Green Crops is currently on lockdown as they cannot access their farm however, check back as time goes on during these odd times.
5. Simply Green (Instagram Here): A friend of mine teases me for using fancy kale instead of normal basic ugwu; Simple Green keeps me strapped with my fancy kale! Love their juices, salads and fresh salad mixes. Also, I stan their customer service.
6. Fig Health Store (Instagram Here): This was a recent find for me! I had driven past numerous times and finally went in when I had time to kill in Lekki (i.e. running from traffic). They stock a wide variety of natural and health products. They aren't the cheapest however, Fig Health Store have some products/services I love e.g. whip your own Shea Butter and a turmeric black soap which was lovely.
7. Carib Health Ng: A haven tucked away in Ikoyi, I came across Carib Health thanks to rooftop yoga classes on Saturdays hosted by Proud Journey. Carib's health primary focus is holistic health using natural methods. They run health programmes and supply a variety of organic fruits, vegetables and meats.
8. Natural Nigerian: Natural hair and skin products here! If you're lazy like me and cba to venture into Balogun, they're a great option for a variety of natural products. I get my shea butter from them and it lasts for ages. I mean, it's a tub the size of my head so it only makes sense that it does.
9. Shorelicious: Shorelicious make and stock amazing nut butters and ready-made tigernut mylks. I'm obsessed with their cashew butter and would buy tubs the size of my head if I could.
10. Ilera Foods: I cook with acha quite a bit and have found Ilera's acha to be the most cost-efficient and stone-free. Acha (also called fonio) is a gluten free, vegan rice alternative. It's a superfood grown right here in Nigeria. Its cooking method takes some getting used to but once you get the hang of it, it's super easy and tasty. Ilera also leaves instructions on their packaging and recipe ideas on their Instagram.
12. SoFreshNg; Freshly made healthy food ranging from salads to smoothies.
11. The Two/Three Fruit & Vegetable Markets on Idowu Martins (towards the Adeola Odeku end)
12. Your local (tried and trusted) roadside fruit/vegetable market. I get my tigernuts and dates from sellers at the junction of my estate.
Sending strength and love.