Ultra-processed foods make up a huge portion of American diets today, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. With this increase, many Americans have started to lack required nutrition in their diets, making them more susceptible to various diseases. Perhaps this may explain the ultimate appeal of supplements that contain the various nutrients that we lack in our diet but come packed in a convenient tablet, capsule, or powder.
Enter Herbal Goodness – a health and wellness company that has become a disruptor within the industry by becoming the number one supplier of superfoods and superherbs in the USA. Founded by Unoma Okorafor, Herbal Goodness approaches health from a different angle. “Our message is that food should be medicine, rather than medicine being food,” states Okorafor who wants her customers to realize that health is a journey and lifestyle that needs to be adopted.
Okorafor’s journey before launching Herbal Goodness itself is a separate story of success. Born and raised in Nigeria, the entrepreneur recalls being exposed to nature and having a passion for learning in her childhood. Her mother had a love for gardening — growing flowers and nutritious fruits and vegetables within the family garden that Okorafor remembers fondly eating. From tangerines, mangos, pineapples, and papayas, each natural food had unique nutrition profiles that originated from traditional knowledge passed down through generations within her community.
However, although she also lived in a patriarchal culture, Okorafor recalls coming from a family that valued education and encouraged her to pursue her passions. Her parents had a strong belief that education was a great equalizer for society. After attending all-girls schools, Okorafor was admitted into a STEM program for computer engineering at a university in which men drastically outnumbered women students. It was the first time she felt the pressure of being a woman pursuing an education in a society where “women are often seen but not heard” from. While Okorafor loved attending her classes and being a bright student, her male classmates began to feel intimidated by her intelligence. After being threatened with sexual assault one semester, she started to withdraw from her undergrad education.
In 1999, Okorafor was awarded a scholarship to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in the USA. However, since she was still processing the pain she had felt for pursuing an education in her home country, Okorafor felt an intense obligation to use her own resources to help young girls who may find themselves in a similar situation as she once was. While still being a graduate student, she launched her scholarship foundation, Women to Advance African Women (WAAW). Today, the foundation has reached 10,000 girls in 17 African countries and has provided teacher training and mentorship. Through Herbal Goodness, 10% of profits are donated to support the scholarship as well.
Herbal Goodness was officially launched in 2013 from an idea that sprouted in 2011. After leaving her high-stress corporate job in technology and being pregnant with her third child, Okorafor began focusing more on her health for herself and her unborn child. Growing up, she remembered that many pregnant women would consume papayas to help their babies build strong immune systems after birth. Trying some American papayas, she realized that there was a difference in taste and after researching, Okorafor came to find how not only papayas, but many foods, were inserted with GMOs and were inorganic. Coming to the realization that many fruits and vegetables may not offer as many nutrients as they should, Okorafor launched Herbal Goodness to make 100% organic certified and non-GMO unique superfoods and superherbs accessible to the general public. Even more impressive, Herbal Goodness has been “bootstrapped” since inception..
Through Herbal Goodness, Okorafor has brought ancient wisdom regarding the benefits of different natural foods to light. From her own Nigerian culture, to cultures from South America, Asia, and Africa, Okorafor emphasizes how so many natural supplements exist within mother nature that we tend to ignore, consuming processed foods instead. She has managed to become an expert on such foods by traveling to these regions and sitting down with farmers and their communities, having intimate conversations about their culture, supporting their families, and the values they have when it comes to cultivating the land. Since its launch, Okorafor has been dedicated to helping these farmers by paying them at a fair market value and uplifting their voices.
Besides valuing the impact of the company, Herbal Goodness also prioritizes quality and certifies that all the products that are put on the market are of the highest and freshest quality. Through sustainable and transparent business practices, the company also values its global impact and strays away from using harmful chemicals. Embracing her technological background with her business, Okorafor is also staying ahead of the curve by incorporating tech within supply chain management to trace all processes from farm to table, and also within communications, operations, and marketing.
As Herbal Goodness grows, Okorafor hopes to make an impact, whether it’s through healthy living or through her foundation to empower women in Africa with education. Her passionate approach to business is what pushes her to know that she can take a seat at the table and be confident enough to to share her story to becoming the inspiring African woman entrepreneur she is today.
Website: Herbal Goodness
Foundation Website: Women to Advance African Women
Submitted by Noor Abid