Hi, I’m Nafeesa the Founder of Nafiyah (pronounced Naf-EE-yah). I’m so excited for you to learn more about my company and hope that this is the start of our long relationship together!
At the beginning of 2020, not only were we going through the start of a global pandemic, but I had also decided to focus on caring for my health. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disease which means my immune system attacks my joints causing pain, swelling and inflammation throughout my body. I’ve lived with the condition for almost twenty years, relying heavily on medications that, although helped me, also caused imbalances in my body that created more problems. After suffering a major flare up of symptoms in 2019, I made the decision to take radical steps to truly focus on my health and well-being. Working with my medical team, I changed my lifestyle; I left my corporate job, took out all unnecessary stress, moved home to be with my parents and changed my nutrition. A little under two years later, I’m free of medications and I’m proud to say I’m taking control of my body again, naturally.
In changing my eating habits and the foods I ate (I adopted a whole food, plant based, gluten free and refined sugar free diet with no processed or packaged foods), I saw a massive change in my body; reduced pain, swelling and inflammation and increased energy. Cutting out refined sugar (such as processed sugar added to cakes, cookies, etc.) was the hardest of all the foods given I loved my sweet treats, but the most necessary given it’s inflammatory effects. Luckily, my lovely, ever wise Mum introduced me to Medjool Dates and these became my natural sweet haven after each meal; satisfying my sweet cravings whilst nourishing me at the same time. It was only after some experimenting that I realised how versatile Dates were. And just like that, Date Truffles were born!
My friends and family graciously served as my taste testers as I developed unique natural flavours. I also packaged them as little gifts so they would keep away from chocolate during lockdown! That’s when it hit me. Why weren’t there more options for natural food gifts? Why are we so accepting of sugar filled treats that we know are bad for our health? Then I wondered, why not combine these two extraordinary things; natural, wholesome food and gift-giving. Making that special moment even more meaningful with a treat that’s good for you and presented with the elegance and style reminiscent of the sugar filled options currently in stores today.
The rest, as they say, is history. I chose my company name; Nafiyah, which in Arabic means Love, Gift or Sweet - three intrinsic qualities that speak to the essence of the brand. The Arabic connection doesn’t stop there; Arabia and indeed the Middle East region is a hugely popular area for Dates given the hot climate and rich history dating back thousands of years. And finally, a connection to my name was important, it’s actually my Mum’s nickname for me! Today, I’m working on building the brand and company with my Dad; my business sage and champion. He gave me the confidence to pursue my dream and bring Nafiyah to life.
Ultimately, in making the changes to my lifestyle and nutrition, I can honestly say that I have found a lifelong passion to take care of myself and others through the power of natural food. We all deserve to feel special, no matter our ailments or diet choice. I just hope I can bring some happiness and positivity to you and your loved ones through nature’s sweetness!