The sun has finally begun to shine here on the island and we are growing more excited for the warm summer months to return. Lately, we've been working a lot on how to revamp our small retail shops here on the island. Last year was really our first summer doing retail, and it was much harder than we thought! It takes a lot of people and organization to run a retail store - let alone two! We are grateful that we have had time to reflect and are putting our heads together to make this year even better. Shelf stable almond butter cups and peppermint patties sound good to anyone? We will also expand our our line of smoothies - delicious chocolate smoothies made fresh at our two locations. We've also been taking some time to go on mini-vacations which has been great to give us perspective, reconnect with friends and family, and refresh.
With the Spring here, we've also both been craving clean food. I realized that gluten was causing me to have low vibrational moods, so I've cut that out completely and feel much better. I've also been eating lots of sprouts lately, which I love to make at home. My favorite salad so far is lentil sprouts with hydroponically grown salad mix, tomatoes, green olives, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and EVOO.
What have you been craving lately?
Photo courtesy of Pat Waring
Be Fresh, the new chocolate bar from Not Your Sugar Mamas, is made with several immune-boosting superfoods.
Just in time to sweeten up springtime in a deliciously healthy way, the talented Not Your Sugar Mamas (NYSM) chocolatiers have come up with a new bar.
Appropriately wrapped in springy light green foil, Be Fresh packs in several immune-boosting superfoods along with pure raw cacao, coconut butter, agave nectar, and a subtle hint of organic lemon verbena.
"It's one of our most different flavors," said Kyleen Keenan, NYSM co-owner with partner Bennett Coffey. She listed camu camu (a Peruvian fruit with a huge vitamin C punch), mesquite with protein and calcium for bone health, and super-antioxidant rich African baobab as new, health-promoting additives. Along with a delicate flavor, the organic lemon verbena grown in Hanover and made into a tincture aids digestion and immunity.
Ms. Keenan, who said she runs the business and marketing aspects of the two-woman company, credited Ms. Coffey with creating the delectable handmade chocolates. A holistic nutrition counselor, Ms. Coffey studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, and after discovering the delights of raw chocolate began experimenting with new recipes. Ms. Keenan had had business training and experience. Both longtime Island visitors and now year-round residents, the pair launched Not Your Sugar Mamas with their stated goal to "spread health, happiness, and love through powerful superfoods." They began the company in March 2011, and started selling in stores three months later.
Be Original was the first offering that includes cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla bean, Himalayan sea salt, followed by the Be Cool bar with hints of lavender and mint. Be Sexy features extra maca and Skye Botanical's love potion, and Be Jolly is a wintertime-only treat with immune-enhancing and mood-lifting ingredients. There are also healthful smoothie mixes and a warming, soothing Be Cozy cocoa mix.
After working out of borrowed commercial kitchen space since they began the business, Ms. Coffey and Ms. Keenan are thrilled to be moving into their own chocolate factory soon. The Vineyard Haven location will have both production and retail areas and is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.
Like all NYSM bars, Be Fresh is raw, organic, vegan, sugar-free, and most of all, delectable. Be Fresh bars are available along with other NYSM flavors at Healthy Additions, Cronig's Market, Scottish Bakehouse, Tisbury Farm Market, Eden, Edgartown Meat and Fish, Soigne, as well as other shops on and off Island, and by mail.
Eating chocolate before you hit the gym? Doesn’t quite sound like it’d be a snacking habit conducive to achieving a svelte figure. Ah, but what if the aforementioned “chocolate” was in its purest form – raw cacao? Now were talking.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.
Think for a moment of a food from your past, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is macaroni and cheese, slow-simmered tomato sauce, ice cream cones or potato pancakes. Eating comfort foods (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious.
Food has the power to impact us on a level deeper than just our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories, like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating this food connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up.
Acknowledging what different foods mean to us is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food. This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.
What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings you.