We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Nicole Ferraro, 28, who is the definition of a “NOT YOUR SUGAR MAMA”. This girl doesn’t stop! She is committed to her community, working as a wellness coordinator with Boston Public Health Commission, and is currently enrolled in an intensive yoga teacher certification course. She’s traveled all over and dreams big - and can’t help but inspire those around her to do the same!
What keeps you busy Monday through Friday?
Encouraging people to live active lifestyles and creating/implementing systems and programs to support healthy living in Boston, lots of communication, yoga, cooking and catching up with friends, usually over food.
Probably spending a year in Juneau, Alaska. In addition to being absolutely breathtaking, it was a very new, unfamiliar place that gave me exactly what I needed at that phase of life. I had the opportunity to figure out who I was outside of the system and structure of life in my hometown and in college. I learned (was forced) to slow down and appreciate the beauty in simplicity, that is so apparent if you take the time to look for it. I caught and filleted salmon, hiked to glaciers and inside ice caves, had encounters with bears, whales and lots of porcupines and most importantly, made some really great friends and felt supported and encouraged by the warm, close-knit, quirky Juneau community.
One of my AmeriCorps years as a recess coach at a Boston elementary school. It was long hours that required me to be very high energy and "on" the whole time. Nine year olds can be pretty mean, and I had a hard time not taking all of the kids "stuff" home with me at night. That being said, it was one of the greatest learning experiences and one of the most rewarding and fun jobs I've ever had.
What do you do to give back?
I'm pretty involved in my community through my job, working in Community Health. I work for the city government and am learning more and more each day how small of a world this city really is. For the last few years I've volunteered my time to work at a week long camp for kids with disabilities in Western NY and to lead High School Sophomores in MA through a weekend long leadership conference called MassSTAR. They are both super life giving experiences that I look forward to all year long.
Favorite healthy snack?
Avocado mashed up with a hard boiled egg on toast.
Favorite healthy meal?
Brussel sprout, apple & leek veggie burger from howsweeteats.org. I make them every couple weeks and keep them in the freezer for really exciting lunches. Exciting lunches are a real game changer.
Most cherished possession?
This is a tough one... my most sentimental possession is probably the tie dyed sweatshirt blanket that I got at camp in 9th grade. It lived on the end of my bed in high school, and has since came on many trips and adventures with me. It was my "comforter" for the air mattress I slept on during my year in Juneau and is currently my favorite blanket to cuddle up on the couch with in my apartment in Boston. It's a great reminder of different phases of life that led me to where I am today. I also really cherish my food processor and my camera "tripod" that screws onto a wine bottle.
Favorite beauty product?
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind under eye stick. I don't wear a ton of makeup so it's perfect for those inevitable bags under the eyes when you're on the go. And coconut oil, I put it in my hair overnight every few weeks and use it as lotion daily.
Yoga teacher training. And some Kate Spade Saturday/New Balance sneakers.
How do you ‘treat yourself’?
I take the time to find a new recipe, go to the grocery store and spend hours in the kitchen with Van Morrison Pandora station in the background and glass of red wine.
What do you do for fun?
All things food related (cooking, eating, reading food blogs, cooking club that meets once a month), long city walks or hikes, quality time with family and adventures to see new places and/or catch up with old friends.
How do you keep fit?
Yoga, lots of walking and always taking the stairs.
Advice to young women?
Find a practice. Any practice. Whether it be yoga, writing, knitting, juggling... anything! Something that you do regularly, that you can grow in and that grounds you and makes you happier, healthier version of yourself.
"You can do anything" has been my life mantra for most of my adult life. I appreciate its positivity and simplicity. Recently the following quote has become a powerful daily reminder: "Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you." -Shauna Neiquist
Unclench my fists (see above), do less (say no to more things/have less on the schedule so I can be a better version of myself when doing the things that matter most), do a handstand & bake bread!
From DIG Boston, titled "GOOD EATS GURU GOES CHOCOLATE"
Good Eats Guru goes chocolate
Who makes the best chocolate in Boston? Not Your Sugar Mama! No, seriously—this new star of the Boston chocolate scene is infiltrating the local shops and being snatched up at an alarming pace. As soon as the bin is filled in my neighborhood market, it seems to empty out in less than a week—and it’s no surprise why. I mean this chocolate is good. Better than good, great.
I can confidently go so far as to deem it
NYSM, which operates out of Martha’s Vineyard, was founded by Bennett Coffey and Kyleen (Ky) Keenan about two years ago. They have a chocolate factory in Vineyard Haven, and sell their chocolate in bars, superfood energy balls, chocolate mix, and more at shops and cafes around the state.
How do I love thee, NYSM? Let me count the ways.
1) It’s not just chocolate: Every batch is hand made from raw cacao fortified with superfoods like maca, spirulina, and goji berries. Instead of refined sugar, they opt for agave nectar to sweeten.
2) Those chocolate makers, they’re clever. Case in point: “Chocolate so fresh it’s cool. Kept cool, that is.” Because it’s raw cacao, it has to be kept in the fridge. Top-quality food with witty word play: Does it get any better?
3) The texture is nothing short of heavenly. It pulls apart like taffy and eats like light fudge.
4) They’re passionate about keeping it fresh, and have their own specific definition so there’s no confusion. Keenan clarified that “Fresh equals nothing has been added or additional processing used to make it shelf stable. That’s why we are in the fridge.” Right on.
5) Oh, and the taste? A miraculous convergence of decadent bittersweet wonder. If your palette’s attuned to such things,
it’s brimming with the flavor of its most important ingredient: love.
What, you can’t taste that? Trust me, it’s in there.
Their success is a no-brainer to anyone familiar with mindful eating. When I inquired about the chocolate making process, Keenan told me, “Bennett is the chocolatier… It’s important to her to infuse good vibes into the chocolate, whether it’s by playing good music or just removing distractions and making it a mindful process.” This little distinction can make all the difference and many people are coming to demand this important aspect of health, wellness, and nutrition in the marketplace.
This auspicious attitude carries over into their whole business model. At present, they do direct trade for their cacao with an association of farmers in Peru. Their goal is to set up direct trade relationships for all their ingredients. When I asked about plans for the future, Keenan responded,
“Willy Wonka meets Hersheys—but better, and healthier. We want our chocolate to be consumed by as many people as possible. Everyone has a right to enjoy this superfood in a healthy way.”
They do, indeed.
Not Your Sugar Mamas is a welcomed addition to Boston’s well-endowed chocolate menagerie. They even have chocolate smoothie powders and hot chocolate mixes perfect for the upcoming holiday season and frosty, snow-filled days. If you haven’t tried this chocolate yet, do yourself a favor and grab a bar at Life Alive Cafe in Central Square or City Feed and Supply in Jamaica Plain.
This was published in Dig Boston by Good Eats Guru. To read complete article please visit http://digboston.com/taste/2012/11/good-eats-guru-not-your-sugar-mamas/