Gearing Up for RENEWAL in 2015 with Homemade SHRUBS & SCRUBS!!!

Posted on December 30, 2014 by Erika Davies | 1 Comment

     January is just days away and we're positively giddy!  We promise its not just all the delicious raw chocolate we eat- but anticipation and excitement in looking forward to the freedom of renewal that comes with the turn of a brand new year!  This month we're taking this crisp opportunity to focus on self care, detoxification and shedding what no longer serves us.  Re-assessment, re-alignment, and re-setting of intentions that reflect our most current state of well-being, allow for a major mind/body update.  New goals provide momentum, enthusiasm, and confidence in an active pursuit of our highest ideals in 2015.
     January is a fantastic time to dig deep.  Patience and compassionate self inquiry can provide us with so much clarity and insight, and, help to identify opportunities for growth and personal development.  With some light house cleaning, organization, and heart-based internal dialogue, its amazing how much space we can find in old familiar environments.  A little consolidation goes a L O N G way!  Once we're aware of what we've got to work with- reclaiming the space and filling it with love and fresh perspective is a joy in itself.
     Our mixologist Nathalie prepared to kick off her new year by sauntering into the kitchen and indulging in a little soul-food plant-medicine and DIY body care!  Below you'll find recipes to slough off what is no longer useful from the inside out.  Whether you're drawn to the warm and satisfying or fresh and invigorating, she's got you covered. So here's to you in 2015! Get mixing, keep breathing.  Countdown to renewal starts N O W! 
winter shrubs
     Shrubs, aka 'drinking vinegars', are sweetened, vinegar-based syrups originating from medicinal cordials of the 15th century. This American version has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used instead of citrus juice to preserve berries and other fruit for the off-season. Because of their acidity, shrubs are well-suited as an apertif or used in cocktails as an alternative to bitters.  Our favorite way to enjoy them is simply mixed with a splash of sparking water!
     In her recipes, Nathalie used apple cider vinegar- rich in enzymes and potassium, it supports a healthy immune system by promoting digestion and balancing pH.
2 C Strawberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 C Honey
6 Star Anise
1/2 C Water
and 1 C Apple Cider Vinegar (reserved)

To Make: Combine all ingredients except apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Once a simmer is reached, lower heat and continue to simmer for an additional 10 mins.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Pour mixture into a quart-sized glass jar and add 1 C of cider vinegar.  Shake and let sit at room temperature for 2 days.  To use, simply strain the mixture and enjoy!


Juice of 2 Lemons (rinds reserved for later use)
1 large knob of Ginger, sliced thinly
3/4 C Honey
1 C Apple Cider Vinegar
To make: No simmering necessary for these next two recipes!  Simply mix all ingredients in a quart-sized glass jar.  Let sit at room temperature for two days, strain and enjoy.
4 small Apples, cored and puled in a food processor
1 C Cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 C Honey
1 C Honey
To make: Again, no simmering necessary!  Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized glass jar.  Let sit at room temperature for two days, strain and enjoy.
     What cleansing initiative would be complete without a daily self massage?  Many of us already know that our skin is the largest organ of our body, but did you know that our skin and lymph system are responsible for removing up to one pound of waste material from our bodies per day!?!!  As part of your daily or weekly self-care routine- use these scrubs to slough off dead skin cells, promote circulation and lymphatic drainage, and increase your appreciation and acceptance of your innately perfect and beautiful body!  Your tissues will respond to your love and affection.
     Winter is notorious for drying out the skin, dulling it and weighing you down. New year-new you! Now is the perfect time to nurture your Self inside and out, and reveal the warmth and brilliance of your natural complexion!
Mix together the following ingredients and slather on!
1 C Coconut Palm Sugar
1/2 C Coffee Grounds
3 T Raw Cacao
1/2 tsp. Peppermint Essential Oil
1/2 C Almond Oil
1 C Coconut Palm Sugar
1 T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 T Ground Cloves
1/2 C Almond Oil

Posted in all natural, almond, antioxidants, chocolate, cinnamon, clean, cleaning, cleansing, coconut oil, coconut palm sugar, coffee, coffee addiction, conscious, courage, cravings, creative vegan, creativity, culinary creativity, detoxify, diy, diy bath and beauty, diy bath products, diy beauty, earth, energizing, energy, exercising, feel good, focus, gifts, handmade, health, Healthy, healthy holidays, healthy lifestyle, healthy living, healthy treats, high vibration, highvibrational, holiday, holistic, holistic health, inspiration, joy, local, love, make it yourself, martha's vineyard, mental, metabolism, mixology, mood swings, motivation, MV Times, natural, new look, new year, not your sugar mamas, notyoursugarmamas, nutrition, nutritious, NYMS, nysm, organic, positivity, raw cacao, recipe, recipes, resolutions, season, self-care, selfhealing, support, the beauty that moves, treats, vegetarian inspiration, well-being, winter, women owned businesses

Cacao for Beauty - Inside & Out

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 0 Comments


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Posted in antioxidants, Healthy, Martha's Vineyard, marthas vineyard, natural, NYSM, organic, Raw chocolate, Superfoods

Not All Fats Are Created Equal - 4 Reasons to Eat Coconut Oil for Health

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 1 Comment

There are many stereotypes about fats in general, let alone saturated fats. We talk with a lot of people who are concerned with fat content because of the misconception that fat contributes to weight gain. We'd like to clear that up that not all fats are created equal, In fact, coconut oil is profoundly healthy for you and actually contributes to weight loss, not weight gain. In the last years it has become even more popular because of its treatment for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Here are 4 reasons to add more coconut oil to your diet.

Boosts your thyroid - Your thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body -  it controls the way you metabolize food, the way you use energy, lose and gain weight, how well or poorly you sleep. 

• Increases your metabolism & promotes a lean body and weight loss 

Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCT's which are fats that are easily digested and immediately burned by your liver for energy, like carbohydrates without the inulin spike, BOOSTING your metabolism and helping your body USE FAT FOR ENERGY as opposed to storing it. HENCE, becoming leaner)

Supports your immune system - Nearly 50% of the fat found in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is considered a miracle compound because our bodies convert lauric acid into monolaurin which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.

More information can be found here

Posted in antioxidants, coconut oil, healthy, MV, natural, not your sugar mamas, NYSM, organic, raw, yoga

Featured in 7a Food's Blog!

Posted on July 05, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 0 Comments

Raw Chocolate Lovers Rejoice


Part of our mission at 7a foods is to hand select quality foodstuffs for our store. In staying true to our mission, we’d like to bring Not Your Sugar Mama’s into the spotlight and talk a little about raw chocolate and the women who make it.

Growing up, Bennett Coffey came to the Vineyard every summer. Lucky for us, Bennett made the island her permanent home three years ago. Since then she has earned a living teaching sailing and yoga, gardening, catering, and a one-night-gig working at a fine dining restaurant where she was not asked back after one too many wine glasses were broken.

From 2008-2009 Bennett attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. During her time there an alumnae gave a lecture on the benefits of raw chocolate and passed out free samples. Bennett was hooked. “They were delicious,” she remembers. “And I felt different after eating it.”

It turns out, chocolate, when not mixed with dairy and sugar, is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. It is also remarkably rich in magnesium, which balances brain chemistry, combats depression and builds strong bones. Eating chocolate in it’s raw form diminishes appetite, enhances relaxation and promotes better sleep. Upon learning all this, Bennett wanted to share the good news, that chocolate can be good for you!

Bennett began by making chocolate for family and friends as gifts. The positive response from those lucky taste-testers prompted Bennett to try out new recipes, experiment with different ingredients and ultimately secure a commercial kitchen space, and then, with the help of a friend, Kyleen Keenan, Not Your Sugar Mama’s was born.

Recently, Bennett and Kyleen opened a small chocolate factory in the Tisbury Marketplace (next to Rocco’s pizza). Don’t worry if you cannot get to Vineyard Haven because Not Your Sugar Mamas is currently sold in 50 locations in the New England Area, including 7a Foods.

Cheers to healthy chocolate and stay tuned to the 7a Foods blog for more profiles on our specialty products and the great people who make them.

Look for Not Your Sugar Mamas chocolate bars in our refrigerator!

Check out the article in 7a's Blog

Posted in antioxidants, cacao, cape cod, central, chocolate, conscious, factory, focus, food, health, Healthy, Martha's Vineyard, marthas vineyard, MV, natural, Not Your Sugar Mamas, nutrition, NYSM, organic, raw, Raw chocolate, Superfoods, well-being, yoga

Food Focus - GREEN

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 0 Comments

How do greens affect your body? Read this fresh article to find out!

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Posted in conscious, detoxify, focus, food, green, health, kale, leafy, mental, natural, nutrition, NYSM, organic, physical, spring, vegetables, well-being

Cacao-An Amazing Pre Workout Food

Posted on April 18, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 0 Comments

 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 p
urest form – raw cacao? Now were talking.

As a member of my college’s Cross Country team, it didn’t take me long to discover the correlation between diet and athletic performance (try eating a heavy turkey dinner before banging out a 5K against D1 running machines… not the best combo.) Eating light in the form of a primarily raw diet, however, gave me the energy and competitive edge I needed to win races and achieve incredible sustained endurance.

Most recently one of the foods I’ve found to b

e a miracle pre-workout snack is raw cacao! This came about the other day when minutes before I departed for the gym, I scarfed down two large pieces of raw chocolate.

“Oh man,” I thought to myself, “this is definitely going to give me a nice bellyache half-way through my run.” Not to mention the sluggishness I thought I’d feel, believing that cacao was more of a “heavy food” (compared to something like a cucumber.)

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. To my most pleasant surprise, I found I had such incredible energy and more focus than I’d had in quite some time! As I cranked out a very productive workout, I thought about how valued cacao was in ancient Central and South American cultures, and that’s when it all started making good sense to me.

When I was through, I decided to do a little investigating on cacao’s positive impact on athletic performance. Here’s what I found: (Oh, and I started all my research old school – at the actual library, baby! But also found some cool articles online about cacao as a food for athletes.)

First and foremost, let me say this: the first thing I learned is that chocolate is truly a “food of the gods”! In their book The True History of Chocolate, Sophie and Michael D. Coe explain how cacao comes from the tree Theobroma Cacao. It was dubbed this majestic name in 1753 by 18thcentury Swedish scientist Carl von Linne. The second unit of the binomial (theobroma) is from the Greek and literally means “food of the gods.” Cacao, I found, was chosen for it’s barbaric resonance (makes sense since it later would spark some rather tempestuous behavior amongst its ancient consumers.)

Apparently, this bean was so valuable to the early natives of Central and Southern American cultures, they used it as their currency (one bean for a large tomato, 100 for a large turkey hen.) So, if to entire cultures this food was literally edible gold, there must have been some astronomical benefit to consuming it, right? But what could that have been? And could it have had anything to do with the extreme energy and enhanced mood I experienced every time I ate it? I think yes!

The Olmecs, members of the earliest American high civilization, were the first group of people to harvest wild cacao pods that they used to make into a chocolate drink. Shortly after, the Maya began cultivating the plant in the Yucatan Peninsula. Next the Toltecs, then the Aztecs, until eventually it was happed upon by the Spanish Conquistadors. But these guys weren’t indulging in creamy truffles and chocolate bars – they were gulping the stuff down in liquid form in a drink they would create using cacao powder mixed with water which was sometimes sweetened, sometimes flavored with various spices.

The most extensive medical study of chocolate was conducted by French dr. Herve Robert. In it, he found a slew of mood altering and enhancing chemicals that occur naturally in cacao. Caffiene, theobromine (similar to caffeine), serotonin (a mood lifting hormone), and phenylethylamine (a mood changing brain chemical similar to dopamine and adrenalin) are some of the chemicals in chocolate that create an anti-depressive and stimulatory effect.

So I originally started off believing that it must be the caffeine in chocolate providing me with that clean, intense energy burst I had experienced at the gym. But after reading a few books on the history of chocolate (and a very interesting one indeed!) I learned that it is in fact a constituent known as “theobromine,” an alkaloid structurally similar to that of caffeine, that occurs in greater quantities in cacao and that acts as a stimulant and promotes strength, endurance, and enhanced mood.

In Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K Bealer’s book The World of Caffeine, it’s stated,“(Aztecs) only nobility and warriors had the opportunity to partake of it. Although they knew nothing of theobromine’s physical and mental stimulating powers, the Aztecs were convinced that chocolate imparted both strength and inspiration from Quetzecoatl, and it was chiefly owing to its pharmalogical powers that cacao was highly esteemed.”

One of the earliest surviving accounts of the traditional method of creating chocolate from cacao beans was recounted by a European man who had recently returned to Venice after an American expedition in the company of Cortes. He explained how the natives created a chocolate drink with fortifying powers by pouring it from vase to vase and letting it foam (kinda like a cappuccino from what I gathered).

He goes on to explain: “This drink is the healthiest thing, and the greatest sustenance of anything you could drink in the world, because he who drinks a cup of this liquid, no matter how far he walks, can go a whole day without eating anything else.”

In a publication simply entitled Chocolate, Marcia and Fredric Morton provide a statement further supporting evidence of cacao’s use for its endurance enhancing qualities: “Finally – and probably of most importance to the war-minded, empire building Aztecs – chocolate was so certain to confer vigor and strength that in early times it was reserved for rulers and soldiers.”

So there you have it. Cacao really is a food of the gods and of the athletes. Now before you grab your yoga mat and head off to sweat it out at a Bikram session or throw on your Asics to pound pavement, do as the Mayans and Aztecs and Conquistadors did; have some chocolate!!!

By Amelia Cahilane

Posted in chocolate, fitness, health, mental, natural, Not Your Sugar Mamas, nutrition, NYSM, organic, raw, Raw chocolate, well-being, workout

New Location in CT- Tyler English Fitness

Posted on April 09, 2012 by Kyleen Keenan | 0 Comments

Located at 12 Cheryl Drive in Canton, CT, this Fitness Center was founded by Tyler English, Farmington Valley's leading fitness expert. His facility promotes and encourages those who are seriously committed to creating lifestyle change for personal health and fitness.

It's also Connecticuts only results guaranteed bootcamp. Check them out!! 

Posted in canton, CT, fitness, health, natural, Not Your Sugar Mamas, organic, workout