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Meet Sanae Ferreira of Where the BlueBoots Go

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sanae Ferreira.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sanae. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Boston to well-educated immigrant parents and we had very humble beginnings. My parents worked very hard to provide the opportunity for me to focus on my education and creative pursuits. Most of my upbringing took place in Chicago, where my love for art and design was born and cultivated in a vibrant city of theatre, jazz, and architecture. I loved learning – just about every subject – and envisioned myself living abroad.

My love for art brought me to learn French, which I studied from 2nd grade all the way to the end of college. Getting to know people and their stories is something I picked up from my mom, and I inherited her interest in languages. I’m fluent in French, studied Spanish in college, and know a little German, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, and a handful of words in Swedish. I landed in Boston for school, and have been other places since, but returned in 2011 to go to graduate school in Nutrition and Metabolism.

I started my blog right before I began graduate school. It was initially a place for me to house recipes for my culinary experiments. Growing up in a household with deep cultural traditions around food and flavors, my love for food, color, and flavor is closely tied to the fabric of who I am. Then Where the BlueBoots Go grew to include, poetry, songs, anecdotes and observations. A few years ago, I discovered there were many bloggers here in Boston who built a supportive and inspiring community, and I decided to check it out.

The rest is history! I have since made some wonderful friends and gotten to meet others with similar interests in wellness, style, food and travel and my blog, Where the BlueBoots Go, has given me a way to connect with fellow adventurers in life across the globe. Recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my professional and creative careers have started to merge. The journey of struggles I will talk about later caused me to seek out wellness resources and then inspired me to share them with the communities that I belong to.

I earned a Ph.D. in nutrition and metabolism, which gives me a unique perspective on the complex world of how what people eat at all ages affects their risk of disease. Every other day, it seems that nutrition advice fluctuates from supporting to condemning a certain food or behavior. In that sense, nutrition is a difficult field to be in. Nutrition is very personal. I wrote my thesis on some early-detectable factors in young girls – including body shape, social and family factors in the psychological environment – that contribute to the later risk of overweight and cardiovascular disease.

I believe in the power of the primary prevention of illness to support a lifetime of wellness as the key to health across the lifespan, starting with solid caregiver support in childhood. Child wellness starts in the womb, and with the health of the mamas! With many friends and relatives who have children, I’ve observed the real challenge today of getting nourished. Not everyone is like this, but I personally think that food should be enjoyable, healthy, and delicious. Nutrition advice is often over-generalized in the media or not as well-supported by evidence as it should be, so I got to thinking about how I might be able to serve others in this field and make it fun.

In comes my passion project: The On the Table Collective – a new collective community with short podcasts – a gastronomical + scientific series sharing stories around the experience of American food culture and providing nutrition insights with an entertaining, accessible and informative scientific twist. Do you have a story around food – a childhood memory? A question? Parenting woes? I would be thrilled to have you as a guest on my podcast – please do write into onthetablecollective@gmail.com and let’s chat about what’s On the Table! The first episode is up (https://soundcloud.com/dr-sanae-ferreira), with more ready to go. Fascinating insights from chefs and restaurateurs are coming soon!

Please do reach out via Instagram, Facebook, or email to say hello, suggest the next place I should venture to, or the next dish I should try – I would love to connect! Check out what I’m cooking #cookingwithbluebootsgo, and join in and post parts of your own wellness journeys with #mywellnessadventure.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Navigating the pressures of graduate school while pursuing my creative passions filled the past several years with many challenges. With the help and encouragement of friends and family, I practiced to see myself as they saw me instead of all the many little rejections and snafus along the way and that helped me to keep my head up high.

I learned to be persistent and fearless in using the power of asking – without asking, one misses the chance to discover many possibilities. Regardless of where you are and how you feel about yourself today, I encourage you to embrace a little fearlessness and get creative to make opportunities to connect with others and find the resources you need to achieve your goals. This was my experience many times when I couldn’t get the advice I needed, expertise in a certain area, or experience.

Finally, learning to be open to learn from ideas that are very different from your own can bring fresh life to endeavors! I said “learning” many times here because these aren’t “one and done” moments – I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be kind to yourself when you’re facing a struggle. Be your own best friend first.

Where the BlueBoots Go – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a creative scientist and problem solver – give me a complicated problem and I rather enjoy brainstorming to find a solution and thinking about who in my network I know who could render aid. Whether it is at my dining table over a plate of lovingly prepared food, or in a conference room, few things delight me more than gathering with others over great conversation and feeling that delicious spark of connection.

I’m currently open to collaborations and projects in the non-profit space in mission-driven organizations: if you or someone you know is working on fascinating projects related to education, wellness, nutrition, mental health, women’s health, child/adolescent health industries, I would love to meet and see how we can help one another! I also accept free-lance science writing requests. Let’s connect!

Over on my blog, Where the BlueBoots Go, writing about wellness, professional development, featuring up-and-coming voices and entrepreneurs and visually inspiring content are things that I particularly love. You are more than welcome to check out my latest artwork @inspireebys (Instagram.com/inspireebys) or message me about custom pieces or if you are interested in booking a showing of any of my pieces. “Inspiréebys” is a moniker that means Inspired by S (Sanae), where the inspirée is taken from French.

Don’t forget to tune in to On the Table and follow us on Facebook here (facebook.com/onthetablecollective) for updates and opportunities to engage, or be a guest and share your story.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am grateful to have had many great moments in the last year, actually. Before my birthday (which was in July) I like to reflect on the past year and see the growth.

Some of my proudest professional moments thus far have been:
-I graduated with my Ph.D. in Nutrition and Metabolism from Boston University School of Medicine.

-Launching the Women’s Professional Development Committee at Boston University, an example of an instance of problem-solving that arose from a passion for making a difference and improving the experience of community and mentorship by graduate students like me. It has brought together some awesome young women together for a common goal of lifting all of us up together as women in science.

-Showing my artwork at the Female Arts Showcase a gallery event hosted by Red Sky Studios in March. This event was in honor of National Women’s Month where 100% of the proceeds of this sold-out show went to the 1st women’s shelter in America – Rosie’s Place

-Publishing my personal self-care strategy “The Wellness Tray: Learn how to create a portable wellness retreat and make self-care a priority, anywhere at any time” in Issue # 9 of international indie Thoughtfully Magazine.

-Advocating for funding for science and better regulation and transparency around skincare and beauty ingredients on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren was a highlight!

-Painting LIVE at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston during a sunrise Daybreaker fitness event.

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Image Credit:
Lara Woolfson, Studio Nouveau, Brian Ferreira, Dzmitry Hliakau, Amy Friel

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