As the CEO of a coconut milk ice cream maker, Daniel Nicholson promotes healthy living. It’s a philosophy he takes home with him, whether he’s running at Zilker Park or enjoying a meal at one of his favorite local restaurants, Uchiko.
NadaMoo! — eight flavors of organic, vegan and gluten-free ice cream — began when its founder, Amy Ramm, decided to make her sister’s transition to a diet with no dairy, eggs, soy, wheat or sugar a little sweeter. Although Ramm no longer has a stake in the company, the frozen treats have taken off. In Austin alone, the pints are available in many stores and even a couple of eateries, including Snack Bar on South Congress Avenue and vegan joint Counter Culture on East Cesar Chavez Street.
Nicholson, 29, is part of that success. After getting a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas and spending a year abroad in Spain, he joined the staff of NadaMoo! and noticed the benefits of cutting out dairy (although he still eats cheese). He doesn’t just rattle off facts about eating well; he tries to live by those words, too.
The other key to a healthy lifestyle is keeping fit, he noted, but Nicholson would probably run and train even if it wasn’t. He enjoyed working out with Camp Gladiator, an outdoor boot camp, for a couple of years, going to local spots like Auditorium Shores, Zilker and other locations even in stifling summer heat.
He’s also a runner, pounding a path not just on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake. He’s made a track out of the city streets at 5 a.m., when there isn’t much traffic. That’s the best way to experience Austin, he said — to watch it fly by while running.
“You see the city through different eyes; you have this different interaction with it,” Nicholson said. “I’ll notice things I wouldn’t if I were driving, and it’s given me a deeper appreciation for Austin’s natural beauty.”
In addition to morning runs, he now goes to the Atomic Athlete on Airport Boulevard, a warehouse gym where he makes sure to take advantage of nearby green spaces, like Govalle Park, for some extra outdoor exercises.
Then there’s all of Austin’s myriad dining options — one of which is especially close to Nicholson’s heart because his uncle is opening it. No Va Kitchen and Bar, opening soon, is a Rainey Street spot that he said will offer up “gourmet-style comfort food” from chef Brad Sorenson. Sorenson, who appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped All Stars” and “The Next Food Network Star,” previously worked at Italian trattoria Asti on East 43rd Street and has big plans for this new project.
“I think he put it best when he said ‘I want it to feel like their grandma is cooking, except their grandma went to culinary school,’” Nicholson said about Sorenson’s vision for the bright red building across the street from Rainey classic Clive Bar.
Nicholson’s own company recently unveiled changes of its own. NadaMoo! has some new flavors for fans to try, such as sweet cherry lime, the company’s first fruit-based ice cream.
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