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Happy Sunday – I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine! Unfortunately, I’m stuck inside today studying for my written Food Science exam tomorrow (our cooking lab final exam is on Wednesday). As you can imagine, I’m seriously counting down the days until my last final on May 15th. I get an entire TWO weeks off from school (including a week in California to visit my family) before organic chemistry hell begins – so I’m very excited.

Over the course of the semester, I’ve noticed that I’ve left studying more and more to the last minute for each exam…kind of just started studying for this one yesterday…I’m sure it will be fine. Time to learn the fine art of cramming, given I have already mastered the art of procrastination. 🙂

Thankfully, I got to enjoy the slightly chilly but beautiful weather yesterday during my first long run outing to Prospect Park. I can’t believe it took me this long to run in Brooklyn! I wanted to check out the first 7M of the Brooklyn Half Marathon course and also just needed a break from Central Park. I am definitely going back – was a slightly longer journey but worth every extra minute. It was relatively quiet during our first few laps (my running buddy and I started nice and early), super green, had a different vibe that I liked and somehow the smaller loops made the miles go by quickly. I had feared doing four + loops would get really boring, but those 12 miles flew by! Maybe it was just the fact that we were in a new environment.

As for hills, I was trying to gauge if it was about the same as Central Park, so I could prepare E given he won’t have a chance to check out the course before May 19th. If you run counter-clockwise, there is one big hill that isn’t quite as steep as Harlem hill but it’s longer (about 0.4M). You run two loops, so you hit that hill twice. I think it probably ends up being about the same. I compared last week’s 11.25M Central Park run to yesterday’s 12M Prospect Park run – and they were both around 430ft elevation gain, and that was with us going out of our way to get more hills in yesterday (we did one loop in the opposite direction, which was a bit harder).

Lastly, I loved that we were able to end our run right at a farmer’s market. I always take the train back to Union Square after a Central Park run and get to hit the market there, but it’s not the same as finishing a run and immediately refueling with a coffee and some well-deserved goodies. It reminded me of being back in London and hitting Borough Market after a river run.

Wandering around farmer’s markets after a long run is dangerous though – I somehow managed to resist eating everything in sight, knowing I had another long day of cooking ahead of me. It hasn’t been the healthiest week, with bread and pastry classes as our last two labs, but it’s been fun! Here’s a shot of *some* of the baked goods we made (many were still in the oven when I took this, including my carrot-raisin muffins) – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many muffins, cookies and scones in one day. It’s a good thing I ran long on Saturday!

On Friday night, I did a huge shop at TJ’s to stock up on all kinds of things so that I could practice cooking for my Food Science final exam. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the show Chopped on the Food Network, but that’s essentially half of my exam. The first part is testing our knife skills, then the second part is testing us on three of the MANY techniques we’ve done, and lastly we get four secret ingredients and must turn it into a fabulous meal. Our professor, along with my Physiology professor, will serve as our panel of judges, walking around and tasting/critiquing everyone’s food. I’m surprisingly nervous – I love to cook, and I think I can make something good, but I am a relatively slow cook and I’m not a huge fan of the chaos in a busy kitchen. I would NOT survive as a professional chef, that’s for sure!

So, what have I practiced so far? On Thursday morning, I made poached eggs, which I placed on top of roasted sweet potato and onions. My eggs didn’t come out perfectly – I was using medium sized eggs so I didn’t have as much white as I would like – but I think I have the technique down. Friday night, I made quinoa, which was a bit challenging given I don’t have a lid for my pot, but a plate sufficed (kind of). I pan seared some chicken and attempted to make my first sauce – used white wine to deglaze and then added chicken stock. This is very simple, except that I was very tired after a long day (I had been up in the Bronx for a City Harvest training – which is going well btw!) and didn’t pour off the hot oil. So, of course I set off the smoke alarm and my sauce was a disaster. Thankfully, the chicken tasted great as did the roasted Brussels sprouts and fennel, and the braised fennel I had made earlier. For the sprouts, I did what my teacher told us and put aside a bunch of leaves, tossed them in some olive oil and salt and roasted them separately after the sprouts to incorporate some nice crispy leaves into the rest of the dish.

Yesterday’s menu included mushroom risotto, pan fried chicken and pan fried fish (I wanted to practice breading and pan frying things, as I never do this for myself), banana muffins, braised chicken legs and making sauce thickeners (roux and slurry). I didn’t get to the last two items, but everything else went quite well! For the risotto, I used a Lidia’s Italy recipe, although I used baby bella mushrooms and sauteed them after adding the onions and shallots. Super easy and so delicious – I can’t believe I haven’t made risotto before. My arm hurt from all the stirring though!

Making muffins was my food science experiment – I took an old recipe for “healthy” banana bread that I’ve used in the past and tried to improve it based on what I’ve learned in class. I won’t go into the science here, but as you surely know, each ingredient (sugar, fat, type of flour etc) plays a specific role in the outcome of a baked product, and you can’t randomly add ingredients as you can do (to an extent) in cooking.

Now that I am starting to understand the science behind it all, I looked at my old recipe and it didn’t really make sense – I don’t even know where I got it from, or if I made it up, to be honest. Why was I using more baking soda than powder? I never really understood the difference between the two until now, and it seems like it should be the other way around. Why water and not milk? Why was I using all whole-wheat flour? Surely to be healthier, but it leads to a different texture and volume than half whole wheat half white. Why egg whites and not whole eggs? So I thought I could play with the ratios and ingredients to make it better while also practicing the “muffin method” of mixing: sift your dry ingredients, in a separate bowl combine your wet ingredients, mix them together with a few strokes and then put them into your muffin pan and into the oven.

I’m not an experienced baker and don’t have many pieces of equipment in my apartment (like scales) so I still didn’t really know how much of each thing I should be using – for instance, if I was balancing the apple sauce and mashed banana with the appropriate amount of flour, sugar etc – but I tried to look at different recipes and the info in my textbook to make an educated guess. I made my own applesauce by slicing two granny smiths and cooking them with a little water and cinnamon, and added a dash of lemon juice at the end. SO GOOD and so easy. I removed the skins (and ate them – yum!) and added them to my two mashed ripe bananas. I used two medium eggs rather than three egg whites; two teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda; one cup whole wheat and one cup white flour; 1/2 cup milk rather than water (kinda guessed on the amount – but wanted to try using milk); 1/2 teaspoon salt; about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts; and one teaspoon each of cinnamon and vanilla. Here’s the result:

So what was my verdict? The flavor was GREAT – definitely improved upon the old recipe (although to be fair, it really needed improving – tasted way too healthy). The egg yolks added some fat which made them more tender and added flavor, as did the milk; the white flour improved the texture/volume and together with the altered chemical leavener ratios, made the muffins less dense than my previous batches. They didn’t have any oil or butter though, and I’m not sure I got the dry to liquid ratio quite right – the were a *tiny* bit dry, so maybe I could’ve used a bit more milk or even lowfat rather than nonfat milk, or a little vegetable oil, but for a healthy muffin I was VERY pleased.

The other issue probably was from overmixing, which leads to too much gluten development and thus a tougher product. One of the important things about the muffin method is NOT mixing until the batter is smooth – a few lumps are okay – so you just mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. I struggled with this because I needed to mix quite a bit to get all the dry ingredients moistened, which perhaps means I didn’t have enough liquid. I know I overmixed because there were some holes in my muffin – otherwise known as tunneling. They also were a bit less tender than I had hoped, but overall the texture was good considering the ingredients. I had a few this morning for breakfast and they were delicious with my coffee – not sure they will stay fresh for very long though without any oil or butter, so I put most of them in the freezer for future snacks. Here are a couple photos – kind of looks like a smiley face, a kind of evil this-is-what-you-avoid-when-making-muffins face!

Right, well it’s now getting late and I still have hardly studied for my exam, so I better get to it!

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How many of you take a multivitamin or other kinds of supplements to ensure you are meeting your body’s needs for vitamins, minerals and other substances? My guess is a fair number – whether it is to improve bone health, fight a cold, get your dose of omega-3 fatty acids, raise your iron levels, improve your performance in your upcoming race….or any of the other countless claims you’ll find on the back of a supplement bottle.

Source

Some of these claims are valid, supported by numerous scientific studies that have been published in reputable journals – others not so much. Will those B vitamins really give you energy, if they have no calories and you are already consuming enough from food? Are those daily mega doses of vitamin C really preventing you from getting a cold or are you just producing expensive urine? I’m not trying to knock supplements – they can be very useful (even essential) during pregnancy, for vegans and vegetarians, for calcium and iron supplementation in deficient individuals, and for all the people who do not have the time, energy or desire to think about what they are eating and whether or not they are meeting their dietary needs.

All I’m saying is that when it comes to supplements, it’s important to take what you read with a grain of salt and never think of supplementation as a substitute for certain foods (unless you do not eat that food in your diet). The goal should always be to meet your needs as much as you can through food because some things, like phytochemicals for example, can’t be bottled – well, they CAN but they won’t give you the same, or any, benefits. Obviously, if you do not eat certain things – such as animal products – you’ll probably benefit from taking supplements of certain vitamins that are predominantly found in animal sources, like some of the B vitamins. But if you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, you can easily meet your needs through food alone.

In case you’re wondering why I’m writing about all this – I have my last midterm this afternoon for Nutrition & Health, covering protein, vitamins, water and minerals. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s post, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick rundown of the important vitamins and minerals to test your knowledge (and mine!) and perhaps introduce you to a few new pieces of information. I’m short on time so I’ll just review the vitamins today.

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients but differ from the macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat and protein) in that they are non-caloric and needed in very small amounts. Some vitamins are fat soluble – vitamins A, D, E and K – while others are water soluble – vitamin C and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B12, B6, biotin and pantothenic acid). What does this mean? Simply that some are stored in the liver and fatty tissues (fat soluble) and thus do not need to be consumed as frequently, while others (water soluble) are readily excreted by the body and thus need to be consumed on a more regular basis. This also means that toxicity is more of a concern with fat soluble than water soluble vitamins because they can build up in your tissues (particularly the liver) – but most often this only occurs from over supplementation or chronic consumption of fortified foods.

The Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A is predominantly known for its role in vision, as severe deficiency of vitamin A results in permanent blindness. Other roles include maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, regulation of gene expression (protein synthesis), maintenance of the cornea (the transparent outer front part of the eye), skin and mucous membranes (things like our digestive and respiratory tracts), and it also supports immune function. The most active form of vitamin A in the body is retinol, which is found in animal sources such as fortified milk and other dairy, liver (the richest source, since vitamin A is stored in the liver) and eggs.

Surely at some stage you’ve been told that carrots are good for your eyesight – that’s because the precursor for vitamin A is beta-carotene, which is found in plant sources such as sweet potato, apricots, carrots, mango and other fruits and vegetables within this yellow to red to orange color. The body does not use this form as efficiently (12 micrograms of beta-carotene is the equivalent of 1 microgram of retinol), but they are still great sources of vitamin A and have been linked with reduced cancer risk, perhaps because of the phytochemicals they contain. Spinach and fortified cereals are additional sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin D plays an important role (along with calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body) in maintaining bone health during growth and throughout life. Vitamin D may also help prevent chronic disease development, but research is ongoing in this area.

Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that we can make ourselves, with the help of UVB sunlight. Sunlight transforms a cholesterol compound in the skin (one of the reasons why it is important to have cholesterol in our body!) into a vitamin D precursor, which is then absorbed into the blood and sent to the liver and kidneys to be converted into the active form of vitamin D. However, the goal is to obtain vitamin D from food as well – good sources include fortified milk, egg yolks, enriched cereals and fish products (salmon, canned tuna and cod liver oil, for example).

Vitamin E is best known as a powerful antioxidant. It protects the body against damage by free radicals, or highly reactive oxygen molecules formed during normal cell metabolism. Good sources include vegetable oils (fresh, raw oils like canola oil are best, since vitamin E is destroyed by heat, food processing and oxidation), green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts, wheat germ and whole grain foods (lightly processed).

Vitamin K‘s main function is to help activate proteins involved in blood clotting. It also plays a role in bone health in that it assists in the synthesis of bone proteins, which bind minerals (calcium and phosphate) to bone. Like with vitamin D, our body can create vitamin K (our intestinal bacteria or healthy gut flora does this) so we are able to meet our needs both from food and from within our own body. The only rich animal food source is liver, while the richest plant sources are dark leafy greens (1/2 cup of dark leafy greens exceeds our daily needs). Other sources include oils, fortified cereals and grains, cabbage, cauliflower, soybeans, milk and eggs.

The Water Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin C is probably most well known for its role in supposedly fighting the common cold, in addition to preventing scurvy (which I believe we all learned about in grade school??). With regards to the latter, vitamin C maintains the connective tissues in the body, playing a critical role in the formation and maintenance of collagen (which is why without vitamin C, we see symptoms including bleeding gums and loose teeth, which indicate collagen breakdown – at least I remember reading about that when learning about scurvy many many years ago…). Vitamin C supports immune system function and protects against infection, and some research has shown that it may decrease the duration and severity of symptoms, but it hasn’t actually been shown that it prevents a cold. So when you pop those vitamin C pills, there’s probably more of a placebo effect going on, as well as a weak antihistamine effect if you’re taking large doses. Lastly, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant – in particular, it protects iron from oxidation in the intestine (and helps us absorb more iron from certain foods if eaten in the same meal) and helps conserve vitamin E, another antioxidant.

The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers and broccoli. Since it is water soluble and breaks down easily, try to cut your fruits and veggies right before you plan to eat them. Also be sure not to overcook your vegetables or steam them directly in water – use a steamer (or even the microwave) or blanch your veggies to retain their nutritional value.

The B Vitamins are a group of vitamins that play important roles in the metabolism of energy yielding nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), protein synthesis and cell synthesis, among other things. These are the vitamins that often require supplementation, particularly folate for pregnant women and B12 for vegetarians/vegans.

Thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin and pantothenic acid all help release energy that is stored in the macronutrients – the first three in particular play important roles in energy metabolism, and are all found in fortified grain products. The latter two are usually not of great concern in terms of deficiency, as most people meet their required needs.

Thiamin is also found in moderate amounts in most nutritious food sources, including legumes, potato, lean pork chop and sunflower seeds, for instance. Riboflavin is present in dairy products (this is why milk is packaged in cartons rather than glass – because riboflavin is destroyed by light), eggs, and some meat and vegetable products. Niacin appears in many protein foods, including dairy, eggs and poultry, and it can also be converted within the body from one of our essential amino acids. Thus, if you are consuming enough protein, you are most likely meeting your niacin needs.

Folate is crucial in the synthesis of new cells (helps create DNA) and in normal protein metabolism, while vitamin B12 helps to maintain the sheaths that surround and protect our nerve fibers. Both vitamins work as a team to make red blood cells, and depend on one another for activation. Folate is usually taken as a supplement in the form of folic acid, which is more readily absorbed than folate, by pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects. Enriched grains are a good source of folate – this is actually why our grains are enriched! The defects occur in the first days or weeks of pregnancy, so it’s important for women to ensure they are meeting their folate needs before they get pregnant. Other food sources include green leafy vegetables, avocado, legumes and seeds. B12 is only found in foods of animal origin, so if you do not consume animal products, this is where a supplement is very useful.

Lastly, vitamin B6 plays an important role in protein metabolism, and helps to make hemoglobin for red blood cells (which is what carries the oxygen in our blood) and maintain blood glucose levels, among other things. It also helps with the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan to niacin – another example of how the B vitamins work together and depend upon one another. Animal proteins are the best source of B6, but you can also find it in beans, legumes, and any soy-based products.

And that concludes the vitamins! I probably lost your attention by now, but if not, hopefully you learned something. 🙂 Now it’s time to go test my knowledge – last midterm of the semester!

But first – a big shout out to all the Boston marathoners out there, including Kristy (Run the Long Road). Good luck with the heat today – stay safe and have an awesome race everyone!

As much as I’m bummed not to be running Boston today, I guess it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t make the cut during registration. I’ve never run in this type of heat! Then again, I’d take Boston in any weather! 🙂 Really hoping I get lucky in Chicago and get a nice cool day!

Sometimes you need to take a few steps back in order to move forward. This is true whether you’re talking about working on form to improve running economy; practicing long tones to become a better oboist; taking undergrad classes to pursue a Master’s; or getting back to basics in the kitchen to become a more advanced chef! Clearly these are all examples from my own life…

So what’s the first step? Dressing the part, of course! I always feel like I run faster when I’m wearing a kick-ass, high-tech outfit, so obviously I had to get a chef’s coat and some essential chef’s tools to support my future success in the kitchen! Granted, I didn’t have a choice – my Intro to Food & Food Science lab required that I buy these things – but I was happy to do so. I love my new outfit – not the highest quality coat, and certainly not the best knife (the insane amount I already spent on textbooks for the semester forced me to keep my budget low), but they will do for now. Not a bad look, right?!

 

In yesterday’s lab, my professor (who is awesome) did a series of demos on various measuring techniques, kitchen tools and cooking methods. We don’t begin cooking until next week (I can’t wait!). She demonstrated how to fluff and measure flour; sauté pieces of chicken; sear a chicken breast; bread and pan-fry a fillet of fish; poach an egg; blanch and shock broccoli; roast zucchini; sweat onions…and much more.

All sounds pretty straightforward and obvious, right? I thought so too, until class started.

As familiar as I am with cooking methods from eating out in restaurants, reading recipes and attempting to teach myself to cook over the last eight years or so, this class was a bit of an eye opener for me. I can make beautiful salads and cook delicious things, but I’m still a rookie when it comes to many of the basics. This is as much due to ignorance as it is to laziness. As a home chef, I often try to make my food look pretty, but I have never thought about searing a specific side (the “presentation side”) of a chicken breast first, for example. I usually use a knife (rather than a thermometer) to make sure something is cooked thoroughly. And speaking of knifes, my knife skills aren’t great (that’s on the agenda for next week’s class). The multiple scars I have on the tips of my thumbs are proof that I need to improve!

Here are a few examples of what I learned yesterday:

  • I’ve always used the terms pan fry and sauté interchangeably – I didn’t realize that there is a subtle difference between these two dry cooking methods, or if I did I never bothered to find out what it was. Of course, it seems so obvious now – I mean, I studied French…
  • I didn’t know that overcrowding my pan while I was sauteing something might have a greater effect on my finished product than simply taking a bit longer to cook (it essentially turns a dry method of cooking into a moist one – with chicken, you don’t get as much of that nice brown color and the meat becomes dry)
  • I understood the concept of searing, but I didn’t really know how to properly do it myself, or that you could turn the crispy leftover bits (the fond) into a sauce
  • I’ve eaten many delicious braised meats and vegetables, but I’ve never braised anything in my kitchen and didn’t know how something is braised (it’s a combo method – first dry, then moist)
  • When breading something, I didn’t know you put flour on the product first before the egg wash and bread crumbs, meal etc (probably because I don’t usually bread and shallow fry stuff – I prefer healthier cooking methods)
  • I’ve attempted to poach an egg a few times, but I think I used boiling rather than simmering water and it was a slight disaster. Once I bought my silicon egg poachers, I never tried again
  • I’ve blanched vegetables before but not exactly as it should be done (30 seconds). I knew that carry-over cooking occurs, but never actually set up an ice bath to shock my vegetables (although I have run them under the tap before).
  • I observed that blanching enhances the color of green vegetables, but never stopped to think about why that occurs (blanching causes the air to bubble away so that it no longer clouds the chlorophyll pigment that is responsible for the green color of plants)
  • I use my microwave to cook vegetables more often than I should – that I already knew though…I really should be blanching and shocking my veg for stir fries and crudites, for example
  • I’ve been measuring flour completely wrong – I’ve been packing it rather than fluffing and pouring it.

Those are just some of the things I realized in class yesterday!

I love to cook – and I like to think that I make food that both tastes and looks good – but when I’m not using a recipe, I’m often just throwing things together. I’m not really thinking about the science or the method behind what I’m doing, and I use a lot of short cuts, which ultimately means that my food may not taste or look as great as it could. Have I ever perfectly seared a chicken breast? Definitely not. But now I know how to do so! Actually, there are two chicken breasts sitting in my fridge, and I am going to put my new knowledge into action! Or at least I’ll try – and try again until I get it right. That’s all you can do, anyhow.

So why am I babbling about cooking methods? Well, perhaps you might be interested in learning a few cooking basics with me this semester! Primarily, however, I want to stress the importance of slowing down for a moment in whatever you do, either professionally or for fun, once in awhile. Whether it’s running, cooking, playing an instrument or something else – take a step back and evaluate your basic technique – the foundation of your strength and success. You may think you know it all – but my guess is that there is at least a little room for improvement.

As promised in my blog entry from Hue, I have finally uploaded, edited and captioned over 400 photos from my whirlwind two-week tour of Northern and Central Vietnam in late April/early May.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to best sum up our action-packed trip – I could try to capture the absolute madness of Hanoi and how we mastered the art of crossing the street; I could go on and on about all the AMAZING, interesting food we ate; I could describe our adventures trekking through the mountainous Sapa region, including our night of drinking WAY too much home-made rice wine with our local tribal host family; I could tell you how incredibly delicious and addictive Vietnamese iced coffee is, particularly after wandering around for hours on a 100+ degree day in Hoi An or Hue; and I could attempt to convey the beauty of Ha Long Bay (well, minus the hundreds of other tourist boats).

But I think it’s best to let my photos (and captions) tell you all about my Vietnamese experience instead. Check out my album here or click below:

Highlights of Northern & Central Vietnam

There were definitely days, particularly in the beginning, where we weren’t quite sure we were enjoying ourselves, but we quickly got into the swing of things. Transport was easy and reliable, the locals were quite friendly (we found the people in Central Vietnam to be nicer than up North, for whatever reason), the food was awesome and cheap, there were tons of interesting things to see and do, and we never felt unsafe. Everything went very smoothly, in part because I had planned all of our transport, accommodation and our two short tours in advance. I usually don’t plan everything, but I figured it would be easiest given how much we wanted to cram into our two weeks.

If you’re thinking of going to Vietnam, it’s a fascinating country, and I’d recommend many of the places we visited as well as the restaurants and hotels mentioned in my photo album. Just be aware that Vietnam is VERY touristy – at least if you stick to the traditional tourist routes, which we decided to do because of time constraints. This of course comes as no surprise! I spoke with several friends who had been there and did a fair amount of reading while planning my trip, so I expected, for instance, that locals would try to sell us things incessantly, even in very random places, and that we would often be overcharged for things. It was annoying and at times dampened the beauty of some of the places we were trying to enjoy, but at least they left us alone after we said no a few times, unlike in Marrakesh. We also discovered plenty of great, local spots throughout the trip which felt more “authentic” – you just have to seek them out, like anywhere else I suppose!

It was a very busy and exhausting holiday, but as you can see we had a wonderful time and I’m really glad we went.  So now I can finally say that I have been to Southeast Asia…

Hello from Hue! I’m about to head back to the craziness of Hanoi for a brief stopover, after an intense 10 days of exploring North/Central Vietnam (Hanoi, Sapa region, Hoi An and Hue) and before my tour of Ha Long Bay, my final destination for this trip. It took me a couple days to get into the swing of things, but overall I’ve been having an amazing experience.

Although I haven’t done much running aside from my one attempt in Hoi An (the heat, pollution, and crazy traffic make it a bit difficult, especially in the cities), I’ve managed to keep quite active, mostly from hiking and walking. Good thing too, because the focus of this trip has without a doubt been FOOD!

I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve fallen in love with Vietnamese cuisine – so many colors and flavors, so fresh and more healthy than I imagined too, which is always a plus. I feared that I would have trouble enjoying a large part of it given my shellfish allergy, but thankfully I’ve been fine so far (touch wood)! My stomach has also cooperated with my daily street food meals and snacks, so either my stomach has grown stronger from all my travels or I’ve been lucky. 🙂

Here I am today, cooling off with an iced cà phê in one of the stalls in Hue’s main market. The coffee here is STRONG, mixed with condensed milk and ice. At first it was a bit of a shock to the system but now I am obsessed with it – particularly refreshing after having walked in scorching heat and 100% humidity for four hours.

I have a very early flight tomorrow so that’s all for now – many more photos and details of my adventures to come!

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

My latest photos

This morning's breakfast bowl isn't exactly pretty, but really delicious and filling! Two fried eggs in a pan with black beans (I used 1/2 cup = 1 serving), a little feta, a few spoonfuls of ricotta, some pesto (random but had some leftover and tastes great with eggs), and 1/4 avocado. Cooked all together for a high protein tasty breakfast! Awesome @onepeloton endurance ride earlier today with my buddy @mattwilpers before enjoying some family time outdoors on this beautiful day. Arielle came to visit afterwards and clearly is a big Peloton fan too! Speaking of which, check out the latest episode of the Clip Out (a Peloton fan podcast) - had such a great time talking all things nutrition and Peloton with @clipoutcrystal and Tom, who are hilarious btw! (Link in bio - my segment ~20min in). Wishing everyone a very happy first day of Fall! 🍁🍂 It's my favorite time of year to get out into nature and go for a run. L'Shana Tova to those who celebrate! We started the New Year with some apple picking at @wilkloworchards on our way back to NYC yesterday. Was so much fun, and Arielle was a great little helper! We don't have much food in the house after being away so these crisp local apples with almond butter will be our tasty, healthy snacks today. Getting ready for the loooong drive back to NYC after unplugging in Lake Placid for my bday! Fueling with a bowl of 5% plain Greek yogurt, bananas, peaches, and apple cinnamon granola. Not much of a view from our balcony this morning of Mirror Lake - swipe right for our view yesterday! So beautiful and peaceful here - minus screaming baby, of course. 😂 #Tbt to earlier this week, when one of my awesome @nutritionenergy clients surprised me with a @levainbakery cookie after we talked about them at our last session. I had planned to save half for my husband (those cookies are seriously dense!), but it was so delicious, I changed my mind and had the second half later in the day. Did I feel bad about it afterwards? Did I end up skipping dinner or working out more to compensate? Nope! I had already eaten a healthy balanced lunch, and it's not everyday that I enjoy such a decadent treat (although you will find me having smaller treats quite often 😀).

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