Bread: My biggest weakness in Peru

Let me just start by saying that I had no idea what Peruvian food was before I got to Lima, and quite frankly, I thought it would be similar to Mexican food. Oh how I was wrong.

During our pre-departure meeting with the President of EdOdyssey (program that Holy Cross does study abroad through in Peru), I shouldn’t have brushed off the president’s comment about how we will probably gain weight. At the time, I had just ended my 12 year competitive ice skating career and was still in great shape.

At Holy Cross and at home, I had never struggled with finding and choosing healthy food options. My favorite foods were, and still are, fruits and vegetables  in addition to a daily dose of ice cream. In Kimball dining hall at Holy Cross, I would indulge in a blueberry muffin on Mondays and Wednesdays for breakfast, but I would always accompany it with a big bowl of fruit. My go-to lunch and dinner was a bowl of brown rice with grilled chicken and a bunch of lettuce and salad fix-ins, topped off by some balsamic vinaigrette. When garlic knots were served, I gladly indulged. When I was craving a bagel, I also indulged.

Yet as I previously stated, my entire time at Holy Cross was characterized by a busy combo of studying and ice skating. Each week I practiced up to 6 days and about 18 hours. I could easily afford to eat bowl of ice cream or a garlic knot here and there. But at the same time, I was astutely aware of the importance of eating well, getting my daily greens, protein and sources of nutrients.

So here I am in Peru… and Bread is my weakness.

I think of students studying in Italy and I’m like, “yeah, I could see how they’d gain weight from eating lots of yummy pasta.” But in reality, I think the carb intake of a Peruvian diet tops a daily dose of pasta.

For breakfast, we get two rolls of bread (pancitos) and an egg, as well as a fruit smoothie.

For lunch, we are on our own. I would go as far as say that about 95% of food options, at restaurants, at bodegas, and at the university, are carb based. Most peruvian dishes include a combo of potatoes and rice. If you’re lucky, you’ll get multiple types of potatoes in your meal! Additionally, among quick snack or lunch options there are empanadas, croissant sandwiches, and triple sandwiches which have about 4 or more pieces of bread in them.

For dinner, our host mom serves us Peruvian food. More bread, potatoes, and white rice.

Each week I tell myself I am going to cut down on how much bread and bread-related foods I eat. But bread is my weakness. What’s a post-dinner tea without a piece of bread with jam?

As I continue to fill my body with carbohydrates and attempt to save my body at the gym each day, all I want is a salad. I miss Kimball. I miss the Pub and being able to design my own salad. I miss the accessibility of healthy options. I miss the days when I didn’t have to tell myself to not eat bread.

Don’t get me wrong, Peru’s food is great! Matter of fact, apparently Peru is the “Best Culinary destination in the World” for the 7th consecutive year (World Travel Awards).

So I guess the point of this blog is to share with you that when someone tells you that you will gain weight in Peru, they are probably right. And if you have even the slightest affinity for bread in the U.S., bread will probably become your weakness too if you come to Peru.

Here’s to another month of bread intake and looking forward to numerous salads and platefuls of vegetables when I get back to the states for Christmas!

Traveling Around and Parents Weekend(s)

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the chance to do some traveling and also to have a wonderful visit from my parents!! Before my parents arrived, I enjoyed a high altitude, yet super fun and adventurous, trip to Huaraz. It was wonderful bonding with friends and getting to know new people as well. During the weekend, I stayed with four friends in a local hostel which was housing lots of people who were visiting Peru. It’s amazing how many people travel alone and make friends at each stop during their travels. During one of our hikes, Grace and I got to know two lovely ladies from Portugal and Holland.

The following weekend, I welcomed my parents to my new home of Lima! We took a weekend trip down south to Puno and then while I was taking classes during the week, my parents took a trip to the jungle and stayed at the same lodge I stayed at in August! To round off their trip, we had a few days to explore Lima and do some sightseeing around the city!

Enjoy the pics!!

Grace, Lisa (exchange student and friend from Germany), and I in front of the Pastoruri Glacier
Grace, Lisa (exchange student and friend from Germany), and I in front of the Pastoruri Glacier!
Puya Raimondi plants and a cloudy sky
Puya Raimondi… a cool cactus/pineapple looking plant! It is native to the high andes of Bolivia and Peru.
Beautiful Landscape of Pastoruri! Lake in the foreground and mountains in the back.
Beautiful Landscape of Pastoruri!
The lagoon 69 sign and the lagoon in the background
A TOUGH hike but WE MADE IT!! High altitude and steep hiking are a difficult mix but the view of Laguna 69 is worth it for sure!
Sarah standing in front of the Lagoon 69 and the mountains in the background
wrong school apparel… oops
Sarah and grace and two other women squating in front of Lagoon 69.
Grace and I with our new friends!! It’s amazing how nature and adventures can bond people from all over the world!
Host mom and brother with my parents
Parents meet host mom and host brother!!!
Sarah and her parents standing in front of a lagoon at Sillustani, a pre-incan burial sight
My parents and I at Sillustani, a pre-incan burial sight.
My dad standing next to a large tomb at Sillustani.
My dad standing next to a large tomb at Sillustani.
Image of a sign at a parade.
Right place at the right time! We got to witness two parades while we were in Puno! This one was over 2 hours long and was put on by a school in the city. The parade included dance performances, a celebration of golden wedding anniversaries, the history of the World and of Peru, as well as bands and more!!
Sarah's dad excited to eat the anticuchos which are on the plate in front of him
Dad very excited to try out another peruvian dish, Anticuchos (cow heart)!
My mom and I on an Uros Island, which is constructed of reeds and floats on Lake Titicaca.
My mom and I on an Uros Island, which is constructed of reeds, and floats on Lake Titicaca
My parents posing on Taquile Island!
My parents on Taquile Island!
Sarah and her mom with the sun setting and sitting on top of a boat.
My mom and I enjoying the sunset over lake Titicaca and the cool evening breeze atop the boat on the way back to Puno !
Peru flag and Sarah from behind.
Sarah's parents standing together in front of a park in Barranco.
Parents after a stroll around beautiful Barranco, a municipality of Lima. I don’t have any pictures, but we also stopped at a book fair and I was able to grab some new books and a few christmas presents for people!
French toast with berries!
Last but not least, my DELICIOUS french toast at brunch in Barranco! After eating peruvian food for five months, little tastes of home always hit the spot! 10/10 would recommend stopping for brunch in Barranco!!