So I am aware I have done it again with the long break between posts however I thought I would  accrue some time here in NYC in order to really get a feel for the life here before I share my insights into the food, culture and nutrition, so that there at least be a little weighting to my perceptions.

Having returned just over a month ago from my amazing European adventure, setting up a base in the eclectic and exciting East Village of Manhattan, I certainly have had a change in surrounds from the gorgeous cities of Italy, along the French coast, and the rest of the cities I have visited and shared my travel tales with you about.

My east village apartment in the NYC- very eclectic

My shower/ bath in my kitchen- can’t say I have ever done this before! (I guess you only live once, so why not do it for a few weeks!)

In Manhattan, the streets are always loud, meaning there are fireworks that seem to go off every night around midnight followed by the token police siren I have grown to know and love. The constant beeping from taxi drivers that turns into one long honking marathon whenever one driver fails to move quickly enough at the intersection with the lights, and of course the simple screaming that you hear because in general, a lot of Americans speak quite loudly!

I have had a somewhat amusing scenario in my apartment building with someone continually setting up little displays in the front corridor where everyone leaves the building from..I still haven’t quite understood what is going through this persons mind!

strange display at my apartments front door

Strange display at my apartment buildings front door

Strange display at my apartment buildings front door

Strange display at my apartment buildings front door

Strange display at my apartment buildings front door

Strange display at my apartment buildings front door

My contribution to the strange display one day…it was gone the next morning! (almonds and a tea bag!)

It has been interesting to see the variances in the type of people that live within blocks of each other. Sitting in the park typing away on my laptop I can see sitting within metres of each other people that are half naked sunbaking and playing on their iphones, as well as those that have body paint and are dressed in rags and speak as loudly as humanly possible. I think the disparities are eye opening for anybody to see, and simply taking the time to feel your surrounds can make you more greatful then ever for what you have.

Travelling Dietitians office in the park in the East Village of NYC

My neighbours dog Cooper that was very similar to my little Riley from back home who I happily took to the park!

My area is known for its food and I certainly have made the most of all the different cuisines at my disposal! I had always wanted to try a latin american food called an arepa which is a corn based pita bread that is baked and then grilled and filled with pulled meats, salads and interesting spiced sauces.

Side salad that was served with my arepa

Arepa filled with pulled beef and black beans (I modified the menu to my likings of course!)

Delicious healthy brunch from Westville which is a block from my home

The famous Katz deli, sandwiches are huge, lines are huge, prices are pretty huge by NYC sandwich standards

Travelling Dietitian out for New York restaurant week at Aureole

Being my curious self, and having a million little organic and health food shops, as well as supermarkets (including wholefoods) on almost every corner around where I live, I have been my usual self sampling the “health” foods and finding some real gems from a manufactured product perspective!

Amazing high fibre and protein wraps filled with omega 3’s and are low GI

High fibre and protein wholemeal pita breads that are low GI and low in calories

Shirataki mushroom noodles- low calorie, contain protein and fibre!

I have noticed that the safety of the food supply system here, particularly in regards to what has to be labelled by law on food products, and  genetic modification, is far more of a concern then back in Australia. I was amazed to hear that allergens do not have to be pointed out on all labels i.e a product that was made on equipment that contained nuts did not necessarily have to acknowledge this compared to back in Australia where you would always see this. Genetic modification is another big problem, with no labelling requirements, and it basically being assumed that something contains a genetically modified ingredient unless it specifically specifies otherwise! No wonder people are so sceptical about what they are eating over here and the organic movement is so large.

Pistachio muffins that contain no pistachios

Continuing to meet with more gorgeous dietitians from within my industry I have had the pleasure of being included in PR company cocktail parties, a tour around the Frito-Lay chip manufacturing plant in Connecticut, as well as the amazing Chobani Soho launch at their new greek yoghurt bar in Manhattan.

The PR company cocktail party was delightful, being included by a dietitian who was here from Philadelphia who totally went out of her way to get me an invite, we got to sample a range of products (some more healthy than others!) with mamma chia drinks, tequila, and Activate flavoured waters being the clear standouts in my mind.

RD Kristie and the Travelling Dietitian at a BlogHer event by Formula PR

Activate water that you screw the top and the nutrient and flavour natural enhancers mix into the water

I was absolutely shocked (in a good way) to see the Activate waters as they had a screw top that released the vitamin and flavour ingredients into the water bottle as you twisted a part of the lid. This caused the water to change colour in front of your eyes which was quite a fun user experience. I had been working on this idea at the start of the year with my group at college for a different product category I had an idea in, but wasn’t sure how the bottle design worked (clearly I’m not an engineer!) to see it unravel in another product was fascinating for me and very nice to see someone put forward the concept in reality!

Before I even got to the tour in the morning I saw a Lays truck in Manhattan..must have been a sign!

The Frito-Lay tour was very interesting with there being a clear underlying marketing message trying to be shared with the RDs and health editorial writers that were invited. It was great to see the time line on product development by the company over the past 30 years, and see how they shifted with the trends of what consumers wanted based on public health campaigns i.e. low fat chips, no fat chips, low sodium chips, gluten free chips, as well as the companies overall biggest shift to utilise all “natural” ingredients and push their main message that their products were simply potato, heart healthy oils and natural flavourings.

Lovely lunch they set up for us upon our arrival at the Frito-Lay site

I thought that some of the comparisons in regards to sodium were interesting, when they compared how a snack packet of chips falls compared to a slice of bread, a yoghurt, and even a glass of milk. Obviously opting to leave out any information regarding any other micronutrients that the other foods had to offer. I was thinking that the way this was portrayed could be quite convincing to someone who doesn’t have a nutrition or health related back ground.

Sample packs of a range of their products- interesting the colours and flavours dont reflect the combinations that are used in Australia- Red Doritos are called Nacho Cheese, not Cheese Supreme..although they taste the same as Cheese Supreme..confusing to the Aussie!

We had the pleasure of sampling products straight off the conveyor belt, and even tasting the dough before and after it was baked, fried and salted. Lets just say the dough on its own would not lead to over consumption by anyone (even the biggest chip lover out there!).

Travelling Dietitian and her RD friends about to go on the tour of the Frito-Lay plant

Travelling Dietitian at the Frito-Lay tour- fresh local potatoes about to be transformed into chips!

…and then there were chips


We were shown the huge towers filled with oil that are used, and were explained that there is no waste products here except for starch off the potatoes which is sold to companies that make glue! Apparently with all the product that is made at this one plant, no end products stay there for more than 3 days..just goes to show how popular their chips are!

Hot Doritos coming down the line at the Frito-Lay tour

On a slightly amusing note, we were asked to assess some fresh Doritos that had just come off the line on a scale of 1-4 based on how good they looked  and tasted compared to a standard chip which was meant to be the ideal that they were going for.

Travelling Dietitian assessing the Doritos to make sure they were good enough to sell!

I picked up on that I thought the Doritos all looked and tasted a lot more oily then back in Australia..and to all of our surprise my instincts were correct! I was told that the recipe back in Australia is for a dryer corn chip based on the Australian consumers taste preference!

So there you go..maybe if the dietetic career doesn’t go to plan I can be a professional food sampler!? (I was told there are women who do this for Frito-Lay on a part time basis..literally being paid to come in and continually sample their products and pick up with their highly sensitive pallets what is wrong with the products!).

Overall it was great to see the plant in action and how passionate and loyal all the workers were there. You could tell that if they had longstanding employees who had been around for 30 or more years, that they obviously were doing something correct in regards to looking after their staff.

Chobani Soho has opened and is very stylish and delicious

The Chobani Soho launch was another exciting event that I was kindly invited to, meeting more dietitians and sampling the full product line that is on offer at the new stylish cafe was a treat beyond description! The evening was lovely and the food was delicious (as one would have expected).

Travelling Dietitian pays Chobani Soho a visit

In my mind that never seems to stop coming up with new products and services, I had thought prior to knowing about the launch of this store that there should be a greek style yoghurt bar given the high protein content and the popularity of all the frozen yoghurts in America (and Australia now). I am waiting for a frozen greek style yoghurt bar to come out..I sense this is next on someones list of things to do!

Travelling Dietitian with more gorgeous registered dietitians at the Chobani Soho launch

I see the Chobani store being branched out into another fantastic food truck…how could that not work?!

Chobani Soho greek style yoghurt made into a savoury dip

Chobani- middle eastern style with figs walnuts and honey..yum!

Chobani- super decedent- peanuts, grapes ans grape conserve

Of course mixed in with all of these adventures there has been brunches, evenings on the town and plenty of down time for me to simply focus on my work and figure out my next steps in life.

Taking one of my lovely Australian girl friends out for her birthday brunch

Out for my girl friends birthday one evening

As with all places, there are pros and cons, by no means does living in NYC equate to what one sees when they visit for 2 weeks. From the supermarket line being out the front door at 7pm at night, the humidity in the air being up at 90% or more in the summer months, to the constant hackling from men to the point of selecting to hibernate in my apartment rather than bracing the world, one can certainly say I have been exposed to it all.

There are people that have gone above and beyond their call of duty to look after me in this city, offering to help me professionally and personally, and I can genuinely say this appears to have happened more so than anywhere else I have ever been in my whole life.

Meeting spot with another lovely dietitian- Cafe from the movie “you’ve got mail”

I certainly feel there is a sense of comradeship between people, most likely given that at one stage or another, most people appear to have been the newbie to the city (you don’t meet that many people that are born and bred new yorkers).

Either way, with all the pros and cons, I certainly can say that I am happy to be here and could see this being home, at least for a period of my life.

What is to come next, I honestly do not know. Exciting opportunities appear to be presenting themselves in both Australia and America.

What I do know though is that you always have to continue to pick yourself up, keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps are, and just see where life takes you with an open mind.

The adventure is not over yet..

I hope the insights into NYC have been somewhat enlightening or at least entertaining for those of you around the globe!

But for now,

We keep on carrying on,

The Travelling Dietitian x

Travelling Dietitian over in Brooklyn getting a different view of Manhattan

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

6 Responses

  1. Jessica Levinson (@jlevinsonrd)

    Welcome to NY! Sounds like you’re off to a good start – so many fun events and great eats! I just moved out of the city and miss it already. But luckily I’m not too far away (only 30 min north). Hope to meet you at an RD event soon!

    • Travelling Dietitian

      Thanks Jessica! What a shame we have missed each other. Yes I certainly hope we get an opportunity! If you are down in the city do let me know as it would be lovely to meet you in person quietly and hear all about your ventures and excitement!

  2. 59550

    I live in Höhbeck, Germany and my career in fact deals
    with this field. Zeal for what you feel and in putting
    it into words is a real talent. Your informative article
    contains the perfect combination of passion and
    well-written, interesting information that I’ve come to love and respect.

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