College Kitchen: A Few Fit Foodie Findings

Buzz-generating food blogger (and U of M student) Lee Hersh shares tales and recipes with the College Cook.

College Kitchen: A Few Fit Foodie Findings

by Samuel Linder

 

Lee Hersh sits straight-backed behind a deep mug of coffee, eyes bright despite the deep purple bags on which they perch. When asked about the nature of brew in her cup, she immediately replies: “Black, the only way to drink it.”

Good food and exercise may be the key ingredients in Hersh’s blog, Fit Foodie Finds, but they are only the crust of her life-pie. School, work and countless extra-curriculars are the filling that her healthy lifestyle (plus a little caffeine) holds in and binds together. This Fit Foodie is out to conquer the world, and believes that the fastest path to fame is paved with yoga and oatmeal.

“People think that you can’t live a healthy lifestyle in college, but I try to show them that it’s possible,” Hersh told the College Cook during a coffee-hour chat. “Eating right can be so cheap and fun, as long as you’re willing to put in the work necessary.”

As a senior at the University of Minnesota who blogs, works a job, helps run the Student Unions and Activities group and designed her own interdisciplinary major, Hersh is no stranger to hard work.

Nor is she a stranger to good eating.

“Both of my parents are good cooks and eat really healthy, so I guess I’ve always been surrounded by great food,” Hersh said.

And that’s where Fit Foodie Finds comes in.

The blog is one part Kashi, one part Martha Stewart and one part workout video. Throw in a dash of self-reflection and a sprinkling of psychological outreach and you have an apparent formula for internet success.

“When I started the blog it was pretty awful, mostly just an instruction book for what you should eat,” Hersh said, laughing. “Then I started putting more of myself into it, like the physical and mental health issues that surround us at college.”

It’s that individual flair that brings people into her world, Hersh believes.

“People don’t want someone talking at them. They like it when they can connect and kind of live through me. I’ve had so many people email me to ask about my life, or to see what I would do in a situation. If I don’t blog for a few days, they’re like ‘Are you OK?’”****

Her candle-like ability to draw fluttering web-moths caught the eye of a bit larger creature — Anytime Fitness. The healthy lifestyle giant asked Hersh to write for them once a week, posting recipes and lifestyle hints in their publications.

“It’s amazing to be able to reach so many people at once. They have hundreds of locations, and when I freelance for them I know that I’m talking to so many people.”

When asked about the potential complications of working for such a massive corporation, Hersh paused for a second.

“There are definitely things that I am not allowed to say, if they would, like, go against the company’s thoughts. But it’s still worth it, because I’m still touching so many people,” Hersh said.

And in the end, that’s where Hersh counts her successes and failures.

Her calendar splayed open on the table next to her, spine carefully aligned with her smartphone and the edge of her laptop. There were no white spaces in the datebook — every tiny block of time was shaded some busy, fluorescent color.

Hersh lives a fast-paced lifestyle, with dishes on every burner at once. She doesn’t burn up, however, because she knows how to fuel herself properly.

“My formula might not work for everyone, because everyone’s different. But it works great for me, and I think it could help anyone in some way,” Hersh said.

For a small piece of that formula right here in your very own A&E section, here is Fit Foodie Lee’s recipe for Strawberry Pancakes. Enjoy!

 

Healthy Strawberry Pancakes

A classic breakfast piece done up for extra fitness.

 

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon agave nectar (optional)

1 large egg

1 1/4 cup milk (I use skim)

1 medium banana, mashed

1 cup diced strawberries

1 tablespoon canola oil

 

Instructions

In a medium-sized bowl, mash the banana until it becomes liquidy. Then mix in the other wet ingredients (egg, milk, canola oil and agave nectar).

In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flours, flax seed meal and baking soda). Then, combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. You may need to add either more milk or more whole wheat flour depending on the consistency (you’ll want a thin, easily poured batter). Finally, add in the chopped strawberries.

Spray a medium-sized skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the batter into the skillet. Cook each side on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.

Top with agave nectar or maple syrup and more sliced strawberries.

 

Variations

Substitute honey or maple syrup for the agave nectar and a nondairy milk (such as almond or soy) for the real milk. Blueberries or raspberries can stand in for the strawberries, and gluten-free flour works instead of the wheat and white.