Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Same Sport, Same Start, Same Food

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    Olympic speedskaters Chris Creveling and Kyle Carr both hail from the Lehigh Valley, got their start at the Frenchtown Roller Rink and even prefer the same pre-race meal.

    "We make our own Pho here in house," said 27-year-old Creveling, who will represent the U.S. in three events.

    Carr, 27, is also a fan of the traditional Vietnamese soup.

    "It is an excellent middle of the day kind of food," he said.

    The dish is a staple of the Vietnamese diet, said Nancy Nguyen, branch manager of the BPSOS Delaware Valley, a nonprofit that serves the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia.

    "For Vietnamese folks, we could eat it for all meals of the day," she said. "Even though the name is simple, the dish is really complex."

    Nguyen says the soup's base typically consists of a beef-based broth that simmers for hours to bring out the flavor of the bones and various spices, including cinnamon, cardomon, coriander and ginger.

    Typically the meal comes with a hoisin sauce, Sriracha chili sauce and a plate of garnishes- thai basil, cilantro, lime, bean sprouts and several varieties of Vietnamese mint leaves, she said.

    With rice vermicelli as one of the main ingredients, the soup also works for Creveling's gluten-free diet.

    Plus experts say pho is a solid nutritional option for the athletes.

    "You want to try to eat the maximum amount of nutrients without weighing you down," said Emily Rubin, a registered dietician with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. "It is like a four-course meal for an athlete without the bulk."

    Estimates suggest the soup offers about 24 grams of protein when it contains chicken or beef and as much as 50 grams of carbohydrates.

    But Amy Kaminski, a registered dietician who advises the Flyers, says the soup is better suited for the Broad Street Bullies to consume after competition.

    "It could be a good post-game meal to replace any sodium lost," she said.

    She adds that the broth helps with hydration, but recommends additional water or sports drinks to achieve the right fluid-sodium balance.

    Dieticians develop individualized plans for each athlete and Kaminski advises testing out any new foods on a practice day before incorporating it into a game day routine.

    For any Philadelphians who want to try Pho, Nguyen recommends the chicken version at Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thanh at 2539 Kensington Ave. in Kensington, as well as three South Philly restaurants, Pho Ha Saigon at 320 Oregon Ave., Pho Ha at 610 Washington Ave. and Mekong River at 1120 S. Front St.

    Even though Creveling and Carr will not be dining on Pho from Philadelphia, the duo is likely to slurp down the Vietnamese soup prepared by the team nutritionist before they hit the ice in the 5,000 meter relay on Feb. 13 in Sochi.

     


    Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, alison.burdo@nbcuni.com or follow @NewsBurd on Twitter.