3 Places to buy healthy thinly-sliced bread in Tokyo! : ヘルシーで、細切りパンを買えるトコロ!

As a Thai, I’ve always been familiar with thinly slices of bread whose size is a lot smaller than the famously soft and fluffy “Shoku-pan” bread here in Japan. The first few years here, I tried really hard to search for bread that was similar to one I ate in my home country, but I found it really difficult. Most of the bread here is tall, thickly sliced, very soft, and easily torn. Why can’t I just eat the “shoku-pan”? Well, I’m a health freak who just can’t get over the fact that one slice would cost me more than 230 kcal (average). That left so little room for me to add protein or other jam condiments to my ritualized breakfast. Although some are whole wheat bread, they’re still very high in calories.

My way out is to first go for imported hard crispbread such as that of Kavli, that I could find in many supermarkets. For the crispiness and texture, I like it a lot as I could eat more than 2 slices without worrying. Kavli always has really healthy stuffs.

But I still crave for the semi-soft thin bread to make my healthy sandwich, which can still lock in at around 350-400 kcal AFTER being filled with many veggies and proteins…

After a lot of supermarket hopping and researching, I’m proud to say I have found my finest selections!! Let’s see my top three!

1. Santoku supermarket’s selection: Saint Dolce – rye sandwich bread (6 slices)

Why I LOVE:
1. It’s rye bread, thus very healthy (fiber/complex carbs)
2. One slice has only 57 kcal, you can have  a pair of them and still below 120 kcal..that’s like HALF OF A PIECE OF shokupan! 
3. It’s wide enough to make loads of awesome sandwiches!

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 2. Kinokuniya supermarket: Four-seeds bread (5 slices)

WHY I LOVE:
1. It’s small and thin
2. Loads of walnuts and healthy seeds! (such as pumpkin seeds) and some oats as well…
3. Just plain right tasty!

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3. Kamuraya supermarket at Kagurazaka: Pasco selections!

Pasco is a well-known brand for bread. It has so many different kinds of bread but ONLY a lot of rare (and healthy) ones are sold here!

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From top: The front of supermarket…not too far from the Kagurazaka station (Tozai Metro line); whole wheat bread!! Thin slices x 5, with raisin and walnut variations…WANT THEM ALL!

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From top left: Wheat Nuggets (20 thinly-sliced whole wheat bread!! and taste so good by the way); Yume-chikara Bran rolls (6 healthy rolls made from bran, hence lots of fiber here – and it’s on sales lol); whole wheat English muffins (4 muffins, sliced into 2 for ease of making sandwich – healthy!! and it’s on sales too haha)

Note: For the wheat nuggets, you can sometimes find it in some other supermarkets though very difficult. For instance, I saw it in the super in Tokyo Midtown. If you are like me who need to have certain kinds of bread, please do me a favor, take a short trip to this awesome station and get buy those awesome bread. PS: there are a lot of interesting shops that sell good ingredients for Italian cooking there too!

Now all you have to do is to get creative about your next awesome healthy sandwich for lunch!

Pure Cafe: Indulge in Vegan Delicatessen! ピュアカフェで、ボリューム満点のビーガンフード!

So, I have been frequenting myself with Omotesando/Aoyama area lately since…you know….there are loads of healthy/organic/vegan/anything-with-a-lot-of-veggies cafes! One of those is called “Pure cafe” that I used to visit once many years back. I went there many times this couple of weeks because I found my new addiction: “Little Bite” cookies. Here’s how they look like! The left is cocoa flavor; the right is cinnamon maple flavor. My first love is cocoa but the cinnamon is not bad at all. Now I’m torn so I bought both.

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They are gluten-free and vegan, hence, no egg, white sugar, dairy products. Despite the lack of those traditional ingredients, they are sooooo good! I don’t allow myself to indulge much in desserts, but these little cookies are exceptional! I put myself on thread-mill just to eat them. That’s how bad my addiction is. Someone save me. lol
If you wanna share my love-guilt relationship with the cookies, you can buy online here and suffer with me.

Anyway, apart from a variety of cookies/healthy vegan snacks on sales here, Pure cafe provides amazing lunch! And it’s no girl-eats-salad kinda lunch, there’s a lot of food. I went for lunch with my friend and we were SO full and satisfied. Here’s mine: deep-fried Tempeh and veggies huge sandwich lunch set.

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From left to right: small carrot cake (dessert), salad with beets dressing, lentils and veggies tomato stew, my huge sandwich, and minestrone soup. In the end I left the bread out or else I’ll die. lol

Apart from this, other famous lunch menus are different kinds of grain salad, Taco rice, and salad plate. Order anything, you’ll get to eat your veggies and dessert! Price is 1200 + tax.

Check out the menu and access here! Omotesando station, B3 exit

Choose your no-meat day and find an excuse to indulge in amazing food here 😉 
(I’m gonna miss this place so bad…)

Dates Milk?? Spot at Lawson : ローソンでデーツミルクを見つけた!

Upon my morning walk (and a short break at Lawson), I found this!!

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Arabian Dates milk? This is a product from Tanashi, a major milk manufacturer. It includes 25% of dates juice and loads of Potassium! I have NOT tasted this though. A bit unsure if I would like it. haha

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The whole cup is about 128 kcal, 3.8 g. of protein, 2.3 g. of fat, and 23 g. of carbs. The boost here is the 600 mg. of Potassium, which is 1/3 of its daily needs.  

Anyone tried this? Tell me how it’s like!!
PS: I found this lady who tasted it and she said it’s mildly sweet. 🙂

Why did I just find this “Caspian sea” yogurt!?

This amazing “Caspian sea” yogurt has been sitting in supermarkets for years. I have seen it but never ever picked it up. And now I feel guilty. Only until a couple of days ago I ran out of yogurt and somehow decided to buy this home. The next morning the Aha moment happened to me when I dipped a spoon in the tub and lifted it. The waterfall of rich and creamy yogurt stretched from my spoon into the bowl. Never seen anything like it. Not as concentrated as the greek yogurt, but very stretchy and creamy like glue. (okay that is just to give you a mental picture)

There are 2 brands of caspian sea yogurt I spotted and tried recently:

1. Glico’s non-fat caspian sea yogurt (left)

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This “Caspian sea” yogurt is so dense, so creamy, so soft, and yet so low in calories! Per 100 grams, it contains only 40 kcal with 0 g. of fat. Unlike other “non-fat” yogurt, it doesn’t contain sugar either! WIth equal proportion of carbs and protein (about 5 g. each) it is actually an ideal yogurt to support the morning routine. Again, normal non-fat yogurt needs a lot of added sugar to compensate for the lack of fat, hence making it high in carbs and is unnaturally sweet – almost to the point of too sweet for some of the brands. This added sugar also liquefies the yogurt, making the texture very watery. When poured out of the tub, you can observe water coming out first.

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2. Fujikko’s Mochiri (right)

This is smaller in size and has some sugar added. One serving is about 100 kcal, 10 g. carbs, 5.5 g. of protein, and 4.5 g. of fat. This is SUPER DENSE AND CREAMY AND CONCENTRATED. YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. Period. No more I could say. It’s so good and satisfying. If you’re hungry in the middle of the day or have a late night working day. Go to any convenience store and grab this little magic in your hand. Your tongue and stomach will love you for doing so. It has 1/3 calories of normal cream cheese, and is suggested as the alternative thereof to spread on a baguette. As dense as greek yogurt, but the texture in your mouth would be different.

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If you spot these fancy blue tubs of yogurt in any supermarket, just be brave and give them a try!! I think they will be really good for baking as well! Indulge people!

A little bit more about Caspian sea yogurt itself, you can read more here: What is Caspian sea yogurt?

A short excerpt from that website: 

Caspian Sea Yogurt is different from regular yogurt in its viscous texture and mellow taste. The viscous component EPS is produced by Cremoris FC. which is found to have many health benefits:

  • Improve of constipation
  • Prevention of declining skin condition by stress and other skin disorder, like Atopy
  • Increase the activity of cells related immune system in the body and prevent from disease
  • Suppression of cholesterol and its absorption

Dr.Yamori, Honnor professor of Kyoto University investigated the foods consumed in the Cocassas region, the birthplace of this Caspian sea yogurt. Among several yogurts, he found that Caspian sea yogurt might be the long kept secret of the people’s long longevity.

Review: Morinaga Banana (+Jujitsu veggies) Puddings : 森永の新しいバナナ野菜プリン、おいしいかな?

So I have been wondering about this new pudding from Morinaga recently: Veggie juice-banana pudding (Jujitsu yasai de oishii Banana pudding) .

Here it says Banana pudding with 20 kinds of veggies and fiber. Banana itself would have been nice but with veggie juice?? (this is a cooperation between Itoen’s jujitsu 60% veggie juice series and Morinaga)
So…I bought it just to satisfy my curiosity. Let me tell you about its label first: 120 kcal, protein 2 g., fat 4.3 g., carbs 17.6 g., and fiber 2.9 g. Compared to many other puddings, 120 kcal is pretty normal, but it can be better in terms of lower fat and higher fiber. Check it its product website!

Its flavor profile, HOWEVER, is really ambiguous or “Bimyou” as we say in Japanese. It’s not totally sweet. The sourness came after a while, leaving kinda weird aftertaste. The texture is normal, just like pudding in general. It kinda tastes like you are drinking diluted veggies drink with added sugar in a pudding form. lol

Sorry, morinaga….This pudding is not cutting it for me.

More pudding reviews are coming, so stay tuned!

Innovative containers: Morinaga VS Meiji: 新鮮な「しまるボトル」森永 VS 明治

Recently, Japan has been really innovative about how containers look like. In part, I think they stimulate interest in consumers, making them pick up the product and hence increase the possibility of the first trial. It’s really refreshing to see this kind of innovation starting to pick up the pace in Japan. While flavors and contents of drinks are always changing depending on the seasons, their containers have remained the same for the past years. Only recently that Morinaga has started the trend.

First and most exciting innovation would be PREMiL! New concept of milk targeting those in their 40s-60s. There are 2 types of product options: one with fortified calcium and protein but still creamy (in blue color) AND one with added fiber and BB536 bacteria (purple color).

Now..look at their packaging! People thought these are yogurt drink at first…because the color and shape is similar to the existing package of some yogurt brands. When they picked the product up, read about it, the surprise factor came in when they realized it’s actually milk! The idea is that it would be easy to open, to pour (so the milk won’t spill if you squeeze the bottle too hard), and to keep. Some complain that it might be difficult when you need to cut the bottle for recycle purpose. Read more here: PREMiL

And then…Meiji followed suit with this bottle series…called “Shimaru bottle”. Shimaru is to close something – in this case the bottle.
Recently launched in combini are 2 variations of dairy drink: super creamy latte and matcha latte. Claiming that the cap allows you to keep the milk from spilling and to keep it for later consumption in case you don’t finish the whole thing. (the term “re-cap” is used in Japanese) Most products in the market are in the form of tetra box, so once you open you can’t really keep it long. Read more here: Shimaru bottle
Here is how the “Shiro no hito toki” (creamy latte) and matcha latte look like:
明治白のひととき 430ml辻利 かほり抹茶ラテ 430ml

They look pretty similar, no? What do you think? Do these new shape of bottle makes you wanna buy more?

New Healthy Almond-milk Pudding!

I am a frequent investigator of convenience stores, especially Family Mart which seems to be everywhere: next to my apartment and in my office building. It has been long since I really found something sweet that I would crave but I spotted this milk pudding yesterday during hunting for my lunch at Famima. So yes, BOUGHT IT! Tried it too and I like it.

Why it’s good? 

1. So low in sugar!: only 3.3 g. which is about 77% less than the normal pudding in the market (I think it’s 77% sorry if I’m not precise)

2. Made from Almond milk: the flavor and smell is really nice and mild

3. Low calories: only 67 kcal! Could be a perfect little dessert after your meal! (totally guilt-free) Normal pudding would be about 120-150 kcal or more.

My opinion is that it’s really a good choice if you just look for something small to round up your meal. (or if you’re on a diet) But if you look for something more indulging and rich, full texture..this might not be for you.

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How my “food for office” looks like

Just another random post I’d like to share. Here is an example of what I buy from Family Mart in the beginning of my working day. It usually consists of some drink, caffeine in certain form (coffee/red bull), healthy? snacks, and sometimes lunch.

On this particular day, I had to attend some presentation during lunch time so I did not have time to go out. I bought new sandwich product from Famima to try, along with Peanuts-flavor Soyjoy, smoked squid, veggies drink, and non-calorie fruity tea.

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Why did I select these? Let’s start with the tea. I love non-caloric fruity tea lineup from Dydo. They launched 3 flavors now and I love all. This one I bought is relatively new: pear and rose tea. (Details here)

Next, the Soyjoy! Now this is pretty tricky and controversial. I cannot say that this is completely a healthy choice to make. However, it is still better than other chips or chocolate snacks, or even the claimed “high-fiber” biscuits. The trick is to choose the one with lowest sugar possible. As of now, there are 2 soyjoy flavors I bought: peanuts (this one) and chocolate-almonds (I wrote about it here)

For another item for snacking my way during the morning and afternoon, I selected soft smoked squid! It’s still my favorite no matter how many times I ate it. The whole pack is about 60-70 kcal with about 6 g. of protein. Instead of eating sugary stuffs, I think it’s a pretty good chance to take in more protein! Plus, it’s so aromatic and intense in flavor. Once you put it in your mouth, it’s kinda hard to put down. (and it’s relatively cheap too! 108 yen)

I also bought Kagome veggies drink, just to feel like I’m taking veggies, which is so ironic. haha I don’t fully support people to rely on this kind of drink, but just on the day that you know you won’t have a chance to get a proper serving of salad, this may come in handy. Be sure to get the 100% veggies one and not the one with juice blend.

Last is the new sandwich! I was quite excited about this new sandwich from Famima. Why? It’s rye bread with basil/chicken and colorful veggies fillings. The taste is pretty delicious although the chicken is not that substantial. It’s so yummy and flavorful. The texture is good too: you get a crunch from almonds and green beans which goes well with the softer texture of the bread and basil spread. It tastes quite similar to the salad product I wrote about before. The whole pack is around 350 kcal, so….not too bad I think. However, to be honest, this sandwich though delicious still cannot beat the ones from Starbucks whose both quality and price are higher.

Let me know what you bought from your nearest convenience store!

Find your “convenient” healthy food at Family Mart: ファミマでヘルシーランチアイテム!

How to find healthy stuffs in the nearest Family Mart store when you just don’t have time to do your bentou and don’t wanna spend too much eating outside. (or you’re stuck in the building on a rainy day) I have some ideas!

1. Protein: Smoked chicken slices or pastrami beef slices 

At 204 yen, you will be so satisfied both with the flavor and the protein intake. I LOVE the chicken slices! It’s so good you couldn’t tell it’s from Famima (shortened for Family Mart in Japanese). The beef is equally good so you definitely should give them a try. The chicken is about 150 kcal for the whole pack and the beef about 100 kcal. 

2. Salad

A. Basil salad for half of your color veggies intake (1/2日分の緑黄色野菜が摂れるバジルサラダ)
First, this is actually my all-time favorite. Pros: delicious and crunchy at 70 kcal. Con: pricey (220 yen) and small serving.
But it’s famima and no salad is sold in big portion. So, there needs to be some trade-off. I like it the most of all other salads though.

 1/2日分の緑黄色野菜が摂れるバジルサラダ

B. Spinach and Hijiki seaweed salad for your iron intake (Yuzu flavor) (ほうれん草とひじきの鉄分サラダ(柚子風味))
This is a great choice to add in your fiber and iron for the day. Love the crunchiness of edamame and renkon. It’s a litle bit cheaper at 198 yen.

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C. Hijiki seaweed and Edamame salad with steamed chicken (ひじきと枝豆の鶏サラダ)
Fiber and protein and good fat makes this salad ideal side dish for your lunch!

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D. Seaweed and fried jyako fish salad (海藻と揚げじゃこのサラダ)
I ate this so many times! Super low in calories but the texture and crunchiness is unstoppable! Super high in fiber and refreshing, very suitable for summer. 🙂 

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For a quick and healthy lunch, pick either of the proteins above and pair it with one or two of the salads plus a piece of brown rice onigiri if you want some carbs. Instead of onigiri, you can also switch to Greek yogurt Partheno for more protein, or instant soup (choose the low-sugar one). I suggest you pack some fruits from home to office and eat it about an hour before lunch to keep your hunger at bay. 🙂

Try it out!!

New addiction: Crispy chickpeas snacks! (Review): かるマメ:ひよこ豆がそのままスナックに!

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My newest addiction lately!!! Found this first time at “Newdays” convenience store inside JR station and I couldn’t get enough of this. 

Can’t get healthier than this cuz it is just chickpeas and chickpeas only! (Plus oil and salt) Made super crispy that I couldn’t stop munching it. 

Calories wise: the whole thing is 96 kcal, 3.6 g. protein, 5 g. fat, 7.9 g carbs, anddddd 2.5 g fiber!!  

Next time we get out of the train, find the nearest kiosk or Newdays combini and try it out! (Only 108 yen too!)