How to save yourself after OVEREATING! :「食べ過ぎをなかったことに!」

And….it’s December! My favorite month of the year, after January 😛 When we think of December, we probably have a picture of feasts coming our way. It’s both a sweet and bitter experience we have to go through each year: as we indulge ourselves into Christmas cake, fresh baked goods, superb New Year feasts (many rounds for some of us), we spend time into the night thinking about what we have eaten and feel (quite) guilty about the pleasure. So…what else can we do apart from feeling so guilty?

Here are some of the ways you can save yourself and prepare for the next normal routine of eating!

1. Make your digestion process go smoothly.
After you eat, your intestines and stomach are still weak, hence, cannot digest well, To help it to work well even in the case of a lot of food, you should regularly take care of your lifestyle. Instead of drinking “cold” drinks, which would burden your intestines, opt for “hot” drinks such as green tea, which contains the slimming elements to say it simply. Also, eat something that is really soft and easy to digest. I usually went for boiled rice or congee, or just veggie soup. Avoid steak, grilled chicken, or anything that requires cutting and chewing extensively.

2. Stretch your intestines
This can be done very easily by placing one pillow on your back and lay on it. This position will put your stomach at the highest point of your body and you can feel your body stretched. Just don’t put it too high and put at least 30 minutes after your meal before doing this stretch. This would help activate your blood circulation and digestion, which would make it harder for fat to be accumulated.

guilty dessert

3. Burn! within 48 hours after overeat with these 5 foods

Generally, it is said that it takes 2 weeks for the food you’ve eaten to turn into body fat. Hence, do something about it within the first 48 hours may help prevent your weight gain.
1. GINGER: contains enzyme that aids digestion and increases metabolism, hence you’ll burn more. Needless to say, ginger is one of the hottest ingredients in diet products in Japan right now.
2. BITTER MELON: contains Linoleic acid which helps break down the fat and burn energy. Also, it takes stored fat and uses it as energy as well as promotes the action of the recently known good “brown fat.” Eat it with eggs would ease its bitterness.
3. SEAWEEDS: (such as wakame, mekabu, konbu, or hijiki) contains Fucoidan, which prevents the absorption of fat into your body and disposes out. Seaweeds also contain Fucoxanthin, which reduces fat storage and uses excess fat as energy.
4. PINEAPPLE, KIWI, PAPAYA: contain an enzyme Protease, which breaks down protein and helps with digestive process. They also contain Potassium which helps dispose excess water, hence, prevents swelling/bloating.
5. LAMB, BEEF, OR RED PORK MEAT: contain…the famous “L-carnitine” which not only burns fat you recently take in but also the stored excess fat. It’s in red beef/pork meat, but even more so in lamb meat. Per 100 grams, lamb contains 2 times and mutton contains 6 times more L-carnitine than pork does. 

I hope now you have some backup plan and don’t be afraid to welcome the joy of feasts coming this year end!

Source: Gunosy news, July 17, 2014, written by 木土さや
Picture: http://www.sodahead.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Eat these to stay young! Anti-aging food you can eat everyday!

Anybody out there worrying about getting wrinkles? I know we girls are anxious about getting older and aging and all that stuff. Behold! There is no more to be worried about. I’m going to introduce food in each category that contains the highest ORAC value. The higher the value, the higher anti-aging power the food has. (ORAC = oxygen radical absorbance capacity)

Let’s remember some of these food in the below list and incorporate them into our everyday food! (I skip some in the list. Just the ones you could buy in the supermarket here…)

Here are some examples!
– Choose spinach salad (baby spinach) and include some pecan nuts or walnuts, slices of apple or avocado.
– On top of your yogurt, remember to include some blueberries/raspberries and sprinkle with cinnamon.
– When making your curry, choose beanssss instead of meat for a good change, include variety of spices and some awesome veggies in the below list.

Veggies you can find here in Japan (in order fro highest): raw spinach, grilled potato, raw broccoli, raw purple onion

Fruits

Acai (25 grams) = 25675 >> This explains the boom in “Acai bowl” in Japan during these recent years
Blueberry (1 cup) = 9700 >> don’t forget this amazing berry when eating your yogurt!
Raspberry (1 cup) = 6000
Fuji apple (1 apple) = 4700
Plum (1 plum) = 4100
Banana = 1000
Avocado = 700

Drinks

Blueberry juice (1/2 cup) = 3600
Red wine (Cabernet ½ glass) = 7400 >> We still have to give it to red wine
Red wine (table ½ glass) =5700
Green tea (1 glass) = 3000
Orange juice (1/2 cup) = 900
Apple juice (1/2 cup) = 500
Water with lemon juice = 400 >> an easy way to jump start your day with a few squeezes of lemon!
White wine (1/2 glass) = 600 >> Compare this to the red!

Beans

Black beans (1/2 cup) = 7800 >> It also is a resistant starch which – in simple words – is good for weight loss and diet
Lentil beans = 7500 >> my FAVOURITE beans! So high in protein and good for your body ><
Soy bean = 5400
Edamame (3/4 cup) = 5400 >> Good for snacks
Chickpeas (1 cup) = 1700 >> also very good for snacks but watch the calories (and carbs)

Nuts

Pecan nuts (4 nuts) = 2500 >> not used so often in Japan, but you can find it in cooking/baking section
Walnuts (3.5) = 1900 >> awesome crunch! but watch the calories
Hazelnuts (8) = 1000
Almonds (10) = 500 >> it may lose a little bit when compared to their nuts friends above
Peanuts (15) = 500

Chocolate: Dark chocolate (28 grams) = 5900 >> A serving a day could save you!

Spice >> This category has exceptionally high anti-aging effect!

Cinnamon (1 teaspoon) = 7000 >> sprinkle this on my yogurt every morning! 
Clove (powdered 1 tsp) = 6600
Oregano (dried 1 tsp) = 3600
Turmeric (1 tsp) = 3500
Curry powder (1 tsp) = 1000 >> I put so much of this in my stir-fry as well as tomato stew
Ginger (1 tsp) = 500

PS: my mom was happy to know this…No need to use too much anti-aging cream. You can just start from within!

Three Soy milk alternatives you should buy! :買いたい豆乳のトップ3位!

Have you ever stood in front of the milk aisle in the supermarket, staring, thinking, contemplating, and still couldn’t figure out which soy milk is the best one to bring back home? I’m here to help! 

After spending hours after hours in many different supermarkets and tasting soy milk from different brands, I have finally found a few of my favorites. By the way, I’m pretty a picky buyer. I don’t buy soy milk just because it is purely made of soy. I focus on taste and how easy it is to drink and to mix with other food, e.g. my beloved cereals, soup, coffee.

I know this might sound a little bit subjective, but I believe my choices are good for everyone in general. Here are the top THREE soy milk brands that I highly recommend! 🙂

1. AEON’s organic soy milk. (‘Topvalu’ is the brand) As you seen in the photo, it receives many certifications, confirming its quality despite the price. Clocks in at 50 kcal per 100 ml with 4.5 g. of protein, 3.1 g. of fat, and merely 1.3 g. of sugar. Considering protein and sugar content, it is the best choice! Moreover, the flavor is not too “soy”-milky, if you know what I mean. Very smooth texture, no strong smell, not overly sweet nor bitter, easily goes with my cereals and coffee. I’m not saying you won’t taste any soy in it; the delicious flavor is still there! And it’s UNSWEETENED, meaning low in sugar and carbs while it’s high in protein. Don’t get confused with other flavored soy milk products out there. You won’t wanna be drinking sugar.

Where to get this? Look for any supermarket with AEON sign as it has many sub-brands. I bought this at 198 yen (1000 ml carton) at the nearest super called “My Basket”, where everything is sooo cheap! (Cheaper than convenience stores!) Please check it out! More here: Top Valu information page (spelled correctly)

2. Provamel’s Unsweetened Soya milk. This soy milk is imported and thus the price is kinda high. However, once I tasted it, it’s so hard to switch to other brands. The flavor is sooo good on its own. You don’t need to add more sugar nor cocoa powder to cover the soy smell or flavor. it’s so refreshing and delicious I could just drink it as my treat.

Anddddd per 100 ml, it has:
Energy 45 kcal, Protein 3.7 g, Fat 2.2 g, Carbohydrates 2.4 g
Calorie and nutrients wise, it is not a bad choice at all. I just love this cuz of the taste and the lightness of it. Recommended!

But it can be difficult to buy. As far as I know, I found it in Meidi-ya supermarket Roppongi store (Click here for website), Precce supermarket Tokyo Midtown store, and LIMA cafe south Shinjuku store (LIMA cafe website). The latter is just behind my office tower. hehe

3. Otsuka’s Miruku no youni yasashii daizu. It’s a pretty long name. No, actually, it has the longest name ever! It literally means “soy milk that is as smooth as milk” (as in cow milk). I used to be addicted to this as well! Like, I HAD TO drink this and this only cuz I wasn’t well adjusted to the taste of soymilk yet. And this is precisely the main selling point of this soy milk. Its texture is so smooth, the flavor so sweet and tasty and refreshing. You can just drink it on its own. On the package, the brand emphasizes high content of calcium, isoflavone, and protein. 

Per 100 ml, it contains…
Energy 47.5 kcal, Protein 3.2 g., Fat 2.35 g., Carbohydrates 2.8 g.
Not bad for a tasty non-soy-milky choice! It comes with 2 sizes: 950 ml and 200 ml. 
Can be found easiest in most of the convenient stores and supermarkets, especially for the smaller alternative (which is usually seen in many other flavors such as strawberry, green tea, banana, grape,…but I do not recommend the flavor types).

However, when I looked closely at its label, I got discouraged a little bit when the second ingredient on the ingredients list following “soy” is “mizu ame” (syrup) and then sugar. This made me feel a bit like I was taking unnecessary sugar so I switched to other alternatives after.

ミルクのようにやさしいダイズHope you all get some good ideas of what to grab next time! In the end, I encourage you to try for yourself if you find any brand interesting! How to choose from this list: Price and quality wise, choose the first one. Self-reward/high quality, go for the second one. Not so familiar with soy milk? go for the third one. 

How to avoid overeating at dinner party:ディナーパーティに食べ過ぎを防ぐ方法!

Maybe you’re on a diet and are doing pretty well during breakfast and lunch. But when it comes to dinner, you may find yourself fall into the traps of hunger and self-rewarding. You end up eating too much and feel guilty afterwards for ruining your diet routine. Don’t worry! Because there are many techniques you can try out to prevent yourself from overeating IN ADVANCE!

  1.  DO RESEARCH. Find out in advance where you’re going if you have a date with friends or are invited to a party. Check out the restaurant’s menu in advance and see if anything is harmful to your diet or is there anything you can eat. Even better if you can be the one who chooses the restaurant!
  2. EAT CLEAN. If you know that there’s gonna be a course menu or big party meal during dinner, make sure you have CLEAN breakfast AND lunch. NO SKIPPING MEAL here. “Clean” just means regular meal with enough protein and nutrients. Try to avoid any fatty fried food or high-calorie items during the day.
  3. HAVE MID-AFTERNOON BREAK. This is really important! See what time you have to meet up and have the following snacks in BETWEEN your lunch and the dinner.
    high fiber : dried figs or dates or fiber drinks/jelly
    Yogurt : if possible greek yogurt, which would fill you up with protein, helping you stay full longer
    fruits : those like apples (lots of fiber), grapefruits (no.1 weight-loss fruit), or anything that’s not so high in sugar. You can grab some cut-fruits (カット・フルーツ) in combini
    nuts : I rely on almonds! I usually eat about 8-9 almonds max. These little nuts really help stop your hunger!!
    soy milk : chose those without added sugar. Stay away from the fancy colors and flavors and stick to the plain old soy milk that will give you high protein!
    water: Okay, last method… if your stomach is still empty, just load it up with lots and lots of water!!
  4. WEAR TIGHT OUTFIT. This is just my optional advice. Wear your skinny jeans or something with right belts, or form-fitting top. You will be naturally aware of your appearance! Wearing tight jeans could REALLY WORK because you will kinda stop eating after you feel super uncomfortable. Just listen to how your body feels.
  5. DESSERTS?? Maybe it’s your friend’s birthday and you need to take responsible for a piece of cake. Don’t worry! Several tricks would work here:
    – ask to cut your own piece and get a slim slice.
    – if handed a plate, receive it but take off the whipped cream. Cut it by half and ask if anyone would gladly share it with you. (normally there would be someone who loves to share!)
    – just refuse it nicely and say “I’m sorry but I’m really full.”
    NEVER SAY YOU’RE ON A “DIET”. People would try to get you off track by saying “one day won’t hurt.” Instead, say “these days I’m taking serious steps to take care of my health.” (Nobody would ask you to not take care of your health ;P)
  6. BE CHOOSY. During dinner, just stick to the commonsense of diet principles. Veggies, lots of protein, no creamy dressing or fried food, and no beer or cocktail. Wow, that sounds tough but…you need to be conscious. One way to do always leave a small pile on your dish so that you would feel like there’s always something left on your plate. A glass of wine is fine but a series of soft drinks (including juices) is not. Be careful of liquid; the calories can add up fast.
  7. FOCUS ON TALKING. In the end, you’re there to talk to people. Just enjoy the company of your friends and focus on having fruitful conversation. Take your mind of food and you might be less tempted!

Hope these tricks would help you to survive the next birthday party!

Coconut water: why so popular?? 「ココナッツウォーター」なぜ人気が高いのか?

Japan has finally embraced the health trend of “coconut water” from the US. But do people really know what it is good for or why or when to drink it? Let’s check it out!

1. It is said to be a natural “sports drink” as it helps recover many nutrients after workout. For many people in tropical countries, coconut water is just like one of the juices that we drink for refreshment. In Thailand, we drink it all the time..or at least when we spot it! it has has less sugar than many sports drinks and much less sugar than sodas and some fruit juices. It has simple sugar that can be absorbed easily, as well as electrolytes and minerals to replenish your body from dehydration.

2. Don’t get confused with coconut “milk”. Coconut water can be found inside the fruit once its top is cut open. Normally, we just drop a straw into the fruit and drink it fresh! Coconut milk, on the other hand, is extracted from grounding the coconut white flesh together with the juice to get white concentrated liquid, which by the way has a bit of unique smell…Coconut milk is used a lot in cooking (eg. soup and desserts) to give a very rich flavor and texture. Be careful of the amount of coconut “milk” as it is very high in saturated fat.

3. Its appeals are that it has lower calories with very little fat but comes with packages of nutrients.
– Per 240 ml (1 cup), the calories are only 46 and almost trace amount of fat.
– contains Potassium more than 2 bananas.
– has Magnesium, Calcium, and other nutrients that help rep up the enzymes and activate your metabolism.
– helps you revive from tiredness and is said to be an effective detox

4. When to drink it? AFTER you exercise and sweat, or after coming up from Ofuro. It would really help re-hydrate you after you lose some nutrients along with your sweat. However, make sure you only drink 1-2 servings a day and not more (just like how you would drink your sports drink). 325 ml of coconut milk contains about 450-680 mg of Potassium so you don’t want to overdo it! (females should take about 2000 mg of Potassium, and males 2500 mg a day) When combined with other food you’ll be eating in one day, it could be very easy to overtake it so…just be moderate as like any other food.

Now that you know what it is and when to drink it, next time you might wanna grab it with you on your trip to the gym.

PS: This is my mom’s favorite drink of all time lol

“Coke Life” : the Latest product from Coca-Cola boasts stevia as a health hero : 「コークライフ」

“Coke Life” : the Latest product from Coca-Cola boasts stevia as a health hero : 「コークライフ」

You are going to spot this soon in Japan too!(if not already) Look out for the green label with familiar font written “Coca-Cola Life”
One bottle has 89 calories less than 140 kcal in normal version. However, it still contains more than 4 tablespoons of REAL sugar.
Why launched this? As more research attacked diet coke and coke zero (actually anything soda with the name “zero”) that it may contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss and “artificial” sweeteners are not warmly welcomed either (they are charged with the same penalty)…Coca-cola turned to the only sweetener that is exempted from health critiques – STEVIA!! Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from plant, thus, it is “natural”.

I don’t think the flavor would be that different. In the end, you’ll be drinking Coke. You’re just gonna buy it with less guilt! (well, supposedly so…)

Diet survival tips: Thai food!! : 【タイレストラン版】ダイエット中のフードガイド

Maybe some of you would think that Thai food is always safe when it comes to diet (or safer than Chinese at least). As a Thai, I would really urge you to think again. Each restaurant makes food differently and calories might vary from one to another. However, as the standard way of making some basic menus is quite the same, I wanna share here about the calories behind the most popular Thai dishes in Japan. And you be the judge!

1. Kapao Kai (minced chicken and basil stir-fried with fried-egg) 鶏肉のバジル炒めご飯

I can’t deny: this dish is the most popular, flavorful, and quickest that you can order. Especially, if you go to the place where they make fried-egg in Thai style for you, it will even harder to resist. (Thai style fried-egg is VERY crispy around the edge as the egg is drop into a wok full of lots of oil, as pictured above) The amount of rice might vary but would definitely be more than the average amount we eat in Thailand. Thus, this would add up to the calories unfortunately. Normally, Kapao dish would range between 550 – 630 kcal, but might go up to 750 if you order Oomori in Japan! However, if you look at the components of the dish, it gives you pretty good amount of protein!

How to go about Kapao if you’re on a diet?
1) Use tissue paper to absorb all the oil left on the fried-egg. You’ll wanna pat it dry! If possible, also pat dry the oil around the plate left from the stir-fry
2) Ask for small amount of rice (少な目にする)or ask for a separate dish, then HALF (or more) your rice. What is left on your plate would be what you’ll eat.
3) If cucumber is provided, you can try ask for more. If soup is in the set, drink the soup first so you’ll be full easier; help stop yourself from eating unnecessary calories that could be left behind.

2. Pad-thai (stir-fried noodles with egg/tofu) タイ風やきそば(パッタイ)

Another popular dish that is served in almost all Thai restaurants here. And as Japanese love for noodles is second to none, they usually add more amount of noodles in this Pad-thai dish than is usually served in Thailand. It ranges from 545-600 kcal and can go up to more than that if more noodles. Why are the calories so high? Well, if done in the traditional way, we use a wok and fill it with lots of oil, then go a couple of eggs, tofu, noodles, bean sprout, dried shrimps, etc. and seasonings such as (quite a lot of) sugar, peanuts, a bit of chili, and so on. We usually have several kinds of veggies to eat on the side but those are rare in Japan so the plate usually come out pretty bare here. The way Pad-thai is made here might vary and some may not be as oily as others, but still, you should keep in mind that this menu is one of those with high calories.

How to go about Pad-thai if you’re on a diet?
Sadly, I would just say SKIP it or HALF and SHARE it with your friend. You can order some salad or soup as a side dish and have half of your Pad-thai. (some girls who’re on a diet do that in Thailand)

3. Green curry (chicken) 鶏肉のグリーンカレー

From being a basic menu in Thai cuisine, green curry has ascended into a more international rank: it’s served in most of the cafes in Japan and has so many kinds of variations. However, the authentic one would incorporate real coconut milk, chicken, eggplant, and lots of different herbs. It is generally a healthy menu! And I’d recommend your order this as one bowl of this would be about 240 kcal. Not too bad, right?

How to go about Green Curry if you’re on a diet?
1) Generally it is safe to order green curry. HOWEVER, be mindful of the amount of rice! Because in Japan, soup usually comes in smaller bowl than rice (it goes the opposite in Thailand), so HALF it before you eat. (And put a bit of fish sauce on the rice cuz it tastes sooooo gooddd!!! ><)
2) DON’T DRINK THE SOUP. When you’re done with the meat and veggies and rice, and there’s some soup left, you don’t need to drink all of that. Why? Because although coconut milk receives some halo that it’s good for your health, it is high in saturated fat so the right amount is the key. You might save yourself a hundred calories sans the soup!

4. Kao Man Kai (steamed chicken with oily rice) ゆで鶏のせ炊き込みご飯(カオマンガイ)

This healthy-looking dish needs your attention! The steamed chicken is, YES, healthy. BUT the rice is definitely not good for your diet plan as it is full of oil which gives it the amazing aroma and taste that goes so well with the chicken! One dish ranges from 596 kcal and up. This does not take various sauces into account. Generally, it CAN be a very healthy menu that you want to order. Just keep in mind that if there’s another variation of this, called fried-chicken with oily rice (Kao Man Kai Tod), just ditch it altogether.

How to go about Kao Man Kai if you’re on a diet?
1) Ask for normal white jasmine rice. HALF it if it’s too much. This saves you hundreds of calories so it is a MUST!
2) Ask for more cucumber. More veggies is always good for ya!
3) See if you can get okawari for the soup. Usually it is a special kind of soup that is only served with this menu. You should drink the soup first to start your meal. See if the soup is oily, if not you might ask for the second serving to replace the rice that is if you halved it.

There’re still a lot of menus here that you need to know so I’ll just make a short list of Dos and Donts:
Donts:
– Any kind of fried rice (oil is added to rice so the calories start at 550 kcal upward. Not a good choice. Half it/share it/or ask for smaller portion of rice)
– Dense desserts (such as the pumpkin in coconut syrup (185 kcal) or pumpkin San-ka-ya cake (288 kcal per square!) or dumpling in warm coconut milk (223 kcal)…Just don’t order desserts with coconut milk in it. period. Order something that’s served with ice and have clear soup. Don’t drink the syrup.)
– Anything with stir-fried noodles (usually heavy sugar and oil)
– Anything deep-fried (such as deep-fried spring rolls, shrimp cake/fish cake…though sound healthy, they are just NOT)
– Thai milk tea (the one with orange color. You’ll be drink pure sugar, baby lol)

Dos:
– Noodle dish with clear soup! (Ask to change the noodles to Harusame (the transparent and slim noodles), choose the menu with lots of protein like pork or meat, ask for more toppings if it’s free, ask them to EXCLUDE the crispy-fried garlic as it comes with oil)
– Tom Yum Kung (Yes, the most well-known menu of all time! It’s good for you as it includes so many herbs and chili that helps speed your metabolism. Also the veggies and seafood is diet-friendly. Just be sure NOT to order it with RAMEN. Just have it with jasmine rice. Perfect!)
– FRESH spring rolls (See if the shop puts too much noodles and rice paper or not; try to choose spring rolls with just veggies inside and watch the dipping sauce!)
– Tropical fruits! (just cuz they’re awesome!)

Now enjoy the spice and keep your diet on track!