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.

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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

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…)

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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“Pinkberry” popular frozen yogurt brand from LA coming to TOKYO!!

Born in California, LA, in 2005, Pinkberry is one of the most popular frozen yogurt franchise business. (featured in Gossip girls as well) Wait no more, Tokyo girls! It’s coming to ODAIBA, to be opened on July 18!
Pinkberry’s appealing points is that it uses only non-fat milk and yogurt, which comes in 6 flavors: original, strawberry, pomegranate, cookies&cream, chocolate hazelnuts, and mango.
On top of that, you can choose among 20 tasty toppings like chocolate, cookies, granola, nuts, etc. [what I would recommend is to choose NUTS and FRUITS; be REALLY careful about granola!]

Head up to Venus GRAND 2nd floor, 11:00~22:00
small size: 360円
middle size: 510円
large size: 660円

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!

10 Diet survival tips: Italian restaurant edition: 【イタリアンレストラン版】ダイエット中のフードガイド

Now, if you’re on a diet or on a clean eating lifestyle and don’t wanna risk your waistline or spending time feeling guilty after visiting an Italian restaurant, here are some good tips! I know pizza and pasta are the perfect traps that are so hard to turn down, especially when you’re among friends, but you really don’t have to limit yourself to one plate of salad. In addition to food, you should also enjoy your companions and spend quality time.

Pasta dishes in Japan are pretty huge in size. You would normally get more than 1 serving, sometimes almost 2-3 servings per dish. On average, you will be consuming more than 500 kcal. But it is not always about calories! It’s more about what the food contains, which is a crucial factor to an overall quality of your meal. So, you can still go and enjoy a get-together with your friends over Italian food and you’re your diet on track!

Here are some tips to keep in mind when attacked by the menu:

  1. Choose your pasta sauce. Look for any dish with tomato- or oil-base. Skip those with cream – yeah, those with white creamy looking sauce; say bye-bye to Carbonara for a while. Oh, and this includes cream tomato sauce, too. Pasta with olive oil base can be really good for you unless the chef makes it too oily. :/ Also, don’t wipe up all the sauce or else you will end up taking in unnecessary calories you don’t need.
  2. Choose your pasta. Choose the slimmest noodle possible. If there is a choice of “angel hair” then choose it over ravioli or penne. If whole wheat option is possible, choose that over the plain white pasta. Mostly in Japan, though, you’ll be presented with various kinds of spaghetti. In some places, you can also use how many grams you want. That option is usually for guys who heavily dope on carbs. Always ASK if they can make your dish with 100 grams of pasta. (I used to see such option labeled as the “lady’s set”).
  3. Choose your proteins. Look for menus that include more protein such as minced chicken, minced pork, nama ham (prosciutto), or seafood. Feel yourself up with good protein instead of simple carbs.
  4. Be careful of your salad. If you go to family restaurant, salads can be the killer. They will fill the bowl up with mayonnaise or creamy dressing. Choose salad with lots of LEAFY green and opt for olive oil and balsamic sauce or lemon. Also, always ASK for the dressing to be served SEPARATELY. This tip really means a lot and it may help you save more than 100 kcal.  Same thing with grated cheese, ask it to be provided on the side so that you can sprinkle it on your own. Give it half to one tablespoon. If you need more flavor, ask for salt and pepper, especially those that come with the miller. You will love the fresh smell and tanginess of pepper!
  5. Choose the right soup. When it comes to soup, always choose CLEAR over CREAM. It’s that easy. During your diet, you don’t need butter and cream. Rather, you will want to choose veggies soup to warm your stomach up and reduce the hunger that would make you jump into the main dish later. You’ll be surprised that at some restaurants, clear and creamy soup can be more than 100 kcal different.
  6. Skip the soft drink set. In Japan, it is very common that you’ll have a choice of paying a little bit more to have a soft drink. This gives you a choice of Coca-Cola, sprite, ginger ale, orange juice, grapefruit juice, milk tea, iced/hot coffee, etc. This is when you should be careful! If you have a choice (meaning, not included in a lunch set for example), you can just skip it and just order WATER. If the soft drink is included in your set, choose Oolong tea! It would help slow down the fat absorption process in your body. Never order juices or milky tea/coffee or any soft drink during your diet. You’ll be consuming a lot of empty calories – all of which is sugar. L For wine, have a glass if you REALLY need to. Just remember a glass is supposed to be the limit if you plan to have a hearty meal.
  7. What about pizza? Personally, I wouldn’t advise you to go near pizza just because it is harder to get around it. You will be eating carbs and cheese. And although you order something plain like tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil (which, by the way, is simply a divine combination), it would be hard to control your caloric intake. Just to be safe, order something else. If your friend insists you have a piece, go ahead but leave the edge.
  8. BREADDDDD. This might be the hardest thing to resist or monitor. You could say no to warm crispy bread especially when it comes with butter. When presented with a basket of bread, set it in front of your friends, far away from you. Take ONE SLICE of baguette (as is often served in Japan) and skip the butter. Better yet, pass BOTH bread and butter if you know you’re gonna be eating pasta afterwards.
  9. If there is a meat/fish dish, choose it over pasta/pizza! Beautiful piece of LEAN protein (such as fish, lamp, or Tenderloin steak) would leave you no guilt. Just be careful to avoid those with MASHED POTATOES.
  10. Dessert anyone? I’d suggest you pass the dessert. But if you NEED to, don’t panic, go straight to one word: “sorbet.” It has the lowest calories in the whole dessert menu, if not including fruits. Lemon sorbet or anything sour would clean your palette really well but won’t leave your stomach heavy. You won’t wanna be loading in other 300-400 kcal after a whole meal. Rather, reward yourself (if you need to) with refreshing sorbet that would score around 100 kcal per serving. Just be reminded that although low in fat, it is still high in sugar.

Hope these tips would help you to navigate through the menus and fail-proof your diet journey. Don’t let yummy Italian food ruins your diet attempt. Or on the other hand, don’t be too stressful/restrictive about dieting that you forget to enjoy amazingly tasty food. They can go together hand in hand; you just have to know what to choose!

Next time you visit a restaurant, look for tomato based pasta, ask the waiter to reduce the serving size, ask for water or oolong tea, ask for a separate bowl of salad dressing or cheese topping, choose clear soup, be careful to take just ONE slice of bread, and choose sorbet if dessert is to be had.

Good luck and enjoy good food!

Oshiruko VS Zenzai :「おしるこ」と「ぜんざい」どうちがってる?

Continuing from the last post, I think maybe some of us know about the red-bean Japanese dessert. For me, before researching more into this dessert, I thought this red-bean sweet is composed of red beans and some white thing that I don’t know what it is, and yeah….that it tastes very sweet. 

In reality, there are 2 versions of this! One is called “Oshiruko” and you will see this in a can, sold in vending machines as well! The other is called “Zenzai”. Some Japanese might not be able to tell the exact difference (which is the whole point of the TV program introduced in the last post). 

Let’s see how they differ! 
First…Oshiruko is basically sweet red-bran soup. A word “shiru” means soup. The sweet is soup made from red-bean, containing mochi. For Kanto area, koshi-an (strained bean paste) AND tsubu-an (the red “beans”) are usually put in the soup, while in the Kansai area, only the koshi-an is included. In the past, this treat is usually eaten in cold weather as a dessert to keep your body warm.

What about Zenzai? In Kanto, sometimes the mochi is simply topped with sweetened red beans as a simple Zenzai dish. In contrary, the Kansai version of this treat is actually very similar to the Kanto version of Oshiruko, having red beans and some sweetened liquid on top the mochi. Unlike Oshiruko, zenzai has more substance, having mochi as the main star, and, for some, is usually eaten as food (食事)rather than dessert. 

From the picture below, “oshiruko” is on the left and “zenzai” is on the right. This is pretty good to know! 😉