Latest healthy drinks updates! (Review) : 新発売のヘルシー飲料のアップデート!

I know it’s been long since my last updates, so here I am, bringing you with two new healthy drinks I spotted during the past few weeks! I really want you guys to give them a try!

1. Calpis Oasis Sparkling water. Maybe you have seen the normal “Oasis” drink from Calpis, which is by the way MY FAVORITE DRINK ADDICTION OF ALL TIME. It’s ZERO CALORIE, sweet and refreshing and includes some good nutrients (though you can’t say it’s a nutrition drink). I’ve been in love with the normal version for a period of time every year. Calpis decides for some reason to keep changing its packaging every year and only sells this drink for about 3-4 months a year only. I enjoyed this drink from April til about last month and now it’s pulled out of most combini. You can kinda see it in only specific branches of specific supermarkets. (eg. Seijo-ishii of Roppongi Hills branch) The below drink is of the same Oasis drink but is made into the sparkling water version. I spotted it in a supermarket “Gourmet City” nearby my house. I didn’t hesitate and grabbed it in a second. Do you know that right now in Japan sparkling water is a BIG HIT. Almost all bottled water products have two versions: normal and sparkling. It’s like if you don’t launch the sparkling water version, your brand sucks kinda feeling. lol It’s really overwhelming. (I didn’t mind so much for the sparkling cuz it causes me gas.) Personally, I prefer the normal Oasis better than this sparkling one. Nonetheless, for those of you who can tolerate carbonated drinks, please give this a try if you see one! IMG_6426   2. Healthya’s “Walk” drink in Ume (Japanese plum) flavor. I think I introduced this in my past post. (Burn your body with Catechin) That time, this “Walk” drink was only launched in grapefruit flavor. Recently, however, I spotted this drink – now in ume flavor and green color – in a drugstore near my station (Takadanobaba). I tried it and I think it’s refreshing and easier to drink than the grapefruit one! It includes catechin, abundantly found in green tea, that helps activate your metabolism. If you know you’re gonna be doing a lot of walking (like a long shopping day) you might give your body some extra burning! (only 19 kcal per bottle so it’s safe!) IMG_6409 This is it for my healthy drinks upates! Actually there are a lot more products that I want to show you guys. Will keep on posting!

Advertisements

Oh-so-healthy! Yogurt and Tofu cheesecake!

Oh-so-healthy! Yogurt and Tofu cheesecake!

Look for a super easy recipe with few and easy ingredients PLUS super healthy?? Try this cheesecake recipe mainly made with yogurt and tofu. I found this translated page of cookpad. Try it out! (I made it twice already cuz it’s sooo easy and so delicious!)

My favorite organic restaurant&cafe “From Hand to Mouth” : 「フロハン」というオーガニックのカフェ

Soooooo THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE CAFE OF ALL TIME IN TOKYO!
Whenever I had to go back home for a couple of months, the place I missed the most is this cafe with a funny name “From Hand to Mouth”. In Japanese, this would be soooo long that people shorten it to “Fu-ro-ha-n” or 「フロハン」(for From Hand..).

It’s located a few steps away to Nishi-waseda bus stop (if going by Toei Bus 学02), just at the corner to the west gate of Waseda campus of Waseda University (Yes my own uni!). If you go at lunch time, you might find it hard to find places to sit sometimes as this is one of the most popular hang-out, chatting, afternoon-tea-ing, catch-up-with-old-friend, spending-quality-time-alone place of girls! I hang out here nights and days during my time in uni, brought sooo many friends, ate almost all the dishes on the menu. I went there so much that I am currently at my THIRD membership card. If you are a member, you’ll get 50 yen discount for lunch time and after you complete one line on the card, you either get discount or exchange with something on the menu.

Enough for the advertising (actually no, but I guess you guys want to know now what’s amazing about it), let us go see what food it offers! First up, Lunch….3 main menus. (all for 880 yen – 830 yen for members)
A. Soup lunch: a daily soup filled with veggies and good-for-you protein, a BIG heap of fresh salad and original olive oil dressing, freshly baked on the day bread (which is different daily) and scrambled eggs. Oops! I forgot a piece of fruit (either apple or orange). Can’t ask for more. HEALTHY. CHOICE!

B. Curry lunch: Behold, this is NOT the typical Japanese curry since this is filled with beans and veggies on top of brown rice (with a mix of seeds and different kinds of wheat). A little portion of mango chutney is also placed neatly on one corner. A piece of fruit has its own place to wrap up the meal. This is very suitable for those who are extremely hungry and want something filling but good and hearty for the stomach.

C. Crape lunch: Maybe the most popular of all menus. Made to order crape (buckwheat flour) with 2 different fillings (changed daily too), topped with creamy yogurt dressing and black pepper. One would be Japanese filling and the other is a bit more Western which would definitely incorporate CHEESE!! A big heap of salad!!! and a piece of fruit. Oh goshhh sooooo amazing!

I can’t begin to say…Lunches here are equally tasty and nutritious so it really depends on your mood on the day. The dinner time also has sooo many more menus. My favorite is “Locomoco-don”(ロコモコ丼)890 yen. Two burger pieces made with different kinds of wheat and seeds mixed with minced beef (1/4 of the burger) topped with sweet-sour-tangy sauce (which…I’m telling you…is extremely addictive) together with big heaps of salad and small half-done sunny side-up egg. Nothing will ever win over this dish. I even dreamed about it once. Lol I went there and ordered this menu so often that the owner (who I frequented with) already knew what I were to order. I also changed the menu a little bit by asking for less portion of rice and volume up the salad with balsamic dressing instead of the yogurt dressing.

Check it out here! http://www.cafe-fhtm.com/index.html

From Hand To Mouth

Image

This is the Lunch set B: Crape lunch

Image

And….as you can see the bottom left and top right are the curry set, the bottom right is the soup set.

Give this place a try!!! AND YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! EVER!
PS: it is closed on sundays.

Love it!

Salted kelp : 塩こんぶ

I know you might wonder why would I write about kelp. But this post is not going to be only about kelp, it’s about “salted kelp” which I think you could only find in Japan. I never knew about this food before but, believe me, it has long been eaten widely among Japanese households in a variety of dishes. I came across it first time when I went to a really good healthy restaurant in My Lord department store, Shinjuku. I ordered sauteed broccoli with scallops. Inside the mild flavor stood out this salty, intensely aromatic taste inside my mouth. I tried to figure it out for a while, then finally spotted little kelp strips hidden in the dish. From that day, I went straight to the supermarket and tried to figure out what kind of product it is. I was sure that it must be some kind of seaweed. I was surprised how blind I had been towards this one aisle of the supermarket I frequented for more than a year. Lying on the shelves were all types and all shapes for all purposes of seaweed, and there I saw my salted kelp.

It is usually sold in a medium to small pack, written as “塩こんぶ”. It looks like this…

Basically, it is kelp that is cut into 2mm strips and braised in shoyu (soy sauce) and then mixed with salt. Japanese people usually put it on top of the rice to give it flavor and texture. It is also widely used in cooking many main dishes such as pasta and put in various kinds of salad. Well, you can say that this salted kelp can be incorporated into any kind of cooking whenever you want an outstanding salty taste instead of merely putting salt. And don’t worry that your sodium level will skyrocket. one serving of it (5 grams) actually contains less salt than a bowl of miso soup or one Japanese plum (ume).

AND I’M TELLING YOU THIS THING WORKS MAGIC! It has its own place in my pantry now! 🙂 Really hope you guys can try it out!

Check out this product that I saw on TV recently from “Kurakon”. The salt used here is sea salt and the soy sauce is its own special recipe passed on for years, so you can be sure to get real intense flavor!

くらこん塩こんぶくらこん無添加減塩塩こんぶ

Better yet, visit its super fun website: http://www.kurakon.jp/shiokonbu/

I visited the “factory” and tried out all the games. hahaha I’m kinda free today so.. lol

Anyways, try it out!

Thread Konnyaku VS Shiraki : 「糸こんにゃく」と「白滝」どうちがってる?

Let’s finish the post under this theme of contrasting the seemingly same food with a unique ingredient in Japan – Konjac or Konnyaku as it is called. I googled the word and (forgive me for my unfamiliarity with the term) in English it is sometimes called with interesting names like “devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam). Okay, there’s no limit to human’s imagination, this could prove.

In Japan, Konnyaku is eaten in different forms and shapes. If you visit a convenience store, go to the Oden section and try look at the labels provided in front of the pot. You’ll most likely see one item that looks like transparent noodles tied together in a bundle. That is also konnyaku but made into a shape of noodle, called “ito-konnyaku”. “Ito” means thread as suggested by its look. (Below: Ito-konnyaku in Oden; in its own package seen in supermarkets)

Another similar (if not identical) looking product you might see in stores is called “Shirataki”. The first Kanji for “shira” means white, the second Kanji for “taki” means waterfall. It is usually used to give food more texture and volume, especially when one is on a diet. As you would see in the photos below, they don’t look different. And Shirataki is actually not limited to “white” as its name suggests, there is also a brown version that is blended with potatoes, making it even more identical to its Konnyaku counterpart.

They have entirely same ingredients – the konjac potato…so how are they different? Answer: In the way they are made!

Shirataki>> The mixture of potato konjac which is still in the liquid state, is pushed through the slots of the machines (that give it the noodle form), released into the boiling water and solidified.

Thread Konjac>> The mixture is boiled and solidified in a chunk (in other words, it become the rectangular “konnyaku” we usually see), then pushed through the slots to transform it into noodles.

To say simply, Shirataki is made into noodles which THEN become konnyaku, while thread konjac is made into konnyaku THEN into noodles.

It’s a little interesting, no? 😀 Share with your friends!

Japanese version of Atkins Diet:「ばあさまたちにとおなし」という糖質制限ダイエット

I watched this TV program last night about two different approaches of dieting. One is to refrain from carbs and the other is to limit the calorie intake. Doctors who have tried, succeeded, and became to the advocates for either of the methods were invited to the show and discussed the advantages and the right way to proceed on each diet plan. 

画像

The calorie limitation approach as we know it is that we must eat within certain limited number of calories per day. But in this Japanese version, what’s interesting this that the doctor started by asking patients to find out how many calories to be cut from their normal one-day calorie intake instead of limiting whatever they’re taking to fit the ideal daily calories, which would be a lot harder to do and maintain.

The formula to find out how much calories you should cut from your daily intake to start losing weight is:
Female >> (body fat% – 20) / 60 x 30 x your body weight
Male >> (body fat% – 10) / 70 x 30 x your body weight 

Now let’s talk about the Japanese version of Atkins Diet, that is to cut carbs and anything that includes sugar but free to eat any protein and fat. The doctors kinda said that the merits are that you are not bounded by the numbers and calculation anymore, rather you just have to learn to remember which food has high sugar or carbs. For me, I think it’s a lot more limiting than the calorie count method, which is a lot easier especially in Japan that most products have calories on the labels. 

The Japanese Atkins Diet doctor introduced an easy way to remember which products that are ALLOWED during the diet period:「ばあさまたちにとおなし」or “Ba-a-sa-ma-ta-chi-ni-to-o-na-shi”. The letters represent the foods that you can feel free to combine and mix up according to your imagination lol Let’s go one by one! 

ば:バター; Ba – Butter
あ:アボカド; A – Avocado
さ:さかな; Sa – Fish
ま:マヨネーズ; Ma- Mayonnaise 
た:たまご; Ta – egg
ち:チーズ; Chi – Cheese
に:肉; Ni – Meat
と:とうふ; To – Tofu
お:オリーブオイル; O – Olive oil
な:納豆; Na – Nattou (fermented soybeans)
し:焼酎(しょうちゅう); Shi – Shouchuu or distilled spirit

I found this a bit weird at first and then I tried to understand the logic. The doctor suggested that you can take as much as you want from the items above BUT must be extremely careful not to take any form of carbs, and yes that includes salad dressings of any kind, be it super clear and non-oil stuff. Whenever you need to go to a family restaurant (like Gasto or Saizeria) be sure to order a la carte (単品)plus lots of SMALL side dishes that are all low in carbs (no potato salad whatsoever) and NO RICE. What’s more apart from rice, you cannot take any noodles like udon, soba, and ramen. You must say goodbye to bread, fruity yogurt, and even low-fat milk. Soymilk is said to be better because it contains small amount of carbs compared to low fat or non-fat milk that substitutes the fat with sugar. Fruits and veggies also need to be monitored. For instance, you can’t go eat curry rice though take off the rice because you can’t take potato or carrot, nor the curry roux. Curry is really a no-no meal lol. If you like Katsu-don, you can take off the rice, then cut off one half of the side with breadcrumb and enjoy the other side. That should give you enough satisfaction, the doctor said. If you like to go to Izakaya for drinking, then order the Shouchuu!! You prolly get by the night without taking tons of sugar with you.

There are 3 levels of this approach, though, so don’t be alarmed yet. First is the “super” level meaning you cut carbs from ALL 3 meals. The second is the “Standard” level, meaning you cut carbs only 2 meals, maybe breakfast and dinner as you might need to go out for lunch with your co-workers. The last is the easiest and most convenient level that allows you to cut carbs only one meal a day, usually during dinner. If you wanna see results fast, go with the super. But be prepared because if you are in Japan, a country where RICE is the MAIN thing in each meal, this might require you to totally change the cultural way of eating. 

Although I’m always conscious of calories, I never thought of numbers of carbs before. I used to think that avoiding fat is the safest way; now I changed my mind. I kinda wanna try taking on more protein and healthy fat than carbs and see if this can actually slim down my body. That’s gonna be my challenge for a week! 😉