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…)

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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!

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.

ほうれん草とひじきの鉄分サラダ(柚子風味)

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!

ひじきと枝豆の鶏サラダ

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. 🙂 

海藻と揚げじゃこのサラダ

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!!

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!

Lunch Pack Sandwich in cooperation with Tanita Shokudo, made healthy! ランチパックとタニタ食堂が健康的に

Lunch Pack Sandwich in cooperation with Tanita Shokudo, made healthy! ランチパックとタニタ食堂が健康的に

Spotted in combini nationwide (eg. Newsday, family mart), these 2 products are the result of cooperation between Tanita shokudo and the famous long-standing sandwich brand “Lunch Pack”. On the left is gobou salad and tofu burger (247 kcal). On the right is pumpkin salad and chicken tomato stew (231 kcal). If you notice, one piece would be the carb-dense veggie salad and another piece would be the protein.
These could be better choices among other Lunch Pack products if you want a quick lunch.

Perfect cafe for vegans in Tokyo! “Eat More Greens” : 「イートモアグリーンズ」ビーガンの皆さんのパーフェクトなカフェ!

I’ve been visiting a few cafes lately and the one I kept going back to when I seriously want to boost up my veggies intake is this small famous cafe in Azabu-juban called “Eat More Greens”. Stepping in and you’ll be surprised of how many foreigners are there. Menu as well as the product label are written in English as well as Japanese. I particularly love the lunch time menu which includes a choice among 4-5 different dishes plus drink and small dessert as a set. Check it out for yourself here: http://www.eatmoregreens.jp/# as the menu changes a little bit depending on the week.

What I had this weekend is the usual favorite: soup and salad plate. The soup (changed every time I went) this time is miso-based  soup with white beans and cabbage (and lots of stuffs I couldn’t remember lol). The salad is actually the unique point for me that attracts me to come at the first place. Its size is A LOT BIGGER than normal cafe; it’s like a mountain of countless ingredients dressed all over with this amazingly tasty and flavorful dressing. ALL VEGAN so no milky/dairy stuff! The salad I had this time included silk tofu, chickpeas, walnuts, various greens with Asian spicy sesame dressing. On the side, 3 varieties of bread are freshly toasted to the perfect point of crispiness. I don’t eat much bread but I fell for the bread here.

ImageI choose iced corn tea for drink and the dessert is something like annin tofu with blueberries and small pieces of orange. I still don’t know what it’s made of. All for 1,280 yen. A big and satisfying healthy lunch that left me and my stomach happy. 🙂

check out more here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eat-more-greens%E3%82%A4%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88%E3%83%A2%E3%82%A2%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%83%B3%E3%82%BA/289782454477987