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!

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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…)

“Obon de Gohan” Healthy yet so delicious! : 「おぼん de ごはん」へ行きましょう!

Want something good for your health but can’t tolerate the thought of eating plain tofu and salad with non-oil dressing any longer? You’re blessed that you’re in Japan because there are so many restaurants that tailor to consumers like you who are health-conscious but hate to compromise the taste. I know….we’d better pay for something delicious, right?

I truly recommend this restaurant called “Obon de Gohan” which maybe many of you have seen before. There are many branches in most department stores’ restaurant floors. Thus, easy to find. There are sooo many menus to choose from too! (which is not that common for Japanese restaurants) The menu is separated into main dishes with meant, fish, and tofu; ocha-tsuke (rice bowl with a pot of soup to pour over); udon; donmono (rice bowl with various toppings); and desserts (which I have to tell you it will be HARD for you to not order this; they are gorgeously made). 

I usually go for a set menu with fish as fish menu is actually very DIFFICULT to find in Japan!! This is quite ironic in a way ‘cuz Japan is known to the world as the country with high consumption of fish. (I’m not talking about sushi or sashimi here, but more like main dishes eaten together with rice.) 

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What’s more, you can…

1. choose your type of rice from 3 alternatives: White rice (白ごはん), Brown rice mixed with white rice(玄米入りごはん), and five-grains rice with hijiki seaweed(五穀ひじきごはん)
I always choose the last one as it has so much more fiber and the texture of grains makes it more yummy!

2. You can refill your miso soup! I always go for DOUBLE! This is RARE in Japan, people!

3. There are so many veggies side dishes you can try. They are always different from time to time, so if you wanna sample tastes of Japanese home cooking, this is the chance!

For the volume and quality you will get, you only have to pay around 1,100 yen in average. But personally, I think it is worth it! Not having to feel guilty about food that you just ate plus enjoying every bite of it? This is so much better than munching on tasteless salad from convenience store, no? If you’re on a mood to reward yourself, looking to lift up your mood in a blue day, or having a girl talk over hours, look for this restaurant in your nearby department store and you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Source: check out in details here! http://obon-de-gohan.com/about/

“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…)

PALETAS! Want healthy fruity ice-cream?? GO HERE!

PALETAS! Want healthy fruity ice-cream?? GO HERE!

Super duper famous right now is this ice-cream parlor in Kichijoji called “Paletas”! Being featured in so many tv shows, gourmet news and websites, as well as magazines, Paletas is well known for its variety of flavors (almost 40 choices!) and its philosophy of using only PURE REAL fruits and NO additives. In simple words, what you see is what you eat. >__< Mixed with base flavors such as fruit juice, gelato, chocolate, caramel, etc….WHOLE fruits are added to give you the best sensation once biting into it. For example, from one photo I saw, a whole piece of strawberry is buried into the chocolate ice-cream stick…Hmmmm…. Another one, tropical fruits are frozen just like that so that their real flavors can shine.

But you'd better be there super early in the morning if you want to try all the flavors. Most of the rare ones are sold out as fast as famous concert tickets lol

Can't wait to try it out!!!!
Find out more here: http://www.paletas.jp/shop.html

“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!