Why did I just find this “Caspian sea” yogurt!?

This amazing “Caspian sea” yogurt has been sitting in supermarkets for years. I have seen it but never ever picked it up. And now I feel guilty. Only until a couple of days ago I ran out of yogurt and somehow decided to buy this home. The next morning the Aha moment happened to me when I dipped a spoon in the tub and lifted it. The waterfall of rich and creamy yogurt stretched from my spoon into the bowl. Never seen anything like it. Not as concentrated as the greek yogurt, but very stretchy and creamy like glue. (okay that is just to give you a mental picture)

There are 2 brands of caspian sea yogurt I spotted and tried recently:

1. Glico’s non-fat caspian sea yogurt (left)

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This “Caspian sea” yogurt is so dense, so creamy, so soft, and yet so low in calories! Per 100 grams, it contains only 40 kcal with 0 g. of fat. Unlike other “non-fat” yogurt, it doesn’t contain sugar either! WIth equal proportion of carbs and protein (about 5 g. each) it is actually an ideal yogurt to support the morning routine. Again, normal non-fat yogurt needs a lot of added sugar to compensate for the lack of fat, hence making it high in carbs and is unnaturally sweet – almost to the point of too sweet for some of the brands. This added sugar also liquefies the yogurt, making the texture very watery. When poured out of the tub, you can observe water coming out first.

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2. Fujikko’s Mochiri (right)

This is smaller in size and has some sugar added. One serving is about 100 kcal, 10 g. carbs, 5.5 g. of protein, and 4.5 g. of fat. This is SUPER DENSE AND CREAMY AND CONCENTRATED. YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. Period. No more I could say. It’s so good and satisfying. If you’re hungry in the middle of the day or have a late night working day. Go to any convenience store and grab this little magic in your hand. Your tongue and stomach will love you for doing so. It has 1/3 calories of normal cream cheese, and is suggested as the alternative thereof to spread on a baguette. As dense as greek yogurt, but the texture in your mouth would be different.

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If you spot these fancy blue tubs of yogurt in any supermarket, just be brave and give them a try!! I think they will be really good for baking as well! Indulge people!

A little bit more about Caspian sea yogurt itself, you can read more here: What is Caspian sea yogurt?

A short excerpt from that website: 

Caspian Sea Yogurt is different from regular yogurt in its viscous texture and mellow taste. The viscous component EPS is produced by Cremoris FC. which is found to have many health benefits:

  • Improve of constipation
  • Prevention of declining skin condition by stress and other skin disorder, like Atopy
  • Increase the activity of cells related immune system in the body and prevent from disease
  • Suppression of cholesterol and its absorption

Dr.Yamori, Honnor professor of Kyoto University investigated the foods consumed in the Cocassas region, the birthplace of this Caspian sea yogurt. Among several yogurts, he found that Caspian sea yogurt might be the long kept secret of the people’s long longevity.

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!!

7 Best bedtime snacking: a smaller version of breakfast! 寝る前の間食 ベスト7!

7 Best bedtime snacking: a smaller version of breakfast! 

I guess this happens to all of us: the stomach protests you just right after you lie down on your bed, you can’t sleep, the only thing running around in your head is food. Your brain then starts to haunt you with “I need fooodddd. I’m hungryyyy. Feed meeee.” And sometimes you give up and just wanna grab something to make that voice go away.

Well, in that situation it is very risky to make a wrong choice that could effect how well you sleep. You might grab chocolates, biscuits, cakes, pastry, bread, anything that is easy to munch, etc. But listen here…you can prepare your late night snacking staple ahead of time and avoid any emergency food that would make you regret after eating.

I have listed the best 7 foods that could help you survive the war with your stomach, leaving your weight intact and your sleep undisturbed.

1. 80-kcal almond milk from Glico. There are 2 flavors, plain and coffee. I personally am addicted to the coffee version. Apart from the bounty amount of vitamin E and no cholesterol, almond milk also includes more fiber content, helping you to feel full longer. By the time you might get hungry again, you probably are asleep. My best recommendation here! Check out the website: http://net.glico.jp/almond_kouka/index.html

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You can also check out another brand called Almond Breeze, although it might a bit harder to find as it is not as widely distributed as the Glico ones. Check the post about it here: https://tokyofinder.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/almond-breeze-is-here-in-japan-too-%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A2%E3%83%B3%E3%83%89%E3%83%BB%E3%83%96%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BA-%E3%82%B9%E3%83%BC%E3%83%91%E3%83%BC%E3%83%BB%E3%83%95%E3%83%BC%E3%83%89/

2. low-sugar plain yogurt or greek yogurt. This is the food I ate the MOST OFTEN to calm my stomach down during midnight. It never failed me. My recommendation is those PLAIN yogurt WITHOUT sugar from Danone or greek yogurt from Morinaga that I recommended before in my previous posts https://tokyofinder.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-only-greek-yogurt-in-japan-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E3%81%A7%E3%81%AE%E4%B8%80%E3%81%A4%E3%81%A0%E3%81%91%E3%81%AE%E3%82%AE%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B7%E3%83%A3%E3%83%A8%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%88/

Try to stick with those with lowest amount of sugar possible because that it won’t mean anything that you’re trying choose a “healthy” choice like yogurt. You’ll be consuming more than 10 grams of sugar which is nothing different from eating a candy bar! Be sure to choose those with less than 50 kcal, and less than 8 grams of sugar for plain yogurt and put your own topping such as a bit of honey, almond slices, or a sprinkle of fiber cereal. Check out the 2 alternatives below. Greek yogurt is actually the perfect snack if you’re kinda “hungry” because it contains about 8 g. of protein, about 4 g. of carbs. Please note, however, that you should SKIP the syrup or honey accompanying this particular greek yogurt recommended above. That would push the calories up from 79 to about 100. I just don’t want you to add sugar during the night without needing too.

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3. cocoa with soy milk. This is easy! Just put 1-2 tablespoon of pure unsweetened cocoa (such as that of Van Houten, the most popular one in Japan) with a tablespoon of sugar (I usually use the 0-kcal sugar) and soy milk in your fridge. You can use low-fat milk, but I recommend soy milk because it has more protein and nutritious goodies in it that would leave your stomach calm and full. Plus, it tastes better! You can also opt for just soy milk.

4. a few pieces of fruits or a banana. Opt for something high in fiber. I often snack on half an apple (one apple here is huge) and a small glass of soy milk. Better yet, choose BANANA!! Why? Many studies have shown that banana is the magic sleeping pill as it has both magnesium and potassium which are natural muscle relaxants and Melatonin which is the hormone naturally released by your body when it’s your time to sleep. Thus, banana helps relax your body and makes you feel sleepy 🙂 Just watch how much you eat because you don’t want to eat too much fruits either! If you eat those with high water content, that might cause you to run to toilet in the midst of your sleep. And one large banana is about 132 kcal so watch it! I would say if you’re not too hungry have half of it, or opt for middle-sized banana. Well, not serious about that.

5. a few pieces of nuts. ALMONDS! No need to say much. Nuts fill you up while making you feel satisfied with the crunch. Have 10-12 pieces of almonds, keeping in mind it is about 8-9 kcal per almond, so you’ll be eating about 80-90 kcal. If you don’t mind waking up and spending a bit of time crunching your nuts instead of drinking them, then almonds are the best choice. On the other hand, don’t choose peanuts or peanut-butter.

6. a bowl of hot oatmeal or non-sugary cereal. Okay, so if you’re REALLY hungry? Go for a smaller version of breakfast here already. Grab a bowl, fill in with a few tablespoons of oatmeal, a few dried fruits, or you can just choose muesli (NO GRANOLA HERE PLEASE) and fill it with hot soy milk/skim milk. If you have no oatmeal, you can try sugarless or non-sweetened cereal. I like to incorporate a sprinkle of fiber cereal (which I would introduce in the future post).

7. hard boiled egg. If you’re on a diet that restricts your carb intake, I suggest you boil many eggs and keep them in your fridge ahead of time. Have one whole egg for 70 kcal without risking any sugar level fluctuation and still get all the goodies and protein. Very good snack if you can resist the sleepiness and have a will to crack the egg and all that. hahaha

Hope you now would be able to make some good choices!

Note about sugar: The reason why I emphasized about low sugar or non-sugary stuff is because the level of sugar in your blood affects your quality of sleep. If you eat high-sugary food, your body is stimulated to use up the sugar in the blood, leaving your blood sugar level low afterwards. When the sugar level is low, the body responds by releasing hormones called adrenaline and cortisol in order to raise the blood sugar to the normal level. HOWEVER, when these two “stress” hormones are released together, they have a side effect that makes your heart beat faster and your body to become alert and active. That is totally not what you want during the late night!

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-79360/Eat-way-better-sleep.html#ixzz31MJYuf3z

Lawson’s new “Uchi Cafe” product: Granola Acai Cheese Bar! : ローソンの新発売「グラノーラ アサイーチーズバー」

On the news just this morning is this new cheese bar by Lawson launched on April 22. Targeting mainly ladies who want to grab quick delicious breakfast with a bit of health concern in the morning, this granola acai cheese bar seems to be the easy choice (the package suggests it as suitable for morning treat). It consists of 2 layers: first is the cheese layer which incorporates acai juice (including cream cheese, acai, casis, and yogurt); the second layer is the granola topping (including wheat flakes, oatmeal, quinoa puff, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries). With the two layers in one bite, I don’t think the flavor could go wrong! One bar is 157 kcal, sold at 180 yen.

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I think Lawson is trying to raise up as many “health keywords” as possible in order to market this product. The keywords to be aware here are “acai”, “granola”, “quinoa”, “oatmeal”, and other fruits… This cheese bar also claims to have fiber and vitamin, making it a clear choice of sweets for girls who want to enjoy without so much guilt.

Personally speaking, sweet is still sweet. It is NOT equal to a bowl of oatmeal topped with yogurt and berries. It is not a bad or fake product, but is clearly riding on the health trend. Before making it a routine morning grab-and-go, make sure you read the label and check out the SUGAR content and fat content in it. Well, cream cheese plus sugar is cheese cake in a disintegrated form, isn’t it? And acai and casis are in the form of “juice”, which is another term for “sugar”, so girls…just be careful not to pair it with some high sugary drink!

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!)

The ONLY Greek yogurt in Japan : 日本での一つだけのギリシャヨーグルト!

For those of you who are looking for a high-protein yogurt a.k.a Greek Yogurt in Tokyo, listen up…there’s only one product (with 4 variations) available, so don’t waste your time searching for the non-fat type.

Luckily, Morinaga decided to give Japanese a chance to experience the amazing sensation of greek yogurt. It launched PATHENO, the first ever greek yogurt in Japan (and so far the only one) featuring super creamy and dense texture. The yogurt itself is not sweet which is perfect when paired with the little cup of additional sauce provided. There are 4 variations in the market: plain (mainly for cooking, thus more weight than the other 2), honey, raspberry sauce, and passion fruit sauce. OMG…you’ll fall in love with all of them. Personally, I love honey and raspberry.

I also wanna recommend this to you all because (as you might know from my earlier posts, I’m crazy about yogurt) this yogurt is PACKED WITH PROTEIN while calories are kept at 86 kcal for the yogurt and about 30 kcal for the sauce. Protein: 7.9 grams! Carbs: 3.4 grams. Fat: 4.5 grams 

Stock this up in the morning plus with muesli and hearty soy milk, and you may easily stay til lunch time!

To be fair, though, this yogurt is priced higher than the other typical yogurt brands. It is widely sold at a constant price of 168 yen. HOWEVER, I found that if you buy this at Donkihote (ドンキホーテ)the price could go as low as 128 yen!!! Try look for them if you have Donki around your area.

Have fun and be healthy!

Kazeri yogurt from Yukirushi (Snow brand) Megmilk (雪印メグミルクのカゼリヨーグルト)

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Anddddd THIS! is my FAVORITE yogurt at the moment! I’m proud to present this “Kazeri” yogurt from Megmilk. Normally, I don’t really buy products from this brand, but this yogurt is REALLY the BEST choice for me as of now. I’m focusing on getting the most value out of the least calorie and this yogurt delivers just that! For the whole 100 grams, it is just 35 kcal, 3.7 g. of protein, no fat, and 4.9 g. of carbs. I cannot opt for a better choice. I was kind surprise actually that with the weight of 100 grams, it is the LOWEST in calories right now in the market.

The taste is not too sweet. The texture is very very soft and silky, super suitable to blend in with milk or your oatmeal in the morning as it doesn’t cause any lumps while stirring; it would blend in right away! And this point actually makes me give it a high score for the evaluation.

Also, because it’s only 35 kcal, I feel more free to add more nuts and honey so I can get the goodies in the same breakfast bowl. 🙂

There are 2 variations for the yogurt type: plain and with aloe added. (I don’t know why Japanese people love to eat this aloe jelly thingy lol). There is also a drink type.

Now, what is “Kazeri”? Its real name is Lactobacillus gasseri. The part that is of interest here is the strain SP of this gasseri bacteria because it is said to help REDUCE body fat. Normally, Bifidobacteria is more famous when it comes to yogurt, but recently, gasseri has been introduced to Japanese market and has become a big hit. Both of them help improve our intestinal environment; the difference is that Bifidobacteria works in the large intestine while Gasseri works in the small intestine. The latter can stay up in our body for more than 90 days!

According to a beauty blog I found, there is an interesting experiment that divides respondents into 2 groups: one taking yogurt WITH gasseri and the other group WITHOUT gasseri. They ate the yogurt twice a day for 12 weeks. The result is that the former group saw a decrease of  4.6% in their belly fat, and 3.3% for the under-skin fat. (Please don’t mind my non-scientific terms lol) Anyway, the point is that this yogurt is made known as a helper to reduce your body fat.

You can find this in most convenience stores although I would say it is NOT that widespread as some other yogurts. I found it in Family Mart most of the times.

Please check it out at your nearby supermarket and whichever combini you pass by! 🙂

LOVE IT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/a12o/e/94a838d1cb4af1e92e53f7f9554d80d1